Should you build a drop ship t-shirt site?

Should you build a drop ship t-shirt site?

Building your own drop ship t-shirt site is a lot easier than many people imagine.

If you’ve already got an online business with an audience, creating your own line of t-shirts can be a fun way to grow a new revenue stream.

It can be very quick to create designs that can be applied to t-shirts and other products. You can even find low cost designers on sites like fivers.com to produce designs from your ideas.

Using drop ship printers, you have to do very little in the day to day running of the business. Order fulfillment and shipping is all handled for you.

In most cases, you’ll only need to get involved if customers have questions or problems.

The benefit of marketplace sites

A lot of entrepreneurs successfully run their t-shirt businesses without having their own site.

You could apply to Amazon for an account on Merch and sell your designs on several of Amazon’s international sites. Once you add your designs, they take care of most everything else.

There are many other print on demand marketplaces that, unlike Merch, don’t make you apply for an account and don’t limit the number of designs that you sell.

Alternatively you could choose a general 3rd party marketplace like Etsy and integrate it with a print on demand drop shipper. Any orders your shop receives are automatically fulfilled by the drop shipper for you.

All of these options make life very easy for you.

Why build your own site?

However, whether this approach will be right for you depends on how you answer the following question.

Do you intend to send your own traffic to your t-shirt sales pages?

By this I mean, will you post links to your products from your Facebook page? Or from Instagram or Twitter or your blog? Will you buy adverts that link to your products pages?

If you answered “yes” to the question above, you need your own site.

Otherwise you’re just building a sales funnel that is going to leak customers and revenue day after day.

I covered this in more detail,including some of the psychology at play, in my article titled “The leakiest sales funnel in the world: as Etsy changes, we need to change too”.

That focuses specifically on Etsy, but the principles are the same whichever marketplace you use.

When you send your traffic to a 3rd party marketplace, some of them will leak out of your funnel and into your competitors’ funnels.

You’re effectively spending your time and/or money acquiring qualified traffic. You’re then generously handing some of that traffic to your competitors.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use these marketplaces, I’m just saying you should only sell to their existing users. That’s what you pay these marketplaces for, access to their qualified traffic.

Don’t go sharing your qualified traffic with them too.

Building your own site isn’t complex or expensive

You can build your own site selling drop shipped print on demand t-shirts in just a few hours.

I’m even going to give you a simple step-by-step to follow. Even if you think you’re a complete technophobe, you can get a simple site set up in less than half a day.

Once it’s set up, you need never again worry about losing your qualified traffic to your competitors.

If you’d like to give it a go, click to open my easy to follow recipe for a drop ship t-shirt site.

That will run you through the process of setting up a WordPress site with WooCommerce. The site is then connected to Printful who will handle the printing and shipping of your t-shirts.

There are many other drop ship print on demand services you can choose from. You may want to read Everything you need to know about a drop ship t-shirt business. That article looks in more depth at running a t-shirt business and covers many of the options open to you.

I’m Ian Pullen and when not working as a dog and cat butler, I’m a designer/developer and writer who works on projects for solopreneurs, SMBs and multi-nationals like Unilever and Lenovo.
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Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash
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© Ian Pullen - Shoestring Hustle 2018

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