My Rings Are Gone

Discussion in 'Shapeways Shops' started by wgseligman, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    All of the products that I labeled "Ring" in my shop are now no longer listed. When I go to "My Workshop", I can see the ring models but the "Edit" link is no longer there. Has something changed? Is Shapeways no longer printing rings, was there something wrong with my shop's models (even though I printed them before), or is it something else?
     
  2. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
  3. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    Thanks to this thread, I think I know what's happened. And I am not happy:

    https://www.shapeways.com/forum/t/unfortunate-death-of-manual-customization.96696/

    All of my ring designs allowed the customer to type in their ring size. Since Shapeways no longer allows this type of "co-creator" customization, all of my ring designs have disappeared from my shop.

    I'm white-lipped with fury at this change.

    Shapeways, I know my customers better than you do. My market consists of people who are rampant individualists. If they want a ring whose size is 8 3/4 in US units or N 1/2 in British units, that's the only size they'll accept. An approximate size won't do.

    When a customer placed a co-creator order, I looked over the 3D files I created for that ring. If I'd created a model for that size already, I uploaded it to the co-creator page. If I hadn't, I created a model for that size, uploaded it, then had it available for future orders.

    I know there are other ways of allowing ring size variations in a Shapeways shop, but they require uploading the model for that specific size. A point of pride and marketing for my shop's rings is that I could offer them from US size 4 to 16 in increments of quarter size. To use Shapeways' existing methods, I'd have to create 48 models of each of my rings to restore my shop to its previous functionality.

    Shapeways, I beg you to revert back to the co-creator model. How does a lack of customization benefit your shop owners or your customers?
     
  4. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    Before someone asks: No, I did not receive an email from Shapeways notifying me of this change.
     
  5. bluelinegecko
    bluelinegecko Well-Known Member
    Here is the email they sent me.


    Hello,

    Our records indicate you currently offer a product for sale in your Shapeways shop requiring manual customization by you after it is purchased. On February 26th, we will be removing this feature from the website. This email is to inform you of your options following this change, as well as provide the context for this decision.

    First of all, don’t worry, you can continue to offer your product for sale. The manual customization feature will disappear, however you can use the following tools to assist your customer in creating customized products.

    What are my options?

    Customers will still be able to purchase your manually customized product until February 26th. To continue selling your model after this date, please choose a new way to offer customized versions of your product.

    1. Create Product Variants to automatically offer different variations of a product (For example - preset ring sizes).
    2. Use our Custom Maker tool to allow customers to automatically add text and images to your product.
    3. Allow customers to send you custom requests for products. On your Shop Inventory page, select "edit," and choose "Custom Requests" under the customization section. You can also add information in the product description encouraging customers to reach out to you directly for custom requests.


    If you do nothing your product will be marked “not for sale” on February 26th.

    Why are we doing this?

    The manual customization feature is being removed for two key reasons: 1) this is a very old feature that is becoming extremely difficult to maintain, which was also created before all of the other options listed above, and 2) we have only seen a limited number of shop owners using this feature since it was first offered, compared to other features on the website that have had more significant adoption.

    Every feature on the website requires maintenance. Sometimes it is necessary to remove a feature from the website, so that our engineers are able to focus on supporting features that will bring greater benefit to the community.

    We truly appreciate your understanding regarding this, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused by the change. If you have questions for the team, please feel free to reach out to us.

    Kind regards,

    The Shapeways Team

    service@shapeways.com




    The sad thing is the existing option gave a lot more control and freedom than the inadequate replacement tool their engineers spent time developing.
     
    wgseligman likes this.
  6. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    Thanks, bluelinegecko. It helped me confirm that I never received any such email.

    To add insult to injury, they didn't just mark my rings "Not for sale". They removed the listing entirely, leaving an uneditable stub. The photos, captions, descriptions, and markups were lost. As I slowly recreate the listings, I have to re-upload and recompose the page content. I'm lucky in that I can backtrack some of this information from the corresponding Etsy listings. It's still a tedious process.

    I am not happy. It may be worthwhile for me to look over what other 3D printing companies can do.
     
  7. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    And to add even more insult to injury, the ring sizes in Shapeways' variant options are capped at size 13. As implausible as it may sound to Shapeways, there are folks who want bigger rings. I was willing to supply them, but Shapeways has made it difficult to order them.
     
  8. I work for a company developing a customization software. We want to approach Shapeways to connect with their marketplace designers to offer a REAL customization engine to their customers. Similar to the "Customer Maker" but more responsive and with much more features.

    The first features included in the solution would be:

    1) Change dimensions of certain sections of the part or scale up the whole part
    2) Engrave/emboss text, pictures, etc.
    3) Import 3D scans or photos in the part's environment to change the designs accordingly
    4) Deform certain sections automatically to match the surface of a 3D scan. For example changing size of a wrist bracelet automatically based on a scan, etc.
    5) Measuring tools

    Our product is currently used in the medical industry. The experience is very smooth and robust.

    Would your customers be ready to pay a mark-up to use such a customization engine? If so, how much?
     
  9. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    If you're asking me personally (I do not represent Shapeways in any way), I'd be willing to add about $5-$10 to each item that could be customized in the ways you describe. Bear in mind that, from my perspective, you're offering to add a functionality that I already had before Shapeways removed manual customization at no additional cost.

    However, I'm not a representative case. I only sell about two items a month. There are modelers who have Shapeways shops that sell ten to a hundred times as much as I do.

    My (utterly uninformed) advice is to go ahead and approach Shapeways and see what they say.
     
  10. Thank you for your reply.

    The problem with "free customization" like Shapeways did (or does now) is that it's very hard to justify the engineering investment and therefore functionalities remain low.

    We know very well the Shapeways team, I want to validate with designers before approaching them.
     
  11. wgseligman
    wgseligman Well-Known Member
    From my (very limited) perspective, there was no engineering investment on Shapeways' part. I could offer some customization on my shop page (e.g., engraving a celtic knot on the surface of a ring). If a customer checked that customization radio button, I'd prepare a new model with an engraved celtic knot using my own 3D software and upload the model. I can't do that anymore, at least not in any simple way. The only complexity on the Shapeways end was storing and validating my new, customized model -- which is exactly what they'd do if I uploaded a new model as a new product to fulfill some customer's request.
     
  12. MrNibbles
    MrNibbles Well-Known Member
    My guess is that Shapeways rolls out things with a minimal investment to see if there's a potential of them increasing sales and making more money. If they don't they let them lie fallow or yank them from the site. However that can cause a Catch-22 wherein if the feature is clunky or difficult to use designers may avoid it and the customers may not see much value in it in the first place. You'd likely need to show a lot of value before they would bypass their internal development team.

    Whether it's easy for Shapeways to integrate outside software into their system is another question, as is their ability to afford the software in addition to the cost of integration efforts. They're not exactly IBM or Hewlett Packard. They probably need to take great care to limit loading on their servers and may delay final processing of modified parts relative to the immediate preview that is shown on a customized product page model.

    As far as paying a fee or royalty for any of my customized parts goes I probably wouldn't go for anything like that unless it begins after some threshold of number of prints or income for my shop. I'd also want everything to happen at Shapeways and not have my design file information be outsourced to a 3rd party with the customized designs being returned to Shapeways.