If you take away poker, dating, and naked ladies, custom merchandising is the big success story of the Internet. The ultimate combination of e-commerce and affiliate marketing, millions of websites around the world turn to online merchandising companies – both to market their URL and to extract some cash from loyal visitors.
The key to the success of the industry is on-demand printing, meaning website owners don’t usually incur setup costs and do not have to carry inventory Online betting malaysia.
The business model usually works like this. The webmaster signs up for free – or for a small monthly fee – at the merchandising company site. Having uploaded his/her own designs – often logos, catchphrases or drawings, the webmaster can then place these designs on the range of products offered by the merchandiser. Usually, the merchandise company places a base price on each product, to which the webmaster adds his/her own commission or markup. In some cases, the webmaster can then create a shop which can be integrated into their own site.
The merchandising company normally handles credit-card processing, printing, shipping, and customer service while the webmaster incurs the slightly less arduous task of collecting and banking the commissions.
Beginning to see why its so popular? Let’s have a look at some of the industry’s big players:
The daddy of the bunch. Founded in 1999 in California, Cafepress was one of the first companies to exploit the massive custom merchandise market. It now sells products on behalf of over 2 million website owners, mainly in the USA.
For all its longevity and wide reach, Cafepress has yet to solve many of the original problems that still bother its users. Despite the clamour from customers, the company has yet to find a way to offer black, or even dark, garments – still relying on the old white and grey staples and a rather odd collection of pastels. Nor has the company embraced internationalisation, and website owners outside of the USA still baulk at hefty shipping charges and US Dollar pricing.
The free Cafepress service offers limited functionality to users, with only one version of each product allowed. For a monthly fee, Cafepress allows unlimited selling. However, excessive branding makes it rather difficult to integrate the Cafeshop into the look and feel of an existing site.