kinzoku


quality posts: 17 Private Messages kinzoku

There's this little snippet in the latest Woot newsletter:

But Poison, our very first slate shirt, made its own news by becoming the first Shirt.Woot tee to sell more than 4,000 shirts on its first day. Partially, that's because we just raised our production capacity.

So, wait... there's no longer a 3000 shirt limit on first-day sales now? (Am I reading that right?) What IS the new limit, then?

Also, thoughts? This disappoints me a little since it would reduce next-day sales (fewer juicy $2 commission bonuses) for shirts that would have sold out at 3000.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
kinzoku wrote:There's this little snippet in the latest Woot newsletter:

But Poison, our very first slate shirt, made its own news by becoming the first Shirt.Woot tee to sell more than 4,000 shirts on its first day. Partially, that's because we just raised our production capacity.

So, wait... there's no longer a 3000 shirt limit on first-day sales now? (Am I reading that right?) What IS the new limit, then?

Also, thoughts? This disappoints me a little since it would reduce next-day sales (fewer juicy $2 commission bonuses) for shirts that would have sold out at 3000.


It's now 5000.

move along

Narfcake


quality posts: 292 Private Messages Narfcake

Yeah. The discussion started in the Poison discussion thread, and math was ran in the reckoning thread for the week.

I would much rather Woot move to a graduated system instead - 3k @ $10, additional at $12 with a $1 split instead of the new 5k @ $10. Thus so far, Poison and In the Library with the Wrench are the only two which have surpassed old the 3k sales.

kinzoku


quality posts: 17 Private Messages kinzoku
Narfcake wrote:I would much rather Woot move to a graduated system instead - 3k @ $10, additional at $12 with a $1 split instead of the new 5k @ $10. Thus so far, Poison and In the Library with the Wrench are the only two which have surpassed old the 3k sales.



I like your idea. I'm not sure how well a price change on the same day would go over, but $1 per shirt on the first day after the 3000 mark would be cool, and pretty fair.

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus

I think it's pretty safe to say that Snapster didn't appreciate the way the Portal shirt worked out selling out so quick and then selling so many shirts afterward.

Snapster


quality posts: 16 Private Messages Snapster

The Portal shirt is actually the dream example of why we should have unlimited first day prints - Buzz engines (news stories, blog mentions, viral spreading) stop as soon as something sells out, and we struggle with how crass it is to advertise it at $5 more that day to new visitors who lack credible understanding of our production constraint. This and yet Portal shirts sold on day 2 are negligible in relation to total sales. A bigger first day pop would have best served all.

other more generic background info:

A partially correct theory is that shirt wearers influence future shirt buyers to the extent that we'd rather forgo our $3 additional take and produce more for the greatest echo effect.

Another partially correct theory is that we never wanted to sell out on day 1 to begin with, it's always been a production constraint from 300 to 500 to 750 to 1000... until now, when I can complain that it shouldn't be 5k either. i.e. Artificially limiting shirt production to fleece fans of that design is more evil than we are.

Another partially correct theory is that we think existing Shirt.Woot members like buying $10 shirts more than they like buying $15 shirts and they are the most important audience to please. Late comers get the higher price. It's very fair and compelling on it's own.

Another partially correct theory is that this change is better long term versus short term as were our past production increases. We support a healthy balance between artists and consumers, enabled by the most efficient scale we can manage. (and Shirt.Woot artists have the potential to get paid the best in the industry while maintaining a substantial and fair base.)

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday
Snapster wrote: The Portal shirt is actually the dream example of why we should have unlimited first day prints - Buzz engines (news stories, blog mentions, viral spreading) stop as soon as something sells out, and we struggle with how crass it is to advertise it at $5 more that day to new visitors who lack credible understanding of our production constraint. This and yet Portal shirts sold on day 2 are negligible in relation to total sales. A bigger first day pop would have best served all.



I'm not sure there is any world where this makes sense. Woot attracts cheap buyers who whine and complain about paying more for post first day sales but that doesn't mean the pricing doesn't make sense and no one can understand it. Those are two completely different concepts.

Not to mention the artists is really never better served by an impossibly high sell-out cap. Sure a few hundred or maybe even a thousand more shirts will be sold on the first day. That might mean the artist gets more shirts out there and might one day run into one not expecting it. There's no other benefit.

Most buyers won't know who made the shirt and most people won't ask so there's no exposure. It also means that fewer shirts are sold after the first release. True, this will primarily affect popular shirts but the difference between a 3000 and 5000 sell out for a shirt that sells 4000 first day is $2000. If you assume only half of those who bought it at $10 will buy it at $15 that's still $1000 you get to not pay the artists. You really are doing them a solid......

Narfcake


quality posts: 292 Private Messages Narfcake
Snapster wrote:other more generic background info:

1. A partially correct theory is that shirt wearers influence future shirt buyers to the extent that we'd rather forgo our $3 additional take and produce more for the greatest echo effect.

2. Another partially correct theory is that we never wanted to sell out on day 1 to begin with, it's always been a production constraint from 300 to 500 to 750 to 1000... until now, when I can complain that it shouldn't be 5k either. i.e. Artificially limiting shirt production to fleece fans of that design is more evil than we are.

3. Another partially correct theory is that we think existing Shirt.Woot members like buying $10 shirts more than they like buying $15 shirts and they are the most important audience to please. Late comers get the higher price. It's very fair and compelling on it's own.

