The most noticeable addition are the store completion stats in the upper right of your new store back office. Items to do to “complete” your store include: Create store collections, Share store products, Share store collections and Upload media items. There maybe others, but these were for our main store where we are at a mere 55%. Really?
Your store’s zRank will show up on September 3 when the beta storefronts and profiles go live. It will be right above your store’s completion stats.
What is zRank? Zazzle will tell you that zRank is a tool to help you determine at a glance how well your store is doing on Zazzle. It is really much more than a mere indicator. It is an influencer. If you have a poor zRank, you can expect to have a poor showing in the marketplace.
zRank will have a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being the best.
In a recent video Zazzle laid out these things you can do to improve your zRank:
1. Create unique well thought out designs on relevant products - How do you program the system to determine if a design is well thought out and put on a relevant product? This is largely an opinion.
2. Maximize the customization option - Customization is one of Zazzle’s competitive advantages and it makes sense to take advantage of it. But it is not clear what this means. Is it enough to simply include the “Customize It” button or are they talking about templates?
3. Use unique products descriptions, titles and tags - This has always been true to a degree. Those who’ve been big users of Quick Create will be penalized the most as a batch of QC products all have the same titles and tags. Descriptions can be different but for most Zazzler's descriptions come out the same.
4. Delete or make invisible products that have no sales over a long period of time - This gets an exclamation point! In eight years, this is the first time I ever heard a Zazzle person suggest deleting a product. Frankly, this one makes no sense as these products are unlikely to be in the marketplace. Why bother and why bother to penalize if the products are already in limbo?
5. Make the most of the new storefront completion stats - An expected suggestion. For us, many of the completion items make no sense. “Share store product”, for example. We share store products like crazy, we just do not use Zazzle’s system for sharing as we find it lacking on many levels. Is there a time frame, or is sharing a one-time requirement?
6. Promote product - What is the difference between sharing and promoting and how does Zazzle know if we are promoting (Our definition would be sharing is via social media, all else is promoting)? We have hundreds of our products promoted on our web sites. Do we get any zRank credit for that?
We have posted these questions for Zazzle on their YouTube page where these suggestions were found.
zRank’s influence will not take effect on September 3rd. The new beta will simply display your store's zRank. Zazzle is providing an unspecified amount of time before zRank “goes live” to give us all time to do what we can to improve our score and avoid the new penalties.
When the lesser PODs implemented similar requirements, many closed their stores and left to focus on other PODs. Many came to Zazzle when CafePress added the social media requirements and reduced their royalty rates, There seemed to be little benefit to jumping through the new hoops, other than the ever familiar refrain “do this and your sales will improve”.
In most cases, we have found that with change comes opportunity. We'll see.
Many will be considering three options. 1. Close stores. It was a good ride while it lasted. 2. Leave the stores open but focus time on other PODs. 3. Jump through the zRank hoops and hope for the best.
Which of these options will you choose?