Since 2001, we at Spreadshirt are selling customized apparel over the internet to our customers. We started with allowing our partners to open shops on our platform and to sell their own merchandising articles to their customers. Later, we transformed this to offering shops for selling customized apparel in general.
For our partners, we not only hosted their shops but we also offer a lot of value-added services. We handled for example their orders, produced and delivered them on demand, provided our customer service to their customers, helped them with their legal issues, did their accounting and so on. In short, we handled pretty much everything for our partners besides designing an appealing shop and promoting the shop in the target customer group with the means that we provide to them.
Later, we further improved the customization part by allowing our customers to create their individual piece of customized apparel with our online designer, producing the piece of customized apparel on-demand within no time in our production facilities and delivering it to their home the next day. We of course also made the designer available to our partners.
We also allowed the creative ones among our customer, we call them designers, to create designs and place them on our marketplace with a price tag on it, in order to earn money in case one of our customers used this design on his piece of customized apparel. We also further improved this idea by starting design contests.
Current Challenges – Provide more Flexibility
Recently, more and more partners want to break out of the restricted means of presenting their shop with our means and hosting it. They want to present their shop with their means, promote it with their means and host it on their machines and only want to use our service for providing the required data, doing the on-demand production and delivery and doing the accounting and payment stuff. Other partners want to create their own advertisement banners, widgets (Facebook, etc.) or web application plugins (WordPress, etc.) and only need access to the required data.
Another group of partners wants to realize innovative business ideas around customized apparel like for example printing news headlines or photos on a t-shirt. These guys are basically looking for someone that provides the fulfillment as a service to them, which means everything from order processing, on-demand production, delivery, accounting and so on. They are looking for “a printer for apparel on the internet” with full service attached.
Just another group of partners wants to provide their own design marketplaces to their customers, be a shop reseller and hosting shops for their customers or copy our design contest and provide the same model to their designer community.
What they are all looking for is what we call Customized Apparel as a Service (CAaaS).
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