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:


Get the Big Dogs to Affiliate with You

Have you ever tried to launch an affiliate program? If... Read More

Content Really is King

It is every affiliate's wish to have unique site content... Read More

Who Says Affiliates Cant Use Joint Ventures To Make Money?

This is a technique I teach almost every day. Yet... Read More

Pros and Cons of Third Party Online Affiliate Networks

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

5 Ways to Promote Affiliate Programs

After having chosen several programs to join, you probably realize... Read More

Top 7 Affiliate Marketing Tips for Newbies

When a newbie begins an online business, the temptation can... Read More

Want to Increase Your Affiliate Commissions?

Do you participate in chat rooms and message boards related... Read More

Preparation - the Way to Success

I have two questions to ask you. One. How much... Read More

6 Critical Rules When Building An Affiliate Website

There are 6 rules you must use when building any... Read More

The Google Adsense-Adwords Automatic Money Machine

Have you ever tried to make money through affiliate programs... Read More

5 Tips If You Want To Be A Reseller

If you are planning to be a reseller for a... Read More

Affiliate Marketing at a Glance: Helpful Hints

Regarded as one of the choice Internet marketing systems offered... Read More

How Much do YOU Charge Per Hour? Avoid the Question by Setting up Passive Income Streams

If you work with clients, at some point in your... Read More

Watch Out For Traffic Leaks

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

How To Win The Affiliate Game

Are you frustrated with your affiliate programs?I used to be.... Read More

Making Money with Affiliate Programs ? Part I

If you have a website and you are not involved... Read More

Understanding Affiliate Programs

Years ago before the internet was born, starting your own... Read More

Set Up Winning Web Page To Be Powerful Selling Tool - 5 Ways to Help Affiliate Problems

The Internet is powerful selling tool. Never before has been... Read More

Understanding The Three Basic Types of Affiliate Programs

With all the companies on the internet that offer affiliate... Read More

How To Use Articles To Build Your Affiliate Program

Articles are the perfect promotional tool for your affiliates -... Read More

Affiliating Correctly - Only Work With the Winners

You need to do a bit of research on which... Read More

10 Things WalMart Teaches About Affiliate Marketing

We already know about wal mart because of their ads... Read More

Six Power Tips on Resell Rights

If you are planning to take the path of the... Read More

Affiliate Programs - Can I Really Make Money?

If you have been looking around the internet for a... Read More

Choosing the Right Affiliate Program

Requesting information on an affiliate program is an open invitation... Read More

http://store.xiiiv.com/rss