Archive for December, 2008

Merchandising: Giving the buyer what they're looking for

December 22, 2008


So you have a store full of fabulous products, your family is supporting the cause, and your fan base is growing by the day.  What next?  How can you take it to the next level and start thinking about your store as a real business?

One aspect of free and effective marketing is your merchandising approach.  In other words, how are you making your products available to the Zazzle buyers and the general public?

In a traditional retail space, presentation is key – and online, those who dominate SEO (search engine optimization) are the real winners of the game.

So let’s start with basics – how to name your products and utilize your description field so buyers everywhere know what you sell – and most importantly, can find their way to the shopping cart, full of your goodies!

Product Titles: The importance of the name game

1.  Consider SEO: keep in mind popular search terms when naming your product.  Do some research on what keywords/phrases to use.  Google Zeitgeist is a great place to start:

Eg. “Obama Supporter Heart Mug”

2.  Relevance: Pick words or phrases that speak to your niche and audience.  If you are designing for a certain audience, use familiar words in the title.

Eg. “Green Bliss Yoga Hoodie”

3.  Be descriptive: Use elements from your design, or the actual name of the design to specify your product’s name.

Eg. “Burnt Out Skull and Crossbones Tie”

4.  Be specific, but not too specific: “Vintage red and green Santa Alarm Clock T-Shirt” might be a little too much (ya think?!)  Save this much detail for the description. Instead use something like “Vintage Santa Alarm Clock T-Shirt”.

5.  Multiple products with the same image: if you’re creating a few basketball themed t-shirts, instead of naming them all “basketball t-shirt”, consider variations like:

Eg. -basketball tshirt, basketball t shirt, basketball tee, basketball tee shirt

Product sub-titles

Make this a longer version of the product title. Be a little bit more descriptive, but try to keep it in one sentence.

Utilize the Description Section: Picking up longtail traffic from search engines

1.  Give a background story to your design filled with phrases you want to target

2.  Add your website URL

3.  Use key words that describe your product, including the product type, like ‘mug’ or ‘poster’

4.  Cross merchandise by adding links to your other products.  This works especially well if you’re selling stamps, for example – you could also link over to cards or postcards you sell.  If the product is a gift, you might consider cross-merchandising a gift for the recipient’s boyfriend or girlfriend.  If the product supports a cause or message, cross-merchandise a shirt with a poster: “Don’t just wear your message, drink from it, display it, and send it in the mail!”

5.  Multiple spellings: If you are making a tshirt, add as many of these phrases to the product description as possible …  in a readable paragraph, if at all possible :o):

o    t-shirt

o   t-shirts

o   shirt

o   shirts

o   t shirts

o   t shirt

o   tshirt

o   tshirts

o   tee shirt

o   tee shirts

o   tee

An example of a great description field: supports Tibetan liberty, just as it supports liberty for all people. We hope that China allows the Dalai Lama to return, ceases Han immigration, and that nonviolent pressure from within and without causes China to allow Tibetaninternal autonomy .

We made this shirt to show support for the Dalai Lama’s quest to return to a free Tibet. Place this design on any shirt, or go into the customization engine to reorganize the elements or add your own!

We’ll have more merchandising tips for you in upcoming blogs – any more ideas on the product titles and description field?  Feel free to post a comment here!

New Star Wars Ties and Shoes

December 19, 2008

Check the new Star Wars shoes and Star Wars ties recently added to the Zazzle Star Wars collection! Now you can get Star Wars t-shirts and matching Star Wars shoes (I would recommend the Han Solo shoes), or if you have a more formal event, like a New Year’s Eve gala, you can get a Darth Vader tie to add a touch of custom class. Check some of my favorites below and be sure to view all the great custom Star Wars gear at the Star Wars On Demand gallery.

keds star wars shoe darth vader shoes clone wars shoes

darth vader dad tie storm trooper tie star wars darth vader art tie

Learn more about Star Wars Father’s Day ties, Star Wars mugs, Clone Wars mugs and more at Zazzle.


