Impressions - October/November 2011 - (Page 40)

It Pays to Take Shirt Design Here are some tips on how to make the most of adding an online design software program to your website. By Kevin Kelly, Contributing Writer o ne of the biggest trends in the decorated apparel industry is online apparel design. When set up correctly, it can function as a 24-hour salesperson for your business. It’s a great way to capture the small-order market and satisfy customers who otherwise would not be profitable. I have 30 online shirt design websites in operation and I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to make this business model successful. From the time an order is downloaded into the system, we can have it processed and machine-ready, if needed, within five minutes. Online design is a huge timesaver for any decorator. It frees up that bottleneck of waiting on the customer to make a decision and having to do edits. We actually speak to only about 1% of those customers, so there is very little interaction. When I started my operation, I bought online design software from a supplier. It is a solid product for most applications; however, it had limitations that resulted in me getting custom software developed. If you’re just getting started, you should research the various available online design programs, many of which are subscription-based with modest fees. This allows people to get into the business without a huge capital investment. Typical costs range from $1,500-$2,000 for setup. If you choose to do the setup yourself, some of the leading companies have monthly subscriptions as low as $49 per month with a fairly reasonable royalty per transaction. I have reviewed numerous demos that companies have sent me. For the most part, you will be up and running in a week. There is some legwork, which you can pay people to do for you if you prefer. Most online programs are intuitively laid out, and it is easy to track what you are doing. One limitation I have found with online software design packages is that they only will accept certain file types, such as .jpg, .gif and .png. For example, you can’t upload Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or CorelDraw files. An important long-term consideration for your business is where the actual design software resides. The ideal situation is to have it located on the server with your main URL. This type of arrangement will allow you to link the catalog and the designer directly to your homepage for maximum search engine optimization (SEO) 40 Impressions >> October/November 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - October/November 2011

Impressions - October/November 2011
First Impressions
From the Show Director
Product Gallery
ISS Conference Program 2012: Designed for Success
Laser Etching on Performancewear
On the Move
It Pays to Take Shirt Design Online
The Digital Difference
For Screen Printers Only
Online Directory
Tech Tips
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - October/November 2011