Recent changes at artistic goods community and storefront site ArtFire brought a new focus on making the site more mobile-friendly, an acknowledgement of the dramatic growth of the audience of visitors and buyers using such devices for browsing online. All things do come at a cost, and ArtFire seems to be trying to recoup that investment from new sellers joining the site.
Rates starting at $20 per month came into play on October 1st. ArtFire said, but not for existing customers. “Rates for current sellers will not be affected by the October 1st change, which only applies to new sellers.”
ArtFire is treating sellers with accounts prior to October 1st as Legacy Accounts. The company will provide its Convenience Feature Pack for those accounts at no extra cost. “These features include access to: copy listing, click-to-zoom, order search and auto-cancel refunded (paypal) orders,” it said.
The new rate represents a significant bump in cost. ArtFire’s prior rate of $12.95 per month as noted in an EcommerceBytes Seller’s Choice 2014 post, with sellers rating ArtFire well for Ease of Use, Communication, and Customer Service.
The new rate may be a tough sell to a new audience. Opinions expressed on the forums of rival Etsy showed skepticism about the Artfire platform’s potential. “I was on Artfire for about a year and only had 2 sales.. I don’t think there is enough traffic,” one Etsy poster said on the topic, while another complained of “their lack of seller tools….I need variations which it doesn’t have.”
One criticism earlier this year was the need for sellers to drive traffic to their own ArtFire sites. The company explained it budgets for Google Shopping, but said, “Our budget is limited and we always reach it.” That suggested to the company “serious untapped potential,” and it opened Google Shopping Boost, a way for sellers to create and fund their own campaigns within ArtFire’s Google AdWords account. “It costs money, but that money is laser targeted at your products,” ArtFire said.