Avoid Carpal Tunnel! Use Templates for Quick Product Create!

December 19, 2008

Now that you’ve mastered the bulk product creator, err, the Quick Product Create tool (QPC),  I wanted to share with everyone how to make templates for the Quick Product Create tool. Using templates will drastically cut down your product creation time!  Since all of you are veterans of making Zazzle products in bulk by now, you are probably at the same point that I am with this new tool. I am finding that the QPC tool is very handy when it come to making multiple products, but I still have a desire to cut down the time I spend adjusting each product after they are generated. This means the editing part or even adding the same tags over and over again to these products. When it comes to some of the ‘repetitive’ things that you do when making your products with the QPC tool, you can use templates to avoid redoing the same thing over and over.

For example, lets say I plan on making a whole line of t-shirts using a variety of designs for the front of these shirts, but the back will consistently have my brand logo below the nape of the neck and rather than going in there and adding it to every single product, one by one, I can create templates with the logo already on the back so that when I choose these templates, the design is placed on the fronts all the apparel I have selected and the logo is already on all of the backs.

Let me show you how this works. First things first, go to while logged in and the Quick Product Create  pop up window should appear (if not click the ‘Get Started’ button).


The first thing you will be asked to do is to choose what sort or products you want to create in bulk. There are a few default product ‘templates’ that you can choose from, but when it comes to using custom templates that you have set up, you need to create them first and save them as templates to be used later for QPC. Once you create this initial set of template products, you can then use them the next time you choose which products to create.

The first time around you must choose from the default templates that are available. You can add up to 100 products on your create list. Once you have added the first line of products, you can keep adding more and more until you have the desired selection of products.  In my case, I will choose the ‘Light Apparel Only’ to generate a bunch of products to tweek and then save as templates. I will also delete all the additional products that I don’t want and keep adding more until I have the exact line up of products that I plan on making into templates.


Next you will be prompted to select an image for your products that will eventually become templates. I simply use the default ‘Your Image Here’ image that is already available for you use. By selecting this default image, you can give your products an image place holder. Once the products are generated with this image place holder on them, you can always replace them with your own version if you like. You will also be asked to choose your fit/fill options (#3) but since you will be creating templates, you can leave it on ‘Use Template Defaults’. Next just click ‘Create Products’ and you will see the first batch of Light Apparel products appear.


Once all the Light Apparel products are created next its time to prune and tune each product to meet your template needs. In some cases You will need to delete the products that you don’t want in the mix, as I mentioned earlier. Remember, you can make up to 100 products at a time, so make sure that you add all the products you want to make for this particular template set.


Above you will see the products that were generated for me. I don’t want hats or ties for this particular product template set, so I will delete those 3 products.


Next I will go in and individually customize each product so that its showing the right model and shirt style that I want for my templates. I will also add a brand logo to the back of every shirt so that later when I call upon these templates, all the shirts will be set to the right style, model type and will come with the logo on the back already positioned the way I set it. This will drastically cut down on the time I would spend repeating this process over and over again.


As you can see above, I’ve changed a few of the shirt styles and the models as well. What you cant see in the image above is that I also set a logo on the backs of all the products. See below.


Once you have set up all of your products the way you want them, click on the NEXT tab to go to the next step.


Here you will find all all the fields for pricing, product info and setting categories etc. Since you are creating templates, the most important part to take notice is the ‘Quick product create options’ section you see below:


By choosing ‘Templates for reuse for quick create’ you have now set these products to be templates for use later with the Quick Product Create tool. Once you set all the other things like Titles, descriptions, categories etc, click the ‘Post It’ button and your template products will be created and placed into your product selection. These products WILL BE LIVE and your customers will be able to create and customize products using your templates. This is great to make a sale off of a customer that didn’t find what they were looking for in your store. If you don’t want your customers to see these templates, you can make them private products, which will hide them from the public, but still allow you to use them as Quick Product Create templates.

