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Conversion Improvement - Comments and Feedback wanted

 
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  #1  
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Conversion Improvement - Comments and Feedback wanted

Okay, first I went and got my firesuit on before writing this post.

Seriously, I've been working on improving our site to help increase conversions and navigation. I've also implemented some tools that imrove our ability to support users.

I'd like some honest feedback on what we can do to make the site work better for affiliate driven traffic. The site is www.txshirts.com

I have done some work on our shopping cart, and I have some more work to do with the decoration page. I'll just self-expose that I am working on that component.

Now, I'm primarily interested in driving B2B traffic through my affiliates, you'll make more money, and this is really a harder market to touch. That said, we also do B2C.

I'd like you to think of traffic in two "modes". One is an individual who is buying one or more shirts probably without anything on them. The other, is as a small company, organization, church, school, etc that is buying a group of shirts with screenprinting. The latter group is who we focus on the most. We have gone to some lengths to provide an experience that is specific to each buying type.

The typical decoration (screenprinting/embroidery) customer is going to visit our site 6 to 8 times prior to making a purchase. They are typically very nervous about ordering over the internet. Frequently they like to call and see that live people work here and ask a question or two. We provide a phone number (even an 800#) to facilitate the comfort level. We also provide a promo code and we ask for that code. Customers are encouraged to order online but we'll help close the sale any way we can.

That said, my goal here is to gather input on what could be improved so that we can make the site more useful to affiliate traffic and help generate a better conversion rate.
  #2  
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You have some beautiful photos there and a great product to offer, NTJock. However, the navigation is just way too complex for me. It took me around 10 minutes to figure out how to complete a checkout on a screenprinted T-shirt... I'd work on that navigation hard.

On another note: e-mail me at eprussakov (at) russianlegacy.com I like your prices and may want to do business with you.

Geno
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  #3  
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Start with the obvious problems first - have you viewed it in 800*600 resolution? Half the page is off to the right and requires scrolling - no user is going to put up with that!

Even in 1024*768, the scroll bar appears at the bottom. I think it's your live cam shots that are doing it - I would suggest moving these to a separate page.

The aspect ratio of a lot of your images is also off, which looks dreadful.

There's plenty more I could mention - too much to list now - pm me if you want more advice.
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  #4  
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Unfortunately I can't use PM.

I agree the page would be awful in 800x600. We designed for 1024x768 and use a 960 pixel wide foot print throughout the site. So the 960 might be to big. I don't actually have an old monitor to fool with. Personally I run side by side UVGA 19" LCD's. Most of my staff does too. It increases productivity an average of 35%.

Out of 12,365 visits 15.4% were at 800x600. the other 84.6% of our visitors had larger or very large resolutions. While I wouldn't block someone at 800x600 it is obsolete. Our target customer is going to be running at *least* 1024x768. Think corporate, government, and education.

We used to use a dynamic table size that would shrink for smaller screens. I opted recently to implement static table sizes. I guess it comes down to this: do you really think that there are that many 800x600 users? We have alot of traffic coming in from PPC and other sources that are non-affiliate. I would think that if the 800x600 user base was significant we would at least see them at the session level. Anyhow, we did think about them and I think 800x600 is obsolete and so I optimized for 1024x768.

I agree some of the images are off. We have 1800 styles between our three sites. About 60 days ago I made the decision to push the images into square shapes on the catalog. My merchandiser has to go back and deal with the images. We used to set the display size but it looked jumbled. So now we need to deal with the distorted images. I'll put a note in his email to hit the top fold products this week because there is no excuse not to fix at least those.

Btw, I'm pleased to see you noticed the webcams. One of our competitive advantages is that we actually do our own production in-house. So the webcams were a great way to show customers that we run presses. Many t-shirt companies farm the work out and aren't experts at the actual production.
  #5  
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Oh I forgot to mention, regarding user traffic we have a really rural user base that uses AOL (most common) and Earthlink. So we are seeing alot of home PC users in our statistics.
  #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntjock
Unfortunately I can't use PM.

