Both Amazon and Shopify offer different things. Shopify is an eCommerce platform and Amazon is a leading online marketplace. If you are a startup T-shirt business owner, Shopify will provide all the necessary tools to build your own website. On the other hand, Amazon is a ready-made marketplace. They already have their customer base.
According to Business Insider, Amazon has over 2.5 billion visitors per month while Shopify is powering more than 800,000 businesses. Now, choose Amazon if you want to access the ready-made customer base under the strict rules with no access to the customer database. Or, choose Shopify to build your own brand with full control of your customer database. Follow the guideline step-by-step to find the most convenient one for you.
How to Start a Successful T-shirt Business
To start a successful online T-shirt business, follow these steps –
- Find a perfect niche. A more specific niche will help you reach target customers easily. For instance: t-shirts for dog owners, t-shirts for sports lovers, t-shirts for travelers, or any other niche that interests you.
- Design your own t-shirt. Follow some pages of the top t-shirt marketplace like Zazzle, Redbubble, and SnogTees to get your design idea.
- Validate your t-shirt designs by sharing your ideas on different online platforms like Reddit or other social media.
- Plan to provide more customization power to your customers so that they can design their own t-shirts.
- Find a considerable source of your t-shirts. Research how your sourcing can be more convenient to get your desired quality products according to your pricing plan.
- Decide where and how you are going to set up your online presence. (Amazon or Shopify)
Amazon vs Shopify – Which is Better for T-shirt Business
Well, to decide where (Amazon or Shopify) you will launch your online t-shirt business, first know the basic differences between Amazon and Shopify –
- How do They Work – Shopify lets you build your own website providing you full control over your store. Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) is a vast marketplace you can join to enjoy its built-in features.
- Easy Sign-up – On Shopify, the sign-up process is easier and you don’t have to wait for the approval. On Amazon, it’s a little bit complicated. You have to go through an application procedure and your approval will take time(a week or more).
- Fees – Shopify will charge 0.5% – 2% transaction fees (varies on subscription level). Along with the fulfillment fees, Amazon will charge 15% or more transaction fees.
- Customer Data – On Shopify, you will have full control of your customer database that you can use to remarket your t-shirt business. Amazon will not give you access to the customer data in detail.
- Free Trial – Shopify allows a free trial (typically 14 days) but Amazon doesn’t.
- Multi-Channel Access – Shopify will allow you to connect social media channels to your store. Through Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment you can sell your t-shirts on other marketplaces.
- Customization Power – On Shopify, you can customize your store any way you want. You can install third-party applications in your store to increase functionality. On the other hand, Amazon provides less customization power. You can use apps from the Amazon App store only.
Amazon vs Shopify – Feature Comparison
|Abandoned Cart Recovery||No||Yes|
|Visitor Data Access||No||Yes|
|Automatic Shipping & Tax||Yes||Yes|
|Single Page Checkout||Yes||No|
Build Your T-shirt Business on Amazon
Opening your t-shirt business on Amazon does not require any coding knowledge. Fulfill the following steps to start your online t-shirt business on Amazon-
- Create your seller account on Amazon
- Choose a plan(Individual, Professional, Both) while creating your account.
- Choose a t-shirt fulfillment provider FBA(Fulfillment By Amazon) or MBA(Merch By Amazon).
- Make your design ready
- Promote your t-shirt listings
- Start selling and earn profits.
While creating your seller account on Amazon you have to choose a selling plan. You will get three options of selling plans – individual, professional, or both. You have to pay Amazon based on your chosen option.
- Individual Seller Account- Pay $0.99 for every item sold. A seller sells fewer than 40 units a month.
- Professional Seller Account- Pay $39.99/month.
Amazon also charges a referral fee. This fee varies on the basis of the product category but most of the categories include a 15% fee. You have to pay fees on the total transaction amount that includes product price, shipping, gift wrapping, and any additional charge(personalization). You will pay per-item fees if you use Amazon FBA(Fulfillment By Amazon). Also, You can sell on Amazon without FBA.
Choose a T-shirt Fulfillment Provider (FBA or MBA)
After you create an account and open your Amazon store, choose a fulfillment provider from FBA(Fulfillment By Amazon) or MBA(Merch By Amazon). Both FBA and MBA follow different procedures.
FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon)
Once you make your t-shirt ready, send it to the FBA. They will do the rest. They will manage the inventory, pack your product, ship to your customers, and do other needful acts.
FBA will charge an extra fee in addition to other Amazon fees.
MBA (Merch By Amazon)
Through MBA, you only sell your artwork rather than selling any physical product. You do not need to pay anything extra to join this program.
If you have a good design sense or you are a graphic designer, it’s easy for you to be successful in this program. After registering on Amazon, upload your designs. Amazon will manufacture the product according to the demands and will share profits with you after selling the products. Here’s how MBA works –
- Submit an application for a Merch By Amazon Account.
- Upload your t-shirt design after your application is approved.
