Merch Hero’s Christmas cut-off dates!

Merch Hero’s Christmas cut-off dates!

Merch Hero’s Christmas cut-off dates!

There are only 5 weeks left until Christmas, and it’s high time for you to launch your holiday-themed campaign! 


The Merch Hero team has worked extremely hard to give you as much time as possible for you to run your Christmas campaigns while still guaranteeing your buyers will get their products by the 24th of December! Check out 2019’s cut-off dates below: 

Please take the  dates above into consideration when planning your x-mas campaigns, as production and delivery this year is divided into different types of products and geographies (in order to be as optimized and broad as possible), and they’re all following the GMT time!


What are you waiting for to launch your holiday campaign at www.merchhero.io

Moteefe – Let’s do business, together

Merch Hero’s Base Costs

Merch Hero’s Base Costs

Merch Hero’s Base Costs

Merch Hero is now here, a world-class integration for your e-Commerce stores! 

We offer the best prices, the best quality products, the best rates for tracked shipping, and of course, the best platform where you can find all the information you need at the tip of your fingers!

We believe that, in order for us to be the best, we need to be offering you the lowest prices in the European and North American markets which, as they rely on our globalized supply chain, may vary as products in different markets may be produced by different suppliers. To make your lives easier, we compiled the base costs* for each product in our portfolio! Check them out below:

FULFILMENT USA (USD) FULFILMENT EU (EUR)
Product name Weight (grams) Base costs Shipping Base costs Shipping
Unisex Hoodie 600 $13.99 $6.00 €11.99 €7.00
Kid’s Hoodie 400 $13.99 $6.00 €11.99 €7.00
Unisex Sweatshirt 400 $10.99 $6.00 €10.99 €7.00
Kids’ Sweatshirt 400 $10.99 $6.00 €10.99 €7.00
Premium Men’s T-shirt 200 $8.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Men’s Tanktop 200 $9.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Premium Women’s T-shirt 200 $8.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Women’s Racerback Tanktop 200 $9.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Flowy Tank 200 $12.99 $4.00 €11.99 €5.00
Men’s Longleeve 200 $8.99 $4.00 €9.99 €5.00
Classic Men’s T-shirt 200 $5.99 $4.00 €5.99 €5.00
Classic Women’s T-shirt 200 $6.99 $4.00 €6.99 €5.00
Kids’ T-shirt 200 $8.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Women’s Longsleeve 200 $8.99 $4.00 €9.99 €5.00
Men’s V-Neck 200 $8.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Women’s V-Neck 200 $8.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Baby T-shirt 200 $8.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Babygrow 200 $8.99 $4.00 €8.99 €5.00
Canvas (20 x 30) 900 $18.99 $9.00 €15.99 €10.00
Canvas (40 x 40) 900 $20.99 $9.00 €17.99 €10.00
Canvas (60 x 40) 900 $23.99 $9.00 €20.99 €10.00
Canvas (60 x 60) 900 $27.99 $9.00 €22.99 €10.00
Canvas (75 x 50) 900 $34.99 $9.00 €29.99 €10.00
White Mug (11oz) 200 $4.99 $5.00 €4.99 €6.00
Black Mug (11 oz) 200 $5.99 $5.00 €5.99 €6.00
Magic Mug (11 oz) 200 $8.99 $5.00 €8.99 €6.00
iPhone case 200 $6.99 $4.00 €7.99 €5.00
Samsung case 200 $6.99 $4.00 €7.99 €5.00

We believe these prices will enable you to achieve higher profits and scale your online business!

Are you interested in starting to sell? Don’t hesitate in doing so! Head over to www.merchhero.io and launch your campaign today!

Moteefe – Let’s do business, together

Announcement of Merch Hero

Announcement of Merch Hero

Announcement of Merch Hero

We’re proud to tell you that Merch Hero is now available! A world-class solution for your Shopify store (and for other platforms soon), which relies on Moteefe’s  great supplier network!

Here are the top 3 reasons why you should use Merch Hero for your e-commerce store:

Firstly, thanks to our global scale we bring you the best base costs available, allowing you to generate higher profits and scale your online business!

Secondly, Merch Hero offers a wide selection of premium products, produced in the USA or the EU depending on the buyer’s location, which ensure cheaper and faster deliveries, turning buyers into brand ambassadors! All orders will be sent with tracked shipping! 

We also have a team dedicated to supporting you and your needs 24/7, regardless of where in the world you might be! Just send an email to support@merchhero.io. 

What are you waiting for to test out this solution, which will for sure boost your sales? 

Don’t forget to watch our tutorial video to learn more on how to get started, and afterwards go to http://www.merchhero.io to get started!

Moteefe – Let’s do business, together

What is Print On Demand?

What is Print On Demand?

What is Print On Demand?

H2 Title that sits under an image

Print On Demand (commonly called POD) is one of the hottest e-commerce opportunities right now. It’s booming market that allows anyone, from individuals to large brands, to create custom products for their customers.

The advantage to someone as an entrepreneur or creative person is that you can use Print On Demand to create personalized products that people will love. All you need to understand is what your audience is passionate about, and then design for them. This uniquely custom approach to designing products on demand allows you to compete with bigger brands by being more personal to a specific audience.

The advantage to the brand or company is that you can use Print On Demand to create customized products for your customers that open up new revenue opportunities and strengthen your branding. For example, if you have a brand selling pet products, adding t-shirts with designs for pet lovers is an easy way to start making more sales online.

One of the great things about Print On Demand is that you can test unlimited ideas with almost no risk. And now with the technology to print on popular items like shirts and canvases, and have them shipped around the world to customers with no up front cost to you, this is one of the best ways to make sales online.

In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look into the different parts of Print On Demand as a business.

What is Print On Demand?

Let’s start with the definition. Print On Demand is the custom printing of designs onto blank products on a per order basis.

The type of products that you sell is based on your fulfillment partner. There are companies that offer products ranging in hundreds of categories. Apparel, accessories, wall art, home goods, and stationary are some of the main ones. But you can find a printing partner for almost anything these days.

