Category Archives: Community

Video: iPhone 6 Case Semi-Finalists Reviewed, Finalists Announced!

Remember that iPhone 6 3D Printed Case Contest we hosted a few weeks ago? We waited to print the cases until the backlog of repricing orders had been cleared, and finally have them in-hand! I took the time to review the top 10 semi-finalists, and am proud to announce the final four. Everyone who participated did a great job, but like all initial prototypes, some need a few design adjustments to be ready for the main stage.

Curious as to which cases are making their way to Ethan Imboden at Frog Design in California for final review? You’ll have to watch the video to find out:

Now that you’ve seen them, which case would you like for your phone?


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Own Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday

This the tenth and final post in our Shop Owner Bootcamp Series counting down to Black Friday. Appropriately, today’s tips are all about how to win Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. We make an effort to embrace all global traditions in our community, but given that a significant portion of our shopper traffic comes from the United States, we want you to be prepared.

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Take a deep breath. Look around at the products you’ve created before you. And get in the zone. We are entering the highest traffic time of the year here at Shapeways, and we want you to capture as much of it as possible, bringing excited new customers to your shops. We try hard to showcase the diversity of great products on Shapeways, but with nearly 3 million models uploaded, it’s impossible to feature everyone. Below is a guide for how you can optimize every day in the holiday shopping weekend coming up. If you’re looking for personalized shop advice, be sure and sign up for our Shop Owner Sessions over the weekend and next week.

Three Golden Rules:

  • Schedule posts on your preferred social platforms: Shapeways shoppers come from around the world – you never know when they’re watching. Buffer is my favorite for this, and Tweetdeck works great as well.  Both are free and work seamlessly with all your twitter accounts. This will help pace your content if you get caught up with a customer during the day.
  • Respond to People Quickly: People are looking to buy between Black Friday-Cyber Monday more than any other time of the year.  This also means they’re looking to transact quickly. Be extra responsive to private messages, product comments, and engagement on social media. Showing people they matter goes a long way.
  • Be Shameless: Yes, we all want to avoid being spammy. Telling people about something they want or would be interested in however, isn’t spammy. Include educational tips and designer scoop on how you make your creations, how we 3D Print them etc. and include a product in every post. By giving your audience something (awesome behind the curtains info) you appear as much like an educator as you do a business oriented person. We’ll be looking to share your posts with the greater Shapie community, so keep ‘em coming!

Three Important Days

  1. Black Friday: Historically the theme of Black Friday is “doorbusters” aka Early-Bird deals for shoppers. Take advantage of the buzz online by including #BlackFriday in your communications. Consider experimenting with lower prices on a few of your pieces early in the morning to see if you can increase demand. If you’re putting an item on Sale, be sure an indicate in the product descriptions so your shoppers know to take advantage of this special deal! Historically very popular in the US.
  2. Small Business Saturday: A lovely day branded initially by AmericanExpress, #SmallBusinessSaturday is meant to celebrate the Independently owned businesses in our communities, both digital and IRL. Take the opportunity to tell people about your business, the collections you have available now, and the direction you would like to take it in the future. Though started in the US, it has spread across the globe. Take this day to tell your story through your products.
  3. Cyber Monday: The mother of all online shopping days. A global phenomena that brings more people to E-commerce land than any other day. Schedule the most posts across the most networks on this day. We’ve got some great surprises in store on-site, so be sure and check it out. #CyberMonday is the tag to go with, and discounts are the currency. Don’t feel like you have to have a sale, however, as many of you are already so modest with your markups.

Alright, what final questions can I help you with Shapies?

 


 

3DP4E Launches 3D Printing for Young Artists Exhibition

Shapeways is proud to support start up 3DP4E (3D Printing for Everyone) and their mission to empower through design, technology and entrepreneurism. Founded by visionary and tech enthusiast Ronald Rose, 3DP4E strives to bring 3D printing to schools, libraries and museums.

