February '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R || 93 WORDPRESS E-COMMERCE For those that blog, Wordpress is probably a familiar name. This site offers a business the ability to create a blog without the bother of building a site independently. The Wordpress software also ac- commodates a variety of plugins that can allow businesses that wish to sell their products on their blog to do so. Plug-ins like WP e-commerce and WooCommerce can be added to an estab- lished blog and used to create a shopping experience for customers. ( BIG CARTEL This site is another place where people who create things can sell their creations. It bills itself as the place with a simple setup where independent decorators, designers, and craftspeople can sell their work. The site does charge a monthly fee, but it is quite reasonable. Un- like other sites, Big Cartel does not take a percentage of each sale. It does, however, have a limit of 300 products. ( ZAZZLE This platform bills itself as the place where makers sell. There are no fees to set up on the site, but a commission is charged on every sale made through the site. Commission rates are based on the retail prices of the products sold. To qualify as a maker, businesses must be USA-based, and have a proven ability to produce customized, made- to-order products. ( SELLER BEWARE Selling through a third party site may be a good option for many companies, but it should be noted that it also has some drawbacks. The largest may be that the site on which the products are listed is owned by someone else, and the owner sets the rules. If a choice to sell on a third party site is made, be sure that all rules and regu- lations are read before any products are uploaded or any fees are paid. Some sites may have rules in place that allow the unrestricted use of uploaded photos or artwork, or there may be fees that are not clearly spelled out. Taking the time to understand the rules and requirements of a particular platform can save a lot of lost time, work, and revenue. Also consider that selling on a third party site may not help ad- vance the particular brand of an individual company. If a customer buys a product from a company on Etsy, Amazon, or Zazzle, the name of the platform on which the purchase was made and not the company who made the item purchased would most likely be mentioned, should the purchaser be asked where they obtained the item. The companies that operate these sites are interested in promoting their brand, not the brands of the companies that sell on the site. If the intent is to use a third party site to build revenue and then move to an individual site at a later date, extra effort may be needed to impress customers enough to make the transition to an individually run site. Finally, please keep in mind that this article is intended only as an overview, and cannot possibly cover every aspect of selling through a third party or all the disadvantages and advantages of selling through a particular platform. Before choosing any platform or electing to sell through an individual website using e-commerce software, make sure the appropriate research has been conducted. Be aware of all the possible benefits and potential pitfalls of the option you choose. Also keep in mind that any option will require maintenance and an allocation of time and resources to maintain. No option, however much some platforms might claim otherwise, is going to be completely trouble and effort free. Doing the neces- sary research will ensure that the maximum results for the effort expended are achieved.

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