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There has never been a better time to start an online dropshipping t-shirts business.
Dropshipping is a low-risk and profitable business, as it is. But the hype surrounding the t-shirt industry is undeniable.
Everyone loves to wear t-shirts irrespective of gender, age, size, and style. Furthermore, custom printed t-shirts are always trending and in demand by the public. That’s why they are one of the best-selling niches on the market.
However, many entrepreneurs miss out on the opportunity because they simply do not know where to start.
So, to help us get started, this article will cover the most critical aspects of running a t-shirt dropshipping business. We’ll cover the five best Print On Demand companies and a step-by-step method to start a t-shirt dropshipping business.
The answer is yes. Thousands of people are selling t-shirts on the internet to make money. As long as we keep designing and selling t-shirts customers love to wear, we can make money dropshipping t-shirts.
Fig: Custom t-shirt printing market size worldwide from 2016 to 2025
Reports by Statista show the custom t-shirt printing market worldwide was valued at $1.16 billion and is projected to reach $3.1 billion by 2025.
These statistics imply that the consumer demand for custom t-shirts is at an all-time high and is expected to touch nearly $2.3 billion in 2022. That’s why this is an excellent time to enter the market with our ideas and carve out profits.
Does dropshipping a t-shirt look appealing now? Great! You’ll find it even more lucrative because profit margins from a t-shirt sale can range from anywhere between 20%-60%.
To be honest, the average price or average profit margin is not the most important metric when selling t-shirts. That’s because people tend to focus on attractive design rather than price.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what type of t-shirts we sell and what audience we cater to.
While POD allows us to design t-shirts with our custom design, dropshipping allows us to sell the same t-shirts with high-profit margins and have our suppliers deliver them to the customers. Furthermore, we don’t have to manufacture the t-shirt ourselves, and we can pay our suppliers once we get paid.
And guess what makes it so easy to do both? Several POD t-shirt suppliers support dropshipping by storing, packaging, and shipping the products to our customers. Furthermore, they don’t require us to hold inventory.
Confused about the difference between print on demand and dropshipping? Let’s simplify:
Print On Demand is a process of ordering products from a supplier, customizing them with our designs, and selling them to our customers. The print-on-demand model allows us to design unique t-shirts and build our brand, which will help us to stand out from the competition.
However, many print-on-demand suppliers expect us to order inventory before printing.
On the other hand, dropshipping means selling goods without holding inventory or purchasing products in advance.
Combining both allows us to run a low-risk, profitable t-shirt business.
And now, let’s turn our attention to the fun part, starting our very own t-shirt dropshipping business.
Here are nine easy steps to help demystify the process:
Let’s go through these steps in-depth and learn to execute each successfully.
To start a successful online t-shirt business, first, we need to identify a unique niche. Focusing on a niche allows us to target an audience or fill in a gap in the market.
There are a few approaches to finding a niche. We can look up supplier websites’ trending sections, spy on existing t-shirt stores, or monitor t-shirt related social media activity.
Alternatively, we can experiment with selling different niches until we find t-shirts that lead to meaningful sales. Researching products and testing in the live market is the most guaranteed way to identify the right niche for our business.
Once you decide on a t-shirt niche, finalize your selection by picking out specific designs, attractive graphics, and text prints.
There is no shortage of options. For example, t-shirts with handwritten text or hand-drawn designs might turn out to be popular. Or, a t-shirt with a bold statement advocating for a cause might multiply your sales.
Better yet, we can focus on particular audiences based on their interests. For instance, we can design and sell dog-themed t-shirts to target audiences that love their furry friends.
That differs from general t-shirt stores because our primary focus will be targeting people who love dogs specifically, rather than targeting all pet lovers or animal lovers. Then, we can more easily reach our customers by crafting tailored marketing materials.
All in all, being creative can go a long way in achieving our goals.
Once we find a t-shirt niche and have a list of products, the next step is to select an appropriate selling channel where customers can view and buy our t-shirts.
When deciding on a selling channel, always try to choose one where a t-shirt similar to yours does not exist. For example, if we find a cool t-shirt on Etsy and want to sell it on eBay, make sure someone else is not already selling it.
Even if you find someone selling the same t-shirt on eBay, check whether the region is the same as yours. eBay has multiple websites targeting various regions. So, if someone already sells our selected t-shirts on eBay U.S., we could sell them on eBay UK, eBay Canada, eBay Australia, and so on.
Here is the list of selling channels along with their pros and cons for dropshipping t-shirts:
After picking a selling channel, we need to partner with dropshipping suppliers that have our t-shirts in their inventory, and that can print them for us. Luckily, many t-shirt suppliers on the market offer print-on-demand services and standard t-shirt sourcing.
So, how do we choose the suitable dropshipping suppliers from the many available? Here are some features we should look for in a t-shirt dropshipping supplier:
Further below, we cover the top POD t-shirt dropshipping suppliers that fit the criteria.
However, if you plan to dropship regular t-shirts and not just POD
Tip: Some suppliers expect us to invest in inventory if we want a custom label, while others allow us to dropship custom-labeled t-shirts one by one. Therefore, it’s always important to check a supplier’s conditions before sourcing.
