2019-11-23

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In 2003, Chris Bucci of HeartSticker.com started with 10,000 Oregon heart stickers. It became a national sticker business. Their trademark stickers are shape of states with a heart on it. It sold throughout the country in small stores, supermarkets and airports, expanding their products to patches, clothing and drinkware. In 2018, it has an annual revenue of $4.2 million.

In the same year, four avid ocean enthusiasts invested $50,000 on stickers and clothing based on their tattooed words, "Salt Life". On 2018, they have net sales worth $395.5 million.

Business Sticker Brochure Chip Gold Pen Card from MaxPixel.net

In 2007, Elliot Nachwalter sold more than $1 million worth of merchandise when he created the  "1.20.09" sticker -the last day of George Bush as a president.

You love what you do. You print. You create. Your designs became your signature which you put on your things and home. But what if you can earn by the side? Especially when people are complimenting your designs and asking where you bought them? 

You already have a printer and a cutter. Can you smell the business opportunity?

Markets You Can Tap for Your Sticker Printing Business
Like any other business, sticker printing business requires planning, marketing and a good work ethic. 

Depending on how much time and money that you’re willing to invest, you can tap into any of these markets.

Custom Sticker Printing

In Custom Sticker Printing Business, you either design and print vinyl stickers for them or they give you the design that they want you to print. You can be a label maker that customizes labels to for them.

Custom Sticker Local Beer by Sticker Giant of Flickr

Custom stickers give expression to businesses that they can give away to promote a product or their company. Not everyone can resist free stickers, especially if it’s aesthetically pleasing.

Promotional Stickers
When businesses want to tap into the mobile market, they would put their logos on stickers which can be handed out to spread brand awareness. Custom stickers like this can be in the form of car decals and bumper stickers.

Business Card Stickers
Another way to promote a business is to put it in their marketing products where official website or contact number could be seen. This kind of custom stickers promote businesses and gives a way for potential customers/clients to reach them.

Return Address Labels
Another way for companies to look professional is to have a customized return address label for instant brand recognition. 

Product Label Stickers
Packaging and labeling can be expensive. But businesses can spruce up plain packaging with professionally-made labels. For example, businesses that sell expensive beauty products would go well with glossy label stickers. Label makers can make a killing by having to print different label sizes to fit their clients’ needs.

Company Logo Wall Decal
Businesses can make a professional impression to visitors by having their logo as part of their main office’s interior design.

Design Art Stickers

Dragon Sticker by StickerGiant of Flickr.

This is the niche where artists have the most freedom. You create whatever art you want and people use it to beautify their rooms or belongings. Cute stickers are often the most popular for crafts people.

Wall Decals
This can include long continuous prints or groups of vinyl stickers positioned strategically on the wall to create a wallpaper effect. The advantage of wall decals is that they make rooms easy to design and redesign.

Art Stickers for Tumblers, Laptops, Etc.
Your own style is your own brand. Make your art stickers available in different sizes because you never know if they want it on their notebooks or on their laptops. Hydro flask stickers sell well for gym rats who want to spruce up their water bottles.

Holiday/Event Stickers
Aesthetic stickers can be used to put more emphasis to the theme of the occasion. You can sell birthday themed printables, christmas printables and halloween printables. These can range from small cute stickers that can be put on plain party supplies to wall decals. Put your own spin to these occasion stickers.

Planner Stickers
This is another way for label makers to make money. With the New Year coming up, planners are in demand and so are planner stickers that are going to help people reach their weekly and monthly goals. Once again, you can put your own spin on how you can help people organize through your aesthetic stickers. 

Setting Up Your Sticker Shop

You got style and you got skills. However, just randomly posting your stickers on some seller site and hoping for the best would end up with disappointment especially if you don’t make a single sale. 

The idea of making money through what you love to do and what you do best can be thrilling. But you get results when you’re backed with informed decisions. So let’s get started. 

Sell Physical Stickers or Printables Online?

Why not both?

Printables are for customers who have their own printer and cutting machines. They just need your aesthetics for their designing needs. 

Stickers are for customers who don’t have the tools but still love your work enough to make them want them. Depending on what sticker you wanted to sell (such as the state heart stickers), you can sell them to distributors and retailers (such as craft stores and tourist shops). 


Seller Sites vs Print-on-Demand Dropshipping: What is the Best Shop to Sell Your Stickers?




amazon, ebay, etsy and shipify vs redbubble, printful and society6

With seller sites such as Shopify, Etsy, eBay and Amazon, you print and deliver the stickers to these websites for them to be distributed to people who would order from you. Or you deliver the items straight away to the customers. 

With Print-on-Demand Dropshipping sites such as RedBubble, Printful and Society6, you upload your art which can be printed on a variety of things such as stickers, mugs and posters. People who like your print on these items would order them and the sites would print and deliver it to them for you. 

