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Pass on buying because no actual shirt shown?

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aokusman said:
Good stuff, but personally I wouldnt buy because I cant see a pic of the actual t-shirt.
I ripped this comment from another thread as not to hijack the discussion. This is a very interesting comment to me and something I've been wondering about.

I'd like to know how many people feel this way. If you go to a professional, clean-looking site and like a lot of the designs but see no pictures of the actual shirts do you pass on buying?

For those that want to see an actual shirt, are we talking about the image in actual size on a shirt template (tshirthell.com) or the shirt on a real person?
 

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I'm a shirt on the real person kind of guy. But I don't normally buy shirts online either.

I think for the most part, if a site says what kind of shirts they print on, and place that in plain view, it's not really a problem. But, it would have to be a good clean site, like you said.

I think having shirts on people lets customers visualize themselves in the shirt more. They can see that somebody is really wearing it, and that you really have shirts, and not just some graphics of your designs.
 

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I have sometimes not purchased a shirt online partly because the site didn't have an accurate "picture" of the design.

For me personally, the "picture" doesn't have to be a photograph necessarily, but you have to at least have your design superimposed on a t-shirt illustration (or photoshopped on a t-shirt photograph). It helps to show design placement and how large the design is on the shirt.
 

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You have to also keep in mind that we're not "average" t-shirt customers :)

Not sure what actual general customers would do, but my guess is that you should do whatever possible to make a positive buying experience and include as much information (including pictures) as possible to help them see themselves in your t-shirt.
 

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I buy a lot of shirts online, and I've never cared about photos.

Of the thirty-one shirts currently hanging on my clothes rack, 3 of them had photos of a person (or other person-like object) wearing the shirt. So unless I have 26 shirts in the wash that came from websites with photos, the vast majority of shirts I buy don't.

This largely depends on what kind of shirts you're buying. The kind of stuff Threadless, Defunker, etc. sell is likely to have product shots. A large number of my shirts come from webcomics. Another common source is computer geek orientated sites like ThinkGeek and Jinx.

ThinkGeek for example fold the shirt and put it in a scanner. Jinx do a photoshop mockup on an empty shirt. Both have the option for customers to upload customer photos, but plenty of shirts won't have any.

As for webcomics... some won't even have a mockup of what it looks like on the shirt, just a copy of the image that will appear on it.

Like any other customer, as well as liking your product you're going to have to win my trust to get the sale. The point is there are many ways to do this.

ThinkGeek and Jinx do it by being huge and reliable. Webcomics do it by being known for the quality of a different product, and being known for being competent artists. It also helps that 95+% of them use the same printer, and I know the quality of his work. A lot of their shirts are pre-orders, so they can't have finished photos. They're also generally small businesses being run on the side of a day job, so it would be unreasonable to expect too much (I still expect just as much for quality and customer service however, and in only one case have I been sorely disappointed).

I like to see a mockup that gives me an idea of the size and placement, but even that isn't strictly necessary - if the design looks like it would have a standard size and placement and there's no mockup, I'll assume it's the same as every other shirt on the market. So far I'm yet to be disappointed.

The main thing is the less you have of the actual finished product, the more you need to make up for it in other ways.

Philosophically I think of it as a points based system (I'd never actually sit down and do this with a site...). You need 100 points to gain trust... having a photo gets you 50 points, good web design gets you 40 points, having been a Known Entity for several years gets you 90 points, grammatical or spelling errors cost you 20 points, poor quality photos cost you 15 points, etc. - you get the idea.

Having good photos is a good thing for all customers, and a necessary thing for some. If you don't have them, you're going to have to work harder on the other aspects of your site to make up for it. That said, if you don't find including quality photos practical (and an illustrator mockup is probably better than a bad photo) I don't think it will cost you an amount of sales you can't deal with.
 

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Philosophically I think of it as a points based system (I'd never actually sit down and do this with a site...). You need 100 points to gain trust... having a photo gets you 50 points, good web design gets you 40 points, having been a Known Entity for several years gets you 90 points, grammatical or spelling errors cost you 20 points, poor quality photos cost you 15 points, etc. - you get the idea.
Funny, I've often thought of it (unofficially) that way as well.

I have a fraud checking system that I use with online orders that I sort of use a "point" system for as well :)
 

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Yeah, I agree with the point system. I guess we all really have them in our heads, but most probably never consciously think about it.

Mine is similar, but I think I place much more weight on the spelling and gramatical errors. That has always been a pet peeve of mine, especially on a site where someone wants me to give them my money!
 

