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Should I start a store front or my own eComerce website?

Hi all,

I have an Instagram page that I want to advertise on. The plan is to sell T-shirts, mugs etc with print on demand at first and then add maybe affiliate links and dropshipping.

From what I understand I have two options here:

  1. The lazy way: Open a storefront on any of the already available print on demand marketplaces like RedBubble, Teespring, Spreadshirt or something. By doing this I will not be able to fully control recommended items and other peoples work might be suggested.
  2. The best way: Create my own website and run a store myself which would enable me to both have ONLY my own designs show up but also fully control any content on the site as well as expanding the site with affiliate links, dropshipping, articles, ads etc etc.

I have limited money and since I am going to be a dad in like a month I wont have a massive amount of time either. However, I would definitely prefer the second option either way as I will be able to scale it and it would fill me with a sense of accomplishment. Even if the store would fail I would at least have learned something along the way and that is valuable to me.

In short: I want to sell print-on-demand shirts, mugs etc. Should I have a store front or my own website?

My questions

  1. What software/tools/services are required to create the eCommerce website I want? Some examples of tools I guess I will need are: WordPress-site, a plugin to integrate Shopify/Woocommerce/other into said WordPress-site, a print provider (like Printify & Printful) to print my designs onto various items. Anything else?
  2. Is it possible to set all of this up by only paying for domain and hosting providers of my chosing? I have seen videos comparing Shopify with other solutions, i.e. Woocommerce which, as I understand, is a free alternative to Shopify (except that I need to buy hosting and a domain somewhere of course). One time purchases are fine but I do not want to pay subscriptions like with Shopify.
  3. If I build my own website and own store, I woud prefer to not have to manually fulfill the orders and most importantly: I do NOT want to be charged money in advance for making the custom items, so are there any print providers that will simply deduct the payment they need from the customers payment or will I have to get a credit card?
  4. Are there any major profit margin differences between running my own site or selling through a store front?

I thank you very much for reading this far and hope that you will have the expertise to help me in this jungle of information and put me on the right track!

submitted by /u/Svampsi
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