With the rise of “print on demand” services, clients have been asking about a “storefront where members can buy stuff whenever they want”. 

If you’re not familiar with this, basically you can print on whatever item you want and members can customize their tee with whatever they want on the back. A butterfly on the sleeve! A four leaf clover! A horseshoe!…Seriously.

There are two main issues with these services: 

Choice paralysis: Owners who use these services go overboard with the amount of choices and give members access to everything and anything. If you’ve read anything about behavioral economics, you have come across this topic. The more you offer, the less you sell. Read that slowly. The more you offer, the less you sell. The less you offer, the more you sell. I know this is counter intuitive. If I have learned anything about affiliate owners the past five years: they are looking simplify, not complicate matters even more. Example: Let’s say you want to offer a tee, tank, long sleeve, hoodie, and zip up. That is basically a full year’s worth of great apparel ideas. And you’re trying to offer everything in one month. Very few members, if any at all, will buy everything. They will buy 1-2 items max. The goal is for them to buy everything! Don’t waste your apparel ideas in one month. If you’re panicking to offer everything at one time, what you really need is an APPAREL PLAN.

“But, if the store is open 24/7/365, my members will just buy that hoodie a few months later when they feel like it”…That leads me to my second issue. 

Scarcity: The issue with print on demand services is that it does not compel members to buy anything. If there is no deadline, people just kick the can down the road and purchase something “when they get around to it”.

With all of the apparel options today, the only way to cut through the noise and sell retail items (apparel, supplements) is to set a deadline and make an item scarce and make the offer simple. Remember: If it’s scarce, it’s rare. If it’s rare, it’s valuable. And what’s valuable gets purchased. We recommend the pre-order model because it builds a natural deadline into your apparel order. You’re much more likely to promote your apparel for a solid week rather than 24/7/365. Members will listen if they know this is their only chance to get this item. 

Finally, people want simplicity. Not everything in life needs one billion choices of customization.  From the moment we wake up, we are confronted with millions of choices. Decision fatigue is real. Choice paralysis is real. After a long day of work, the last thing your members want to do is to sit down and design their own shirt or figure out their favorite color options for a pullover hoodie. Make the decision for them and tell them “this is the design we’re going with”. If choice and variety are important to you, create a "launch calendar" that your members can see and check out. That way, they know choice and variety are on the horizon.