Because I have worked in association with the online Zazzle company for over ten years, I am disheartened at what has been happening lately.
In my opinion Zazzle has always had a difficult time keeping it’s designers up to date on product changes and availability. I’ve always wished that a simple e-mail to us would solve many problems. Yes, there is a forum. It is huge. They should have a “subscribe” button so when a comment is left, there will be notification when the thread is continued. I can rarely find the location of my comment unless I write it down and then search it out again.
One of my big complaints as a designer is when I waste my time producing products that end up being discontinued or simply “out of stock” without any inkling of when, or if, they will ever return. A simple straightforward e-mail from the company saying: “Envelopes are out of stock and we will definitely be getting them back in ASAP as they are a best-selling item. Do not delete your products. Tell customers to expect them in around (date).”
OR: “Now that we have other envelope options for customers, we will no longer be selling the designable envelopes.”
Instead, we must search the forum and then we get a vague answer telling us nothing.
Today I was contacted by a customer wanting to know if her return address could be pre-printed on the envelopes that come with folded greeting cards. I don’t like to simply say “no”. Giving the customer other options also means I can make a new product and give her a link (with my referral attached) which she may, or may not, decide to buy.
I made matching return address labels, in two sizes, for her and was about to include a specialty envelope – when I discovered that all envelopes are out of stock. All types of paper and every size envelope are “sold out”. Naturally, I did not offer the envelope option to my customer, but good thing I checked! Otherwise I would have sent her to a page where nothing was available to buy!
Whenever I see a product without any options, warning bells go off. I suspect that this item will be going away. This happened with the skinny ties, that could be made in three sizes. We were told that they may be back in stock, but Zazzle didn’t know when. I removed all my skinny ties and re-made them in the other tie style. I’m glad I did. To the best of my knowledge the skinny ties are kaput. I wasn’t waiting around to see.
Now, I fear that the extra envelopes are heading down the same path to oblivion. Unlike the skinny ties, I have had many nice sales of a particular Christmas envelope. I promote it like mad. It’s linked with my Christmas cards as an optional extra. Last season I sold many of these envelopes and it’s out there on FB, Pinterest, on my blogs and at G+. Every potential customer wanting that envelope will find nothing available to buy when they click the link that leads to the product page.
In the forum we’ve been told that, “We don’t have an ETA on when these (envelopes) will be back, but we will keep you posted”.
Here’s the thing, Zazzle also sells “Envelopements” and ever since those specialty envelopes (made by the company by the same name) appeared at Zazzle, I have been expecting that the envelopes we can create will no longer be needed. If that was there plan from the beginning, they should have been up front.
Maybe the envelopes-to-design will be back. If so, will they return before the big Christmas buying time (which is beginning soon). I don’t have high hopes. Envelopes (these extras) have always had a long turn around time. They don’t ship for weeks after the order. Anyone wanting them for Christmas will need to order soon.
My sales have been continually plummeting and I only hope I can hold out until another source of income takes the place of Zazzle. The lack of envelopes is just another stab which will help bleed my royalty account dry.