How To Start A T-Shirt Business In 2021: 7 Things To Consider
With the coronavirus pandemic taking hold of the entire world, more and more people have turned to online shopping to make purchases that they would normally make at brick-and-mortar stores.
As a result, e-commerce and online shopping have seen a big rise over the past year with billions of dollars in online sales. These figures are only set to grow in the future as more and more consumers become tech-savvy and lean towards easier, more convenient shopping that sees their product delivered to their doorstep in a matter of days and even hours.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, you may have considered taking the online route with your business idea, one such being expanding into the T-shirt trade.
Everybody loves T-shirts. They can make a statement, get a conversation going, and express one’s individuality in incredibly creative ways.
In this post, we’ve prepared seven factors for you to consider as you embark on your online T-shirt business. These steps will help guide you to the most appropriate course of action, and while some may seem overwhelming at first, you’ll soon realize that entering the T-shirt trade is a profitable venture, one which you won’t look back on.
Let’s get started.
1. Research The Market 🧐
With so many products available online already, it might be hard at first to make your T-shirts stand out from the crowd, which is why you will want to begin by doing a market analysis and researching the market you’re about to enter.
A market analysis is a study of your customers, competitors and industry and this information will help shape your business strategy, and accordingly, your T-shirt offering.
Let’s unpack the concept of a market analysis by starting with your customers. You will want to find out what their age, gender, and preferences are so that you cater your T-shirts to their needs.
Remember Economics 101 where the professors spoke about supply and demand?
Here is where this principle comes in. You’ll need to know your customers and what they want before you can supply it to them.
Secondly, take a look at your competitors. How many other online shops are offering T-shirts? What are the prices of these T-shirts? Where are they being sold - internationally or domestically? What designs are currently on offer and can you beat these?
Finally, you need to look at the industry as a whole. Here, you can take cognizance of its size and scope, its projected growth rates (and for T-shirts, these are relatively high), in addition to the life cycles of other businesses in this industry.
2. Find Your Target Audience 💁🏻♀️
Once you’ve conducted your market analysis and identified your customers, you’ll need to know where to find them. But how can you find your customers? It takes some marketing to do so.
This is where you’ll want to invest in social media marketing, create a great website and online shop (for more on your online presence, see section 6 below) and you’ll also want to look at recruiting the services of influencers.
How can this help you find your audience? It’s quite simple. Social media marketing allows you to target your customer base by a variety of factors. These range from age, gender, interests, hobbies and others.
With correct targeting and ad positioning, you’ll be able to draw your customers into your online T-shirt store, leading them to a great landing page, where you can also offer them useful information before they make a purchase.
Remember that the more value you add to your customer, the more likely they are to buy from you.
Also consider implementing a Reviews section for your website, as this is what is considered today “word-of-mouth” advertising - one of the best ways to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.
3. Choose Your Business Model
Once the work mentioned above is done, you’ll want to choose your business model. There are several you can choose from, including the traditional DIY method.
But these days, with technological advancements, there are other business models that can really help get your T-shirt business off the ground. Two of these models are dropshipping and print on demand.
Dropshipping refers to the system whereby a third party deals with the sales order, which ships the T-shirt to the customer. You’re responsible for finding the client and closing the sale, while the actual inventory doesn’t need to be managed by you.
Then there’s print on demand. Here, you work with a supplier who will sell your products under your own brand. Some of the benefits of this model include the fact that you don’t pay for the product until after you’ve sold it.
On the other hand, you’ll also want to consider how much inventory of your stock your supplier should have on hand and ready to ship. Your ultimate cost per item will be higher than if you buy in bulk. This is why it’s important to consider which method is going to yield the best results.
4. Source Your Materials 🤝
It might seem easy. All you need to start out is a T-shirt and there are so many places where you can get this. However, if you want to stand apart in the T-shirt crowd, you need to source your materials carefully. This means sourcing high-quality T-shirts from respected suppliers.
No one - neither you nor your customer - wants to end up in a situation of the T-shirt becoming a rag after a couple of washes, the designs fading too soon or the T-shirt ripping easily. This is why to secure your brand reputation and image, you need to source high quality materials.
This is where research will come into play as you’ll need to consider things like thread count, the material of the T-shirt (cotton etc.), whether it will be a crew or V-neck, long or short sleeved and a combination of other factors.
5. Create Your Designs 👨🏾🎨
Now is the time to put your creativity in motion! You’ve wanted to open up a T-shirt business, so you need to offer your customers something really special. This is where your design skills will come in handy, but fear not.
If you’re not the creative type, you can always outsource to professional designers. Remember to test out your designs on an audience. Reddit is a perfect platform where you can gauge your audience’s opinions, see what works, what doesn’t and what is absolutely loved.
6. Establish An Online Presence 🤩
It goes without saying that you need to have an online presence for your online T-shirt business. Firstly, you will need to create a website and online shop to help you not only attract your clients, but to draw them in to close the sale.
This is the place to fully showcase your T-shirt designs and add value to your customers at the same time. How might you add value? This can be done by creating a blog, offering a newsletter, creating an email list so that you can send your customers information about new deals and sales and ultimately to market your product better.
Select Your Online Payment Provider 💲
For the final step, you’ll want to carefully select your online payment provider. Remember that you’ll want to take advantage of instant settlement of funds and the integration of your online T-shirt store with some of the world’s most popular e-commerce sites. You can also use something like this t-shirt order form that allows you to collect payments and sell you t shirt online thorough your website. Easy-peasy.
Other factors to look out for include selecting a provider which offers you a free merchant account with IBAN, no monthly or annual fees, and all this while accepting a wide range of online payment solutions. Keeping in mind that your customers may be local as well as international, you’ll want to cater to as many different financial needs as possible.
That’s a Wrap! 👏🏼
As a budding online T-shirt store owner, we hope we’ve helped you understand some of the intricacies that go into opening your online store. While the task may seem daunting at first, with careful research and baby steps, you can easily commence on your entrepreneurial journey and never look back.
From researching your market, finding your audience and choosing the right business model to a few other steps in between, you can rest assured that your bases are covered when it comes to starting your online T-shirt store in 2021. As a final thought, remember that online shopping is big and that it is here to stay so any ventures into the online space could be profitable for you.