Sales Dramatically Decreasing Every Year 2 pages: [1] 2
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 6:34:31 AM
I haven't posted anything in a while nor have I been keeping up to date with any new developments with zazzle, so I would love some insight on this situation.

Since 2015, my total annual sales have decreased dramatically each year despite regularly uploading new designs and creating new products. I'm not sure what's going on here. View counts are much lower too.

My total earnings for 2017 were half of that of 2016's, and sales have continued to drop.

I used to see a huge rise in sales during holiday seasons. Not the case in recent years.

At this rate, my earnings will be at the level where I first started. Not a good sign.

My 3 stores have a zRank of 4, 2 and 1. I've read stories of people's zranks dropping even lower despite following the guidelines. Does zrank affect your placing in the marketplace?

Can somebody explain why this is happening?
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:07:14 AM
If you haven't been regularly checking your products or Zazzle policies you may not be aware that they hide products that haven't had a view in over 15 months. They call this MPO (marketplace optimization)

you may need to check your hidden products in the back end sort and see what is in there. Some of your old bestsellers might be in there even though sold items are not supposed to get hidden, but the algorithm doesn't always work correctly and lately some people have been finding their sold items in the hidden category.

This could be part of why your sales have dropped.

There are too many other possible reasons for me to speculate about so I will stop here and maybe others will add something I didn't think of.

Adding: here is an active thread talking about the MPO hidden products that might be helpful to you.

https://forum.zazzle.com/feedback/can_the_automatic_hidden_products_stop

and the official announcement about it from Zazzle


https://help.zazzle.com/hc/en-us/articles/223160488-Marketplace-Optimization
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:21:06 AM
Matt wrote:
I haven't posted anything in a while nor have I been keeping up to date with any new developments with zazzle, so I would love some insight on this situation.

Since 2015, my total annual sales have decreased dramatically each year despite regularly uploading new designs and creating new products. I'm not sure what's going on here. View counts are much lower too.

My total earnings for 2017 were half of that of 2016's, and sales have continued to drop.

I used to see a huge rise in sales during holiday seasons. Not the case in recent years.

At this rate, my earnings will be at the level where I first started. Not a good sign.

Mine dropped precipitously after 2015, to the point where I'm making way less than when I started.

But other designers are reporting that they're having great success. So what has changed since 2015 to reward some so richly, while others find it barely worth bothering anymore?

Plenty, and we could speculate about possible causes (zRank, being told to delete non-performing products, with a knock-on effect for affiliates who have to deal with broken links on their sites, the introduction of APO/MPO, interface changes such as template fields no longer being displayed on the product page, changes to the design tool, changes to search, etc. etc. etc.), but what will it avail?

Nothing. We can try to adapt, but it's like swimming in the deep at night, blindfolded, on an overcast, moonless night.

Matt wrote:
My 3 stores have a zRank of 4, 2 and 1. I've read stories of people's zranks dropping even lower despite following the guidelines. Does zrank affect your placing in the marketplace?

The guidelines indicate it could, but I don't think Zazzle has ever announced that they've implemented the use of zRank to determine whether products appear in their marketplace. In fact, we have the equivalent of radio silence from them on the topic of zRank.

We've basically been told that the vast majority of designers are happy.

Advice? Not that I can guarantee it will work, but revisit your titles/descriptions/tags. Promote your work outside Zazzle if you're so inclined. Personally, I don't look upon Zazzle as helping me sell my art. I view it merely as a place for people to merchandise their art, with tools to aid promotion. Getting it sold is mostly on us.
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:06:28 PM
My sales went down last year and this year only one sale so far, that's way worse than last year in January!
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:41:33 PM
My sales are increasing every year (ie. things are improving) ... but I think this correlates with my uploading more designs, un-hiding products, promoting*, etc.

*Although, personally, I question how much my promoting efforts on Pinterest has to do with increase in sales because on Pinterest, I can see for all of my pins, how many views and clicks I get. I get decent views but very few clicks.
Also, I see a lot of my purchases are from 3rd party referrals so I'm wondering what these 3rd parties are. Maybe other people doing affiliate marketing with some of my products?
Perhaps Google search results? I dunno.

I just checked on the back end. In 2018 I made 80 sales. Most of the royalties were pretty low though.

This year-to-date I made 4 sales so far. Nothing major but way better than maybe 2017 and prior.
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:22:35 PM
TerriKJones wrote:
Also, I see a lot of my purchases are from 3rd party referrals so I'm wondering what these 3rd parties are. Maybe other people doing affiliate marketing with some of my products?

