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Print On Demand Blog

Permanent Shopify Move?

As if starting your own online presence isn't hard enough, figuring out the best platform to start it on is a pain on it's own. Obviously there are the free listing sites like TeePublic and Redbubble but while cheap they have their own set of issues.

I'm not going to go into the free sites here and instead I am going to share a few quick thoughts on starting your own POD store based on my experience with 2 not so free options.

This isn't my first attempt at this whole Print on Demand thing, last year I started a Shopify store called MemesAreUs. I spent a bunch of money on a custom theme and went all out trying to sell T-shirts and coffee mugs with funny memes printed on them. It was a miserable failure and I shut it down after 3 months.

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to give it another go. As I said, the first time I setup shop on Shopify so this time I thought I'd change things up and give WooCommerce a try. For those unfamiliar, WooCommerce is a free storefront plugin for the popular Wordpress blogging software. It integrates with many of the POD providers and since it's open source, there are scores of supporting plugins that allow someone to setup a pretty robust platform.

Fortunately I have had a lot of experience with Wordpress so setting things up there was for me was doable. For those that are technically challenged, Wordpress/WooCommerce can be a challenge.

Last month I began in earnest setting up my new Wordpress/WooCommerce site selecting to host it with Wordpress themselves. Setting it up wasn't too difficult and they also support using your own domain making it easier to brand your store. Like I said before, I started on Shopify and this is where some of my second thoughts began.

Many of the POD providers I wanted to use did integrate with WooCommerce, but some didn't. And some that did weren't as user friendly on WooCommerce as they are on Shopify. I had issues integrating some of the products I wanted to sell because the providers weren't available and I was also finding that a lot of the functions Shopify handles in the background, WooCommerce required more tweaking.

This weekend I made the decision to halt everything on WooCommerce and move things back to Shopify. Luckily I am not that far into startup so switching wouldn't cause too many heartaches so here I am back at the beginning.

I am still up and running on Wordpress utilizing the free domain that came with my hosting plan so if you want to see what a Wordpress/WooCommerce option looks like, check out weprinton.gifts and let me know what you think!

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1 Month In On TeePublic

In one month on the popular POD site TeePublic I have begun forming a few opinions on the site and figured I'd share my very early thoughts about using them to list my designs.

First off, TeePublic makes it very easy to upload your designs and prepare them to list offering both single and multiple upload modes. I particularly like the multiple file upload option allowing you to work on several files at a time. Their listing interface also make it easy to add keywords for your design making suggestions based off of the initial keywords you select.

Another nice advantage revolves around how TeePublic adds your design to all their product offerings. Unlike Red Bubble, which usually has me making adjustments to my design for every single product, TeePublic seems to handle this task with ease making the submission process a whole lot quicker and easier. As for those product offerings, the have a few but when again comparing to their parent company, Red Bubble, they come up a bit short.

As for the minuses beside the product offerings, TeePublic makes it frustratingly difficult to get traffic from their millions of visitors. As of the writing of this post I am still not listed on the site search function meaning that if someone doesn't know how to find you directly, you will never be found. This is a common complaint with TeePublic with scores of how to videos and posts supposedly telling you what you need to do to get listed. They say you need to add a header and an icon for your store, add 10-15 designs, etc. and then just shoot them an email.

Well I have had a storefront setup as suggested from day one and I currently have over 80 designs and still cannot get listed on the site search. When contacting TeePublic I get the standard boilerplate response telling me that not all designers get listed on the site search and that I should utilize paid and other options to drive traffic to my store.

Now putting aside for a moment that when I sell something they profit as well, why would I send paid traffic to their site when I could setup my own site instead and send them there? Also why would I pay for visitors to my product pages on TeePublic when they advertise other designers designs on MY products page making it very easy to see how my paid traffic could convert for other designers!

Again, this is after only a very short period but I am having a harder time being able to justify spending much more of my time adding designs to TeePublic or to be honest on T-Shirts in general. I am certainly not going to shut it down but for now I think my efforts would be better served going in a different direction. More on that in a future post.

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The Joys Of Etsy

We've heard all kinds of opinions on @Etsy ranging from it's the place to be to sell your POD and custom made crafts to stay away at all costs. As with most opinions you should take them with a grain of salt. So when it comes to this post containing my experience on Etsy, your mileage will vary.

Just 2 weeks ago I opened an Etsy store and started listing some of my POD and custom made stickers and coffee mugs. In total I had listed 13 products and was getting a few views but no sales which I expected. Then yesterday I logged on to add a few products and I was greeted with this wonderful message.

 

The Joys Of Etsy
Account Suspended

 

They didn't provide a reason though they did say to look for an email that would explain the reason/s and what I needed to do to fix whatever the issue was but like many have stated in the multitude of Youtube videos I have since seen on the subject, that email never came. Now I sit and wait for Etsy to respond to my email to them all while my store is offline.

In my case this isn't that big of a deal as I had just started but what about those that have been selling and making money for awhile? All of a sudden they have no store and no idea why. In my case I wasn't given any warnings or told to make changes, they just shut me down. Not good Etsy.

So what are my options? Well for me I have decide to kick Etsy to the curb and open up shop here. It will certainly take more work to get up and running and traffic will be much harder to get but at least I am not at the mercy of a 3rd party with little or no recourse if they get a wild hair up their butt about my ship.

Anyone else out there been shutdown by Etsy? If so were you able to fix whatever was the problem? Did Etsy work with you or did they just leave you hanging? Let me know in the comments.

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