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A Tshirt Website Experiment

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by kahamri, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. kahamri

    kahamri Registered Member

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    I have picked some things up recently that I think might help you.

    Site 1:A couple of years ago I built a tshirt site using Zen Cart and a template from Monster. We sold multiple shirt designs but mostly one shirt sold more than the rest. They were priced between $14.99 and $19.99, except the one that sold the most. $9.99 - I ended up selling the site to a guy that ran it into the ground, not shippnig shirts.

    Site 2:So a few months ago I decided to build a new site. This one prints 100 shirts of a single design until sold out also $9.99. The site is built on wordpress with a template that I think is pretty awesome (not allowed to self promote so not puting the url).

    Advertising:I advertised both sites using Facebook's Ad's and I sold more $9.99 on the zen cart than I did on the new site. I also started using ProjectWonderful.com for the Site 2 because ad space there was soo much cheaper.

    Hosting:
    Site 1:The First site was hosted on a kind of crappy shared hosting that I would imagine droped more users from page not found than actually found the page.
    Site 2:This site I got a dual core VPS with 4 gig's of ram. and this server was fly. I still use it. My page load time for site 2 was under 2 seconds. No idea for site 1, I didn't care back then.


    Time of year:Both sites were built and live at the same time, but 2 years apart. Site 2 was this year, Site 1 wasn't durring a "recession".

    Conversions:
    Site 1 converted around 75% more than site 2, even though site 2 had about double the clicks (thanks to projectwonderful).

    Payment:
    Site 1 used paypal, but I utilized the API so the user never left my website. All processing was done through paypal however.

    Site 2 is using Google Checkout, i am not utilizing the api so people actually leave my site and go to Googles.

    Visitor Tracking:
    Both sites use CrazyEgg and google analytics.

    Problem's:
    Site 1 made me rich, site 2 did not.

    Crazy Egg show's me I had 126 Visitors and 250 Clicks on the main page, I also ran ad's straight to the product page. It recieved 59 Visits and 65 Clicks. (less ad's were ran, I don't know why)

    Shirt's Sold:Site 1 sold 75 Shirt's in 1 month.
    Site 2 sold 2 shirt's in 1 month.

    So What was diffrent, I'm positive wordpress and my vps are loading the page's super fast. I know the shirt is popular. The checkout process might make site 2 look more like a scam site.

    When I pulled my CrazyEgg analytics I noticed something.
    Product Page (45 Clicks Visible):16 clicked on Past Shirts
    7 Clicked on Home
    3 Entered Email in Newsletter
    1 Entered First Name in Newsletter
    1 Entered Last Name in Newsletter
    (all three newsletter fields were required)

    Home Page (200 Clicks Visible):73 Clicked on Past Shirts
    21 Clicked Next on slideshow
    18 Clicked on 'The Deal'
    14 Clicked on 'The Team'
    28 Clicked on the product page.
    16 Clicked on 'Buy The Shirt'

    That mean's I paid over $1.00 per click so people can view my past shirts (facebook)

    All Ad's showed the shirt along with the price. User's knew what they were buying before they clicked the ad.

    **Another Note, In my haste to get the site online I did not create the Past Shirt's page. The Menu Item did nothing, it was /#/. I cost myself one big lesson there**

    So what did I learn:
    1: Do not launch yoursite unless it's 100% complete. I am sure I lost many sales due to the past shirt button not loading.
    2: Unless local, Facebook is way too expensive to advertise in. 100 Non purchase clicks cost over $125.
    3: Api's are imporant, I would bet money leaving my site and going to google lost me sales.
    4: Wordpress & VPS are my new favoriate toys.
    5: I believe Tshirt sales are much harder to get this year than two years ago. Not because of the recession, because technology is making it easier for people to create their own shirts.
    6: If the above problems are fixed, sales would increase dramatically.

    ---
    It's a long post, because I care and you should too. Use what I gave you to learn. Ask any questions in the thread.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 5
  2. Fastlane

    Fastlane Registered Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience. Right now I am working on a Printfection t-shirt store (it's one of those print on demand services) and I already made a few sales, so scaling it up should not be a problem.
    How did you outsource your t-shirt production and shipping? My problem is that I don't live in the USA (where most of my customers should come from) and so I can't just go to my local printing shop and ship from here because the shipping costs would be way too high.
     
