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TIAS

 Setting up Your Inventory / Adding An Item to Inventory

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Everything you need to control the inner workings of your online store is found in your Members Pages. The URL of your members page is:  http://www.tias.com/members/     If you lose your bookmark or you're on another computer, you can always get to your members page from the TIAS main page.  Simply select 'SELL' as an option and then 'Go to my store'.  It is a good idea to bookmark the page in your browser -- you will use it often.

The left side of the members page is the menu.  This contains expandable links to access different areas of your TIAS.com account. The right side is your workspace. When you access your members page, you'll be asked for your login information.  Your login was sent to you via e-mail when you opened your account if you are a MakeAShop dealer. Or provided to you if you have a custom shop or a mall.  Your login name is the same as you TIAS.com email.  So if you have a store named /stores/mystore, you can login as 'mystore' or 'mystore@tias.com'.

This is the system tutorial and you can get to it from your members page.  Its conveniently listed at the top so it will be easy to find!

If you are on any page and don't know what to do, use the handy little ...displaying orders. icons next to each field.  These appear throughout the system and provide DETAILED help about the feature or field that they appear next to.

Your TIAS.com shop consists of items.  The items are organized by category.  You need to set up categories first and then add your inventory to the categories.

  1. Go to your Members Pages (http://www.tias.com/members/).  If your members page is not currently displayed, click this link Members Pages to open it in a new window so you can toggle back and forth between your maintenance page and this tutorial.
     

  2. On the left side menu, click on the link titled "Maintain Inventory",  When you select the option to maintain inventory, you'll see this page:


     

  3. See the little box with the "5"?   We are going to add one item so click the little down arrow (gray area to the right of the 5) and change it to a .  If you have a large number of items to add, it can be very convenient to group them by category, and then add 5 or even 10 items in one category at a single time.

    Note that the input form that you will be using is one that uploads images. Until you press the 'upload' button, these files will stay on your local computer. The practical import of this is that if you lose your telecommunications connection in the middle of adding a group of items, you will have to start over.

    So you do not want to make your batches any larger than you might care to have to redo!

    When you select the option, you'll see the entry page.  Each field has a help prompt adjacent to it that explains the purpose of the field. Very few of the fields are mandatory, but those that are require some explanation.  Your inventory file has MANY optional fields.  For instance, if you sell books, you may want the ISBN and Publisher fields to show in your inventory.  If you sell rugs, you'll want to show size.  You can turn these on using the Site Maintenance menu, selecting the Customization Options and then the "Item Page" tab.  All these fields are described in the section on site options.  Depending The extra fields that you've selected, the display you see may have more fields than are shown below; what you see here are the basic fields that are set up for all sites.
     


     

  4. Sequence Number #:  The sequence number field is used to control the order in which items are displayed on your page. Items with a lower sequence number will appear at the top of your pages, while items with a higher sequence number will appear toward the bottom of your pages. Sequence numbers may contain only numbers, and may not contain letters or special characters. For example, if you have three items in the current category with the sequence numbers of 80, 10, and 60, the items will appear in the order 10, 60, and 80. Please note that you do not have to use sequence numbers. To add a sequence number, simply key it into the field. You can always change sequence numbers later.
     

  5. Item #: This is a required field.  It can be anything you like and it cannot be duplicate (each different thing must have a different name).  The customer will see the item number on their order. This is probably the most important entry you will make, it is the way you and the TIAS system keep track of your items. Item Numbers must be unique through all of your categories. Item Numbers can consist of letters and numbers only (a-z and 1-0 only), but not spaces or special characters. (an item number of xyz001 would be accepted by the system, but an item number of x&y001 will result in an error message).
     

  6. Quantity on hand is required.  The quantity on hand lets customers know how many you have of a particular item.  If you have more than one identical item at the same price, you may want to activate the quantity features. The option for doing this is in your site customization options. If you want the customer, for instance, to be able to select quantities of up to 50 of an item, put '50' here. 
     