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Oh crap, gotta go and check the wording on my site :D I play it safe, have pictures of both models and designs for each product. That way, they can see how good it looks on a real person and the and upclose look of the design. Before I got into the business, I like to be able to see the shirt on real people in an outdoor place. To me, a good looking model will make or break the shirt, so I try to do the same now that I'm in the business :)
 

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I really dont buy alot of design tshirts online. If I see something at an event that I like, Ill pick it up there. The old impulse buy. But IF I stumble across a design I really like, Id buy one but only if I knew what brand of Tee it was going on. I mean lets by honest, theres enough people in the world whod put some crap iron-on on his wore out throw out Tee.
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
Mine is similar, but I think I place much more weight on the spelling and gramatical errors.
The figures were pretty random :)

Probably about right for just one or two very common mistakes, but if there were enough errors it would simply rule out any chance of me ordering there - I would assume the person wasn't capable of running a business (or writing my address on an envelope...) and shut the site.

I do make exceptions whenever dealing with sites where English isn't the primary language of the site operator. You can normally tell easily enough if their English is only superficially imperfect (but fine for communicating), or if it's bad enough that it could be a problem.

The point system is what a lot of police use to decide whether or not to stop and check someone (i.e. is this suspicious behaviour), what the government uses (ours anyway - I imagine all of them) to prove your identity (i.e. fifty points for a birth certificate, 20 points for a credit card, etc.), so I think it's just something we're used to using. It's a useful tool to evaluate something as you go if it needs to meet certain threshold criteria.
 

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I like to see a pic of the actual tee, preferably on a human. It's nice when you are able to see just the design larger as well, if it is intricate.

Before I started selling t-shirts, I had no clue about brands and style numbers. That stuff would matter to t-shirt junkies more than the average person. It really depends on your audience.
 

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the first thing that I like to see is the DESIGN that gets more points than the threadcount of the shirt or the way it looks on a buff model (I am not buff I know the shirt will not look that way on me so why bother pretending LOL) That being said the WAY the design matches the shirt" will help the design sell so seeing the design on the shirt will help but first The design must attract my attention. That being said, I am sad that my site isn't very conducive to that Oh well Working on it.
 

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Shirt on a real person.

I'll squidge by if it's a digital representation on a real shirt, in the exact position, if everything else looks 100% good and I feel I can trust, however...

after reading this forum, I'm going to be far less trusting!

Even my store bought tees flake off. One I "made" on Cafe Press once cracked right away!
 

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OK I left something out, if you're going to sell to women, fit is important. So you must have a woman or mannequin wearing that same fit in the tee.

There's nothing I hate more than a unisex t-shirt. I also hate baby tees that are tiny and expose belly. So also telling how a shirt size runs is important, and giving measurements is recommended.

Sorry I'm used to Etsy where we cannot edit posts, all forums are different. OK now I want to add to this, as I realized I can edit, that you can have a default image of a girl wearing the shirt for all the same tee, then a superimposed image on the same tee shape as two separate images, IF NEED BE.

:)
 

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I really, REALLY like seeing at least a mock up of how the design looks on the tee. I really prefer a model though. As the previous poster stated, for women, fit is really important. I too hate the babydoll tees with the belly button showing (looks great on some chics, just not my style). So I like to see how the shirt fits with all the "lovely lady humps" LOL

I've passed on purchases many times due to there NOT being at least a mock up to see placement, size, etc.
 

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I've passed on purchases many times due to there NOT being at least a mock up to see placement, size, etc.
My wife is the same way. She won't buy if there is not a picture on a live model. BUT, that does not mean that if they had a picture, the site would have made a sale.

90% of the time, she wouldn't have been satisfied with the picture and would not have bought anyway.

My thought currently is that a site should have at least one GOOD pic of a person (preferably a female) wearing one of the shirts. It demonstrates legitimacy, if nothing else.

It all depends on the nature of your line, really.
 

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I have never bought a t over the web, but I would believe it would be a very simular to purchasing on ebay. I prefer 5 to 1 gallery pictures over none shown and 10 to 1 for pictures to no pictures at all.
 

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I read this thread and can't help but to mention how great Life Is Good does with selling thousands of shirts without showing a real picture of the shirt, or with showing only a partial picture. For those of you who have never heard of LIG, they are making double digit millions on their tees.

Take a look around at their site in this regard and see how many pics of actual shirts you see...I think it's clever and saves a lot on paying models. :)

AB
 

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I read this thread and can't help but to mention how great Life Is Good does with selling thousands of shirts without showing a real picture of the shirt, or with showing only a partial picture. For those of you who have never heard of LIG, they are making double digit millions on their tees.

Take a look around at their site in this regard and see how many pics of actual shirts you see...I think it's clever and saves a lot on paying models. :)

AB
Also remember that Life is Good sells a LOT of t-shirts wholesale to big retailers. They also have their own dedicated retail stores that add to their sales. I just saw one that was pretty busy in the LAX airport.

I haven't read any figures on how many of their sales are from the web.

I get what you're saying, but it's also important to remember that what works for a large established brand that people specifically go looking for won't always work for a new and up and coming brand that people may just be learning about.

I still think (for example) this product page could be enhanced by having more product photos that show the actual shirt. I can see how that would add a lot to the marketing costs for the shirt, but it can definitely help online customers in their buying decisions.
 
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