Personal Thoughts

Own don’t rent

As of today, December 10th, Creative Market increased the commission they take on each sale from 30% to 40% – yes that’s a 33% increase.

They announced this change to shop owners in an email a few weeks back and it created a lot of discussion on the Creative Market community forums amongst shop owners. As you can imagine – most were not happy at all.

This change from Creative Market comes on the back of a few different things they have been trying over the last while, one of which was the equally contentious Certified Products Badge they launched and are interestingly ending with this commission increase. Here is a short quote from the email on this:

Effective December 10th, Creative Market’s Commission will increase from 30% to 40%, and Certified products will no longer have a different Commission from non-Certified products. We’ve heard your concerns about Certified, and this change is the first step in improving the program. We know buyers love Certified, so in 2020 we will explore ways to maintain that trusted shopping experience for buyers, while ensuring Certified works for Shop Owners as well.

Now, to be clear, I have had a shop on Creative Market for a long time, I joined just after it launched in 2012 and released my first product in 2013 and even motivated my wife to start a shop of her own on Creative Market in 2015 (and she has seen the same impact on her store as what I describe below). I was a big fan of Creative Market and really believed that a marketplace that did the work to attract and build an audience in turn allowed shop owners to focus on what they were good at. But sadly, as of today, my opinion has changed.

Creative Market has always been a side project for me and as such I was more than happy to give 30% of my sales to Creative Market for the work they did in attracting customers to the marketplace who in turn found my products and bought them. Over the years I have had some months where my shop made really good money and then it ran on autopilot while maintaining a reasonably steady stream of sales.

However, then came 2019 and suddenly sales dropped – with no changes to the store or its products – sales just seemingly dropped overnight. Interestingly, when looking at the comments in the support forums around the commission increase – it appears my shop was not alone – many shop owners on Creative Market saw their sales have equally abrupt drops around the same time, and they have yet to recover.

You can see the sales below for 2019, steady growth in the first few months and then the cliff…with some slow recovery and then another cliff….

Interestingly, Creative Market launched a beta test of the Certified Product Badge in Mid Feb. What was also interesting was that in order to have your product certified you had to be willing to lose an additional 10% of your stores sales – so effectively the 40% they have now made standard in these changes – but now they doing away with that, and just making the 40% standard. 🤔

With all this said, as I mentioned earlier, fortunately our stores were not our main sources of revenue – it was just a fun side project – but for many other shop owners on Creative Market it was not. I always knew that ultimately, by selling on a marketplace, I was giving up a percentage of my sales and in so doing was also tied to the rules of the marketplace – but this change really hurts when it comes on the back of already decreasing sales.

In the future I will have second thoughts about using marketplaces and rather look to create my own site (after all I do work for WooCommerce now – lesson learnt) and rather use the 30% (or 40% in this case) of my sales to do my own marketing and build my own brand and customer base rather than rely on someone else to do this for me. Yes it will require more work and effort, but then at least I am not “renting” a place to sell my products and a customer base from someone else.

To give you an alternate view to mine you can also read this post from a fellow Creative Market shop owner.


Hi, I’m a Design Lead for WooCommerce, working remotely from Ireland. You can read more about me, get in touch, signup to get notified about new articles, or keep reading more articles in the full archive below.

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