The Spreadshirt marketplace has really been growing and is now home to over 7,000 designs. To help spread the word about the Marketplace, Spreadshirt held a promotion (check out the original post) to influence bloggers to talk about their favorite designs. Of course I wanted to participate and help spread the word and to do so t-shirttalk held a mini contest within the Spreadshirt contest also offering folks free t-shirts for blogging about Spreadshirt and mentioning t-shirt talk at the same time. I also submitted the Spreadshirt contest to bloggingcontest.com to get the word out.
It seemed that Spreadshirt had three major reasons for this promotion with the first being to spread the word about their growing marketplace, increase the links to the marketplace as well as get feedback on the marketplace itself. Of course there are lots of nice things to say about designs (and I will get to that) in the marketplace and the marketplace in general but when looking for designs to blog about there were a few things that I found could use some improvement. I know Spreadshirt staff asked us to be nice (and I will be) but I AM CRITICAL in my feedback (and always will be). If no one is critical then how does anything get improved..so with that said if you don’t want to hear any critical ranting you can scroll to the bottom and just see which designs that I like from the marketplace.
—> START CRITICAL RANT
Well, the goal was to blog about designs from Marketplace.Spreadshirt.com but unfortunately thats not really the correct link. So don’t link your blog posts to that or you will be redirected to a page like below.
The actual marketplace is not located at marketplace.spreadshirt.com but at http://www.spreadshirt.com/us/US/Buy-t-shirt/Products-64/.
Here is what the snazzy (relatively) new marketplace looks like:
The marketplace is clean, simple and inviting. It has very simple and clean navigation on the left side with a few teaser designs on the main marketplace homepage. Appropriate credit/links are provided to those Shopkeepers who have designs in the marketplace which is always good to see. It appears the marketplace results show default for “what’s hot”. It appears designs on the front page are displayed dynamic because of the 10 designs featured on the main page there were three of one design and two of another design making 50% basically being repetitive designs. Now maybe those are the post popular designs but seems excessive to me. See below..
Not sure whats going on there but onto my quest to find some designs to blog about. First I tried search by keyword to find a design and honestly I am not sure the search function works at all. I tried a few searches and didn’t find anything so to figure out if I was just searching for designs that were not in the marketplace I tried searching for something that I KNEW WAS in the marketplace. I went to the geography page (see below) and the top result was “Buenos Aires” and then entered a search for “Buenos Aires” and I was told that search matched ZERO results but I was staring at a t-shirt with the title “Buenos Aires” and the text on the shirt said “Buenos Aires”. Search functions are a critical part of any shopping experience and this issue really needs to be identified. If this feature doesn’t work, remove it as it just confuses customers.
So I stopped searching for the designs/products that I wanted to blog about and started to browse. The marketplace is set up nicely to show BOTH the design AND a product which is great. Showing just a product is not a great idea because you usually can’t see the design and showing just the design is not good because you can’t expect customers to guess what a design would look like on a product. So that part of the marketplace is great. However, there are a few issues. First, as you can see below some designs do not have associated images. I understand that some of these issues are the fault of the Spreadshirt Partner but it still does not make it OK. As a customer its confusing and looks a little sloppy to me to have missing images.
For designs that have missing designs things get worse on the design detail page. It shows that products start from $0.00 and because there is no image it messes up the layout of the prices and titles of related products.
While I love the way they show designs and products on the results page I do not like the way the design is not always the design that is on the product. In the example below it is basically the same image but from a different vantage point and it does not include the text in the design view. So as a customer I visited this page and want to view the design but its not the same design and it doesn’t include the text. This is confusing for a customer because they don’t know what they are getting.
The last thing I would love to see added are details on how many results (number of designs/products/pages) there are for a given topic. Currently the marketplace only shows that there are 5 pages of results when in fact there might be hundreds of pages of designs. It does not give the customer an accurate representation of what is in the marketplace.
It is also frustrating to only see 10 designs at a time. Clicking page after page gets old and for those of us with a decent internet speed I would love an option to set how many results per page. So for a certain category that has 150 designs I won’t not click through 15 pages of results to find what I want to buy. But if you let me show 50 at a time I can browse quickly over just 3 pages (Most people don’t go past page 2 or 3 when searching/browsing in Google) and I just might look at all the designs.
—-> END CRITICAL RANT
Yes I am done ranting about my experience trying to find designs and ready to actually talk about the designs I found in the marketplace. For some that might have been too much detail above but many of those issues above are potential issues that any t-shirt company online might face. There is so much to manage its easy to forget to finish, refine or get feedback on certain details of a site. Despite the fixable issues above it really is a great marketplace with tremendous opportunity for Spreadshirt shop partners to list their products for sale. The marketplace has a wide variety of designs including some designs you might expect for categories like geography or computers.
What designs I think are fun and interesting are those in the News and Politics section. It is fun to see designs that have been created based on the ever changing news and events. These types of designs are also great because they get customers to come back to see what smart and funny designs people have created about recent events. There were a few I found in the Spreadshirt marketplace that are particularly relevant right now:
Warning: Made in China T-shirt is a huge issue when it comes to product integrity and safety. Many companies and consumers recently have been forced to reexamine their reliance on China. An interesting book “A Year Without Made in China” was written by a journalist who decided to not purchase any Chinese products for a year.
Anonymity is Not a Crime t-shirt is an interesting and amusing shirt as the anonymity and the internet really is a big issue and could take the life of many blog posts so I will save that discussion for another day but here is an amusing Anonymity shirt.
Don’t Taze Me Bro T-shirt design is (one of dozens tbeing sold throughout the internet) following a student being a tazed at a John Kerry Forum. You can check out inspiration for the t-shirt on YouTube.
It is great to see t-shirt designs that are relevant to current news and issues in the Spreadshirt Marketplace. I would encourage you to go check out the Spreadshirt Marketplace and see if there is a t-shirt for you.