Anyone can launch a web store. However, there’s a lot more strategy than you might imagine to do it successfully. Most of the eCommerce solutions to date have focused on screen printing, embroidery, DTG, and, sometimes, sublimation as fulfillment methods. While these are all excellent technologies in their own right, there are a lot more ways to print an item.
With low minimums; great flexibility in the fabrics, items, and print locations; a variety of effects; and low-cost entry and easy scalability, heat printing is a great solution. As you consider the growing trend of client-specific stores, here are 10 tips for creating web stores that lead to successful fulfillment.
An expiration helps potential buyers to create a purchase, so plan timed sales or timed items. Consider building a “pop-up store” with a countdown feature or a longstanding store with “pop-up items.” Having set closing dates to items and stores before products are manufactured will help you to achieve profit and simplicity with batch fulfillment.
Don’t go overboard with designs
Many stores look to create tons of unique designs within the shopping experience. While this may be important for certain types of sales, teams, schools, and businesses almost always have a primary brand logo that helps to keep their identity consistent. Don’t overcomplicate matters. Use their logo across all items in the store to limit art set up and to drive repetitive logo quantity at fulfillment.
Keep size consistent and switch up the placement
A common mistake made in an online store environment is logos of too many sizes. Designing with consistent logo sizes will pay dividends when its time to produce. While some technologies, like print/cut, will allow you to create as little as one of a size, other print methods like screen-printed transfers cost less when there is an abundance of an identical logo. Designing with a logo that works across many items at one size is a great way to make more profit.
A 3.5” X 3.5” logo can often work on a hat, bag, polo, jacket, or T-shirt.
Consider sizing in gang sheeting
Logo sizing is a big deal. Sometimes a fraction of an inch can be the difference between fitting an extra design on the page. Consider your transfer sheet size and how you will nest orders on a page before publishing a store.
Offer text personalization and leverage on-demand cutting
Complementing a brand logo with personalization or optional text is a great way to increase the average price of every item you sell. Heat transfer vinyl comes in a large variety of styles to fit any brand image. Consider allowing for an editable name drop from materials like reflective, performance, flock, and the like. Popular placements for optional text drops are sleeves and center back locations.
Order more than you need and reopen after delivery
Once you close a store, you’ll need to order transfers. Once you start the order, it’s often less expensive or costs very little to add five to 15 extra sheets. Do it and reopen the store for a limited time after items are delivered. You can use the additional logos to print per order while supplies last.
Leverage creative placement
More placements equal more profit. If you are using heat transfers to fulfill your store orders, it’s easy to move a logo to many different locations on your item. Consider unique logo areas and secondary design options.
Keep assortment tight but varied
Very few people will order four T-shirts from an online store. However, many may order four different items. Consider the average number of items per cart as a metric and work to improve it with just enough choices. Too many and people can’t decide, too little, and you may be cutting your opportunity short.
Showcase higher-end items
As you consider an assortment for the store, offer some elevated choices.
Outerwear, fleece, or performance wear are as easy to decorate as a T-shirt when it comes to transfers but yield more profit per item.
Close stores on a consistent calendar
If stores are a big part of your business, consider closing multiple stores on the same date. If you’ve planned your design sizes well, with new digital screen-printed transfers, it’s possible to gang several customer logos on one sheet, even if they vary in colors. This closing will also help to save on shipping costs if you’ve centralized on one apparel vendor across stores. You may need to spread out delivery time to best plan production, but approaching store closing with a strategy can be lucrative.
Client-specific web stores present an excellent opportunity for sales growth, but you need a plan. If you can master the way to build and fulfill items, there is significant earnings potential. Keep it simple, start small, and then work to scale the number of stores once you have a process.