ArtFire Help Center
Setup for Success - Five Important Steps for Every New Seller! Posted On: 09/16/2011 Last Updated: 05/08/2012
Setup for Success
Five Important Steps for Every New Seller!
Welcome to ArtFire! Thanks for joining our community!
Most of this "Setup for Success" help guide covers elements that are generally important to all ArtFire shops. Depending on your goals and how you want to use your ArtFire shop, you may not need to compete all of these steps, but you should look them over just to be aware of the options that are available to you in the future.
You May Want To Have Handy...
Before you get started with this guide, you may want to take a moment and gather the following files and information:
- Your banner and avatar
- Estimated shipping rates for domestic/international shipping
- Account details for the payment processors you plan to accept
- Information about your businesses tax status, specifically as it relates to state and local sales tax
Don't Worry! If you don't have one of the above items, or aren't sure where to get them, we'll cover each one as part of this guide.
This guide is broken down into five steps which you should finish before you start listing items for sale. You can technically start listing items as soon as you create your seller account, but you'll make life easier for yourself if you go over these steps first. We'll be going over the following:
- The ArtFire Themer
- Shop Sections
- Shipping Profiles
- Payment Processors
- Tax Settings and Google Base Settings
The ArtFire Themer
Step one for your new account is establishing your shop's design. A big part of your shop's design will be your banner and avatar. If you have a banner and avatar make sure you know where they're saved.
If you don't have a banner you can read our "Simple Banner Guide" and either make a banner or use one of the free default banners available in the guide. If you don't have an avatar you can use any square image (with a file size smaller than 2mb) for now. Popular avatars include photos of yourself, your pets, your work space, or an item.
Establishing your shop's design before listing products will ensure that no customers see your shop with the default themes or graphics. You can play around with your colors, fonts and graphics in a de facto "preview" mode because your shop is only accessible to someone who knows it by name (until you start listing products).
If you've just registered for a new account, or have logged in to your existing account, you'll end up on your My ArtFire Dashboard. Your Dashboard serves as a notification hub for sales and messages, as well as a launch pad to managing your account.
We'll go over everything on the dashboard later. Your goal at the moment is to visit your main shop page. You can get to your main shop page by clicking on your name in the upper right portion of the page you're on.
Toggling On/Off the ArtFire Themer
When you are logged in to your account you'll see an option in your shop to "Toggle Themer" in the Theme section. Clicking this link will open your shop design tool, called the "ArtFire Themer". TheToggle Themer link will also hide the Themer if you click it again once you are done.
The ArtFire Themer is your main design tool for customizing the look of your shop. Via your Themer you'll pick and save color, font, and layout choices. .
With the ArtFire Themer you can preview color and font changes as they will appear in your studio. If you hover over each choice, you will see the region that each choice affects highlighted on your shop page.
Colors & Fonts
To pick colors you'll need to be on the "Themer" tab of the ArtFire Themer. This is the default tab that will be selected overtime you open your Themer. Use your mouse and click the square color patch to set a color for a specific region of your shop. Clicking the square color patch will open a small color palate window. Click on any of the colors in the window, or if you want to close the color palate window just click the square patch of color you clicked on to open the window.
Setting your shop's font is done via the "Font" tab in the ArtFire Themer. Click on any of the 14 Font names to preview that font in your shop. The Font you set for your shop will be used for your shop's navigation bar, section titles, headlines, and shop name.
Any changes made to your colors or fonts are shown to you as a preview, you'll need to press the "Save Theme" button before leaving your shop in order to save any changes.
Uploading Your Banner and Avatar
Your ArtFire Shop has room for a 1000x200px banner as well as a 140x140 avatar. Your banner will show at the top of your shop main page and pages like your policies page and bio page. You can also choose to turn off your banner on your item pages in the Theme section in your shop (underneath the Toggle Themer option).
Your avatar shows at the top of every page. If you have a banner and avatar ready to go, you may want to upload them first and pick colors that match or contrast nicely with your graphics.
When you upload a banner or avatar, those changes are saved immediately and are live in your studio. Other changes that you make to your colors or fonts are a preview seen only by you until you click the "Save" button. If you've made changes to your shop's design that you want to keep, make sure you press the 'save' button before navigating away from the page.
The Merchandizer Tab
The Themer also includes a tab for setting the layout of your shop as well as launching the ArtFire Merchandizer.
These options will be more useful after you've begun listing items, however, here's what they do:
- Product Listing Columns - Sets the the number of columns for the items in your shop. The 3 column layout has more space between items; the 4 column layout fits more items into a smaller area which makes viewing your shop easier for some visitors with low screen resolutions (less scrolling.)
- Show Sections - Sections are covered later in this guide. This option allows you to decide whether your shoppers can see and use your sections while browsing your shop.
- Default Product Order - Your shop is automatically set to display your newest items first. If you'd like to set a custom order (via the ArtFire Merchandizer) make sure you change the default layout in your shop to "Merchandized" after you've saved the the order you want.
- Activate Merchandizer - This link activates the ArtFire Merchandizer which can be use to rearrange your shop's items to any custom order of your liking.
