Vend Ecommerce. What is it and how does it work?

This article includes:

How does Vend Ecommerce work?

Important: Vend Ecommerce is available on the Advanced and Multi-Outlet (or the latest Pro and Enterprise) plans. If you’re on the Starter or Lite plan you will need to upgrade plans in order to use Vend Ecommerce.

When you enable Vend Ecommerce, you will get an online store that is like an extra store window into your business, where customers can shop from anywhere at any time.

Your new store will be linked with one of your outlets in Vend, and the inventory from that outlet will be live-synced with your online store, helping you to get the most out of your inventory. If you make a sale in-store, the inventory available online will automatically be updated, and the same applies to sales made online.

When you create your store, all your existing Vend products will be added to your online store, and you can easily toggle them on and off from being sold online. New products added in your Vend store will also automatically appear in your Ecommerce admin, ready for you to categorise for sale.

Product information is managed in one place, with data and images managed in Vend, and seamlessly synced to your Ecommerce store.

Vend's reporting will enable you to report on all your sales in one place - you'll be a true multi-channel retailer.

Some limitations include:

  • No syncing of composite products. You cannot sell composite products in your store.

  • Your online store will be linked to a single outlet in Vend, and show that outlet's inventory. You are not able to change outlets once you have picked which one to use, but you can change which register Ecommerce sales appear in. To do this, click the link here.

For a step by step guide on how to set up your Vend Ecommerce store follow the instructions below.

Getting Started

  • Click Ecommerce in the menu bar. A new tab will open so you can start to create your store. We will automatically create your store name and URL based on your Vend store details.

  • Select an outlet and register. Your Ecommerce store will share the inventory of this outlet and display it online.

    Note: You cannot change your outlet after this step so make sure to choose carefully! If you'd like to change the register after this step, click here to find out how.

  • Confirm the currency your prices will be displayed in. You can update this later.

  • Enter the email address you'd like us to send order notifications to. You can update this later.

  • Click Complete Setup.

Once your store has been created, you'll be asked to log in to your Vend Ecommerce store.

Once logged in, you'll see the Dashboard.

It will take us a while to sync all your products over, so don't be alarmed if you don't see them all immediately.

Important: If you have variants, your total number of products in Ecommerce will only count 1 product for each variant family. Don't worry if your product number is different to in Vend - this is why.

Set up your store structure

As outlined above, your structure is how the information in your ecommerce store is organised, including organising products into collections, creating pages, and making navigation.

Add Pages

Pages are used to share information in your store for anything other than products. That might include:

  • About Us
  • Size Guide
  • Terms and Conditions

You don't have to fill in all the details now, but we'll create all the pages you want for your store so we can include them in your menu structure.

To create a page:

  • In your Ecommerce store, under Design, choose Pages.

  • By default, you'll have an About Us page.

  • Click Create New Page.

  • Choose a title.

  • Enter the page content.

  • At this point, you may also want to embed an image into your page. To do this, click on the image icon in the Page Content bar and search for the picture you'd like to add.

  • Next, select the template. This will be based on your theme designer's settings.

  • Click Done.

Add Collections

Collections are used to categorise your products. They're a great way to help your customers browse your store and find the perfect product to purchase.

You can create as many collections as you like. You can also have sub-collections, for example, a collection called 'Women's Clothes' with sub-collections for 'Dresses' and 'Tops'. Items can be in more than one collection - this can help increase the discoverability of a product.

For now, we'll just be creating the collection categories - you don't have to add all the products straight away (although you can if you want!)

Create a collection

By default, you'll have one collection already created called 'Frontpage'. This is the collection that most themes use to display products on the front page of your store. Make sure you don't change the name of this collection.

  • In the menu bar, click Collections.

  • Click the Add Collection button. A new page will open.

  • Name of the collection.

  • Describe the collection. If you're using the default collection, this won't be displayed. In the future, with custom templates, you could choose to show this.

  • At this point, you may also want to embed an image into your collection description. To do this, click on the image icon in the Description bar and search for the picture you'd like to add.

  • Next, select a parent collection (if any). You only need to do this if you want this collection to be part of another collection (like 'tops' being part of 'women's clothes' for example).

  • Click Done.

A notification will appear at the top of the screen prompting you to add products to your new collection. You can do this now, or wait until you've set up your store layout.

