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Royal Bison Online Vendor Handbook!

Any questions, just email us: info@royalbison.ca


  • How to upload products
  • Working on your store page + listings
  • Working with the Order Tracker
  • Refunds / Exchanges / Customer Email Privacy
  • Shipping Tips and Tricks

HOW TO UPLOAD PRODUCTS

How do I upload products ?

1) Login to Shopify


All vendors will receive an email from Royal Bison admin that has:

- vendor login information to Shopify

- your unique Store Page link 


Your products will appear at your Store Page link as you upload them into the Shopify system.


Use a desktop/laptop computer for this if you can, it is much easier than using your phone.

2) Upload products to the Royal Bison online store:


You will need:

- photos of the item for sale

- a description

- a price

- an inventory count


You can edit your products at any time.


HOW TO UPLOAD YOUR PRODUCTS

Uploading is pretty simple, and it's truly easiest to watch this quick video on how to get going:



VARIANTS

You can use variants if you have more than one colour or material of the same item. Here's how to work with variants:


Be sure to tag your products with your vendor name or your items won't show up on your online shop page! Here's how:


3) Enter a Product Type for product filtering


Please enter a Product Type for customers to be able to filter through the items in your store pages via a filter bar. See the guidelines in the next tab below.


Here's how:


*It can take a few minutes for tags and products to get filtered into the system, so if you don't see them right away that's why!



4) Check that the products are in your store page:


- Click your store page link (it was provided to you via email)


- Scroll through and check all your items are in your store page.


What are the guidelines for the Product Types?

PRODUCT TYPE GUIDELINES


Please take a moment to look for the appropriate tag before adding your own to the Product Type list. Check your store page after you update the Product Types, and you'll be able to see how it will work for a customer! Super useful. It's worth taking the time to tag your products.


- always capitalize the first letter of the Product Type


- always pluralize the word 

(ie: use "Plates", instead of "plate" or "PLATES"





DON'T be too broad - ie. don't use Product Type in your store that say Ceramics or Jewellery or Art or Apparel 


DO sort your items into categories - ie. Plates or Rings or Prints or Pins or Stickers or Dresses


Some more examples:

- Instead of Home Decor, use the Product Type "Vases" or "Wall Hanging"


- Instead of Tops, use the Product Type "Shirts" or "Blazers"



My products are uploaded, but they do not appear in my store page:

1) Your product listings might be set to DRAFT, when they need to be set to ACTIVE. Here's a quick video to explain how to fix it. 


Please note it can take a few minutes for the product to show up in your shop page after you've set to ACTIVE:

2) Your product listings might not be tagged with your Vendor Name.

You have to do this for every single product listing.


Here's a quick video reminding you how:


3) If you only uploaded a few minutes ago: it can take 5-10 minutes for tags and products to get filtered into the system, so if you don't see them right away that's why! Just reload in a few moments and they should hopefully be there, otherwise look to see if it's the other reasons listed here.

Please mark your listings as collecting tax, even if you don't collect tax!

Even if you do NOT collect GST, we still have to charge tax on online sales as the retailer. In this case, we will retain the full GST amount charged on your sales and remit it on our own taxes.


I'm done uploading items, how can I double check I did everything right?

Once you're done uploading your products (you can always add more later!), click on your shop page link and check this list of things - and that's it, you're done!

1) are all the products you intended to upload showing up in your online shop page?


2) are your products tagged with product types? (These show up on the left hand side sorting filter on your shop page). Check: are all your items sorting how you want them?


3) are your shipping fees rolled into the item price?


4) are any prices accidentally set to $0?


5) are your inventory numbers correct?


6) are any items showing as sold out? If so, your inventory is set to 0 and you need to go back and add the amount of the item that you have on hand.


7) every item needs to be marked as “collecting tax” (even if you don’t collect tax, the royal bison has to!)


