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I am in the process of starting up an e-commerce apparel shop with most of the items coming from a Print On Demand provider. Because of this, most of the designs can be applied to a great number of items like t-shirts, hoodies, long sleeve t-shirts, baby onesies... not to mention mugs, bibs, post cards and many many more. Let's just stick with the clothing for now.

Let's say I have 5 designs. All 5 can be applied to t-shirts, hoodies, long sleeve t-shirts, baby onesies, with each of those items coming in multiple colors and sizes. The color and size part is a no-brainer... just add those 2 options as variants of the main product. It's the "main product" part that I'm going back and forth with.

Is it better, UX-wise, to list the design itself as the "main product" and then give the user the ability to select what type of garment the design is printed on (short-sleeve t, long sleeve t...), the color of said garment and the size.

OR

create a separate listing for each garment still with size and color options, creating repeats of the same design???

With a huge selection of designs, I would think the latter is the way to go. There would be enough unique designs/products that it wouldn't look repetitive and sparse. The problem is that to start off, we have maybe 20 unique designs. I feel like it would look more "boutique" and less like we're trying to appear bigger than we are if only have 20 listings, each with the option to choose from 4-6 garment types from within the listing... rather than 100-120 listings where the same 20 designs are repeated over and over.

The problem I see with the "boutique" way, is that if someone searches for "monster truck hoodie" and our monster truck design is included in the search results, there is no way (without a ton of customization to our storefront) to have the photo of the hoodie be what is displayed when the listing is viewed - the user would have to click/swipe through 1 or more photos in order to see the hoodie and confirm they are in the right place. That seems pretty bad to me, but maybe I'm not giving the user enough credit... maybe seeing the thumbnails of the different garments (including the hoodie) would be enough for that confirmation. I don't know....

And finally, another dilemma is that, the ideal UX doesn't always produce the most sales. It might be that even though it is repetitive (and a bit tacky, imo), having all the different garments as their own listing in front of the user at 1 time actually produces more sales for one reason or another.

So I'm just a little stumped on the best way to list these products. If anyone has any informed input on the matter, I'd be most appreciative.

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Is it better, UX-wise, to list the design itself as the "main product"?

Well, as you say in your description, you are NOT selling the design as an illustration, that may well be digital, but rather the design applied to an object. Based on this, my logic tells me to see the design presented in a main object and then have the option to choose any other object with the applied design, but never the illustration alone.

Maybe you should have a look at teepublic to get ideas, since it is quite similar, if not the same, to what you describe in the question

Edit after the comment

I think the confusion lies in what is being sold as the main product: the design or the object.

  • If it is the design, I think the relevant thing would be to show this design lied to a main product and the rest of the objects as secondary ones to choose from.

enter image description here

Teepublic


  • If it is the object (for example a garment), show a variety of applied designs, and colors, which would imply creating a clothing store, so, in my opinion, it would be necessary to limit the number of selectable products to avoid making it infinite.

enter image description here

Diesel store

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  • Thanks for the reply. I wasn't suggesting that there would ever be a listing of JUST the design. The primary photo for listing would be the design itself. Then when viewing the listing, there would be an option to select the garment (along with size and color) as well as photos of each of the garments. I've seen it done both ways on sites like Teepublic, Redbubble, etc. I think most shops create a separate listing for each product, but that doesn't mean it's the best way to go about it - could very well be a case of "monkey-see monkey-do", which I'm trying to avoid.
    – Daveh0
    Jan 9 at 19:00
  • So, will you sell the design as a unique item too? A digital illustration for example, like graphicriver does?
    – Danielillo
    Jan 9 at 19:03
  • No. The designs are only for printing on the various items available through the Print On Demand provider. It might be relevant to point out that users are coming here for apparel. I believe seeing the primary photo of the design would imply that it is printed on something, which would be indicated in the title. Ex: "Monster Truck Hoodie"
    – Daveh0
    Jan 9 at 19:28
  • In that case, I reaffirm my answer 😉
    – Danielillo
    Jan 9 at 19:30
  • Gotcha. So seeing something like this: imgur.com/a/8DoaP6H with repeated designs on different types of garments next to each other (this is a mild example) does not make for a problematic UX for you?
    – Daveh0
    Jan 9 at 19:38

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