Making It Know

How to Sell T-Shirts and Custom Merch Online Without Inventory

Whether you host a podcast, run a nonprofit, or play in a band, selling merchandise on your website is an exciting way to create a new revenue stream. Custom merch like branded t-shirts and tote bags can provide your audience with a way to support your business and give them a tangible connection to your brand. Getting started is simpler than you might think.

With services like print-on-demand and dropshipping you can start selling products, expand into a new category, and test out new design ideas with ease. Learn more about the benefits of print-on-demand and dropshipping services, and start selling t-shirts and other branded merch online — all without managing inventory:

Benefits of print-on-demand and dropshipping

Selling online with a print-on-demand service can remove the need to invest in upfront inventory or minimum order quantities. When a customer purchases an item from your store the order goes directly to your print-on-demand partner and they print, pack, and ship your item to your customer. Since print-on-demand services also include dropshipping, you don’t need to warehouse products or set up a shipping station in your own space.

If your site already has a shop, print-on-demand is also a way to diversify your inventory and offer items at lower price points. This can make your products accessible to a larger audience, and increase the average order per customer. Learn more about getting started with print-on-demand

If you’re ready to start selling t-shirts and custom merch online, follow these five steps:

1. Pick your products and customize your design

As a first step, decide which products you’d like to sell, and in which colors and sizes. Branding merchandise can be as simple as adding your logo or company name to products. Not sure where to start? You can find inspiration by looking at merchandise from brands you admire.

When you’re ready to start designing, it’s best to pick a print-on-demand service up front. Services like Printful and Art of Where offer mockup generators so you can upload your design, customize the placement, and view it on any product you select. With no upfront costs, print-on-demand makes it easy to sell custom products online. Companies like Printful and Art of Where will manage production and shipping, and you only pay when you make a sale. 

Once you finalize your design, order a sample so you know exactly what your customers will receive when they make a purchase.

2. Set up your online store 

If you’re just getting started with ecommerce, you’ll need to set up your online store so customers can easily find and purchase your merchandise. With a Squarespace Business or Commerce plan, you can create product pages, set up your store’s checkout, create shipping settings, and more.

Learn more about how to start an online store with Squarespace.

3. Connect your website to a print-on-demand service

Next, you’ll need to connect your print-on-demand service to your website. Squarespace offers inventory and product Extensions, including print-on-demand plugins like Printful and Art of Where, so you can easily choose the one that best meets your needs.

When you select an Extension, you’ll be guided through simple steps to set up your account and connect it to your website. Watch this video tutorial to learn more about using Squarespace Extensions.

4. List your item for sale

Now it’s time to upload information about your merchandise, including product photography and pricing, to your online store. Initially, consider using product images from print-on-demand  mockup generators on your product pages. You can replace these images with your own product photography as you continue to grow. To price your item, determine the profit margin and payment method that works best for you. 

When you list your first items, be sure to customize your product titles and descriptions, and consider SEO best practices to help your products get discovered. Learn more about optimizing your online store.

5. Promote and sell your products

Once your product listings are live on your website, it’s time to promote your new merchandise to your audience and make your first sale. Squarespace Email Campaigns make it easy to promote products to your audience through email marketing. You can browse the templates under “Promote a Product” for an easy starting place and seamlessly import your product listing into the body of your email. If you’re still finding your audience, start by building and growing your mailing list.

Ready to start selling your merch online? Browse Squarespace’s print-on-demand Extensions.

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