Delete a collection

When you don't want to use a collection anymore, you can delete it. This does not delete any of the products in the collection - instead, it just removes the collection grouping.

Important: If the collection is linked in your navigation, you'll need to remove this, as it will not be automatically updated.

To delete a collection:

  • In the menu bar, click Collections.
  • Find the collection in the list
  • Either:
    • Tick the box(es) next to the name(s) and use the drop-down to select Delete Collections, or
    • Click the name, and select Delete.

Create your navigation

Once you've created your pages and collections, you're ready to set up the Navigation for your store. You might want a refresher of how your store theme looks before setting up the Navigation - you can go back to the Themes marketplace and preview your chosen theme again to see how a finished site's Navigation might look.

The Navigation is essentially a collection of links. These could be Pages, Collections, external links, or another Navigation.

There are two types of Navigation you can set up:

  • Main Menu. This is the primary menu navigation for your store and is created by default. Depending on your theme, it might be at the top or the side of your page.
  • Sub-menus. You can create multiple sub-menus. Sub-menus are used to create a drop-down within your main menu. For example, your main menu might have the option 'Women'. This would link to a sub-menu 'Women' which had your collections linked to it.

Before you start setting up your menus, it's a good idea to draw or plan out your menu structure. This can save you loads of time as you'll be able to get a great idea of how you want your Navigation to look before creating it in Vend Ecommerce. The plan below was done on a computer but even just sketching one out on a piece of paper can be a big help.

How do I create my Navigation?

When you're ready, you can start to set up your Navigation. It's best to start with any sub-menus, as you'll need these created before you can link them to your main menu. To begin, follow the instructions below:

You will need:

  • the URLs of any external web pages you want to link
  • the list handle (slug) of a sub-menu, if you're linking it in the main menu.

To create or edit a Navigation list:

  • In your Ecommerce store, under Design, choose Navigation.
  • If you're:
    • Creating a sub-menu, click Add Navigation List.

  • Editing an existing menu list (like the main menu), click the list name.
  • Name your Navigation list. A 'slug' (a handle for your list) will automatically be created.

  • Click Add a link.
  • Name the link. This is what will appear on the Navigation menu in your Ecommerce store.
  • Select the type of link. This can be:
    • Frontpage. The homepage/landing page of your store.
    • Web Address. An external web address OR the list-handle (slug) of one of your sub-menus.
    • Collection. One of your collections.
    • Page. One of your pages.

  • For all the options other than Frontpage, you'll then need to provide more details:
    • Web Address. For a sub-menu, just type the list-handle (slug) name exactly. For an external URL, you'll need to include the http:// at the start, for example

  • Collection/Page. Select the collection/page you want to link to from the drop-down.
  • Click Add a link to add another link (you might have to scroll up).
  • Once you're done, click Save (at the bottom of the page).

Repeat the above steps to create each sub-menu, and then finally edit the main menu to create this.

Customise your theme

Once you've got your structure set up, you're ready to customise your theme.

The theme in your store controls everything about how your store appears other than the checkout. This includes:

  • Homepage
  • Collection pages
  • Regular pages (like your 'About Us' and 'Terms and Conditions' pages)
  • Product pages
  • Cart page

How do I customise my theme?

Important: Theme customisation is dependent on how your theme designer built your theme. The following directions are general instructions only. You may need help from someone experienced in web design to customise your store.

Once your Navigation is set up, you can start to customise your theme.

  • In your Ecommerce store, under Design, choose Themes.
  • Click the name of the theme you want to customise. The theme editor will open.
  • Make your changes, then hit Preview to preview them.

  • If you're happy you can either:
    • Publish your changes; or
    • Save them as a preset if you'd like to keep editing.

The options in the left-hand menu are determined by your theme's developer/designer.

  • Click Instructions to open your theme designer's help document.

Use the theme help document with the theme editor to edit your store layout.

Tip: You can use the colour picker, or enter a hex colour code that specifies the exact shade.

Some important things to note:

  • Changes won't be updated in the preview window until you hit the button Preview at the bottom. Hitting > Preview does not update your live store.
  • As soon as you hit Publish, the changes will be live on your Ecommerce store.
  • If you don't want to publish immediately, you can save a version of your changes as a preset. Click Preset and choose Save current as new preset. You'll be asked to choose a name for the preset, and click Save.
  • You can't preview external links within the editor.

