August '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 2 A U G U S T G R A P H I C S P R O 3 7 "My biggest feedback here is that the business owner knows best – they know what styles are popular, what will look good," says Hack. "I frequently see business owners railroaded by the coach into offering 50-plus styles, 10 different designs, and this becomes a nightmare for purchasing and production." Sticking to a uniform number like 12 styles and two to three designs will help keep the process simple for end customers, the print shop, and the school selling the products. Printers can tee up the conversation with a Google Form. Coaches can fill in crucial information about what they want in a store, like how long it'll stay open, allowing design upload, and shipping/pickup options. Shops can also create a simple PDF featuring 15-20 styles and ask the coach to pick their 12 favorites for the store. MARKETING THE STORES Even with a well-built online store, successful sales aren't guar- anteed. Teams need to market their store just like any other retailer would, and printers can help them with this strategy. Outside of ensuring parents, teams, and coaches all have the cor- rect link to the store, driving home the idea that the storefront is a "limited time" offer helps drive urgency for buyers who haven't picked up their custom-printed shirt or hat yet. e open and close date of the store should go out with any communications the school or shop sends to remind parents and students about the items for sale as well. And speaking of communications, marketing online team stores is a two-part effort. Printers can set up the store and get the team's products online, but that team also needs to market the store and products. Coaches and team contact can promote the store with: • Email blasts 2-3 times a week until the store closes • Regular social posts linking to the store • Handing out flyers at school events and to students • Sending out a final push within 24 hours of the store's close to remind customers to order In addition to all these tools, good old-fashioned in-person promotion is also essential. Anytime coaches or team contacts meet with the team, staff, or parents, a brief reminder about the store keeps it fresh in everyone's mind. e best part about running online stores for schools is that print shops will grow their customer base in other markets with successful campaigns. Fundraisers, local charities, youth groups, and alumni events also need online stores for their products. If a shop has a great reputation with the local school, that's a door- way into dozens of other local organizations and businesses. GP Mike Clark serves as a copywriter for InkSoft and also freelances. He's written for news- papers, online publications, and print magazines and has covered decorated apparel industry topics for the past six years. From a Shop's Perspective Zach Lawson from Your Image Works, an Indiana-based printer, shares some thoughts on running an online store for teams. What kind of options would you recommend for getting team orders delivered to individuals? We have two options available. We will sort and polybag each order and have a pickup option or ship it to a home for a fee. Suppose the store is being set up primarily as a fundraiser. Is there a percentage markup you recommend on merchandise that will go to the team? Typically, we give them pricing, and if they want to do a fundraiser, we recommend adding a dollar amount to our price. In the end, we cut them a check. I usually suggest $5. How do shops calculate shipping for online order fulfillment? We figure the fulfillment into the cost of goods so the client doesn't have to pay out of pocket. If they choose the shipping option, we have a flat rate fee option that the end-user must pay for. Can the additional shipping and handling charges provide a barrier for some to buying? People don't like to pay for shipping, but we have found they are more likely to pay it now since it's quick, easy, and delivered to their homes. Otherwise, they can always choose the pickup option.

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