  3. kahamri

    kahamri Registered Member

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    I am in the USA, I hit a few of the local shops here to see who could give me quality/price. You could always call some of the smaller shops in the US. Tell them what you do and see if they would print/ship.
     
  4. ron16464

    ron16464 Newbie

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    hi Fastlane,
    check out this dropshipper:
    www*urbanload*com
    they print on tshirts and ship them free
     
  5. saveferris

    saveferris Registered Member

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    I really liked this post. It was in-depth and well thought out, obviously written by someone who knows what he is doing. Great job, kahamri!

    Now my question is... what's next? You have Site #2 up and running, hopefully it was for more than just two sales. Are you going to give up on it or are you going to keep tweaking it until it becomes profitable?

    By the way... is there such an animal as a Google Checkout API that allows you to implement a seamless payment method? I was under the impression that Google always requires customers to check out at their own site. PayPal can be integrated directly into the shopping cart, but they charge $30 per month. I'd like to know more about the Google solution.

    Feel free to IM me... I'd be interested in getting the link to your site!
     
  6. kahamri

    kahamri Registered Member

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    Oh I'll be tweaking it. Im working on changing the google checkout issue, if I can't process in site it will be changed over to pay pal or squareup.com I might split test them to see how they do. The one issue with tracking I haunt figured out yet is my users flow. From entry to the site all the way through checkout. Because the site sends them to google I loose tracking ability but I would really like to either record visits or watch live and see how they interact with the sire. I know there are systems out there that do it I just havnt had time to check into them.
    So far I've tied my product list into the google products API so it show up in google market place and the product will show up in search results when someone looks it up. Buy.com and shopping.com will be next.

    I havecliebt sites that are behind schedule so I won't be able to work on this for a week or so.
     
  7. Jonny Quick

    Jonny Quick BANNED BANNED

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    Nice read. I see a lot of Vendors with really horrible web-sites. I'm amazed sometimes at how bad they are, to the extent that I sometimes wonder if they are so wrapped up in the nuts & bolts and the money, that they lose the ability to look at their own site from a prospective customer's eyes.

    They ask for BS information, that obviously might aid them in their marketing efforts, but also it's obvious to me that I'm giving them the value of my time and energy and getting nothing for it. I see this whole dynamic a lot, lately. All these pushy-a** vendors trying to make me do this, and get me to do that, and tell them this and indicate that and...

    So I say (literally) f***-it, I'll buy somewhere else or do without it.

    I can't stress this enough as a prospective customer. I feel violent sometimes, like if I could have that t*rd that got me pidgeon-holed into this electronic situation I'd beat them into hamburger with a large crescent wrench.

    So, they've taken a neutral person with a mild interest in their product and turned them into a raging homicidal maniac, and if I were to ever need one of their products (such as a T-shirt), I'd rather wear the one they give you in prison after I murder them, then to pay money for the one I USED to want.

    Again, I can't stress this enough, I see it so frequently. I can't help but wonder if long-term and intimate exposure to the marketing process causes some people to completely lose touch with what their marketing efforts are actually doing at street-level, with people like me the prospective customer.

    It's too bad you can't post the URL. It's possible you could very quickly discover why the same shirts on a superior system do dramatically worse than previous efforts.
     
  8. saveferris

    saveferris Registered Member

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    Hey, kahamri... your Web site is down. You might want to check into it. I would have PM'ed you, but I can't yet (not enough posts).
     
  9. s0mebody

    s0mebody Newbie

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    Yes the website is down. What's going on?
     
  10. islandcoli

    islandcoli Regular Member

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    Anyone have any experience with an affiliate t-shirt site? Example a site that looks like a storefront for unique t-shirts, funny tee's etc. however in all reality every shirt is just a variety of shirts from other sites(with your affiliate link)?

    I've been considering doing this, would love input
     
  11. theguruland

    theguruland Junior Member

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    Please can you tell me why people buy your shirt? Not to to criticize you .. but you have to have something special to make them buy your stuff :) Mine is just a question since I m totally out of this market. So yeah.. could be cool to understand what makes this people BUY your shirts? Thank you and really cool post!
     
  12. kerry2124

    kerry2124 Newbie

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    Hey Fastlane - you should try using cafe press....
     
  13. Fastlane

    Fastlane Registered Member

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    I think Printfection is better, because you can choose your own markup and their logo does not appear on your shop if you don't want to, so you can make it look as if it is your own website. Besides that the support is pretty awesome.