Part of 3DP4E’s mission comes to fruition today, with the opening of a new exhibition presented in tandem with the Children’s Museum of the Arts, entitled INTO THE THIRD DIMENSION: 3D Printing for Young Artists. The show features works from museum’s permanent collection alongside a 3D-printed element or detail from each selection. The juxtaposition of the two-dimensional works with the three-dimensional replications encourages the viewer to compare and contrast the two forms. There’s also a educational film that shows the steps taken to turn a 2D-drawing into a 3D-printed object will be shown, allowing visitors to learn more about the process and unique quality of the 3D printing process.

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On most Saturdays throughout the exhibition, CMA visitors will have the opportunity to take part in a drawing workshop called “Experimenting with Dimensions,” led by a CMA Teaching Artist. A handful of CMA visitors will be selected at random at the end of each workshop and will have their own drawings turned into a three-dimensional Shapeways-printed sculpture.  The 20 individuals selected will be invited for a presentation ceremony at CMA in January or early February once the three-dimensional prints have been completed. Check out www.cmany.org for more information about hours and specific workshop times.

Also launching this week is Kid’s Creation Station, a new website presented by 3DP4E that provides young artists with a platform to create, share and take their artwork to a new dimension. The website translates the fantastic creatures and things created by children from flat drawings to actual figures, giving children’s drawings new depth. The online portal will provide the opportunity for kids to scan drawings into a portfolio management system, tag and share their images, view other children’s artwork, and ultimately print a 3D model of their artwork.

Check out the family friendly exhibit at the Children’s Museum of the Arts through January 11th.


 

Shapeways sponsors Cranksgiving charity bike ride

We’re taking part in Cranksgiving, a nationwide “food drive on bikes” where participants cycle to multiple grocery stores around the city, purchase non-perishable goods and donate them to those in need. Running since 1999, this charity race has spread to over 60 cities around America, helping provide thousands of needy families across the country with a wealth of food during the week of Thanksgiving. This year, it’s even being backed by news anchors from the TODAY Show.

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Shapeways is proud to sponsor Cranksgiving! Six lucky winners will ride away with custom 3D printed head-badges, designed by Scott Denton and printed in our Long Island City factory.

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Join some of the Shapeways team on Saturday November 22nd in NYC, or take part in the 60 other events happening across America. You’ll be joined by anchors from the TODAY Show who are supporting Cranksgiving and food banks around the country.

Love the idea of Cranksgiving, but don’t want to ride through NYC streets? Consider making a donation! All funds raised will be split 80/20 between City Harvest, and the New York Bike Messenger Foundation.

Some of the Shapeways team will be riding on Saturday – so give us a shout if you see us on the course!

 


 

Introducing 3D Printed Porcelain & Saying Goodbye to Our Current Ceramics Offering

We’re really excited to share a new, exclusive material at Shapeways: 3D printed porcelain.

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3D Printed Porcelain R&D

For the past year and a half, we’ve been exploring new options for ceramics based on the feedback we’ve heard loud and clear from our community. You told us that you want ceramics that are faster, more durable, more functional, and more colorful. This material didn’t exist, but that didn’t stop us. We created an R&D taskforce who have been working hard in our secret lab to develop a new way of 3D printing beautiful, durable porcelain. This is our first major investment in end to end material R&D.

The new 3D printed porcelain is groundbreaking, with quality and detail that mirrors traditional ceramics processes and the design flexibility of 3D printing. Utilizing a castable porcelain body created by Dr. Stuart Uram of Core Cast Ceramics with the support of Albert Pfarr, we developed an innovative process for producing 3D printed porcelain products. By combining the SLS printers that produce our Strong and Flexible Plastic with an innovative porcelain casting process, we can create detailed and durable products that are fired and glazed just like conventional ceramics. Using the best of 3D printing and traditional ceramics, we’re able to create the sort of quality you could only find in high end, handmade porcelain.