Print-on-Demand Dropshipping

Print-on-Demand Dropshipping sites may sound ideal for sellers who don’t have printers. But the risks of these sites are:

The artist commission can be low.
When you’re in these sites, you’re competing with other talented artists. One way to encourage browsers to buy from you is by lowering your commission and thus, lowering your products’ prices.


Artist can stay competitive in print-on-demand websites by lowering their commission.

The artist has no control over the quality of their own goods. 
Your buyers may end up with less than quality prints that would discourage them from further buying. For example, they may receive a supposed full print shirt which may have missed in the armpit areas. (Yes, it happens.)

This is why artists are advised to buy their own print on every product for quality testing. Which is kind of a hassle. 

But if you have a printer and your own cutting machine, why not take control? 

Seller Sites

You can start small with stickers first before going to other products like shirts. Or you can just plan to sell stickers only. Seller sites can give you opportunity and control over quality and what you earn. These can be:

MarketPlace Websites

In these websites, you don’t own your store and you don’t control the platform. However, you’ll have a lot of traffic from their huge number of visitors.

I. Amazon

  • Amazon has a 2018 revenue of $232.887 billion (30.93% increase from 2017).

  • Has Amazon Handmade Category to compete with Etsy.

  • Their delivery method, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, is 50-80% cheaper than shipping from your home/warehouse to customers.



II. eBay
  • EBay has 2018 revenue of $10.746 billion (8.25% increase from 2017).

  • Unlike Amazon where buyers look for standardized name-brand products, eBay is the home for unique deals and items. 

  • Gives sellers an identity separate from eBay with customizable storefronts, About Me pages and upfront seller member ID and feedback. 

III. Etsy
  • Etsy has a 2018 revenue of $603.7 million (31.1% increase from 2017).

  • Etsy focuses on hand-crafted or vintage goods including stickers and printables.

  • It also has a customizable Store page for sellers.

WebStore Websites

In this kind of website, you’ll own your own store. However, you’ll have to build up your own traffic in order to have a decent customer base.

I. Shopify
  • Shopify's total 2018 revenue is $1.073 billion (59% increase from 2017).

  • Shopify integrates with top marketing tools such as Yoast, an SEO tool.

  • Hard to sell downloadable or digital products such as printables. 

MarketPlace Website vs Webstore Site


Pros Cons
MarketPlace Website
  • Large number of visitors
  • Visitors are undefined and are not likely looking for your branding.
  • Difficulty in making your own brand.
  • You do not control your own platform and your account can be terminated upon their discretion.
WebStore Site
  • Will have visitors who are looking for your brand and are most likely to buy.
  • Ability to create your own brand.
  • Ability to build a loyal and growing customer base.
  • Will need a killer marketing strategy to create traffic.


MarketPlace websites have a lot of traffic, however, that traffic is undefined. It means they're not looking for your brand. 

You do not own your business in a marketplace website. Even if you don't break the rules, even if you've been selling for a long time, your account can get suspended or even terminated without notice.

A bubble of negative feedback, a misunderstanding or being associated with another banned account can cost weeks of lost business as you try to get back your account. In Amazon, some sellers would leave fake negative reviews on their competition, causing Amazon to ban the account. 

If you’re looking to have your sticker printing business as one of your main streams of income, having a webstore is a must. But you can build a customer base from MarketPlace websites then lead them to your webstore where you can give them a better experience of what you have to offer. 

You don’t have to start with both an account in a marketplace website and a webstore at the same time. You can build audience first in a marketplace website then build a webstore. 

NEVER forget that you’ll have to build your brand. Marketplace websites can give a rush of instant money gratification, and sellers can get too comfortable that they forget they don’t own their own business if they lay all their eggs in marketplace websites. 

In your WebStore, you can build an email list and social media presence where you can build customer loyalty and making your brand name a household name in their minds.

The question now is, which marketplace site would be the best platform for you?

Which MarketPlace Website is the Best Option to open my own Sticker Shop?

Before we compare all channels, let’s compare first between being a seller in a large online shop or having your own online shop.

Exposure

Getting higher traffic increases sales and customer-followers that you would soon lead to your future webstore.


AMAZON EBAY ETSY
Pros:
  • Tend to show up in Google searches
  • 15% of all commerce related searches start on their platform
  • Large visitor base
Pros:
  • Second largest visitor base.
  • Visitor base is more defined by their search for unique/specific items.
Pros:
  • Visitors are most likely looking for handmade items such as stickers and printables.
Cons:
  • High competition
  • Visitors are either undefined (simply browsing) or looking for standard items of your product category
  • Seller has more difficulty standing out.
Cons:
  • Customers are huge bargain hunters and will haggle with seller and seller’s customer service.
Cons:
  • 25x smaller than eBay


As one can see, Amazon has the biggest visitor base from the website itself and Google. The drawback is the difficulty of building a brand. eBay and Etsy visitors are more defined in their searches. But eBay visitors are haggle hunters while Etsy’s drawback is having the smallest visitor base. 