Your job as the seller is to get designs made and build an online store with something like Shopify or WooCommerce. Once you have that, your fulfillment partner(s) will provide an online app that you can use to upload designs to products. You upload your design, and then the app creates a mockup for you to use as a product on your store.

When somebody buys your product, the fulfillment partner will automatically use your design to print on the product, and then ship it to your customer. The customer pays you, you pay a portion to the fulfillment partner.

This type of on-demand printing ensures you are always able to offer a variety of sizes, colors, and styles. And since your fulfillment partner is the one carrying inventory of all the products, you don’t have to carry any inventory. Which reduces the risk of traditional custom products, because you never have to order inventory up front.

What is Dropshipping?

A lot of people who search for Print On Demand also search for Dropshipping. So let’s clarify the difference…

Print On Demand is actually a form of dropshipping. It’s a more specialized way to dropship products. Because dropshipping just refers to a business model of selling.

When you dropship products, it means that you are not the one creating the product. You find wholesale products produced by a 3rd party supplier, and then you offer them for sale as part of your store with a markup for profit. The customer pays you, you pay the supplier, the supplier ships your order to the customer, and you keep the profits.

With Print On Demand, the only difference is that your design is being printed on the products first. That’s what makes your products unique in the market is the design that you use.

So your supplier is your fulfillment partner, like Merch Hero, and they will offer you a range of products you can access for wholesale cost. Like a blank hoodie at the price of $14 + shipping. Then you upload your design of a Pitbull to that blank hoodie, and upload that product to your store for the retail price of $40 + shipping.

Now when someone orders that hoodie, you pay the fulfillment partner the wholesale cost of the hoodie, while keeping the profits. Then your fulfillment partner prints your design on the hoodie and ships it to your customers.

No Inventory Risk With Print On Demand

Customized products are not a new way of making money. But Print On Demand has revolutionized things by making it possible to offer a range of custom printed products without ever touching any inventory or investing any money up front.

This creates a low barrier to entry. Anyone can get started with Print On Demand. All you need is design ideas, a store to host your products, and a fulfillment partner to print your products.

In a traditional business, managing inventory means carrying large quantities of each product. This is one of the most challenging parts of a business, and something even veterans can get wrong by ordering too much inventory of the wrong item. It happens in the fashion industry all the time.

But with the avenue of social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, you can actually build an online store and make large amounts of sales without ever needing a retail store. In fact, many retail stores are dying because the inventory model is so cash intensive, when more people are simply ordering online these days.

Print On Demand has made the apparel and home goods business accessible to anyone with some creative ideas.

The Print On Demand Process

There are a few steps involved in setting up a successful Print On Demand store, or creating a Print On Demand channel for your brand. Let’s look at the different things you need to know.

Find Your Fulfillment Partner

Your fulfillment partner is your wholesale supplier. But they do more than just offer you products, they will also print your designs on those products when you have an order, and ship them to your customers. So not only do they handle the supplying of the items, they handle the fulfillment of the orders.

This makes your fulfillment partner one of the most important parts of your entire business. That’s why we call it a “partner”, because you will have to rely on them just like you would a partner.

If you have an order that doesn’t get shipped, then your customer will come to you. If you have an order that gets shipped wrong, then your customer will come to you. The customer will take any blame or refunds against your store, not the fulfillment partner. So make sure you choose the right one.

Things you need to consider when looking for the right fulfillment partner:

  • Range of products they offer
  • Price of those products with printing included
  • Shipping price for those products
  • Shipping time to different regions of the world
  • Print quality
  • Customer service and support
  • User experience of their app
  • Quality of their product mockups

One really important thing to consider is where you want to sell your items. Because with social media and online store capabilities, it’s easy to sell items to customers all around the world. But not every fulfillment partner offers the same type of worldwide shipping.

Many printing companies are located either in the US or in China. They have one central location that will print and ship items. So for example, if you sell worldwide but you use a printing partner that is based in the US, then shipping to customers in Europe will be longer and more expensive.

Some companies like Merch Hero offer multiple printing partners in different regions of the world. Europe and the US being the biggest. So if someone orders in the US, it’s shipped from the US. If someone orders in Europe, it’s shipped from Europe. Making shipping costs and time normalized for your customers.

Also, it’s a good idea to order a few test products before going live to customers. This will let you see exactly what the delivery process is like, and the quality of the items.

Decide The Products You Want To Sell

Apparel and accessories are the largest selling category of products online. In fact, t-shirts still reigns as one of the number one things purchased by people all around the world every year. So just about every fulfillment partner offers t-shirts, hoodies, and basic apparel items.

Other apparel items that are becoming available now include All Over Print, which is where you can literally print all over the apparel. This applies to things like shirts, hoodies, and leggings. And some fulfillment partners even offer custom printing on sneakers and shoes, which is a really cool product to offer.

Accessories include things like phone cases, mugs, wallets, watches, and necklaces. These are really great things to offer as part of your brand, because major brands and stores don’t offer personalized items in these categories.

Then you have the rising category of home goods. This is becoming wildly popular and profitable. It includes printing on products such as canvas, towels, posters, pillow cases, and more.

You should research your market to decide what type of items are good to offer. Don’t start out by trying to offer everything, choose a core line of products to establish your POD brand first.

Get Your Designs Made

After you choose what types of products you want to sell, then it’s time to start getting your designs made. This part is all about understanding your audience, and what type of designs they resonate with best.

Some of the best selling designs for apparel and mugs are simple, text-based messages. Because the audience responds to the message with no fancy art needed.

Other niches like Veteran and Gamers love big designs. Some niches like are based on All Over Print designs that are abstract and colorful.

Whether you choose to make your own, outsource, or use your company’s existing brand, the important thing here is to make sure your designs are made to the correct specs for each product. This is information your printing partner should provide in their app.