Here’s what you can expect from 3D printed porcelain, only available at Shapeways:

  • Amazing Colors – From cobalt blue to matte black, 3D Printed Porcelain will be available in classic colors that call upon the porcelain tradition.
  • Durable & Functional – Porcelain is dishwasher, oven, and microwave safe. You can even make baking dishes and pizza stones!
  • Gorgeous Detail – Porcelain enables you to design with very high detail and thin, translucent glazes.
  • Big & Bold – The strength enables thick and larger products, so we’ll be able to help you scale to the whims of your imagination.

 

Community R&D and Pilot

To start, 3D printed porcelain will be available in a limited pilot with the goal of improving our process and design guidelines. When we are ready to deliver amazing results to the masses, we’ll open this up as a material available for sale to shoppers in our marketplace.

If you are an experienced designer and would like to be considered for the pilot, Sign up here. We’ll start with a small group and expand as we learn more.

vase-light-blue

 

What does this mean for the current 3D printed ceramics?

You have probably noticed that ceramics has been plagued with problems for a while. For the last several months, our production partner for ceramics has been operating with significant delays. In order to ensure we set the right expectations, we’ve had to increase lead times from 13 days to 18 days to 22 days over the course of the last year.

At 22 days, our production partner was only shipping at 30% on time, which is simply unacceptable. We increased lead time to 45 days in October to set more accurate expectations, but whether you’re creating products for your business or waiting for a gift, these delays are unacceptable.

Given the uncertainty and delays, we had to make a hard decision and, as of today, will stop offering the current ceramics materials for the foreseeable future. Designers selling in ceramics are in the loop and will be key partners for us in the pilot and future R&D. We’re incredibly disappointed to have to take this step, but you deserve better.

Still reading?
Our goal is to make 3D printing affordable and accessible so that you can make amazing products. Unfortunately, current 3D printed ceramics just didn’t cut it anymore. We’re excited to bring an entirely new material to the design community and more than anything else, we cannot wait to see what you make! Here’s a teaser of porcelain in action:


 

Dinovember: Discovering Endless 3D Printed Bacon in Space

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DINOVEMBER has taken over and things are getting crazy at Shapeways HQ! After all our recent news about 3D Printing in Space with our friends Future Engineers, Grumpy Cat, Doge, Jebediah and some other 3D printed friends blasted off to see what the buzz was all about.

Upon arriving in a land far, far away, they were greeted by their pal Rawr Dinosaur. As they all gathered around to catch up and talk about space life, something truly magical happened. A bacon mobius descended from the atmosphere and provided endless space bacon!

See all the fun unfold in this stop motion film:

On a slightly more serious Dinovember note, did you know they uncovered new dinosaurs this year? Giant vegans, no less! How cool is that? You can check out these featured dinos and many others on our dinosaur featured page! If you’re feeling extra inspired, you can enter our Dinovember weekend contest and model your own dinosaur!


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Quick Email Marketing to Boost Sales of Your 3D Prints

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This is the ninth in a 10 part Shop Owner Bootcamp series counting down to black friday. Last week we focused on Supercharing Your SEO and this week we’re talking Email. Pictured above is Love Letter: Square by Target. Learn more about our partnership with them here

Are you beginning to feel the heat of Holiday Season yet? If you’re not, let me be the first to tell you, it’s go time, Shapies! We just released our holiday gift guide are in full-steam-ahead holiday mode. If you do no other marketing for your Shapeways shop today, do this: remind your friends, family and former customers that you make awesome products through 3D printing and that just about anything can be personalized through your skills and the technology. If you’re concerned that it will come off as spammy, we are happy to take a look in our Holiday Messaging Help forum. I also ask that you trust me when I say, your network will be interested. While it’s no longer new to us, 3D Printing, especially in our unique material portfolio, is still very cool and new to most folks outside the Shapie universe.

The email can be simple: 

Hi friends, 

2014 has been a great year, and I’m grateful you were a part of mine. I just wanted to share the 3D printed products I’ve created this year, and let you know that if you’d like any of them or any other custom products for holidays I’m here to help. 3D Printing is very cool and personal, and it’s not just plastic. Shapeways prints in Steel, Brass, Silver, Gold and even Platinum, too. Holiday season is fast approaching.  

