The most difficult thing when having a t-shirt brand is learning how to stand out from the crowd. With many brands and many offers, it may be difficult to be well-known. A marketplace can provide you with this exposure by helping you meet your customers as well as new ones. At Grafitee, many brands have joined because we have launched a global platform and for brands that are only American or European focused, it provides them with new perspectives. It is important to know what you are looking for when deciding to enter a marketplace, whether it is new customers, new markets, new ways of targeting your existing customers or new ways of getting your brand image known. Depending on your goal, you will decide which marketplace is right for you.
WHAT TO PREPARE FOR
The first thing to do is think about why you want to enter a marketplace. According to that, you will prepare for different aspects.
Maybe you are entering a marketplace because you want to associate your brand image to the platform’s. In this case,the first thing you need to check is the marketplace’s own image, but also check the existing brands on the site. If you pay attention to creating great designs and high quality products, you probably want a platform that also pays attention to these and gathers similar brands. You probably don’t want to be found on a platform famous for providing customers with cheap, poor quality t-shirts.
It is important to check how many brands are already in the marketplace. What are the special operations done by the marketplace to let people know about the new brands entering the platform? Too many brands can mean that the marketplace is well known. Without special exposure this can mean that you will be one of the many and it may be hard to increase your visibility on the platform.
Maybe you’re thinking about new sales (domestic or global). Pay attention to the commission fee and delivery fees (especially if the marketplace is global). Check if the delivery fees have to be paid by yourself or the marketplace. You also need to pay attention to the fact that some marketplaces will ask you for a monthly fee, no matter how many t-shirts you sell, just to be on the platform. For a small brand it can mean a huge investment with no guarantee of selling products.
Inventory and Delivery
Another thing to consider is if you are sending the parcels yourself or if the marketplace takes care of everything. If the marketplace is sending the parcels, you must pay attention to the platform contract: are they only buying your design? In this case, it means that they will print it themselves on their own t-shirts and will send the parcels. On the good hand, it means that it will be easier for you as long as you provide the marketplace with your designs. On the other hand, if you care about your product quality, cuts, fabrics (maybe organic) and printing (maybe with water based inks), you need to keep in mind that you will have absolutely no control on these things. If you are not ready to give up on quality, then you should only enter a marketplace that lets you be in charge of the making process. If you are an artist making great designs then this might be a good solution for you.
Regarding delivery, you also need to check the marketplace rules about sending products. In some cases , there is a special delivery time for brands which have stocks and a special one for brands which are printing on demand. Some marketplaces will ask you to always have a stock in order to meet their delivery expectations. So if you are printing on demand or can’t afford a stock, pay attention to this!
Maybe you are entering a marketplace to have new customers the easy way. No inventories, no size checking, etc. Maybe with the idea of shutting down your own online shop and only keeping a lookbook with a link to the marketplace for shopping. Bear in mind that on some marketplaces you will have to update your own account on the platform. So you will also need to understand how the platform works and be super careful about the information you enter.
If the marketplace is global, then your prices will change depending on the customer’s country. As these rates tend to vary a lot, you need to check what the marketplace offers about that. Are they keeping the same rate for the whole year?
Guidelines and Restrictions
Once you have checked all the things above, the last thing to check are guidelines and restrictions. For example, some marketplaces will ask you to be only on their platform and no other marketplace. Others will ask you to sell the products on your own website higher than on their platform. Some platforms will prevent you from using any material done to promote your own brand such as pictures or video shoots. But once again, do not agree to anything before checking the small lines at the end of the contract! The most important thing is to know what you’re looking for when entering this marketplace and therefore what you would agree to do or not to do.
Grafitee is launching a marketplace entirely dedicated to independent t-shirts brands. The new eshop already gathers a hundred brands, selected in about 20 different countries. Learn more about Grafitee and how you can be a part of this exciting new venture.