The t-shirt industry is massive as it is worn by men, women and children. In the U.S alone people spend over $20 billion a year on t-shirts.
If you want to launch an ecommerce store, this would be a great industry to start with. There are so many people who have already found success with it.
The only drawback to running a successful t-shirt ecommerce store is that it requires a lot of work. You need to first buy the shirts from a company in massive quantities, get them shipped to you, buy a printer and get your designs printed, find a large warehouse to store them and then ship them again to people who order.
Luckily there’s one alternative solution that can help ease the burden to running a t-shirt ecommerce store. This is dropshipping.
What is t-shirt dropshipping?
T-shirt dropshipping is when you sell t-shirts on your ecommerce store, but you don’t handle tasks like buying raw material, printing the shirts, storing them in a warehouse and then shipping them to people who order.
A separate manufacturer does this for you.
All you will do is list the t-shirts on your store and promote them. If you are selling t-shirts with custom design and prints, you will of course need to handle extra tasks like coming up with new designs.
This can save a lot of time and money, especially for people who are new to the t-shirt business.
So, would you like to run your own t-shirt dropshipping business?
Here’s a step by step guide that will help you get started…
- Find a niche
As aforementioned the t-shirt industry is a $20 billion business. Lot of people already know this and are trying their best to get a piece of the pie. This is why the competition is very fierce.
Most people fail when they get started with selling t-shirts online because they do the same thing everyone else is doing. If you want to avoid falling into this rut, you need to do something unique and specific that will help you standout.
So, find a popular niche that will work. This could be something funny that associates with a certain age group of people like millennials or people who own a specific dog breed (like corgis) or a certain type of food. The more unique your niche, the better you will do. You can always expand on this niche as you grow your audience.
To come up with ideas you can use Kickstarter.
You can make use of its search filters to find the most funded T-shirt projects.
- Validate the niche
The next step you must take is to validate the niche you have chosen to make sure there are enough people who will be interested in buying. Here are a few ways to do this…
- You can start by using tools like Google Trends and Keyhole to track the number of mentions of the keywords on search engines and social media
- Conducting a survey and inviting your target audience to take part can also help
- Another is to spy on your competitors. If your competitors are selling a similar t-shirt for a long time. It shows that there is a large enough audience that is interested
If after following the above steps you find that the t-shirt niche you picked won’t sell enough, you should brainstorm new niches and go through the validation step again.
- Set up the store
Once you choose a niche that works, you can set up your store. The easiest way to do this is by using Shopify.
It can help you set up a professional looking ecommerce store within a day.
It also has access to several apps that make the day to day running of an ecommerce store extremely easy.
- Find and import products for dropshipping
The next step should be to find and import products that can be dropshipped. This is very easy to do with Shopify as it has apps that can help you quickly add products (that can be dropshipped) to your ecommerce store. Their most popular one is Oberlo.
And you will need to then place an order on AliExpress and get it directly delivered to the customer.
You don’t need to handle any of the shipping or the handling of the shirts. But you will need to conduct your own due diligence on the suppliers to make sure they don’t scam you and your customers.
If you don’t want to take this risk, you can check out Oberlo’s verified suppliers program. These are suppliers that Oberlo themselves have vetted. Their working conditions, business documentation, warehouses, shipping success rates, dispute rates, etc. have been checked to make sure you only work with suppliers that deliver results.
Shirts from these suppliers are placed within the Oberlo dashboard itself and they can be added with a few clicks.
- Validating the dropshippers
If you still prefer the products on Ali Express you can validate dropshippers by looking at product and supplier ratings. For best results you should only choose products that have a 4+ rating and suppliers who have a rating of more than 95%.
To confirm that the suppliers live up to the standards they have set you should order a couple of t-shirts yourself and maybe even ask a few of your friends to place orders too. Then wait to see if they get delivered on time and in proper condition. If you face any difficulties, you should contact the supplier to see if they rectify it smoothly.
You should also test out the quality of the product by wearing it around and asking people for their opinion. Also wash the clothes a couple of times to see if they are sturdy enough. The colors should not fade and the prints should not wither.
- Open up the store
Once you are certain that the products are of top quality, you can open the store and begin selling your products.
- Promote the store
You might sell products of the top most quality with the most attractive designs and the funniest jokes ever, but people won’t buy unless they know about them. This is why you should promote them as much as you can.
You should have ample amount of time to do this as you won’t be manufacturing and shipping the products. Also, Shopify has several apps that can help you execute marketing methods like SEO, influencer marketing, Facebook ads and more with little effort.
Now start your t-shirt dropshipping business…
This is how you launch a t-shirt dropshipping business. As you can see it is something that can be easily executed with very little investment in both money and time.
So, go ahead and start your t-shirt dropshipping business today.