I visited the Zazzle forums today. I don’t get to visit as much anymore and it was nice to see familiar names. I do feel sad though when I see what is going on with other designers.
I wish I could tell you that if you open your own store:
- You won’t need Royalty Reform. When you have your own store, you decide the prices for your products and how much profit you get. You decide how much you want to discount your products and when you want to have a sale. No need to plead with Zazzle for more money.
- You don’t have to complain about the referral system and feel like you’re getting short-changed. You get ALL the profit and don’t have to worry if a sale was third party.
- You won’t need to worry about your designs being screen captured. When you have your own store you control how large those images are, and what kinds of images to display. And you won’t have your images in a marketplace that is cherry-picked by counterfeit thieves.
- You won’t need to complain about Zazzle being slow and frustrating. Or that the site was down on Cyber Monday. When you have a Shopify store they rarely have any down times.
- You won’t need to complain about logging in and dealing with the recaptcha.
- You won’t have other designers’ products cross-promoted on your product pages. You know, the section that says “Other Designs You Might Also Like”. It’s good for Zazzle, but no so good for you.
- You don’t have to deal with emails from Content Management, removing your listing for reasons that at times are inane. The latest controversy being “Mama Bear” which by the way has not been approved by the Trademark Office. Do I also need to remind you of the “Pi” fiasco?
- You control shipping costs. If a customer in Canada wants to buy something, you can charge them a reasonable amount. A ten dollar ornament should not cost thirty bucks after it’s all said and done.
- You don’t have to jump through numerous hoops to be seen in the marketplace. ZRank being the most recent example. Before that is was some sort of market optimization thing. When you have your own store, ALL your products will be visible to customers.
- You don’t have to do a promotion exchange with other designers. I hate to say this, but repinning other people’s products doesn’t help them much on Pinterest anyway. You have to search hard to find any Zazzle pin. Go ahead and give it a try. Search for “baby shower invitations” or “funny shirts”. You will have to scroll through tons of pins to even see one Zazzle pin. Why? Pinterest views it as spammy and unless you pay to promote, you will not be seen. There are some exceptions, but for the most part Zazzle pins are invisible. Same for Facebook, posting a product won’t be seen by many.
I didn’t intend for this to be a top ten list, but you get my point right? We have to kiss the glory days of Zazzle goodbye. There is no more Volume Bonus Plan. There is no more holiday windfall like prior years. We can yearn for the old days, but those days are gone and not coming back. POD is a tough competitive environment. We have to adapt and change along with it.
What is there to lose when you open your own store? You can get your toes wet with an Etsy store. With my affiliate link, you receive forty free listings when you open a new store.
Or you can dive into uncharted waters with a Shopify store. My affiliate link provides a 14 day trial store. You can also extend the trial by two more weeks by sending a request to Shopify’s customer service.
You don’t have a lot to lose when you try stepping out on your own. Just take a short break from Zazzle, it’ll still be there when you go back. Give it a few months, I promise you it’ll be a game changer. If anything, the newfound knowledge will help you with your Zazzle stores if you decide to return to them.
Did I miss anything in my top ten list? Got anything to add? Let me know in the comments below!