Could be. Could also be Zazzle themselves, since they have their own referral codes.
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:34:36 PM
I wish they would show us specifically who the 3rd Party is.
Like:

3rd Party - Google search
3rd Party - Pinterest
3rd Party - Blogspot (whoever.blogspot.com)
3rd Party - Website (affiliatezazzlesite.com)

etc.

I think it would help us steer ourselves in the right direction when it comes to where to focus our promotional efforts. I could be spending hours/week promoting on Pinterest when really, most of my 3rd party referrals are coming some other source.
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 8:58:58 AM
You went with super duper niche. Products for a web series. Eeek. If all your fans bought your merch, then who's left to buy it?
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 9:39:09 AM
TerriKJones wrote:
I wish they would show us specifically who the 3rd Party is.
Like:

3rd Party - Google search
3rd Party - Pinterest
3rd Party - Blogspot (whoever.blogspot.com)
3rd Party - Website (affiliatezazzlesite.com)

etc.

I think it would help us steer ourselves in the right direction when it comes to where to focus our promotional efforts. I could be spending hours/week promoting on Pinterest when really, most of my 3rd party referrals are coming some other source.


Part of what you seem to be after is exactly the reason that Z allows for tracking codes on links. I can tell where my referrals come from because I use unique tracking codes for each place.
So, for exampe, if I'm pinning I use a tracking code for the Pinterest board I'm pinning it in.
It won't help with, say, Google search when they go straight to my product and buy, however you seem to be talking about your promoting efforts. And that's what tracking codes are for.
Read more about them here: https://niftytoolz.com/npcp/nifty-promo-control-panel-faq.html
It's in the beginners section. I hope it helps Smile
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 10:12:39 AM
There seems to be some confusion, so just to make things super clear:

"3rd Party" always refers to someone else referring our product, not to our own promotional efforts. If we refer our own product, it shows up as "Self".

Knowing the site where a third party's referrals came from doesn't necessarily tell you all that much.

Maybe that referrer already has such an established presence that they attract traffic you wouldn't see for you own posts, if you're just starting out there.

While it indicates someone on that site was interested in your products, there are bigger questions of "how many people", "who are they", and "how do you appeal to them, yourself?"

It probably can't hurt to try. Just saying expectations should be tempered, realizing there are some big unknowns in the equation.
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 11:26:42 AM
Fuzzy Felosarix wrote:
There seems to be some confusion, so just to make things super clear:

"3rd Party" always refers to someone else referring our product, not to our own promotional efforts. If we refer our own product, it shows up as "Self".

Knowing the site where a third party's referrals came from doesn't necessarily tell you all that much.

Maybe that referrer already has such an established presence that they attract traffic you wouldn't see for you own posts, if you're just starting out there.

While it indicates someone on that site was interested in your products, there are bigger questions of "how many people", "who are they", and "how do you appeal to them, yourself?"

It probably can't hurt to try. Just saying expectations should be tempered, realizing there are some big unknowns in the equation.

Great points, well made Smile
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 1:46:11 PM
you can also see the tracking codes from 3rd party sales on the email notifications you get from Zazzle when your product ships. If there was a tracking code attached it will be clearly visible as

tc=whateverthetrackingcodewas

if it looks like this... tc=EMCJANUARYSAVEZ then you know for sure it was Zazzle that was the 3rd party and your sale came through an email link. EMC stands for email campaign.

some codes look like this tc=BF75JIO87PBMDKf638HUROWB randomly generated by a code generator and while I can't prove it I suspect these are also Zazzle tracking codes.
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 2:43:03 PM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
you can also see the tracking codes from 3rd party sales on the email notifications you get from Zazzle when your product ships. If there was a tracking code attached it will be clearly visible as

tc=whateverthetrackingcodewas

if it looks like this... tc=EMCJANUARYSAVEZ then you know for sure it was Zazzle that was the 3rd party and your sale came through an email link. EMC stands for email campaign.

some codes look like this tc=BF75JIO87PBMDKf638HUROWB randomly generated by a code generator and while I can't prove it I suspect these are also Zazzle tracking codes.


I guess I should pay closer attention to those emails. (they are far between so I will probably forget though!Laughing ) Thanks for the tips!
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 3:01:00 PM
MelroseOriginals wrote:
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
you can also see the tracking codes from 3rd party sales on the email notifications you get from Zazzle when your product ships. If there was a tracking code attached it will be clearly visible as

tc=whateverthetrackingcodewas

if it looks like this... tc=EMCJANUARYSAVEZ then you know for sure it was Zazzle that was the 3rd party and your sale came through an email link. EMC stands for email campaign.

some codes look like this tc=BF75JIO87PBMDKf638HUROWB randomly generated by a code generator and while I can't prove it I suspect these are also Zazzle tracking codes.


