One of the major keys that determine the success and failure of an online T-shirt business or any other business for that matter is the ability to identify problems and challenges that surround the business and finding solutions to those problems.
I will be sharing some of the problems I have encountered since setting up my online T-shirt business and how I solved them so that you can learn from my mistakes and avoid them while starting up your online T-shirt business. Click on the video or read on the find out what they are.
This is one of the first major problems I’ve had in selling T-shirts online. As a rooky who’s just starting up an online business, I didn’t know that there would be customs charges when I ship internationally. Customers had to pay additional charges to Royal Mail before they could get their products and because I didn’t know about it, I never mentioned it on my website.
Because of this, my products gained negative reviews and eventually became less appealing to customers.
I did a survey to find out how other online T-shirt stores who also ship internationally handle the same problem. As a result, I discovered that they had a disclaimer on the website informing customers that depending on their location, they may be required to pay additional customs charges when the product is delivered to their door. I followed suit and added a disclaimer to my website too.
On top of that, I also added that refusal to pay this fund upon delivery might lead to Royal Mail’s refusal to deliver the product and that we hold no responsibility of resending the package.
I had this problem because I run a UK based business but work with an American supplier. If I were working with a UK supplier, my UK customers wouldn’t have to pay any customs charges. So the ultimate solution is for me to find a UK supplier since my major focus is selling to UK audience.
Whenever I get an order from a customer for a T-shirt from my site, I place an order from the manufacturer and have it delivered to the customer. This implies that I have to pay upfront to get an order processed. If a customer asks for a refund, I technically shouldered the expense for that T-shirt to be printed and shipped. That doesn’t sound good right?
I have explicitly stated in my return policy that any order of T-shirt designs are final and I will not be doing any returns or refunds as a result of the customer’s dislike of the design. This is because, in my opinion, customers should take responsibility for their choices.
The only instance where a refund is given is when there is a faulty delivery. I can’t build my brand or have my T-shirt store deliver faulty products to customers then just ignore their complaints. In that instance, I either pay the customer all the cost he/she incurred or offer them a replacement.
I did not ask the customers to send the products back for me to examine because I don’t have a fixed address. Instead, I required them to send me a picture of the T-shirt, the receipt, and the original packaging. If the pictures confirm the reported fault, I send the refund right away.
Before you can use a logo you like, a picture of a well-known person, a scene from a movie or a famous quote, you need a written permission from the owner.
Ensure that you do your research yourself and you don’t go about working with logos, pictures, and designs that are covered under a copyright. Try to learn a thing or two about copyright. If you find yourself doing something that you are not sure whether or not you are violating a copyright, try to consult an attorney for clarification.
Check out my video on copyright law and t-shirt design here.
Your choice of marketing channel plays a major role in the success and failure of your online T-shirt business. Before you go about investing in a marketing channel, you need to be very sure that you will get your money’s worth.
I personally wouldn’t recommend Facebook for instance because I have invested quite a lot of money in it without getting a tangible return. I will not be discussing much of the problems relating to marketing, for more info on it, check out the video I made on the potential issues of cost of marketing.
Make sure you understand how custom charges work. Try to cover your back if it is going to be a problem. Make sure you have a good refund policy that works for you and sustain a distinguished reputation for your business. Make sure you use a marketing channel that works for you. Try as much as possible to ensure that you don’t violate any copyright infringements.