4. Another partially correct theory is that this change is better long term versus short term as were our past production increases. We support a healthy balance between artists and consumers, enabled by the most efficient scale we can manage. (and Shirt.Woot artists have the potential to get paid the best in the industry while maintaining a substantial and fair base.)



1. No arguments here. Judging by the number of first time buyers that a good design brings in, yes, a $10 sale does bring the customers in, and keeps them coming back.

2. More on this below.

3. No argument that the average Wooter is a cheapskate. Indeed, the biggest winner of the 5k cap are the consumers. Woot actually stands to lose revenue by this because a less-profitable $10 shirt sold is a $15 shirt that's NOT sold. The artist with a popular design ... they stand to lose the most.

4. Economies of scale - got it. Yet, the capital expenditure for the additional equipment and raising the cap to 5k is somewhat of a moot point because many shirts didn't even reach 3k. But that's done already, so no point of going back there.

Yes, there's no argument that Woot is amongst the better sites for artist compensation. $20k (and counting) from a popular design - who's going to argue that? Again, though, the new cap punishes an artist now with a good print because they will lose out on subsequent sales. More on this below too ...

The Portal shirt is actually the dream example of why we should have unlimited first day prints ...

This and yet Portal shirts sold on day 2 are negligible in relation to total sales. A bigger first day pop would have best served all.



No doubt, being able to sell all day is a good thing. After all, a "sold out" sign means no revenues. And that's not good for Woot.

- To negate the "sold out" aspect, why not take a line from the older days - "You ordered so many, we fell behind. It's going to be about a week before we get new orders out."? Taking a couple more days to print and package is still proportionally less than the time a package typically spends in SnailPost, so I don't feel that to be an issue.

- Set the cap back at 3,000, or even lower. You want a shirt at $10, buy early. If it sells past that quantity, the price goes up to $12, because that's what you get for not buying early. Then split that - an extra $1 of revenue to Woot and an extra $1 to the artist for creating a popular design. Don't cap this at all until the end of debut day.

I have argued this point in other threads here - I'm well aware that Woot has a much slimmer profit margin than the other shirt sites and has to make that up in the form of higher quantities. Others charge shipping, Woot doesn't. Others have the same or higher base price. Woot uses AA blanks which costs more (and I absolutely appreciate that, as it keeps the jobs and dollars here in the US instead of Mexico, El Salvador, or Bangladesh.) But I don't want to see that growth at the expense of the most important aspect in a t-shirt's design - and that's the artist. Without them, a shirt is just a shirt ... and seeing how green space's sales figure isn't much to speak of, I say without hesitation that the artist is absolutely positively the most important part of a Woot shirt.

Yeah, there will be customers that gripe about the shirts being $12 if they're not buying early - just look at the banter earlier today on the main woot site during the hour. But I feel that many of us will have no qualms with a slightly higher price if (and only if) it means that in providing Woot to grow, the artists gets to share a part of that too. Yeah, our wallets would be slightly thinner, but if giving up one cup of coffee means the site and artists we love get to benefit, I'm all for this happy medium.

That's my take in all this.

geekfactor12


quality posts: 11 Private Messages geekfactor12

My ideal situation would that instead of selling out at 3000, the shirt stays on the front page and stays for sale... but at $15 for the remainder of the day.

Woot gets paid, artists get paid, and it removes confusion for customers about where/how to buy shirts. It would also retain the rush of customers wanting to be in the first 3000 to buy (which would naturally be more effective than a 5000 cutoff purely because it happens more often).

I get that there are probably some very good reasons why Woot hasn't done that (concerns about price confusion are probably one), but I genuinely think that the positives outweigh the negatives.

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday
geekfactor12 wrote:My ideal situation would that instead of selling out at 3000, the shirt stays on the front page and stays for sale... but at $15 for the remainder of the day.

Woot gets paid, artists get paid, and it removes confusion for customers about where/how to buy shirts. It would also retain the rush of customers wanting to be in the first 3000 to buy (which would naturally be more effective than a 5000 cutoff purely because it happens more often).

I get that there are probably some very good reasons why Woot hasn't done that (concerns about price confusion are probably one), but I genuinely think that the positives outweigh the negatives.



Agree. It seems as if the current format is really just a holdover from when woot was, as far as I could tell, actively trying to hide the ongoing sale page. All of that has changed with woot now actively promoting the continuing sale by increased exposure of the reckoning and by placing the permalink in the shirt discussion. I see no reason why there shouldn't be a further push to much more seamlessly transition from first x number sales to the ongoing sale so that, as you said, both woot and the artist can mutually benefit. Like I said before, the benefit now is exclusively for woot in some cases at the expense of the artist.

