Many options are available for selling merch, but using Shopify has way more advantages and is more secure on the long run.
Which is why I have created this guide on how to sell merch on Shopify, step-by-step, and even if you still don’t have any product in stock.
I will show you how to do it without even touching any product and without shipping anything by yourself.
How to Sell Merch on Shopify Step-by-Step
1 – Select Your Audience
If you want to make things easier on yourself and less time-consuming, then it is better that you focus on a group of people with a common interest, hobby, or condition instead of splitting yourself too thin when starting a merch Shopify store.
It takes some time and effort for you to find ideas for designs to place on the products you want to sell.
And that depends on the niche your products are about.
Now if you have a personal brand on YouTube, FB, or IG, and you want to sell products relevant to your brand, then that’s straightforward.
But if you want to create and sell merch products to people in a certain niche, then you need to do some work first.
You need to do some research and find how your target audience speak, what they like to do, where they like to go, and create designs that are relevant to them.
And that all takes time and effort every time you want to go after a certain audience or niche.
That’s why I recommend that you go after a specific niche or audience from the start.
This could be:
- People who practice a certain hobby.
- People who watch or practice a certain sport.
- People who live in a specific country or city.
- People who speak a certain language.
- People who are usually sarcastic.
- People with a specific profession or job.
- And so on.
It is better to choose a niche that you already know about, and has a good number of people that you can target.
2 – Start a Shopify Free Trial
Shopify offers a 14-day trial for you to start your merch store, list your merch products, and start marketing them, and hopefully, make sales that would cover up for the first monthly payment of $29.
And that can be achievable if you already have a big following that might get you some sales even on day one.
But if you still don’t have a following, then you would usually need longer than the two weeks in order to start getting sales with your Shopify merch store, especially if you use free advertising methods.
I recommend that you treat this as a long term thing and have in mind that you need at least one month before getting your sale, and maybe 2-3 months before starting to get consistent sales that would allow you to scale your merch business with Shopify.
The process of starting a Shopify store to sell your merchandise online is straightforward and you can do it in few minutes by entering the store name, your name, and your email address, and then answering some survey questions until you get to the admin dashboard.
3 – Choose a Good Shopify Theme
You need to choose a clean look for your Shopify store where you sell merch products.
And Shopify offers some free themes on their theme store, such as: Venture, Boundless, and Simple, which are good for selling merch and clothing products.
However, I found a theme that is called Debutify, which has both free and paid plans, but the free one is enough as a start since it gives you many features that can help you in increasing your sales and revenue while selling your merchandise on your Shopify store.
4 – Set Up a Payment Method & Important Pages
If you want to make sales on an online merch store, then you need to set up your store the right way.
You need to set up at least one payment gateway or processor, like PayPal or Stripe, or even both, so that you receive payments from your customers.
Shopify offers many payment gateway integrations depending on your country, and the process for integrating many of them is straightforward.
Luckily, Shopify made our lives easier by offering templates for most of these pages.
5 – Install a POD App (Unless You Already Made Your Products)
If you already have created your products and you have them stored, then you can skip this, and the following step.
If not, and you are looking for a low cost way to start selling merch with Shopify, without buying any inventory in advance, then you can do so by using one of the many print on demand companies that integrate with Shopify through a dedicated application.
Examples are Printful, Printify, Pillow Profits, and others.
These companies allow you to list any of the products they sell on your Shopify store, and add your own design to them in order to create a unique merch product, list the price you want to sell at, and only when you get a sale and you get paid, even for one piece, you then pay the POD company its price, and they will fulfill the order and ship it to the customer on your behalf.
You don’t even need to touch the product.
My recommendation is to use Printful as they have lots of products and many fulfillment facilities in different countries, which helps in shipping times.
Some of the many products that you can to sell as your merch through Shopify with Printful are:
- T-shirts, hoodies, and tank tops.
- Socks and shoes.
- Necklaces and bracelets.
- Wall art.
- Mugs, tumblers, and bottles.
- Covers and pillow bags.
- Tote bags and back bags.
- And more.
Let’s say that you want to use Printful, you need to sign up for a free account on their site first.
From the Shopify app store, choose the POD category, choose the Printful app for example and click the “Add app” button, and you will be asked to enter the domain of your store that you created in step #2 above.