- Set a price for your t-shirt design, write a short description, and publish it. (Amazon sells and prints t-shirts with your design, packages, and ships them to the customers)
- Get your profits.
Joining Merch By Amazon will be the cheapest one for you to start your online t-shirt business. You don’t have to prepare your storefront or advertise your t-shirt. Amazon will sell on behalf of you under their brand.
Build Your T-shirt Business on Shopify
Shopify is a quick and easy way to start your t-shirt business. Shopify has a free trial, so you can get your business set up before having to spend a dime. Follow the steps to start your online t-shirt business using Shopify –
- Open your account and start a free 14 days trial.
- Build your online store with your brand name and decorate your store.
- Choose a plan – Basic($29/month), Shopify($79/month), Advanced($299/month).
- Plan for inventory fulfillment or choose Shopify POD (Print On Demand) Service.
- Market Your Products.
- Start selling your products and build a customer database to remarket.
- Enjoy Profits and develop your brand name.
After you open your store on Shopify, you will get a 14 days free trial. After that, you have to choose a plan. Generally, Shopify charges a monthly subscription fee ranging from $29/month to $299/month. After the free trial, choose any of the three options below –
- Shopify Basic ($29/month)
- Shopify ($79/month)
- Shopify Advanced ($299/month)
Besides, Shopify offers another two options –
- Shopify Lite ($9/month – a paired-down eCommerce option)
- Shopify Plus ($2000/month – an enterprise-level plan)
Build Your Store on Shopify & Make It Easy To Use
After you open a store on Shopify, follow a couple of things to make your Shopify store easy to use and nice to look at –
- Make sure your website home page contains clear images of your t-shirts.
- Upload different photos of the same t-shirt at different angles.
- Add the “About Us” page to your website with your brand history.
- Set up the “Shop Now” button strategically to encourage shoppers.
- Do not forget to include a shipping and return policy to make your customer feel more confident while purchasing.
- Include a “Contact Us” page to gain customers’ trust.
- Arrange good customer service to get new and repeat customers.
- Include enough description of your product on your product pages.
Choose Your Inventory Fulfillment Plan On Shopify
On Shopify, you can manage your own inventory fulfillment or choose Shopify Print On Demand(POD) service.
Shopify Print On Demand(POD) Service
If you want a quick setup to beat your competitors in the market, choose the POD (Print On Demand) service. This service integrates directly with your Shopify store. Once you get an order from your store, this service will print and ship your t-shirts to your customers.
Integrating Shopify POD service is a great way to start your t-shirt business. Because you don’t need to hold any inventory. Besides, you can use your design on other printable products (Shoes, Jersey, Mugs, others)
Manage Inventory Fulfillment Yourself
If you are going to hold an inventory, make a perfect strategy for that. Create a plan so that your customers do not have to wait for their orders. Do not spend all your money on inventory management, have some leftover money to spend on marketing.
Use Shopify POS & Manage Your T-shirt Store From One Dashboard
Install Shopify POS on any device(iPad or any mobile device) to process orders, take payments, and produce receipts. Use it on multiple devices without paying anything extra.
Merge your Shopify t-shirt store with Shopify POS and manage your whole business from one dashboard.
Amazon vs Shopify – Which will Give You the Most Success
Now that it’s easy to make your decision? Let’s make it easier –
Choose Shopify if you want to –
- Make your online t-shirt business a brand.
- Build your local customer database & remarket your existing customer.
- Use Shopify POS and control your whole business from one dashboard.
- Skyrocket your sales using Shopify POD (Print On Demand) Service.
- Customize your product any way you want.
- Control your customer communication.
- Use your own marketing tools.
- Enjoy the biggest share of profits.
Choose Amazon if you want to –
- Bother less about the customer database.
- Let someone else make a marketing plan for your business.
- Use Amazon FBA(Fulfillment By Amazon) and get less hassle.
- Join the Amazon MBA(Merch By Amazon) Program if you want to sell your t-shirt design.
- Let someone else handle the customer service for you.
- Make a profit margin that can handle Amazon’s bigger share of each sale.
Amazon vs Shopify – Can I Use Them Together
Yes, It is recommended.
Integrate your Shopify store with your Amazon selling account and make things easier. Use Amazon’s fulfillment centers as your Shopify warehouse. Send products to your client from the Amazon store when you get a sale from Shopify.
Through Shopify’s Amazon Integration of your online t-shirt business, you will have multiple streams of income.
Both Amazon and Shopify platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. For an online T-shirt Business, Shopify is recommended. This platform will give you better control of your store, and stronger brand identity. Besides, Shopify is a cheaper option.
Shopify helps in the long-term growth of your business. It provides more flexibility and controlling power of the customer database. You can use those data for remarketing. This helps in building your own brand.
On Amazon, it’s difficult to build your brand. You might have a higher chance of getting more traffic quickly, but you have less control over your customer database. You will release some of your control over your online store, but you have to pay more.