The goal of this holiday season for our business owners is simple: to sell as much as possible and to deliver quality products that satisfy customers. A helpful part in doing that — in addition to planning for material cutoff dates and refreshing products and images — is marketing. But we have one more tip to share before we get to that, which is to recognize how your products are positioned in the Shapeways marketplace, or wherever else your products are sold.
Consider the Theory of Long Tail
Traditionally in the commercial world, a company’s sales work like this: About 20% of their products make up 80% of the sales, which is known as the 80/20 rule. The other 80% of the products, while still manufactured, draw in much less revenue. At Shapeways, however, our marketplace sales embrace the theory of Long Tail.
3D printing is moving the consumer world more towards personalized and customized products, and the products our shop owners sell on the Shapeways marketplace is an example of a diverse long tail of products. Our shoppers purchase from this long tail of products instead of from a small pool of selections (meaning the 80% rather than the 20%).
Categories, Subcategories and Popular Product Placements
At Shapeways, we split our marketplace into 8 main categories: Tech, Accessories, Jewelry, Art, For Your Home, Games, Miniatures and Other. Within those 8 categories, we have 43 sub-categories. During the holiday season, while we don’t have popular products in the same way that major chain stores do, some categories are slightly more popular for shoppers. These include: Tech, Jewelry (pendants) and Games (tabletop & wargaming).
Where you choose to place your product in the marketplace is completely up to you, but it’s definitely a decision you should take some time to think about. You can reconsider your categories to help more shoppers discover your shop, or you can count on a less crowded space to help your products stand out. Whatever you choose, know that each route can lead to much success with the right strategy.