Friday, August 26, 2011

ArtFire -- Handmade Shopping/Selling Venue of Choice

ArtFire is our online selling venue of choice. How did we come to decide this? Well when we decided to sell online, we researched and reviewed and researched some more before we decided on creating our own website or joining one of the handmade markets.

We determined that we did not want to build our own website. That the time it would take to build and maintain our own website would take too much time away from our art. It was an easy decision that we would rather host our website on a handmade market place that maintains 90 % of the technical side of things for us. Simply because we would rather spend our time creating and we haven’t regretted our choice.

Factors that influenced our decision to choose ArtFire over the other selling venues:

1.) Buyers do not have to register before, during or after placing an order.

2.) Security -- Artfire uses 256 bit encryption on any page that requests personal information. Financial data is not stored on Artfire servers; it is processed by PCI Banking companies. This is to provide the highest level of security possible for an excellent shopping experience.

3.) Ease of Use. ArtFire is one of the easiest selling sites I found to use as a buyer.

4.) ArtFire staff spends time in forums. Answering questions, providing insight, and keeping a general feel of what the artisans are looking for.

5.) ArtFire has a transparent policy and is always keeping us updated on fixes, upcoming projects, and site enhancements.

6.) ArtFire is always looking for ways to assist artisan’s success as well as their own. Be it daily collection emails, running twitter accounts, blog improvements, studio improvements. Including creating numerous help guides for site use, blogs, social media camp, photography improvements and SEO.

7.) Community governance and participation is encouraged and listened too.

8.) Buyer suggestions and comments for improvement is recognized as valuable.

9.) It’s the internet, it involves computers, let’s face it that guarantee’s that problems will arise. However, ArtFire staff is quick to work on problems as soon as they are aware of them. Including working on the weekends. This is amazing as ArtFire runs lean and mean as far as support staff, they do an awesome job for us.

10.) As a seller we are ensured that ArtFire makes changes based on a combination of community input, solid research and stats that support the reasoning behind the change. They also take into consideration how the change will impact a buyer’s experience, therefore effecting artisan’s success as a whole.

However, there are things you give up when you decide to let someone else be in charge of your website. You have no control over when the changes occur. Not everyone is going to agree or be happy with all the changes. It is like with anything in life, to gain one thing you have to give up something.

Two things I can tell you for sure though. First, any change we have not been happy about and didn’t think would be an improvement; we have been happily proven wrong. Two, ArtFire continues to surprise and amaze us and we expect that to continue. Combined with our work it is a recipe for success, yes a recipe that constantly needs tweaking, but one for success none the less.

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