Marketing your Shapeways Shop

Discussion in 'Shapeways Shops' started by SavIsSavvy, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. SavIsSavvy
    SavIsSavvy New Member
    Hi Everyone!

    This is a place for you to ask us anything marketing related. As we ramp up for Holiday, everyone can share tips and tricks for optimizing sales :)
  2. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    I'll start this off with my story: yesterday, Eleanor at Shapeways was kind enough to publish an article of mine on the Shapeways blog. The article was announced on Shapeways' Twitter feed. That announcement was retweeted by many Shapeways followers (and probably a few random robots). I put up posts announcing the Shapeways blog post on my Twitter (@KickinWiccan) and Facebook (Kickin' Wiccan) accounts.

    In short, Shapeways did right by me. I could not have asked for better.

    According to Google Analytics, I have not received any additional clicks onto my Shapeways shop in the past 24 hours.

    I understand that I may have had exaggerated expectations on the effects of exposure on Shapeways for a shop with the name "Kickin' Wiccan." It's a small market. Wiccans are more likely to go to Etsy and eBay for their jewelry needs. I've been through the shop-owners' challenge ( and I've done the best I can without spending cash on a promotional campaign.

    What tips do the more experienced and successful shop owners out there have?
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  3. FabMeJewelry
    FabMeJewelry New Member
    It's good that you have high expectations, whatever I do I always aim as high as possible.

    BTW whenever I get featured by shapeways via mail, blog or social media I always see a spark in the amount of visitors like x5 the normal amount. You should see the same I believe... "Kickin' Wiccan." is a cool name !

    In the begin fase of any business it's very hard to get enough profits/sales, don't let that reset your expectations. If you're persistent enough and come up with unique products that people want to have, $ will find it's way to you.

    I you don't have the patience for things to catch up with your expectations you should try a different approach.

    You could :

    Open an etsy shop and start selling them there.
    Find resellers who want to resell your products.
    Attend at venues where you can sell products or promote your shop.
    Send out some samples of your product to bloggers/celebs that can relate with your products.
    Get your product featured in a magazine that your customers are likely to read.
    Find facebook pages that are related to your product.

    There are countless options for a bigger reach.

    Instagram has helped me a lot with getting featured by bloggers and celebs, I also get te most feedback there. Seriously if I would have to choose between FB, TW, YT Instagram would win for sure !
  4. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    Just to provide a bit of counter-point, that for some ODD reason, it seems that any time I'm featured somewhere or get some kind of writeup.. my sales go to ZERO for at least a week afterward. I might see additional traffic, but rarely any additional sales.

    I truly find it humorous.. I often think.. "Don't do me any favors" <GRIN>

    The SINGLE exception is when I posted the Ferris Wheel last week.. that seems to have generated a number of first-time buyers.

    Either I'm in the wrong market niche, or ..... <GRIN>

    But, I truly do not care... this is a HOBBY for me, so the money.. just pays for more locomotives. None of my models were built with a profit motive behind them.. ALL of them were because someone needed/wanted that item. Honestly, I get more internal gratification when I see one of my items sitting painted on someone's layout than the money would ever give me.

    But, I'll keep accepting donations.<grin> a guy can never have too many locomotives <grin>
    HEY! I had no intention of bumming anyone out!! I'm only relating my personal experience, and I find the dip in sales rather humorous.
    The fact that there is a steady stream of sales means that Shapeways must be doing a lot of things right. I am NOT unhappy!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  5. numarul7
    numarul7 Well-Known Member
    Google Analytics it is good but take in account that will count your own visit / login to your shop ...that means you must exclude a bit your country from the statistics.

    Preparing some design for a hefty new order of final products o_O got them wrong with the white plastics ...I have learned allot from them. (to complete my shop under Shapeways rules) :D

    Due the fact I can model everything .... I prefer not to give any advice.

    I guess now people are at the "BEACH SUN" days and there it is a general pause of sales.

    *planning some miniature original chairs designs or even my dream house in future design.

    One thing we need it is a list of "shopping days" like "Shark week" it is ?! So we can design products related to the days and stuff.

    PS: Anyone found any positive experience on Pinterest ?

  6. FabMeJewelry
    FabMeJewelry New Member
    Oh and I'm not saying this is making me rich, I have a fulltime job so this is more like a hobby that has matured :) I'm not really the best business man so I don't put my producs in stores and all that which I have had difgerent requests for, It just takes too much time to manage and brings more risk because of the investments that would take.

    I know for sure that if I would quit my day job I could live of selling products that Shapeways produces for me, even if you don't design yourself you can work with different shop owners to resell their products.

    If you're creative enough and really want to make it a success you can make it work !
  7. Mstyle183
    Mstyle183 Member
    i found that attacking different types of media all at the same time is the best method.. I have had good luck with youtube, twitter, reddit, facebook.. Not all the time , not very constant, but when it works is beautiful.

