So, you are interested in starting an online T-shirt selling business but you need some advice.
Well, you have come to the right place.
We will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to start an online T-shirt selling business. Our goal is to provide you with enough information so that you can avoid common mistakes and pitfalls and hit the ground running. We want to see your business get off to a great start.
Step 1: Stand Out From The Crowd
Mistake #1: Not being unique enough, or copying designs and themes from others in the same niche.
The online T-shirt selling market is crowded. Dozens of T-shirt selling businesses are popping up overnight. Does this mean you shouldn’t enter the market? Absolutely not! It just means that you need to be aware of market saturation so that you can distinguish yourself and get the attention you want.
In order to be successful, you need to be innovative in your designs and marketing campaigns. You should also find a specific niche and target that market. Example niches might be centered around a certain political party or profession, like teaching. Designs for these niches typically use creative sayings to poke fun at other parties or graphics related to the teaching profession. You could also check Google trends to find out what people are interested in, or check out our monthly reports to see what is happening in the world of T-shirt sales.
Step 2: Choose a Platform
Mistake #2: Using the very first site the designer finds without taking time to explore the features or profit margins of other sites.
You need to choose which platform you’ll use to launch your T-shirt business. There are several things to look for when making this decision.
- Profit— Check what the site charges for their T-shirts. Do they get a cut from the proceeds? Does it cost extra for additional graphics or to use their font catalog?
- Quality— Where do they get their T-shirts? What’s the quality like? Order T-shirts from a couple of sites just to see firsthand what the material feels like and how it washes (Does it shrink, fade, or fall apart?)
- User Platform— How easy is the interface to design and upload graphics? How much control do you have over the final appearance?
- Brand— Does the site encourage you to grow your personal brand? Do they offer any extra marketing services?
- Success— Find businesses that are or have previously used the site and ask them questions. Find out their thoughts on it. How much success did they have? What didn’t they like about their experience using the site?
Step 3: Build a Marketing Plan
Mistake #3: Spending way too much time deciding on a name and not enough time on the business marketing plan.
Before you set up your store and make it live, you should first come up with a marketing game plan. Write down 10 different characteristics of your ideal customer. The more specific you can be, the better. What is their profession? Income level? Hobbies?
When you have a marketing plan in place, you will be prepared to launch your store and won’t be scrambling to figure out how to get your designs to sell.
The faster you start selling, the more motivated ed you will be to keep your business moving forward. It’s really discouraging to any business owner to open up shop and then not see any sales for the next month. By having a marketing plan in place, you’ll be able to hit the ground running.
It’s at this point that you should be brainstorming logo ideas and business names. Make sure to use multiple search engines to check if a name is already in use. You want to be sure that, if in the future you want to purchase a website domain with your business name, it’s available. For ways to come up with the perfect business name, you can check out these tips.
Your business name should be the icing on a very delicious seven-layer cake. The cake should take the most time as you have to use quality ingredients and measure the correct ratios to get the taste just right. You can have a beautifully frosted cake, but if the inside tastes like garbage, people are not going to want a second slice.
Step 4: Set Up Shop
Mistake #4: A cluttered, unprofessional layout. Too many designs and no organization.
After you’ve decided on the site you will use it’s time to set up shop. Create and upload your designs, while keeping in mind that they need to be unique and original.
Gather feedback from friends and family about the layout of your site. Is it clean and uncluttered? Do you have enough T-shirt options for each design— long sleeve, three-quarter sleeve, etc.?
Step 5: Promote
Mistake #5: Believing “if you build it, they will come.” Sorry, that’s not going to happen. You need to spend time and even money to promote and get your business out there.
Congratulations,you have your business up and running! Now it’s time to start promoting. Using the marketing plan you created in Step 3, begin to target your niche market. Use Facebook Ads, Facebook Pages, Google AdWords, and keep the characteristics of your ideal customer in mind as you narrow down your target market.
The biggest piece of the puzzle in promoting your business and ultimately selling T-shirts is relationships. You will want to have social media accounts for your business. Update them regularly and respond to customer questions and/or feedback in a timely manner. Try not to use stock photographs, and be real. Customers want to see who is behind your brand.
After going through these five simple steps, you should have a firm grasp on what you need to do to start your online T-shirt business. As you can see, it’s not too challenging to get started, but it is difficult to keep going. More on that another day…