The next time you go to use QPC, you will notice that there is a new selection available to you. In this case, I placed my QPC Template products in a folder called ‘Templates’ and as a result, there is now a ‘Templates’ category that I can choose when selecting what ‘templates’ to use when bulk creating products the next time around.


When you choose this option, you will notice you will have all the products that you selected and set up previously popping up with the design you selected on them.

Now get started on those templates and if you have any questions, post a comment below!

Zero to 100 in 30 seconds!

December 18, 2008

qpc_smallI drive a hybrid and pride myself on getting amazing mileage (52MPG lifetime, baby!). To accomplish this, I drive…well…slow. I go under the speed limit and stay in the right lane. Works for me…I’m a laid back guy who takes life slowly and casually.

But there is one place where I welcome a little high speed action. And that’s in creating products on Zazzle! Introducing Quick Product Create!

Yes, now it’s easy to create up to 100 products instantly. Quick Product Create (or QPC) is a simple three step wizard that allows you to create multiple products using selections of related products (all products, dark apparel, paper products, etc.) from the Zazzle Default Products menu, or from one of your own Product Lines that contain matching product templates.

Design for success

The first thing you need is a design you plan to put on many products. Typically, this is in the form of an image (a JPG, GIF, PNG, etc.) Since this one design will be blasted on several products, you should design it with that in mind. Here are some hints:

  • Create the image at the highest resolution you can. Since this image will be placed on several products at differing sizes, it’s best to make sure it’s of sufficient size and quality so it will print properly on most products. Visit our image guidelines page for more information on image resolution.
  • Think about colors. If your design only works on a dark background, you will have to make sure the products you put it on are dark. One trick I’ve seen many contributors do is to outline a design in either black or white. In other words, a design that only works on a white or light background can work on all backgrounds if a white or light outline is added around it.
  • Think about shape. A long rectangular design can look great on many products (full wrap mugs, ties, t-shirts), but may not work well on others (buttons, magnets, stamps). If your design is not suitable for some merchandise, be sure to remove those items from the set of products you publish.

Ok, so I have my design. I’m going to use this “Get outta my grill” image I made a while back.


The original is a high resolution PNG file, so it should work fine for most products.

Place it!

Ok, got my image. Now I need to start the Quick Product Create process by going to When you start, you see this dialog pop up:


Click the dropdown arrow in Step 1 to see what options you have:


As you can see, there are some default Zazzle Product Lines you can choose from. These currently include:

  • All Products
  • All Non-apparel
  • Apparel only
  • Dark Apparel Only
  • Light Apparel Only
  • Paper Products

If you have previously created a Product Line in your gallery that contains template products, it will show up here as well under My Product Lines. This way you can pre-define a custom set of products that you create often. Rob has written a great post about how to create your own Product Lines for Quick Product Create. Advanced users, read all about it here!

I’ll choose All Products since it contains a nice mix of t-shirts, cards, stamps, mugs, and other products.


Once you select a Product Line, you will see that you can change the default image in Step 2. Click the link that says “Change”, and you will see all your Zazzle images, or you can upload a new one. Here, I’ve selected my “Get outta my grill” image.


In Step 3 you will notice that you have the option to change the default fit/fill mode to one of three options:

  1. Use template defaults (uses whatever the product template was designed with. Could be either fit or fill.)
  2. Fit (makes sure your entire image is visible in the product’s design area – no cropping)
  3. Fill (fills the entire product’s design area. Cropping may occur)

For most cases, using the default should be fine.

Ok…click Create Products…


Now I have a grid of 33 products with my design!


Sweet! Now all I have to do is check to make sure all products look their best. If something needs to be tweaked, there are ways to do that on a per-product basis. For example, the first sticker in the grid looks a bit tight. Looks like my design is getting a little cut off. Luckily, we have controls you can use right above each product:


  • Edit options – This opens a dialog with product options (sizes, styles, product views)
  • Customize – This brings up a mini design tool in a dialog where I can move things around, add images or text, change sizes, etc.
  • Delete – Removes the product from the set of products you are creating with Quick Product Create.

