Getting Started for Artists
IN THIS GUIDE
What Order Desk Does
Are you an artist or designer looking for a way to send your orders to your printer efficiently and quickly? Order Desk is an order management app that adds your print files to your orders and sends them to your printers, all within seconds.
Think of Order Desk as your assistant. Once you tell the app what you need it to do, it'll start doing it for you.
Click here for a list of the print provider integrations available in Order Desk. These let you connect directly to the printer from Order Desk.
After reading through this Getting Started for Artists guide, please refer to our Print on Demand Fulfillment guide for a thorough walkthrough of how to set up your Order Desk store.
Inventory is the most important part of a print on demand store, so adding your inventory to Order Desk should be the first step and main priority when setting up your Order Desk store.
Every product you add to Order Desk needs these required details to be sent to your printer:
Some printers or products will have additional fields that may also be needed, such as the print_location, print_mode, or print_design_id, to name a few. Check with your printer to find out what fields are required on their products.
Once your inventory is stored in Order Desk, the SKUs that are in your orders will match up to the SKUs you added to Order Desk and your print details (the print_sku, print_url, and so on) will be synced into the order. Once the print details are synced into an order, it can be sent to your printer for fulfillment. This entire process is automatic, takes less than a few seconds, and if you set up your store right, you won't have to do anything to the orders but monitor them to make sure everything is running smoothly.
For instructions on how to add your inventory and print details to Order Desk, please see the Add Inventory section of the Print on Demand Fulfillment guide.
We have this list of the print on demand integrations that you can connect to from Order Desk, including details about each printer and the products they create. We add to this list as we add new integrations, so check back for updates.
We also have an extensive list of shopping cart integrations so your orders can be sent directly from your shopping cart, into Order Desk and on to your printer quickly and efficiently.
No integration? No problem!
Maybe you need to get orders from a shopping cart or send them to a fulfillment service, and we don't have an integration with the service(s) you use. Typically this isn't a problem. You can still automate as much of the process as possible using import and/or export templates.
Import templates let you import orders from a spreadsheet. Have a shopping cart we aren't integrated with? If you can download a spreadsheet of your orders there, you can import them into Order Desk.
Export templates let you export orders to a third party either through email or FTP. You can set these up to run automatically, so once the setup is done, the exported file will be pushed if orders are there to be sent, much like how an integration works.
If you export your orders this way to a printer, they can send a file back with the shipment details to be added to your orders.
In most cases, you can send your shipping preferences to your printer from Order Desk.
Payment for Shipping
If you have your own shipping account, check the print on demand integration(s) you are using for a shipping account # field in the settings. If you add your account number here, the printer will use your account to pay for shipping.
If you don't use your own shipping account, your printer will use their account and charge you separately. All payments for shipping will not be handled in Order Desk but directly with your printer. Please direct any payment questions you have to your printer.
Default Shipping Methods
Look in your printer integration settings for a Domestic Mail Class and International Mail Class.
Set these two preferences to the shipping methods you want your printer to default to if they get an order from you that doesn't tell them what method to use otherwise.
Set Your Shipping Preferences
To set up your preferences, you will need to map your shipping method names to your printer's shipping method names. This can be done following the instructions in the Shipping Class Match guide.
If your method names are not mapped to theirs, they will use the default Domestic/International Mail Classes discussed above, and this can be unexpectedly expensive. Please take some time to read through the shipping class match guide and set up your store appropriately.
Folders are a way to sort and filter your orders when they are in Order Desk. This helps keep tabs on each order, its status and/or location and whether or not there are any issues that need to be addressed. You can create as many folders as you need and move your orders through the folders in a workflow that you choose, so you should always know what is happening with an order based on the folder it is in.
Most print on demand merchants use folders as a way to let them know which orders are currently being fulfilled by specific printers, one folder per printer. You can adjust your integration settings and/or use rules to move orders to folders based on the events that have happened to them. For instance, when you send an order to a printer to be fulfilled, it can be moved into a folder called "At [Name] Printer". When they send tracking details back, it can be moved into the Closed folder.
For more information on working with folders, refer to the Working with Folders guide.
The Order Desk rule builder is a powerful and customizable tool that lets you tell Order Desk exactly what to do with your orders based on the conditions you need to use.
If you want to split orders, move orders, submit orders, email customers or vendors, create a PDF, change the shipping method, add a timestamp, or do any other number of actions, you can make rules that will do this automatically for you.
For more information on the rule builder, read through the Order Desk Rule Builder guide.
Splitting & Dropshipping Orders
If you work with more than one fulfillment service or vendor, you fulfill some items yourself and dropship others, or you only need to fulfill certain items through Order Desk and can ignore the rest, you will need to split your orders to make sure each item in an order goes to the right place.
For Shopify or BigCommerce merchants, we've got a quick and straightforward way to split orders before they even import into Order Desk. You can learn more about this in the split by vendor for Shopify or BigCommerce guides.
For other shopping carts, you'll need to split your orders using the rule builder. Follow the instructions in this How to Split Orders guide for how to set up your split rules.