Determine Your Profit Margin

This part is a balance between your base cost and acceptable market value for the completed product. You calculate your gross profit margin by taking your sale price minus your base cost. But that doesn’t account for advertising costs to acquire a customer.

So you want a profit margin that makes sense. But depending on your audience, you also might have limits to what you can charge. For example, the accepted cost of a t-shirt in America for a non-luxury brand is around $20. Charging more than that will be tough without some significant value adds in your branding or delivery.

But if you are doing something extremely unique, then you may be able to charge more.

Also, you can look to items like hoodies or canvas that offer higher profit margins. For example, the base cost of a hoodie is generally around $14-$19, but in America you can sell a hoodie for $40-$50.

Upload Products To Your Store

Once you have your designs made and know how much you want to charge, then it’s time to get your designs uploaded to your store as products. This process will be specific to the type of store platform you are using, and the type of app your fulfillment partner creates.

The basic process is that you will upload your design to the fulfillment app, and then the fulfillment app will create a mockup of your design on the product. You publish the completed mockup to your store with price and product description, and then you are ready to sell.

Orders and Shipping

You also want to check the shipping costs for your fulfilment partner(s). That way you can adjust your shipping costs accordingly for your store.

When a person makes an order, then the payment will be collected by your store. The order automatically syncs to your fulfillment partner’s app where you can confirm payment and track it’s status from pending to printing to shipped.

Most fulfillment partners provide you the tracking number once it’s shipped, which you can then sync to the customer’s order in your store so that your customer can track the shipping as well.

Types of Printing

There was a time when screen printing was the most economical way to print t-shirts. However, this was a complicated process that didn’t allow for custom items to be printed on demand. In order for screen printing to work, you needed to order a minimum order for the printer to create a screen and print your shirts. Plus you then needed to figure out which sizes and colors you wanted in advance, as well as type of shirt.

Now technology has made the process so much easier. There are a variety of print options available, based on the type of product and the printing partner you have.

Direct to Garment

Direct To Garment (DTG) printing is one of the most commonly used printing methods for online orders.

DTG prints your designs directly onto the garment with ink jet technology. It works so well for the on demand industry, because just like your printer at home, the printer can easily switch files to print as orders are made. And that printing technology has revolutionized the apparel industry.

Unlike screen printing, there is no minimum needed. And your design doesn’t cost any more to print with 30 colors than it does with one color. Your design prints directly to the garment’s fibers using specialty inks.

Technical considerations of DTG printing include:

  • Batch size – Print On Demand orders are more cost-effective than large batches.
  • Placement – DTG uses print areas. Your design has to stay within the print area.
  • Print size – Single logos or designs in a set location work best.
  • Colors – Make use of the ability to print unlimited colors.
  • Creativity – DTG can print any type of design

Direct To Garment is the most popular type of items sold in online stores. It’s easy, fast, and the quality is really good as long as you’re using a fulfillment partner with industry size DTG machines.

Cut and Sew

Cut and Sew is a process of taking one large print over a big area, and then cutting smaller pre-designed shapes from that large print, and finally sewing them together into the desired garment.

This is a popular method for printing on leggings, as well as All Over Print on items like shirts and hoodies. Because the garment can’t just be run through a DTG machine to cover the entire print area evenly, so it has to be cut and sewed. With DTG printing, you are limited to a print area.

This printing process often used in this method is called Dye-Sublimation. Dye-Sub is a process of transferring ink to the garment through heat. So you can covered wide and uneven areas without messing up the design. Dye-Sub can also be used to print on plastic, card, and paper.

By using this process, you are able to completely cover the surface of a garment without worrying about irregular prints due to folds, wrinkles, or seems. The surface area of the item will absorb the ink uniformly.

The cost of printing this way is much more expensive than the wholesale cost for a typical shirt or hoodie, but the unique look of All Over Print means you can also charge higher prices too.

Technical considerations for Cut and Sew include:

  • Print size – Best for patterns or full-bleed landscapes that completely cover a garment.
  • Creativity – Humor and unique designs are best for all over print shirts.
  • Placement –  Exact placement, alignment, and wrap around design is not guaranteed.

Cut and Sew Dye-Sub printing is great for creating standout products that people can’t find anywhere else.

Embroidery

Embroidery printing is the process of machine sewing designs into garments. This has traditionally been popular for corporations as an option to get their logo embroidered onto company shirts. It’s also popular for printing on hats.

While not as commonly used on general Print On Demand items, it’s still a great option you can offer for uniquely traditional products on your store. But finding a fulfillment partner as a reasonable cost may be difficult, as there are only a few of these types of printers that will integrate with online stores.

Technical considerations for Embroidery:

  • Design – Limit colors and design intricacy.
  • Simplicity – Simple and sharp designs pop when embroidered.
  • Detail – Avoid fine lines to ensure clarity from a distance.

Embroidered merchandise is still something more commonly found in the business world, but hats and jackets are items that could be unique selling opportunities.

Pros and Cons of Print On Demand

The possibilities for Print on Demand are endless. There are literally thousands of markets with hundreds of products that you could build a business around. And if you already have a business, then Print On Demand is a natural way to expand your products and create more sales opportunities.

But there are both pros and cons to Print On Demand. Here are some of them:

Testing Products With No Risk

Selling products online can be largely subjective. Meaning it’s about what the market responds to, and often times difficult to predict. Especially as a newcomer. Print On Demand creates the opportunity to test product ideas without a lot of money or risk. Upload a test design, launch it, and see how it sells. If it’s not a hot item, the only loss is the time it took to design and launch the product.

No Inventory Risk

Whether the product is hit or miss, you never have to worry about inventory. This is huge advantage in two ways. First, because it means there is no upfront investment needed. You can create and sell products without ever touching the product. And second, because it means you can scale hot products without worrying about cash flow issues. Since you are getting paid in advance and the printer is printing one at a time, you can continue to scale without worries.

