Thursday, April 23, 2009

CafePress -ing shopkeepers for profits

Cafepress , one of the largest online design & sell shops, has suddenly changed selling tactics. Along with establishing the price points in their own marketplace (creating a conflict with their own merchants), the final payout for shopkeepers will be a mere 10% commission.

With shops like Zazzle around, why would associates stay with CafePress? Do you think they are cutting their own throat or really looking out for everyone? Please chime in if you are currently selling, and whether you are staying or going.

Dear Shopkeeper,

The CafePress Marketplace launched four years ago as a way to showcase Shopkeeper designs to a broader online retail audience. Since then our catalogue has grown to over 300 million products, and each month over 11 million shoppers visit CafePress to find unique and expressive products.

While our Marketplace growth has benefitted many Shopkeepers, others have seen commissions flatten or decline as the Marketplace becomes more saturated with redundant content. It is clear to us that to continue growing our Marketplace, we need to deliver a higher-quality shopping experience to customers, continue to invest in customer acquisition, and maximize conversion.

To do this we're making two key changes:

Beginning today: We'll be making changes in our search platform and algorithm to ensure we're better delivering the designs and merchandise shoppers are looking for. This includes bringing the best designs to the front, and reducing redundant designs.

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.

These changes DO NOT impact the pricing, markup, or sales you are driving in your own shops. By separating our Marketplace pricing from the prices you set in your shops, we're able to preserve shop base pricing and continue to support Shopkeepers who drive their own sales.

We recognize that the implications of this strategic shift are significant and will affect Shopkeepers who sell designs in the Marketplace in different ways. The purpose of this email is to inform you of changes, and to help you understand how this will improve the overall retail customer experience at CafePress and help us ensure continued growth.

How these changes may impact you:

As with any decision that impacts our Shopkeepers, these changes were made only after careful consideration.

For some Shopkeepers, the impact will be on the upside as their designs receive more premium placement due to algorithm changes. Others may see no change or a decline in their commissions due to the new set pricing and commission structure. The first check you'll see based on the new 10% commission structure will arrive in August (for June sales).

We've posted complete details and a list of FAQs of these changes.

On June 1, 2009 the current Shopkeeper Agreement, Shop Services, and Pricing Policy will change to reflect the new changes to the CafePress Marketplace. The major changes are to the Shop Services and Pricing Policy. You can review the new Seller Services (currently Shop Services) and Shop Pricing Policy (currently Pricing Policy).

If you have questions, please email us at Depending on the questions, we'll either answer them directly or publicly at the Shopkeepers News & Announcements page.


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