Print-On-Demand Stores Review: Society6

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About: Society6 was founded in 2009. They are based in Santa Monica, California, United States.  They are a brand operating under the American content company Leaf Group (formerly Demand Media).  This corporation operates popular brands such as LiveStrong.com, eHow, and Saatchi Art in addition to Society6.

Products 

As of the time of writing, their product line has 38 products.  Their current product line is the following: art prints, framed art prints, canvas prints, metal prints, wall tapestry, notebooks, throw pillow, floor pillow, rectangular pillow, wall clock, throw blanket, duvet cover, shower curtain, comforter, rug, mug, travel mug, beach towel, metal travel mug, hand towel, tote bag, stationery cards, bath mat, cell phone cases, cell phone skins, laptop sleeves, laptop skins, t-shirt, v-neck shirt, all-over print shirt, long sleeve shirt, hoodies, leggings, tank top, biker tank, and carry all pouch.

New products are added sporadically.  They ship worldwide.

Seller Interface

The initial image is uploaded and placed on an art print, where you add the title, tags, description and category, then you are taken to a page where you can add more products.  The user interface is very similar to Redbubble, where you upload an image and can resize it and move it so it can fit the product better.  You can upload a different file for each product if you want.  If an image is too small to fit the product properly, it will tell you the minimum dimensions in pixels for that particular product.

Dashboard

The backend is fairly sparse.  You can only view your sales and edit a few settings.  However, unless you have the mobile app, you cannot see how many times your items have been viewed, when someone promoted your images, and when someone adds you to their follow list.  This is very frustrating and I wish they would implement some sort of simple notification system that will alert you to these things.  There is also no notification system when an item is sold, you can only see that if you log in and check your earnings page.  There is no messaging system either, so no one has any way to get in contact with you through your Society6 store.

Product Statistics

As far as I can see, there is no way to see your statistics for a particular product or design.  You cannot see how many times a product or design has been viewed or sold, or added to someone’s collection.  You can only see how many times it has been “promoted” (more on that later). And you can see comments.  That is it.

Royalty

You set your own royalty for art prints and canvas prints only. All other products have a fixed percentage, which can vary with each product.

Affiliate/Referral Program

There is an affiliate program, they call it an Art Curator.   You can receive 10% additional on sales.  It is provided by Society6 as an id you tack on the end of any Society6 URL when you share it.

Membership Fees

None

Promotional Tools

You can link your Twitter and Facebook pages with Society6 so that as soon as you upload a new product it posts for you.

Storefront Layout

The storefront is not able to be fully customized.  You can add a bio, a header image, and an icon.  You can also add links to your Twitter and Facebook pages as well.  If you want multiple stores you need to open a new account for each one. The storefront is clean and well organized, but can be buggy, with images not showing up sometimes.  You can curate your images into Collections, which makes it easier to find certain styles.

Community 

You can follow other artists and add their products to your wish list and favorites (called collections). You can also “promote” a piece, an action which is similar to liking something in Facebook. Your image will only be available to sell in the store if you get a certain number of these promotions (usually around 15). What most people do is join a Facebook Group, such as Society6 Artists, and post their new products there so they get the requisite number of promotions to enter the store. There is a Discover page which lists activity for people you watch or have promoted.  You can also hang around the New page and promote art that has just been uploaded.  This is a great way to get mutual promotions.

The only way to get your art noticed in the Society6 marketplace is to get as many promotions and comments as possible.  When an image is being actively commented on (within that day or two), it will show up higher in the search results.  Images that have not been commented on in a while will rank lower in the search results.  Getting comments and promotions is key to maintaining your status in the search results.  Getting lots of followers doesn’t hurt, either.

The types of art that do the best here are hipster-type graphic designs, patterns, and minimalist digital art.  The images seem to be geared for the products themselves.  Patterns look great on home decor products such as curtains and pillows.  Graphic designs look best on t-shirts.  Fine artists, those that do traditional painting and drawings, and photography, are very sparse here.

I feel a strong clique-type scenario in this website, with the same handful of people being promoted over and over again.  These are the designers with the most promotions, and probably the most sales on the site, and no one else can compete.  Those few people at the top are the ones who joined Society6 at the very beginning.  You can see a short list of artists in the drop down menu at the top of the page, and these are the artists whose images you will see again and again on the front page, and in the featured designs all over the site.  It is very disheartening.  I feel like it is difficult for new designers to be successful on this site.

File Size Limits and Types 

They accept JPG for most products, and PNG for t-shirts.  The file size is 75 MB.

Conclusion

I am a fairly new user with Society6, having only signed up in late 2015.  So far, I have not sold a lot here.  They have made improvements to the site since I have signed up which make it easier to use. But I feel like it could still stand some further improvement, such as having a dashboard in the seller interface to keep track of notifications, and a messaging system. 


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