Starting On A Bootstrap Budget

Because there is no inventory to manage, there are no major expenses to purchase inventory and store it. This is a great way to start an online business with a bootstrap budget. Print On Demand allows a business owner to avoid any upfront purchase costs for products, printing, and shipping. So the anyone can do this, and any business can easily add this to their product offering.

Selling On Social Media

It used to be that in order to sell your designs or start a custom product company, you either needed to get into retail stores or do never-ending trunk shows to get seen and build brand awareness. Now with social media, it’s so easy to make sales online that the retail stores are actually dying a slow death.

With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest you can create ads for your products that are visual and engaging. Then use the platform’s advertising options to show those ads to the exact audience you know would be interested. For example, showing a shirt about Dogs to people who love dogs.

With a hot product, the potential for scale is massive. There are many shirt campaigns that have done 6 or even 7 figures in a matter of months. Because you can reach millions of people around the world every day.

Selling On Social Media

There are not many cons to Print On Demand. But here are a few considerations.

The Designs Are Up To You

While it’s true that one design can potentially generate 6 or 7 figures in sales, it’s also true that a design can not produce any sales. In fact, the latter is often the case. This is based entirely upon the niche you choose, and the type of designs you get made. It takes time and testing to get good at selling Print On Demand items.

Smaller Profit Margins

When comparing Print On Demand to other e-commerce business models like Dropshipping, Private Labeling, or Subscriptions, the POD model often has lower margins. Some items like hoodies, canvas, and jewelry can offer better margins. But since most POD items follow a general trend of prices, there is only so much you can charge.

How To Get Started With Print On Demand

Your Online Store

A successful store is more than just a template, you need to create the feeling of a brand. A brand can be simple or complex, but it requires attention to the details. Your store should tell a story of brand, and your products should be unique and well displayed.

Essential pages for your store:

  • Home Page- Tell the story of your brand, showcase your best products and achievements.
  • About Page- Give your brand a personality, talk about the reason behind your store and products.
  • Contact Page- Make it easy for people to contact you.
  • Shipping and/or FAQs Page- Make it easy for people to understand the ordering and delivery process.
  • Returns and Refunds- Always have a guarantee on your products.
  • Legal Pages- Often comes standard with a store theme, but make sure you have them.

Branding to look like a real business:

  • Have a professional logo
  • Make your colors match throughout the store
  • Professional looking header and footer
  • Company address and phone number (use online virtual services)
  • Give your brand a personality that shows through your words and images

Some other important things to consider when designing your store:

Page Load Speed

One of the key elements to a successful store is fast load speeds for your pages. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. So it doesn’t matter how great your products are, or how nice your design is- if your page takes too long to load, people will leave.

That is called a “bounce”. And if your bounce rate is high, it means people are leaving your site within a few seconds.

Often time this has to do with your load speed. Things like images, videos, apps, javascript can all affect your website taking a long time to load.

Google PageSpeed Insights offers a great place to start in determining site load time. The faster the better, but anything over three seconds will usually get a buyer to bounce.

Color Theory Plays An Important Role In Branding

Detailed resources are available to guide a business in color theory for web design and suggest which colors influence the mind. The basic concept behind all color theory is to not offend the eye while still creating certain emotions that relate to your audience.

Clashing colors, aggressive color schemes, and/or poor contrast are the equivalent of a dirty grocery store floor. Customers are going to leave.

Great brands use color to build a subliminal feeling that viewers get when seeing the company logo or website. Building your Print On Demand store should use color to help create consumer confidence, urgency, and authority.

Have a Clear Call to Action

A Call To Action (CTA) is what gives a customer a push to do something. Buy Now! Free Download! Claim Your Coupon! – are all examples of a CTA.

For your Print On Demand store, the idea is to convert visitors into buyers. So every page, including and especially the product pages, should have very clear and enticing CTA’s to engage the customer in buying.

This includes what to write as your CTA on your product page cart button- some like “Add To Cart” and some like “Buy Now!”. You can split test different ideas to see which works best.

This also includes the above mention of color theory. The role of color in your buttons is important. You want to make your buttons stand out in contrast to the rest of your page, so people are more likely to click them.

Other ways to help create a Call To Action include urgency and scarcity. And most store platforms have apps of features you can use to add things to your product page like promotions, countdown timers, and discounts. This all plays a part in creating a reason for your visitors to buy now.

Establishing Your Store’s Brand 

Great branding helps create loyalty to your Print On Demand store with the products you sell. Your niche might be sports teams, funny sayings, comical characters, or any of 1000 niche ideas. But your brand is what sets you apart and helps you get repeat purchases. Your brand not only defines the niche, but creates a personality within that niche.

To help build a strong brand, you should have a plan before starting your store. Know your mission statement, target audience, and color scheme. Because A successful brand is rarely stumbled upon by chance. Create strategically, remain purpose driven, and convey the mission through your products and ads.

Product Lines are Niches Too

Don’t try to sell everything, especially when you first launch your Print On Demand business. Choose a few cornerstone products to focus on. For example, selling shirts, printed hoodies, and hats.

Build your product line by testing new products with the same designs, or slowly add new designs across different products. Your designs are an asset in Print On Demand, and you can create an entire collection based around one good design that works on multiple products.

Identify your audience, know the niche and their language, and target the product line to fit your ideal customer.

Once you have customers, use their input to determine what new products to add. Happy customers are usually willing to participate in surveys or social media questions about what they want. Give them what they want and you will sell more items to them because they feel part of the process.

Marketing Plans for Success

Develop a marketing plan to get visitors in your niche (traffic) to your store. A good marketing plan identifies how to target new customers, drive traffic to the website, and convert that traffic into sales.