(Insert a few photos of your work)

(link to your shop) 

Cheers, 

I bet you’ll be surprised how few people are aware of what you’re truly capable of, and what’s more fun than supporting a friends business and also giving a great gift? We see so many touching stories and personalized products come through our factories, I can’t help but encourage you to let your network know you’re there.

For those of you with Existing Email Newsletters:

I get many of your independent newsletters each month and enjoy them all. The one thing that all Shapies have in common is how genuine your passion is. This comes through in your communications and in your work. Keep it up! And don’t worry, if you don’t have an email list yet, Holiday is a great time to make one. Just add a link to a google form (or whatever signup mechanism you prefer) in your shop description and watch it grow!

Two Emails You Should Send:

  1. Next week, ideally Tues-Thurs (higher open rate): Holiday preview and/or reminder about your shop including top sellers & latest creations. You can even offer design services.
  2. Small Business Saturday: A holiday mostly celebrated in the US, but one worth letting your customers know about. Black Friday is historically retail centric, Cyber Monday (a great day to send an email as well) is all about digital, but SMB Saturday offers a different unique opportunity to showcase how 3D Printing is enabling your Small Business and say thank you to those contributing to it’s growth.

Here’s a great example from Somersault 18:24‘s Monthly Newsletter:

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Their message goes on to include links to their shop and updates about the science and 3D printing world. It’s helped grow them to one of the most successful shops and collections on Shapeways.

Would it be helpful if included easy to share news stories you could include in your emails in our Shop Owner Newsletter? What emails that we send do you like best? And worst? Be honest with us the way you want your customers to be honest with you :) .


 

Shapeways October Top Sellers & Viewed 3D Printed Products

Have you ever wondered what products sell best on Shapeways? What products are going viral and getting the most traffic? Well, thanks to your feedback and with some help from friends of ours at 3Dprint.com we’ve started a new series. Every month, we’re going to share the top 10 marketplace sellers on Shapeways as well as our top 10 viewed products. Below is a peek at last month’s leading models.

Shapeways October Top Sellers

1. & 2.  Moto 360 Bumper Case by Raelx

These are some of the first and only Moto 360 bumpers on the market and they are only $8! We were very excited to see these take off and get picked up by all the gadget media. Our only hope is that Raelx makes additional versions (he has a short and tall currently) in our premium metals… Here Shapie shopper Michael Shulteis shows off his in our red strong and flexible plastic (found on twitter):

moto 360

 

3. Itty Bitty Sad Keanu by neuralfirings

A Shapeways veteran all-star, Sad Keanu saw a huge bump in traffic after we helped celebrate Keanu Reeve’s 50th Birthday by throwing him a 3D Printed party on vine:

You can see the rest of the Top Sellers in October over on 3DPrint.com

Shapeways October Most Viewed Products

2. Origami Crane Skeleton by Joabaldwin 

Joaquin Baldwin’s crane is very well designed, and this fantastic image tells the story immediately. It’s hard not to be a bit mesmerized when you see it for the time:

origami-crane-skeleton

 

8. Spitfire My Little Pony by Christophe Vidal

The new additions to the SuperFanArt family have been incredible, Spitfire being one of the fan favorites! Christophe has designed many products on Shapeways, and his My Little Pony modeling is helping him reach new audiences.

sptifire

 

You can see the full list of top viewed Shapeways products from October of on 3dprint.

What do you hope to see make Novembers list?


 

My Little Pony Holiday Gifts

Once upon a time, I was camping with my family and I decided to play in the river. I was eight, and everywhere I went My Little Pony went, so I brought her along. While attempting a river crossing, I slipped on a wet rock, but rather than let My Little Pony fall I held her out of harms way and instead broke the fall with my tooth (sorry mum!). 

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Twenty five years later, with a permanently chipped tooth, I was thrilled when Hasbro and Shapeways collaborated to open the beloved My Little Pony brand to fans. For the first time ever, a huge brand was enabling artists to play with their intellectual property, and create new fan art. Welcome to the 3D printed herd!

