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How to Sell T-Shirts on Amazon : Beginner' s Guide

Apr 24,2024 | Foremost Hat

I. Introduction

T-shirts are popular!! They are inexpensive to produce and are often part of fast fashion, leading to outsized sales of T-shirts compared to other attire. For example, two billion T-shirts are sold per year in the United States, and the average person in Sweden buys nine T-shirts a year.

According to Statista, in 2024, the revenue in the T-shirt market worldwide amounts to a staggering US$45.52bn. It is projected that this market will experience an annual growth rate of 3.10% (CAGR 2024-2027).

According to Gelato, the custom t-shirt business is a lucrative industry, with potential profit margins ranging from 30% to 60%, influenced by factors such as unique designs, high-quality materials, and exceptional customer service.

For today’s article, we will try to provide a step-by-step guide for beginners on how to sell T-shirts on Amazonlet’s dive in!!

sell t-shirt on amazon

II. Getting Started

Amazon Marketplace is an e-commerce platform owned and operated by Amazon that enables third-party sellers to sell new or used products. It’s a curated digital catalog that customers can use to find, buy, deploy, and manage third-party software, data, and services to build solutions and run their businesses.

For creating a seller account, an individual account is free to create, but you need to pay a commission of $0.99 for every sale that you make on Amazon. There are also additional referral fees and variable closing fees that are part of every Amazon sale. Other requirements are on its official page.

A good t-shirt niche will have high demand, profitability, and low competition. When choosing your niche, it's good to research what are the most profitable niches, but you'll need to take more into account than just profitability.

III. Designing Your T-Shirts

How to design your t-shirts, well, using familiar objects in unexpected ways would be useful. Get a creative jumpstart by using recognizable objects in surprising ways. Much like how a metaphor or play on words spices up writing, giving an unexpected interpretation to a familiar image or object can add extra interest and make for an eye-catching design. A different experience, a different feeling, a different meaning, and a different expression, are what make many designers unique. 

If you want to prioritize designing t-shirts, most print providers expect a vector-based image for consistent quality. Adobe Illustrator comes to mind – the industry staple for vector graphics. Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, and Inkscape would all be useful.

Copyright and trademark should also be taken into consideration. The main difference between copyright and trademark is that copyright protects original expressions in works whereas trademark protects the business reputation and goodwill associated with the word, phrase, symbol, and/or design.

IV. Sourcing and Printing

There are 10 ways to find the best T-shirt supplier within your budget: overseas T-shirt suppliers, dropshipping, domestic T-shirt suppliers, industry meetups, directories, online research, referrals, Facebook groups, trade shows, and wholesale suppliers.

Different printing methods are digital printing, screen printing, flexography printing, litho printing, rotogravure (Gravure) printing, etc. Screen printing is a printing technique where a mesh is used to transfer ink (or dye) onto a substrate. Lithography/Lithographic and offset printing, or litho printing for short, is where the image of the content you want to produce is placed on a plate which is then covered in ink and used for printing. You can either choose a printing partner or handle it yourself, it all works. 

V. Setting Up Your Amazon Seller Central

Once you've completed seller registration, you'll have access to your Seller Central account. You can think of Seller Central as your hub for selling in the Amazon store. You can use it to list and price products, manage your inventory, and fulfill customer orders.

The best way to avoid infringement with copyright for t-shirt design is not to use any artwork you find on search engines or social media. The image you find is likely just a screenshot or a variation of a copyrighted image. This will come back to bite you if you print the design and sell it to someone.

Optimize the titles of your products by putting the most important keywords at the forefront of your titles. Besides analyzing your search query performance, you can find additional relevant keywords using tools such as Semrush or Ahrefs.

VI. Fulfillment Options

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a program that lets you outsource order fulfillment to Amazon. It's part of a fully automated set of services we call Supply Chain by Amazon. Merchant (FBM) refers to a method of selling where a seller lists products on Amazon, but manages storage, shipping, and customer support in-house or through a third party.

Pros

Access to Prime customers (By using FBA, your products automatically become Prime eligible for free two-day shipping)

Customer Service and Return Management (Amazon’s customer service is revered for its speed and accuracy, and by using FBA you have access to their 24/7 service)

Control over packaging and shipping (You can choose the packaging that best suits your products and budget)

Lower costs (If you use Amazon's fulfillment centers, they will handle all of the packaging and shipping)

Cons

Strict Receiving Guidelines (This is a process called “receiving.” Amazon’s receiving standards are astonishingly strict)

Branding and Customer Loyalty (With every purchase, your customer is establishing loyalty to Amazon instead of your company)

Risk of damaged products (If you're not careful, products can get lost or damaged in transit.)