The essential parts to your marketing plan are:

  • Market Research – See what your competitors are doing. What can you do better, or model?
  • Niche Research – Understand your audience and know your ideal customer.
  • Marketing Message – How will your brand stand out to attract people?
  • Marketing Medium – Where can you best reach your ideal customer? (Facebook, Instagram, etc)
  • Marketing Budget – How much can you spend per month, and what is the most effective way to use it?
  • Marketing Resources – How will you create graphics, videos, ads, etc?
  • Unique Value Proposition – What makes you different, and how can you show/tell people?
  • Marketing Plan – Put it all together with goals and timelines for launching and growing

Take An Honest Look At Your Product

Figuring out what product to sell and why is the first step to launching a successful Print On Demand business. Doing this requires an honest and unbiased look at the product, its pricing, and all of the features and benefits.

It’s not about what you like, it’s about what the market will buy. Many hopeful sellers get caught in a trap of designing for their own bias, which is often a quick path to nowhere in e-commerce.

Look at competitors and other hot products, notice what’s working and what isn’t working. Get to know your audience, and then really look at your products and think about this:

  • Is this product exciting to my audience?
  • Will my audience feel a connection with this product?
  • Are people going to enjoy owning this product?

If you cannot answer YES to all 3 questions, then you may need to rethink your designs.

Target Your Audience

Two key words you should understand when it comes to online marketing:

  • Target – This is identifying interests, demographics, and behaviors you can use to identify your audience in advertising platforms, so you know who to show your ads to.
  • Traffic – This is what marketers call visitors on your store or website. Traffic is people on your store.

So when we talk about targeting your audience, it means that you want to identify everything you can to understand your audience. That way you can buy ads on social media to get quality traffic to your store.

Without the right targeting, your product could be great but get shown to the wrong people. If you show an ad about Deer Hunting shirts to a Vegan, it doesn’t matter how great the ads are because it’s not the right audience. So you always need to make sure you do your research to show your ads to the right people.

Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

Like any online business, there are multiple steps involved to create success. With Print On Demand, you need to consider all of the following while getting started.

Launch your product with predetermined goals that are:

  • Specific: The more details, the better when it comes to specific goals. Don’t say you want to sell a lot of hoodies; instead say you want to sell 300 hoodies. Make a plan for growth.
  • Measurable: You should be able to see if you achieved your goal or not, and by what amount. If you sold 298 hoodies instead of 300, you missed your goal by 2.
  • Attainable: Big goals are great, but set yourself up for success. If you have zero traffic and are brand new, then start with 30 sales in the next month rather than 300.
  • Relevant: Goals can be a secondary part of the sales process, such as how many clicks do you get from an ad. As long as it is relevant to the process of the sale, it counts and is helpful.
  • Timely: Specify a time frame to complete the goal which makes sense with where the business is at. Selling 300 hoodies is great, but how long do you expect that will take? Set timelines to check in on progress goal accomplishment.

Moteefe – Let’s do business, together

What Is Dropshipping?

What Is Dropshipping?

What Is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a hot business opportunity right now. If you’ve been searching online about starting a business, then you’ve probably seen some things about dropshipping. Maybe you’ve even seen “rags to riches” dropship stories.

While dropshipping is a great opportunity for a lot of reasons, the truth about dropshipping is that it’s not easy. Just like any business, it takes hard work and dedication.

You need to find good products ideas with good suppliers behind those products. You need to understand how to create effective marketing campaigns. And you need to know how to manager your numbers.

What Is A Dropshipping Business?

Dropshipping is a business model that takes wholesale items and sells them as part of your store for a profit. You don’t make the items, you don’t ship the items. You are responsible for branding and marketing the items only, and generating sales.

This is a popular method for starting an online business for many reasons:

  • No inventory risk
  • No need to create your own product
  • Requires very little startup money
  • Access to lots of software to help the research and marketing process

The model is simple in it’s most basic form. You find products from a wholesale supplier, and then you place those products on your store with your own branding. Once you have a store with products, you choose which products you want to market using either free or paid traffic strategies.

Print On Demand is a form of dropshipping. The big difference between the two is that Print On Demand suppliers print custom designs on the wholesale products you want to sell. Dropshipping you are just selling the product as the manufacturer makes it.

Dropshipping Seems Simple, But Is It?

It’s clear why dropshipping is so popular. And there are many successful dropshippers that make it sound so simple. However, don’t be fooled. Dropshipping is simple, but not easy.

The challenge that most people have is choosing the right niche and understanding how to find products. You cannot create a competitive edge without figuring this out.

Choosing a Niche

Starting with a niche helps develop your brand and create a loyal following of customers that know what to expect from your store.

A niche is just an audience of people. Say, for example, people who love cats. There are products for people who love cats. For example, cat beds, cat toys, cat grooming, shirts for cat owners, etc.

Niche selection is challenging. You want to find a passionate audience that will actually spend money on the products you sell them. Here are some niche guidelines:

  • Large audience size
  • Easy to target on social media
  • Existing competition

These are just niche guidelines, not product guidelines. Choose a niche large enough to make money, easy to reach on social media, that has existing competition to prove market demand.

It doesn’t need to be more complicated that that. Dating, Yoga, Cooking, Gardening, Gaming- these are all examples of large niches that anyone could enter.

This is just the first step. You identify a niche, then you start researching product ideas.

Finding Product Ideas

Product research should be methodical, not a guessing game. This is where most people mess up. They don’t put enough time into their product research.

There are plenty of methods out there for product research, but here are three true guidelines:

  • Passion
  • Problem
  • Pride

People buy things they are passionate about. People buy things that solve problems. And people buy things that boost their confidence or ego.

Your product does not need to fit all 3, but it should be focused around satisfying at least one.

Dropshipping is generally about products that solve problems for people. Print On Demand is generally about products that speak to people’s passion or pride.

Either way, most people don’t get it right the first time. Winning with dropshipping requires consistency. You need to constantly be searching for unique product ideas from big sites like amazon.com and aliexpress.com.

One Product Stores

A one product store combines the niche and the product into one cohesive storefront. This is a great way to start a dropshipping business.

You don’t need to have a lot of products or look like a big store to win. If you can find one unique product that solves a problem for people, then you can create an entire store around that one product.

