Rapid drop in sales, decline in product quality.

Hi everyone.

I have a lot to say and maybe somebody will manage to explain me what’s going on.
I started making products on CM in the middle of 2017, I think. The products wasn’t good, of course, but I wanted to learn and improve my skills and product’s quality, to be better, to earn more money, and to be successful, because it was a chance to me to leave my full time job and to do what I really want to do.

CM had their marketing strategy to help their stores growing up. I watched to such an awesome creators as Dustin Lee from RetroSupplyCo, and other, who had really interesting and creative high quality products. They were the bar I tried to keep up with.
My products were getting better, my earn was growing.
In that time CM has everyday “handpicked” section (“Stuff picks” now).
When I started, the “handpicked” section for my new product was my goal. As a say before my products wasn’t good and it happened really rarely. But I didn’t give up. And after time I was able to achieve that each my new product were handpicked, and my new target was to be included into the weekly newsletter. Some of my products got there, some not. But it was clear for me – the better the quality of my products, the better the chances of achieving success.
The time has come when CM change the percentage of royalty from 60/40 to 70/30, and explained this to an increase in investment in advertising and attracting more buyers, which will ultimately increase store sales. It looked good.
But one day everything was changed. Some of my new product wasn’t picked in handpicked section. It was a watercolor creator, I think. But I was firmly convinced of the success of this product, so I re-added this product until it be in the weekly newsletter. It was sold something about 200 times for one day after the newsletter.
I was more than satisfied with the result, but It was strange for me, that CM didn’t notice it or ignored about 4 or 5 re-add times.

I notice that handpicked section wasn’t everyday anymore. And not to being “picked” has become a new reality. My earnings began to decline.
Then I started to thinking, what’s the reason of it, maybe my products got worse.
But it was so strange, when some fonts getting #2 or #3 at Hot New Fonts on MyFonts and wasn’t handpicked on CM. The customers stopped seeing my new products.

But that I also noticed, a lot of awesome high quality products were not handpicked anymore and so many “stock”-quality graphic and low level fonts was.

The strict handpicked selection is gone. The handpicked may happen three times a week, or it may not happen at all. There is no clarity. The quality of handpicked products is incredible low. Just about 20% looks really interesting and quality enough, but 80% are really becoming “design bundles.com” quality. The CM was never been so.

I could understand all this if these low-quality products were successful and profitable for CM, but it don’t. Some “handpicked” products has 5-8 “likes” for about a week. Does it mean something?

And now I’m just confused. I don’t know what I need to do, what direction should I go next? I don’t want to follow low quality standards just to have a chance to make a profit. I’ve worked so hard to get to this level and now all of a sudden it all looks unnecessary for the Creative Market. So what the point to try being better, growing up as a products creator if the CM will ignore me? It makes no sense.

And the strangest thing is not only a drop in my personal sales. I’m sure there are quite a few examples like this. But these sales make a profit for the creative market too! This company exists through the sale of products. Then what’s the point of depriving yourself of sales?

On the one hand, I see how the design and navigation have changed for the better, and on the other hand, this problem with a handpicked and the lack of the ability to convey the product to the end customer.
Looks like the CM now gives preference to a beginner to an amateur who wants easy money and sells his low-quality font for $30, and people who honed their style and level by years simply thrown into the trash.
Is it fair? It is hopeless and ultimately risks turning into Design Bundles / hungry jpg etc.

So many such a talented creators and products ignored by CM. How they can grow as a creators if the CM doesn’t give a chance to their product being shown to customers?

So many misunderstandings with today’s CM. Can anyone give me some answer, what’s going on?

What the problem is? Is it something with my products? Am I miss something? I will be very grateful if someone explains all this to me, points out my mistakes and misconceptions. I’m just lost and would like to find a way out of this situation. My income is falling rapidly every month, I am the breadwinner of the family and I need to find a solution.

All the Best!

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@VintageVoyage Hi colleague! You are not alone in dropping your earnings. This month marks 3 months since I started writing in support, on the forum about errors, bugs in the site design, about a decrease in store traffic, a drop in sales.
They answered me, everything is at work, we will fix everything - it’s already 3 months …
I stopped writing to them, it doesn’t make sense. I just follow the branches, or maybe a miracle will happen. You are right about one thing. Design Bundles, it trades well, so it has its own good strategy.
And yet, do not be discouraged, good luck and big sales!

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Thanks for your support! It so sad. And I really don’t know what to do next. It’s like a sinking ship.

I agree with you regarding the frequency and quantity of new products being handpicked. Sometimes I browse the site sorting by “New” and there are lots of great new products that stay under the radar unfortunately, and therefore probably get very little chances of getting views and sales.