Snapster


quality posts: 16 Private Messages Snapster

I appreciate the various perspective, mostly artists. Here's my view of who is reasonably infringed on:

Shirts that sell less than 3000 = artist not affected

Shirts who's ongoing sales are strongly represented by people who arrived the day it was launched to find it sold out and then come back later to buy it at $15 = yes artist affected, negatively

Shirts who's word of mouth / viral qualities when worn, propagate and create more shirt buyers than if they hadn't seen it, plus those shirts sold by people viewing them in the reckoning list = yes artist affected, positively

Basically I would summarize the change to each party with these scenarios:

1. Good, Mediocre or Crappy performing shirts (say 80% of designs), no constituents are affected because nothing kicks in sub 3k first day (artist, woot, consumer all status quo).
2. Good to Great (next 10% of top designs) shirts are plausibly now less profitable for the individual artist (if they or the design are not good at driving sales when worn), woot might break even with scale but probably loses with the artist in the short term, consumers win with $10 great shirts on launch day.
3. Great shirts (top 10%) = this is now better for everyone as woot & artist make more money, consumers get more shirts, shirt.woot audience grows faster to propel virtuous cycle.

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus
Snapster wrote:I appreciate the various perspective, mostly artists. Here's my view of who is reasonably infringed on:

Shirts that sell less than 3000 = artist not affected

Shirts who's ongoing sales are strongly represented by people who arrived the day it was launched to find it sold out and then come back later to buy it at $15 = yes artist affected, negatively

Shirts who's word of mouth / viral qualities when worn, propagate and create more shirt buyers than if they hadn't seen it, plus those shirts sold by people viewing them in the reckoning list = yes artist affected, positively

Basically I would summarize the change to each party with these scenarios:

1. Good, Mediocre or Crappy performing shirts (say 80% of designs), no constituents are affected because nothing kicks in sub 3k first day (artist, woot, consumer all status quo).
2. Good to Great (next 10% of top designs) shirts are plausibly now less profitable for the individual artist (if they or the design are not good at driving sales when worn), woot might break even with scale but probably loses with the artist in the short term, consumers win with $10 great shirts on launch day.
3. Great shirts (top 10%) = this is now better for everyone as woot & artist make more money, consumers get more shirts, shirt.woot audience grows faster to propel virtuous cycle.



Snapster, I'm really doubtful that there is much "word of mouth" sales on a shirt that someone sees a purchaser wearing. I've seen exactly ONE shirt (on a high school kid) since shirt.woot started, except for the ones I wear or my family wears that I bought. And I look for woot shirts whenever I'm around people wearing tees. Because woot sells so few shirts (sorry, but let's be real here- there are 300 MILLION people in the US, and you are selling at most 10,000 of any one shirt), the chances of anyone seeing any specific woot shirt before it is reckoned is just really minimal.

I think your scenario number 3 is just a pipe dream. Woot now makes more money on the great shirts, but the idea that artists are going to make more because woot sells more the first day really requires two things. First, people buying the first day have to get the shirt overnighted in order for it to get seen. What percentage of the buyers do that? yeah, I didn't think it was such a big number. Second, they have to wear the shirt right away, and in an area where buyers are likely to see it, and approach them, to find out where it came from. You really think that the extra sales you may generate for woot on the first day are going to produce enough second-day sales to offset the number of people who would have bought it because it sold out the first day and couldn't?

I also wonder if this might not hurt sales, just because you are no longer going to have as many sellouts. The incentive to buy because the shirt is going to sell out and you won't be able to get the $10 price is now effectively gone. "I'll buy it in the morning, after I get to work."

geekfactor12


quality posts: 11 Private Messages geekfactor12
Snapster wrote:I appreciate the various perspective, mostly artists. Here's my view of who is reasonably infringed on:

Shirts that sell less than 3000 = artist not affected



I'm going to contest this slightly

I think that's a very logical view of things. But when I make a design that I really love, I'm not necessarily thinking logically. I'm thinking positively and optimistically. I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, when my design gets posted the rest of the world will love it just as much as I do. On some level, I genuinely believe that my design has the potential to sell 3000+, even if it's a little silly or a little quirky.

So when I take that design I love and think about sending it to Woot, I'm thinking about that best case scenario. It could even be the factor that tips me towards sending it somewhere else instead. Perception issues genuinely affect behavior, even when statistics don't show that they should.

To use a slightly goofy metaphor: Almost every parent thinks their kid is going to college. Or how about this one: No one goes fishing planning to catch a few small to medium sized fish- you're planning for (and working toward, as much as it's possible) the big catch.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
Josephus wrote:Snapster, I'm really doubtful that there is much "word of mouth" sales on a shirt that someone sees a purchaser wearing.

This doesn't take into account the Facebook factor. I'm sure Woot has stats comparing "shares" to sales. Is there a correlation?
Otherwise, I don't see the value of the 5000 limit. 3000 seemed like the sweet spot (if not a little high) for current sales trends. Of course, the accountants might have alternate views.

move along

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus
j5 wrote:This doesn't take into account the Facebook factor. I'm sure Woot has stats comparing "shares" to sales. Is there a correlation?
Otherwise, I don't see the value of the 5000 limit. 3000 seemed like the sweet spot (if not a little high) for current sales trends. Of course, the accountants might have alternate views.



It's a good question. doubtful that woot is gonna share the answer- they are a business, after all.

bluchez


quality posts: 2 Private Messages bluchez

I can see both sides of this one and don't think my opinion is very relevant as I am not an artist or a champion of any particular cause (and don't have access to enough data to make meaningful observations).

However, some of the arguments get a little silly I think. Debating with someone when your argument is based on nothing but personal opinion, while your opponent's argument is based on data you don't have access to seems quite strange to me. Also, I would be very surprised if any (or more than a fraction of a percentage) of the shirts selling over 3000 first day are being reckoned week 1 or week 2. The argument that not enough people overnight for new buyers to see the shirt before it's reckoned seems misplaced in this discussion.