To find good ideas for one product store, look at Google Trends and Google Adwords. See what types of things are trending, and what people are searching for in Google. Then go look through suppliers to find if there are any innovative product ideas you can market.

People search Google when they have a problem or want to know/buy/do something. So Google can give you a lot of great insight into good product ideas.

Creating a Competitive Advantage

The problem with dropshipping is everyone has access to the same products. If everyone is selling the same item, what makes yours different?

You need to find a unique advantage to win with dropshipping. This is one of the single biggest reasons dropshipping store fail; they don’t give people the right reasons to say yes to buying from them.

There are some technical things to keep in mind:

  • Secure website with reputable shopping cart
  • Great user experience – load speed, page layout, ease of navigation
  • Professional brand

Without any of those, people won’t even stay on your website. But that still isn’t enough to get them to buy.

To create buying desire, you need to be unique. That could be your product, your store, your sales process, your delivery process, etc. There are many ways. Customer service is one of them. Great content is another one.

Product descriptions are one of the best ways to set your store apart. Use powerful and descriptive language, and make sure to illustrate the benefits of your product. Understand the main thing your product does for people, and then use your product descriptions to channel that desire into a purchase.

Another way to create competitive advantage is your marketing. Creating great content, having a well thought out email list, introducing bundle offers, retargeting your visitors with multiple types of ads, collecting reviews- these are all ways you can stand out.

Building A Brand

Remember that your brand is more than your logo, website design, or product. Your brand is the feeling people get when they think about your company and your products. Building a brand takes some time, but doesn’t need to take forever when done strategically.

While branding does start with the look of your website, including colors and images, it has more to do with the user experience. Good branding creates emotional connections to the company.

Think about the companies you use in your own life. Do you love your cable company or do you just deal with them? If someone different came along, would you switch brands?

Now think about the iPhone. People have waited in lines for the new iPhones. In fact, people may not even be able to responsibly afford a new iPhone, and still find a way to purchase it. That type of loyalty and desire is far more than just a phone. That’s the power of a great brand.

Pros and Cons of Drop Shipping

Business owners must always look at both the pros and cons of any business situation before making a final decision. While there are many pros to dropshipping and Print On Demand services, it isn’t a solution for everyone in e-commerce sales.

Pros of Drop Shipping

Consider these pros of drop shipping and print on demand e-commerce solutions:

  • Quick startup: With a Shopify, a PayPal account, a supplier, and a few plugins, you can have an operating business within a day
  • Minimal overhead: Other than the paid website services such as e-commerce platforms, SSL certificates, and hosting, there are no required overhead costs such as utilities or staff
  • Less capital requirement: Without having to buy in bulk and store it, new business owners are able to move products and generate cash flow without major capital outlay
  • Expansive product selection: Suppliers are eager to find great new platforms to sell more products giving e-commerce stores lots of opportunities to diversify product lines
  • Scalability: Growing is contingent on the marketing and fulfillment efforts of the website owner, adding staff or virtual assistants for smart growth

Cons of Drop Shipping

Consider these cons of drop shipping and print on demand e-commerce solutions:

  • Reduced margins: Margins are contingent on the cost of buying products on-demand as well as the competition undercutting pricing to capture market share
  • Inventory problems: Tracking the availability of items for sale on your website and confirming that suppliers have adequate stock is difficult and can force refunds of products bought that can’t be fulfilled
  • Dropship Suppliers’ errors: Many products come from overseas fulfilled at large distribution centers where language barriers and inefficient processes lead to the wrong items getting delivered to customers
  • Confusing shipping: Shipping times, durations, vendors, and costs all vary from supplier to supplier which can inflate shipping costs to customers or lead to confusion for dropshipping website owners.

How To Choose Suppliers

New dropshipping website owners need to consider how they choose their suppliers. It may seem easy to jump onto AliExpress dropshipping and go with any of the suppliers in that marketplace. After all, the platform is simple and free to use. However, many “suppliers” on these sites are secondary suppliers tacking on their own markup and extending the time required to fulfill orders because they need to get it from the source.

As you choose a dropshipping wholesale supplier or print on demand company, make sure you are able to connect with a person at the company. Ask a lot of questions about the products, where they are sources, where the manufacturing plant is, and the time frames from purchase to delivery. If you cannot speak with someone before you become a merchant for them, chances are you won’t get any help if a problem arises with a client order.

Considerations when choosing a wholesaler supplier for dropshipping products:

 

  • How extensive is their product line?
  • Where are the products manufactured? Where is the fulfillment center?
  • How much inventory does the fulfillment center maintain?
  • What shipping services do they use?
  • What are the costs and timeframes for shipping? Are there breaks for multiple items?
  • How long to fulfill orders?
  • Is tracking information for shipping provided? (If so, is this provided to you and the buyer or just you?)
  • What is the return policy?
  • How are order errors addressed?
  • Are the price reductions for hitting certain sales numbers?

Dealing with Supply Chain Problems

It’s always smart to order a few products yourself to test the supply chain before spending a lot of money on marketing. Order the products you intend to sell, and see if what you get is what you expected to receive.

It’s important to find out about poor quality products, lengthy shipping times, and customer service issues before your customers do.

If you took the time to properly choose your wholesale distributor, you will most likely pre-empt major supply chain issues. However, be aware of orders made on your site and where they are in the fulfillment process. Being proactive and contacting a customer when you become aware of a problem such as long delivery time, is better than letting the customer wonder what happened to their order.

Margins and Making a Profit

Making money is the name of the game. When it comes to dropshipping websites and print on demand services, there are those who move a lot of product, thus have a million in revenues who aren’t making any money. This is because their margins are too low as they work to attract buyers from competitors. They aren’t able to make enough on every sale to cover all operating costs including hosting, marketing, and service.

There are two types of margin you have to consider when looking at the markup of any product you sell: gross profit and net profit. Gross profit is the profit on any given item, meaning it is the difference between your retail price or revenues and cost of goods sold (COGS). Gross profit doesn’t consider anything beyond COGS and revenues (excluding sales tax). Net profit subtracts administrative, sales, taxes, and marketing costs from the net profits. If you aren’t considering net profits, you could be turning a lot of product inventory without making money.

