Is it Time to Divorce Cafepress?
Beginning June 1st:We’ll start setting prices in the Marketplace, and Shopkeepers will receive a 10% commission off the final retail prices from all Marketplace sales. This change provides our shoppers with consistent pricing that’s competitive with other online retail stores. It also allows us to better invest in a quality retail experience and continued growth… With the Marketplace, we spend a great deal of resources to drive quality traffic through marketing and search engine marketing.
So now they set the retail price of our designs in their marketplace and we only get 10% of the commission. So as you can see from the above example, they are charging $28 for the same shirt I charge $23.99. Now instead of a $4 commission I am only getting $2.80 and they are getting a $5.20 profit on top of their base $19.99. What’s more, they can undercut our retail price as well encouraging people to buy from the marketplace versus from us, thus causing a loss in commissions as well. In the beginning we figured it would be ok because we would make up the difference in volume as they were updating the search algorithm thus driving more sales. In fact the opposite happened. Sales since June have dropped off considerably in the marketplace.
We spend money on Google Ad Words to drive traffic directly to wacksack.com but being on a limited budget it’s not much and we certainly can’t compete with what a company the size of Cafepress can do. Besides their shear size means they will take up most if not all of the first page of search results. Even when I do a specific search on Google of “cornhole ‘got hole’ tshirt”, you have to go through four pages of mostly Cafepress links to get to one that has WackSack in it. The best analogy of the situation would be renting kiosk space from Walmart but they put you in the back of the store while promoting and selling your products in the front. It’s too hard to compete.
So now we have to make a decision. The first obvious response is to remove the ability of CP to sell our designs in their marketplace. This may move us up in the search rankings. The few sales the marketplace has been making won’t be missed, but we keep holding out hope that the algorithm will finally kick in.
The bigger and more drastic decision is whether or not to drop using Cafepress all together and go with a competitor like Spreadshirt or Zazzle. This is like a divorce because the decision will invariably mean a lot of time, effort and angst. Between work and trying to post a few times a week, my time is limited as it is. The thought of redoing all those countless hours to remake our site somewhere else is not something we are looking forward to.
I know there are webcomic writers that host their own stores. Do you use a Print on Demand service? Which one? Good and Bad?
Follow me via TWITTER updates. or you can share this cartoon by clicking one of the below.