Once split, you can set up rules to submit the split orders to the appropriate printer integration, or, if there is no integration with your particular printer, to email the order or move it into a specific folder so it can be exported to them.
When an order is fulfilled, Order Desk will pull the tracking number and shipment details back in from the fulfillment service integration and update the order here.
If you are sending your orders to a third party service or printer, they can send tracking numbers back in a spreadsheet, and these will be imported and added to your orders here in Order Desk.
Every shopping cart integration is unique, so there may be some differences in how (or if) the tracking number can be sent back. In most cases, if you configure your store for it, the order can be updated in the shopping cart, marked as competed, and the shopping cart can notify your customers that the order is fulfilled.
Order Desk can also be configured to notify your customers when their orders ship. Follow these instructions for setting this up in your own store.
Many of these guides are linked throughout this article, but here is a comprehensive list of Order Desk help guides to show you around the app and help you set up your stores:
- Getting Started: General getting started guides that provide an overview of the app. Learn how to connect to integrations, add inventory, work with folders, submit orders, and get some tips on working with the rule builder.
- Print on Demand Providers: List of all printers integrated with Order Desk.
- Print on Demand Fulfillment: Step-by-step instructions for setting up your Order Desk store to work with printers and on-demand products.
- Print on Demand Order Syncing: Describes why order syncing is important and how to check for and fix errors.
- Shipping Class Match: How to tell your printer your shipping preferences.
- Getting Dropbox Links: How to get the Dropbox links you need for your artwork files.
- Dropbox Integration: How to use the Dropbox integration in Order Desk.
- How to Split Orders: Instructions on the different methods for splitting orders once they are in Order Desk.
- Splitting & Dropshipping Orders: Overview on how to split orders and send to separate vendors.
- Print on Demand Bundles: How to bundle print on demand items.
- Working with Email Templates: How to work with emails using Order Desk.
- Customizable Receipts/Order Documents: Create your own customized order documents such as receipts, packing slips and invoices.
- Creating PDFs: Instructions for creating a PDF from a receipt template.
- Common Errors: A list of the most common errors from integrations, some of them print on demand specific.
Don't forget to search the help site for guides about your specific integration(s). If available, more information will be provided in the integration guide.
I'm too busy to do all of this setup work. Can I pay you to do it for me? What's the benefit of taking the time to do this now?
We hear this from print on demand merchants a lot. It does take a lot of prep work initially, especially if you have a lot of products.
Most designers who find their way to Order Desk come to us saying they spend up to hours a day getting their orders ready for the printers. If you spend a few hours one time only to prepare your Order Desk store to take over that work for you, then you have those hours back. If you put the time in now, you can have your Order Desk store up and running within a few days, if not hours. That's the benefit.
You'll need to do this work yourself since only you know what your products and the print details are. The time and work it would take for you to get all of that information organized for us to do it for you is the exact same time and work necessary to set up your Order Desk store anyway. Compile your products and your print details, and you've already done most of the work.
My login details won't work with the print integration. What's going on?
Some integrations require your login details, others require your API credentials. Make sure you aren't using your login credentials on an integration that requires API credentials.
If you need API credentials, speak to your rep at the print company. Order Desk does not know what these credentials are.
Do you store my artwork files in Order Desk?
We do not. Your artwork files will need to be stored somewhere outside of Order Desk. A shareable link needs to be added to your products in Order Desk so your printers can access those files.
We recommend using Dropbox for this. We have a Dropbox integration, if you want to upload your files to Dropbox right from your order page in Order Desk. Or you can create shareable links from within Dropbox following these instructions.
Why do you need my own SKU on my items? Is this different from the printer's SKU or code for the item?
Every product you sell should have it's own unique SKU, a number or series of alphanumeric digits that you create for the product. Not only is this good practice when dealing with inventory, in the case of print on demand stores, it's required for Order Desk to know which product you have saved in Order Desk has the print details that belong to the product in the order.
Do not use your printer's SKU/code as your own unique product SKU/code. If you use the same product from your printer for more than one design and you use their SKU as your SKU, you won't be able to differentiate them from each other, and your orders will not sync in Order Desk. Their SKU should be set as the print_sku on the product, which is separate from the SKU/code.
Why am I getting errors when I try to send orders to my printer?
Most error messages say what the problem is, so make sure to read the error and investigate your order for anything that needs to be adjusted before attempting to send it to your printer again.
If you are getting a missing print details error, see this guide for information on how to correct the problem.
If you aren't sure how to fix the problem, or the error message you get doesn't give you any clues, check the common errors guide first to see if it's listed there. Contact Order Desk support for help if you can't figure out the problem.
My printer isn't using the shipment method I told them to use. How do I fix this?
If you haven't set up your shipping class matches yet, then your printers will use the default shipping method set on your integration settings page.
If you want more control over which shipping methods they use, you will need to set up your matches to communicate to them what methods they should use. Follow the instructions in this guide for what this means and how to set it up in your store.
My artwork will be custom designed for each order, so I can't save the print ready file to my products ahead of time. Can I still use Order Desk?
Yes, you almost certainly still can. This Print on Demand Custom Artwork guide shows you how to get started.