ArtFire News – October 2015

MerchantNewsVert


We want to share some exciting new upgrades and important changes we’ll be introducing shortly.

We are in the final testing phase of the long awaited new cart and checkout flow that integrates parallel payments (buyers no longer check out separately with each merchant), enables upsell opportunities and cuts out several steps in the checkout process.  The new cart also addresses past checkout friction points and improves the buyer experience.

Our goal was to have this technology in place early this month but it has proved to be far more complicated than we expected, which has delayed its launch.  We’ll be releasing the cart to a test group this week before implementing a site wide roll out.  If you’d like to evaluate the new cart early you can do so here:  Test out the New Cart

Billing Policy Changes

We’ve made some changes to our commission and billing policies this year that have resulted in an easier on-boarding process for new merchants but also increased our merchant service processing fees.

Revenues from new sellers can’t be effectively invested in marketing and infrastructure when a large portion of the fees we collected cost us up to 30% to process (using the usual $0.30 + 2.9% processing rate).

Additionally, assessing commissions in arrears on completed sales from unestablished merchants has brought with it a substantial increase in bad debt.  Our commitment for the past eight years has been to maintain reasonable rates and avoid raising venture capital at all costs.  That means that much like most of our merchants, we run an efficient operation and don’t maintain huge capital reserves or spend borrowed money to artificially stimulate growth.  Though this has not always been the most financially comfortable commitment it has allowed us to stick to our founding principles, which I’m very proud of.

To address these issues we’ll be making the following billing policy changes:  
  1. All new and unestablished seller accounts will be required to maintain a positive account ledger balance.  (Note – This is the ledger that keeps track of commissions)
  2. Commissions fees will draw down the account balance when sales are made.
  3. Funds can be added to the ledger at any time in $5.00 or greater amounts; if a ledger would be depleted to below a 0.00 balance by a commission fee, a charge sufficient to bring the ledger balance back to $5.00 will be processed.
  4. New sellers at all plan levels will be required to add a $5.00 beginning balance to their ledger as part of the new seller setup and verification process.

Established merchant’s in good financial standing with no missed payments in the previous 90 days (including all merchants who already meet this criteria), will not be required to maintain this positive ledger balance.  An established merchant’s ledger will have a negative threshold set at $-10.00 by default which means that once you’ve accumulated fees of $10.00 we’ll automatically bring your balance back to $0.00.  First of the month commission billing will not apply to merchants who’ve recently paid a commision fee.

For all merchants, the new minimum charge amount is $5.  In cases where an established merchant has accumulated less than $5 in fees without making any recent payments, the amount collected on the first will be $5 and a ledger credit will be applied.  Again this is done to reduce processing fees that we incur on small transactions.  Ledger thresholds will be increased for established higher volume sellers that have earned the TRUSTED Merchant Designation.

Unestablished Merchant Account Ledger Example:

Established Merchant Account Ledger Example:

TRUSTED Merchant Designation

Established sellers that meet the following criteria will soon be eligible for better site wide exposure, enhanced search placement, a greater ledger threshold, fee reductions*, and the Trusted Merchant Icon on all items and pages.

  1. Seller must be in good financial standing
  2. Seller must maintain a paid Shop or Store plan
  3. Seller must maintain at least a 4.5 Feedback Star Rating
  4. Seller must have completed a minimum number of successful transactions
  5. Seller account information must be complete including:  Verified Email, Verified Phone Number, Verified Address, Valid Payment Method on File, Shop Policies, Shop Avatar, Shop Bio.

Your phone number and address remain unpublished and are shared with buyers as before.  With this program merchants are rewarded for helping us improve the shopping and buying experience as research shows that this type of important credibility improves confidence and sale conversion rates.

*to be announced with program launch    

  

The Great Maker Search

Are you a maker or handmade artisan that deserves to be recognized for your skill and ability?  Show us your stuff and you could earn your place among the very best in the Great Maker Search!

Img via AngelLeaDesigns

ArtFire is an eclectic community of crafty folks that come together around a love of creating and we think that should be celebrated!

By entering you agree to be treated like the crafty genius that you are as we share your story and success with the world.  That means we’re going to say very flattering things about you and basically make a big deal about how rad everyone thinks you are on social media sites, in emails, all across ArtFire and just about everywhere we can.

The application process goes live in November with the first winners awarded in January with the launch of the The Great Maker Search campaign.  The initial four categories are:

  • Fiber & Fashion – Anything with thread, knitted, embroidery etc as well as fashion wearables.
  • Jewelry & Accessories – For everything else fashionable
  • Studio & Fine Arts – Classical fine arts, painting, glassworking, woodworking, pottery, metal etc
  • Arts & Crafts – Everything else.

Winners receive high fives and accolades from peers around the world, reduced ArtFire fees*, and a huge boost to exposure around the site, around the web and across social media.  You’ll also enjoy front page exposure and receive a custom icon awarded on your profile and your items for everyone to see!  This is your chance to set yourself apart and show your independence and dedication to handmade.  Only handmade artisans are eligible to participate.


We’ve working through a full project list for November and December that focuses on helping makers be more successful by improving our ability to engage shoppers.  I want to thank you for all your support and contribution to the success of the ArtFire marketplace.  We look forward to a great holiday season with you and we’re excited for all that 2016 has in store for our community.

John Jacobs, Founder and CEO @ArtFire

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