  7. Category is required.  Categories are the 'index' for your inventory.  Customers see the category on your main page, click the one they like and browse it, much like browsing the sections in a catalog.  So the item category is important.  Choose the category you wish to add the item to from the drop down list. This list will show all the categories you have put in your store. If you think there may be a more appropriate category that is not on the list, you can always move the item to a different category later.  You can add new categories through category maintenance('Maintain Categories' on your menu).

  8. Subcategory:  (may be left blank) For the moment let's leave this blank. If you want to divide the inventory within a category into classes where one group is displayed first and then another, use the subcategory field.  Items without any subcategory are displayed first.  In the future you may want to divide a category even further, usually you will use this after you have added a number of items and decide you would like to regroup them within the category.

  9. Location:  (may be left blank) This entry is strictly for your own convenience and is never shown to the customer. The purpose of this field is to let you state the physical location of an item. You could note an item is in row C, rack 4, , bin 5 (if you have a racked warehouse) or in storage room 002, or in the garage, in the basement, etc. The location code field is used by some of the inventory reports to allow you to locate locate items; and if you're using high-volume warehousing, its used to determine the order of the items on the pick ticket. 

  10. Item Title is optional within TIAS.com, but its a big mistake not to use it, since this is key to how outside search engines find your item.   It is best to keep your item title short because of possible limitations offsite.  The default length of your item title is 55 characters  because this is the maximum size that eBay allows. If you want your item titles longer, use the Site Maintenance menu / site customization options to set the maximum length that you want.

  11. Item description is NOT optional -- you need to explain what you are selling.  The item description should include a thorough description of the item.. Be specific! Use keywords! Tell the reader everything about the item. What is it? What's it made out of? How old is it? What condition is it in? Who made it? How big is it?

    The MOST IMPORTANT part of your inventory is how you write your descriptions!! Take advantage of the power of your description as this is where you "SELL" your merchandise, just as you would if you were face to face with your customer.  After your shop is activated, visitors can view your merchandise by browsing through your shop and clicking on the photos.  BUT, that's not ALL! We submit your information to many search engines where the photos are not visible, and the words in your item description are what will entice a shopper to want to click and "see more".

    When you are writing a description, its important to remember several points for readability.  These are also very important for the search engines, because they use matching techniques where they compare the searcher's request to your content and will show your product based on the 'goodness' of the match between your description and the request.  So bear these points in mind:
    a)  You may be writing for someone who does not speak English well; avoid slang and keep your sentence structure simple.
    b)  You may be writing from some who does not read well; be careful about using extremely long or complicated words.
    c)   Don't use abbrv.
    d)  DON'T WRITE IN ALL CAPS!  IT IS HARD TO READ AND MANY PEOPLE INTERPRET IT AS 'SHOUTING'
    e)  Eschew hyperbole -- people will appreciate a clear and to-the-point description and it will work much better in the search engines.

    Do not include shipping, ordering, payment information in your item description
    UNLESS you are offering special services for this item only. For instance if you wanted to offer free shipping on this item only, you could note it here. Note that free shipping can be a very dangerous option -- TIAS.com is accessible internationally and if you are not very specific, you may find that your customer wants the item shipped outside of the US!
    This could be very costly!

  12. There are quite a number of optional cost and pricing fields.  You can cause these to be available to you by going to your site maintenance menu, selecting the 'Item Page' tab from the Customization Options and choosing the fields you want to see.  

  13. Customer Price is mandatory unless your site is specifically set up to allow zero price items (this requires the assistance of customer support because it is normally an error.)  The Price field is where you should enter the price you wish to charge for the item. Use only numbers and a decimal point; 3.00 for example. Do NOT include commas, currency symbols or other characters. If you entered a quantity other than one, please note that the price is per item.  If you enter anything else, the system will give you an error message and won't let you upload your item until you fix the problem.

  14. Item Status codes: The item status codes allow you to define the current state of your product.  These are the little yellow signs that say things like 'sale', 'new', etc.   Here is a list of the various item status codes, and the corresponding icons that will appear in your shop:

    Item Status Code Icon What happens if you select this item status code?
    For Sale no icon Item is displayed

    New

    Item is displayed; icon appears in the display.

