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How to Choose the Best Online Retail Channel for You

Amazon, eBay, and Etsy are three popular online retail channels for custom apparel brands and retailers. All three have their own unique pros and cons. Choosing the right one can be a bit of a challenge, but it all comes down to one thing: go where your target audience is.

Here’s a quick rundown of four popular online retail channels and how to choose the right one for you.


Did you know that 55 percent of online shoppers begin their search for a specific product on Amazon? That number has increased 25 percent from last year, which makes Amazon one of the fastest growing online marketplaces.

High traffic on Amazon means you have the opportunity to get in front of thousands of potential customers. On the flip side, competition on Amazon is fierce, with some brands and retailers hiring marketers who are experts in SEO, in an effort to gain visibility with potential customers.

Amazon is a reputable place to sell with protections in place for both sellers and buyers. But, you’ll want to remember that Amazon is the biggest seller on their platform. In choosing this retail channel, you’ll have to make considerations on whether to sell from your brand or sell your product to Amazon, who then sells your product.


Before there was Amazon, there was eBay. Today, the online retail channel is a popular and well-known marketplace for custom apparel. With both an auction-style and traditional click-to-buy options, eBay is a familiar old friend.

eBay is a great option for high-end design, vintage, handmade and rare custom items. If your brand has a cult following, is unique, interesting, and exclusive, it will do well on eBay, since that’s what eBay’s audience expects. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure your product stands out from the crowd.

eBay is an easily searchable online marketplace with a cult following. That means you’ll want to follow the specific, unspoken guidelines that rule the platform, or risk being a turnoff to your potential customers.


Like eBay, Etsy also has a bit of a cult following, with potential customers expecting to find custom apparel, vintage or handmade items directly from brands. As a platform, Etsy caters to small start-up and niche brands and customers know what to expect when shopping.

Because of its boutique nature, Etsy is a great place for new brands looking to get established. On the other hand, some shoppers have already found their favorite brands and aren’t looking to shop from a brand that’s new. The key to building trust on Etsy is to have a good story, great packaging, and excellent customer service.

Etsy has a low bar for entry, with minimal fees to get you up and running. That being said, it does have a transaction fee, which can be frustrating when you’re listing dozens of items.

Social Media

Within the social media retail channel, there are several platforms from which you can choose. Each platform offers a slightly different audience base, and you’ll want to choose the platform(s) that resonate best with the target customer for your custom apparel.


Popular with millennials, Instagram makes it easy for you to target specific demographics including age and location. Instagram is also a great way to pair with influencers who will rock your brand and tell their customers to check out your other products as well.


Facebook tends to cater these days to an older audience, with many younger audiences using the platform to keep up with family news or participate in groups. Facebook is going through a bit of a reputation refresh at the moment and retailers with custom apparel may want to consider how that affects brand image.

How to Choose the Right Online Retail Channel

Choosing the right channel for your product really comes down to what you’re looking for in the platform. If you want a simple interface where you can tell your whole brand story, Etsy might be the right choice for you. But if you want to just sell your items quickly and you know you have a good following already, Amazon may be the better way to go.

The/Studio has the solutions you need to manufacture quality products, right when you need them. Learn more about the process behind creating your custom apparel by reading Our Story.




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