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How Shapeways Increased Their Click‑Through Rates by 525%

The 3D printing leader used tags and tag‑based automations to send their email engagement through the roof.


  • Industry: Commerce
  • Location: New York City
  • Company size: 150-200 people
  • Year founded: 2007

Published: June 29, 2020

Founded in 2007, Shapeways is a New York-based “leader in advanced additive manufacturing solutions,” which is a fancy way of saying they’re great at 3D printing. They serve businesses of all sizes across a multitude of industries, enabling those businesses to take their ideas all the way from inception to post-production to fulfillment.

When you’re an industry leader, growth is a part of the journey. But for Shapeways, figuring out their target audience had become too much of a manual process. They needed a way to automate it. And since they’d been using Mailchimp from day one for all their email marketing needs, it only made sense to start taking better advantage of our all-in-one Marketing Platform. Enter the Mailchimp + Zapier integration.

“The Mailchimp + Zapier integration allows us to save time and also allows us to accurately segment the audience that we wish to target and just makes everything seamless.”

The challenge: Improving their audience discovery process

“In order to target the right audience, we need to know when this person signed up and if they've uploaded a model or not,” Louise Lau, Shapeways Performance Marketing Manager, says. “And to do that precisely, we pull our own data to determine a target audience. It would not be feasible to run this on a daily basis to send our customers.”

Faced with that unwieldy process, Louise and team discovered Zapier’s Mailchimp integration. As it turns out, the integration is a simple, useful way to connect Mailchimp with all sorts of web apps. Shapeways primarily used Zapier to improve their process for tags and tag-based automations.

The tools: Tags and tag-based automations

A Zap—Zapier's word for automated workflow—adds a contact to the right tag within Shapeways’ audience based on their data. The contacts are organized in Mailchimp automatically based on those tags. Mailchimp then creates a new automation for that newly tagged audience, and just like that, Shapeways is sending personalized email communication across a complex mix of customers.

“If we were to do this on our own, I would probably need somebody to manage it and take maybe a couple of hours each day to send out all automated emails that we're doing every day,” Louise says. “The Zapier + Mailchimp integration saves us a tremendous amount of time in not having to pull an audience manually.”

The result: An astounding increase in email engagement

  • 238%

    open rate increase

  • 525%

    click-through rate increase

More than just saving time and making life a little easier for Shapeways employees, Zapier’s Mailchimp integration sent email engagement through the roof. That happened because they were sending relevant messages to the right customers at the right time. And when you do that, all sorts of good things happen.

“We’ve been able to create highly targeted emails relevant to each audience, and have seen dramatic increases in email engagement,” Louise says. “Compared to our audience average, these emails have seen as much as a 238% increase in open rates and 525% in click-through rates. And because the emails were tailored to the customers’ life cycle, they felt personal. Many of them responded to these emails to share their 3D printing goals, concerns, and questions, all of which have been tremendously insightful in telling us who our users are and how they’re expecting to use Shapeways.”

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