In the fourth step, we create our t-shirt dropshipping store to showcase our products to our customers.
For this purpose, we can build our store on selling channels like eBay, Shopify, and Facebook Marketplace. Here is how we can create our t-shirt dropshipping store on these platforms:
Step 1: Register for a free eBay account
Step 2: Import your first listing and create your business policies
Step 3: Optimize your product title with relevant keywords
Step 1: Register for a Shopify account with a 14-day free trial period
Step 2: Import t-shirts to your Shopify store
Step 3: Customize homepage, product pages, themes, logos, etc.
Step 1: Register for a free Facebook Account
Step 2: Go to Marketplace and list t-shirts.
Step 3: Add appropriate product description, images, price, category, etc.
Step 4: Optimize your product title with relevant keywords
Once we add our t-shirts, we need a marketing plan to promote them.
Effective marketing brings potential customers to your store, keeps their interest during their visit, gets them to buy a particular t-shirt, and encourages them to return again and again.
Simply put, quality marketing is a necessary ingredient in the recipe that makes a successful online t-shirt business.
Here’s are the best ways to market on three popular selling channels:
eBay has a steady flow of shoppers which effectively generates free organic traffic for our t-shirt dropshipping store. But we can attract even more buyers by using strong keywords in product titles as doing so helps us rank better on customer search results.
Besides free traffic, we can also utilize paid methods to boost product visibility: Promoted Listings and Promoted Listing Advanced PPC.
For Shopify, we can use email marketing to generate sales through e-mails. Likewise, we can also use influencer marketing platforms to find and collaborate with influencers to promote our products.
Furthermore, Google/Facebook ads are a proven and effective way to market our dropshipping t-shirt store on Shopify. With the help of audience insights, we can start an ad campaign to target audiences that are likely to buy our t-shirts.
If you want to be an expert in marketing on Shopify, you can learn from AutoDS’ Free Shopify Dropshipping Course.
Like eBay, Facebook Marketplace provides us with plenty of free organic traffic in our store owing to its large user base. Aside from the free traffic, Facebook Marketplace allows us to run promotions for our listings.
With the boosted listing feature on Facebook, we can promote best sellers to make even higher sales by reaching additional buyers. In the same way, we can market and replace slow-moving products that aren’t selling well.
We’ve done the hard work, and that counts for something. Hopefully, it’ll translate into lots of sales. Either way, we must be prepared to fulfill orders as they come in.
There are two methods to fulfill orders: Manual order fulfillment and automatic order fulfillment.
Manual fulfillment means going to the supplier website for each order, filling in customer details, and placing the order.
Conversely, automatic fulfillment saves time and replaces those tedious processes by having software do it for us.
For example, AutoDS can automate orders in one of two ways:
To enable these services, we can opt-in to Fulfilled by AutoDS, load balance, and let AutoDS handle the rest. It works well with Amazon, HomeDepot, Walmart, AliExpress, and more coming soon.
In both of the above automatic fulfillment methods, tracking information is updated automatically. Once we receive tracking information from our supplier, AutoDS updates the order status to our customers.
As orders start coming and our t-shirt business starts taking shape, we’ll need to ensure that we provide excellent customer service that sets us apart from other businesses. Doing so also helps us build a loyal customer base.
Providing customer service includes, among other things, answering queries, dealing with complaints, and processing returns.
Businesses that provide excellent customer service get lots of positive referrals, recommendations, and repeat customers. As a result, our t-shirt business will thrive as we smoothen the buying process and retain our existing customers.
Are you starting to get sales? That’s great news! But it’s no reason to slow down. The next step is to add more t-shirts and scale our store so you can increase profits. Similarly, we need to remove slow movers that needlessly take up space.
Keep in mind that it’s a numbers game. The more T-shirts we have to offer, the more sales we make.
To help track the performance of our business, we can use the AutoDS platform. When we find t-shirts that aren’t selling for a month or two, we should replace them with other T-shirts similar to those that are selling.
If we repeat this process consistently, we will have a store full of trending t-shirts that consistently bring in sales.
Now, as promised, let’s go over the best t-shirt POD dropshipping suppliers that help us design, sell and deliver t-shirts to our customers.
To make it easier to choose, we’ll take a look at these critical factors:
Here are the top five t-shirt print-on-demand dropshipping companies on the market:
Next, we’ll look at each to understand why they are the top picks.
|Supplier||Main Features||Average Shipping Time||Warehouse Location||Return Policy|
||0-30 days in case the t-shirts are misprinted or damaged|
||2-8 business days||More than 90 locations including the US, UK, China, Australia, Germany, the Czech Republic, and many others||Free returns within 30 days only if the t-shirt is mislabeled or damaged during manufacture or shipping|
||USA and China||Standard returns are accepted within 10 days|
||7-14 days inside the US, while international orders may take longer.||Richmond, Virginia, US||Product returns are accepted only if it is defective and within 30 days of delivery date.|
||Find out the exact shipping time in Spreadshirt’s shipping calculator||In Europe – In Germany, Czech Republic, Poland
In the US – In Pennsylvania and Nevada
|Spreadshirt only accepts returns if the product is damaged or misprinted and if customers claim within 30 days of the delivery date|
First on our list is Printful, one of the most popular companies when it comes to providing Print On Demand services. Printful allows easy designing and selling unique custom t-shirts while also providing branding, warehousing, and fulfillment services.