I agree the page would be awful in 800x600. We designed for 1024x768 and use a 960 pixel wide foot print throughout the site. So the 960 might be to big. I don't actually have an old monitor to fool with. Personally I run side by side UVGA 19" LCD's. Most of my staff does too. It increases productivity an average of 35%.

Out of 12,365 visits 15.4% were at 800x600. the other 84.6% of our visitors had larger or very large resolutions. While I wouldn't block someone at 800x600 it is obsolete. Our target customer is going to be running at *least* 1024x768. Think corporate, government, and education.

We used to use a dynamic table size that would shrink for smaller screens. I opted recently to implement static table sizes. I guess it comes down to this: do you really think that there are that many 800x600 users? We have alot of traffic coming in from PPC and other sources that are non-affiliate. I would think that if the 800x600 user base was significant we would at least see them at the session level. Anyhow, we did think about them and I think 800x600 is obsolete and so I optimized for 1024x768.

I agree some of the images are off. We have 1800 styles between our three sites. About 60 days ago I made the decision to push the images into square shapes on the catalog. My merchandiser has to go back and deal with the images. We used to set the display size but it looked jumbled. So now we need to deal with the distorted images. I'll put a note in his email to hit the top fold products this week because there is no excuse not to fix at least those.

Btw, I'm pleased to see you noticed the webcams. One of our competitive advantages is that we actually do our own production in-house. So the webcams were a great way to show customers that we run presses. Many t-shirt companies farm the work out and aren't experts at the actual production.
You, and your staff, obviously are not qualified to be web designers or even ebiz savvy. B2B Corporate systems have lower resolution (smaller screens) setting then home systems. All ecommerce websites should be setup on a 800x600 standard with dynamic sized tables... not fixed to eliminate scroll bars. Surf any major ecommerce merchant site at any resolution and copy their technique.

All your product images and the SAS "make page" thumbnails and large images don't exist in the designated URL directory. Your banners can't be read at any resolution die to dark text on dark backgrounds. Use .gif format for all banners, Buy and learn how to use Paintshop Pro and forget the Photoshop learning curve. It can resize images in one second with Paintshop Pro

What B2B customer is going to trust that web site designer to complete a full color screen print on a multi-item order? You have few actual screen print t-shirt images and you can buy those blanks anywhere. Your gallery script sucks and you have less then 5 paragraphs of total text on your site describing your services.

Anything else and I start charging for advice as none of my ecommerce clients average less then 1 sale per 40 clicks from any traffic source.
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  #7  
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Geno,

You mentioned the nice images, did you see them from a catagory view? when you try to fir a rectangle into a square...the image might have been nice to start, but looks like crap quick


NT crop resize or something
  #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecomcity
You, and your staff, obviously are not qualified to be web designers or even ebiz savvy. B2B Corporate systems have lower resolution (smaller screens) setting then home systems. All ecommerce websites should be setup on a 800x600 standard with dynamic sized tables... not fixed to eliminate scroll bars. Surf any major ecommerce merchant site at any resolution and copy their technique.

All your product images and the SAS "make page" thumbnails and large images don't exist in the designated URL directory. Your banners can't be read at any resolution die to dark text on dark backgrounds. Use .gif format for all banners, Buy and learn how to use Paintshop Pro and forget the Photoshop learning curve. It can resize images in one second with Paintshop Pro

What B2B customer is going to trust that web site designer to complete a full color screen print on a multi-item order? You have few actual screen print t-shirt images and you can buy those blanks anywhere. Your gallery script sucks and you have less then 5 paragraphs of total text on your site describing your services.

Anything else and I start charging for advice as none of my ecommerce clients average less then 1 sale per 40 clicks from any traffic source.

I'd be really surprised if the marketing, HR, and management types were running 800x600 on anything. 800x600 is obsolete and companies spend vastly more per PC then individuals do.