Since the image on the sticker is a bit too big and is getting cut off, I need to shrink it. To do so, I click the “customize” link above my sticker product and shrink the image with the “resize” tool in the mini design tool.

Details, details, details

Now all my products look good and I’m ready to continue, so I click Next. I’m presented with a screen that is very similar to our Post For Sale page. You need to fill out all the information for these products, including title, description, tags, royalty percentage, etc. Required fields have a red asterisk next to them.


Most of these options are pretty self explanatory. However, there is a dropdown labeled “Quick Create Product Options”. Let me explain the options.


Most of the time, you are simply going to select the default option “Products to sell” because that’s what you are doing…creating products to sell.

However, if you want to make products to sell that are templates (so buyers can easily change text or images), you would select the second option, “Templates for sale”. This ensures that all fields marked as a template will remain a template when posted for sale. For more on how to create templates, see my previous post, More than just embroidery…

The third option, “Templates for reuse for quick create” is an advanced option for people who want to create a new set of products to use the next time they use Quick Product Create. This new Product Line would show up in the Step 1 dropdown under My Product Lines. As I mentioned before, Rob’s post explains how to do this.


Click Post It and you’re done! All products are now queued up for creation. This takes anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours. If you have postage or shoes in your Product Line, expect those products to appear in the Product Line closer to the 24 hour limit since those products need to be approved before they get posted.

Helpful hints

  • You can have up to 100 products posted at once. If you want more products, repeat the process after you create your first grid of products by clicking on the Create More button at the top of the first page, or at the end of the process you can click the Do It Again button.
  • There are checkboxes next to each product created in the grid. Use these to select multiple products that you want to remove from the grid. At the top of the grid, click “Delete selected” to remove them. Use these to select individual products that you want to remove from your Product Line.  To select multiple products, it’s often faster to use the “Select all” link at the top of the page and de-select those products you’d like to keep.
  • Always be sure to check your design on all the products in your grid before moving to the next step. You don’t want to post a product where the image is cut off or not positioned properly.
  • Quick Product Create puts all products you create in one Product Line. Select an existing Product Line when posting for sale, or create an entirely new Product Line based on the design. For example, with the image I used above, I could create a Product Line called “Get outta my grill!” and post all these products there. Many successful contributors organize their galleries by design.

That’s all I have for now…happy creating!

10 Billionth Product on Zazzle!

December 17, 2008

You read that title right; as of 8:39am today, we now have 10 BILLION products on Zazzle (please read that last part in a Dr. Evil voice). So what was the 10 billionth product? None other than thecuteinstitute’s mini pirate t-shirt! Check out the shirt below. This shirt shall live on in the halls of Zazzle History forever, or at least until we hit the 100 billion product mark. Thanks to all the contributors that submitted artwork and continue to do so, you’ve helped to make Zazzle into an amazing company.

Pirate t-shirt

PS – if we hit 100 billion products by tonight our CEO said he would throw an ice cream party for everyone! So…GET DESIGNING I WANT ROCKY ROAD!


It’s the Boston TEE Party

December 16, 2008

Today is the 235th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, when a bunch of rabble-rousers called “Americans” protested against the British Government by destroy crates of tea and throwing them into the Boston Harbor. This was one of the defining moments in American history, so what better way to recognize it than with a TEE-Shirt sale! Yep, that’s right we are celebrating the start of the American revolution with a very patriotic $4 off all shirts! So get your Boston t-shirts, America t-shirts, or if you’re from over the pond we even have British t-shirts. Check out some of my favorite Boston TEE shirts below….

boston t-shirt tea time t-shirt washington t-shirt


Bribe Rod Blagojevich and get a t-shirt!

December 12, 2008

Oh Mr. Blagojevich, where do we begin? Did you not learn anything from the scandal created by Client 9, Elliot Spitzer and all the Client 9 t-shirts that came out as a result? Silly, silly Governor… Well, now you get the gift of a t-shirt smack-down this holiday season. Check out all the Rod Blagojevich t-shirts that honor you. Happy Holidays!

