If this doesn't affect you, then shame on you for not including this basic marketing tactic for increasing sales in your store. It is/was an easy way to double and sometimes triple a sale.
That will be gone now along with the increased sales it brought.
You can read the Zazzle announcement here.
In short, starting on March 4th, you will no longer be able to add html to a description. On March 23rd, Zazzle will forcibly strip any html in the description field.
For us and a great number of Zazzlers, this means trashing cumulative weeks, usually months, worth of work that was done based on Zazzle's recommendation just a short year ago.
Many feel disrespected. Our cheeks are stinging. How about your's?
If you can not count on what Zazzle says yesterday, how can you place any value in what they say today?
What they are saying today is that you should forget about the proven value of links in the description and rely on including a Collection on your product page. See more information on this in their blog.
Zazzle wants you to think that their Collection tactic will be an equal or stronger selling tool. Here is why it is not:
- The six product Collection shows up after the description in the second, sometimes third, reveal. This is a rarely seen part of the product page. Of any web page. The description shows up on the first reveal, which is the end point for including important information you want seen. Basic webmaster stuff.
- Six is not a magic number except to Zazzle. A link in the description could take customers to one product or one of your store category with many products. Flexibility based on your individual store, design and marketing needs is gone. One size fits everybody . . . noobies to end gamers.
- This new presentation of a Collection on the product page is just one more thing to go wrong. Been in the forum lately? There are countless posts of some of the most basic Zazzle features that are not only broken but have been for months. The big problem right now are the endless reCAPCHAs. Want to revise your descriptions to remove html? Be prepared to fill out two sometimes three reCAPCHAs. Quick create has been unusable for several months. We tried the new collection feature on six of our products. Sometimes the Collection appeared, sometimes not. Sometimes all products show, sometimes not. Already broken.
Zazzle is trashing an incredible number of hours of your work by deleting this Zazzle recommended description html and asking you to re-invest another vast amount of time. How long will it take you to review all your product descriptions that have/had html links? How long to then create a six product Collection with a headline and copy for each set of six products? Don't forget to add in the extra reCAPCHAs in your time calculations.
You should notice that there is a two to three week window of time in which no new html can be added to product description but existing html will continue to work producing views and sales. Essentially, these great many hours of html work are being "grandfathered-in" for this time frame.
This has been our compromise solution to Zazzle . . . permanently grandfather-in existing html. Make the change and disallow html going forward but keep existing html links working. It could not be easier for Zazzle . . . just don't do something. We think this to be fair and equitable. Afterall, most of us put these links in the description at Zazzle's urging.
It's been over 24 hours since we made that suggestion in two of the Zazzle forums. No response or even acknowledgment from Zazzle.
Our Plan Going Forward or Is It Backward
Like many of you, we have too much invested with Zazzle to trash it. No doubt Zazzle is counting on that.
And frankly, this change is not as bad as the money grab CafePress made sometime back in which they significantly reduced and restricted royalty rates, ::Jinx:: sending a great many CPers to Zazzle.
However, Zazzle's credibility is gone with us. We are reluctant to invest our time at the same rate as we have done for the past almost nine years.
We fully expect that a year from now there will be some reason that any and all work on Collections will be removed or changed to our detriment. We also expect to see other changes within the year that will again cause us to re-evaluate.
- We will not be going through our thousands of products with html links to remove the code. Zazzle said they would do that. We will be quite surprised if that actually works as advertised. The forum will be filled with all the auto-strip complaints on March 24th.
- We will focus on our top selling products. In these we will revise the descriptive copy and create Collections. This will be done on a seasonal basis. Thus, our Christmas products won't see anything happening until September/October.
- The other 80% of our products will be updated either when they make their first sale or when we get to the bottom of our to do list. We never get to the bottom of our to do list.
- We will significantly scale back product creation because it is time intensive and because our primary tool, QC, has been broken for months. Zazzle says it has no ETA for its repair. It is not being seriously worked on.
- The time that we gain from scaling back on Zazzle will be re-focused on our other PODs, online businesses and building up our referral promotions.
If you have all your eggs in the Zazzle basket you might reconsider that strategy if building a growing online residual income is part of your business plan. Diversify your income streams has been our advice for many years. More so even now.
Best of luck.