Once your shop is set up for holiday sales, you're well on your way to being optimized for selling into the new year. These last few tips are going to help you set up a longer term strategy for maintaining a good shop.
One of the great things about 3D printing is the ability to quickly iterate a design. You make a product, say a pair of earrings, and after wearing them for a few days, you realize they are actually a bit long, and catch in your hair. It's easy to go back to the computer and modify the design. Similarly, if your customers give you feedback, you can incorporate it into the design, like adding popular colors or different sizes.
While advertising and promotion is important to get your products known out there, having a conversation with your customers is often more powerful than just broadcasting a message. Customers feel like they get input into a product they are buying, just the same way you feel when you design something for 3D printing! Best of all, they get to tell a cool story, like this one from Pete, our CEO:
"I saw this cup on Shapeways so I bought it to use in the office...
I like to have a little milk and one sugar cube in my espresso. I found that once I added the sugar cube, my coffee would overflow, so I emailed the designer Kostika Spaho, to make the cup just 10% bigger. He modified the design, I ordered it and now I have a perfect cup for the way I like my coffee."
Something we introduced at Shapeways that should make conversations easier is @mentions! When your username is @mentioned in a model comment, you will receive a notification. If you @mention someone's username they will also receive a notification. It's the best way to have a conversation with a designer or to recommend a product to someone else in the Shapeways community. (You can view your most recent mentions by clicking on the @ notifications icon next to your profile image in the top navigation bar.) So if a customer is shopping on the site and sees a product they wish could be customized, they can @mention you and start a conversation. You can also see who has favorited your products, and @mention them in the comments.
Would love to talk to my customers. Unfortunately, I have no idea who they are. Please give me more data on my customers.
1. most obvious, customers can opt in to give their username or email to the shopowner
2. shopowners should have insight into their funnel--can you put event tracking on for Google Analytics, it's a good way to leverage an existing system to see some funnel analysis.. even then, I think the current system will show us how many people get to checkout, but not how many people succeed. Even for MixeeMe I have to manually figure that out by comparing the Shop Export Spreadsheet with analytics (annoying when I want to see trends over time)
3. some feedback mechanism.. send surveys or something out to people who buy and direct the results back to the shopowners. Allow shopowners to add their own questions. It would be great to ask people who bought a Sad Keanu, hey, what meme would you like next? Right now.. I have no clue besides asking Reddit (the majority of whom don't buy.. actually.. I don't know, I have no funnel analysis XD)
4. how about encourage users to follow the shop on Twitter/Tumblr/Pinterest/Facebook? Not sure if that actually works, but it's worth a try?
That's all I can think of right now. Keep up the great work guys!