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In order to re-connect with my excited inner eight year old, I decided to watch the new TV series to catch up. I lost my whole evening in Equestria. Why? As Lisa Miller wrote in her recent New York Magazine article, friendship is magic. These six little ponies embody all that is wonderful about friendship and remind you that kindness can go a long way. Honestly, who doesn’t need a reminder of the wonder of finding your kindred spirits?

While my pony toy is long gone, I’m thrilled there is an every growing collection of My Little Pony fan art that I can collect to serve as a bright beacon on my desk to be grateful for my friends.

Here are my favorite pony picks:

pinky

My favorite, Pinky Pie (because she’s the closest I can get to the one I used to have!) and she has the best laugh.

muffins

Fan favorite Muffins, once a background character, now gets her own 3D printed spotlight

rainbow

Rainbow dash gets things done in ten seconds flat!

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Last but not least, Discord, the infamous villain, bringing chaos to Equestria.

Although it’s never a bad time for My Little Pony, these are especially fun for the holidays. Whether you have a superfan in your life or you want to introduce these characters to a new generation, these make great gifts! Or, of course, you could just collect them all for yourself. It is the season of giving and getting after all.


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Five Easy Ways to Supercharge Your SEO

This is the eight post in a 10 week series leading up to our busiest sales weekend of the year. We’ve covered everything from getting press for your 3D printed products to how to promote your products on social media and much in our Shop Owner bootcamp series. This week’s post comes from our performance marketing pro, Jeanne, we’re focused on SEO.

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Scottish Shapie Shop Owner MyGadgetLife has some of the best product descriptions on Shapeways. Check out his eggbot (above) and his moon mobius to get inspired for your shop!

5 Easy Ways (Under 5 Minutes) to Get Your Products Picked Up by Google

We’ve already talked about various ways to get customers to your shop, but today we’re going to dive even deeper and talk about the importance of search engine results (SEO). Currently, organic search results are one of the top drivers to Shapeways. The more you can get your products in search engine results, the more likely a potential customer will visit your product page and make a purchase. Below are five tips to get your products search engine optimized in minutes.

#1 Use Specific Keywords in Your Product Titles & Descriptions

Your model titles and descriptions are used not only on your model page on Shapeways, but in search engine search results – a two for one! So, titles and descriptions with specific, relevant keywords will help your products appear in and get people to click (which helps it to surface even more frequently).

Action: You can spend a lot of time on keyword optimization, but here are two easy ways to get started:

  • If you were to search for your product, what would you type in a search engine? Make sure those keywords are in both your title and description

  • Be as specific as possible with your description, including all the peripheral search terms that might be relevant (synonyms, the category that your product belongs in, types of customization or personalization, etc.)

For example, if I title my product “Holiday Ornament,” the likelihood that my product will show up on the first few pages of Google is very low (there are a total of 22.8m search results). Sucks, I know. But if I title it “Custom holiday ornament with initial,” I’m competing against 8.7m search results. And in my description, I’ll write “Christmas or holiday ornament can be customized with initials, monograms, names, images, and is a great unique gift for your loved ones.” Sounds wordy, but it works.

#2 Update Titles & Descriptions to a Certain Length

Anything too long or too short is suspected by search engines to be of low quality. There is a min and approximate max, and you are penalized with less opportunity to turn up in search results for it.

Action: Titles should be about 6 to 8 words (55 characters), with the most important words in the beginning. Descriptions should be at least 15 words (160 characters) with keywords described above in it, as that’s the snippet that gets viewed in search results so you want it to be enticing! Use natural language (the way you would normally talk or write) in your descriptions, including facts and statements to help viewers see the value of your product immediately.

Description

#3 Give Your Images Captions with Keywords

A picture is worth a thousand words. More and more people are finding Shapeways products through image searches on search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, etc). Including a photo and a description with keywords will increase the likelihood it will get picked up in image searches (known as an “Alt text”).

Action: In the Details tab of your model, fill in the image caption with keywords, starting with the ones most relevant to your product. For example, for this ornament I created with Shapeways ornament creator, my caption is “Custom Christmas holiday ornament with organic design”

Image caption

#4 Every Product is Unique, so its Title and Description Should Be Too!

