I have looked into eBay Stores. It doesn’t help my limit at all, which was something I was hoping for. It does give me the option to add coupons, which I don’t really care about. What I am interested in is the ability to pay to promote the listings.
With eBay and Amazon, products are searched. They are searched for the brand or keywords, but in the case of my own, newly designed shirts, the brand is not popular enough to have anyone search for it. The designs are also not keyword-rich enough to have people searching.
Facebook ads can show off the designs and send traffic to the website. eBay and Amazon become harder. I either have to run Facebook ads to Amazon to help increase sales, and then get Amazon helping to promote or just pay Amazon to bump up my listing.
I have thought about some promotional ideas to get run ads to a promotional page that gives a discount coupon for Amazon. That should help get sales, but would mean selling at cost or even less than cost to get the sales numbers up.
Amazon is causing problems. I have had integration working previously, but now it fails pretty consistently. Amazon has updated some things, but the issue could also be with how Printful imported the products to begin with.
I spent almost a day working on figuring out why things were failing. The raw feed looks fine to me, but Amazon isn’t properly handling the variants of shirt sizes and colors.
It wants me to go back in and manually update the variations, which is like all the items.
I didn’t make much headway on getting the issue fixed, but since the integration isn’t code I wrote to begin with, it’s not real easy trying to fix it.
My next plan was to use the integration to generate the feed for all the shirts, download the raw feed, and then use the Amazon template file to compare to.
Using that, I could manipulate the feed I downloaded to match the template. That won’t make it easy as push-button listing on Amazon, but it’s also not as hard as manually listing everything.
A Day Later
I spent another day screwing around with Amazon listings. I believe I figured out the issue with the syncing of WooCommerce to Amazon, but still am not 100% sure.
I got 3 designs to transfer over, but they ran into the same issues as the others with some UPCs being in use. That makes all the thumbnail images random objects and not the shirts in different colors.
I am going to spend a little more time getting this working since it will make adding products easier in the future, but it’s not really the most profitable thing I can be doing. Similar to 99 cent apps, each one sold isn’t great, but it fully requires that thousands of people buy.
My shirts aren’t priced super high especially factoring in all the fees I will pay to have the shirt made and delivered.
I feel I could definitely spend my time elsewhere doing something more profitable. Hopefully, this is just an intitial start up set back, and after I get this working, it won’t nearly be as big of a time suck as it has been.
A Week Later
Made more progress on the shirts, but then ran out of UPCs. Between different designs, each design on multiple size shirts, and each shirt coming in multiple colors, and then muliplying that out by the number of different styles of shirts with the basic being a unisex shirt and a ladies shirt, I blew through all the UPCs I had.
One thing I am not a fan of is the Amazon lister takes the quantity on hand as the quantity for Amazon. That sounds great in theory, but for Printful, quantity on hand is always 0 since I never stock any of them.
That means I list all new shirts as out of stock since the in stock number is 0.
I am working through the Amazon issues and hopefully this will pay off. Right now, shirt sales are still 0.
More Time Later
New set of UPCs worked well, but still ran into issues of other items already be attached to them causing pictures to load that were not of a shirt at all. Filing a notice with Amazon seems to fix those, but when there are other details associated, it becomes harder to clear up. In that case, I have to just use another UPC that isn’t already in use.
After some time has past, I went back to check on the Amazon listing, and there are still all kinds of problems. I changed images to make some bigger, and they aren’t going through. That wouldn’t be too big of a deal, but the smaller images give me a quality alert, and the listing become suppressed.
Not only is the bigger image better, it’s required to get the listing active.
I am also finding issues with all the variations. Some shirts have two of the same size listed, but missing a size, so it still shows a total of 5 variations. Others have several duplicates so I am running into 8 or 9 variations that I am going through and deleting.
One real annoying issue with Amazon is how delayed it is. I can fix the issues, hit save, and then wait 30 minutes, and I still get the same alerts.
When I go to edit it, it says the newly entered info is causing the problem with quality. If I just wait a little longer, the new info goes through and the listing becomes active.
Waiting for a day only to find out there is still an issue is taking a ton of time. I would really prefer things to be a little more instant, so I know which ones truly still have errors I need to find and which ones are actually fixed.
So later, Amazon has some things fixed, but also all the Printful items have now become suppressed. Looks like the images aren’t big enough to meet their guidelines. I now have to go through and update the images, but after testing out the other shits, it looks like fixing issues directly on Amazon causes a problem.
When the website gets an update, it pushes the changes out to Amazon, and will overwrite anything directly changed there. I now have to go back through and update the site.
The issue then becomes whether or not I can make Printful generate a better image, push that to the site, and then trigger the push to Amazon. Going through and updating all of them isn’t much fun. I probably should have created 1 product, pushed it to Amazon, and tested everything worked before I created 2 shirt styles for 10 designs, 6 colors per style/design.
Way More Time Later
Redoing the images is taking longer than I wanted, but while looking at products, I am thinking about expanding. I currently have a basic t-shirt along with a women’s shirt. Since I hate the initial set up part, I am thinking I might want to go ahead and add in long sleeve shirts plus hoodies just to have all the products created.
I decided to redo the images, rename them to match the originals, and then just overwrite them. This keeps me from having to update each individual product. Renaming 6 files is quicker than updating 30 products. So far, it looks like things have worked successfully, but this goes back to the issue with Amazon being delayed. I won’t know for sure until a little later.
I don’t know if Printful actually did an update, but the images they originally sent were 600 x 600 and the mock up generator gives me 1000 x 1000 which is the minimum Amazon needs. If I would have just gotten those to begin with, things would have been a lot easier.
Another issue was a shirt color I picked has been discontinued. A replacement was picked, which is close enough, but I built the SKUs with the color in them, so I would something like design1-color-size. Now, the color is kind of misleading since the SKU is still uses the old color name.
Another option I am considering is to add pillows, phone cases, and other random stuff and trying to list everything on Etsy as well.
Targeting wasn’t super easy with Facebook for the illustrated designs. With close to $500 in ad spend, zero sales were made. A split test of ads showed the product carousel ads did far better in terms of clicks, but without any sales, it was still a pointless ad.
The new plan is to work on the story behind the brand and begin promoting that story. Instead of product ads or links to sales pages, I will shift to promoting more of the about us and our story pages of the site, primarily using boosted posts with a goal of getting a cheaper response rate. I am also considering doing a few sponsored posts on Instagram or even Twitter where I get a paid endorsement to help build credibility.
This hit a little snag due to the Facebook page being set up for general shirt designs. Putting in an About Us section for a specific brand doesn’t quite fit what I was trying to do with the page. I could create another page, but having several brand pages with little likes seems to spread the audience too thin on each one.
One shirt was finally sold through Amazon after all the work that was needed to get them to show up. Still, not enough to cover the cost of the account. The plan is to start running some Amazon ads to help generate sales, but I would like to run other ads on Facebook to get an idea of what ads actually work. It might be easier to start off boosting Amazon listings.
Additionally, a shirt was sold through eBay. All says were the basic designs that are just slightly more than text. None of the designs that were actually paid for along with paid advertising have actually gotten a sale, however. I am still thinking that the plan of doing an eBay store might work well. All this work for 2 total sales…not super great.