Selling Merchandise On Your Website

If you take away poker, dating, and naked ladies, custom merchandising is the big success story of the Internet. The ultimate combination of e-commerce and affiliate marketing, millions of websites around the world turn to online merchandising companies - both to market their URL and to extract some cash from loyal visitors.

The key to the success of the industry is on-demand printing, meaning website owners don't usually incur setup costs and do not have to carry inventory.

The business model usually works like this. The webmaster signs up for free ? or for a small monthly fee ? at the merchandising company site. Having uploaded his/her own designs ? often logos, catchphrases or drawings, the webmaster can then place these designs on the range of products offered by the merchandiser. Usually, the merchandise company places a base price on each product, to which the webmaster adds his/her own commission or markup. In some cases, the webmaster can then create a shop which can be integrated into their own site.

The merchandising company normally handles credit-card processing, printing, shipping, and customer service while the webmaster incurs the slightly less arduous task of collecting and banking the commissions.

Beginning to see why its so popular? Let's have a look at some of the industry's big players:

Cafepress

The daddy of the bunch. Founded in 1999 in California, Cafepress was one of the first companies to exploit the massive custom merchandise market. It now sells products on behalf of over 2 million website owners, mainly in the USA.

For all its longevity and wide reach, Cafepress has yet to solve many of the original problems that still bother its users. Despite the clamour from customers, the company has yet to find a way to offer black, or even dark, garments ? still relying on the old white and grey staples and a rather odd collection of pastels. Nor has the company embraced internationalisation, and website owners outside of the USA still baulk at hefty shipping charges and US Dollar pricing.

The free Cafepress service offers limited functionality to users, with only one version of each product allowed. For a monthly fee, Cafepress allows unlimited selling. However, excessive branding makes it rather difficult to integrate the Cafeshop into the look and feel of an existing site.

Cafepress

Zazzle

Another California-based company that launched a similar service to Cafepress in 2003 and has a substantial share of the US market. Again pricing is only available in US Dollars. And while Zazzle's range of garment colours is stronger than Cafepress, printing on black or dark shirts is still not supported.

Zazzle does not charge a monthly fee but webmasters will find it rather more difficult to integrate their shop into the look and feel of their own site.

Zazzle

Spreadshirt

This one looks interesting. Spreadshirt was founded in Germany in 2002 and boasts over 60,000 partners across Europe, winning the Hewlett Packard Business Innovation Award in 2004. Unlike its American competitors, Spreadshirt caters for both European and US customers, using regional shipping companies and allowing webmasters to price products in Euros, Sterling, or US Dollars. Shops can also be automatically translated into eight languages.

Spreadshirt has also solved the thorny "black shirt" issue, offering over 50 products in a full range of colours. However, it's probably the different printing options that sets the service apart. In particular, Spreadshirt's "flock" printing ? creating a raised felt finish ? produces a result much more impressive than regular digital print.

Finally, hats off to Spreadshirt for managing to keep its branding on the product but still allow webmasters full control over the look and feel of their shops. Already a dominant force in the European market, Spreadshirt could be set to give Cafepress a run for their money in the US.

Spreadshirt US Spreadshirt UK

EShirt

EShirt is another European company ? this time Italian-based - providing an almost-identical product range to Cafepress ie no dark shirts. Euro, US Dollar and Sterling pricing is available. However, the only print option available is digital hot press printing ? not the longest lasting technique.

The most inconvenient aspect of EShirt's service is shop integration. You must register as a Tradedoubler affiliate before you can even apply for an EShirt shop. And even then, it is not possible to recreate the look and feel of your own site.

EShirt

Suzanne Power is the editor of GrandWebDesigns.com

http://store.xiiiv.com/rss
In The News:

Form 424B2 CITIGROUP INC  StreetInsider.com
Apple set to unveil new iPhones  WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale

Affiliate Communication

Communication is Key!When building an affiliate network communicating with affiliates... Read More

How To Really Make Money With Datafeed Merchants

I am not going to describe what a product feed... Read More

Your Affiliate Business and Taxes

Starting a home-based business on the Internet is easy you... Read More

Why is Affiliate Marketing Popular with Home Based Business Entrepreneurs?

The great strides made in the development of the Internet... Read More

Do You Make These Mistakes With Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a very lucrative business online, especially where... Read More

Is There an Affiliate Free Lunch Program?

"Everything worthwhile has a cost... Whenever you think you are... Read More

8 Ways To Promote Your Affiliate Products

Many affiliates fail in affiliate marketing because they limit their... Read More

5 Essential Tools of the Successful Affiliate Marketer

In the time I have been running my internet home... Read More

Finding An Affiliate Online Opportunity Program

Never before has it been easier to find an affiliate... Read More

AdSense Stats and Performance 101

As more and more people are getting into the AdSense... Read More

Make 100% Commission on Your Affiliate Sales!

If you've been involved in making money on the internet,... Read More

Choosing the Best Affiliate Program - What You Absolutely Must Know

Choosing the best affiliate program means that you are aware... Read More

Watch Out For Traffic Leaks

When promoting any affiliate program one thing that you, as... Read More

How to Booost Your Affiliate Commissions by almost 30%

Affiliate marketing is one tough business. Everyone online... Read More

Affiliates Need To Read Their Newspaper

Millions of people check the news everyday-- in the morning... Read More

Pros and Cons of Third Party Online Affiliate Networks

Online affiliate marketing has taken the internet by storm and... Read More

Looking for Success as an Online Affiliate? Its All in the Numbers

If you have been a home based business entrepreneur for... Read More

Affiliate Business : Ten Checklists for Your Success

While it can be quite easy to start an online... Read More

Basics of Affiliate Marketing

Whether you realize it or not, if you've been on... Read More

Cant Find Any ClickBank Super Affiliates? Grow Your Own!

Affiliate marketing has become extremely popular, and ClickBank offers a... Read More

A Successful Satellite TV Affiliate Website

Satellite TV has exploded on the scene during the last... Read More

Are Affiliate Riches Within Your Grasp? Discover How to Cash in Starting Today

There is some speculation about how much money you can... Read More

Affiliate Marketing - Make Big Bucks Through Your Internet Home Business

Affiliate marketing has become a booming industry thanks to the... Read More

Your Own Affiliate Program

What better avenue to drive high quality and targeted traffic... Read More

Why You Dont Succeed As An Affiliate ?

Affiliate Program have exploded on the internet. Thousand of people... Read More

http://store.xiiiv.com/rss