It’s no secret that we love customization, personal touches, and making something your own. One of the best ways to let your customers add their own style to your designs is by using templates. Here are our latest tips for creating templates and making them work for you and your customers.
Make custom design areas into templates
The easiest way to show customers that they can personalize your design is by turning the various text or image elements in your design into templates. Templates can be anything from names and monograms to wedding photos and anniversary dates – any part of a design where a customer can add their own personal touch. Once you’ve added a text box or a template image, to make it a template simply select it and then click on the gear icon in the design tool. In the pop-up window, check the box for “Make this a template object”. You’ll notice that we already select the option “Allow editing on product page” for you. We recommend keeping this option checked, as it will show your templates to your customer as soon as they visit your product’s page so they can make their own updates without clicking the “Customize It” button.
Use descriptive template names
In the pop-up window for setting up your template, you’ll see two fields: Product page label and URL parameter name. While they will start out filled in with a placeholder name for you, you can use these fields to improve your design. When you allow editing on the product page, what you name your templates matters! What you enter for “Product page label” will appear as the name of the template field under “Edit this design template” when a customer lands on your product page. Make it clear which part of your design is which.
You’ll also want to think about the order in which these different template fields will appear, as ordering them properly can make for an easy and attractive experience for your customers. That’s where the “URL parameter name” comes in. Your template fields will show up on the product page alphabetically in order by URL parameter name. Try naming the URL parameter names of your templates so that they are alphabetically in order as close to the order of the actual elements in your design (e.g. top to bottom and left to right).
Time-saving tip: This is also how you can tell the design tool if you have template elements in a design that are duplicates or mirrors of each other. For example, say you have a double-sided product with the same design on each side, featuring a monogram template. If you use the same URL parameter name for both of these monograms, when the customer changes one of them to their own monogram letter, it will automatically make that same change for the monogram on the other side of the product. However, keep this in mind as something to avoid for templates that are totally different – make sure you use a unique URL parameter name for each, or you’ll only be able to edit one template!
Use templates freely, lock wisely
One of the more frequent pieces of feedback we’ve seen from customers is that they would like more opportunity to tweak a design to exactly their own specifications. Overall, giving your customers more options to create something that really speaks to them gives them a great experience – and lets them buy exactly what they want! If you watched our latest Zazzle Chat, you might remember some examples that we shared of how allowing more customization can bring you more sales. A beautiful wedding invitation design can become personal stationery when you’re able to remove all of the wedding elements, or a Valentine’s Day card can become a “just because I care” card when you can edit the greeting from “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Your customer might see a new life for your design that you might not have thought of, and you’ll end up reaching a broader audience.
If you do decide to “lock” certain elements of your design (prevent a customer from editing or deleting them), do so with thought and care. Something like your Designer attribution might be something you want to ensure is printed on every order, but not allowing a customer to edit or remove a greeting or embellishment could mean that your customer moves on to another design that allows more flexibility.
Make it easy on the customer
The biggest piece of advice we have when it comes to templates is this: think like the customer! What parts of your design would you want to make your own? How could it be personalized? Which part would you want to change first? Try out customizing your designs yourself, looking at the design and the whole experience through the eyes of a customer. Was it easy to find what to customize and how to make the changes? Did the order of the templates make sense? Did everything change as you expected it to? Trying out the customization options on your own designs can help you set them up correctly, and you might even notice something you can improve upon (or something you missed) that isn’t immediately apparent when on the Designer side.
Use templates instead of duplicating
Besides loving everything custom, we’re big fans of the idea of quality over quantity. Templates can also help you avoid creating duplicate products. For something like a family name or monogram, you don’t need to create a version of your design with every letter of the alphabet. Simply make it a template! By allowing your customers more freedom in personalization, you end up with a huge variety of resulting products all from one original product in your store. Win-win!
Bonus tip: Do you have designs that make for the perfect frames for your customers photos? Show them off! Using real, eye-catching photographs as template placeholders lets your customer imagine their own beautiful shots front and center in your design. Stay away from generic white boxes with “Your Image Here”.
How will you use templates to make your designs shine?