When connecting Tradebox One with Xero, you’ll have a choice to make regarding how to treat customer accounts within Xero.
Tradebox will always download customer information such as name, billing address, phone number and email address from the marketplace; this information is passed down with each order and Tradebox will use billing name and email address to determine whether the order applies to an existing customer in its own Customers module.
When linking to Xero, Tradebox can then either use this information to allocate all sales going through a sales channel to a single generic customer or to create unique individual customers in Xero. This setting is controlled in each sales channel Xero tab > Contacts > Contact Creation Options.
The vast majority of our users use generic customer accounts and this is what we'd advise unless there's a really good reason to use individual customer records.
If you choose to use a single default customer, Tradebox will allocate all sales to this contact in Xero. If you need the buyer's name and address(es) on the Xero invoice, Tradebox can add these as item lines prior to the first item on the invoice. To enable this, within Tradebox go Channels > Edit > Xero > Contacts and tick Add Shipping Address as Item Line and/or Add Billing Address as Item Line.
Generic contact invoice:
Generic contact invoice with both 'add address as item line' options ticked:
Advantages of Generic Customers
The biggest advantage of generic customers within Xero is that it’ll keep your contacts list from clogging up with lots of unnecessary records. The nature of online selling often means lots of non-repeat buyers and a high number of transactions. Xero recommend keeping your contact list inside of 10,000 records; to give some perspective if you were dealing with 400 unique online customers each month you'd reach that limit in two years.
It’s also instantly obvious from a glance at the contact whether a transaction has been raised via Tradebox or not. This may be useful if for instance, you sell B2C via a webstore and also have wholesale orders which are entered into Xero manually.
Generic customers can also give different reporting options. If you set up one default contact for each sales channel, any 'per customer' reporting in Xero effectively becomes 'per sales channel' reporting, though any reports that run through the invoice list will still reflect individual orders.
Disadvantages of Generic Customers
Generic customer accounts will prevent you from completing certain tasks in Xero with the orders Tradebox handles. As customer name/address details are only held in the invoice, you wouldn’t be able to use Xero as CRM to keep track of customer details as effectively. This generally only applies to users who have lots of repeat online customers.
Certain reporting and other features in Xero may rely on having populated contact details on a distinct Contact record and you wouldn't be able to make use of these for sales through a generic customer contact. This includes anything that would use the contact address to determine per-county or per-region activity, even with the Tradebox options to add addresses as item lines enabled, Xero won't be able to recognise those as addresses for reporting, it'll just view them as text like a message line on your invoice.
Things to Consider
In general, if you don’t need to use Xero as a CRM database for the orders Tradebox will handle (beyond name and address for billing and shipping), and don’t extend credit terms for your online sales, using generic customers will probably serve you better. And of course, this only applies for the orders that Tradebox is handling, there’s nothing stopping you from using contact records to their full potential for orders that your users are keying in manually. It's common practice for Tradebox users who sell B2B in person/via phone and B2C online to use a generic customer contact for the web sales, and individual customer contacts for the trade sales.
If you are using generic contacts, you’ll need to decide how many to use. At most, you can use one per sales channel in Tradebox, and this is the most common choice. If you prefer, you can have all sales channels use the same default contact to represent all your online sales.
Using Individual Contacts
If you are using individual contacts, you’ll still need to choose a default customer in each sales channel. This will be used as a fallback where Tradebox cannot create a relevant customer in Xero (e.g. there are characters in the name that Xero doesn't support). For more detail on the options available when using customer accounts, see the Contacts section of our Accounts Link setup guide.