I guess I should pay closer attention to those emails. (they are far between so I will probably forget though!Laughing ) Thanks for the tips!


your welcome! every so often I run a search for all Zazzle emails in my boxes then I save them to a Zfolder I made. I am also looking for my own tracking codes. This is how I notice them so much and I get the random generated ones quite often sometimes the same ones over and over.

It is possible that this is a normal affiliate too but I can't see many of them using code generators. I could be wrong though.
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 7:52:51 PM
HightonRidley wrote:
TerriKJones wrote:
I wish they would show us specifically who the 3rd Party is.
Like:

3rd Party - Google search
3rd Party - Pinterest
3rd Party - Blogspot (whoever.blogspot.com)
3rd Party - Website (affiliatezazzlesite.com)

etc.

I think it would help us steer ourselves in the right direction when it comes to where to focus our promotional efforts. I could be spending hours/week promoting on Pinterest when really, most of my 3rd party referrals are coming some other source.


Part of what you seem to be after is exactly the reason that Z allows for tracking codes on links. I can tell where my referrals come from because I use unique tracking codes for each place.


Yes, I know about that.
I mean when someone ELSE links to one of my products somewhere, I'd like to know where they are posting my items exactly. Like is it Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? It'll just say 3rd Party.
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 6:00:19 AM
PunHouse wrote:
You went with super duper niche. Products for a web series. Eeek. If all your fans bought your merch, then who's left to buy it?


Yeah, I am wondering if something behind the scenes is effecting his sales because I went to look at his stores yesterday - he said he has three - but only one (WokSeries with 30-some products) shows up on his Stores tab. But if you go to the Products or Collections tab instead, then you see all his strength-training related products. Whatever store houses those products doesn't show up. I don't know, maybe he's accidentally hidden his main store and people aren't seeing those products in the marketplace?
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 7:36:34 AM
ColeenZ wrote:
PunHouse wrote:
You went with super duper niche. Products for a web series. Eeek. If all your fans bought your merch, then who's left to buy it?


Yeah, I am wondering if something behind the scenes is effecting his sales because I went to look at his stores yesterday - he said he has three - but only one (WokSeries with 30-some products) shows up on his Stores tab. But if you go to the Products or Collections tab instead, then you see all his strength-training related products. Whatever store houses those products doesn't show up. I don't know, maybe he's accidentally hidden his main store and people aren't seeing those products in the marketplace?


I've been unhiding all of my products. Seems like my products get hidden everyday. Am I negatively affecting things by unhiding everything all the time?

There was a time where I did follow all of zazzle's zrank guidelines, but it didn't seem to help much.

Most of my sales came from my fitness store and that's where most of my focus has been since I started working with zazzle. The other stores were just side projects and I don't rely on them.

I've definitely seen a huge decrease in 3rd party sales as well.

Some of my products used to show up on the first page when searching under my fitness niche, but now I can't find any.
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 11:23:09 AM
Matt wrote:
ColeenZ wrote:
PunHouse wrote:
You went with super duper niche. Products for a web series. Eeek. If all your fans bought your merch, then who's left to buy it?


Yeah, I am wondering if something behind the scenes is effecting his sales because I went to look at his stores yesterday - he said he has three - but only one (WokSeries with 30-some products) shows up on his Stores tab. But if you go to the Products or Collections tab instead, then you see all his strength-training related products. Whatever store houses those products doesn't show up. I don't know, maybe he's accidentally hidden his main store and people aren't seeing those products in the marketplace?


I've been unhiding all of my products. Seems like my products get hidden everyday. Am I negatively affecting things by unhiding everything all the time?

There was a time where I did follow all of zazzle's zrank guidelines, but it didn't seem to help much.

Most of my sales came from my fitness store and that's where most of my focus has been since I started working with zazzle. The other stores were just side projects and I don't rely on them.

I've definitely seen a huge decrease in 3rd party sales as well.

Some of my products used to show up on the first page when searching under my fitness niche, but now I can't find any.


As Coleenz said above, I also can only see one of your stores... WokSeries so I am also wondering if you have your other two set to private by mistake?

Go into your store management settings and see if your stores are all set to public or not and if they are then I would contact Zazzle pro designer support to see why the public can't see them.

reference this thread...