Every model should have a unique title and description. Duplications are penalized by search engines because it assumes the viewer won’t have a good experience if there’s a lot of too-similar content.  Unique titles and descriptions will help your products get shown by search engines.

Action: Give your product titles and descriptions. Your products are unique and their titles and descriptions should be too.  little bit different is better than no difference at all.

#5 Your Shop Description is Prime for SEO Opportunity

Your shop page is full of opportunities for search engines to pick up, with your product and their titles, image alt text, and the robust area to write in a shop description.

Action: Update your Shop Description in your Shapeways Shop Settings with examples of your products types, your background and your expertise designing them. Feel free to elaborate on your designs and products, as the more relevant keywords on the page compared to non-relevant keywords, the better.

Bonus: Also add an extended description for your shop page.

Shop Description

Search engine optimization is a time-intensive and ever evolving process, but the key tenets are consistent: quality content, natural descriptions, and following basic guidelines will go a long way.

What keyword search do you wish you were the #1 result for?


 

About.com Home and Shapeways Team Up to Make Your Holiday More Awesome

Do you have guests coming to visit during the holidays? Are you already stressing about getting the house ready for hosting? 3D printed products make for excellent conversation pieces and can be a game changer at holiday events. About.com Home knows how special holiday celebrations are, and we’ve put our heads together to #ShapeMyHolidaySweeps!

About products

Our friends at About.com Home have gotten a fresh new look and to celebrate that, Experts from their team in everything from Colors to Kitchens (and even Dogs) picked their favorite product on Shapeways. Check out the great About.com Home curation of products and vote for your favorites. 48 lucky winners will get the top voted product and a grand prize winner will get all 10! Be sure to pin and share your favorite product to help it get more votes :) .

about curation

Isn’t it fun to see Shapie products on a site as cool as About.com? Which product did you vote for?


 

Shapeways iPhone 6 Case Design Challenge: “Extend the Function” Semi-Finalists Announced

Have you checked out all of the great iPhone 6 cases already on Shapeways? In honor of Apple’s latest launch, we challenged Shapies to “Extend the Function” of their iPhone 6 through an awesome case design.  It took a lot of deliberation to narrow it down to these top 10 from the great looking cases the Shapie community came up with, but by focusing on the function the entries extended (app or otherwise) we were able to make the tough decisions.  We’re excited to see who Ethan Imboden, our guest Designer Judge selects as our winners. You can browse all of the entries by searching “SWiPhone6” on our site. Below are the top 10 entrants, in no particular order.

Keep your coif classy with this iPhone 6 Slide Out Comb by jfuhrman:

iPhone iPhone 6 Apple

iPhone 6 case with “steady selfie stick” by Facetious cuts out the awkward upper shoulder selfie:

Selfie iPhone

Adapt your phone to any viewing environment with this iPhone 6 case CELLULAR with 2 Add ons by The Midnight Raid.

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Turn your iPhone 6 into a portable speaker with this iPhone 6 Speaker, Kickstand and “More” case by Fusion Imaging:

iphone 6 case

 

This iPhone 6 case by Entity Development comes with interchangeable backplates making iPhoneography easier and keeping your headphones from tangling in your pocket.

iphone 6

 

Analogue meets digital when cross-stitching and 3D printing come together with this iPhone six Cross-stitching Frame Case by Diogenic Design.

iphone 6 case cross-stitch

The phone may be bigger but your subjects don’t have to be with this handy Macro Case from District 2 Design:

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This iPhone 6 Controller Case by Paralogical Design could be the stocking stuffer for every gamer we know:

iphone 6

 

13 year old Shapie Natalya_A knows that iPhones often live on our desk near other supplies, so we designed this iPhone 6 desk/dash caddy, case and charging station:

iPhone 6

While the volume of your iPhone is limited, this iPhone 6 Safety Whistle Case by Shopshopshop ensures it will be heard:

iphone 6

And just because this is an incredible example of responsive design, we had to include a mandatory honorable mention to Amznfx and his epic bendgate iPhone 6 case that went viral over the last two weeks. Clever and awesome!

iPhone 6 bendgate

 

Which of these cases do you want for your phone? Which case do you think “extends the function” of the iPhone 6 best?