You are absolutely correct, the gallery is stale. I told my merchandiser he needs to start photographing jobs one or two per week and replacing the images from 3 years ago with new images and then adding to the gallery. We can't always use our client's work. Some clients actually don't want everyone knowing where their stuff is printed. Others are things we don't want to be known for (take bushvoodoodolls.com as an example, we did the printing for the base product). At any rate, I agree we need better images of our work. What may shock you, as it does most people, is that white, black, and grey make up 98% of t-shirt sales. 99% of the work fits in a 16x16 rectangle. one color one and two location is by far the most common thing we and most printers do.

One of the things I actually happen to like about t-shirts is that they are tangible product.

I think the gallery script is sufficient considering the amount of use it doesn't get and that our users tend to be extremely vocal, even more then you. They are incredibly focused on price and one thing we found is that they will call if they have a challenge with the website and it's keeping them from getting a deal.

At any rate, I'm unaware of a issue with SAS images and I'll look into that. thank you. As for the banners, it's odd you say that, we create them as both white and black backgrounds. Honestly they were tossed up there as a placeholder. What I really want is an affiliate to come to me and tell me what they want in the banner that will compliment their site. I'll then turn that over to my merchandiser or to my staff artist and have the graphic made for them. I have yet to have a single affiliate ask for a graphic (or anything else). Realistically, if I knew about your visitors I probably wouldn't need you in the picture.... so I think it's a more appropriate and honest approach to say, "tell me what you need from a creative perspective and I'll work with you to make it."
  #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbshouse
Geno,

You mentioned the nice images, did you see them from a catagory view? when you try to fir a rectangle into a square...the image might have been nice to start, but looks like crap quick


NT crop resize or something

When you jump back into the product page it displays in it's actual format. This is something that we are working on, but believe it or not it takes *alot* of time to maintain 1800 product styles. We actually carry 121,000 skus.

The facelift on the catalog page changed the way the images display. The idea at the catalog level is that you are browsing product. Once you get to where you know what product you want you should click on it to view the product colors, sizes, and details.

At any rate, a significant portion of our product images are supplied by and owned by the mills (factories) that make the product. We don't always get the option of a square photo and that's where alot of rectangular stuff comes from. It is extremely expensive and time consuming to photo shoot all of the product. We did do that for two lines of product we carry and it was a massive endeavor. I think it cost us something like $12,000 to bring one of every Nike and Addidas golf item in and then it took weeks of time to take photos of it. I'm not complaining, I just don't want anyone to have the misconception that it's a few clicks of work that doesn't cost anything. My point in mentioning this is to a- acknowledge that we are working on it, and b- spotlight the amount of work that merchants put into this stuff.

So far, alot of comments have been directed at the cosmetics of the site. If cosmetics ruled the day Amazon would be out of business and we would all buy things at apple.com. The reality is that Amazon's business is very strong and growing every day.


At any rate, I was hoping to uncover why we are just not seeing any traffic from affiliates. And don't say to me "go hire an AFF MGR." The results so far have been lackluster in interviewing them.

One was too busy despite advertising all over the place asking for clients.
One AM waited 2 days to respond, never did call, never did anything beyond attack our site design.
Another AM emailed right away, but the cost would probably kill the amount of commission available.
Another AM was reachable by phone, never did follow up as promised, cost would have been $60K/yr plus rev share, hell who needs affiliates at that point, and would have wanted us to move to a network other then SAS.

so I've pretty much ruled out using a AM because
A) they will cut into available commissions
B) That will decrease the number of affiliates.
C) I'm not impressed with the ones I've been in touch with.

From my perspective, where I get off passing judgement:
A) We've done really well for a 4 year old operation.
B) We're well respected in our industry as a model of efficiency, use of technology, and in our area we are one of the largest printers.
C) I spent 12 years in IT and my last job was a SR. Consultant for a software company and my clients were typically government and fortune 50.
D) I'm writing the check. lol.

Last edited by ntjock; March 14th, 2006 at 10:18 PM.
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  #10  
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oh it's late and I'm in a cranky mood...... so I'll keep this short.

Sometimes asking the obvious is a good place to start.

what category do you think custom screenprinting and embroidery belongs in on SAS?