That said, artists wanting some form of additional compensation for the raised cap makes sense to me. Potential next day sales are not guaranteed, income from shirts sold over 3000 first day is guaranteed (on those occasions). I don't know if anyone has suggested reverting to an earlier payout model or not, but with the dramatic difference in sales between any two given shirts now, a graduated system might be worth considering returning to.

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus
bluchez wrote:I can see both sides of this one and don't think my opinion is very relevant as I am not an artist or a champion of any particular cause (and don't have access to enough data to make meaningful observations).

However, some of the arguments get a little silly I think. Debating with someone when your argument is based on nothing but personal opinion, while your opponent's argument is based on data you don't have access to seems quite strange to me. Also, I would be very surprised if any (or more than a fraction of a percentage) of the shirts selling over 3000 first day are being reckoned week 1 or week 2. The argument that not enough people overnight for new buyers to see the shirt before it's reckoned seems misplaced in this discussion.

That said, artists wanting some form of additional compensation for the raised cap makes sense to me. Potential next day sales are not guaranteed, income from shirts sold over 3000 first day is guaranteed (on those occasions). I don't know if anyone has suggested reverting to an earlier payout model or not, but with the dramatic difference in sales between any two given shirts now, a graduated system might be worth considering returning to.



I think there might be some value in egging snapster on in hopes of getting him to tell us some of that info.

The only change there ever has been in the payment to artists is that the first day payment has changed. It was originally either $300 or $500, but that was quickly bumped up to $1000. The payment for shirts after the first day has never changed. For a long time, the initial payment was less if your shirt sold fewer than 500 shirts, but I think when they went up to 3,000 shirts they dropped that. Until January of 2008, they paid for random shirt sales, but they took that away then. Not sure why that was OK, since the contracts didn't spell out that they weren't going to pay for shirts that sold cheaper than $10 until that point.

qwertyuiop005


quality posts: 0 Private Messages qwertyuiop005

i think in the future, artists should be paid in gum.

bluchez


quality posts: 2 Private Messages bluchez
Josephus wrote:... For a long time, the initial payment was less if your shirt sold fewer than 500 shirts...



This was the prior graduated system I was referring to. I didn't remember the specifics.

Narfcake


quality posts: 292 Private Messages Narfcake
bluchez wrote:This was the prior graduated system I was referring to. I didn't remember the specifics.



Perhaps it may be time to revisit that again. I'm quite aware that costs have increased - teefury increased their shipping to $2.50 a few days ago. However, woot has held on the $10 price, much to the benefit of the customers. With the present compensation structure, a shirt that sells 1000 may be break even at best. A shirt that sells less than 400 ... ouch.

While this definitely complicates matters, I don't want to see Woot as the loser either. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, y'know. That's why a graduated structure, both for the artist AND the consumer, would yield more benefits than just restructuring one side of it.

BTW, don't even consider going to imported blanks. If woot shirts ever stop being made in the USA, then that will be the end of my purchases. If push came to shove, I'd rather pay a little more knowing that I'm keeping Americans employed.

FWIW, I'm not an artist either. My background is in business admin and my day job is in engineering.

Narfcake


quality posts: 292 Private Messages Narfcake

About the whole walking billboard thing, that only applies if:

1. The buyer gets it relatively quickly. Most prolly opt for the cheaper SnailPost, so it's at least a week out before a new shirt is in their hands.

2. The buyer wears the shirt right after they get it. That's not always the case. I still have not worn the shirts from Amusement Parks yet, and those have all been reckoned already.

3. Other people actually take notice of what you're wearing. Judging by the times I went to Fry's wearing my Foamy the Squirrel "fingers" shirt, and yet they still didn't get the hint that serving someone else because the drone in the memory cage is slow ... yeah, I'm not so sure everyone pays that much attention.

4. For someone that does notice, they'd actually come and ask you "where did you get it?" For some reason, talking in person is like a strange task these days.

5. You actually care enough to respond to that. For some, a shirt is a commodity item to buy and wear. Who designed it, where they bought it, how much they paid, and what is on the care label is inconsequential to them. "It's a t-shirt."

Five aspects to overcome before it serves as an ad for shirt.woot ... yeah, I can't say I support that argument at all.

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday
bluchez wrote:I can see both sides of this one and don't think my opinion is very relevant as I am not an artist or a champion of any particular cause (and don't have access to enough data to make meaningful observations).

However, some of the arguments get a little silly I think. Debating with someone when your argument is based on nothing but personal opinion, while your opponent's argument is based on data you don't have access to seems quite strange to me. Also, I would be very surprised if any (or more than a fraction of a percentage) of the shirts selling over 3000 first day are being reckoned week 1 or week 2. The argument that not enough people overnight for new buyers to see the shirt before it's reckoned seems misplaced in this discussion.



I'm not really sure what you're getting at about data. At best it's a throwaway plug for shirt.what and at worst it's as poorly thought out as most of what snapster has been saying. It's a fact that every shirt sold over 3k and before the end of day 1 is $2 that used to go to the artist that no longer does.