Average Shipping time: Printful’s shipping time is around 3-6 business days in the USA, 4-7 business days in Canada, and 3-5 business days in Europe.
Warehouse Location: Printful currently offers warehousing services at their fulfillment centers in the following locations:
Return Policy: Printful accepts submission of return claims within four weeks of misprinted, damaged, or lost in transit t-shirts. If the claim occurs due to Printful’s error, they take complete responsibility to refund or replace the product.
Next up, we have Printify, an emerging platform that provides access to vendor networks of Print on Demand suppliers around the world. Although Printify does not print and manufacture our products, it has the best supplier network to get our t-shirts ready.
Average Shipping time: While shipping times differ according to the supplier we work with, suppliers on Printify usually ship orders within 2-8 business days.
Warehouse Location: Printify provides a comprehensive network of print-on-demand suppliers, with more than 90 locations to choose from, including the US, UK, China, Australia, Germany, the Czech Republic, and many others.
Return Policy: Regarding product returns, Printify provides a refund or free replacement if the product is mislabeled or damaged during manufacturing or shipping. If this is the case, we should contact the Printify Merchant Support team within 30 days of product delivery.
Eprolo makes it to the number three position. It is a print-on-demand dropshipping platform that purchases high-quality products from trusted suppliers. Eprolo allows us to design and sell t-shirts while also providing order fulfillment and inventory management.
Average Shipping time: With Express Delivery, the average delivery time is 7-12 days for the US, 8-15 days for Canada, 7-9 days for Australia, and 6-10 days for the UK.
Warehouse Location: Eprolo ships its products from Chinese and US warehouses.
Return Policy: Eprolo refunds our payment if the products are missing, damaged, or have a severe delay in shipping. Users who want to return the products can contact Eprolo’s customer service with details of the damage and a photo of the damaged product.
Next up on our list is Bonfire, a platform that began as an online t-shirt fundraising solution for communities. Now, Bonfire also provides its service to people who want to design, print, and sell products such as t-shirts, bags, apparel, and other items.
Average Shipping time: Shipping time is around 7-14 days for domestic orders inside the US, while international orders may take longer.
Warehouse Location: Bonfire’s warehouse is located in Richmond, Virginia, in the US.
Return Policy: Bonfire’s t-shirts are custom-made and printed according to the order. As a result, the company does not accept returns unless the product is damaged, misprinted, or incorrect. In those scenarios, Bonfire accepts returns within thirty days of the date of delivery.
Finally, Spreadshirt completes our list of five print-on-demand t-shirt dropshipping suppliers. Spreadshirt provides an efficient print-on-demand service for anyone looking to sell their creative ideas on high-quality fabrics.
Average Shipping time: Standard shipping for domestic orders in the US takes around 5-11 working days, while Express shipping takes 3-4 business days. Shipping times also vary by warehouse and final destination. Luckily, we can find out shipping costs and times with the help of Spreadshirt’s shipping calculator.
Warehouse Location: Spreadshirt has production facilities in the following regions:
In Europe – Three production facilities in Germany, Czech Republic, Poland.
In the US – Two production facilities in Pennsylvania and Nevada
Return Policy: Spreadshirt grants a refund or replacement only if the POD product is misprinted, damaged, or doesn’t match the requested features. To request a refund or replacement, customers have to send a brief explanation of the product with photographs within 30 days of the delivery date.
With all the fun that comes from creating designs and selling t-shirts, we should keep in mind to avoid selling forbidden t-shirt categories.
To stay on the safe side, never sell:
To learn why we must avoid selling these t-shirts, let’s understand how copyright works.
Copyright is a form of legal protection automatically provided to original works of authorship, including artistic works such as designs, brand names, logos, etc.
One of the best ways to find out if a company is copyrighted is by looking it up on eBay’s Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program page. The database contains a comprehensive list of manufacturers who intend to enforce their copyrights and trademarks. To clarify, we cannot sell VeRO products on any selling platform, not just eBay.
Although AutoDS has a system that blocks importing VeRO products, the system doesn’t know what we print on the t-shirts. For that reason, it’s better to avoid printing brands’ names or logos when dropshipping t-shirts.
To sum things up, there is an endless demand in the market for custom-designed t-shirts. With, Print On Demand companies readily available, it is easy to start a dropshipping t-shirt store that sells the most trending designs on the market.
So why wait? Create your dropshipping t-shirt store today and make customers fall in love with your creative designs. You’ll stand out from the crowd, and your customers will walk away happy.
Eventually, working with reputable POD suppliers and using the right dropshipping automation software will elevate your business to the next level.