I’m a fairly new Zazzle user. I joined just before Christmas, which is a great time to open a POD store as you are almost guaranteed to make some sales. I opened my first Cafepress store in a July many years ago and didn’t make my first sale until October. At the end of last year Zazzle completely revamped its website and business model and became what we see today. I don’t know what it was like before but I believe the improvements were huge. Sales have been growing quickly and you almost here about Zazzle as much as Cafepress these days. This is no time to rest on their laurels though and Zazzle could be much better. This is a list of improvements that I think would help catapult Zazzle even higher. Hopefully they are listening.
I was tempted to write this one down ten times and leave it at that because that is how important tracking is. Why is tracking so important? It takes time and money to promote your site and if you don’t know how effective it is you could be throwing your time and money down the drain. I heard a quote that goes something like this: “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the problem is I don’t know which half.” At Zazzle we don’t even have enough information to know how much we are wasting. Ideal tracking (Statcounter.com) will not only allow us to see where our visitors are coming from but also which pages they are looking at, how many pages they are looking and how often they visit, among other things. If one promotion isn’t generating sales you will quickly know and you can move on.
The ability to enter Google Conversion Tracking Id to track purchases would be a bonus.
Good news: Zazzle have something in the works.
Bad news: It’s been in the works for a long time.
2. Product Feeds
The ability to generate product feeds that we can submit to Google and MSN would greatly increase traffic to our stores and to Zazzle. I don’t know what they are waiting for.
3. Improved Commission System
Zazzle has a percentage based system which probably seemed like a good idea when it was being developed but is really not. Why is is not a good idea? It means for cheaper shirts like the Men’s Basic T-Shirt, if you have a 20% markup you only make $2.47 profit per shirt. It’s hardly worth it. Increasing the markup to 40% means you can make just over $6 per shirt profit but that in turn will increase your markup on the more expensive shirts of up to about $20 per shirt. Considering that most people want to pay about $20 for a shirt this is a bit much.
Ideally we should be able to add a fixed markup for each shirt. That way we could easily set standard attractive prices for shirts, for example $14.95 for a value t-shirt ($4.84 profit) or $24.95 for a Basic American Apparel T-Shirt. It just makes sense.
4. Remove or Reduce Zazzle Branding and Store Leaks
The branding in the Zazzle stores is over the top and when you combine that with the huge amount of leaks from our store to the Zazzle Marketplace it is a wonder we can keep customers in our stores. (Because of the lack of tracking we can’t verify this.) I think I counted 27 links leaving your store not including the drop downs at the top of the page which would add another 77 potential leaks. I think this i sgood for Zazzle as a whole but it is definitely not good for the individual shopkeeper.
That also doesn’t include the search feature. Having the ability to search your own store is great but you may have noticed that there are two search bars in each store. The top one, is for searching the entire Zazzle store and the lower one is for the individual store. I don’t think the customers would differentiate and even of they could they probably wouldn’t care as there is clearly a bigger selection when searching the Zazzle store. It is basically another leak and a bad one.
5. Image Tagging
Currently users tag the products which means every time we use the same image on a different product we have to fill in new tags. A bit of a time waster. If we could just tag the images that would save a lot of time.
6. Option to choose which t-shirts you sell
At the moment at Zazzle if you offer your design on one t-shirt you offer them on all t-shirts apart from when you select only light apparel or only dark apparel. For me this is not a biggy but some people only want to sell clothes that were made with sweat-shop free labor. At the moment that is impossible at Zazzle. You can see more details at Irregular Times.
7. Better use of TBA
This TBA doesn’t mean I will tell you later what I think needs to have better use. TBA is slang for Today’s Best Award. About 40 or 50 items are given this award everyday but from what I hear, they rarely lead to sales. I have received over 30 of these awards and only on a few occasions did I feel it affected sales. I think that we should have an optional widget to be placed in our store or elsewhere that we can use to promote our winners. The widget would automatically say how may awards you have won and clicking on it would bring us to a special page with only our TBA items.
8. Better Promotion Tools
One of the great things about Zazzle is how easy it is to create links. Basically all you have to do is click “link to this” and some html code is generated automatically for you, including you Zazzle star which will add another 7% to your commission when people purchase your items.
This is not a complaint but just my recommendations for a better experience. A lot of the code that is generated is unnecessary. There are three lines of text below the image including three links leading away from your store (see No. 4). I know it’s easy to cut them but it would be much easier if they weren’t there in the first place.
Another thing that would be great is for those of us that have signed up for Zazzle’s affiliate program at Google Affiliate Network (nee Performics) would be option to enter our affiliate code and have that used automatically when we generate our links.
9. Bulk Tools
It would be nice to be able to move items and change item prices en masse as well as uploading one design to many products. I believe the uploading can be done with the Zazzle Uploader but it doesn’t work for a lot of people.
10. Better Earnings Reports
The earnings reports in Zazzle is mostly just a list. The ability to sort by specific periods for comparison is great for analysis. This becomes more and more important the longer you have a store.
Extras: If you have any more ideas feel free to leave a comment or send me an email and if I have time I will post them below.
Upgrade the forum
The forum is a great place to get support, information and spread the word about your store but the one thing that really annoys me is that you can’t get email notifications for replies to your posts. You have to continually check back to see if someone has replies and it is a terrible waste of time. It’s an easy upgrade.