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Preorder vs. Online Stores

With more and more “online store” companies popping up, affiliate owners are confronted with a new shiny service to vet. The promise and potential of “online store" is very attractive. No minimums. Bountiful choice. No need to worry about marketing or scheduling orders. What a dream! Unfortunately, often times, this remains just that- a dream. 
The issue is this: when you look at the terms and conditions of the online stores, there are many factors to consider:
  1. They have recurring monthly fees. The fees to host the online stores range from $30-125 for the year. Just do the math for how much it will cost you just to simply keep the thing running. 
  2. The turn around times are slow. If you read the fine print, the turn around is not guaranteed. They’ll get to it when they get to it. Most We live in the age of Amazon and free one day and two day shipping. Try explaining to a member why it takes 4 weeks to print one shirt. It is a tough ask and a shitty experience to leave people waiting.
  3. There is no compelling offer. The stores lack urgency. “Purchase it whenever you want” is not a great proposition. You are competing with many, many business for your client’s dollars. The easiest way to ensure your new tee, tank, or hoodie doesn’t get moved to their wish list is to put a deadline on it. If clients only have a limited amount of time to order, they will take action. 
Here are some reasons why we prefer preorders over the online store model.
  1. It creates demand. When you set a deadline, people take action. As Chris Cooper says “eliminate the maybes”.  This is a good thing!  You don’t want your item on some wish list. You want people to take action. Yes or no and keep it moving. 
  2. The minimums are there to make this worth YOUR time. I say this and some people flinch: apparel needs to be worth your time. You should be making a profit on your apparel. When you look back at your end of year finances,  you should see a meaningful dollar amount in retail category. Selling 5-10 items over the course of a month will not get you any closer to your perfect day, taking a family vacation, or paying off a loan. 
  3. It allows for greater concentration. If I ask you to market something for one week, can you do it? For sure. Anyone can come up with some posts and ideas on how to sell apparel for one week. Now, do that for 52 weeks. Different story. It is natural that you’re not going to promote and push apparel 52 weeks out of the year. It requires an insane amount of effort. Eventually, if you post enough, people will ignore your apparel posts altogether. A preorder should last 7-10 days. You can focus your attention on those 7-10 days once a quarter and really push your apparel. You’ll have the energy and focus to do it. Your efforts will be rewarded too. Combining focused marketing with a deadline is a simplest recipe for success and sales. 
  4. It allows for accurate forecasting. If a store is open 24/7/365, it is impossible to figure out when and if that money is going to come in. If you run a preorder, you know what your profit is. It’s all right there for you. The online store is a lot of wishing, hoping, and guessing. 
  5. “Choice” is a fallacy. We falsely assume everyone wants one billion choices at every moment of the day. Choice paralysis is a real thing. When I say choice, I’m not saying “only offer tees”. I’m saying don’t offer a tee, tank, hoodie, long sleeve and give people the option for every single color under the sun. The more options you provide them the less sales you will make. This has been proven across many industries and domains. Here is a very basic example of this: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/your-money/27shortcuts.html
The online store with 1,000 options are for those who have given up on retail. It is a bandaid solution for a systems problem. The honest reason why most people use those services is that they feel lost.  They have no idea what to do design wise. They aren’t sure about garments. It’s the “just give them something” strategy. They gave up. But, it doesn’t have to be like that. Luckily, that is why we’re here. We’ve simplified this process for you: we’re going to design, advise/strategize, and print for you. It’s ok to say “tell me what works best”. At this point, over the course of doing this, we have worked with something close to 1,500 affiliates and 3,000 fitness business. If you are tired of feeling lost with the apparel process, now is the time to shoot us a message and get back on track.