Ease of Selling

The easier you can use your sales channel, the higher you’d be able to sell your stickers.

AMAZON EBAY ETSY
Pros:
  • FBA stores products and fulfills orders
  • Amazon Customer Service handles returns and questions of customers
  • Marketing: has a wide array of marketing tools.
Pros:
  • Easy to use, can be set up in a few hours
  • Marketing: has promotion boxes in the left side navigation bar of the seller’s eBay store which helps the eBay search engine find them through the seller’s use of keywords
  • Shipping: has an eBay online shipping calculator for sellers
Pros:
  • Easy to get started and set up shop
  • Marketing: intuitive marketing tools: easy to create coupon codes and other promotions
  • Easy to move to another platform
Cons:
  • Tracking inventory can be difficult since you can’t keep an eye on your product’s storage.
  • Sales tax can be difficult depending on the state where your business is located and the states where Amazon shuffle inventory in warehouses
  • Commingling less-than-quality merchandise can be mistakenly sent to your customers
Cons:
  • Shipping: you will have to store and deliver your stickers yourself (USPS, FedEx and UPS).
  • You will have to handle customer inquiry and returns.
Cons:
  • Shipping: Sellers are responsible for calculating shipping costs as well as shipping the item to the buyer.
  • Sellers are responsible for making their policies clear (shipping, returns, refunds, etc.) to customers
  • Sellers will have to answer customer inquiries


Amazon has the convenience of FBA and having a lot of marketing tools to boost sales. Its drawback is the lack of control over your inventory. 

eBay and Etsy sellers would've more control over the delivery of their goods but will have to make extra effort in handling policies and customer service. 

Seller Fees

It’s also important to take note how much you’ll have to spend in order to earn.

AMAZON EBAY ETSY
Pros:
  • If the seller ships on their own, Amazon pays a Shipping Credit on every sale to cover shipping costs.
Pros:
  • Basic eBay account has 50 zero listing insertion fee.
  • Past 50 items, the listing fee is $0.35
  • PayPal integrated
  • Upgrades: Optional fees such as Optional Listing Upgrades, Optional Promoted Listings, Classified Listing Fees
Pros:
  • Has the lowest listing fee and sale fee.
Cons:
  • Shipping credit is comparably lower than what seller spent on shipping costs
  • FBA storage fees ($0.69 per cubic foot for January to September) and fulfillment fees ($2.41 for 1 lb or less per unit) can chip away profit
  • Seller will have to pay for referral fees ($0.99 per item for individual seller accounts)
Cons:
  • Seller will have to pay for the Final Value Fee when a sale has been made (10% for most items of sellers with basic eBay account)
  • Shipping fee is based on the shipping method chosen by the buyer
  • Sellers may also pay a Punitive Fee if they don't abide eBay's rules.
  • If customer chooses to pay through Paypal, seller’s Paypal fees are 2.9% plus $0.3 of the total selling price within US

Cons:
  • Seller will have to pay for listing fees ($0.20), sale fee (3.5%), shipping label fees, shipping fees, transaction fees (5%), VAT, payments processing fees (3% + $0.25)
  • Paypal transaction fee is 5%


Etsy have the lowest listing fee and sale fee. Even if it has the most number of expenses, the expenses are comparably smaller than Amazon. eBay has a good feature of 50 zero listing insertion fee for beginning business people. But sum of fees may not be as constant based on shipping fees and the punitive fee. 

Amazon has the most predictable sum of costs.

Customization for Brand Visibility

The end goal of having being a seller in a MarketPlace website is to lead them into your webstore. One way to do that is to put the link of your webstore and social media channels to your Store Page.

AMAZON EBAY ETSY
  • High competition, more difficulty standing out.
  • No means for brand visibility.
  • Can include a logo, description, color scheme, layout and customer ratings
  • Can include Custom Pages about your Brand 
  • Can arrange items by gallery view or list view by price, date or other options
  • Can arrange items into galleries
  • Can include a search box
  • You can put in a logo and banner. 
  • Advanced customization options allows you to create a collage and/or a carousel of product images
  • Advanced customization options can add featured items on the top part of the shop page
  • Can include a video in the About Page
  • Store page has no page links, all sections form a lengthy scrolldown

You can buy templates for eBay and Etsy for those who are not very familiar with HTML coding. 

And the Winner…

For Exposure and Ease of Selling, Amazon wins. 

For Seller Fee, Etsy is more preferable. While both Etsy and eBay got a tie on Customization for Brand Visibility.

For someone who has never sold online before, Amazon can be advantageous because they will handle shipping for you while having a large customer base. You can put your Webstore name in your product images and product landing pages for brand visibility. 

However, if you want to start small and and are more ready to handle shipping and customer service as practice to having your own webstore in the future, Etsy could be for you. But with the smallest traffic among the three, expect to have lesser sales. 

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