Marketplace OverviewBuying and selling in a marketplace involves the following elements:
- A payee (an entity to receive payments)
- A market group (this groups related marketplace resources)
- One or more vendors (to supply items for the marketplace)
- One or more vendor items to sell
- Optional vendor item inventory, if you store what you sell
- An optional vendor item pricing schedule if an item's price can vary with time and/or quantity
- One or more catalogs to determine which items to display in which marketplaces
- One or more marketplaces to display the catalogs and accept orders
- Ledgers to keep track of payments and charges
- Orders to keep track of who wants what from whom (and sometimes for whom)
PayeesPayees are typically associated one-to-one with checking accounts. Depending on your deployment, you might have payees for your school district, individual schools within the district, and either entire parent-teacher organizations or committees therein, depending on how finances are managed.
To list existing payees or add a new one, select "Payees" from the "Payees & Ledgers" menu. Users with appropriate access can use the "Add New Payee" link at the top of the page to add a new one.
Market GroupsMarket groups allow distinct sets of marketplace resources (e.g. vendors, items, catalogs, and the marketplaces themselves) to be managed and controlled by different groups of people, such as the school district, multiple schools within the district, or multiple PTA/PTO committees. Market groups are also used to determine some of the properties that associated marketplaces will have, such as whether or not they identify specific recipients within orders.
Every market group is associated with one payee. Each payee may be associated with any number of market groups. This ultimately leads to two ways to list or add market groups.
The first is the "Market Groups" option of the "Marketplaces" menu, which provides a listing of all market groups, regardless of payee.
The second way is to list the market groups associated with a particular payee. This is done by choosing "Market Groups" from the "Action" drop-down next to the desired payee in the payee listing described in the previous section.
Users with appropriate access can use the "Add New Group" links at the top of these pages to add new market groups.
VendorsUsers with appropriate access can choose "Vendors" from the "Action" drop-down next to the desired market group in one of the market group lists described in the previous section to get a list of a market group's vendors. There is an "Add New Vendor" link at the top of the page for adding vendors.
Vendor ItemsTo list or add vendor items, click on the "Items" link next to the vendor name in the vendor list. Use the "Add New Item" link at the top of the page to add new items. Please note that items must be added to one or more catalogs (as described in the next section) in order to be available in a marketplace.
CatalogsCatalogs control which vendor items are displayed (and can be ordered) in any particular marketplace. Catalogs can contain any combination of vendor items from any vendor in any market group to which the user creating or modifying the catalog has access. Catalogs can also contain other catalogs in order to organize items by category. Only catalogs immediately below "Top" in the catalog directory can be associated with a marketplace.
Users with appropriate access can choose "Catalogs" from the "Action" drop-down next to the associated market group in one of the market group lists in order to list, add, or edit catalogs. To add a catalog, navigate to the part of the catalog directory where you wish to add the new catalog and click on the "Add New Catalog" link at the top of the page.
MarketplacesMarketplaces make up the online store where vendor items in catalogs can actually be ordered. Marketplaces can contain other marketplaces for organizational purposes. Such marketplaces typically do not have an associated catalog and (therefore) do not accept orders.
Marketplaces are accessed by choosing "Directory" from the "Marketplaces" menu. Click on the marketplace names to navigate around the directory.
In addition to optionally having an associated catalog, marketplaces can also have an opening date, closing date, and/or delivery date. If a marketplace has an opening date, general users cannot place orders before that date. Likewise, if a marketplace has a closing date, general users cannot place orders after that date. Marketplaces that are not on-going (one-time marketplaces) will usually be set to include the delivery date.
Users with appropriate access can add, edit, or remove marketplaces, or move sections of the directory to other parts of the directory (e.g. to "archive" prior years' marketplaces) using the links at the top of the page.
LedgersLedgers are used to track order charges and payments. They are similar to a check-book register or part of a bank statement. The system does not care if you pay in advance (holding funds in escrow) or after ordering, or whether you pay order-by-order or for several at once. It simply keeps track of what has been put in and what has been taken out, so such matters are left completely to local policy.
Any user can create a ledger for themselves for any active payee in the system by selecting "Add New Ledger" from the "Payees & Ledgers" menu. However, only users with appropriate access can manually add entries to them (e.g. to record checks for deposit). If needed, ledgers can be shared by multiple user login accounts.
There is also a "payee ledger" for each payee in the system that records transactions from the payee's perspective.
Users can view their own ledgers and ledger entries by choosing "Your Ledgers" from the "Ledgers" menu. Users with appropriate access can view all ledgers associated with a particular payee by choosing "Ledgers" from the "Action" drop-down next to the appropriate payee on the payee listing page. Payee ledgers are also viewed from the payee Action drop-down.
OrdersAs one would expect, orders contain the list of items to be ordered and in what quantity. In some cases (such as for lunch orders), order items may be associated with one or more named recipients.
Every order is associated with one ledger (described in the previous section). If the ledger for an order is shared or becomes shared, all the secondary accounts sharing the ledger will have the same access to the order as the primary ledger account.
When an order is opened, it is initially displayed in "overview" mode. This mode summarizes all of the items in the order, along with order status and other information. If the order is still open, quantities can be adjusted (or removed completely by changing the quantity to zero).
To add additional items (again, if the order is open), click on the "Add To Order" link at the top of the page. This displays the order in "catalog" mode. This shows all of the items available from the catalog, along with how many of each item are included in the order (if any). In marketplaces that name specific recipients, this mode shows the portion of the order specific to one recipient (chosen from a drop-down list) at a time. An "Order Overview" link at the top of the page returns to the previous view.
When all desired items have been added to the order, it should be submitted for processing using the "Submit Order" link at the top of the order overview page. The order can also be withdrawn (and potentially changed and resubmitted) from the order overview page if order processing has not been started.
Users can get a list of their orders by selecting "Your Orders" from the "Marketplaces" menu. A list of orders for the current user and marketplace are also displayed when navigating through the marketplace directory. In either case, users can review individual orders by clicking on the order number or status in the order list, or review multiple orders by clicking on the check-boxes next to each order and then clicking on "View Selected".