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Discussion Starter #1
Is this method used at all?

I know that if you're buying over the internet, you'd expect to have what you order within a couple of days. But what if you're not prepared to take the risk of purchasing/printing a whole lot of shirts?

Although I can't perform the printing myself, my printer tells me about a week for one offs. After I receive the shirt, I'll then send it on to the customer, which'll take 2 days in the UK or upto 4 outside.

So then it's possible for a shirt to be delivered in 11 days. To me that sounds unreasonable. But I guess the designs have to be hot as hell if someone wanted to wait that long right?
 

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that's a tough call.

first, if you look around at other sites' 'terms/faqs' - you'll see a wide spectrum of delivery timeframe. some sites carry all items in stock and ship immediately. while other shops state anywhere from a '3-14 day' for delivery..depending on the item, etc.

as you get rolling with sales you'll create an inventory.

one thing you could do is to only sell what you have in stock.

last, as long as you make it clear to your surfers/customers exactly what the delivery timeframe is, then i think you'll be ok.

hope this helps.
 

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It is true that if you place the time frame on your site, it shouldn't be too big of a problem, however you want your customers to come over and over again, and the faster a customer recieves their merchandise the happier they are and the more likely they are to buy again. In short, try to speed up the time or find a new printer.
 

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identityburn said:
the turnaround time for t-shirt hell is something like 15 days and they're doing well.
Yup...go to the About Us page for T-shirt Hell. They only print a design when they have a boat load of orders, meaning they print every two weeks or so, per design.

But then.....they are a known brand. Whether customers of a new label would accept that is a different matter.
 

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As mentioned, companies as large as t-shirt hell print in batches once a week. So yes, it can work. You will lose some impatient customers though, and the longer your turnaround time the more chargebacks you'll get. All in all I don't think it's a great idea, but it can work and it's just a matter of weighing up the pros and cons for your individual business.

(I also think that if you can print every two or three days that's significantly different to every week or two; 2-3 days is fine in my opinion, 7+ is problematic)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Currently we dispatch same day for orders before 1pm. In our terms and conditions we say allow up to 10 days for delivery, but this is because we dunno if the package will encounter and trouble during transit.

I see that T Shirt Hell are established and customers are willing to wait.

Print to order isn't something typically seen in start ups are they? Is the turnaround time at places like spreadshirt and cafepress the same?
 

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To be honest, I'd say the best solution - if you don't want to leave your customers hanging on forever - is to get yourself a heat press and have plastisol transfers made... Have you considered that option?
 

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Keep in mind that if you're only offering your customers a 2 week turnaround time on their orders, you could be losing some customers that want things sooner.

Tshirthell is doing well at it, but there's no telling how many sales they lose by having such a long turnaround time. Especially during the holidays when people like to order last minute.

There are people that print to order and have much shorter turnaround times. I think shorter is definitely better.
 

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Solmu said:
(I also think that if you can print every two or three days that's significantly different to every week or two; 2-3 days is fine in my opinion, 7+ is problematic)
That's what I've been thinking... Once things get rolling, I'm thinking that I'll be able to print on Wednesdays and Saturdays if necessary. But I was also planning to have a couple shirts per size/design/color on hand.

The way I'm looking at it is that as a small start-up operation I can't be everything to everybody, and I'm not going to kill myself trying to be... I may lose some sales to start out but I'm in it for the long haul anyway. :)
 

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This is a problem that I have been ironing out for some time now. We have alot of designs and simply cannot stock them in all sizes. That is why I decided on doing plastisol transfers myself. I can keep them in stock, transfer to whatever size/color/short sleeve or long sleeve/etc., and then screen-print more transfers when they get low. Plastisol transfers and direct screen-printing are neck and neck as far as quality goes. So this is a no brainer for me in my position, but we are all taking separate approaches and coming from different avenues. Good luck
 

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Rodney said:
Tshirthell is doing well at it, but there's no telling how many sales they lose by having such a long turnaround time. Especially during the holidays when people like to order last minute.
Great point. A lot of times only see how well a site is doing rather than how well they could be doing. I'm sure the potential customers they lose is a pretty significant number.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Right now, I'm not too serious about the t-shirt business, it's just a hobby, so I won't be buying any machinery any time soon.

I think I will actually try it out. As this is a hobby, technically I won't have anything to lose because I won't be purchasing anything until I receive payment. I mean, I do value customers visiting the site, but I guess it won't be that damaging if they don't decide to purchase a shirt because they can't wait for it to come.

"Good things come to those who wait" :p
 

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Great point. A lot of times only see how well a site is doing rather than how well they could be doing. I'm sure the potential customers they lose is a pretty significant number
Just an update to this :) I talked with the ceo of tshirthell recently and he said that it's actually not a large percentage of shoppers that get turned off by the longer shipping times (except around xmas).

Tshirthell does a better job than most at educating the shopper about what to expect after the purchase, which, I think, is very important about customer satisfaction.
 

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You might want to look into printing yourself. I get most of the messy part outsourced, like making the screen, then I just print the shirts as I need them. I can keep blank shirts in stock and print one offs in minutes. I am only doing one color though.
 

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We're giving this a try with a Brother DTG printer we have coming in this week. We tried it with screen printing, but it just didn't work out based on our setup.
 
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