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Five Reasons You Should Tag Your 3D Prints

This is the fourth in a 10 part bootcamp series counting down to Black Friday. We’ve covered reputation, photography and market research already and this week we’re talking about tagging.

How is your work currently being discovered? There are now millions of models on Shapeways, and the best way to stand out from the crowd (aside from photographs of your great products and collections) and be discovered by shoppers is by tagging your products properly. Yes, it can be monotonous, but it is literally how we and others discover many of you. Since the tag is a plus sign, there was no more fitting lead image here than Lucas Goossen’s Solid Plus Pendant.

LucasPlusPendant

Here are five reasons taking the time to tag your models is worth it:

Tags Equate to More Sales Through Organic Search (aka SEO) – Tag words help your products get found on and off our site. The more people that find you organically, the more “popular” your products become in our search engine, leading to greater sales. For example, when I search “Drone” Shapie MaikelsDesigns takes the top spot.

Drone copy

Niche Communities Have a Home on Shapeways - the products that are most unique are often the most successful on Shapeways. Products that fulfill needs not met by other markets. The search terms on our site are always very specific. Think about the words your target audiences uses and would use to search for you and be sure to include them. When shoppers view products like yours, they often are served your products in the “related items.” Looking at the Pitch Control Lever of Maikel’s above, Shapie shoppers are served products from four related drone mod designers:

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Trending Tags Lead to New Shopping Hubs- We’ve built awesome features now that allow us to create tag pages. Connect with people who model similar things in our interest groups forum and come up with a shared model tag. Share the tags on social media so shoppers (and us) can easily spot them. You can always post in “feature this” on our forums, include the tag you & others are using, and we’ll direct shoppers looking for products like yours straight to you! Here’s an example of the DJI Phantom Niche Hub:

DronesPage

Tags are Often How We Curate our Newsletter & Homepage- Wonder how we pick the products on our homepage? Aside from catching them in feature this, we find them by searching key terms. Recently we searched “space” for our space themed newsletter and “pumpkin” for fall finds. Thinking about seasons and holidays your work may be popular at is a great way to get extra eyes on your products.

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There is a Higher Chance Your Products Will Get Advertised if They are Tagged Properly- Tags can lead to your products being featured in our retargeting and Ad Words campaigns. Not only does properly tagging benefit you through the promotions we run, the models we feature, and relevant surfacing based on customer searches, it can even get you advertised courtesy of Shapeways.

Bonus: Tagging is also a way to sort through your shop inventory!

The best time to test tags is the holidays. Apply your learnings from google analytics, monitor which of your products get the most hits and optimize your collection’s tags based on that data. It’s great for your sales and makes our curation easier. Remember, we generally only feature products with photos, and tag those beautiful creations so they can be found by the whole Shapie community.

What tags do you wish had a more prominent home on Shapeways?


 

Create Your Own Shapeways Pinterest Board On Pinterest

Posted by in Community

Hello Shapeways Community! Are you on Pinterest? Would like to start using Pinterest to share your favorite 3D printed inspirations and promote your Shapeways shop? Now you can with your own Shapeways Pinterest board on Pinterest.

If you’re a Shapeways Shop Owner, Designer, or maker and would like to have your own personal Shapeways Pinterest board on Pinterest email eric@shapeways.com and include the following information

  1. Your Pinterest username
  2. Follow Shapeways on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/shapeways/ 
  3. Link to your Shapeways Shop

pinterest

(Examples Of existing Shapeways community Pinterest Boards)

Pinterest is a rapidly growing and popular social network with over 70 million users. It’s a valuable platform for small businesses and Ecommerce companies because shoppers on average spent more time on Pinterest than any other social network.

