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Good morning,

Due to the high number of views of chapter '1', I would like to continue. Just wish you could post your comments so I will know if these 'chapters' are of any help. What would you like to read about: inks, processes, heat presses, marketing, etc...?

This 'chapter' will try to focus on using fulfillment services. The various services are listed in the forum here so I won't go into naming the various sites and service, just a general idea about these types of services. Also a bit about using fulfillment services that are not as sophisticated as the better known ones.

I am assuming that most of us here use one of these fulfillment services. The ease of use, no cost, ability to setup an online store immediately, etc.. Perfect for those who wish to sell now with no out of pocket expense.

I read in various groups where owners are constantly tweaking META tags, listings, etc.... trying to get their online store in a higher ranking, more visibility, more sales. I won't be dealing with that, instead, I'd like to concentrate about selling your designs/artwork.

First - let's assume that you do use a fulfillment service. Sales are OK but you know you can do better providing you had more exposure. Among other methods, why not create your own website?

There are still a few really good and free web hosting companies available where you can create your own website and display all of your product images, pricing, etc... there. You simply insert your products onto your free (or paid) website. Using thumbnails of each product OR using just a few product displays, link these products to your fulfillment service website. When your visitors click the images, they will be taken directly to the store url where they can purchase the goods.

By having your own website, away from the fulfillment service, you can create your own META tags, title, etc... and submit it to the various search engines. Doing so may result in having your products being seen more often. EX: doing a search in Google for German Shepard T-shirts in Google will produce your website that is listed in the fulfillment service. That's good, however, if you have your own website, apart from the fulfillment site, chances are your product views could be doubled that this site also may be shown. From the same search.

I hope this makes sense. What it boils down to is, for each individual website created by you, this increase your chances for higher exposure on the internet.

The second part is about fullfilment services that are not as sophisticated as the well known ones. Althoug there are rare instances where professional printers do offer such a service, they do not offer the sophistication such as instant images, products, marketing, etc... Their base pricing is dramatically lower, still one piece minimums, year round product availability, wider selection of products, colors and so forth.

The disadvantage to using these services is, some do but most do not offer a website where you can display your products. You must create your own website and process your own orders. You then forward these orders to your vendor. You determine your own sales. Some do not ship out of country.

You do control your own pricing, know who your customers are, set your own pricing, obtain real quantity prices, etc...

One concern I have seen talked about is the limited size, color, shape of products. From shirts to magnets, people would like to see a wider range of choices. What you must understand is that if a certain fulfillment service has 250,000 members, how much money would they have to tie up in (as an example) adult t-shirts, sizes medium to XXL, in the following colors: White, Birch, Tan, Pastel colors? Lots of money hoping the pastel colors sell. If these colors do not sell due to the transparency of the inks, they may have a lot of unused stock. Sticking with the basic colors of white and birch, they know these colors will sell, always. These other vendors usually do offer the colors and choices as they do not have tens of thousands of dollars tied up in stock. Most vendors have their own commercial or retail accounts they service and offering a fulfillment service helps fill in the void of non-production. Some of the smaller vendors either wholesale only or offer dropshipping only.

Comments about products such as magnetic signs, decals, stickers, etc... People wishing that magnetic signs would be available in different sizes, shapes, colors, etc... Some vendors offer these products...signs, removeable bumperstickers, decals, labels, etc... printed in one ink color and up to full color. Magnetic signs are very labor intensive (weeding) and for the smaller vendors, time is available to do this. The big fulfillment services? Imagine trying to print vinyl, weed it and install it onto magnetic sheeting? Now vision trying to do 50, or 100 a day. The amount of labor needed could make these signs very expensive. So expensive, your base price would be the normal retail selling price.

So, using the known fulfillment services has many great advantages. Using the smaller fulfillment services also has it's advantages. You must determine what it is you wish to offer and select your method of getting your products printed and shipped.

You can check out the various well know fulfillment services right here in the forum plus you can do your own search in Google, using fulfillment services and t-shirt fulfillment and other phrases as key words for your search.

Hope this helps a bit.

Fred

 
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