Webcomics beget Webcomics!

How is Your Store Set Up?

Started by amanda, January 14, 2010, 01:37:12 PM

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Okay, I have a question.  For people who have merch/store pages, how do you set those up?  Do you use Etsy or CafePress?  Did you code your own?  What's your set-up, and what tools are you using?  I'm just curious.

If you use something like Etsy or CafePress or eBay, how do you integrate that with your website?  Is it seamless or do you just link offsite?

Tips, tricks, etc?


I used CafePress for a while, but their prices are outrages.  I was barely making $3 off a t-shirt sale because I didn't want to overcharge (you can set your own prices, but CafePress takes a huge chunk of the sale).  I dropped them as soon as I could.

Now I just use PayPal to accept payments of my merchandise, and I get all of my merchandise made up in bulk.  In the long run (as long as you have a readership that will buy things from you) this is more cost effective and gives you a better chance to make a profit* (more on that below if you want to read it; I realize you're asking more about the website function itself).  I just put up an image and description next to a PayPal button and I'm good to go.

Recently I started playing around with OpenCart, a free PHP based shopping cart software, and after a couple of months of fiddling with it I'm of the mindset that I'm probably better off sticking with using PayPal buttons built into a page.  There are other free cart softwares out there, but at the moment I don't want to deal with them.

*I believe I was selling my CafePress shirts for $20 (not including shipping), and, like I said, I was only making about a $3 profit per sale on that.  However, when I did a run of 12 t-shirts (based on preorders), it cost me $108, which broke down to $9/per shirt.  I sold them for $18 (shipping included, which at the time was only a couple of bucks).  So I made a profit of almost $7 per shirt on that venture.


Profit margins improve greatly as you move up the chain of distribution. Pre-Orders are a great way to make that happen with the caveat that if you don't get enough orders to fulfill your printers minimum you will be refunding some money and probably feeling a little foolish.

The Cafe Press/Spreadshirt thing is perfect for someone who feels that they cannot support an inventory or pre-orders. Ok, not perfect, but better than nothing.

We actually have an upcoming article which will touch on all the shirt options but the thing with the store.... to be honest I wouldn't even want to try and cover that in an article. The coding is so different from option to option and so complicated in general that you should really either deal with a web designer/software engineer or the tech support of whatever website you are doing business with.

Sorry I don't have a better answer for you. Carts are tough.  :-\


It's cool - I'm not looking for help in designing a specific store for myself - I'm more curious how other people manage theirs.  I see so many different varieties and setups, but it's never occured to me to just ask before ^.^

Pete, I never thought about PayPal having that kind of functionality, but I suppose I should have known.  Learn something new every day!


Paypal is a great, simple option. It has a lot of downsides bot the simplicity of using it makes it very attractive.


Quote from: amanda on January 14, 2010, 07:04:36 PMPete, I never thought about PayPal having that kind of functionality, but I suppose I should have known.  Learn something new every day!

It's very simple to use, but they do charge you fees based on how much money you receive (I forget what the going rate is, but it's not too terrible; certainly better than what CafePress was swindling me out of).

To be fair, the POD (Print on Demand) stores like CafePress and Zazzle are definitely convenient, and you can argue that a comic starting out would probably be better off testing the merchandise waters with a POD store.  I just hate how much you actually end up paying for that convenience.


I use spreadshirt for my store:

I chose Spreadshirt for two main reasons:
a) They have the most t-shirt color variety of any on-demand printing company I can find.  I looked at a lot of t-shirt printing review sites before settling on this one, although I'm still thinking about changing if I find something better.  It suits my needs for now.

b) I need on-demand printing, because I have no room at my place for inventory, the nearest post office is quite far from me/I don't have a Belgian driver's license/it's just too big of an inconvenience to me to be mailing stuff when I could be drawing.  Spreadshirt's prices are pretty decent, too.  I don't make much off my shirts right now, but it's something I'm willing to sacrifice for the convenience, at least until I'm successful enough to be able to outsource my merch business and pay someone handle shipping things for me. (Who knows when that'll be, though! In the meantime, I still want to sell merch, even if I get peanuts.)

However, I *am* looking at a screen printing company right now called PrintMojo, who takes a bulk order form you, and then ships out the merch for you from your online store.  I already have an account, and I think it's likely I'll end up switching to them.  They offer a LOT more freedom as far as colors (ink, not just tshirts) but also the location of the design (I have a lot of designs in mind that extend past the little printing area square most on-demand printing companies limit you to.)


I use Zazzle. I like it better than CafePress, and I've sold more in a shorter amount of time than with CP. Still not much, mind you, but decently. They also featured one of my designs one day. X3 I don't really do t-shirts, and I like the other items they offer(stickers!).

I might eventually set up shop on my own, but POD sites are nice and convenient.


I just opened up a Zazzle store. Haven't sold anything off it yet, but it's nice and easy to set up and they give you a code which shows a flash window that scrolls through all your products, so that's nice.


We use paypal and our own wordpress store.  The store is being rebuilt at the moment.

For our shirts we use  They do POD or batch work, and are great to work with.

Uncle Robot