We highly recommend Shop Owners give Pinterest a try, especially with the holiday season approaching you best bet there will be many shoppers out there searching for cool products on Pinterest. Pinterest will be a great platform for product discovery.

Happy Pinning!


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Building Your 3D Printing Brand & Collection Through Market Research

This is the third in a 10 part Shop Owner Bootcamp series counting down to Black Friday. We’ve covered reputation and photography in our last two posts and are looking at branding and collection building today. This is last post in the polishing your shop for holiday phase, next week we’ll begin talking about building the relationships necessary to optimize your sales over holiday.

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Do you ever wonder what to design next? Or what makes a product sell? Do you have a product in your shop that outsells all the others and wish that you could get more products on that level? This week we’re focused on building your brand story and developing your collection through market research. I know that “market research” sounds boring and stale to the creative mind, but it doesn’t have to be! Shapeways Shop Owner mentor Vijay Paul is back this week to discuss how he became Dotsan, and how walking around Scotland inspired his stag and the “wired life collection” that followed.

Building Your Brand: Why it’s Personal (and Should Be)

Vijay highlights in this video how going from VDesign to Dotsan was a big turning point for his business. It was when he realized that this was going to be more than a hobby, and a place that people could come for products and art that he created for them. Many of you have developed your brands and logos, but are you giving your shoppers all of the story?

Every time someone buys something from your shop you have the opportunity to create a new brand evangelist. If they love your work, they’re going to come back to your shop time and time again, likely referring others who are interested in your products. They will expose your products, and in turn your brand, to their in-real-life communities. Ask yourself, have I highlighted my design process and inspiration in my shop? Have I armed consumers with a story they can tell about the creation of this product and increase the likelihood they’ll send others to my shop? If you have to hesitate, take this opportunity to refresh your shop and product descriptions. Your brand should tell your story.

Many of you have already developed great brands, so I challenge you to think about how that can be illustrated through out your shop. Perhaps watermarking your photos or integrating your brand into your avatar. People see your designer cards on every product page now, use that opportunity to remind them how awesome it is to buy from you.

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Market Research: It’s as Easy as Going to Look at Beautiful Things

Every successful business has conducted market research at some point in their growth; and if they’re smart, likely multiple times at regular intervals. Vijay knew he wanted to design something that would appeal to a lot of people, and wandering around Scotland he noticed there were Stags everywhere. He saw them in museums, on signs, buildings and iconic Scottish settings. This observation drove his design decisions and gave birth to the Stag, which originally was a 3D render meant to live in 2D. After creating the render he was curious to see if it could work as a wireframe 3D print, I think it’s very clear that it did :) .

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Think about your audience: are you trying to sell to people in your region/country or are you trying to sell to people who like a specific category of things? What is popular in the culture your products speak to? For example, if you are making masks, you should always be up on the latest cosplay fashions. If you’re doing household products, keeping up with industrial design trends can be clutch. If you’re modeling drone accessories, you should pay attention to what drones people are buying. I don’t believe Vijay ever expected to sell as many stags across as many countries as he has, but he went into designing it with the confidence that at least locally, he would receive some interest.

Build Your Collection: Your Best Customer is One Who Buys Again

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There’s a famous marketing stat that 20% of your customers will be responsible for 80% of your future business; and Shapeways is no exception. Our marketplace is full of passion, and folks who have a great buying experience from you once are likely to brag about it. How can you keep them coming back? Ask yourself, what other types of things to people interested in your subject matter like? Have you ever asked your customers what other products they think would compliment the one they already purchased from you? Think about ways you can expand the collection and have multiple top-selling products. Our Interest Group forums are a great place to get the conversation going.

Sets are very appealing during the holiday season. Think about which of your products could go together and that could expand the story of your work/brand.

Alright everyone, we’re now just 7 weeks from Black Friday- we’ll be focused on building digital and physical relationships that will help your holiday sales in the coming weeks, so take advantage of the opportunity now to ‘dust the shelves’ and put a fresh coat of paint on your ‘open’ sign.

What brands and designers on Shapeways do you look up to?