Vendor Quick Start Guide
How to use the site, post products and manage your sales.
We have people ready to guide you through every step of the way. We’ll help you set up your account, insure you have the correct merchant account with Stripe so you get paid in a timely fashion, and they will train you how to post and manage both your products and orders. If you would like in-person guidance, please contact us here.
You may feel that you are able to use this Vendor Guide and get started right away. It is designed to help you do that. So, if you would like to work through this guide and get setup in your own time, please do so. We are always here to support you and ask questions, so contact us anytime!
You should have the following information on hand in order to complete all the steps to setup.
- Full company information including legal name, business name
- Address and all contact information
- Banking information – part of this process is the application for a Stripe account
- Insure you have access to the email address you will use to setup all relevant accounts
Step One: Create Your Stripe Account
Whether you have an online merchant account or not, creating a Stripe account is completely free. It will allow us to transfer all of the funds for your sales to you in a timely fashion. Applying for and getting your Stripe account approved and verified takes a short amount of time. To fully complete the process, you will need business and banking details on hand. Get started below!Apply For Stripe Account
Step Two: Complete the Setup Wizard
Once you have registered as a Vendor, you will be given the opportunity to start setting up your store with the help of a setup wizard. Don’t worry…if you decide not to use the wizard, all of the settings presented to you are available in your Store Manager (details further along in this guide).
Click “Let’s Go” to get started!
This is the area you can add all the essentials about your store.
- Add your logo
- Add a banner image (this can be your store location, staff picture, product grouping, a defining image from your local town, or any other image you would like to see. You can change this image any time, and in the main Store Manager, you can turn this single image into multi-image slideshow)
- Insure your business name is correct
- Add your store contact info and address
- Type your address in the “Find Location” box and select the nearest best match to insure you appear on our Vendor Map
- Add a short description about your store (the opportunity to add more details will come later in the setup process)
- Click Continue
If you have already created a Stripe account, you can connect your Alberta Food Marketplace account to it on this screen. Click to Connect and then enter your Stripe account login credentials. Follow the on-screen prompts to connect your account. When finished, click Continue.
If your customers need support for the products you sell them, tell them here how they can contact you. Telephone and email address are essential, but your physical address is also important. You may choose to handle support and return issues at a head office rather than an individual location. Add the address here where you would accept returns and handle issues.
Step Three: The Store Manager Dashboard
When you create your account and become an approved Vendor, upon completion of the setup wizard you will be transported to the Vendor Dashboard. This dashboard displays an overview of your sales performance.
There are two menus for you to explore. Along the top, are links back to the web site (Home), to your main Account settings (My Account), the Marketplace (Go to Shop), this guide (Vendor Guide) and to help (Get Support).
Further along in this guide we will tour the Account Settings area.
On the left is the main menu for all Vendor activity. We will step through each one with a full description, however, in this Quick Start Guide, we will deep dive into 3 areas. They include:
- Completing the store setup process
- Adding and Managing Products
- Managing Orders
An important area to take note of are the icons that pulse in the top right hand side of the store manager.
The first icon lets you know if you have any “Notifications“. This number will increase every time you add a product, get an order, or any other major function is completed. The second icon is for “Inquires“. These are direct messages from customers. Click on the icon for a list of messages and reply to them right from that page. Lastly, is an icon for “Announcements“. These are direct messages from the Site Administrator. You can also reply directly to messages received in this area.
Menu Items Defined
Step Four: Store Settings
While you may have already setup your store using the setup wizard, there are many more settings that are useful to insure a great experience for your customers. If you skipped the wizard, this area is very important to complete. It lets customers know who you are, where you are, how to contact you, and how to get support for your products.
The General Setting page is straight forward. Add your name, email address, phone number, log and images. Add a short description about your store and then you can leave most other things as the default setting.
There are a few options for shipping. You can choose to ship by FedEx, UPS, etc and to do so you must have accounts with each of those providers. If you already have accounts, in addition to the settings on this page, you will need to enter your account info here.
On this page, you configure shipping that you will charge the customer directly for, and how you will do so. You can ship by area, by weight, and more. For a step by step walkthrough on setting up shipping you can talk to your on-boarding contact. However, many vendors will choose flat rate shipping per item. This can be added in addition to your FedEx or UPS accounts and all options are presented to the customer on checkout.
(Please note: auto-calculations for shipping cannot be done with CanadaPOST. Only commercial shippers such as FedEX, UPS, DHL are possible. If you use CanadaPOST, it is best to enter rates here, or on each product that you enter individually)
To enter your commercial shipping company accounts, you need to go to “My Account” at the top of the page. Once there, click on “Account Details” and scroll down to add all of your account information for any and all shippers. Once completed, click Save and then click on Vendor Dashboard in the main menu to return to the Store Manager.
Step Five: Products
Now that you have setup your store, it is time to enter and manage your products. Click on the Products menu item to view a list of all your products. There are many functions and lots of information here. You can see what status your products are in, the date added, category and the ability to edit them.
