Shop Owner Challenge Day 12: Telling a Story with Your Shapeways 3D Printing Shop

You’ve got some great tips so far, nows the time to really put some polish on your shop and get it ready for an influx of sales! Natalia, our Community Manager here at HQ, breaks down the secrets to a shop that tells a great story.

There are four key elements:
  • Telling a story
  • Selecting your products
  • Creating Shop Sections
  • Using Categories and Tags

Telling a story
In the product description, clearly describe your item: What is it? What does it do? Most importantly, tell the story of your item. Why did you make it? What was the inspiration? Was it designed for someone?  So much of gift giving is about the story you tell to the recipient, and the authenticity of a unique product carries much more value than a mass produced item. So help gift givers tell that story by putting it in the description. Looking more big picture, you want your whole shop to tell a story too, which is the story of your collection (or collections if you have a large shop like Virtox). “Santa’s Secret Decorations” clearly describes a shop of fun holiday ornaments. 
Selecting your products
You may have lots of 3D models, but I suggest you pick only the best products to put into your shop. This means models that have been printed before and for which you have beautiful photos. Do not clutter up your shop with “default renders” of unrealized products. If you have great photographs next to bad images it erodes the overall integrity of the look of your shop — think about streets with abandoned houses next to beautiful mansions; the value of the mansions goes down if there are empty lots nearby. Decisions to purchase are often made the moment an object is seen (everything after that is usually a process of self-justification), so make the decision easier with a clear, consistent shop.
Creating Shop Sections
In the ‘My Shop’ section, under the Shop Settings tab, you have a few options. Under your shop name and description, is a spot you can create Sections. Use this to divide up your products into groups. In Santa’s Secret Decorations shop, we’ve chosen to create seperate sections for ornaments, decorations, stars and table runners. This way our customers can easily find what they  are looking for, and see all the options for ornaments together.
Using Categories and Tags
Also, I HIGHLY recommend that you categorize products and include tags. Why? Products with categories have a home in our galleries and tags help people find your products in search.
On the model edit page, under the ‘Edit Details’ tab, you can choose two categories to put your model into, and then create an infinite number of tags.
Categories are the indisputable “what” that defines a product, and they are mutually exclusive or at least have one primary purpose. Tags will still be used to share other attributes, like the occasion (Christmas, holiday, gift), suggested recipient (Valentines, for him, for her, for mom), qualities (e.g., geeky, whimsical, festive), or even potential uses (e.g., driving, photography). The wider the net you can cast, the more potential buyers you can catch!
A great example is jewelry. For a bracelet I would choose the categories Jewelry and Bracelets and then create tags to describe it: the color, the style and who it might appeal to. 
The more tags you use, the more likely someone looking for something like your product will find you. It is not redundant to use both the tags bracelet and bangle, it just increases the chances that someone will find it in search, either on the Shapeways site or using a search engine like Google.
Here’s wishing you monster sales this holiday season!

Natalia

P.S. Here are a few “Best Practice” Examples: 
Kevin Wei has done a great job with the Cosma Silver Bangle using these tags: art, arabesque, architecture, facet, filigree, floral, lace, lattice, mosaic, romantic, silver, white, Valentine’s day. These tags describe his design, and even suggest which occasion it might be appropriate for.

Curve Creative, pictured at the top, is another great example. Their shop shines with a clear images, great products, and a clever story!

Great job everyone! Keep up the inspiring work! 

One comment

  1. Glenn Slingsby

    Regarding this: “A great example is jewelry. For a bracelet you would choose the categories Jewelry and Bracelets and then create tags to describe it: the color, the style and who it might appeal to.”
    Either yourself or someone else earlier suggested also adding “bracelet” as a tag, but this is somewhat redundant isn’t it, since it’s already in the Bracelet category?

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