Print on demand technology means brands can offer apparel designs for every emotion.

How your brand can make a real statement

The launch this month of our first UK television advertising campaign in nearly two years marks the next stage in our growth and brand awareness in the UK market.

Clothing is always a statement, especially when it is equipped with an individual and matching slogan or image. The UK has a long tradition of people expressing their personalities on a T-Shirt. TV is a key driver for us to harness this growing trend.

Our experience is that many consumers start their customer journey through the TV screen then use their mobile devices to research or create an initial design idea. Then later, they complete the purchase on a desktop. We saw 15 per cent of its sales start on a mobile device last year and expect this to rise to 25 per cent this year. We’re already present online and mobile, so we’re looking to connect these up with the TV. We also think that increased understanding and analysis of this process will sustainably shape our success in the coming years.

Data shows that around one third of Spreadshirt’s customers use our t-shirt designer to create individual products. They either personalise the product with their own text and images, or change the colour and size of designs. European customers are much more creative than North Americans: while in Europe, personalised products make up for around 47 per cent of products sold, in North America just 14 per cent of the products are personalised.

Americans like to be part of a current fad or the latest trend when purchasing a t-shirt, and therefore choose something ready-designed, Europeans think more long-term and tend to buy products that are closer to their interests and say something about them. The personalisation offer appeals therefore more to them. Often, however, they use designs offered by third parties such as designers, brands and licences then add to them.

In fact, licences and other brands’ designs play quite a significant role in the Spreadshirt marketplace. Printing merchandise on demand and under licence is a key element of our platform’s offering. This is across all product ranges where you can personalise or customise, add a picture or message to a design with an increasing number of consumers now prepared to pay more for a personalised product, something they have made their own whilst staying within copyright laws and brand guidelines, and we expect this trend to continue to grow.

For our licence holding shop-partners, print-on-demand technology means that one of the common risks involved with buying licences, the way they go in and out of fashion can be limited. Knowing what sort of merchandise will appeal to fans can be difficult to predict and can be costly and a risk to have a large range available in store all the time. Even with perennial hits like Star Wars, the real aficionados don’t just want the official merchandise instead they might want the choice of obscure characters or to add quotes from the film. A print-on-demand online store enables consumers to view a much wider selection of products which may not be necessarily available or possible to accommodate offline. The risk for the licence holder is therefore limited, as they pay for the licence through a revenue share, so no need pay anything until a product is sold.

While the initial campaign targets the B2C market. We are finding that more and more companies are looking to utilise new technology to give their brand advocates a greater choice too, so we plan to continue developing our European B2B offering with a specific TV campaign aimed at this market scheduled for later this year.

Companies and brands of all sizes can sometimes struggle to move from traditional marketing and retail methods to embracing new technology and media. Print-on-demand technology can offer designs for every emotion, products for every occasion making this transition easier and more cost effective.

Follow Rooke on Twitter @PhilipRooke.

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