What if I want to make more advanced/complex changes?

In the top right-hand corner, you can click Edit HTML/CSS. This will take you to the source files for your store's theme.

Warning: Be careful changing your theme source files if you don't have a copy.

If you're not confident changing the HTML/CSS yourself, you can hire a developer/designer to help you with this.

Will my changes publish immediately?

This depends on whether you're editing your active theme or an inactive theme. If you're editing your active theme, as soon as you click Publish in the theme editor, your changes will be published. If you're editing an inactive theme, you can click Publish to save your changes, but they won't be live on your site until you change that theme to active.

I want a custom-designed theme

Any designer/developer who's familiar with Liquid templates can build a theme for you.

Customise your checkout

These settings determine how the screens look after the customer clicks Check Out.

There's a limited amount you can customise on this page.

  • Set your logo. This needs to be an image URL (uploads are coming soon), but you can use the URL of the logo you set up as part of your theme. Just navigate to and right-click the logo image. Choose Copy Image URL and paste that URL into here.
  • Background colour. This is the colour of the main part of your checkout page.
  • Navigation colour. This is the colour of the bar at the top of the page.
  • Button colour. The colour of the buttons used to move to the next step.

Click Update to make your settings live.

Set up Taxes

It's super important to get your taxes set up correctly, so you charge the correct amount to your customers, and don't get in trouble with your local tax authority!

Before you begin, there are some important things you need to know. Vend Ecommerce does not support: - European Union digital products ('VATMOSS') - Tax overrides (such as no tax on fresh fruit and vegetables, or luxury goods taxes) - Compound taxes - Complex US state taxes, including destination-based taxes. Vend Ecommerce can only specify one tax per province/state, and more complex taxes are not supported.

Before setting up any taxes, we strongly recommend speaking to an accountant who specialises in retail sales taxation.

How do taxes in Ecommerce work?

As a general rule of thumb, you'll only need to charge tax to customers who live in the country your store is based in (but check with your accountant to be sure!)

Within your country, you might need to charge the same tax rate to everyone, or a different tax rate to people who live in different provinces/states - it's really important to talk to an accountant about this. Some countries have very complex retail tax requirements for selling online (like the USA).

Getting ready

When you set up your Ecommerce taxes, you'll be linking to tax rates you've created in your Vend store. Any single tax rate can be linked to - you won't be able to link to a tax group.

This means you'll need to have already created all the tax rates in your Vend account. Some retailers (like those in Australia and New Zealand), will probably be ready to go, but if you're in a country with more complicated regional tax requirements like Canada, you'll need to spend some time setting up all the tax rates you'll require in your Vend store.


  • If you have several provincial/state taxes with the same name/rate but that need to be paid to different tax authorities, we strongly recommend you set up a separate tax for each authority - for example HST - PEI and HST - Quebec. This is due to how taxes are reported in Vend. We're only able to report on the total tax amount for each tax type in a time period, not the shipping location of the customer. This means that to get accurate tax payment amounts for each tax authority, you'll need to set each tax rate up separately.
  • If you have state AND county tax, you'll need to set up a single tax in Vend for these. You cannot use a group tax, as these are not synced to your Ecommerce store. For example, if you have a California sales tax of 5% AND a Los Angeles sales tax of 2%, you would need to create one tax rate in Vend for them both - an LA-California tax of 7%.

Linking your tax rates

In the Vend Ecommerce app: - Under Settings, select Taxes.

  • Select whether you'd like to display prices including tax.

  • Select Add New Tax Rate.

  • Use the Select Country drop-down to choose your country.

  • Click Add Tax Rate.

  • Select your country tax rate from the drop-down. This is the tax rate that applies universally across your country at a federal level (for example VAT and GST). If you have no federal tax, select No Tax.

  • If you have no provincial or state taxes, you're now done - we've automatically saved your tax.

  • If you have provincial or state taxes, click Add provincial tax rate.

  • Select the province.

  • Choose the tax rate for that province.

  • Choose whether the tax rate is added to the country tax or replaces the country tax. You'd use Add if you have a country and province tax, and replace if you only have a province tax and don't want the country tax to be charged.

