How to start a Print on Demand T-Shirt Store?
Starting online T-Shirt business is needs huge upfront investment in inventory. Right? No. You can start an online T-Shirt business without any huge investment using Print on Demand T-Shirts model.
Print on Demand is a printing method used to print T-Shirt after receiving an order. So you will not be left with unsold inventory. The burden of dead stock or inventory risk is the highest risk factor in the business of selling T-Shirts online.
This risk can be completely taken away if you are preferring to use Print on Demand for your T-Shirt business. You can just design and sell T-Shirts, where in your Print on Demand Websites like Qikink does printing and shipping.
Steps to start a Print on Demand T-Shirt Store
- Choose Products
- Prepare Designs
- Setup online store
- Signup with Print on Demand Supplier
- Upload Designs and Push Products
- Custom Branding
- Sample Order
- Order Fulfilment
- Policies and Support
1. Choose Products
Product is a T-Shirt here. The beauty of Print on Demand and third party fulfilment (Dropshipping) model is you can choose as many products you want like Half Sleeves, Full Sleeves, Hoodies, Sweatshirts, Joggers and more.
Choose a variety of products from the catalog of Supplier. Get to know about their specifications like cloth type, cost, fit, GSM, wash care, print placements, print types etc.
Make a list of products to sell on your website with the above specifications. Do the same with other suppliers in the market and compare them. Choose the supplier who has more options to diversify later.
2. Prepare Designs
It is okay if you do not know have designing skills. But it’s an advantage if you have. There are places as below to get designs for your T-Shirt business online.
- Creative Market
There are multiple free and paid resources available. But it is important to put in your creativity at work to use those resources to make great T-Shirt designs and mockups.
3. Setup Online Store
Setting up an online store is an easy task with little tech knowledge. There are many online resources available for popular stores like Shopify from setup, domain mapping and payment integration.
Check this one from Shopify: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-Qfdn44rB4
There are also other store options like Wix, Squarespace, Dukaan. Also you can explore more customisable options like woocommerce, Magento as well. These requires separate hosting accounts.
4. Signup with Print on Demand Supplier
Print on Demand T-Shirts needs a third party supplier who will fulfil your T-Shirts orders. These are manufacturers or Printing Companies who stock up inventory and invested in huge digital printers.
Choose a supplier after analysing the following
- Experience in the industry
- Range of products,
- Printing methods
- Product and printing quality
- Customer support
- Integration options
Print on Demand Supplier is a partner for your business. They should make your T-Shirt business profitable with true manufacturers’ pricing, ontime services and delivering promised quality every time.
5. Upload Designs and Push Products
Now that the online store, designs and Print on Demand Website are ready, you can fill your store with the products. Upload your designs into the Supplier’s web portal. Create Products from the designs. Check the following while creating products
- Print Size
- Print Placements
- Print Cost
- Product Colors and Sizes to add
- Shipping Cost
Once the products are created, push the products to your online store using the push product option. Your online T-Shirt store is populated with products ready to sell.
6. Custom Branding
Imagine your customers receiving a T-Shirt without any brand mention anywhere on the product. Leave alone delighting them. How will they remember you and order from you next time when they needed a T-Shirt? Branding is the key for repeat purchase. Customers will try to purchase a product from the first brand they remember. Be there.
Explore all the custom branding options provided by your Supplier. The following are the common branding options,
- Neck Label
- Hang Tag
- Thank you card
- Branded Packaging
Suppliers like Qikink provided free custom branding on the packet in the form of stickers. Thats a great place to start. Neck label is most important for apparels, it stays with the product and reminds them of the brand name.
7. Sample Order
The model of Print on Demand and Dropshipping is your supplier will ship the order directly to your customer. You will not see the product. So it is important to order a sample for yourself and check the quality of product, printing, packing and branding. Get orders from friends and family, get the orders to your address and distribute to them.
The promising way of marketing for your dropshipping store is via social media ads. This requires clear understanding of your typical customer and to show ads in precision on social channels. Check your return on ads spent (ROAS) and try the other following ways to reduce the money spent on ads
- Email Marketing
- Social Content and Engagement
- SEO with Topical Authority
- Influencer Marketing
- New Product Launches
- Affiliate Marketing
9. Order Fulfillment
This part of business is to be automated. But for a market like India, this needs a slight manual intervention if you are selling via Cash on Delivery method (COD). Orders having incomplete shipping data, very high value orders may get returned without getting accepted by the customer.
So, having a manual check point before passing the COD orders to the supplier will avoid such losses. Though return to origin(RTO) of COD orders are not completely avoidable, it is important to keep it within a minimum limit.
Also check the invoices to ensure the orders are charged correctly. It is time to put in a formal accounting process to reconcile the payments and costs incurred to realise profits.
10. Policies and Support
A clear return policy is very important in Print on Demand business. Mention about the delivery time estimates, replacement and refund policy on the product page. Show important information like Size Chart, Fabric, Fit details clearly on the product page.
Have an informed person on the support or handle it yourself. You can automate the support queries via free ticket systems. Respond to all support queries with as detailed information as possible and within your TAT always.