After that, you follow some instructions in order integrate your Printful account with your Shopify merch store.
6 – Choose Merch Products & Create Designs
Now that you have integrated your merch store with your pod Shopify app, you need to start listing products with your own designs.
These designs can be either designs related to your personal brand if you have one, or could be related to your audience or niche in general.
Merch designs could consist either a text, an image, or a combination of both.
You can create designs using many tools, such as Canva (beginner-friendly) and GIMP that offer free plans.
But for each product, you need to check the requirements when it comes to the design dimensions, resolution, and file type (usually transparent png).
An easy way to get ideas for merch designs is to use popular quotes that people in your niche use or relate to, choose a certain font, and create the design.
Alternatively, you can hire freelancers from 99Designs or Fiverr in order to do designs for you, or you can save the money and time and buy bulk designs from sites like POD-Designs.com, which offers collections on different niches for the price of one design.
Make sure that you don’t use any quote or image that is copyrighted.
7 – Create a Product & Upload The Design
Now that you have a design, from your Shopify admin dashboard, select the Printful app, and from the top menu, click the “Add Product” button, and then select the product you want to sell from the many available options.
From there, choose the variants you want to sell and add upload your design.
Note that Printful allows you to create designs inside the same dashboards using text, clip art, or even premium images that they provide.
Then you can add the product title and description.
If you want to get free traffic from Google to your merch Shopify store, then you better use keywords that people actually use in order to search for the products you sell, like “Funny yoga tank top” for example.
You then add your product to the relevant collection.
8 – Set Up Pricing & Shipping
And you add your price, which should be higher than the price of fulfillment from Printful.
Finally, you click “Submit to Store”.
Later on, you can go to the product page from the Shopify admin dashboard in order to edit the product page or price any time you want.
And from the settings tab in Shopify, you can choose the Shipping option, and set up shipping rates based on the order value, and based on where the customer want to receive the order.
9 – Market Your Shopify Merch Store
Now you need to advertise your merch products, or the whole store.
If you have a YouTube channel with subscribers, you can link from there to your store or to a specific product, either in the description of channel, or in the description of individual videos.
And if you have a Facebook page, then you can connect it to your store through the sales channels option in Shopify, which then imports the products to your FB page, like it is with JP Sear’s merch store and FB page.
And you can always create single posts showing single merch products and link to your Shopify store.
And the same if you have a following on any other platform.
And if you don’t have any kind of following online, then you may need to build one in order to get people see your merch products, or you need to do SEO for your Merch store in order to get the free traffic from search engines.
You can check my list of free traffic methods for Shopify stores.
I have also created a step-by-step guide for selling merch on Instagram.
But these methods take some time before getting results.
A faster alternative would be to use paid methods like paying social media influencers to promote your merch products to their followings, or by using Google search ads targeting certain keywords, and Facebook ads targeting interests related to your niche.
A good tip to increase the conversion rate and sell more merch on Shopify stores is to retarget those who visited your store but left without buying.
This is a proven method as most people don’t buy online on the first visit for any store.
10 – Increase AOV & LTV
If you want to succeed on the long run, then you need to increase the average order value and the customer lifetime value, instead of trying to get new customers buy one product and leave.
You can do that by:
- Offering free shipping once the customer’s cart value exceeded a certain value.
- Offering discount when buying more than one unit of the same item.
- Offering bundles like the “frequently bought together” feature on Amazon.
- Offering other products with the same, or similar design, to be sold as an upsell to the original product. (e.g. Mug as an upsell to a t-shirt)
That’s why I recommend using the Debutify theme for Shopify, as it gives you most of these features, even with the free version.
Conclusion – Is Selling Your Merch on Shopify Worth it?
Shopify offers one of the easiest and fastest ways to create and sell your merchandise to your audience.
And if you have an existing audience, you can create your Shopify store and add your first merch product in thirty minutes from now, and potentially make your first sale today.
And the many print on demand apps make it possible to sell your merch on Shopify without inventory, which is great if you want to sell your merch and not risk buying products in bulk.
I hope that this 10-step guide on how to sell merch on Shopify was helpful for you.
If you still need any help or have any question, please, let me know, and I will do my best to help you out.
And if someone you know is might be interested in this opportunity, then please, feel free to share this guide with them 🙂