Starting an online store is something that many dream of doing, but few take the leap and go for it. Understandably so – from a distance, it can be daunting. Developing a brand, creating the images, setting everything up. But there are free tools out there that are created to make this process easier. Here’s a list of completely free tools that anyone can use to speed up the process of setting up your online store.
1. Simplify the process of choosing your products
So, you’ve got designs and you want to print them on a product… but which one? The range of products available out there can be pretty overwhelming at first; especially t-shirt brands. Printful alone has over 60 options to choose from – so we have an “Apparel Basics” page devoted to simplifying your choice. It describes the differences between fabric types, printing quality, types of fit and other aspects that would impact your choice.
2. Check quality with sample orders
I just printed my first sample order of merch from Printful (https://t.co/4NQJ4v2ZSf). I'm stoked.
— Michael Schoonmaker (@Schoonology) August 11, 2014
Once you’ve chosen a product to print on, it’s always good practice to check the end result before putting it online for purchase; making sure the product quality is sufficient and also checking how your design looks once printed. Some designs may aesthetically work better on one product as opposed to another – a kick-ass poster design probably won’t have the same impact when shrunk down and printed on a mug.
Sometimes you’ll just never know until you actually see it for yourself. For this reason Printful has a sample order option giving you a 20% discount and free shipping (limited to 5 items). When submitting an order in the Printful system, enable the sample order setting in the toolbar above your order details.
@printful Also, you guys are awesome. Got my first sample order last week, and the quality was outstanding. Best POD company I’ve found!
— Julie Johnston (@Julia_JJ) January 15, 2015
3. Mockups are a must have
A photo of your product is an absolute must for an ecommerce store; after all, you wouldn’t buy a t-shirt without first seeing what it looks like would you? Yet when you’re starting out it’s most likely not feasible, both financially and logistically to get all of your products printed let alone spending the time photographing each one or paying a professional photographer to do it for you. That’s where a mockup comes in: it bypasses that cost and time by immediately giving you a picture of your product without having to physically produce it!
A recent addition to Printful’s array of utilities is an easy to use t-shirt mockup generator. It can create a mock-up for our most popular styles and also a perfectly formatted print file to send through to us. Remember that a mockup also helps our fulfilment team to place the design on the garment exactly where you want it so it’s two birds with one stone! All you need is to choose your garment and color, upload your design and it handles the rest!
4. Beef up your product descriptions
To go along with your mock up pictures a description of the actual garment or product they will be printed on is a great way to flesh out the written content on your site. In the same way that a mockup picture is beneficial, giving people as much written information as possible on the product they’re buying really makes a difference. The more they know, the more they will trust you and your brand – as it’s clear you have nothing to hide. Search engines also index text on websites to help people find what they’re after so by adding detailed and precise descriptions you’ll actually get more traffic to your store! You can find all info about our products on our Products & Pricing page. Hunt up your item and then grab any info you want from it’s detailed description.
5. Define your garment sizes with charts
As we all know, consistency among garment manufacturers in terms of sizing is a hit and miss affair. Even the dimensions of two garments both described as size L from the same company can have grossly differing dimensions due to their cut and style. So it’s always a good move to provide customers with a full sizing chart rather than just a generalised list of sizes. Again, under the detailed description of our products you will find our sizing charts.
6. Set expectations with clearly defined shipping times
Keep your customer informed every step of the way and they will feel safe in making a purchase from you. Clearly stating shipping times as well as providing options for express/expedited delivery means they will know what to expect once they make their purchase. Our shipping speeds are found on the Shipping and Pricing page.
So with these tools at your disposal the process of setting up your first store should be a less intimidating task!
Bonus: 3 free automatic order email templates
Once your store goes live and the orders start coming thick and fast you’ll want to keep your customers apprised of their order status so we have some templates on hand to streamline your post-purchase communication with customers. An order confirmation email and then subsequent email with delivery information and tracking numbers is yet another way to ensure peace of mind.