To turn off/hide your Themer, press the "Toggle Themer" link again. The link directly below the Toggle Themer link is used to turn off your banner on your item pages. If you'd prefer to not show your banner on item pages, you can turn this setting on now.
To briefly summarize. Visit your main shop page while logged in; Toggle "on" your Shop Themer and set the following
- Color Scheme for Shop
- Shop Font
- Banner and avatar
Your ArtFire Shop can have up to ninety-nine custom shop sections. When you have sections set to show in your shop they show on your inventory pages and give your customers the ability to view meaningful segments of your products.
If you plan to separate your shop's inventory into different sections, its best to create some or all of those sections before you start listing items (if you're not going to use sections, you can skip this portion). Putting an item into a particular section is an option you'll have when you list products; however, you have to create your sections first.
When you make sections, think about the most meaningful distinctions between the types of items you plan to sell. Don't worry about setting anything in stone; you can come back and update or change your sections in the future.
Sections are part of your shop and are managed from your shop itself. When you are logged in to your account, your view of your sections includes options to add, edit or remove them; these options are not seen by your customers. You should see your Shop Sections on the right portion of your shop. If you do not see your sections, you may need to use the Merchandizer tab of the ArtFire themer to set your sections to "Show"; editing your sections requires them to be shown, you can turn off this setting once you've made your desired changes.
Creating Shop Sections
To create a new section, press the "Add New +" link. This opens a text field for you to type in your sections' name. Once you've finished typing in the name, press the green check mark to save the new section or the gray "x" to cancel.
Editing and Deleting Sections
Once a section is created you'll see a small pencil icon next to it. Clicking this icon allows you to edit the section name and save the change using the green check mark or you can delete the section using the red trashcan icon.
The order that you create your sections in is the default order they will appear; to change that order simply click and drag a section to the desired position.
Once you've created sections you can add items to them either during the listing process or using the global product editor.
If you just want to start listing, you can skip this step. You can manually enter shipping rates for each item you list (that option is available on the listing page); however, if you're really in a hurry and want to speed-up the listing process, you don't want to skip this step! If you can come up with a few sets of reasonable shipping rates (Shipping Profiles) that will apply to the majority of your products, you'll save yourself time and reduce the chances of making an error.
Before we get started, if you aren't familiar with how shipping works on ArtFire you may want to go over the Shipping FAQ. Shipping Profiles are sets of primary and secondary shipping rates that are given a name (Profile Name) and saved for later use. The number of profiles you need will depend on how you handle shipping. If you have one uniform size/shape/weight for all your products you may need only one profile, but if you make lots of different sized products you may want a profile for each major type.
Prices for shipping can vary a lot depending on what you're shipping and where you're shipping it to. First-hand experience is the most valuable source of information when it comes to estimating shipping rates. If you've never shipped packages to other parts of the country (or world) you may need to look into the posted rates for the carriers you plan to use or ask for advice from our community of sellers.
Once you have an idea of what shipping will generally cost, you can decide exactly how you'll handle shipping; there are a handful of popular styles:
- Setting a modestly high primary and secondary shipping rate with explicit policies and notes that any excess shipping over the actual cost will be refunded. This comes close to ensuring that you'll never take a loss on shipping but may turn off some buyers once they see the total cost of an order.
- "Free" shipping, or without the marketing spin: "shipping included" pricing. Free shipping is a very enticing marketing message, buyers often appreciate the transparency in pricing and the matching totals between the cart's "item sub total" and the ending "order total" during checkout.
- Setting a high primary shipping rate with a very low or free secondary rate to encourage multiple item orders. If your inventory is the type that sells multiple items in each order, you can encourage buyers to "save on shipping" by making additional items ship for free or nearly free.
A good shipping strategy can become a powerful marketing message; fair, free, and/or flat shipping rates can be used promotionally and can help reduce some of the uncertainty that buyers have regarding online purchasing.
The information you need to have on-hand in order to make your shipping profiles is the primary and secondary shipping rates for each country you'll ship to. One popular method for handling international shipping rates is to set rates for some countries specifically like the United States, Canada, the U.K., and to set another single (probably higher) rate for "all other countries."
For a detailed analysis of how shipping rates work and how to create shipping profiles, please see the Shipping Profiles and FAQ Help Guide.
Important Information: When you use a shipping profile to list a product, you're applying the shipping rates saved in your profile to that product. If you change or update the rates in one of your shipping profiles, this does not automatically affect your item's shipping rates. To update the shipping rates on an item you must edit the item either individually or via the Global Product Editor.
Before you start building your inventory, you'll want to make sure a customer can actually buy from you and pay for their order. If you have a PayPal, Amazon Payments, or ProPay account you're just one step away from integrating one (or all) of them into your shop. There are few differences that you should keep in mind when choosing which payment processor(s) to work with.
ProPay is the only processor on ArtFire that is fully integrated into the ArtFire Shopping Cart and Checkout. If you accept ProPay, your customers can place an order in your shop and pay you without having to leave your shop (other processors require a customer to complete payment offsite).
Information entered into the credit card portion of the ArtFire Cart is transmitted directly and securely to ProPay. ArtFire does not store or save any sensitive financial information.