    Sale

    Item is displayed; icon appears in the display.

    Cool

    Item is displayed; icon appears in the display.

    Reduced Price

    Item is displayed; icon appears in the display.

    Inquire

    Item is displayed; icon appears in the display; a link is shown to the contact form instead of the standard shopping cart prompt

    Hide

    no icon Item will not be displayed

    On Hold and Show

    Item is displayed with the icon, but cannot be ordered

    On Hold and Hide

    no icon Item will not be displayed

    Sold and Show

    Item is displayed with the icon, but cannot be ordered

    Sold and Hide

    no icon Item will not be displayed

    No Display

    no icon Item will not be displayed but can be ordered if someone knows the item number.
     

    Note: If the item is on hold because it was ordered, and the order is not going to be completed by the customer, you need to void the order and update pages, and the item will be put back up for sale automatically.
     

  15. Pictures Each item must have at least one photograph, but you may also add up to 7 additional photographs (a total of 8 photos for each item). The first picture will be displayed as the thumbnail on your item listing page, and will also be the first photo on the large picture page you are taken to when the thumbnail photo is clicked. Once the thumbnail is clicked, it is here that the additional optional images will appear.   Items with more pictures generally sell better.  You may add up to a total of 8 photos, remember this replaces your customers' picking up, feeling, and looking over every inch of your merchandise. Take advantage of it and show all the close up detail, markings, AND Flaws!

    Your images may be in almost any graphic file format, but your item picture will automatically be converted to the JPG graphic format  that can be displayed by most web browsers while they are being uploaded.

    To add an image, use the 'browse' button next to the picture number.  You'll see a dialog box that allows you to 'find' the image you want on your desktop:

    Use the standard Windows browse commands to locate and highlight the image file you want.   When you click the name, it will appear in the File name box.  Then click 'Open' to select it for uploading.  Please note that although the image will be displayed in your store as a .jpg format file, almost ANY type of graphics file can be used as input: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .pcx, .pdf, .png, .psd or .tif. Images in .jpg format will probably be the fastest for you to upload if you have a choice.Please note that CMYK color mode is for printing, not for display on the Internet and can't be used here!  If you have a choice of color modes when editing your image, be sure to select 'RGB'.

    When all your information is complete and correct, click the 'Add to Store' or 'Add to Store and Upload to Auction'  button at the bottom of the page.   When you do this, the data you've entered will be copied to your store and the picture will be sent to the image processor and uploaded also.  The image processor will convert your file to a .jpg file and make it the correct size for displaying on the site.   Larger images will take longer to upload and the more images you have, the longer this will take, also.

    If you have a slow internet connection and a lot of pictures, consider adding only one item at a time to avoid the problem where your transmission gets so long that it can't be completed.  Also note that you can always add pictures to your item after it is in your store, so if you are having problems uploading a lot of images at once, one possible solution is to upload your item without the images or with a single image and then upload the balance later.

    None (Rotate Clockwise) (Rotate Counter-Clockwise) (Rotate 180) (may be left blank)
    If your photo needs to be rotated, choose the appropriate rotation when the photo is uploaded. If you find you need to rotate the photo for an item already on your site, you will need to replace the photo and rotate it at that time. It will not rotate an existing photo.  If you have photos that were uploaded wrong, you can simply update the item and upload different ones.
     

  16. Now click
     

  17. Please wait until you're a bit more comfortable with the system to use the Auction upload option.
    Auction: But AFTER you are comfortable, using this button will add the item to your inventory AND upload to auction in one step!
     

  18. Categories with no items are not displayed to the shoppers. If you are adding inventory to any category for the first time, be sure to update your site (click the main 'Update' link at the top of your menu) to make that category now visible. Please note that any change you have made will be visible on your site within a few minutes, but it may take up to 24 hours to get the listing into the search engine and listed on the showcase pages.

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