More Time Consuming (You'll need to manage your own inventory and ship products to customers independently.)

Business models identify the products or services the business plans to sell, its identified target market, and any anticipated expenses. Business models are important for both new and established businesses. So you need to decide which option suits your business model.

VII. Pricing and Profitability

On setting a competitive price, you take the price of your product, divide it by the average competitor market price, and multiply that by 100. You should have one of these three results. If it is over 100, that means your product has a higher price than your competitors.

Remember, Amazon takes a cut of every item sold. This ranges from as low as 6% (personal computers) to as high as 45% (Amazon device accessories), although referral fees for media products are 15% of the total sales price of a product, rather than the item price alone.

To maximize marginal profits, the marginal revenue is the additional revenue added by increasing the quantity. This is also known as the additional revenue “at the margin.” Therefore, profit is maximized when marginal cost equals marginal revenue which is the same as saying when marginal profit equals zero.

VIII. Marketing Your T-Shirts

Amazon advertising is based on the pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning your business will not be charged for an ad until a customer clicks on it. To buy an ad, Amazon relies on the auction method: businesses name the price they're willing to pay for a click, and those that win the “auction” have their ads appear.

For branding, you can add your brand logo, engaging headlines, custom images, and products to your campaigns to increase brand awareness and consideration among shoppers. You can also link Sponsored brand ads to your Store to make it easier for consumers to interact more with your brand and products.

For marketing t-shirts on social media, you can choose the right social media platform, know your audience, and leverage influencers, also, create impressive images for your T-shirt brand to get the visuals you need, and maybe vary your content on different platforms for trying. It all works.

IX. Managing Orders and Customer Service

Effective order management ensures that orders are fulfilled accurately and efficiently, increasing customer satisfaction and business profitability. The process involves multiple steps, including order creation, order processing, fulfillment, shipping, tracking, and returns. 

Be clear, honest, and polite with customers’ returns and inquiries. Don't make promises you can't keep or offer unrealistic solutions. If you have a written contract or terms and conditions, refer to them and highlight the relevant clauses. If you have a flexible or partial refund policy, explain the criteria and the process.

As summarized by Bar-Isaac and Tadelis (2008), seller reputation is defined by the information and beliefs that buyers have about a seller's skills and behavior. Because such information and beliefs influence a buyer's purchase choice, sellers have incentives to build and maintain a good reputation.

X. Scaling Your T-Shirt Business

Generating more sales or capturing a larger share of the market requires a business expansion strategy. Common expansion strategies include adding new locations, developing new products, and partnering or merging with other companies. The strategy used is often influenced by the industry and target audience.

What is product diversification? Product diversification involves introducing new product(s) to the market, adding a new feature, or a new sibling in an already existing product line. It can also mean selling an existing product under a new name as you expand to a new region.

Outsourcing leads directly to greater efficiency because it allows companies to hire top talent in their critical revenue-producing areas, including sales, marketing, and core operations. At the same time, companies save money on routine but necessary tasks like bookkeeping, customer service, and data entry.

design your t-shirt

XI. Challenges and Pitfalls

Common challenges faced by brands selling on Amazon: Profit draining challenges, OOS (Out-of-Stock), taking back control – 1P/3P, inventory management/ Dropship.

There are four main challenges when it comes to strategic planning: lack of ownership, poor communication, lack of alignment, and slow adoption. It's important to understand what's at the core of these planning challenges before we dive into solutions.

XII. Success Stories

'The Banyan Teehas grown 500% from the time they started their business on Amazon and is also employing 5 people. “We started with just 10-20 t-shirt designs on Amazon and currently offer over 500 designs on the portal. Not only sales but we have also earned a brand value and a loyal customer base on Amazon.

Successful businesses are concerned with making long-term profits and generating sustainable growth, rather than achieving short-term gains. Successful companies effectively meet the changing needs of their customers by developing new products or services that will make people happy.

XIII. Conclusion

Open an Amazon store, pick a t-shirt fulfillment provider (Amazon Merch on Demand. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Printful), design your t-shirt, and get noticed on Amazon. Then, do some Amazon SEO. Add compelling product photos, and be patientthat’s the key to selling t-shirts on Amazon. 

Creating an online t-shirt business is profitable and has low startup costs compared to other business opportunities.

That’s all for today’s article, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below and let us know!!

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