As a rough example, think about the cost your wholesaler charges for a print on demand hoodie: $12.99. If you sell the hoodie for $19.99, you have a $7 gross profit on this. However, if your prorated costs for administration and marketing are $3 per item sold regardless of the gross profit, you now have $4 net profit on the hoodie. If you run a sale on hoodies for $15.99, you would have $3 gross profit but a $1 net loss on the sale of each hoodie.

Choosing A Markup Strategy

This is how you price your products. You receive the item at a wholesale cost, and then you add a “markup” to the item for resale on your store. That markup is your profit.

Some new business owners will choose the same markup strategy for every product. But this is not a great strategy. You should price your products strategically.

First, consider the product you are selling. If you only have one product, then that one. If you have multiple products on your store, the one you are advertising. You want your markup on your primary product to follow this formula:

Product Price = Cost of Goods Sold + Target Cost Per Action + Profit Margin

The two variables you know are Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) and your Target Cost Per Action (CPA). Your Target CPS is how much you can spend to acquire a customer with marketing.

Your COGS is the price your supplier gives you. And by looking at similar prices products online, you can determine a reasonable amount you can charge for your product. Just go to Google Shopping.

So if you have COGS of $15 and your product price point is market value at $30, then you have a margin of only $15 for your CPA and profit. To make $5 profit per sale, your target CPA needs to be $10.

You can adjust these numbers however you want. But ultimately you want to find a product with enough margin that will allow you to scale a business, because you will incur other costs as you grow. Like hiring a team.

You also need to consider shipping costs. Will you charge for shipping or give free shipping?

Free shipping on stores just means you have to mark your product up to absorb the cost of shipping on your item. This can be done on small, light items because they are cheap to ship. And can help you sell more because of free shipping.

If your product requires more expensive shipping, but your cost is set by market, then you may have to charge for shipping. For example, a basic t-shirt costs $7 to print and $4 to ship. A reasonable price is $20 to sell. Therefore you have a $9 only, and that doesn’t include marketing costs. So you likely need to charge your customers $4 for shipping to keep your margin, because most probably won’t buy a $24 t-shirt.

If You Make It, You Must Market

You need to market your products. It’s that simple.

If you aren’t telling people to go to your website through conversations or advertising, then nobody will ever buy anything.

You don’t need to spend a ton of money on advertising to get started, but you do need to put time and effort in to make it work for your store.

How to market your dropshippring products:

  • Join groups (online and in-person) and participate: don’t focus on sales in the group as you should focus on being active and become an expert resource.
  • List items on Amazon and Google: help the search engines help you by registering your store and products in the right places
  • Optimize your website and build content: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires understanding what your target audience is searching online and building credibility with the search engines that you are the legitimate and best resource
  • Advertise: social media and search engine advertising is highly targeted and affordable

It’s up to new e-commerce website owners to determine exactly how much they want to devote to marketing and advertising. Because this is a low-overhead business entry, many people fall into the trap of thinking it is a no-cost business.

If you don’t want to spend actual dollars at the start, you’ll need to do more sweat equity work. However, if you want things to scale, earmark a designated percentage of revenues to go back into marketing.

One of the great things about dropshipping solutions is the automation that you can incorporate into the entire process. Automation still requires oversight. You are the business owner and the customers expect service from you when things go wrong – and there will be times where things will go wrong.

Return Policies

Returns happen and some of the most successful retailers are known for great return policies. Costco and REI have pretty much anything goes return policies for up to 12 months. While this isn’t likely going to be your return policy, you want to have a clearly defined one.

Your return policy should be written and noted in the sales process through your shopping store so customers have the right expectations. But don’t just set a return policy based on what you think is good customer service. That may be a great policy but not one you can afford.

The policy must align not just with what the wholesale supplier’s return policy is, but also with your merchant services provider. You don’t want to be a retailer with a 60-day return policy when your merchant services provider only offers a penalty-free 30-day return policy.

Your return policy will also be determined by how long it takes for your customers to get their products. The longer it takes to get products delivered, the longer your return policy may need to extend from the point of sale.

When and How to Scale

You’ve got momentum and are generating sales with a good profit margin. The next stage is scaling up as a retailer. While this might seem natural and without problems for a dropshipping business there are things to keep in mind.

First, you can only scale as big as you can afford the time (or hiring) to service orders and fulfillment. You will need to still be on top of the supply chain and maintain a pro-active approach if you don’t want problems to creep into your business.

The second thing to consider when scaling up is whether or not your wholesale distributors can handle the demand. If you are scaling up by increasing marketing and advertising and generate 10 times the sales, will the distributor have the inventory?

If you are scaling with a new product, you’ll need to confirm that the products are in line with the quality and delivery guidelines you’ve already established with your core offers.

The third thing when scaling up is considering the amount per item you are spending with wholesale suppliers. Remember the question about price reductions for larger quantities? This is imperative in the scaling-up process.

Find wholesale distributors who will look at the aggregate number of items you sell and give you a discount based on inventory breakpoints. For example, you may get a breakpoint of $0.10 per item once you sell 500 and $0.12 per item at 1,000. Some distributors will give a limited retroactive breakpoint for all sales in the prior quarter.

Following up with quantity discounts is the easiest way to get more profit for the same amount of work and sales. Don’t let the wholesale distributors ignore your successful marketing and sales. They need you and should provide better pricing for better e-commerce stores.

The Bottom Line

Dropshipping is here to stay. It will evolve as new technology is developed and the marketplace gets even more competitive. Give yourself an edge with a good business strategy that includes branding, marketing, and service. Most of your competitors aren’t doing this and your customers will reward you with the sales because you do.