Ignore for a second that we sell 1200 shirt styles blank, because frankly that's not what we want affiliates for.
  #11  
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I'm sorry you've had bad experience with AMs, but I understand where you're coming from - it seems like everyone and his dog have their hands in your pockets when you're a merchant...

I wouldn't worry too much about the category - is there one for "clothes" ?

Oh, and P.S. I'm sure most people are aware how hugely time consuming and expensive it is to run a non-trivial E-commerce store - I wouldn't take blunt comments as an attempt to belittle your work.

Good luck with it, anyway!
  #12  
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I did make a special showcase page for Texas Shirt Company at www.ecomcity.com/tommyts.htm and planned to use the SAS "make page" creative to show custom printed shirts, caps, teamwear and t-shirt samples. All those images are broken as are the individual product image links... http://images2.txshirts.com/thumbs/I.../WP-WP4094.JPG

I also suggest you verify click/impression tracking and do test purchases on SAS links weekly. Your prices are great and with effort the site can be restructured to build trust on first impression. For larger B2B custom printed orders you should offer free FedX pre-production sample to be sent for final run approval in your FAQ area.

Banner image and text needs to be readable

Paintshop Pro (www.jasc.com ) cranked out these in one days work for this client's affiliates and easily tackled the ecatalog imaging problem of displaying rectangle suspenders in a 350x350 square for an Amazon shop... http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=...p%20suspenders
www.suspenders.com/banners.htm is a variety of standard and custom sizes
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  #13  
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NT,

I'm a photographer for fun and have created catalogs before, so I know all to well what your dealing with. Regardless of the reason you need a solution or you will continue to look less than professional. ( why are models all taller than average? have you seen a 5' tall 40 inch waist model?...you want people to go into the products right?)

try to display the catagories in a rectangle, with a white background. That way a square image the white of the background will "blend" with the catagory page. When done there may be some large images and some small (if I'm correct) but the perspective will remain correct.

If there are less products that are rectangular, I suggest resizing those to squares.....yes I know I'm talking about a lot of work, but this is a business and if you expect affilaites to drive traffic to this site...it has to look the part.

after starting an order the shopping cart pop up got my attention fast...loose it...offer a help button.

The pink nav bar needs to change ...to something that looks a bit more professional.

where am I going with this....you need a total overhaul by someone that knows a bit more about navigation, graphic design and the path of least resistance while filling an order. The site is designed for 1024, yet it leaves lots of negative space on the right hand margin.

Please don't take this info the wrong way I know your trying to do a good thing by asking for suggestions, but ecom is right someone should get paid for this...you need to many changes
  #14  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntjock
and would have wanted us to move to a network other then SAS
That'd kill it for me. I bet lazy unfocused recruiting (with accompanying oodles of support for high aff count, but no real revenue improvement) or ticket to parasite city... maybe both.
  #15  
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Hi ntjock,

I wanted to respond to this thread because I believe this

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Quote:
One AM waited 2 days to respond, never did call, never did anything beyond attack our site design.
was a reference to our email correspondence.

I apologized for my delayed response (2 days) in responding to your initial request for info. However, I then went on and stated the following:

Quote:
After looking over your website, my initial concerns for your program are that I feel your website needs some improvements. I think an improved look and feel would do alot to improve the potential conversions affiliates could get from promoting your site. The current look and feel may keep some affiliates from promoting your affiliate program - which would make it harder for us to help grow your program. Again, this is only my opinion, but I just know the impact an improved site design can have on overall results.
I would hardly say this is an attack, but my honest opinion from my experience in affiliate marketing.

B2B is a tough sell in the affiliate marketing community. Not impossible, because you also stated that business is generated from B2C. However, I simply feel that the challenge of b2b combined with your site's existing look and feel, would make growing your program a challenge. This is my honest opinion.

Affiliates will only promote a merchant if they believe that merchant can convert and make them money. Although you can state your conversions, etc., an affiliate is going to go on their own instincts and knowledge of what works - they will review your site, your program information and tools, etc. and determine if your program has potential.

