How to Sell T-Shirts Online Without Inventory in 2024

How to Sell T-Shirts Online Without Inventory in 2024

With the print-on-demand business model, anyone can sell t-shirts online without inventory, storage space, or logistical worries.

It’s much easier than you think, and we’ll guide you through the whole process.

We’ll show how to start selling t-shirts online by covering all the basics, including selecting and designing t-shirts, choosing a sales channel, and marketing your business for success.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Choose Print on Demand for Fulfillment

Print on Demand is a convenient order fulfillment method, allowing you to design, create, and sell t-shirts online without inventory. You only pay for a product after making a sale, so there are no upfront costs.

After a customer orders a t-shirt from you, the print-on-demand company takes care of everything – printing, packaging, and shipping.

In short, it’s a beginner-friendly business model that’s easy to start, scale, and manage.

Quick tip

Check out our success stories of people who use Print on Demand to gain inspiration for starting your own t-shirt brand.

Start an Online T-Shirt Business Today!

Select and Design T-Shirts

Select t-shirts

When selecting t-shirts, keep your end customer in mind and carefully consider their preferences.

In our Printify Catalog, we have a large selection of t-shirts in various styles, sizes, colors, and materials, so you can easily appeal to a wide audience.

We offer sought-after brands, like Bella+Canvas, American Apparel, Champion, and Next Level, which means you can provide your customers with the highest quality custom shirts.

Select your favorite, and click Start designing.

Then, use our free design tool, the Mockup Generator, to upload or create your own design from scratch.

A few of its features:

  • AI Image Generator to create designs from prompts.
  • Shutterstock integration with a vast selection of visual assets.
  • Pattern Tool for creating custom t-shirts with all-over-print designs.
  • Text Editor with various fonts.
  • Background Removal Tool.

Our Mockup Generator has an easy-to-use interface. Anyone can make their own designs without previous experience. Take a look at our graphic design tips to learn more.

Quick tip

If you have design ideas but don’t have time to bring them to life, hire a talented professional from our Printify Experts Program.

Whatever style t-shirts you’d like to create, we’ve got a variety of options.

Pick a Sales Channel

When starting an online t-shirt business, choosing the right sales channel is vital for gaining customers. While there’s no best place to sell shirts online, some platforms might be more suited for your product than others.

Base this choice on your needs, technical know-how, and the type of audience you want to reach.

eCommerce Marketplaces

With eCommerce marketplaces, you can quickly open an online store, publish your products, and begin selling.

However, they don’t allow much creative freedom, so you’ll have less control over the store’s design, content, and overall branding. Each marketplace has its own fee structure, so compare these before settling.

A few great examples:

eCommerce Platforms

With eCommerce platforms, you can easily build a store from scratch with pre-designed templates. You have complete control over your t-shirt brand’s look with many useful features, analytics tools, and payment options.

However, some require technical skills, and most have subscription fees, so it’s important to evaluate all options.

Explore these popular platforms:

Quick tip

Once you’ve found the right one, explore integration guides and connect your store with Printify’s print-on-demand service.

The Printify Pop-Up Store is another great way to sell shirts online. Our Print Partners fulfill every t-shirt order on demand, so there are no upfront costs. After a customer places an order, we deliver it straight to their doorstep.

If you’re a software developer, consider our Printify API, which allows you to develop custom functionality and automate the workflow.

Take a look at the best sites to sell online to learn more about the advantages, disadvantages, and features of these sales channels.

Market Your T-Shirt Business

Market your t-shirt business

When learning how to sell shirts online without inventory, don’t forget about marketing. With the right strategy, you can attract customers, get more sales, and set your brand apart from the competition.

Use various marketing channels to increase the likelihood of success and get your online t-shirt business off the ground quickly.

Social Media Marketing

Create content for social media platforms to promote your print-on-demand business. It’s an easy way to find and engage with your audience.

Build a strong presence on various platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Then, post appealing t-shirt photos, various videos, promote special deals, or run contests to generate interest and build a loyal following.

Additionally, try Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok ads to promote your t-shirt business.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) improves your store’s visibility in search results to gain traffic. 