Moteefe – Let’s do business, together

The Importance of Color Theory in Branding

The Importance of Color Theory in Branding

The Importance of Color Theory in Branding

For a new e-commerce store, the importance of color in branding and advertising is extremely important yet often overlooked. Many business owners start with colors they personally like rather than colors that evoke a psychological response by the consumer to relate and buy from their brand. Corporate branding strategies understand color psychology and the use of color in advertising. Here is how you can keep your business on par with the big boys using the right colors.

Color Theory and The Brain 

Once upon a time, the idea of color symbolism psychology was nothing more than ideas based on anecdotal evidence. Companies tested marketing colors with different ads and monitored the results. Bottom line: colors and emotions are tied together and convey a mood for people.

More research has been dumped into understanding various color meanings within the brain. Colors lead to the release of neurotransmitters and blood flow paths. The conclusion is there are some predictable patters when looking at certain colors.

Color meanings such as red and orange are stimulating, energy arousing colors while blue and green are calming. Certain darker blues can even lead to passive emotions. Red, yellow, and blue are considered powerful colors to consider for generate very strong emotions.

It’s time to go from understanding color theory to using it to your advantage in advertising.

Importance of Color Associations in Advertising

The patterns of color meanings science has developed are really just the starting point. Color meanings and preferences are highly subjective. If someone associates negative feelings with blue because they had a traumatic experience while wearing blue shorts, they might not feel calm and stable with a blue product. Color associations are tied to memories and create correlations between new products based on the associated positive or negative emotions.

Building your brand on color is not the only component you need to consider but it isn’t an element you should ignore. If you know your audience and what your products do for them, color branding will subtly help you build trust and confidence with them. That leads to more sales. However, accomplishing the right emotions in advertising can be a bit tricky.

Color and Branding – What Do You Want People to Feel

Many new business owners want their buyers to be excited when they see their product and service. This is a natural way to think about how you want consumers to view you – with happiness and excitement. However, understanding why consumers love you may have more to do with the colors you choose than you imagine.

When Apple was developing the iPod mini, Steve Jobs is known to have adamantly stated that he wanted mature colors. His designer adamantly disagreed and said that vibrant, intense colors would attract the young target market. On the other hand, Whole Foods uses green and brown to depict an earth-friendly brand that helps its consumers be healthier while being good advocates for the planet. Of course, everything else you do as a brand must deliver – you can’t just choose a color and expect to have happy, loyal customers. Color is just an extension of your products, customer service, and everything your company stands for.

Target Audience and Color Meanings

Understanding your audience and demographics is very important when using color psychology. Something as simple as understanding that white often represents purity in western culture but represents mourning in some regions in Asia is important to evoke the right emotional state from your target audience.

When using color theory for your logo, website design, ads, and even product packaging you must consider what your product does and how it serves your target audience. Steve Jobs originally chose darker colors for the iPod and was smart to allow his designer to go with the brighter colors – their market was teens and young adults, not mature professionals nearing retirement.

Learn what your buyers like and love and you will have the right insights to the types of colors that will give them an immediate positive response to your website design, logo, and products. Marketing colors and advertising schemes reflect your target audience.

Colors Psychology – Universal Perceived Meaning

Color Color Meanings Types of Brands
Blue Positive emotions that generate feelings of trust and security Fiduciary brands where people must trust advice
Red Energetic and strong, red can be seen as aggressive and provocative Trendsetting brands looking to change existing models
Green Representing nature and good health with calming effects of lighter greens Organics and supplements or companies with a sustainable twist
Yellow A happy color representing optimism and vibrancy Solution-based services designed for convenience and ease
Purple Creativity, sophistication, royalty, and exclusivity Designer brands, entertainment companies
Pink Energetic or romantic depending on shade Relationship and lifestyle brands
Orange Cheerful and fun, whimsical Children’s brands
Brown Stability and simplicity Nature, outdoor, and organic lifestyle products
Black Elegant and classic Luxury products and exclusive solutions
White Clean, simple and sanitary Health, wellness, and hygiene solutions

Where to Use Color for Brand Identity

Color psychology sneaks into all aspects of your brand and e-commerce business. From the website design and logo all the way to product colors and Facebook ads, colors are everywhere. Without a cohesive color design, you can quickly find that colors don’t match, become overwhelming, and even generate negative emotions for the consumer.

Your color design should start with either the logo or the website template. Not everyone gets the logo designed before creating a website design and this is okay. Just make sure you are aware of what you want to accomplish with your logo – don’t just pick what is pleasing to you. From there, use color swatches to keep the same colors, hues, and tones throughout all designs.

Of course, you may not be able to choose the color of products, especially if you are using a print on demand or dropshipping platform. However, you can choose the colors of products to display that meet the overall color theme you create. For example, if you have children’s beachwear print on demand website with bright, happy colors such as yellow and orange, you could choose to compliment t-shirt colors for primary product images.

That doesn’t mean you should make everything on the page yellow and orange. Keep the t-shirts in bright tones but use complementary colors in advertising campaigns. Don’t jump from pastels to primary colors or other variations when you can avoid it. Overdoing color mixes will lead to a lack of emotions generated because the brain can’t pick up on any one color.

Too Much with Marketing Colors?

Don’t fall into the trap of using too many colors. Remember that you want your consumers to recognize your brand from the moment they see your ad or email. While certain color meanings like red and bright greens are great to grab attention for sales or promotions, the last thing you want is your e-commerce website brand looking like a wall of neon in a seedy part of town on a late Friday night.

Too much color will lead to confusion, countering the advertising objectives. If you aren’t sure how to compliment your main color choices, talk to a graphics designer. Great graphics designers can create a color palette for you to use in branding and advertising. This helps target main color selections with complementary colors to give viewers’ eyes a break and generate the desired emotions.

Final Thoughts: Color Meanings

Color and branding work together to help advertising campaigns and websites trigger emotions in consumers. The right emotions get people wanting to buy. Done properly, color meanings used in brand identity help create a company culture of good vibes consumers get just by looking at the logo or website.

Moteefe – Let’s do business, together