Couple of months ago I read the article ‘An Open Letter to Shapeways and i.materialise: Please fix your Stores!’ by PAULINA PEREPELKIN, Aug 28, 2013, 3D Printing Industry. The author talked about some of the issues that users face with Shapeways and i.materialis. The one that impressed me most was the problem with poor sales performance of some of the designers selling through Shapeways. It was explained with the very large number of 3D printing models available there. That scared me a bit. I was thinking that Threeding may have the same issue although the number of models we offer is much lower. So, I started thinking what the guys from Shapeways are doing wrong and how can we avoid it.
After hours of brainstorming, my conclusion was (and it still is) that Shapeways is not doing anything wrong. Platforms like Shapeways and Threeding are marketplaces that facilitate designers to sell their 3D printing models (physically or digitally). Imagine a shopping mall with a lot of stores in. The shopping mall owner is responsible for bringing people in the building and then it is up to the store owners to convince the crowd to enter their stores and spend money in. The same goes with the 3D printing marketplaces. The owner of the 3D printing marketplace has to bring visitors and to facilitate a stable platform. Then the sellers should work to advertise their models (just like the store owner in a shopping mall). My point is that you cannot upload a model and just sit and wait the revenue to come up. It doesn’t work that way: a proactive behavior of the seller is crucial for success.
So, I decided to write some simple tip for our users to get better sales via Threeding.com:
1. Upload attractive 3D printing models. The models can be either art (for decoration) or useful stuff that people can use. Don’t expect to sell something that is crap or totally useless. Question yourself first: “Would I buy this one?”
2. Use social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. For your convenience, we have put share links on the right side of the screen next to each of your models. The social networks are very powerful tool for bring visitors flow to your 3D printing models, so use them as often as you can. Don’t forget to put as many hashtags as possible, including #3dprinting #3dprinter #3dprint.
3. Write about your models in online forums and blogs. This will also bring you a good flow.
4. Try to convince website such as 3D Printing Industry, 3D to publish article about your work.
So, those are the main things you need to do. I hope you find them useful.
Visit http://www.shapeways.com/ for quality 3D printing.
Co-founder of Threeding.com