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"The Art of Finding Winning Products"
Everyone has that go-to t-shirt that makes them feel stylish and comfortable no matter which outfit or outing is planned. With the demand for the perfect Tee never going away, why not be that go-to store for everyone's favourite Tee?
If we’ve got your attention, your next question is simple: “Where do I find unique and high quality T-Shirts?”
Look no further! We’re going to cover how to start a tee shirt business, and how dropshipping can solve your product and inventory problem. With 27% of online retailers transitioning to dropshipping as their primary method of order fulfillment, there’s no denying its effectiveness.
This guide is all about how to start a successful online t-shirt business that you can manage from anywhere in the world, and launch yourself into entrepreneurship. But buckle up! It takes hard work and grit to get there.
Before we get into the finer details of launching an online dropshipping t-shirt business, there are two important questions to answer:
Dropshipping is a supply chain management method in which your goods - in this case, t-shirts - are transferred directly from a manufacturer or wholesaler to your customer. You take the order, but you never touch the goods.
In regards to profitability, now is a better time than ever to make money online. Retail eCommerce sales worldwide reached $3.53 trillion in 2019, and there’s no signs of stopping.
But that doesn’t mean success will come easy. Winning big at dropshipping is a result of grit, strategy, and knowing your costs.
For example, if you sell a t-shirt for $20, you must deduct your costs to arrive at your final profit. Here’s a basic example using the $20 retail sale price:
Of course, this doesn’t take into consideration other miscellaneous expenses, such as marketing and advertising. But even if you don’t break even right away, keeping up with a healthy retargeting strategy and staying on top of your weaknesses will guarantee a healthy revenue and profit in the future.
Without further ado, let's get into it!
No two entrepreneurs will take the exact same approach to start a t-shirt business, but there are six basic steps that deserve your attention. Don’t forget to tackle these one at a time, and make sure you spend the necessary time and effort on each one.
Don’t do anything until you have an answer to this question. If you don’t know what a good t-shirt looks like (and feels like), you could end up with products that don’t suit your brand or target audience.
The word “good” means something different to everyone, but here are some basics to consider when sourcing t-shirts:
You know your audience better than anyone else, so personally weigh these five details accordingly.
For example, if you’re targeting the younger generation Z crowd, price is a driving factor.
Conversely, if you’re selling custom t-shirts to an older demographic, they may be more interested in comfort, durability, and a good fit. Although a good t-shirt lies in the eye of the beholder, it’s your job to make sure you provide the perfect tee to your target audience.
Choosing a niche is critical to honing down your target audience, and staying focused on your value proposition. It’ll help your t-shirt business stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, it helps you build a brand and competitive advantage.
There’s no shortage of niches to dabble in. Some common examples include:
From here, you can narrow down the niche even further. For instance, maybe you want to sell funny t-shirts but would rather focus on humorous artwork as opposed to plain text t-shirts.
Or maybe you want to sell t-shirts with quotes on them, but would rather appeal to a more targeted audience. So, rather than use just any quotes, choose a sub-niche, such as sports, celebrities, or pop culture.
If you’ve yet to pinpoint your niche, here are some things you can do:
Once you have your niche specified, it’s easier to tackle the next steps in building your T-shirt dropshipping business. Keep your target persona in mind at all times! And always ask yourself: “Would I buy this T-shirt?”
This step can make or break your dropshipping experience, as the wrong choice of supplier(s) could cripple your dropshipping T-shirt business. Finding the right supplier takes time, and there are plenty of options out there for you to explore before making a decision.
Conversely, once you connect with a reliable, quality supplier, you’ll feel confident in every order you place. So, it’s important to not take any shortcuts in the beginning!
Here are some questions to answer as you compare dropshipping suppliers:
As you answer these questions, you’ll come to realize that some suppliers suit your every requirement, while others fall short in several key areas. With these questions, you’ll be able to filter out the ones that work best for you.
Your success hinges largely on two points:
With Spocket, you gain access to many high-quality artisanal US suppliers that offer fast shipping, competitive pricing, and unique designs.
You can also go the cheaper route, and try to find suppliers abroad that fit in with your aesthetic, but keep in mind that shipping times are an important factor in making a sale. With dropshipping suppliers from the USA, you’re able to make fast shipping a selling feature, and use it as a competitive advantage.
Tip: once you narrow your list of suppliers, request a sample (or several samples of different products) from each one. This should help you make an informed and confident final decision, as well as see the entire customer journey.
You’ve selected a niche and nailed down your suppliers. Now, it’s time to define your processes.
Since you’re dropshipping, there are three options available to you:
Personally create your designs - if you’re the artistic type - or hire a designer to carry out your vision. There are both freelance networks (such as Upwork) and design communities (such as Behance) where you can find designers.
Each of these approaches has the potential to align with your business plan, so study each one to determine which best suits your style, design skills, marketing strategy, and goals. You can even try a few approaches instantaneously!
You don’t have to look far to find an ecommerce platform. The platfomrs make getting started easy, and remove the headache and trouble of creating a converting website and worying about choosing a secure payment portal. Take a look at some top choices below:
Shopify is well known as the most popular all-in-one ecommerce solution. It powers millions of online stores spanning every industry imaginable.
Used by small and large online stores alike, BigCommerce is lauded for its design freedom and simplicity.
Thanks to its heavy advertising push, Wix is on par with Shopify in regards to brand recognition. It’s biggest benefit is the ability to get started with no coding skills. This attracts newcomers, as well as established store owners who are seeking simplicity.
It’s simple to use, competitively priced, and designed to help you build and manage a growing online store.
WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It allows you to build your store on the WordPress platform - the number one CMS in the world - but power it with the plugins.
Regardless of the eCommerce platform you choose, you can easily integrate Spocket to your store.
If you choose to integrate with Spocket, there are four areas that immediately sync:
Furthermore, Spocket partners with both US and EU suppliers, allowing you to easily add products to your store. This saves you the time of manually adding products.
There is no single way to market your online t-shirt store, but you must have a strategy to guide you from day one. These are based on your target market, as well as what your unique value proposition is! Options include:
If you’re just getting started, it’s simple (and free) to set up social media profiles to connect with your audience. This is a good place to get the ball rolling.
As your store grows, you can move into more advanced advertising and marketing strategies, such as pay per click(PPC) and influencer marketing.
Here are some basic tips for getting started:
The above knowledge is more than enough for you to launch a successful online t-shirt business.
If you’re ready to take the leap, set-up a free dropshipping account with Spocket. It won’t be long before you’re adding products to your store, making sales, and scaling your business.
Chris Bibey is a content writer and content marketing consultant from Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to ecommerce companies, Chris has worked with the likes of Discover Financial Services, Outreach, and Entrepreneur Media.