How to Save Money Merchandising a Webcomic

In order to save money merchandising a webcomic, you must approach the endeavor as you would any business venture. By understanding your audience, tracking your website traffic, utilizing the stock creation and shipping method that works best for you and showcasing your merchandise, you can maintain a stronger return on investment, thus saving you money. What follows is a description of various methods you can employ that, when properly executed, will prevent your overhead from soaring and driving you into the red. The timing of merchandising your webcomic is key, as are realistic expectations. At most, you can expect an average of 5% of your audience to purchase merchandise, so the other crucial step is understanding your readers.


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    Track the number of visitors your webcomic receives. This crucial data will dictate when it may be profitable to begin merchandising. To reach fiscally sound numbers may take up to, or over, a year. Google Analytics and Comic Rank are websites that can help you track your numbers. Google Analytics looks specifically at your domain and tracks the number of visitors, breaking out that number into pre-designed or custom reports. Comic Rank is a free service that reports the number of visitors to your webcomic. The site also provides a list of the top 50 webcomics, by virtue of the number of visitors.
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    Decide whether you will use a print on demand supplier or create your merchandise yourself. A print on demand supplier will allow you to custom design your products (whether they are t-shirts, bumper stickers, posters or magnets). The supplier will handle the physical creation of your design as well as purchasing, shipping and customer service. While this avenue can be more expensive, it saves time for the webcomic designer. Creating the product yourself can be less expensive, but you must actually create it, stock it, handle purchasing, shipping and customer service. This decision comes down to whether you feel it is more important to save money or time.
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    Determine what you will sell. Each audience for each webcomic may prefer different items. By getting to know your audience, you can be sure that you're selling merchandise they are likely to buy.
    • Poll your readers. Once you are ready to launch a line of merchandise, you can find out what your readers want to buy by using a poll.
    • Research other webcomics' merchandising. If there's another webcomic that has a similar readership to yours (maybe one with which you cross-link), consider looking at the types of merchandise the other comic sells.
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    Publish your store. Whether you're creating your own merchandise or using a print on demand supplier, you can, and should, publish your webcomic store directly on your website.


  • Some print on demand suppliers for graphic novels include Ka-Blam, Lulu and ComicXpress.
  • Examples of print on demand services for t-shirts, bags, etc. are Cafepress, Zazzle and Redbubble.
  • Consider using small merchandise items (stickers, for example) as free give-aways with larger purchases.


  • While using free webspace for your webcomic can save money, you may experience limits when it comes to the size of your online store.

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Categories: Budgeting | Comics