    I've found that is almost like throwing spagethi at the wall hoping something sticks..

    i remember one of my successful posts was a picture i posted on my way to the grocery store in Reddit/r/pics i got about 7 million views in a day and went viral.. this is after hundreds of failed attempts of going viral and mostly ignored posts.

    I also found that spreading your efforts is extremely imporant, make a website, blog, youtube channel, instagram account, pintrest, facebook group, twitter.. Constantly post your stuff and link it to your store. You might not be able to get many hits at first but it's constatly building up you SEO and going up in google little by little.

    Before you know it.. a guy with millions of followers in your field will take notice and reposts your work... and you will see your sales increase..

    honestly i've noticed a lot of the shops here are very niche.. mine is very niche also which is the reason i have a hard time selling my items.. so don't be discouraged for the amount of sales.. just keep going at it post by post till you reach your market

    here are my shop and my accounts i use to promote my items
  8. somersault1824
    somersault1824 New Member

    Interesting discussion.

    Seems to me that many people try to market their stuff via social media channels. I do the same with variable success.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is almost always trying to find new customers for a 1 time interaction, and then they leave. I believe much more in building a relationship, repeated interactions and recurring customers. Existing customers are much more likely to buy again and the life time value of these customers can become substantially.
    Some things that could help shop owners to build this relationship:
    - email information of the customer. (i know we can message customers via the messaging system, which is great btw, but nothing compared to real email campaigns).
    - the possibility to give recurring customers promotions/deals
    - affiliate marketing. Some of your customers are so big fans, they would not mind to promote your stuff and if you could offer them to earn a bit by doing this...

    Please let me know what you think about it.

  9. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    Here are my initial reactions to some of the advice you've been kind enough to offer:


    Some of what you've suggested I deal with in the original version of the blog post that Shapeways reposted; it's at I'll phrase that post's point again, but in a different way: One of the great benefits of 3D printing is to be able to print items as needed; there's no need to maintain stock. If I were to pursue Etsy, eBay, resellers, storefronts, etc., then I would have to preprint items and hope they'd sell. For me, there'd be two problems:

    - I can't afford it. I've spent as much as I can in order to generate test prints (and to print rings for my own use). I don't have enough cash to speculate on which designs or customizations might be successful. That leads to the next problem:

    - Most of the items in your shop are fixed in size and style. (By the way, they look amazing; you really know how to take advantage of 3D design!) In my case, most of the items in my shop are rings which I make available in quarter sizes from 4 to 16; some let the customer choose a particular style or engraving. The ability to customize is another benefit of 3D printing, but it does not lend itself to maintaining a stock. If I were to print my rings to maintain an inventory, which sizes or styles should I pick? I'd much rather let each customer pick what they want and let Shapeways handle the rest.

    I'm looking for ways to market my shop on Shapeways, not to find new ways to distribute the items in that shop. Shapeways has the infrastructure to handle billing, shipping, and so forth; I do not.

    Perhaps I should have stated my goals for my shop (as recommended by Shapeways in enge-Day-14-Write-a-Marketing-Plan.html): I'd be content with 1-2 sales per week, and ecstatic with 3-4 sales per week. That leads to...


    This is a hobby for me too. I never planned for my little Shapeways shop to replace my day job. I'm trying to reach the point where it nets me some pin money, enough to pay for what I spent on learning about 3D printing so far, and maybe a bit more to buy some random toys on Shapeways.


    Your work may be niche, but it is also colorful and engaging. I found myself going through all the pages of your shop just to see what else you had designed.

    I have set up a presence outside my Shapeways shop, though not as extensively as you have:

    What I get from your advice is that I should think about setting up something on pinterest and Instagram. I'm not familiar with those sites; in particular, I'd have to learn to set things up so folks are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to my Shapeways shop. As I noted to FabMeJewelry, I'm not prepared to stock an inventory for potential customization, as you have.


    I am certainly willing to engage with my customers. I've already done so, with the one customer who left me a comment. She made a request for a particular design (the triquetra). Eventually I expanded that idea to three different ring styles for the shop. She told me that she wanted to design rings on her own, and I was able to help to find 3D programs that suited her level of computer skills.

    At this point, my markup is so low compared to the time it takes me to customize each ring that an affiliate program doesn't make much sense for me. As far as deals for recurring customers, I suppose I could work something out... if I had the customers in the first place. So far my shop has had only one significant sale. I need to get a fan before I can make use of a fan base!

    Please, everyone: Keep the advice coming! Perhaps it can all be put together for a Shapeways article on marketing a shop.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  10. LHDesigns
    LHDesigns New Member
    To me marketing is a HUGE pain. Its the part of the shop owner experience that I like the least. My plan is to give away older less popular model on different websites. I want to eventually start a YouTube channel with video tutorials for people wanting to make basic jewelry with Blender. I feel like these are avenues to get exposure out to an audience who is interested in the 3d printing community.
  11. seriaforma
    seriaforma Well-Known Member
    wgseligman -

    You should reconsider Etsy since you have photos of your products.
    You can set the shipping time to factor in Shapeways production.
    That way you can make the item to order, once purchased.