You can get an exclusive deal on a ProPay account just for being an ArtFire member. A ProPay account will also allow you to accept credit card payments in real life at craft shows, fairs, or other events.
To set up your ArtFire shop to accept ProPay, go to the Payment Methods page under the My Account tab of your My ArtFire. Check the box next to the sentence "I Accept ProPay Payments" and enter your ProPay account number.
PayPal is the most widely used and accepted payment processor (both on ArtFire and on the web as a whole). If you have a verified PayPal Business or Premier account, you're ready to accept payments for your ArtFire orders. Just enter your PayPal account email into your My ArtFire payment processor section, check the box next to the sentence "I Accept PayPal Payments", and you're ready to go.
If you have an Amazon Payments account, you may be ready to accept payments via Amazon. Just enter your Amazon account info in the same manner as described for the other processors.
You also have the option to accept checks and/or money orders in your shop. Please familiarize yourself with the potential problems that accepting checks/money orders can invite and learn how to protect yourself from scams and other potential fraud. To accept either checks or money orders just check the box next to the the appropriate sentence on the Payment Processors page.
One important note regarding payments: Orders that are made on ArtFire are not finalized until payment confirmation is received from one of the above processors. That means your products aren't taken out of your inventory until they're actually sold. Because of the realities of handling physical payments like checks and money orders, if a buyer chooses to pay via check or money order that order will be finalized and remain "unpaid" until you change the paid status via the orders management panel. When an order is finalized, the products are removed from your active inventory. If you do not want products removed from your inventory until they are sold, do not accept checks/money orders.
Taxes and Google Base
To wrap up this guide we'll go over two important settings in your ArtFire account: Sales Tax and your Google Base feed. Making sure these are set-up correctly now will save you from having to fix any time-consuming errors later.
For U.S.-based sellers: You may be required to collect and remit sales tax to your state and/or local government for online sales if you and your customer are located in the same state. The laws governing who has to collect taxes and how to collect them change from region to region; ArtFire cannot help you determine if you need to collect taxes or not. If you're not sure if you need to collect taxes you can research applicable sales tax laws or speak with a qualified attorney about your situation.
For transactions between U.S.-based members: When a buyer and seller are in the same state, the ArtFire cart will attempt to apply the applicable taxes (if any) to an order. Tax rates are updated quarterly and conditioned to apply to the proper parts of an order, which changes from state to state. ArtFire strives to make our tax calculations as accurate as possible; however, please understand that the tax code across the 50 states is not set in stone. Changes made in any particular state may not be immediately reflected in the calculations the cart makes during checkout.
If you accept ProPay, the tax calculations in the ArtFire checkout are the only taxes that can be added to an order at the proper time. If you accept PayPal, you can keep the tax calculations on for your shop and the calculated taxes that ArtFire sends to PayPal will override any calculations PayPal may do. If you would prefer to let PayPal calculate applicable taxes, you can turn off tax calculations in your shop.
By default, every item you list is taxable. If you're selling items that are exempt from taxes in your state, please mark the item as tax exempt during your listing; this option is found once the "Settings…" section on the listing page is expanded.
If you would like to turn off tax calculations for your entire shop for any reason, you can do so via the "My Tax Settings" page under the "Items" tab in your My ArtFire Control Panel. Please note that PayPal can still charge applicable taxes for items even if they are marked as exempt on ArtFire or if calculations are turned off for an entire shop.
Last but certainly not least, let's discuss "Google Base." You may have seen the term "Google Base" from previous venues or on ArtFire; however, the term is technically retired. The term "Google Base" used to refer to the underlying database that powered Google Shopping search results. Feeding products to "Google Base" was essentially just giving Google data about products in a structured and standardized way.
These days Google uses terms like Google Shopping or Google Merchant Feeds when referring to its shopping search. When you see the term "Google Base" remember that it's just another way of referring to the database that powers Google Shopping.
If you're new to ArtFire, you'll need to turn on your Google Base/Shopping feed. Once your feed is turned on, all of your items will be automatically submitted to Google Shopping. Submitting to Google Shopping may require some extra data (product identifiers for non-handmade items, for example) and can return errors for a listing that you wouldn't otherwise get, like "disallowed words" errors.
If you're having problems getting an item to submit to Google Shopping, you can turn off the submission of an individual item on the item listing page.
Items are submitted to Google Shopping for a period of 30 days, after which they are automatically re-submitted (by ArtFire). The Google Base status for an item that you are submitting should be either "Pending" or "Yes." A "Pending" status means that the item has been successfully submitted and ArtFire is awaiting a confirmation. A "Yes" status means ArtFire has received a positive confirmation for an item.
If you see a "No" status for an item that you've tried submitting, you can use your mouse to hover over the "No" text. If there is an error message from Google for the item, it will appear when you hover your mouse over the text. Generally, errors are either content related (disallowed words) or technical. For disallowed words, you may need to search out a list of words to avoid and remove from your listing (Google rejects words like "Free", "Smoke", "Alcohol", etc...). If an error seems technical in nature, you can re-submit an item by editing the item, turning the Google Base Feed back to "on," and saving your change.