Of course if wouldn’t be possible to put them all in the spotlight, but I definitely think that it would be possible for CM to go back to the regular schedule of a dozen or more products handpicked daily at a fixed time in the day, along with the Wednesday newsletter, as well as bringing more focus on fresh products on the front page (a few more rows for example).

I don’t know how big of an impact changes like this could have considering the fact that the traffic seems to be down sitewide at the moment (from reading other threads and from personal experience with my shop at least), but I think it could still be a good thing!

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Thanks! Yes, that’s what I mean. This is precisely the main problem due to which none of my products have been successful in a year and a half, while older products are still selling. A simple return of old standards would certainly not spoil the situation, but would leave everything at least at the same level.

Hello.
I have been following your store for a long time and have always appreciated the quality of your products. I opened a shop on CM about 5 years ago, I started with textures until I learned to design fonts and developed in this direction. Currently my views and sales decreased by half - 0 sales this month. My two new product views are 7 with 3 likes and 3…
Agree that medium-quality products are being promoted more and more … often very similar to each other. As with the fact that in the past the products were more often promoted in the “Handpicked” section. Now even “Free Goods” has been pushed to the background. In the past, products, new shops were promoted more often on the blog, in articles, etc. - like here: https://creativemarket.com/blog/this-weeks-fresh-design-products-vol-62#
Now, to be promoted, you must probably make products that will match the trends and colors set by CM or something like that. I currently have a similar problem as you and I don’t know the solution either. I try to make some new fonts, I add them to the store, but the lack of support and response makes me more and more demotivated and therefore I work on new projects slower.
Maybe I’m naive, but I’m secretly hoping for some changes for the better :wink:
All best!

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Thank you for your support, Bart! I fully understand what are you talking about. I would very much like to know who in the team of the creative market is responsible for this and what this person is guided by when choosing the products. I don’t feel angry at all, I just want to understand.

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As you said I’m the breadwinner of a family too (I left my job two years ago) and what’s happening now to us is like a sinking ship. Hopefully everything goes back to normal soon. Wish you the best!

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Thanks a lot! Although I am pleased that I am not the only one who has such a problem, I am still sad from this situation. I still hope for some kind of feedback from the Creative Market, that they will come and explain everything to us. )

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@VintageVoyage , Thanks for writing this. It has come to the attention of many sellers that something has changed with the handpicked section. I would suggest that there is someone new in charge of that department. Yes, they are a lot more irregular and some questionable choices. Copycat products and fonts that don’t even contain kerning or very amateur clipart style products. My products no longer get handpicked even though i have a track record of putting out over 50 popular products. Now this could be that they just want to share around the promotions and that is totally fine. It’s good to see others who have newer stores get some promotion. I will be fine as i have a bit of a following now. But from a financial position, i would think it would make sense to promote stuff that has a record of people really liking. @drew.coffman , could you confirm the regularity of handpicked and what the new “handpicker” is looking for?
I am happy to offer my services for free to do the handpicking! i have time to go through the products and i know whats original and whats a copycat. There is some good stuff that is getting missed that could be making CM some good money. I know with so many products being uploaded that sometimes some good stuff will get missed but handpicked should be the best of the best. You should get the email ( if it comes ) and go “wow those products are amazing” or “this is a new unique style” not “ive seen that idea before 100 times” or “this looks like an email from Etsy”!
What do you think Drew? sign me up!

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Thank you @NewTropical! @drew.coffman please, bring the CM back! How many people / shop owners have to tell you that the ship is sinking before you fix the mistakes and save it? Please, come to your senses.

Yeah, I don’t get it either. I’ve over 3000 followers and my last font has been up 4 days - it has 3 views and that’s it. I’m completely invisible on here now. This used to be my main source of income. Gone from an average of $5000 per month to $600. It’s so demoralising.

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Hey everyone! Just wanted to chime in on this thread and say that I hear the concerns that are being shared by all of you.

Regarding handpicked, this is something that our curators are always working to improve, and I’ll pass your feedback on to the team. One of the things I hear is ‘it’s harder and harder to get handpicked’, which is a natural component of a growing marketplace! Sorting by ‘new’ shows a massive amount of products being uploaded every day, and of course some amazing products are bound to slip past our curators. That being said we can always do better, and I encourage everyone here to share your new products in the ‘Share Your Latest Products’ thread! I always look through that and pass amazing products directly to the curators that way. I’ve also gone through the thread and followed all of your shops on Creative Market so that I personally see your new releases!

We’re hard at work building the best possible marketplace, and all of this feedback is greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the reply!

Like the others, I’ve also noticed that the handpicked and newsletter selections have become more inconsistent in both quality and frequency over the last few years, which is worrisome. You can hear the concern from the shop owners here because new products have difficulty getting traction, and many are concerned about their livelihoods. Even top creators like Nicky Laatz and Sam Parrett seem to have trouble getting featured now, which surprises me.