You can argue about the proportion of those sales that would have actually occured at $15 (woot may have some useful data on that but each shirt is an independent entity and generalizing about sales that would have been made after a sellout vs. an unlimited first day is going to be very imprecise), but it is at best speculation even on woot's part.

The one thing snapster said that is definitely true which I already mentioned is that there isn't an effect on shirts that wouldn't have sold out at 3k. There isn't. However, snapster also told us that selling as many as possible day one is best for woot tells us two things. One, they lose potential sales from disinterest or price after the first day (how many is going to vary greatly from shirt to shirt), and two it's better to not have to pay the artists.

As to the walking bilboard effect, no one has that data. Woot at best knows the number of new buyers who were not previously signed up at woot. Last I checked they don't collect data on where they found out about shirt woot or the shirt they came to buy. They have no idea how many people found out about a shirt and didn't buy because they were too confused or didn't want to pay $15 as compared to $10. They don't know when a person found out about a shirt and then came to purchase it.

There is no way to differentiate between a new buyer who saw the shirt available for sale but didn't have time or the desire to purchase right away and forgot and bought it a few days down the road and someone who saw the shirt on the street and bought it or had a link sent to them, etc. Everyone is speculating including snapster.

Narfcake


quality posts: 292 Private Messages Narfcake

In the past few months, here are three shirts that would've sold out even if the 5k cap was in place:

The Cheese is a Liederkranz
Unstealthiest Ninja
Acquired Taste

At those same sales rate, Cheese would've lasted to 2:40am CST, Ninja to 5:50pm, Taste to 1:35pm.

That still leaves nearly 38 hours (out of 72 hours total) without a shirt to sell on the main site. So would anyone really have benefited in such a case?

I really don't think so. For those three shirts, even if only half buys at $12 vs. $10, that would've been another 8400 sales and $92,400 in net revenue to Woot (and $8400 to the artists).

With the 5k cap at the $10 price, it would have only netted 6000 more sales, and $60,000 in additional revenue. Lose for Woot, lose for the artist, lose for the customers still left seeing a sold out sign for 38 hours. That really doesn't help now, does it?

Ditch the sales cap completely, don't promise the same day printing and shipping for the SnailPost customers, graduate the pricing on debut day, and graduate the compensation for the artist. Woot wins with higher revenues throughout the entire day, artists win with higher compensation, and the late customers still win by being able to buy anytime on debut day instead of having to pay $15 the next day.

Besides, if an artist knows they can make a lot more for having over 4k, 5k, or more shirts sold, you know they're going to be plugging shirt.woot with even more effort anywhere, everywhere, and at every single chance they get! And isn't increasing sales the goal here?

mrwednesday wrote:However, snapster also told us that selling as many as possible day one is best for woot tells us two things. One, they lose potential sales from disinterest or price after the first day (how many is going to vary greatly from shirt to shirt), and two it's better to not have to pay the artists.



I've mentioned point #1 in the Poison thread (I think). Not everyone who would have bought at $10 would come back and buy at $15, so indeed there can be lost revenues. Point #2 - that's our beef. Woot's growth should NOT be at the expense of the artist, because without the artist, the shirt is nothing but a blank. And there's no way shirt.woot is going to sustain itself selling whatever-shirt-color space.

If an artist made a great design, reward them as such. If their design wasn't so popular, it's reasonable to deduct their compensation too.

And just so you know, Snapster, I do appreciate you taking the time to address our concerns. Again, if you need to categorize where I stand in all this, my suggestions and opinions are coming as the perspective of a customer that tends to over-analyze things.

thatrobert


quality posts: 28 Private Messages thatrobert

A few comments:

I've also rarely seen a Woot shirt in the wild but then I'm in a small town and not the target audience. I've sent some Woot shirts to college friends and they talked about seeing waves of popular Woot shirt come through campus as they're released. I can definitely see a nice cycle effect there if many people wear them, see a new shirt in person, and decide, yeah, that's pretty cool after all, I'll buy that one.

I think any kind of graduated price increases on the first day would be positive for Woot and the artists. Knowing that this shirt is going to cost more if I think too long is going to get more people checking at midnight, more buys, and more buzz on the first day.

In fact, it'd be really cool to see it go up a dollar for each 1000 sold or something like that. That along with a corresponding bouncing "I want one" at every price jump would really motivate those impulse purchases.


j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
thatrobert wrote:
I've sent some Woot shirts to college friends and they talked about seeing waves of popular Woot shirt come through campus as they're released. I can definitely see a nice cycle effect there if many people wear them, see a new shirt in person, and decide, yeah, that's pretty cool after all, I'll buy that one.


College (and maybe High School?) is about the only place the "walking billboard" has a chance of being a valid marketing model. Thinking about it, it is probably the demographic that Woot is after anyway, so there's that. I've personally had only 3 comments on my shirts and only 1 questioned the source (a. The Binge and b. "Did you get that from Threadless?" )


@BluChez: Thanks for initiating the capture of Reckoning data. Maybe NarfCake can take a break now . If you are doing auto-collection, is there a way to factor out data captured during "Woot-Off hour" or is that too much of a bother?

