June '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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88 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 5 E-Commerce Enable customers with corporate e-commerce b y E r i c h c a m p b E l l T he resources required to create and maintain e-commerce stores have never been as widely available and accessible. Gone are the days when only the most technically adept or well-heeled decorators could man- age or afford them. As we've all become conditioned by social media to manage profiles, edit and post images, and write copy, virtually anyone can operate at least a simple online store. Providing e-commerce solutions to business clients starts by making an in- formed selection when it comes to your platform. If you implement the right tool for your target customer, the rest relies on your ability to present the benefits of e-commerce, address the particular needs of the customer, and provide reliable service. Educating yourself about the most prevalent types of store software and useful applications of e-commerce helps you prepare your business to capture your next corporate client's online sales. There are three main types of online store platforms to consider: Those you install and arrange host- ing yourself, those offered with ad- ministration and hosting as a service, and those offered as an added-value by garment distributors. They all have strengths and weaknesses, but each has its place, depending on your target client and the client's ordering volume. By matching the level of investment and labor re- quired by your platform to the size and profitability of your customer, you can find lucrative compromises almost anywhere in the spectrum of small- to medium-size businesses. SELF-HOSTED STORES These sites reside on your existing Web hosting service and range from generic add-on store modules for popular content management sys- tems to ground-up solutions. Be- cause these sites are rarely created specifically for the garment decora- tion industry, few in this category sport decoration or customization features or easy mock-up tools. Myriad companies offer such solu- tions, from traditional firms that On a full-featured service site offered specifically for decorators, mockups are made easy with au- tomatic previews generated directly from embroidery files like the one seen on this site. (All images courtesy Erich Campbell) Erich Campbell is an award-winning commercial embroidery digitizer of 13 years and long-time e-commerce manager, currently digitizing and cre- ating online properties for Albuquer- que, New Mexico-based Black Duck. A current industry blogger and once medievalist-in-training turned tech-obsessed embroidery de- signer, Campbell brings his varied experience and interests to bear on numerous industry publications and projects. Reach him at

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