WORKING ON YOUR STORE PAGE + LISTINGS

How to reorder the items on your store page:

You can rearrange your product order really easily.

Do not edit anything in the Conditions box please! 

VIDEO: How to rearrange your product order

How to edit your shop page banner and description:

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR SHOP PAGE BANNER:

- an optimal size is 2200px wide and 600 px tall

- the website will automatically overlay your vendor name, so do not include your vendor name (or any text) on the banner

- it is best to have very little white background showing as the vendor name overlay font is white

- the banner will get cropped differently on different parts of the site (even become square at times) and when viewed by different devices. The most important part of the photo should be in the direct centre of the banner.


HOW TO UPDATE YOUR DESCRIPTION:

You can also update your shop page description, and even hyperlink to your instagram account and/or website. 

How to to check your inventory numbers:

You need to double check the inventory numbers on each item you post, as you don't want to sell more of an item than you have in stock!


You can see the number in your product listings under the inventory column. 


When you click on your product, here's what you need to check in your inventory box:


1)  if you have a "0" in the product's inventory box, your item will show "SOLD OUT" on the website

2) make sure that the "Track quantity" box is checked

3) make sure the "Continue selling when out of stock" box is left UNCHECKED

Can I sell seconds / samples / imperfect work at the online sale?

Yes, you are allowed to list:

- custom commissions

- made to order items

- preorders for products 

- imperfect quality items (B-grades/samples)


COMMUNICATE WITH THE CUSTOMER ABOUT IT

With imperfect items, the main point is to not have the customer be surprised when they receive the item. 


It is up to the vendor to stay in touch with customers about pre-order/made-to-order/commission timelines. You will have customer emails sent you with your order notifications. 

BE CLEAR IN YOUR DESCRIPTION OF THE ITEM


- make sure your product's title says "PREORDER" or "CUSTOM COMMISSION" or "IMPERFECT" in it. 


- add additional details in the description to remind and explain to customers what they are ordering.


- include photos if you can of an imperfect item's defects

PREORDERS/CUSTOM ITEMS NEED TO ARRIVE TO THE CUSTOMER WITHIN 2-4 WEEKS OF THE ORDER DATE


Please keep in mind that we pay vendors once all your orders are shipped, so please set a limit to quantities if you are going to take on custom listings! 


 We ask that you only accept commissions, pre-orders and made-to-order items that you are able to fulfill within 4 weeks post-market (and hopefully sooner).

Here is some description text to use for these items:


IMPERFECT

PLEASE NOTE: This listing is for an imperfect piece. The item has [describe the imperfections] - please see photos in this listing.


PRE-ORDER

PRE-ORDER ITEM: This is a pre-order item. Your item will be shipped by [INSERT DATE] and the vendor will email you to stay in touch about it.


MADE-TO-ORDER/CUSTOM

MADE TO ORDER/CUSTOM ITEM: Once you've placed your order for this custom item, the vendor will be in touch with you within 2-3 days to work out the details.Your item will be shipped by [INSERT DATE]. 

Checkout notes are enabled and could be very useful to you!

- Checkout notes are really useful! In your description, you can ask your customers to specify chain lengths, special requests, etc. 


- Checkout notes are visible to all vendors in the order tracker on the same order number - if in doubt that the checkout note is for you, email the customer.

A checkout note reads something like this, please edit to your own needs:


"If you would like a custom length of chain for this necklace, please write the length in inches in the checkout notes of your order. I will email you confirm after your order is made."


Here's what the checkout notes box looks like for the customer:

What makes a good product listing? Some pro tips!

HAVE MULTIPLE PHOTOS (IF POSSIBLE)

*one of the item ONLY

*one of the item in situ

*and a closeup


TELL A STORY OF THE ITEM! Customers like hearing from makers. How you made it, what it means to you, a sentence or two is very worthwhile.

ALWAYS MENTION MEASUREMENTS/DIMENSIONS

Width x Depth x Height

in inches, please!