As a final point regarding artists, I'm going to put this out there, though I'm not fond of the notion....What is the artist churn rate here at Woot? Considering the size of DA membership, could artists be considered just another commodity?

move along

Johndis5


quality posts: 3 Private Messages Johndis5
Snapster wrote:I appreciate the various perspective, mostly artists. Here's my view of who is reasonably infringed on:

Shirts that sell less than 3000 = artist not affected

Shirts who's ongoing sales are strongly represented by people who arrived the day it was launched to find it sold out and then come back later to buy it at $15 = yes artist affected, negatively

Shirts who's word of mouth / viral qualities when worn, propagate and create more shirt buyers than if they hadn't seen it, plus those shirts sold by people viewing them in the reckoning list = yes artist affected, positively

Basically I would summarize the change to each party with these scenarios:

1. Good, Mediocre or Crappy performing shirts (say 80% of designs), no constituents are affected because nothing kicks in sub 3k first day (artist, woot, consumer all status quo).
2. Good to Great (next 10% of top designs) shirts are plausibly now less profitable for the individual artist (if they or the design are not good at driving sales when worn), woot might break even with scale but probably loses with the artist in the short term, consumers win with $10 great shirts on launch day.
3. Great shirts (top 10%) = this is now better for everyone as woot & artist make more money, consumers get more shirts, shirt.woot audience grows faster to propel virtuous cycle.



You make some valid points, but if a popular design sells 5000 on the first day, that makes for 2000 people that definitely will not be buying it at a higher price the next day, and potentially $4000 that would have once gone to the artist that now wont. That is more than a valid point, it's an inarguable fact.

I like narfcake's idea, but another one could be, if the shirt sells more than 4000 units on the first day, the artist should get an extra $1000 bonus for their initial payout.

Obviously, you have to please the customers, but making a change like you did, which in no way helps the artist (word of mouth? nice try.) makes it appear that you are least concerned with rewarding the very people whose designs keep this wing of woot thriving.

The better care you take of the artists, the more great talent you are going to attract and keep around, the more shirts you sell to more happy customers.

Narfcake


quality posts: 292 Private Messages Narfcake
Johndis5 wrote:... I like narfcake's idea, but another one could be, if the shirt sells more than 4000 units on the first day, the artist should get an extra $1000 bonus for their initial payout.



I doubt that'd happen at the $10 price, hence why I am suggesting the graduated pricing scheme instead.

Obviously, you have to please the customers, but making a change like you did, which in no way helps the artist (word of mouth? nice try.) makes it appear that you are least concerned with rewarding the very people whose designs keep this wing of woot thriving.



That's been my main concern since I learned about the higher cap. And I'm just the consumer. I can only imagine what the artist's thoughts are! ... and how many woot monkeys have since been strangled.

The better care you take of the artists, the more great talent you are going to attract and keep around, the more shirts you sell to more happy customers.



Although it's not that every artist is solely after the money, there's no argument that it's a very compelling prize too.

Now this is anecdotal, but it is insight to how "a typical Wooter" I ran into looks at the shirts. "It was cute, so I bought it." Yeah, it was a Sekiyuki design. And she's bought some of Ramy's designs too. So while some of you are now shaking your heads, you can't deny that the reason she bought them because she likes the artwork and has continued buying more from Woot because of that. From her other quick descriptions, my guess is that she also bought either Jasneko's Odd Bear Out or Tjost's Just a Little Paint, and DoOomcat's You Weren't Invited too. A happy customer? For sure.

j5 wrote:What is the artist churn rate here at Woot? Considering the size of DA membership, could artists be considered just another commodity?



Anytime your material is crowdsourced (which sadly means that indeed, they are "replaceable"), you're going to have a high churn rate. Yet, that's where the variety comes into play too. Moods change too, and artists will either adapt, come, or go, because of that.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
Narfcake wrote:Anytime your material is crowdsourced (which sadly means that indeed, they are "replaceable"), you're going to have a high churn rate. Yet, that's where the variety comes into play too. Moods change too, and artists will either adapt, come, or go, because of that.


Therein lies my point. Why be nice to the artist when there's another right behind them waiting to take their place? It's like the HR gainful employment balance; optimal employee pay is the amount that is just enough to keep you from leaving (less replacement cost).

move along

novastarj


quality posts: 31 Private Messages novastarj

I agree with the general sense here that the artist is the biggest victim in the change.

I'd love to see "bonuses" for artists who sell high amounts, even if it isn't the full $2 they normally get for later shirts sold.

Maybe something like this:
- $1000 (guaranteed) for the first 3000 shirts (averages only $0.33 a shirt, but the guarantee makes it worthwhile since most shirts sell far less)
- $50 bonus for every 100 shirts sold thereafter on the first day of sales, up to 5000 (averages $0.50 a shirt, but no guarantee, the shirts have to actually sell. But ups the possible first day payout to $2000).

novastarj


quality posts: 31 Private Messages novastarj
j5 wrote:Therein lies my point. Why be nice to the artist when there's another right behind them waiting to take their place? It's like the HR gainful employment balance; optimal employee pay is the amount that is just enough to keep you from leaving (less replacement cost).



I think the idea that artists are easily replaceable is a fallacy. Sure you'll have new derby winners, but if the shirts are lower quality (and have poorer longterm performance in the reckoning) because top quality artists have gone elsewhere, that's a problem.

