Kite + Shopify: 8 Essential Checks Before You Launch
You've got the store, you've got the vision, and you can't wait to start making money from your awesome designs.
It's such a breeze publishing products with the Kite app, you'd hope that everything involved in managing an online store could be that simple.
But is there anything you might have forgotten to do?
Double-check that you've got everything in order before you launch with this Essential Guide & Checklist from the Kite Customer Experience team.
1. Check Image Quality
Have you optimised your artwork for printing?
When uploading artwork it’s important to check that the image is the right dimensions for printing. If your image is too small or the wrong shape, then you’re unlikely to get a good quality print.
The correct dimensions in pixels will be shown in the Prices & Edit screen for each product in the app. Templates showing the exact printable area can also be found on our website.
2. Look at the product preview
Are you completely happy with all enabled product mockups?
When publishing products, it's important to remember that your artwork will be printed exactly as you save it in the Product Generator.
There is no human 'quality control' on the Kite end, so if something looks wrong in the preview, you'll need to fix that before you go live (or forever hold your peace!).
These are the key things to look out for:
- Placement: Scale and centre the artwork if necessary
- Print area: Make sure your design isn't cut off by the edges of the printable area
- Coverage: Ensure that there are no gaps on all-over printed products.
If you aren't happy with the coverage, you may need to extend the background area with image editing software.
- Transparency: If your getting an unwanted white background with your design, you'll need to remove this using image editing software and export as a png file, before re-uploading to Kite.
- Product variants: If a product has multiple colours (e.g. t-shirts) or models (e.g. phone cases), check that the design works with them all.
If necessary, adjust the artwork or use the 'Replace Image' function in the Prices & Edit screen to upload an alternative image. Just remember to uncheck 'Shared Image' first to restrict the change to that particular colour/model.
Alternatively you can switch a colour or model off by unchecking the box on the right hand side.
- Saving changes: Make sure to Save Changes so your hard work doesn't go to waste. Remember too that all future changes to print instructions must be saved in the Kite app. Manually replacing the image in Shopify > Products will not register any changes with the Kite server.
3. Decide on Pricing
Are you making a reasonable profit on your Kite products?
We often get asked how much a particular product should be priced at in order to maximise sales.
We're sorry to say that there is no magic formula.
The amount of sales you do will depend largely on how well you market your products and to whom, not small differences in price.
...Though obviously if you're charging $100 for a shirt, people will probably think twice about buying one (unless you are Kanye).
As a rule of thumb, we recommend a markup of at least 30%, or 40-60% if you are not planning to add shipping rates to your store (as the cost of shipping the item will come out of your profit).
However, what you charge your customers is ultimately your call. Think about your target customer and what they might consider a fair price for a one-of-a-kind product like yours.
Learn about what Shopify has to say about pricing:
4. Set up shipping
Have you factored in the cost of shipping, either by setting up shipping rates or increasing the retail markup?
Shipping is not included in the wholesale price of Kite products, because the actual cost depends on where in the world the item is being shipped to.
There are four Kite shipping categories: United Kingdom, United States, Europe, and Rest of World. The shipping price for each destination is displayed in the Prices & Edit screen for each product in the Shopify app. You can also find them in the Products catalogue on our website.
It is very important to remember that you will be billed for the actual shipping costs, no matter what you charge your customer.
No need to panic though! You can easily offset the cost of shipping on to your customers in one of two ways:
Set up shipping zones in your Shopify account
Shipping zones allow you to automatically add shipping fees to each order at the checkout.
You should bear in mind that Shopify's system is based on weight. All Kite items are created with a default weight of 1lb/1kg to make it easier to keep in sync with our per-item shipping rate.
Increase the markup of your products generally
A greater markup removes the need for shipping zones (if it's getting too complicated), and also allows you to offer 'free shipping' to your customers.
By increasing the profit margin, you can afford to cover the shipping costs and still make a good commission on the products you sell.
Remember: If you want to offer tracked shipping, you must include the word 'tracked' in the shipping rate name. Please also take the time to check out the price difference between standard and tracked shipping.
5. Check shipping speeds
Do you know how long each product takes to print and ship, and have you made this information available to your customers?
Your Kite products are print-on-demand. This means you can have an unlimited virtual inventory, but the real products will not be manufactured until after they have been ordered.
It takes a few days from an order being placed to the point when it leaves the print facility. You can find out how long it takes, on average, to print a product in our product pages under Lead Time. These are calculated in working days (i.e. not counting weekends).
After an order is dispatched, the time it takes to reach the customer varies.
Find out more about country and item-specific shipping times.
It's important to include shipping information on your site, to allow your customers to form a realistic expectation of when they will receive their order.
If you're unsure of which shipping speeds to quote, use the below to cut yourself some slack in case of any unexpected delays:
UK: 2-7 business days
EU: 4-10 business days
US: 5-12 business days
ROW: 6-15 business days
6. Set up billing
Have you entered your credit card details in the Kite app?
Your Kite orders cannot be fulfilled without a valid credit card on file. We need to be able to charge you for the wholesale + shipping costs of any Kite products you sell.
You'll need to register your payment details in Setting > Billing to prevent any unnecessary delays with your Kite orders.
When a customer places and pays for an order from your store, that payment goes to you only. You will be billed separately by Kite for any money owed every time you reach your account billing cap. Billing caps start at £10/€11/$12, rising to £40/€45/$50 after several successful payments.
Note that in the case of a failed payment, all outstanding orders are put on hold until the transaction is successful. We cannot be held responsible for late dispatch in these cases.
7. Review Cancellation Policy
Have you noted the correct way to cancel an order before it is shipped?
VERY IMPORTANT: Cancelling a customer order in your Shopify account is not the same as cancelling the manufacturing order with Kite!
If for any reason you need to cancel an order (e.g. in the case of an accidental duplication), or make a change to an order (e.g. to correct an error in the address), you must contact email@example.com as soon as possible.
In your email you should include as much of the following information as you can:
- Order reference number
- Customer name & email address
- Reason for cancellation/change
- Other necessary information (e.g. if you are changing the address, include the new address!)
Our customer services team will then review the request. Please note that orders which have already been dispatched cannot be changed or cancelled.
8. Review Returns Policy
Before becoming a Kite partner, you should familiarise yourself with our returns policy.
Due to the nature of our business, we are unable to accept returns on your behalf or compensate you for any customer refunds except in the case of a faulty or defective product. This is in accordance with UK law relating to custom-made items.
❏ Check image quality Have you optimised your artwork for print?
❏ Look at the product preview Are you completely happy with all enabled product mockups?
❏ Decide on pricing Are you set up to make a reasonable profit on your Kite products?
❏ Set up shipping Have you factored in the cost of shipping, either by setting up shipping rates or increasing the retail markup?
❏ Check shipping speeds Do you know how long each product takes to print and ship, and have you made this information available to your customers?
❏ Set up billing Have you entered your credit card details in the Kite app?
❏ Review cancellation policy Have you noted the correct way to cancel an order before it is shipped?
❏ Review refund policy Have you understood the refund policy and adjusted yours accordingly?