If you have no products in your store yet, click “Add New” and lets add some!
Products – Add a Product
This area starts by asking you what kind of product you have. Most products fall into one of two choices. A Simple product is one that has no variations that effect its price. For example, you may sell a jar of jam. There is only one choice so this is a simple product.
The other common option is a Variable product is one where customer options will effect the price. For example, if you sell a product by weight like a box of fruit. You may have 3 different box/weight options and each of them is a different price. So instead of adding each weight as a separate product, you can add one, and then add the variations that effect price. We’ll look at both in more detail below.
After you choose your product type, the information required at the top of the page is pretty straight forward. Enter a product name, price, image, short and long description, and add it to, or create a category for your product. If you want to add a gallery of supplementary images, you can do that with the icon just below the main image. Add some tags to make it more searchable in the store.
Now we’ll look at the bottom area of the page for a Simple Product in detail.
This example is a “simple product” but it can still have attributes. Perhaps there is a colour selection, or size selection that does NOT effect price. If so, you can add those attributes to the product here. Give the attribute a name, like “Size” and then add the variations so that you build a string like this:
You can add multiple attributes.
If you have filled up your store with products, you can now begin to link them. You can add them as an up-sell: when an item is added the shopping cart that has and up-sell product attached, that up-sell product is suggested to the customer as an upgrade to their choice. When a cross-sell product is linked, then they are suggested to the customer as an additional item to the one they have chosen.
If you have many retail outlets, and certain items are only sold at certain locations, you can enter that location here. Additionally, entering your product location will allow customers to perform radius searches such as “Cheese products within 50km”. You can also define contact and operating hours for each product location, ideal for those products that are “pickup” only.
Variable Product Instructions
If you chose “Variable Product” as your product type, some areas of the bottom of the “add new product” page will be different. Here are those variations.
This screen looks much the same as the Attributes screen for a simple product, except there is now a checkbox for “Use as a Variation“. The Variations screen is where will apply a price to each of the separate attributes we list in the box here. So, add your attributes as you see in the example, check the box to “Use as Variation” and then click on “Variations”.
There are a couple of options here but the first thing to do is to convert all your attributes into variations. Under “Variations Bulk Options” choose “Create variations from all attributes“. Once selected, wait for the page to reload. You will then see all your attributes appearing as mini-simple products where you can enter a separate price for each. You can also enter separate shipping parameters and even different images if appropriate (for items such as colour variations this is important). Once completed, you can continue to add the rest of the different attributes information and then complete the product screens to finish.
Step Six: Manage Orders
Click on “Orders” in the main menu and you will see all your orders in a table. At a glance, you can see the status of each order and you can interact with them. It is important to maintain your order list so that you know exactly where you stand. Additionally, funds from your order won’t be transferred to you until you have completed each order. In order to complete and order, you need to change its status.
Here are steps an order will take through the system:
- A customer will place an order
- You will receive an email letting you know an order was placed
- When you login to the Store Manager, you will see a notification of the order
- You can then click to Edit the order. When you click to do so, you can see all the information about the order, including notes and shipping instructions/destination.
Edit an Order
Right at the top of this page is a drop down where you can change the status of an order and then click “Update“.
Scrolling down allows you to review the order and also add notes. You can choose make it a private note, or a note that will be send to the customer. You can add files to the email. When finished editing, remember to click “Update”.
Step Seven: Monitoring Your Business
Finally, we have the Ledger Book. Clicking on this in the left hand menu will show you a complete overview of your sales, withdrawals and refunds. You can select certain transaction types and date ranges and keep up to date on store’s performance.
Step Eight: Account Settings
Now that we have completed the tour of the Vendor Dashboard, we shall return to the Account Settings area of the web site. You can access this area from the top menu on the Vendor Dashboard by selecting the “My Account” button.
Account Setting Dashboard
The reason there is a separate dashboard for your account is because you may also wish to purchase products on the Marketplace. This page is similar to the one that every customer will see when they manage their purchases. If you are an approved Vendor you will see some extra links on the left. Most are self explanatory.
Orders – if you shop in the Marketplace, a record of your orders appears here
Downloads – if you purchase downloadable items, the links to those items appear here
Addresses – here is where you can set your default billing and shipping addresses should you wish to make purchases
Followings – this is a list of all the shops you follow on the marketplace. Manage them here.
Support Tickets – when shopping, if you request support from a specific Vendor, your support tickets will show up here.
Inquiries – When you ask a vendor a question about a product right on the product page, a record of those inquiries appears here.
Account Details – Manage your email address and password, and if you are a Vendor, here is where you add your shipping account information.
Step Nine: Get Support
If you have a question, need help managing your store, or need full training on how to use the Store Manager, we are here to help. You can fill out the Support request form here and we will get in touch with you. Drop us a note today!