You are getting some solid feedback in this thread, if you want your program to have a chance to be successful, I say utilize this feedback to improve your entire site design. It is pointless trying to sell your site/product on the affiliate community - if they feel your site and product line is worth promoting, they will give you a chance. I was just simply sharing my experiences, letting you know why I felt your program may have a hard time growing.

I understand the efforts and energies expended to build an ecommerce store, and I understand how receiving criticism can be considered as an attack if you take it personally, but it is what it is.... feedback.
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  #16  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecomcity
I did make a special showcase page for Texas Shirt Company at www.ecomcity.com/tommyts.htm and planned to use the SAS "make page" creative to show custom printed shirts, caps, teamwear and t-shirt samples. All those images are broken as are the individual product image links... http://images2.txshirts.com/thumbs/I.../WP-WP4094.JPG

I also suggest you verify click/impression tracking and do test purchases on SAS links weekly. Your prices are great and with effort the site can be restructured to build trust on first impression. For larger B2B custom printed orders you should offer free FedX pre-production sample to be sent for final run approval in your FAQ area.

Banner image and text needs to be readable

Paintshop Pro (www.jasc.com ) cranked out these in one days work for this client's affiliates and easily tackled the ecatalog imaging problem of displaying rectangle suspenders in a 350x350 square for an Amazon shop... http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=...p%20suspenders
www.suspenders.com/banners.htm is a variety of standard and custom sizes

You took the time to give honest feedback and I wanted to let you know how seriously I took it.

I did sign up for my own program as an affiliate and you were right the thumbs thing was broke. We don't use thumbnails on our site, instead we optimize the images and compromise because of the maintenance involved.

At any rate I did fix it and SAS got the new files last nite or this morning.

I also got on my Merchandisers A** about the warped pics. He said he fixed alot of them today. I had mentioned it to him a few times and it just didn't get top of stack priority like it should have.

As for the banner, I hate guessing at what works for people's sites. We give all the contact info when you sign up, including extensions and who does what. However, my extension is 527 and anyone is welcome to call if they need a banner made. I consider a banner to be sales support and it should be affiliate driven.

I won't even try to defend that banner, because frankly I don't like it either, but again it's a place holder. While I do have an idea how to market my product, I also know that you know your customer better then I do. A banner to recruit little league team sales would probably be different from a banner to recruit nightclub employee apparel. Because the product is custom, it can go either way or both. I will say that the current banners were not created by my staff artist. My staff artist has over 12 years of commercial art experience and like all artists, when given a mission he does well.
  #17  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbshouse
NT,

try to display the catagories in a rectangle, with a white background. ... but this is a business and if you expect affilaites to drive traffic to this site...it has to look the part.

after starting an order the shopping cart pop up got my attention fast...loose it...offer a help button.

The pink nav bar needs to change ...to something that looks a bit more professional.

Please don't take this info the wrong way I know your trying to do a good thing by asking for suggestions, but ecom is right someone should get paid for this...you need to many changes
We did do what you suggested with the images. And yes it is a business and that is why I have someone who is tasked with Merchandising.

I wanted the nav bar to stand out. We used to use a DHTML component, but it generated customer complaints so we dropped it. I am not fond of the pink, but I didn't want blue because blue is a key navigation color and I don't like trying to tweak hyperlink colors. I'll revisit that tonite. Thanks for pointing it out.

We had a problem at one time with people not reading instructions. They would then be bent out of shape about what they didn't read. For example, ordering shirts on Monday and needing them by Friday and thinking somehow it would happen. One advantage to iterative development is the ability to change rapidly. One drawback is that sometimes stuff gets out of date. I'll look at what's on that pop-up and see about killing it. Great suggestion. Someone else that helps with usability pointed out something similar on another page and we killed it too. So I have no reason to think that couldn't be killed.