    You can also allow for customizing products.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  12. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    Thanks for the advice, seriaforma, Actually, I addressed this in To recap:

    - The customer would basically be paying me to place a Shapeways order for them.

    - If they order from Shapeways, if the customer is unhappy, Shapeways deals it. On Etsy, if the customer is unhappy, I deal with it.

    - Shapeways apparently has issues with customers understanding the implications of 3D printing, otherwise they would never have put in the recent "First to Try" and "Beta" options. How do I deal with those issues on Etsy?

    - I can give the customer's address to Shapeways for the shipping address, so the customer will pay only once for shipping. What about taxes? Shapeways charges sales tax; does Etsy do so as well? What about Etsy's fee for making a sale on their site? I'd have to increase the effective markup on my items.

    - When I look at what other Pagan/Wiccan jewelers are doing on Etsy, I see goods that are at least as good as mine at half the price.

    - Basically, what I'd want to do is "use" Etsy the same way I want to use Twitter, Facebook, pinterest, and Instagram: As an attempt to get viewers to go to the Shapeways shop. In my brief searches, I didn't see any Etsy shop owners say, "Look at my pictures. Now go to this site to order merchandise."

    I'm not entirely closed to the idea of opening up an Etsy shop; in fact, I've already reserved the "Kickin' Wiccan" name on the site. But I'd need a more rigorous business model for how to do it, one that didn't expose me to risk and represented a reasonable path to sales. Otherwise, I'd just wind up posting on the Etsy forums, "How to I market my shop?" and I'm back to square one.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  13. denali3ddesign
    denali3ddesign New Member
    I really want to market my Shapeways shop better as well, so this is a very interesting thread for me as well. In the meantime, I'll add one more upvote for selling jewelry on Etsy. For me it serves two purposes - primarily as another storefront, and secondly as a way to sell successful test prints.

    As another storefront, Etsy seems to be superior to Shapeways (sorry team, don't take this the wrong way but they have been at it for longer!) They have more features, like shop stats, they advertise your products for free on Google Shopping (SW recently started using Google ads too, yay!), and you can market with coupons. They also have a larger existing user base that will find your products while searching directly on Etsy, and I really like the shop rating system.

    For stocking products, I keep 2-10 of my two top sellers on hand, and the more expensive/slower selling items are advertised as a 3 week lead time. While definitely not as simple as selling directly on SW, I respect the Etsy platform and do not refer my customers to my SW shop. I allow users to make custom requests, which has led me to offering those products to others with great success. Etsy fees are among the most reasonable among online marketplaces - I offer my best sellers on Ebay and Amazon as well, but Etsy fees are the lowest, and the site is easiest to use from a seller's perspective.

    Regarding my second point - selling successful test prints - this helps solve the problems of "First to try" and getting photos of my products for my SW shop. By ordering a test print, and making changes/reordering if necessary, I establish that the model will print, at least once. I take photos of that successful print for both my SW and Esty shop, and then sell the finished print on Etsy. Win - win!
  14. FabMeJewelry
    FabMeJewelry New Member
    I think this is a great example of some legit marketing, we have a win post pinned at the top section of the Facebook Group : 3D Printing Club

    Now we receive new followers/likes and someone is going to walk on this earth soon wearing a 3d printed cap designed by me :D Anyone familiar with 3d printing can and should join the goup so see you there !

  15. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member

    That is brilliant! I clasp my hands and bow three times in your direction.

    I've seen several of my friends re-sharing a post every day from a merchant offering a similar promotion. You reminded me that I can do the same thing. I'll could offer them one chance to win for liking my Kickin' Wiccan page, one chance for liking the announcement post, and one chance each day for sharing the post.

    I'll probably wait until September before beginning something like that, and then do it again in November. Wiccans like to get new jewelry in time for Samhain and Yule.

    Once again: what a great idea! Thanks!
  16. FabMeJewelry
    FabMeJewelry New Member
    Thanks for the kind comments @wgseiligman it's all about finding the right place to promote your product and to be kind to every body. We know the admin for al while now and he came with this unexpected :D

    You also might find a Facebook group for wiccans, your pieces may be more expencive but also very exclusive, new and produced with the most awesome process out there. 3D printing is still a hype so use it to your advantage while you still can !
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  17. FabMeJewelry
    FabMeJewelry New Member
  18. JoyComplex
    JoyComplex Member
  19. seriaforma
    seriaforma Well-Known Member
    Very nice interview!
    One of the things I like best about 3d printing is the variety of interests expressed through the medium -
    racing, cryptids, historical legos and lego accessories, scale models, drones, chemistry, archaeology, .... it seems there is no end to fascinating ways people are employing 3d printing.
    Thanks for sharing!
  20. JoyComplex
    JoyComplex Member
    I know! It's crazy the amount of interests! I can spend hours just clicking through all the designs.