ETA: this might not mean that the products are not in the public marketplace though but your stores are not showing on your stores tab on your profile page.
Good luck.
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 11:38:12 AM
Matt wrote:
I've been unhiding all of my products. Seems like my products get hidden everyday.


@Matt Just 'unhiding' products won't prevent them from getting hidden again. You either have to literally view the product pages of the product that are hidden, or change something up in the tag words or description.

By the way Matt, good to see you again on the forum!
I remember the sales numbers you'd post and envied you often. Now I'm up there too Smile
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 6:09:07 PM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
Matt wrote:
ColeenZ wrote:
PunHouse wrote:
You went with super duper niche. Products for a web series. Eeek. If all your fans bought your merch, then who's left to buy it?


Yeah, I am wondering if something behind the scenes is effecting his sales because I went to look at his stores yesterday - he said he has three - but only one (WokSeries with 30-some products) shows up on his Stores tab. But if you go to the Products or Collections tab instead, then you see all his strength-training related products. Whatever store houses those products doesn't show up. I don't know, maybe he's accidentally hidden his main store and people aren't seeing those products in the marketplace?


I've been unhiding all of my products. Seems like my products get hidden everyday. Am I negatively affecting things by unhiding everything all the time?

There was a time where I did follow all of zazzle's zrank guidelines, but it didn't seem to help much.

Most of my sales came from my fitness store and that's where most of my focus has been since I started working with zazzle. The other stores were just side projects and I don't rely on them.

I've definitely seen a huge decrease in 3rd party sales as well.

Some of my products used to show up on the first page when searching under my fitness niche, but now I can't find any.


As Coleenz said above, I also can only see one of your stores... WokSeries so I am also wondering if you have your other two set to private by mistake?

Go into your store management settings and see if your stores are all set to public or not and if they are then I would contact Zazzle pro designer support to see why the public can't see them.

reference this thread...


ETA: this might not mean that the products are not in the public marketplace though but your stores are not showing on your stores tab on your profile page.
Good luck.


Ah. I've never thought to check my actual profile. I've always been focused on design upload and product creation.

None of my stores are set to private, so I'm not sure why my other stores aren't showing. I can still find my products in the marketplace though. New products show up when I filter by "newest".

I'm so out of touch with the other aspects of zazzle, I have no idea how to contact Zazzle pro designer support lol. Is there an email or a contact form? because I can't find it anywhere on the website.
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 6:09:51 PM
ArtAttic wrote:
Matt wrote:
I've been unhiding all of my products. Seems like my products get hidden everyday.


@Matt Just 'unhiding' products won't prevent them from getting hidden again. You either have to literally view the product pages of the product that are hidden, or change something up in the tag words or description.

By the way Matt, good to see you again on the forum!
I remember the sales numbers you'd post and envied you often. Now I'm up there too Smile


I'm glad your number have increased! Seems like the opposite is happening to me lol
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 7:19:48 PM
I usually just contact them through the help link at the bottom of the front page. There is a section for designers.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 8:00:39 PM
Matt wrote:
I'm glad your number have increased! Seems like the opposite is happening to me lol


You'll get the hang of things again I'm sure Smile
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 8:05:21 PM
@Matt

If you go to your profile page, and then to 'settings', go to advanced settings and see if you have the stores that you want to have public are checked. If you don't have your stores v-checked there, they won't show up.

Don't know if you have done that yet or not, it's just a suggestion.
Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2019 3:50:25 AM
ArtAttic wrote:
@Matt

If you go to your profile page, and then to 'settings', go to advanced settings and see if you have the stores that you want to have public are checked. If you don't have your stores v-checked there, they won't show up.

Don't know if you have done that yet or not, it's just a suggestion.


Ah! that fixed it. Thanks! Grin
Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2019 4:53:48 AM
Could it be due to my high royalty rates?
Are we punished for having too high of a percentage?

It's possible that my keywords are also no longer effective. Have the search algorithms changed? Do my keywords need to be more specific?
Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2019 5:30:13 AM
Matt wrote:
Could it be due to my high royalty rates?
Are we punished for having too high of a percentage?


They really don't want us to go above 14.9% although some do. I don't know what the penalty is but it could be a factor if you are 15% or higher.

Quote:
It's possible that my keywords are also no longer effective. Have the search algorithms changed? Do my keywords need to be more specific?



I don't know if they changed the algorithm but the way searches are presented on department pages has changed. The customer now has the option of cycling through many different products using the same search and they now have a much easier time applying filters.


