Custom Apparel Business Overthinks a Regular Problem

Sometimes ecommerce challenges appear to need a customized solution when, actually, they simply require a different approach.

As a case in point, about a week before, a friend, Roy, approached me with concerns about his custom printing company. Roy’s clients are sports teams, small businesses, or non-profit groups that need custom screen-printed or embroidered apparel.

Custom Apparel

I met Roy in the Starbucks down the road from my office. He bought me a breve latte. I was already acquainted with Roy’s company, but he began making it clear his company has always worked with conservative printed order forms.

Imagine the neighborhood high school football coach wishes to purchase custom printed t-shirts, hoodies, and hats for his fans and players to buy within a”soul pack”

Roy’s company would create the designs, give the trainer a few proofs to choose from, and finally supply printed order forms for your trainer to disperse.

Each player or enthusiast who wishes to put an order should complete the form and attach a check (or even money ) for payment.


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The football coach, who’s focused on preparing his team for the upcoming season or match (based on the time of year), is responsible for collecting, validating, and coordinating the apparel order forms and all the associated checks and cash.

Later, the trainer brings everything back to Roy, who must interpret all the hand-written order forms and go about printing and embroidering everything arranged.

It’s a cumbersome procedure.

It’s practically impossible to prevent errors — paper orders from 80 players, about that many parents, and a few number of grandparents, uncles, and aunts. Roy’s customers want a simpler solution.

Custom Stores?

Unfortunately for Roy, many of his opponents are comparatively large national customized apparel businesses. These businesses provide buyers — such as the above local high school soccer coach — online stores.

As opposed to distributing and collecting forms, the trainer can send a link to fans and players via email or post the link on social networking. Those fans and players follow the link and place an order online. The apparel company aggregates the orders and sends everything at once to the neighborhood high school for distribution.

Custom apparel shoppers would like to be able to purchase products online.

Roy knew he had to provide the identical experience if his company was going to stay competitive.

“Customers are telling me,’Roy, I love you,’ but these other guys give me an internet shop, and I do not have to do anything,” Roy explained to me as we talked and sipped coffee.

When Roy began to contact ecommerce platform suppliers and local web programmers, he asked them about a solution in the wrong way.

Roy would say,”I want a custom online store for every one of my clients.”

This description gave nearly everyone he talked to the wrong idea about what Roy’s custom apparel business wanted.

1 programmer was looking for ways to”spin up” custom stores based on templates. The customer service people at the SaaS ecommerce supplier thought Roy needed multiple domain names to point to one backend. Everyone he spoke to believed providing his clients with”custom shops” would be costly, complex, or both.

Product Category Pages

I told Roy he had product category pages, not custom online shops.

“Custom online shops” were the words Roy’s opponents used to describe the support they were providing. But I knew that was just marketing talk.

What his opponents were actually providing was a landing page on their websites. The header, navigation, and design were the exact same for all customers. Just the goods displayed and a header picture were unique to the particular team, company, or organization.

This form of landing page is possible in only about any ecommerce platform. In actuality, in the majority of ecommerce solutions, a product category page is all that’s necessary. Shopify, which Roy chosen for his enterprise, calls this”Collections.”

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Roy seems surprised that”custom shops” could be an out-of-the-box feature.

A couple of days later, I stopped by Roy’s home and helped him put up a few”stores.” His wife (who’s his business partner) took notes. In a couple of minutes, they felt comfortable enough to begin offering their own”custom online shops.”


Roy is a savvy and successful businessman. However, the way he thought about this specific problem made it seem harder than it really was.

He needed to concentrate on the functionality rather than the description. A lot people do the identical thing Roy did. We make problems seem bigger than they actually are.

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