Utilize these best SEO practices: 

  • On-page SEO. Make sure your website has a quick loading speed, easy navigational structure, mobile-friendly interface, high-quality content, titles, and descriptions with relevant keywords. Use tools like Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, or Semrush to find these.
  • Off-page SEO. These include tactics you apply outside your store, like backlinks, guest posts, social media marketing, and brand mentions. The goal is to get search engines to see your store as trustworthy.

You can learn more from our SEO Masterclass in three parts:

Additionally, we have guides for WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix, and Etsy, so you can learn more about SEO for a specific sales channel.

Content Marketing

If you post valuable, relevant, and high-quality content regularly, you can increase your visibility in search engines and establish authority. It’s a great way to build trust and a loyal customer base.

Your content can include articles, tutorials, product reviews, or videos. Weave in relevant keywords to appear in search engine results, and share your content on social media and in emails for maximum exposure.

Take a look at our content marketing tips to create content that captivates and provides value to your target audience.

Search Engine Marketing

This involves placing paid ads on search engine results pages.

When a person types a specific keyword, your store will appear as a search result. While this method requires a budget, it’s a quick way to drive traffic to your store.

For example, Google Ads can help you reach a wide audience through its search engine and partner platforms by placing ads in results, apps, videos, and non-search websites.

Where they appear will depend on the types of ads you create and to whom you want to show them.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a cost-effective way to advertise. Industry experts forecast that revenue from email marketing worldwide will reach $17.9b by 2027.

Let people know about deals, discounts, and new t-shirt designs. Use tools like MailerLite or Mailchimp to create, manage, automate, and measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

In addition, learn how to create a mailing list with our step-by-step guide.

Quick tip

Explore our blog’s Marketing Hints and Tricks section.

Start an Online T-Shirt Business Today!

How to Sell Shirts Online Without Inventory: 5 Tips for Success

While starting your print-on-demand t-shirt business, consider these factors to improve your chances of success.

1. Know Your Niche

Set yourself apart from other t-shirt companies and increase sales by choosing a niche that isn’t saturated.

Typically, a niche refers to a specialized target market segment. It can be anything – from ice fishing to Zen calligraphy. Select a niche you’re passionate about and understand well. Then, generate t-shirt design ideas accordingly.

Try research tools, like Ahrefs or Semrush, to see if your idea’s popular enough to base a business around.

Quick tip

Discover the top 15 print-on-demand niches for 2024.

2. Brand Your Business

Brand your business

If you want to start a profitable business venture, branding is vital for making a lasting impression and conveying the quality your online store offers.

Establish a brand by considering the following:

  • Vision. Think beyond financial targets. What’s your vision for the future? How will you benefit society? People are more likely to support a business with a desire to contribute locally or globally.
  • Values. Do you stand for animal rights or environmental conservation? If you state your values, people with the same beliefs will be more inclined to support you.
  • Voice. Communication style greatly influences how people perceive a brand. Be sure to develop a style that resonates with your target audience.
  • Visuals. Create visual assets, like a logo, images, and graphics, that align with all of the above. Use design software, like GIMP or Photopea, to create them.

Quick tip

Learn how to build a strong brand identity from our article.

3. Focus on Customers

In the world of eCommerce, it’s vital to put yourself in the shoes of customers – viewing your store from their perspective. Focus on their needs and find the perfect solution for them.

Adopt a customer-oriented mindset and behavior.

  • Mindset. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and consider how to make their online shopping experiences positive. Employ measures such as seamless navigation and an intuitive website layout. Make it easy for customers to leave feedback and continuously consider their input. 
  • Behavior. Analyze your own feelings when dealing with sellers. Did their behavior make you feel valued? How can they improve? Apply best behavioral practices by offering excellent customer service, transparent store policies, and rewarding loyal shoppers.

Positive customer experiences will motivate people to buy your t-shirts again, leave good reviews, and suggest your online store to their friends and family.

Quick tip

Without retail prices that are just right, finding buyers could be a challenge. Learn how to price a product for ultimate success from our guide, which explains everything from pricing strategies to maximizing profit margins.

4. Analyze Performance and Adjust for Growth

Analyze performance

If you want to build a successful business, analyze your store’s performance and identify strengths, address weaknesses, and adjust for success.