LIST ALL MATERIALS IN THE PIECE 

Percentages of fabric content, anything you can think of. Remember the customer can’t touch the item, so you need to describe it in detail.


Working with the Order Tracker


It is VERY IMPORTANT to mark orders as shipped in the order tracker as you ship them:

- It sends a notification to the customer that the items have been shipped

- It lets Royal Bison admin know you've shipped the item, which makes vendor payment faster later on


If you see orders in the order tracker webpage but aren't getting emails every time you make a sale, please email us back and we will check the settings. 

If you don't see any orders at all, also email us, we will check the settings!

How to work with your order tracker (email notifications, troubleshooting, etc)

You will get a vendor-specific Royal Bison order tracker link via email in the weeks before the online fair. Keep this webpage open in your browser during the weekend to watch your sales come in.


- this tracker link will only show orders and customer details from your own Royal Bison online products


- you will use this webpage to mark your sales as shipped (see video instructions)


- you will also get an email notifying you every time you sell an item during the online sale sent to the email address we have on file for you


- if you want to copy customer emails to email them a thank you, etc, do this BEFORE you fulfill the order as this information disappears when the order marks as fulfilled. 


- if you are a returning vendor you will see your previous sales in the 'fulfilled' tab as well as your new orders in the unfulfilled section

VIDEO: How to work with your order tracker (pro tips included!)

DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND WATCH THIS VIDEO ABOUT THE ORDER TRACKER!


It explains everything and has some pro tips too. 


PRO TIP: consider downloading an excel spreadsheet of all your unfilled orders using the "download" button at the top of the tracker web page. 


What can I enter in the "Tracking Number" Box (hint: it's not just for tracking numbers)

There are four things you can enter in the "Tracking Number" box, please pick the one that applies to each order:


1) a TRACKING NUMBER copied and pasted from your Snap Ship parcel labels or copied from your post office receipt


2) enter LETTERMAIL if you are mailing an item without tracking


3) enter DOORDROP if you are dropping the item off the the customer


4) enter STUDIO PICKUP if the customer has agreed to come to you to get the item


REFUNDS / EXCHANGES / CUSTOMER EMAIL PRIVACY


What's the policy about refunds or exchanges?

There are no refunds available to Royal Bison customers unless a vendor is OK with it. However, Bison admin CAN make a refund at the vendor's request, (ie. a vendor has agreed with a customer that a refund is the best way to go). Just email us with your request and the order number.


If a vendor is ok with doing an exchange, the details are simply sorted out between vendor and customer over email or DM. 


If an order arrives broken, it is up to the vendor to replace it at their own cost, we will coordinate between customer and vendor as most likely the customer will email us first and we'll CC the vendor with the customer.

Can I add Royal Bison customer emails to my own  mailing list?

You can only add customer email addresses to your studio's mailing list if you have their permission to do so. There is an anti-spam law in Canada called CASL that we all need to stay in line with. 


You can email your customers and thank them for purchasing from you at the Royal Bison, and include a link to sign up to your newsletter, or to follow you on Instagram, but the choice to sign up is up to them.


SHIPPING TIPS AND TRICKS

In general: know that packing orders takes more time than you might expect. 

Start packing things as orders come in over the fair weekend, you will thank yourself for it.


What are the shipping deadlines?

Ideally, most orders should be shipped 5 days after the fair is over. 

All orders need to be shipped 14 days after the sale closes, unless your item is a pre-order or custom item.

Will there be an option for customers to choose “Local Dropoff/Pick up” at checkout?

Royal Bison online customers are expecting things to be delivered to their doors, and there is no local pickup option available at checkout. If the customer is local to your area, you can email them to offer them a studio pickup after the sale is made. But if they decline, you do need to mail or door drop the item to them.


We have a Crash Course on Shipping video:

This could be useful to you - the difference between Lettermail and Parcels, sizes and parcel shipping tips.