Learn more about Obama t-shirts, Blagojevich t-shirts and Illinois t-shirts at Zazzle.

(Permalink) Launch Contest Winners!

December 11, 2008

The website is really growing fast, and Zazzle contributors from around the world have taken advantage of the opportunity increase their earnings by designing and selling great products, like t-shirts, mugs, posters, and stickers, that appeal directly to the UK market.

When we launched the website one month ago, we also announced a design contest for our UK-based contributors. We wanted to see what great products our local UK contributors would dream up. We thought they would certainly have something to add, and we were right!
There were five categories, and the winner of each category wins £500 cash! Here are the winners of the Launch Contest:

British Politics
As a former Member of Parliament and the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is one of the most recognizable figures in British politics. Certainly his trademark unruly hairstyle and outspoken nature adds to the legend. In this custom t-shirt design, Zazzle contributor LocalPigeon has cast Mayor Johnson in themes clearly reminiscent of The Clash, a great British band. We love it!

British Humour
It is often said that the British have a very dry wit. This custom skateboard design by contributor s3btiger, with the iconic London red phone booth and entitled “Mobile Phone,” had our judges chuckling.

British Pop Culture
With all due respect to Radiohead, Coldplay, and dare we say Katie “Jordan” Price, it’s arguable that the Beatles remain one of Britain’s greatest and most enduring contributions to the world’s pop culture. This custom t-shirt design by Zazzler SimpsonsTShirtShack brings us all the way back to Strawberry Field, by way of Abbey Road and Penny Lane.

British Sports
Here at Zazzle we’re big fans of skateboarding, and especially when it’s on a Zazzle custom skateboard. We’re big believers in the principles that: 1) skateboarding is not a crime; and 2) it counts as a sport. That’s why Ricaso_UK’s Dirty Vintage UK Skateboard was the clear favorite in this category.

British History
This design by Zazzle contributor ASBOnation was a favorite in both Humor and History. We were laughing out loud at the simple hilarity of the statement, but also reminded of our time studying the Bard in school. In the end, Sir William Shakespeare’s massive contributions to literature, theatre, and poetry won out, and this custom t-shirt design wins the prize for History.
Congratulations to all of the winners. They have each won a cash prize of £500. Thank you to everyone that entered for your time and your creativity! You can check out all of the contest entries HERE.

And although the contest is over, it’s never too late to create excellent products for the website! £500 is great, but you can earn even more simply by selling your products in the Zazzle marketplace! Get started creating custom products now!


Priceless Gifts from Zazzle

December 11, 2008

In case you’ve haven’t noticed it’s time to wake up and smell the holidays! There are only 14 days left until Christmas and I know that you’re still scrambling to get presents for everyone on your list. Well, don’t fear, because Zazzle is here with the best custom gifts in the world! Honestly, what is better than a t-shirt for Dad with HIS NAME ON IT!? Totally tops the ash tray your little brother made in pottery class. So, pop over to the Zazzle Holiday Gifts Center and you’ll find gifts for guys, gifts for gals, gifts for teens, and even gifts for kids. Check out some of my favorites below (yes they are from the gifts for geeks category) and shop Zazzle for all your custom Christmas needs!

science t-shirt darth vader mug firefox mozilla t-shirt
gifts for women gifts for men

gifts for teens
gifts for kids



December 10, 2008
wall-e on Zazzle

Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E just won best picture from the LA Film Critics Association! Congrats to everyone on Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E team and congrats to our favorite robot that saved the world with a little curiosity and a metric ton of courage. Don’t forget to get your WALL-E Celebration gear like WALL-E t-shirts, WALL-E mousepads, or other great WALL-E gifts this holiday season. Check out the WALL-E gallery on Zazzle! Some of my favorite designs are below.

See more Disney gifts at Zazzle.


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