Regardless of how cranky I might be when I read some posts, I do appreciate the feedback and I take user and affiliate feedback seriously. After all, it is a business and a user is actually the best expert on what they want. My point being that we are very customer driven.
  #18  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by affaction shawn
Hi ntjock,

I wanted to respond to this thread because I believe this
was a reference to our email correspondence.
I took great care not to name names and I'm not going to throw darts in public. It won't add to the value of the forum or help anyone grow their business.
Quote:
Originally Posted by affaction shawn


B2B is a tough sell in the affiliate marketing community. Not impossible, because you also stated that business is generated from B2C. However, I simply feel that the challenge of b2b combined with your site's existing look and feel, would make growing your program a challenge. This is my honest opinion.
I agree and that's why we considered what an AM could do. The cold hard reality is that the cost of an AM comes out of the comission that affiliates get. So if the AM can't deliver exponential value then it's not a good fit. exponential value isn't easy to define, but I have a hard time cutting commission rates to justify a revshare (commission) and monthly fee to a AM. There is no right or wrong answer here and I'm not throwing darts at AM's in general. However, in affiliate marketing we have to be both customer driven and affiliate driven. If I don't watch out for my sales reps interests they won't be sucessful. Affiliates are sales people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by affaction shawn

You are getting some solid feedback in this thread, if you want your program to have a chance to be successful, I say utilize this feedback to improve your entire site design..
Absolutely. Most of what is being pointed out is great and needs attention. One of the challenges you face as a developer is not seeing the user side of things. Anyhow, it's all a balancing act and I take every bit of feedback we get very seriously. As evidence, I fixed the image problem in the feed as soon as it came to my attentinon.

If Brian is reading this it would be nice if merchants could see the "make a page" feature by default. If not for Ecom's comment I would never have known that was broke. And I sure as hell wouldn't sign up for my own program if my images were broken. That's a cardinal no no.
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I did sign in and verify that the make a page thing is working properly and the images display. Based on what we learned this year about user preferences I don't want to go shrink the pics. We used to use a 75x75 display image and we found enlarging it to 250x250 made it much easier to see and reduced user irritation. It also approximated the size seen on a paper catalog. I estimate that make a page turned loose on our feed would create 68+ pages of content. My test returned 34 pages on 500 items where it stopped.
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as for the menu bar, I've gone back to light grey. It's still websafe, still not the background color, and present in several other places.
  #21  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecomcity
For larger B2B custom printed orders you should offer free FedX pre-production sample to be sent for final run approval in your FAQ area.
That is something that is easy to do for embroidery. In fact we can do it on every order which is something that is unique.

For screenprinting its very expensive to do. On a $25,000 order it could probably be accomodated. But press time is $250/hr (literally) and printing one shirt costs as much as printing 500 or 5,000 from a setup perspective.

What we do instead is a proof that diagrams how the job will print and I've never had a problem with the mechanical proof. Usually people are sending the logo to us so they know what it should look like in color. On a really complicated job, like one we did after Rita for SBC we did a scan of the print and emailed that.

That said, I hear the suggestion and I'll keep it in mind. What we usually do with clients that are concerned is we send them a sample of other work we've done, on a t-shirt that is production grade/quality. That way they can see it first hand.

I'm planning to build a testimonial tool to show and organize testimonials we have from customers. It's on the drawing board right now.

I am currently working on a one stop quote tool to help customers get a price without going through much effort. That's the project of the week.
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  #22  
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Congratulations to one of our affiliates for posting a $1100 sale with a $94 commission today. That's just a 288 shirt order with a 2 color print on the front and 1 color on the back.

Apparently some of these suggestions are paying off.
  #23  
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Nice! Nice! Watch out for completition emerging soon! [maybe not kidding]

Geno
  #24  
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Great your listening so I'll build out some showcase make page displays and add in some B2B type content text to assist the SERP bots.

Often I approach potential ecommerce merchants, or someone in their sphere of influence approach me on storefront project suggestions. My fees are so cheap, I can't afford to be wrong in providing them sound advice. That includes quick ebiz plan and useful simple tools to accomplish them. You primarily sell larger run custom print shirt projects into a B2B market. Affiliates primarily push B2C merchandise so we might get a disconnect on targeting those landing pages and mission.

