The growing number of influential Weibo commentators are increasingly opening their own online shops or promoting products.
But the gift e-retailer is taking a cautious view for the holiday season.
Web sales for CafePress Inc. increased 15.6% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year.
The online-only retailer sells customized products such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, stationery and photo gifts. It also recently began selling customizable flip-flops and canvas shoes, and home products, such as curtains and throw pillows, which consumers can personalize.
For the quarter ending Sept. 30, CafePress, No. 110 in the 2013 edition of the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported:
- Web sales increased 15.6% to $50.4 million from $43.6 million in Q3 2012.
- Net loss was $3.1 million, an increase of 29.2% compared with a loss of $2.4 million in Q3 2012.
- The average order value was $38, compared with $54 a year ago. CafePress attributes the decrease to the smaller order sizes coming from EZ Prints’ sales to professional photographers and other businesses. Excluding EZ Prints, the average order size during the second quarter was $53. EZPrints’ focus is on relatively low-cost photo gifts, usually priced under $10, like mouse pads and return address stickers. CafePress bought online photo service company EZ Prints in 2012.
- The number of orders grew year over year 58.3% to 1,315,414 from 830,819, including EZ Prints orders.
CafePress lowered its previous sales forecast for Q4. The fourth quarter is the e-retailer’s key sales quarter. CafePress says it now anticipates web sales in the range of $88.5 million to $96.5 million during Q4. When it announced its Q2 earnings three months ago, it had forecast Q4 sales in the range of $95 million to $104 million. “As we enter our most significant quarter of the year we expect solid growth in our e-commerce properties,” says Monica Johnson, CafePress’ chief financial officer. “Our guidance reflects changes to certain partner roadmaps including program launches that are occurring later in the quarter than we expected, along with a cautious view on consumer spending during the holidays.”
“From an operations perspective we feel we are well prepared for the holiday season,” says CEO Bob Marino.
For the nine months ending Sept. 30, CafePress reported:
- Web sales increased 19.0% to $155.4 million from $130.5 million during the same time frame in 2012.
- A net loss of $8.8 million, compared with a loss of $3.2 million a year ago.