What the difference between parcels and lettermail?

Parcels:

This is most secure, and has insurance in case of loss in the mail.

Anything big, bulky, or over 2cm thick needs to go as a parcel.


Canada Post SNAP SHIP:

- sign up for an account

- the program will generate parcel labels for you

- you can also make parcel pickup requests via Snap Ship

Lettermail:

You can send your items via lettermail (non-trackable) if it is the right size and shape. Lettermail needs to be:

- less than 2cm thick

- smaller than 9x12" 

- under 500g


Lettermail is NOT tracked and could get lost in the mail, however lettermail is extremely reliable. In the rare case something does get lost in the mail it is up to the vendor to replace the item if it has not shown up in 10 business days after shipping. 


Consider using a trackable form of shipping if the item is not easily replaceable.


PRO TIP: consider investing in a SLOT OF DOOM lettermail sizer, or making one yourself.




How to create Canada Post parcel labels and create pickup requests:

You can ship your packages using trackable parcel shipping via Canada Post


This is most secure, and has insurance in case of loss in the mail.


Use Canada Post SNAP SHIP to create Canada Post parcel labels.

- sign up for an account (and get a Venture One card for discounts!)

- the program will generate parcel labels for you

- you can also make pickup requests

You can request a Canada Post pickup from your home or studio!


The cost is $3.50 and Canada Post will come pickup:

- any parcels

- any lettermail 


This saves you a trip to the mailbox or post office. A lifesaver when you've got a whole bunch of orders to send away in one day!


Schedule a pickup via Canada Post's Pickup Request form. It helps if you have a Canada post SNAP SHIP account.


You can offer local pickup from your studio/front porch/etc:

It's not required of customers to come pick up, as they purchased the item with the expectation that it will be delivered to their shipping address. But if you'd like, you can see who you can strike off your postal shipping list this way. 


Vendors do not need to offer local pickup as an option, but it's useful as you don't have to leave your studio/home/etc!


Studio pickup can be a hassle with customers rescheduling, etc. Consider that your time is valuable when it comes to communicating with customers, waiting for them at your studio, packing up your item for the customer in a gift box, ribbon, etc. Also, please consider your privacy needs when using your home address as your pickup location.


If you do choose to offer local pickup:

• you could write a mass email to the local customers who ordered from you (use BCC for all their email addresses for privacy) and offer that they could come pick up their order at your studio.


• You can suggest to your customers that they will have their items faster this way rather than waiting for shipping.


• If you don't want to constantly be opening to door to give customers their items, you can place a big rubbermaid bin on your front porch and let customers know to find their item in there. Package each order individually with the customer's name clearly labelled. Bring the bin in at night :)


• Please respect all Covid-19 protocols in your area when having a customer come by for pickup.

You can do a door drop to your local customer:

Yes, you can do the delivery work yourself! 


A rule of thumb is that 20 orders spread across the city can take 2-3 hours to deliver. It's a fun way to see other parts of town, but it does take time!


Please note that door drops are at the vendor's own risk and if the item goes missing from the customer's door it is up to the vendor to replace the item. 


APARTMENT BUILDINGS

Often, apartments are easier to mail to than to personally deliver to. If you are dropping off to apartment building lobbies it's a good idea to have a prearranged time with the customer, and to have the customer's cell # to text them and have them meet you in the lobby for handoff. 



HOW-TO-DIY-DOOR DROPS


• write a mass email to the local customers who you intend to make door drop deliveries to (use BCC for all their email addresses for privacy). Let them know you will be delivering on X day around Y time and to be on the lookout for the delivery. 


• Prep all your orders, individually bagged with addresses taped to them. Putting all those orders in a box to hold them all in your car is easiest.


• When you leave an item at a customer's mailbox, front door handle, in between screen and front door, etc, make sure to knock on the door or ring the doorbell so they know to come get the item. You don't need to stick around until they open the door though :)