Monday, July 02, 2007

Basic Shop Potential

Elise asks:

"I was wondering, do you think if I market my basic shops really well... Would they potentially earn as much as a premium shop? Why or why not?"

Here is what I think. It would be possible, but extremely tough. The only way of succeeding at it I can think of is having an external website that would bind all the basics together in one place. In that case, you'd need a web domain, web hosting, CPShop and a lot of time and effort invested into marketing to pull it off.

In theory, it could work. In real life... I doubt it.

Why not? Here is a list:
  • No matter what your premium shop looks like, it will look better than a basic shop. All basic shops look the same. Premium shops look more professional and can be personalized to make a better impression on shoppers.
  • The SEO for basic shops is extremely limited. Premium shops have just a few limitations in that respect. In a premium shop more can be done for SEO than any of us will ever have time to do.
  • Variety. A basic shop can only offer one product type at a time, the choice is very limited. In a premium you have many different designs in one place. I have people staying half an hour or longer in my premium shops, looking around and ending up buying multiple items. On numerous occasions, people come searching for one thing and end up buying something different after looking around. You don't get that with basic shops.
  • Efficiency. In a premium shop you can have a hidden section with all available products in it, with the prices set, designs well adjusted on the products and the products arranged as you please in whichever order you want to put them. When you create a new design you can just import that hidden section into a new section, do a bulk change of the image, do a bulk description and a bulk title change, delete products that are not needed and you are done. That saves loads of time. You can have a design up in a section and looking great in less than 10 minutes or less if you have a good hidden template section. Premium shop saves time all around and leaves you more time to do other stuff.
  • Limitations. In a premium shop you can create a section with many items of a single product. There are even whole shops with just one products as SagArt's clock shop, for example. Can't do that with a basic shop. You can make as many sections and add as many designs to a premium shop. No limitations at all. That gives you a lot of freedom that you don't get with basic shops.
  • Easy price setting. You can do bulk price changes. It gives you the freedom to experiment, offer short time sales of certain products, etc. without having to spend hours changing the prices.
  • Marketing. It's much easier
I could go on and on. The truth is, whatever you can do with basic shops, you can do it many times better with a premium. You can make money with basic shops, I have. You can make a lot more money with premium shops. Even my smallest, very much neglected premium shop, with hardly any designs in it makes more money than my 70+ basic shops together. Sixty bucks a year is a small price to pay for what you get with a premium shop.

It's only my opinion, but if one is serious about CafePress, wants to earn money and is ready to invest time and effort into it, a premium shop is a must.

Hope I answered your question, Elise.

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