Perhaps some A/B testing on the homepage would be helpful? The real estate on there currently does not showcase too many products, and often only display the same few repeatedly, even with the rotating handpicked section.

It would also be interesting/helpful to have more data-driven information, such as the “top searched terms” document that doesn’t seem to be updated anymore, or to see what has the best conversion rates of newer products to understand what is currently selling the best on the market. As sellers, we want to understand how to succeed, and the original motto of Creative Market was “when shopowners succeed, we succeed.”

Thank you also to @VintageVoyage and the others for bringing up these shared concerns and ideas!

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It’s good to see CM exploring new ways to make the handpicked section have the impact it, and the products featured in it, deserves, but it’s clearly not working right now - as others have mentioned.

It’s not clear which days or times it is updated - customers like regularity and schedules - look at Youtube, a contributing factor to many successful creators is that their audience knows when they upload new videos so they know when to check-in. More clarity on this would really help I think.

As others mention, real estate on the front page is seriously lacking. 3 products!? On a seemingly random rotation where if you refresh 5 times the same product (if it’s lucky) shows up 5 times, where other recent ones might not show at all. I really don’t buy that having more products here would significantly slow down the site.

To echo @NewTropical 's point - I do question the curation team. 1 too many (or make that 100 too many) curvy fonts with flurishes that all look the same or products that lack quality being selected. I know somewhere like Behance selects their curation team from the community and vet their taste making ability via tests. Could something like that here work?

Going back to @VintageVoyage 's first point about the weekly email, this seems to be having less and less success. I’ve been lucky enough to have been included in this a few times. For my first product in the email (approx 2 years ago) I made approx 10 sales in the first hour or so of the email going out, with about 30 sales in total for the first 24 hours. These days, a product that gets selected in the email may only sell 2-3 times in that first 24 hour period. I understand this might be down to the product and it resonating with the audience more - but in general over the two years I have seen a downward trend in the email’s conversion rate. I know recently CM changed the distribution of this email to link to someone’s local time, vs being released at the same time to everyone internationally - could this have had a negative impact?

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Not sure if others have noticed this too but I’ve seen some creators being hand picked repeatedly like almost every product they make. It’s almost as if the person or people deciding on what gets hand picked just see the creator’s name and or like “oh it’s by him or her then that must be the best product to feature”. Almost feels lazy at times how products are selected.

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Yeah, I don’t get it either… I’m completely invisible on here now. Currently my views and sales decreased by half…
I add cliparts to the store, but it so demotivated and demoralising therefore I work on new projects slower.
I’m hoping for some changes for the better
All best!

I’m surely not into CM and by now not investing my full time into this, but I have to say this - in the perspective of a new user: I agree on the fact, that handpicked products should have a certain quality. I disagree that it’s unfair to handpick new users with maybe less good quality. I think it’s a great opportunity and motivation for new users to get picked. This leads to an increase in quality and to a certain consistency of posting new products. Like you said, you had your goals when you started with CM and things like handpicking your products or list them in a newsletter, kept you motivated and lead to progress of your quality. This is a great thing for users who just start. You as a veteran on the other hand, who were maybe picked a couple of times, had the opportunity to earn some followers and likes and get a little attention. With these followers at hand, you can re-contact them. Your follower will be notified with shop updates, and you can create custom posts related to your products. You have an advantage besides being picked, a new user doesn’t. They start from zero. And I’m sure the competition increased since the day you started your shop, so it’s even harder for new users to get recognized. So, no. I, personally, don’t think it’s unfair to handpick - not only - but also a couple of new users, even if the quality might not be the very best. At the end, we all should aim for a certain quality and progress. But this takes time. And a new user who was handpicked is more willing to invest this time and create beautiful things in the future.

// btw isn’t it a great thing that CM features less good products even if they make less profit with it just to put newcomers on the spotlight? Think about your first days on CM - this would be what you wish for.

I don’t quite agree with you. When a person is included in the information bill who does not even know what kerning is and he is given the opportunity to earn money without having to try to be better - what is the point in his development if he already gets into the mailing list? He’s just going to keep making his disposable products, and CM will keep putting him on the newsletter. The circle is closed. As I said, my motivation was to include me into the handpicked and newsletter, and for this I tried to be better. I had a goal for which I developed as a creator. So I fundamentally disagree with your position, sorry.

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I don’t get your point, really. Aren’t you a current staff pick with your »Neonica Toolbox«. Quite a few people would say that this is an unfair pick either.
I don’t know if it’s fair to discuss Kerning over fun-fonts.
You don’t create Swiss high-end fonts, right?

And do customers of CM really care about Kerning?
If this is your point, ok well then it’s more of an opinion not a CM problem, I think. But to say CM should not support new users with a certain quality is quite egoistic, isn’t it?

However …the products should have a certain quality and should not be garbage - that’s what I agreed with you.