CafePress has always been very restrictive in terms of what it allows/disallows on its message boards, so it's not surprising that they're quashing discussions on certain topics. One of those topics is the case of the mysterious disappearing shop sales.
If you're not a CafePress shopkeeper you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Briefly, CafePress has two distinct parts, its marketplace and each individual shop. The individual shops are where the products in the marketplace come from. Before June 2009, regardless of whether a product was purchased in a shop or in the marketplace, the price was the same--it was set by the shopkeeper who created it. Then CafePress instituted their devastating "10% commission" policy in which products sold via the marketplace would have prices set by CafePress, and the creator of the design would only receive 10% of the selling price. Products sold via shops would sell at the creator's price and they would receive their full commission.
Okay, so here's the deal: Since June 2009, MANY of us have experienced an inexplicable, nearly complete halt of shop sales. This applies to shopkeepers who are still in the marketplace and those of us who pulled out. Suddenly, after years [for some of us] of making regular sales straight from our shops, they're now virtually nonexistent.
Shopkeepers who are still in the marketplace may note greatly increased sales--all of which are via the marketplace--although their profit is a fraction of what it should be, while simultaneously seeing no shop sales whatsoever. Shopkeepers who pulled out of the marketplace may see no shop sales at all, or perhaps an occasional one or two. This is in stark contrast to how it used to be--back before the 10% commission change.
So what happened? Why is it that even though we're getting hits to our shops, even though our stats show people landing at our web sites searching for merchandise we have and then proceeding to said merchandise in our CafePress shops, we're not getting (m)any sales? Keep in mind that prior to the commission change in June many of us had a fair amount of shop vs marketplace sales, and now there are virtually none. Or so it seems...
Writing this on the CafePress forums would result in a swift editing or deleting job from the mods, although a few people have tried. Basically, here's what I--and many others--think: The shop sales ARE still happening. We're just not being told about them. Or credited for them.
Think about it. For years and years we all had lots of shop sales. Last June CP changes its commission policy in the marketplace and suddenly, inexplicably, shop sales go down the toilet--in spite of the fact that our stats confirm that people are arriving at our shops. Weird, huh?
There's more, too. Many of us have noticed "abandoned shopping carts," i.e., we can see movement through our shops via our site logs culminating with a purchase, but then the purchase never materializes. Over the years we've gotten used to seeing the occasional "abandoned shopping cart," which we've chalked up to someone changing their mind or whatever before completing the sale. But, overwhelmingly, when we'd see a line like this in our logs:
a "You made a sale at CafePress.com!" e-mail was sure to follow in short order. Now? Not so much. So what happened?
If you're a CafePress shopkeeper and you're experiencing the same dramatic, inexplicable disappearance of shop sales since the 10% commission change went into effect, feel free to post a comment. You KNOW you can't speak freely about this at CafePress!