In this tutorial, we'll run you through how to merchandise for your Shapeways shop, featuring your 3D printed products.
Merchandising is the activity of promoting products, particularly by visual presentation. In other words, telling a story via products and other visuals. In traditional retail, this feels like a more obvious task with shelves, mannequins, display cases, etc. But in today's ecommerce world, there's still plenty of opportunities available for online retail merchandising to be just as effective. Once you've decided what to design, let's start setting up shop!
Branding Your Shop
While setting up your shop, you've seen which merchandising spaces are available to you. Shop name, descriptions, banner, shop logo - all of these are great ways to merchandise your shop.
For the visual assets (logo, banner and products), see how they all flow together. If creating a logo isn't your thing, maybe choose a product that best defines your shop. If your shop is filled with dice, there's no reason a photo of die or dice is not as effective as a nicely designed logo! Avatars show up in shop search, so can serve as a first impression. If anything, have it serve as a placeholder until you do find a great logo, as to not leave that space blank. Here are a few great examples of different branding ideas:
Banners are a nice intro to your brand as well; they take up a lot of real estate at the top of the page (if nothing is uploaded, the space is not taken (rather everything is shifted up). Think of it as an invite to your shop. The more connected to the logo, the better, as all these elements together make your shop and brand look more complete, and therefore more trustworthy to purchase from.
Products still count as visual merchandising! It's easy to only think about branding as logos and colors, but product placement is just as important. You have the ability to order your products in your shop. Order products with photos first. If possible, populate your shop with as few renders as possible. If you do keep renders in your shop, make sure to position them well so that customers get the best idea they can about what the product is. Photography can play a big part in the product sales, but think of your shop as your collection. Take a step back and look at everything together. How do the products looks next to each other; do the default photos look nice all together? Are you going for a minimalistic theme? Go for all white background default photos. Want a bit more flare? Make sure default photos have complimentary backgrounds if they aren't all the same.
Shop descriptions are a nice place to tell your customers a little bit about yourself and/or brand. Currently the "Description" shows up on along the left side of your products, and is best kept short and sweet. This description shows up in Shop Search, so, like your logo, is like a first impression. The "Extended Description" shows up below you banner, and is optional. If you feel you need to say more about your brand, specifically, this is a great space to add a few more sentences. Think of how it fits with your banner, and how to keep it short.
Shop Sections offer the opportunity to organize your shop. It allows customers to shop by category within your shop, which can result in more browsing (which is good!) and ideally gives the customer the ability to drill down to find exactly what they want. We've recently updated shop sections, allowing you to sort (as opposed to forcing alphabetical ordering) how you want!
Once you've added all of your assets, a great next step is adding Google Analytics to your shop. The data will give you insights to customer behavior, most popular products, how many views your shop is getting, etc. From here, you can start experimenting with assets to see what works best to get the most sales!