You made ProGold so you presumably have a good ratio of sold to unsold products. However, if you haven't done anything to your store other than adding new products/designs it is also possible that some of the products you originally sold have been discontinued or are sold out (and have been for a long time) and those are dragging you down. I think it's a good idea to take advantage of the back end filtering options and choose a visibility option of "discontinued" and then "hidden". I have found that sometimes when something is discontinued or out of stock, it's only one option rather than the product as a whole. You can change options by editing the product merchandising and then choosing an option that isn't discontinued or out of stock. If you have a lot of legacy products, this may be what's dragging you down.


I went to your store physicalculture. Since the theme is working out, I had a hunch you would have lots of water bottles and that many would be sold out. So I filtered down and yup..... lots of your water bottles are out of stock. In most cases it's just a particular size or color (that you originally chose) that is out of stock. Customers can now filter by size so once they realized a particular size is out of stock they may simply filter it out and thus never see yours and realize they could have changed the size themselves (which would lead to a drop in views).


I don't know if Zrank is affected by having a high number of out of stock products, but if so it's worth taking the time (which will be lengthy) to edit the product merchandising to a color/size/model that is in stock wherever possible.
Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2019 9:57:44 AM
Quote:
I'm so out of touch with the other aspects of zazzle, I have no idea how to contact Zazzle pro designer support lol. Is there an email or a contact form? because I can't find it anywhere on the website.


matt

the email addy for pro support is

prodesignersupport @ zazzle.com (no spaces)

good to see you back!

- marcia s.
SocolikCardShop
Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2019 11:41:00 AM
marcia s. wrote:
Quote:
I'm so out of touch with the other aspects of zazzle, I have no idea how to contact Zazzle pro designer support lol. Is there an email or a contact form? because I can't find it anywhere on the website.


matt

the email addy for pro support is...

- marcia s.
SocolikCardShop

This is a non-pro forum. I doubt Zazzle wants to suddenly get bombarded with email about all sorts of things.
Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2019 12:18:34 PM
Susannah Keegan wrote:
They really don't want us to go above 14.9% although some do. I don't know what the penalty is but it could be a factor if you are 15% or higher.


I'm sorry for budging in here Susannah, I know your advice is always well meant, but ^that is a misunderstanding. I don't mean to disregard or offend you in any way, but here are my two cents for whoever is interested in it...

never and nowhere has Zazzle ever stated such a thing as them not wanting to go above 14.9% royalty. The only thing with the 14.9% royalty setting is that Zazzle will not take a processing fee from your sales. It also has been said in the past that products with higher royalty rates than 14.9% have a slimmer chance of being featured. Slimmer chance does not mean no chance. I know from experience that products with a higher royalty rate also have a chance of being featured. Something that disputes the statement of 'penalty' for a higher royalty rate as well.

There is no punishment for a higher royalty rate other than the possibility of a customer choosing another designer's product with a lower price setting over yours. But that also would indicate that another designer's product would have to show up in the customer's search for a certain product together with yours. Which in turn means that the other designer's product has to have just as good of a title, description, and tag words as yours in order to show up in the same search as your higher royalty rate set product.

Not just 'some' designers have a higher royalty setting than 14.9%, a lot of designers do. I have my default royalty set to 21%, my stores have a zRank 3, 4, 5, or 6. And my sales amount is going up and up. So far my January sales this year have an increase of 78% over last year. I see designers on the forum who have higher zRanks than I do, and yet hardly any sales. zRank is not holy... good titles, descriptions, and tag words are.

Zazzle keeps telling designers about the importance of product titles, description, and tag words. I work on those every day, and with every new product I send to the MP, I choose all those carefully and make as much use of the options given to do so. With the right title, a correctly well-written description (instead of just 'cute t-shirt with red cat'), and properly chosen keywords one can sell a turd on Zazzle in a matter of speaking. Of course, it would need to be a customer's desire to buy one, but that's beside the point.

I hardly promote outside of Zazzle. I have a Pinterest account but hardly pin anything. I have in the far past, but now I pretty much only pin the number of products required for the 100% store completion. I have no time to concern myself with social media promoting. I wish, because I then might make more sales than I do now. But I'm too busy having fun with designing and working on the visibility of my designs in the Zazzle MP.

Title, description, tag-words... title, description, tag-words... lather, rinse repeat! A fantastic design won't get anywhere without them. Your design may be the next Van Gogh, but if it's not findable in the MP because of lagging title, description, or keywords, it won't get sold.

Done rambling, dogs want to go outside and then I'm back to the drawing board. Hope my babbling will be useful Smile
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