What is the Alma Market?
The Alma Market is an online marketplace where University of Illinois alumni can browse products made and sold by fellow alumni, students and Champaign-Urbana area businesses–all in one place.
Who owns the Alma Market?
The University of Illinois Alumni Association manages the Alma Market. The Alumni Association is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. Its purpose is to oversee services that benefit alumni engagement at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. You can learn more about the Alumni Association by visiting our website.
Why was the Alma Market created?
We started the Alma Market because, as the University of Illinois Alumni Association, it’s our duty to connect with and help our fellow alumni however we can. And we believe that the Alma Market is a win-win proposition: buyers get an easy way to shop and support Illini businesses; sellers get to tap into a nationwide network of alumni to expand their business’ reach.
Do I have to be a U of I alum in order to shop at the Alma Market?
No. The Alma Market is open to everyone, so feel free to share it with your friends and family!
What kind of products can I expect to find on the Alma Market?
At launch, you can expect to find apparel, art, food, home goods, U of I memorabilia and personal care products for sale on the Alma Market. Ultimately, though, the possibilities are nearly endless, so remember to check back from time to time–you never know what you might find!
Does buying products on the Alma Market really support Illini-owned businesses?
Yes! Proceeds from the sale of products on the Alma Market go directly to the businesses selling them, minus a small commission to cover the cost of managing the platform.
Who should I contact if I have an issue with my order?
If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order number and inquiry.
Do I need an account in order to make a purchase?
No. Feel free to check out as a guest, if you’d prefer! Creating an account will just make it easier for you to view current and past orders you’ve placed.
Can I purchase products from more than one seller in a single transaction?
No. Each vendor’s products must be purchased separately. In other words, a cart containing products from three different vendors would require three separate transactions.
While it might be a bit different from your experience with other online stores, processing orders separately like this allows us to streamline payments to vendors. It also makes it easier for you to keep track of individual items in orders you’ve placed with more than one vendor.
What payment methods do you accept?
At this time, you can use any major credit card or PayPal to purchase from the Alma Market.
Are there any plans to accept other payment methods in the future?
Absolutely! We will be implementing Stripe and credit card payments in the near future.
Are there any limitations on where I can ship products?
This is dependent on the vendor and their products. You will see a notification on the product page or in the cart if your address is out of range.
What are the benefits of becoming an Alma Market vendor?
Selling your products on the Alma Market means tapping into a network of nearly half a million U of I alumni across the world, greatly expanding the reach of your business. You’ll benefit from events, emails, direct mail and other forms of advertising driving alumni to the Alma Market, where they’ll be exposed to your products. Think of it as built-in marketing!
How much does it cost to become a vendor?
Nothing! There are no setup fees, member fees or listing fees. We only collect a 10% commission on each sale to cover the cost of managing the platform.
What are the requirements for becoming a vendor?
To join the Alma Market, you must be a UIUC alum, student or Champaign-Urbana local business. To become a vendor, you must submit an application. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you’re in!
Are there any restrictions on what can be sold on the Alma Market?
At this time, the Alma Market is focused on offering apparel, art, food, home goods, U of I memorabilia and personal care products. That doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t add more product categories in the future; it just might take us a little longer to create them.
Please also note that, at this time, we are only accepting listings for physical goods; digital products and services can’t be sold on the Alma Market. We apologize for any inconvenience!
In addition to the above, please keep the following requirements in mind:
- No products may promote violence in any way.
- No products, including vintage, may include the Chief Illiniwek mascot or likeness.
- Only vendors officially licensed by the University of Illinois may list products utilizing the U of I logo.
- You may not create an Alma Market listing for the purpose of sharing a referral code, posting a wanted ad, or similar activity that does not offer a physical or digital item for sale.
- If you are using photographs of previous work with options for customization (like color choices) included in the listing, it must be clear in your description that the photos shown are just examples.
- Bear in mind that members may flag listings that appear to violate our policies for the Alma Market team’s review. The Alma Market team may remove any listings that violate our policies and may also suspend or terminate your account for any violations. Vendors whose accounts are suspended or terminated will still be held responsible for fulfilling any outstanding orders and paying any outstanding fees.
In general, please ensure that any products you list on the Alma Market are family-friendly and in keeping with the spirit of the University of Illinois and Alumni Association. We kindly ask you to use your best judgment when listing products and help us keep the Alma Market a welcoming place for all alumni to shop!
How do I get started?
Once you submit your application and your account is approved by the Admin, you can refer to our series of six training videos to help onboard you to the site features and functionality. The total run time is approximately 20 minutes. A link to the videos can be found here. We’ve also put together a vendor training deck that you can find here.
What ecommerce platform is the Alma Market built on?
The Alma Market uses Shopify and Webkul’s Multivendor Marketplace integration to help vendors easily manage their shop. We chose Shopify because it’s the gold standard for simple and secure ecommerce solutions, and most customers will already be familiar with the user interface, making for a smoother buying experience.
Do I need to have a Shopify account to list products on the Alma Market? What if my business uses a different platform for online purchases?
No, it’s not required—but it could save you some time. If you already have a Shopify store, you can export a CSV file containing all of your product information. You can then import that CSV to automatically populate your Alma Market storefront. You can also manually sync your products to manage your inventory. You can read more about the process in the set-up guide here.
Where can I go if I have additional questions about listing products, payment, shipping, etc.?
We think you’ll find most of your questions answered by our vendor training materials (videos & deck). Once you’ve registered to become a vendor, you’ll have access to a comprehensive onboarding deck, as well as a series of short training videos walking you through the site features and functionality.
If you still have questions not covered here or in the training materials, feel free to send an email to email@example.com–we’ll be happy to help!
Am I allowed to create merchandise for sale that displays University of Illinois trademarks or logos?
The University has had its own retail licensing program for more than 35 years. Only licensed vendors are allowed to produce merchandise branded with University of Illinois trademarks. Vendors on Alma Market must also become official licensees of the University of Illinois if they wish to produce merchandise for sale that has school trademarks on them. Note that if products are not branded with logos, or are only created in the colors orange and blue, then these products would not need to be licensed.
What are considered trademarks of the University of Illinois?
Any term, word, name or logo commonly associated with the University of Illinois or used to reference the University of Illinois could be considered a trademark. This includes words including but not necessarily limited to: Illinois, Illini, Fighting Illini, U of I, etc. Logos such as the Block I are also considered protected trademarks.
Is it possible that I become a licensed vendor?
Yes, this might be possible. The University of Illinois has more than 400 licensed vendors. Each vendor would need to decide if the licensing process and expense is in their best interest. All retail licensees pay royalties to the University on the products sold that display its trademarks. In addition, each licensee must comply with codes of conduct that help assure that products displaying Illinois trademarks follow fair labor practices.The University of Illinois, and hundreds of other schools, work with The Collegiate Licensing Company (www.clc.com) to manage its licensing program. Prospective licensees should visit the CLC website in order to learn more information about the licensing process (https://clc.com/home/get-licensed/) may even apply for a license for Illinois should they be interested.