Someone like patrickspens has contributed so many additional sales to Woot! because of his talent. That's not always easily replaceable. There were some REALLY ugly shirts in the early days of Shirt.woot, that often sold only a couple-hundred. That kind of day when you have a production run of 5000 shirts is costly.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
novastarj wrote:Someone like patrickspens has contributed so many additional sales to Woot! because of his talent. That's not always easily replaceable. There were some REALLY ugly shirts in the early days of Shirt.woot, that often sold only a couple-hundred. That kind of day when you have a production run of 5000 shirts is costly.



does woot print 5000 shirts when they only have 200 orders in hand?

novastarj


quality posts: 31 Private Messages novastarj
no1 wrote:does woot print 5000 shirts when they only have 200 orders in hand?



EDIT: Thanks Narfcake for the clarification below!

Even given that method certainly doesn't help anyone to have a poor selling shirt occupying the front page all day...

Narfcake


quality posts: 292 Private Messages Narfcake
no1 wrote:does woot print 5000 shirts when they only have 200 orders in hand?



No they don't.

This is the business experience side of me talking; I have no idea if this is what Woot does, but in my mind, this is the order of operations:

- Shirt is posted at midnight. Initial sales are gauged.
- Ink is mixed, screens are prepped, burned, and setup on the printing press.
- With a few hours of sales now, demand for which sizes can now be gauged. Do we need more womens? More mens? Kids? Someone in warehouse, bring down 15 cases of asphalt shirts!
- Printing starts. Packaging and inventory follows automatically.
- Label for shipping out, with overnight orders going out first.

If demand is low, they won't be printing so many. That does mean they could be caught off guard, but after all these years, I think they've got the system down. Will there be overage? - yes, for the reckoning, as it'd be very inefficient to set the press up every time for one order. But they're not going to automatically print the full day's quantity without knowing if there's a full day's demand first.

The difference between Woot and say Goodjoe, TeeFury, or Tilteed is that Woot starts the printing just hours after the selling begins; the others start printing after an initial sales period (1 day for TeeFury, 3 days for Tilteed, 1 week for GoodJoe).

CapSea


quality posts: 54 Private Messages CapSea
Snapster wrote:I appreciate the various perspective, mostly artists. Here's my view of who is reasonably infringed on:

Shirts that sell less than 3000 = artist not affected

Shirts who's ongoing sales are strongly represented by people who arrived the day it was launched to find it sold out and then come back later to buy it at $15 = yes artist affected, negatively

Shirts who's word of mouth / viral qualities when worn, propagate and create more shirt buyers than if they hadn't seen it, plus those shirts sold by people viewing them in the reckoning list = yes artist affected, positively

Basically I would summarize the change to each party with these scenarios:

1. Good, Mediocre or Crappy performing shirts (say 80% of designs), no constituents are affected because nothing kicks in sub 3k first day (artist, woot, consumer all status quo).
2. Good to Great (next 10% of top designs) shirts are plausibly now less profitable for the individual artist (if they or the design are not good at driving sales when worn), woot might break even with scale but probably loses with the artist in the short term, consumers win with $10 great shirts on launch day.
3. Great shirts (top 10%) = this is now better for everyone as woot & artist make more money, consumers get more shirts, shirt.woot audience grows faster to propel virtuous cycle.



I own almost 30 shirts, I wear them every day, I live in a populated area of Seattle right near the University, and I have only had 2 people ever ask me where I got my shirt, and both were shirts that had been reckoned months prior. I don't know where the idea that word-of-mouth helps the artist is coming from but I've been buying shirts from here since 2009 and even those that like my shirt don't care where it comes from, and never see it in time to buy it anyway. The idea that there is a word-of-mouth in time to help the artists is one I doubt is true.

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday
CapSea wrote:I own almost 30 shirts, I wear them every day, I live in a populated area of Seattle right near the University, and I have only had 2 people ever ask me where I got my shirt, and both were shirts that had been reckoned months prior. I don't know where the idea that word-of-mouth helps the artist is coming from but I've been buying shirts from here since 2009 and even those that like my shirt don't care where it comes from, and never see it in time to buy it anyway. The idea that there is a word-of-mouth in time to help the artists is one I doubt is true.



I've been curious about this. I'm on a college campus at Michigan State and I see some woot shirts, but honestly it's rare. However, on all the sales maps Washington is the hotbed every time. I figure most of this has to be Seattle and in large part UW. To hear that even there they aren't common surprises me a bit but makes when you think about how not many shirts actually make it past 2k.

CapSea


quality posts: 54 Private Messages CapSea
mrwednesday wrote:I've been curious about this. I'm on a college campus at Michigan State and I see some woot shirts, but honestly it's rare. However, on all the sales maps Washington is the hotbed every time. I figure most of this has to be Seattle and in large part UW. To hear that even there they aren't common surprises me a bit but makes when you think about how not many shirts actually make it past 2k.



I don't know if I'd call them too uncommon. I see them often enough, including some of the rarer ones that I own, like Toucan Sheds His Tint (I've seen twice and I own it). But I already shop at Woot. No one asks me about my shirts though. They just say "Haha, I like your shirt" and that's it. The one shirt I remember being asked about was Let's Curdle and that was 6 months after it had been reckoned.

Even the popular ones - I saw Fractal Tree twice, but both times were still after it was reckoned. I've never seen Imposter or Nevermore, and I only saw Binge three weeks ago. I think the only shirt I saw often while it was still available was Epic Begins. But again, how many people are actually going up to them and asking them where they got the shirt? And how often is the shirt still around by the time that occurs?

