Building an Awesome T-shirt Website, that Drives Sales, and Profit Right to Your Pocket
Take a look at your store and products from a consumer’s perspective
Take a look at your site as if you wanted to buy something. Take a look at your store and products from a consumer’s perspective. Are the colors working? are things easy to get to? Is there enough information for your products? Do you want to come back to this site? What is it you get when you visit this site? By thinking like a customer, you can get a good idea of what they will be looking for when they come to your site.
Hopefully you already have some designs created, next is to spend some time on your shop’s website. If you need to brush up on your HTML skills, check out W3Schools, for a fast, simple way to learn HTML, and how to code websites. Personally, I use Dreamweaver, From Adobe.
If you have a little money to spend, pick up this website building program. It has a great Help section, and online tutorials that will give you Massive amounts of web building power, more than any template can give you. By completely customizing your website, you can update it at any time, easily with Dreamweaver, with only limited knowledge of HTML and web design.
If you open a Cafe Press Premium Shop, and have built your own website, seperate from Cafe Press, DO check out this amazing PHP tool, from CPSHOP. It takes all your products from cafepress.com and places them inside your own website, with somewhat great ease. If you have a problem, Marty, is awesome and has Forums, and message boards to help you every step of the way, and he even gets involved if you’re slow like myself, and sometimes get confused. Much Love Marty.
Market Research is a Great Way to Know Your Customer.
Gather information on your potential customers, and their style of shopping. We made the mistake of making our first shop, really bright, and cluttered, and too much going on, that it was very difficult for the shopper to concentrate on our products. The look and feel of your shop, should potentially match those people viewing your site. Find colors that complement your shops style, but don’t drive away potential customers. Adding value to your store, such as a newsletter subscription, or blog feed, or even some simple but effective you tube videos, to increase reasons people would want to stay on your website. Soge Shirts uses a blog to keep friends and customers connected to the value we offer, along side our awesome products. This can increase the chance of your products being seen, by grabbing another aspect of social marketing, and turn new customers onto the style of service you provide. Of course we have links to our shops, and display our shirts on the blog as well. Much like the Newsletter subscriptions, the blog is a great tool for users to recieve rss feeds based on news released through the blog, or any product updates, and potential headlines your shop might produce. The longer someone is navigating your site, and staying connected to your brand, the higher potential there is for your products to be seen, and eventually sold.
You’ll need to buy a domain name (the virtual address of your site), find a place to host your website, and the desire to create your shop. Many places can build one for you, and some can give you design tools to create one yourself. GoDaddy.com Yahoo! Web Hosting, Yahoo uses a web hosting service to allow your site to be visited and operated. Yahoo also has online stores you can open, if you plan on getting a seller’s permit, and business license to sell products from your home Yahoo! Merchant Solutions - Open a yahoo store.We have found that purchasing multiple t-shirts for cheap, then having a silk screener, or graphics printing company, print your designs onto the shirts, selling them gives us a larger amount of profit. This ultimately is how companies start out selling, then moving into huge warehouses, and taking over the market. Start small, and move to larger leaps and bounds. The great thing about a third party company, it can build the revenue and designs for printing and selling your own tshirts. In addition, a shop can provide market research, based on which designs sell the most, then you would decide what designs to print yourself.
If you’re not a webmaster, you can use a website that offers “website templates” you can use to build a personal website. Create a biography about yourself and what you do/what your goals are for the company. This creates value and allows the customer the chance to get to know you, and relate to the shop owner.
On this site you can try to set up affiliate ads with other companies and receive commission when someone buys something from a linked company through your site. Search in the google search engine for “adsense”, or “paid per click” advertising. This way, you can generate revenue for each person who comes to your site, and clicks on your ads. Try and not saturate the webpage with ads, because we want your viewers to see your products. Make sure to tag your Designs. Tagging your designs, is a great way for your products and website to come up higher on the search lists of major search engines.
Once you have got your feet wet and have a good number of designs go ahead and transfer over to producing your own shirts. Once you gain some market insight as to what shirts of yours people are talking about, and which designs are selling, you can start to have your own shirts made. Some ways of producing your shirts are: screen printing, heat transfer, Iron on, Direct Printing, and embroidery. You can buy shirts wholesale inexpensively and get your designs printed Fairly cheap as well. Make sure you do the math right produce the shirts in bulk amounts, for less than you would sell them to the public.
Since you’ve got your own shirts, department stores, boutiques, and online stores can start to sell your product. Take a few personally made shirts around town to see if stores would like to sell your shirts. This is where you have to be a salesperson, and believe in your product, have confidence in your design, and bring reasons why people will buy your shirts into those stores, and they will likely agree, and purchase some of your products to sell in stores.
Its not a bad idea to give some of your biggest fans some free shirts. You’re going to need a shopping cart on your page. GoDaddy.com has a wonderful site hosting and shopping cart tools. You are also going to have to be able to take orders and ship to your customers in a reasonable amount of time. I might suggest UPS. or USPS. Whichever you think is cheapest and speediest.