A few key metrics to track:

  • Conversion rate. The goal of every online store is to convert visitors into customers. This metric helps measure whether you’re driving traffic to the right pages.

Calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of orders by the number of unique store visitors.

  • Average order value. This shows how much your customers typically spend on an order, which helps to evaluate advertising efforts and pricing strategy. Generally, it’s measured in monthly intervals.
    Calculate the average order value by dividing the total revenue by the number of orders.
  • Shopping behavior metrics. Find out how many t-shirts people add to their cart, the average session duration, and the best-selling items.

Some sales channels have in-built tools to analyze the store’s performance. Our guide on the top 10 eCommerce analytics tools explores various options to understand how your website is performing.

5. Consider Expanding Your Selection

While selling t-shirts online is a great way to make money, consider expanding your product selection to appeal to an even wider audience. With Printify’s print-on-demand services, you can sell various products, not just t-shirts, without holding inventory.

Our Catalog has over 900 high-quality products you can personalize to your heart’s content and add to your online store.

Sort them by price, brand, color, size, print type, print area, and printing country. Our Print Partners use state-of-the-art technology, paying close attention to product quality and timely delivery.

Explore products from our collection and add them to your store today.

Create Unique Merchandise Today!

Examples of Successful T-Shirt Stores

If you’re ready to start selling shirts online, check out these game changers and find inspiration for your own store.

Sassy Spud is a store that shows the importance of selecting a niche – they’ve chosen humor with a bit of sass.

They sell shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, accessories, and various gifts, featuring clever illustrations.

The storefront of their online business is minimalistic and well-designed. With ample white space, they avoid clutter, so the spotlight is directly on their products.

A family-owned business that designs, creates, and prints apparel, drawing inspiration from nature. They stand out by donating a percentage of every sale to environmental and humanitarian causes.

They sell a wide array of t-shirts, tank tops, and hoodies in various styles. 

BeCause Tees’s website is professional, neatly structured, and easy to navigate, allowing people to quickly find what they want.

A business that sells t-shirts with colorful, whimsical, and thought-provoking designs that you won’t find anywhere else.

In addition to t-shirts, they sell hoodies, joggers, swimwear, and a variety of other custom apparel.

The store’s website stands out with a strong visual identity, creating an eye-catching shopping experience.

Factory 43 is a Seattle-based company that makes high-quality graphic goods that feature original illustrations.

They sell various t-shirts, posters, and accessories with custom designs.

Their website is beautifully designed, captivating the visitors with awesome animations and graphics. The store provides a seamless browsing experience with neatly organized collections and breezy navigation.

Shirtbox positions itself as the go-to store for the so-called most ridiculous t-shirt designs on the planet, featuring dad jokes, puns, and pop-culture references.

As with the previous stores, their business isn’t limited to t-shirts. They also sell hoodies, tote bags, and ceramic mugs.

Their store’s website has a simple yet effective layout with sticky navigation and clear categories. When the website loads, it welcomes visitors with a video showcasing their brand.


Start selling t-shirts online with Print on Demand:

  • Sign up for a Printify account – it’s 100% free.
  • Make your own design with our beginner-friendly Mockup Generator.
  • Select a sales channel.
  • Publish products to your store. 
  • Start marketing and selling.

Take a look at our brief explanation of how Printify works to learn more.

With Print on Demand, anyone can start selling clothes online without inventory, upfront costs, or logistical worries. Learn how to start an online clothing store from our easy-to-follow guide.

You can sell t-shirts on Etsy without any inventory using Printify’s print-on-demand services. We provide everything you need to launch a business today. Get started by reading our quick guide on how to sell t-shirts on Etsy.

No, but if you want to sell t-shirts online without any inventory successfully, it requires some preparation. You must find a reliable print-on-demand company, select a niche, develop a brand, make your own designs, and work on marketing.

Other than that, the business landscape is promising. Industry experts forecast the global custom t-shirt printing market will reach $3.1b by 2025.

Closing Thoughts

While selling shirts online requires dedication, the rewards of financial freedom, independence, and flexible working hours are well worth the effort.

With planning, original t-shirt designs, and a reliable print-on-demand company, anyone can start a successful t-shirt business without inventory, upfront costs, or logistical worries.

Set Up Your Print-On-Demand Business Today!

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