Revenue: Low costs, high profits from site merchandising!

Ted S

Tazmanian Master
Feb 19, 2004
Ted S submitted a new Article:

Revenue: Low costs, high profits from site merchandising!

Tired of watching other sites turn a profit selling their own merchandise while your Cafe Press store barely brings in enough to justify checking the statistics? Afraid that stocking your own merchandise will put you in the red? When I decided to create a web store the start up costs looked daunting but for just $300 I got up and rolling selling small-stock merchandise at a 300% profit and you can too!

Start with the products

The first trick in small stock merchandising is identifying a set of core products which you will stock and sell on your store. For cost reasons you should probably start with a single t-shirt design/, mug and either stickers or mousepads (keychains, license plate holders and plastic drinkware items are also acceptable). T-shirts serve as the staple item of any store; users flock to purchase them while the cost ($150 for 24) is extremely low. Mugs are another popular purchase that complements t-shirts and also have a low cost ($5) and high resale value. Mousepads and stickers are more of novelty items but there is no reason why you can't include a few of them in your initial purchase as a nice gift or promotional item.

Buying the right amount

Since the goal of this article is to get you started for under $300 we recommend purchasing 24 tshirts ($150), 15 mugs ($75) and 15 other $5 or under items for a total cost of less than $300. Obviously if your traffic is high and your wallet can afford the extra pinch purchasing higher bulks will net in lower prices just keep in mind that while running out of product when you have 20 pending orders is a pain, ending up with 50 cheap t-shirts is certainly not an acceptable alternative. Every manufacturer provides price breaks at preset volume levels; reach up for the higher volume (lower price) level and your profit return will be even higher. Keep things smart and start small, moving up as your demand increases but don't jump the gun looking to save on huge bulk discounts, the idea is to small inventory sell, not open a wharehouse.

How much to charge

The cost dilemma effects sites both big and small; on one hand you can't over charge for a product or no one will buy it but at the same time you want to make the maximum profit return. As a general rule do as others do; if a t-shirt on a similar...

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Tazmanian Veteran
Jan 1, 2004

Great stuff, Ted. Thanks for another great article!


Jan 17, 2004
I also had good luck with stickers from I sold them at cost (5 for $1) and had anyone that wanted one send me an S.A.S.E. so that I didn't have to bother with stamps/envelopes. Great way to do something nice for your community and get some free advertising in the process.


Jul 1, 2005
Thanks so much, the t-shirt company that you recommended did our shirts, and not only was the price great, the artwork they came up with was great! :wave:


May 14, 2009
Great article! It is so true that you must build your merchandise up slowly in order to gain sales and recognition. We run a promotional products business in Australia and work to have low overheads so that we can supply our clients with high quality, low cost items. Many of our clients are marketing firms who find our prices reasonable enough that they can then mark the price up and make some money, while keeping their client happy.