  • Click Save.

  • If you've got more provincial taxes to add, click Add provincial tax rate.

Troubleshooting taxes on Vend Ecommerce

Help! I can't find the tax rate I need in the drop-down!

Tax rates are set up in your main Vend store. Make sure you've set up the tax rate there, then refresh your Ecommerce store.

I need a tax rate for the county my store is in.

At the moment, Vend Ecommerce doesn't support county-level taxation. You can try creating a single tax rate in Vend that combines the state and county-level taxes, but make sure you check with your accountant first about how this will impact your tax reporting.

I don't know what tax rates to set.

Check with your accountant or local business services. They're the best people to help you understand your local requirements.

I don't want to charge tax to out-of-state/International customers.

International customers will never be charged tax. Out-of-state customers will only be charged tax if you've got a country-level taxation rate set, or you've set up a tax rate specific to the state/province that customer lives in.

Set up payments

To take payments online, you'll need to set a payment service. This is called a 'gateway'.

There are 5 payment methods available for Vend Ecommerce:

You can have more than one gateway set up for your store. However, you cannot use the same gateway twice.

Stripe Payments

  • Click the Payment Methods option under the Settings menu.
  • Choose a payment name. This is the name the customer will see when selecting their payment type.
  • Choose the Stripe gateway.
  • Enter your publishable key.
  • Enter your secret key.
  • Click Done.

Your Stripe payments are now set up.

Note: You cannot make stripe payments for less than $0.50 in Vend Ecommerce.

PayPal Payments

To setup Paypal, you'll need to fill out the correct API credentials for your Paypal account. You'll also need to have a PayPal Business account so that your account talks to the live PayPal servers.

To find your PayPal API Credentials, sign in to your PayPal account here.

Once you have your API credentials, head back to your Ecommerce store and follow the guide below:

  • Click the Payment Methods option under the Settings menu.
  • Choose a payment name. This is the name the customer will see when selecting their payment type.
  • Choose the PayPal gateway.
  • Enter the PayPal Credentials you retrieved in the steps above:
    • API Username
    • API Password
    • Signature
  • Make sure Sandbox is switched to off (grey).
  • Click Done.

Sandbox - Test mode

PayPal offers a Sandbox or test mode so you can test your store without charging your card.

You can try this by toggling Sandbox to turn it on. You will need to use the Sandbox username, password, and signature that PayPal provided you with, instead of your usual credentials.

DPS Payment Express

To setup DPS Payment Express with Vend Ecommerce, you will first need to contact DPS and ask them to set up a PxPay 2.0 account for you. Once this is set up DPS will send you your PxPay User ID and PxPay Key. Keep a note of these and use them in the instructions below:

  • Click the Payment Methods option under the Settings menu.
  • Choose a payment name. This is the name the customer will see when selecting their payment type.
  • Choose the DPS Payment Express gateway.
  • Enter your PxPay User ID.
  • Enter your PxPay Key.
  • Click Done.

Your DPS Payment Express payments are now set up.

Having problems with Payment Express orders not appearing? We have identified the cause of this issue and have an interim solution for affected customers. Click here to learn more.

Authorize.Net Payments

  • Click the Payment Methods option under the Settings menu.
  • Choose a payment name. This is the name the customer will see when selecting their payment type.
  • Choose the Authorize.Net SIM gateway.
  • Enter your Authorize.Net login ID.
  • Enter your transaction key.
  • Make sure Sandbox is switched to off (grey).
  • Click Done.

Your Authorize.Net SIM payments are now set up.

For more information on setting up and using Authorize.Net with Vend Ecommerce click here.

Sandbox - Test mode

Authorize.Net offers a Sandbox or test mode so you can test your store without charging your card.

You can try this by toggling Sandbox to turn it on. You will need to use the Sandbox credentials that Authorize.Net provided you with, instead of your usual credentials.

Gift Card Payments

Vend Gift Cards are now redeemable within your Vend Ecommerce store. Before getting started with this, you must first make sure you've got the Gift Cards feature enabled in Vend. For more information on how to do this, check out this link here.

Once you've enabled Gift Cards in your Vend store, you'll need to setup Gift Cards as a payment gateway in your Vend Ecommerce Settings.

