Selling through Shapeways is becoming more fruitful as time goes on. With the media attention and the virtually constant website upgrades sometimes all you have to do is put up some nice photos of a creation to get sales flowing. However, there are many benefits to expanding your Shapeways products to other online markets. 3D printed creations are pretty new to online shopping venues, and there certainly is an appeal to be one of the first few to sell these sorts of things. It’s like being on the ship that discovered the 3D printed Americas.
Here is a “treasury” I compiled of 3D printed creations that are currently on Etsy.com (I did shamelessly include one of mine on there 😉 , and no, it’s not the home printed moustache hair clip):
The biggest benefit to expanding sales to other websites is of course increasing the number of people who your creation is exposed to, therefore increasing the number of sales you have. Etsy.com and eBay.com are what I’m going to mention but of course there are others out there. Both these websites have a certain amount of recognition and trust associated with buying from them. If you (the seller) are a good seller, then it’s likely your ratings will reflect that, and people will be more at ease buying from you.
Etsy and eBay (and also PayPal) do take a small percentage, so you may want to increase your markup on those sites. More than anything you’re paying them for their help in marketing your product by being popular websites. You don’t necessarily have to have any items in stock, but I always suggest taking photos of the actual object if you can. You also would be mailing the piece out yourself, since at the moment Shapeways doesn’t have a way to drop ship without including the paper that would pretty much tell the customer how much you made off of the sale. I always take my time in line at the post office into account when figuring out a markup price and/or shipping and handling.
Among the more creative benefits is that you get a lot more freedom to add interesting aspects to your pieces and to have pieces come fully assembled or fully painted by first receiving the piece from Shapeways before you send it out again. I’ve personally taken the opportunity in order to add some Swarovski crystals to some of my stainless steel pieces, sterling silver earring hooks to earrings, faux leather cords for necklaces and I also offer eight colors in WSF in my Etsy listings since I dye them myself.
If you’re willing to put the effort in it can pay off!