T-shirts are a fundamental feature of our wardrobes today, especially due to the pandemic we’re going through.
It’s estimated that the global demand for Print On Demand t-shirts could hit 10 billion USD by 2025. This is why millennial entrepreneurs are wondering how to run a Shopify t-shirt business today and dreaming to launch their e-commerce store.
A simple way to do that is to start with choosing a niche, create an eye-catching design, and mockup a t-shirt. Then, it’s time to set up an online store and advertise it through social networks, to increase your conversion rate.
Seems quite hard but we will breakdown all these steps as follows, as you can quickly set your own Shopify store!
1. Choose Your Niche
Choose the right niche is the first step to start properly your e-commerce business. The chance of success is way higher if you create a unique and genuine shop for a targeted audience.
Make your researches step by step. You might have a look at other retailers and brands you like and use them as inspiration for your store. Think about something exclusive and unique and take your time to develop your ideal niche.
But how to validate it?
You can search on reddit.com your niche-word and evaluate the subscribers’ count and the level of engagement. Facebook’s Audience Insights tool it’s another way to analyze the size of your niche on the platform. Alternatively, you can even search on Google Trends a list of popular hobbies for inspiration.
2. Create Your Design
Choose the right design is crucial for your print on demand store. If you already have great concepts on your own (maybe you’re an artist or a photographer) you can skip this process and adopt straight away for your t-shirts.
Otherwise, our main recommendation is to be as much creative and innovative as possible.
Screen all the different brands related to your niche and evaluate their designs. The ones that fit most with your audience will be your selection.
There are tons of fashion blogs you can check online or through socials. Otherwise, you can search among the “best sellers” and “most popular” sections of top t-shirt marketplaces such as Redbubble, Teespring, Zazzle, and look for cool designs.
With Adobe Photoshop it’s possible to create great designs by yourself if you know how to use it. If not, you can instead use Canva or Placeit, which are even free, and could definitely help you.
But if you don’t rely on your skills as a designer, a great option is to seek the help of professionals (local designers) or join the network of independent artists and freelancers on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. Here, you can choose among high-quality designers at cheaper prices.
Once you’ve put together some cool design concepts for your store, it’s important to ask the validation of others, to understand if these “prototypes” are immediately fine for commercialization or you may need some changes and improvements.
You can do this by sharing your designs on socials and blogs or contact some local consultants, who can send you impartial opinions.
3. Mockup Your T-shirt
The next step is to get mockup photos so that your customers can visualize how the final design will look like on a custom t-shirt.
Even in this case, Adobe Photoshop is the most recommended tool due to its common mockup templates. It allows you to have a quick preview of your designs printed on a t-shirt.
Alternatively, web-based mockup software can be a great solution too! Printful mockup generator, Printify mockup generator, and Placeit are the main options.
4. Set Up An Online Store
Now you’re ready to set up your t-shirt online store!
For a complete set up of your Shopify store from zero, please check our Beginners Guide On How To Sell Print On Demand Products On Shopify.
Then, you might think about the best source for your t-shirts.
One way to differentiate yourself is to choose the finest materials available for that specific item you’re going to produce.
Customer experience it’s important and you don’t want to provide them shrunk t-shirts or ripped ones, the reputation of your e-commerce shop would be extremely poor. And this would lower drastically the odds of making them purchase again, which is certainly something to prevent.
If your catalog is filled with high-quality items, your shopping experience will be great and this will let your store reputation grow more.
Many print-on-demand services, fully integrated to Shopify, provide high-quality custom white labeled products. We’re talking about Printify, Printful, Gooten, and Teelaunch.
These services allow you to print and ship your t-shirts to your customers every time you receive an order from them!
There’s no need to hold or purchase any inventory upfront, so it’s a great way to get started!
5. Social Media Advertising
Last but not least you need to advertise your Shopify t-shirt store through socials.
It’s very important to get in touch with your targeted audience. This step is crucial to have success among your competitors in 2021!
Take your time to make accurate researches of your potential consumers and to figure out which social platform they are using the most. For instance, they could be more involved on Instagram and Snapchat, instead of simply looking for t-shirts through Google Search.
This is why in 2021 being advertised by the right influencer is an appropriate way to have success in this online business, rather than wasting time and money on search engine optimization.
So these are the three main steps to follow to advertise effectively your shop:
- Set up social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter are the main ones);
- Run paid ads to target your audience and scale up quickly.
- Contact bloggers and influencers who only belong to your niche and ask them to promote your t-shirt designs on their social platforms!
You will continue to develop your brand identity and establish your presence online in that specific niche.
By the time, you will receive the first orders and your Shopify t-shirt store will start to grow up organically over time!
6. Increase Your Conversion Rate
It may happen that a customer adds one or more of your items to the chart but won’t finalize the purchase.
Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other social platforms are effective tools you can use in your remarketing strategy. These instruments let you narrow down your audience and bring back your customers to the store.
Discount coupons and email reminders could be other strategies to adopt to increase your conversion rate.
Is Print On Demand Profitable?
As we have already said in this article, t-shirt trends have increased recently, due to social restrictions and the versatility of usage. Due to its low start-up costs, a business model centered on print on demand could be profitable in a short time, if you follow the right steps, as explained before.
With dropshipping, you won’t ever have problems with space and inventory. You just need to collect the orders from the customers and manage to ship them correctly in the shortest time. Shopify with its great integrations will do the rest.
Be aware that customer experience it’s important, such as a correct remarketing and retargeting process. By the time you will reach a more passionate audience, that will be loyal to you.
No matter which niche you will choose, it’s going to be challenging and you need to fight to get your spot before others.
To emerge in this online business ocean, courage and creativity are crucial! It’s important not to be discouraged by the first results and just keep working and working, adding value and unique style to your Shopify t-shirt store.
BONUS – Print On Demand Techniques
Before you run your print on demand business, you should be aware of the three most commonly used print on demand techniques:
This option is perfect for dark and high-vibration designs. Printers apply ink on a t-shirt using various stencils with colored inks. Due to its high consumption setup, Screen Printing is more suitable for bulk printing of different colors, at least 5 items.
With this technique, the design is cut and placed on a t-shirt through a heat transfer paper, heated to high temperatures like a huge iron. In this way, the shirt and paper are melted perfectly through the fabric, creating a final cohesive effect.
Heat transfer it’s mainly indicated for colored designs.
Direct to Garment
While Heat Transfer uses high temperatures, DTG applies special ink directly into the t-shirt by an inkjet printer. It’s the cheapest option because no setup costs are required. Using water-based ink, each design can be easily downloaded to an external device and then printed onto the custom t-shirt through specific machinery.
It’s mostly indicated for small orders as fulfillment time is faster.