Here's my take. Your investment in a cart/ecatalog and hosting solution put you in a time/result hole from day one. The following advice will cost you $100.00 if you think it will profit you in both the short and long term.

One of my client's sons is a All State and now NCAA tennis champion attending Michigan State Univ. I did a successful B2B used industrial plant equip site for his dad and a handmade crystal jewelry B2B and B2C site for his mom. He tasked me at the end of Jan 2006 to find a way to make shopping at the MSU site for T-shirts, teamwear and logo Univ items easier. Something he and his college computer geeks buddies could accomplish in their spare time for beer money. I quickly suggested the right tool for the entire project. Downloaded the cart/ecatalog tool and inside of 3 days they presented the temp results to the Univ web staff as a IT class project. Officially started on Feb 1st and launched on Feb 6th was http://shop.msu.edu/default.asp with backend tied directly into QuickBooks Pro and POS system at the Student Union college store.

Right tools ...right advice .. coupled with immediate action and desired results by all parties. All done on a beer money budget.

Now here comes the monied advice for TxShirt. The above site will sell $1 million plus in B2C merchandise this year and you could be the major supplier IF.... you controlled this account via offering this turn key solution plug-in. You print the shirts -mugs etc and offer them drop shipping online fulfillment prices or wholesale price if they deliver from stock on sales rung at Student Union or online. NOW multiply this by every large and small university selling school branded items. Add in professional Sports teams with dedicated or contracted logo items for sale at Venues or online.

You see, satisfying BOTH the B2B and B2C marketplace can easily be accomplished if your ebiz plan has some vision upfront. I took a small enthusiastic suspender manufacturer and made them into the top converting B2C product merchant on the internet. I knew upfront total site traffic would be limited for B2C sales, so I took on that project if it included expanding their product line to men's shops, western wear stores and small general stores. Result was B2B sales grew from zero to millions through resellers... http://www.suspenders.com/directory.htm
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Last edited by ecomcity; March 16th, 2006 at 04:38 PM.
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  #25  
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Join Date: October 3rd, 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecomcity
Here's my take. Your investment in a cart/ecatalog and hosting solution put you in a time/result hole from day one.
Not necessarily. While the presentation needs some work, the core data and functions are unequaled elsewhere. I built the backend from scratch and it was built around the task of ordering custom merchandise.

Now the promotional products side is another animal, and we do use someone else's solution to that. But I think it costs $3/mo as part of something else we buy. Hardly a time/money hole.

The issue with college sports is that you must be licensed and typically the licensing body wants a hefty pre-payment ($25K) to make it worth their while and sort out the players from the big guys. If you think you have an angle there and simply want a production and shipping solution call me at 713-802-0369x527 and I'll be happy to work with you and point you to the pieces of the puzzle we don't do.

My focus is on B2B. However, we really don't do large run. Large run by the way is 2000+ shirts. We *can* do it, just that it's really a sales person driven area and we didn't have a sales staff until this year. Large buyers are going to buy based on relationships, period.

I think the affiliate space *can* generate lots of church, school, and small business traffic. A typical 24 shirt embroidery order is $500 with a commission of $40. So I wouldn't get discouraged if you can't lure IBM to my website.

If you can generate B2C traffic, go right ahead. We're happy to sell them and we have some tools to help them convert. Right now we have a special running for newsletter subscribers that gives them free shipping on orders of $100 or more. They simply have to place the order and send an email asking for the free shipping. We learned a long time ago that we could get more revenue out of our traffic if we sold just a few shirts with nothing on them.

I'm not sure how to bring that type of offer to our affiliates. We have a newsletter that we use to drive traffic back. Every 1st and 15th we do a new newsletter and we have a special offer every single time. The newsletter is new, but it's designed to help keep customers thinking about us.

With 180 day cookies, it also means we are going to touch the customer 11 times on average to remind them to buy.
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