I think the argument must be that it will benefit future artists, because the more shirts are in circulation the more likely people will start coming to woot and then make purchases in the future. But even if that's the case, it does so at the expense of the artist that brought people to the site in the first place. Boo.

Narfcake


quality posts: 292 Private Messages Narfcake
CapSea wrote:But even if that's the case, it does so at the expense of the artist that brought people to the site in the first place. Boo.



Well, there is that extremely minute chance that the shirt you were wearing that caught their attention is by an artist that happens to have a shirt up at the moment ... but that's already after the five points I made up there.

That's on top of caring who were the artists; since many folks treat t-shirts as a commodity item, odds are that they're not going to care.

Besides, when someone asks you "Is that a real zoo?", do you say "No, it's a made up one that was created by the artist bassanimation that I bought over a year ago at shirt.woot.com." ... or do you mess with their heads and say "Yeah, it's a real zoo that was built on a nuclear dump site."

If you're like me, you'd do the latter too.

DianaSprinkle


quality posts: 148 Private Messages DianaSprinkle
CapSea wrote:I own almost 30 shirts, I wear them every day, I live in a populated area of Seattle right near the University, and I have only had 2 people ever ask me where I got my shirt, and both were shirts that had been reckoned months prior. I don't know where the idea that word-of-mouth helps the artist is coming from but I've been buying shirts from here since 2009 and even those that like my shirt don't care where it comes from, and never see it in time to buy it anyway. The idea that there is a word-of-mouth in time to help the artists is one I doubt is true.



Anecdotally I just went out today wearing my new "playful foxes" shirt and had a guy ask me where I got my shirt. I get asked A LOT as to where my shirts come from in person by both genders... but I'm also a girl, that might make a huge difference, and I also wear mostly cute/funny shirts, not sure if this helps or not. I don't think I sell many shirts this way but I do actually get asked. I sometimes wish I had shirt.woot postcards to give out. I really don't think every shirt buyer at woot will be a good walking billboard so this probably varies a lot.

I don't think you guys are thinking of the right word of mouth though... for instance if someone shares a photo of their new woot shirt on facebook/Twitter/My Space/youtube they can link it directly to the sale page or the front page. That's where I see the idea of word of mouth helping a lot more. Some shirts can also be searched for easily on google just by description.

The main thing I wish woot would do is have the share link on the first day link directly to the reckoning link for that shirt instead of the front page. That way people could follow most of the links directly back to the shirt they wanted instead of going to the front page and having to dig around the site for it or just assuming the shirt is gone for good even if it's still on the reckoning.

I tend to change my links to the reckoning link after the first day but I'm not the normal woot buyer/linker/sharer. =D

SkekTek


quality posts: 17 Private Messages SkekTek

Here's my take, given that I'm an "artist" that hasn't been printed since the derby was in the 20's, when $500 was a big take, and that there were 2000 on the first day. I agree with Snapster that this benefits the woot buyer and Woot, but I disagree by saying it does not benefit the artist, at least financially.

...unless a graduated profit margin is added. I like the idea that the first 3K are "free", then when it's sold out on the main page, link to the reckoning page for additional purchases under the "immunity" section.

That way it still benefits to stay up until 1 AM to see what's up, and to buy cheap if it's a good design. If you take your chances and it goes past 3K by the time you decide to pull the trigger, tough toenails- cough up the $15. Then woot and the artist get compensated for those awesome designs. If you don't get to 3K, nothing changes.

Of course, none of this prolly matters to me directly, except as a buyer of shirts since it seems most of the derbies are won by a small group of very talented artists, most of whom are awesome halftoners and masters of shading.

And yes, Shirt.Woot should be tooting their own horn more- we should DEFINITELY push to have a "Woot in the Wild" or "Wild Woots" page put up where people could post people wearing shirts. Maybe even on the pages where you can still buy printed shirts- "This is what it looks like on a real live human, bipedal alien, chimp, or scarecrow!"

And while I'm throwing out ideas, how about interviews from winning designers (heck, just saying "Thanks ThatRobert!" and linking to his wonderful Best Losers site would be awesome- you wouldn't have to do anything different).

As one of the select few who have been here from the get-go (hi Josephus, and we all miss your puckers Kenney9226!), I'm glad to say we're having this conversation, since this means shirt.woot has been around for 204 weeks and counting! I also have >30 shirts, some of which were random shirts, but many were also bought on the after-days to give profitola to the artists.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
DianaSprinkle wrote:I don't think you guys are thinking of the right word of mouth though... for instance if someone shares a photo of their new woot shirt on facebook/Twitter/My Space/youtube they can link it directly to the sale page or the front page. That's where I see the idea of word of mouth helping a lot more. Some shirts can also be searched for easily on google just by description.


I mentioned this earlier in the thread as it represents the only viable "word of mouth" campaign I can see.


The main thing I wish woot would do is have the share link on the first day link directly to the reckoning link for that shirt instead of the front page. That way people could follow most of the links directly back to the shirt they wanted instead of going to the front page and having to dig around the site for it or just assuming the shirt is gone for good even if it's still on the reckoning.


It does this now.
I "shared" Forbidden Future on debut day and the link goes to the page to buy one. So they must have fixed that at some point.

Cheers.

move along