Set Up an Estore to Expand Your Business

 

If you are interested in selling tangible products, set up an Estore. It could be the perfect choice for you. There are a number of ways you can do this; and, I can tell you right now that the hardest work may come up front when you are setting up the store – but not always.

Product-fulfillment is a model to consider if you enjoy creating designs that can be placed on products and sold – but, you don’t have to manufacture the items or carry inventory.

[typography font=”Times New Roman” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#990519″]Café Press[/typography]  will allow you to do exactly that.

Cafe Press Home Page

This is how it works:

  1. You create and upload your design.
  2. Customers order the design on t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, bumper sticker, caps, etc. (You choose the items).
  3. You are paid a royalty.

Simple, right?

Below is a screenshot of the ways you can make money with Café Press.

Cafe Press Royalties

They set base prices for supplying their physical goods (t-shirts, baseball caps, coffee mugs, etc.). You add a “mark Up” to the base, which you receive when the product is sold, plus a royalty for your design.

There are bonuses given for sales over $100/month. The bonus goes up on a sliding scale – so as your sales increase, so will your bonuses.

This is a sweet deal. The store is easy to set up, and there are no set up fees. Once the store is ready, all you have to do is create and supply the designs.

The best part is you work with one company. There are no headaches that come from wholesalers, warehousing inventory, or shippers . . . and your designs are on the market. You can begin creating a name for yourself.

For those who have no artistic skills and would state openly that design is not in their wheelhouse, you could still use Café Press. One of their hot sellers is Bumper Stickers. They have them in every category including (and possibly among the most popular) are “Funny Bumper Stickers” – “Offensive Bumper Stickers” and “Mean Bumper Stickers”. All you need is a sense of humor (possibly a sick one) and a computer.

Mean Stickers Sample

There are many choices and types of product fulfillment companies and stores; so, you can be selective. Do a search on the Internet to find one that seems like a good fit for you.

If you would like to sell CDs, cards, books, and/or calendars, check out CD-Fulfillment and Kunaki – both rank high for those products.

If you are an author/publisher and are looking for a “print-on-demand” publisher, Vervanté is an option not quite as well-known as some of the big name companies like CreateSpace through Amazon that works much the same way. I have had fairly good success with them, but I wanted you to be aware that there are other choices.

Vivante Home Page

The reason I decided to mention Vervanté is that it offers several advantages the better-known companies do not offer, plus one big advantage – it is easier to use.

Benefits to consider:

  • Finished products are high-quality
  • Outstanding support – one-on-one.
  • Printed instructions or upsell inserts are permitted at pennies per page.
  • Timely handling of returns and damaged goods.
  • Charged for products as they are sold and shipped.
  • 30-day net billing

Going with the lowest price services is not always a good idea. You may end up with poor-quality printing or problems such as not being allowed to add items to an order.

We cannot close this section without mentioning Etsy. If you are a crafts person in any sense of the term, you may have already heard of Etsy, and for good reason. It is the perfect marketplace for hand-made crafts. Selling through Etsy is a little more complicated that the other companies we have discussed, so for complete details visit their Website.

Sell on Etsy

As an overview, your goods are housed online through Etsy, but people buy and pay you directly, and you ship. This means you handle a lot more pieces of the process, including inventory and shipping. BTW – don’t forget to include shipping costs when pricing your products.

There is one final model to discuss before closing this posting. You can sell digital or physical goods, or goods that are drop-shipped to the client from the manufacturer through your own custom eStore.

All of this is done through 3rd-party software such as 1ShoppingCart, You can use the software in one of two ways: 1) Add the shopping cart software to an existing Website; or, 2) Open an “all-in-one eCommerce store.”

IShoppingCart Home Page

Using well-known sites like Etsy and Café Press can be both positive and negative. They are solid; but, do your research and study the competition before you make a decision and design 6,000,000 bumper stickers.

As you do your research, make sure you are choosing a category that has enough competition to indicate its popularity – but, on the other hand, ask yourself if the competition is so stiff that your own adorable “I love my cat” bumper stickers will never be found among the huge pile of choices.

The only edge you can hope for when the competition is that stiff is to know how to promote and market your products effectively. Good news . . . we will cover marketing in the last section of the series: Section 4 – “Marketing Strategies.”

Want all of the information? Begin at the beginning:  Building an Online Business.

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