To do this, follow the steps below:

1. Login to your Vend Ecommerce Admin page.

2. Click on Settings in the sidebar and select Payment Methods.

3. Type in a payment name (Gift Card for example).

3. Choose Gift Card under Vend Payment Type.

4. Choose Gift Card under Gateway.

5. Make sure enabled is switched on and save your changes.

If you have your Ecommerce store set in Offline mode, the gift card redemption process will not work. If you wish to test the process, make sure your store is set to Online.

Note: If your customer has chosen the gift card payment method, they must pay for the sale in full with the Gift Cards. Partial payments are not currently supported in Vend Ecommerce.

To learn more about this setup process and how your customers can redeem their Gift Cards on your Ecommerce site, click the link here.

Set up shipping methods

Shipping methods are used to specify the cost to ship to different regions of the world.

To learn about how to set up shipping and customise your shipping methods, check out this helpful guide here. or click one of the links below:

General Settings

In your store's General settings you can change your store status, update your store name and currency, edit your SEO settings and link your Google Analytics account. To find the General settings navigate to the sidebar and click Settings -> General.

Change your store status

If you wish to hide your store temporarily or disable it, you can toggle its online status from the General Settings page. If you choose to switch your site to offline mode, you will be able to include a customised message for your customers that will display when they attempt to access your online store.

Note: Note: This will only prevent customers from viewing your store and will not affect your ability to view your store and update its settings while logged into Ecommerce administration. If you wish to view the offline message or test the offline mode, you will need to be logged out of Ecommerce when you visit your online store.

When a customer views your store they will see a screen like this:

Change your associated register

When you first setup Vend Ecommerce, you can specify which of your Vend store's registers you'd like to post Ecommerce orders to. If you'd like to change this register, head Settings -> General in the sidebar and scroll down to the Associated Register section.

Once here, select your desired register from the dropdown list and click Save Changes.

Update store name and primary email

You can change your store name and store email under the Account section in General Settings. Changing the store name here will change the name that will be included in emails sent to your customers. If you want to change which email address your ecommerce store uses to email your customers, you can make the change here as well.

An email will also be sent to the email address you've specified here when orders are placed on your ecommerce store.

Update your store currency

You can change your store's currency under the localisation section in General Settings. This will change the currency prices are displayed in.

Search Engine Optimisation

Filling out the Home Page Title and Meta Description fields under Search Engine Optimisation Will help define how your store appears on search engines such as Google.

  • Home Page Title: This will be the name that displays on search results for your store.
  • Meta Description: This will be the description of your site that appears in search results for your store.

An example of how this will appear in search engines can be found under Search Engine Optimisation in the General Settings page.

  • Meta Keywords: Meta keywords help how your site is ranked in search results. If, for example, you ran a clothing store the keywords you'd likely use would be words such as "clothing", "brand labels" and "fashion".

Link your Google Analytics

Google Analytics enables you to track the visitors to your store and generates reports that will help you with your marketing. If you already use Google Analytics, you can insert your Google Analytics ID into Vend Ecommerce by navigating to Settings -> General.

To retrieve your Google Analytics ID, you will need to sign in to your Google Analytics account and copy the code that looks like this: UA-1111111-1. If you have not set up Google Analytics or are after more information about how it works check out this link here.

Custom store address/URL

To set up a custom store address or link your existing website URL to your Vend Ecommerce store you'll need to contact your domain registrar (the people you bought your domain name from) and ask them to create a CNAME record which points to your Vend Ecommerce domain. To learn more about how to do this check out our help centre article on linking your domain name to Vend Ecommerce

Manage products

The majority of product management occurs in your main Vend store - this includes adding and editing photos, pricing, name, description, tags, types, and more. These changes will automatically be synchronised to your online store.

In your online store admin, you can choose:

  • Whether a product is sold online.
  • What collections each product is part of.

The product page in Ecommerce will show you a list of all your products. This shows:

  • The total inventory for each item. If the item has variants, it will show the total inventory for all the items.
  • The product price (exclusive of tax). If this is blank, it means you have variants with different prices.

How does product syncing work?

When you initially create your store, we'll sync all your active products in Vend to your Ecommerce store. This includes any photos.

Important: If you have variants, your total number of products in Ecommerce will only count 1 product for each variant family. Don't worry if your product number is different to in Vend - this is why.

All changes to the products after they've been synced (including inventory, descriptions and photos) will also be synced.

Important: Composite products and inactive products cannot be synchronised to your Ecommerce store

What happens when I add products after I've set up my store?

Each time you add a new product in Vend, it will automatically be synced to your Ecommerce store. It will appear as enabled, but will not be visible until you add it to a collection.

You'll need to open your Ecommerce store and add it to a collection before it's sold online.

What happens when I deactivate a product after I've set up my Ecommerce store?

The product will be removed from Ecommerce. It will be re-added if you activate it again.

What happens when I delete a product after I've set up my Ecommerce store?

The product will be removed from Ecommerce.

Manage product visibility

By default, all products will be invisible.

To show a product:

  • Find the product on the list (you can use the search filter)
  • Click the toggle on the right-hand side.

You can show more than one product at the same time. To do this:

  • Tick multiple boxes, or use the search bar to filter your results (for example, search for a tag, like 'Shoes' that you don't want online),
  • Use the Select All tick box at the top of the row.
  • Click the arrow next to the number of products selected - you'll see an option to enable products in your web store.

Add products to a collection

Each product can be added to multiple collections. To add a product to a collection:

  • Find the product in the list using the search. This searches name, collection, tag, type, and supplier.

  • Tick the box(es) next to the product(s).
  • Click the white drop-down box at the top of the list.
  • Select Add to collection.

  • Choose the collections you would like the product added to. > Hint: If you're adding a product to a sub-collection, we also recommend adding it to the parent collection. This makes it easier for your customers to navigate.
  • Click Done.

You can also add products in bulk. This is particularly handy if you've set up product types and tags, as you can use these to filter your search list.

Simply apply the search filter, then use the Select All checkbox at the top of the list to add all the products.

Important: If you've got more than 50 products that match your filter, you'll need to scroll down to ensure they are all showing before you use the Select All box. Otherwise, only the first (visible) 50 will be added.

Put a product on sale

Running sales or discounting a set of products in Ecommerce is set up through your main Vend store, using price books.

  • To set up a Price Book, click the Product tab, and select the Price Book option.

  • Click New Price Book.

We will then need to customise the settings of the Price Book:

Name - In this case, we'll want to call the Price Book something like 'June Ecommerce Sale'.

Valid on - Ensure that Ecommerce is ticked and In-Store is unticked. You can have both ticked if you wish to run the sale or discount in your brick and mortar store too.

Customer group - This is for in-store sales only, so there is no need to specify this for Ecommerce. If you are running the pricebook in your store also, select a specific customer group or leave it as All Customers.

Outlet - This is for in-store sales only, so there is no need to specify this for Ecommerce. If you are running the pricebook in your store also, select the specific outlet you wish you run it for or leave it as All Outlets.

Valid from and Valid to - Specify here when you would like the sale to start and end or leave these blank to start the 'discount' immediately and continue it indefinitely.

Once this is complete, you can add the products to the Price Book that you want to discount or put on sale in Ecommerce. To learn how to add products to the Price Book check out this article here.

After this, you should be set to go! Most Ecommerce themes will automatically be set up to show both the old and new price, so customers can see what a great deal they're getting.

Check your store

Your store should now be ready to go. Check out your store at [yourstorename]

If you see lots of notifications, refresh the page, and these will go away. Don't worry; your customers won't see these.

You can test adding a product to your cart and going through the checkout process.

Receive an order

Orders will show in Vend Ecommerce as soon as the customer has paid for the item. They will also be created as a purchase in your Vend sales history (with a closed status), and appear in your Vend reporting at this stage.

When you receive an order, you'll get an email notification to the address you've set on your Ecommerce account.

You'll need to:

  • Log into your Vend Ecommerce store admin panel.
  • Go to the orders page.
  • You'll see a list of orders. New orders will have a status of 'Confirmed'.
  • Click on the order number.
  • You'll see the details of the order.
  • Collect the items for the order.
  • When you're ready to ship, click the Ship button.
  • Enter a tracking number for the shipment and any other shipping information (optional).
  • Click Ship Now.
  • Your order status will be updated to Shipped.
  • The customer will now receive an email notifying them you have shipped their order.
  • Send the item to your customer.