Introducing the New Abort73 Web Store
Last week, the new Abort73 web store made its debut—the first step in a site-wide overhaul. Though most of the initial changes are related to aesthetics, there are some structural changes worth pointing out—not least of which is an entirely new approach to shirt sales. I’m hopeful that it will yield both an increase in sales and an increase in web traffic!
A Brief History of the Abort73 T-shirt
It’s been almost ten years since I placed the first Abort73 T-shirt order at a small, back-alley print shop in Burbank, CA. Since then, we’ve sold about 50,000 Abort73 T-shirts and sweatshirts. That’s enough shirts to outfit a capacity crowd at an average MLB stadium—and gets us more than half way to filling the Rose Bowl. It's a good start but really just scratches the surface. Along the way, I’ve done plenty of tinkering with pricing and inventory, and here’s what I’ve discovered. Low prices and high inventory or very good for shirt sales and very bad for our bottom line. In recent years, we’ve raised prices and reduced inventory—which has helped our bottom line but hurt our sales.
Turning the Retail Model on its Head
In an effort to breathe new life into shirt sales, I’ve decided to implement a fairly unconventional approach. To my knowledge, nobody else is doing it this way; time will tell whether it’s innovative or foolish! Whereas the standard retail pricing model is to start high and gradually lower the price until inventory is cleared, I’ve decided to work in the reverse. We’re pricing low to start—and gradually increasing the price from there. That’s one part of the new equation, and I’ve settled on it for two reasons.
First, I’m trying to combat the “I’ll wait for it to go on sale” mentality. Relatively speaking, a large majority of our customers seem only willing to buy an Abort73 T-shirt when it goes on sale. Because we’ve conditioned people to wait for the sale, our new shirts end up sitting on the shelf much longer than I’d like. Second, I’ve noticed that after a particular design has sold out and been discontinued (after an aggressive markdown), we still get requests for it down the road—requests from supporters who would likely be willing to pay a premium price if only we had a few more in stock!
Here Today; Gone Tomorrow!
The other factor that’s been working against us is the fact that we've generally kept our shirts in stock for a long time. Some of our most popular designs have been around for years. This has likely had a stagnating effect on buyers—since there’s not much urgency to buy now. The shirt will also be around next month—or next year! The irregular frequency with which we’ve released new shirts has also cost us momentum. Both of these issues are being addressed with a nod to Threadless and Sevenly—two T-shirt companies that have found great success with their shirt-a-week model. They release a new shirt (or shirts) every single week, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. In Sevenly’s case, every shirt is print-to-order, and they’re only available for seven days.
No More Guess Work!
We’re not quite able to release a new shirt every week, but we will be releasing a new (or reprinted) shirt every other week. Here’s how it will work:
- On the first and third Tuesday of each month, a new T-shirt will be released.
- For two weeks, that shirt will be available for just $10.
- After two weeks, the price goes up to $15.
- After two months, the shirt is “retired,” and any leftover inventory is marked up to $20.
Though it may take a bit of getting use to, this approach will ultimately take out the guesswork for everyone wanting to promote Abort73. The price will always be lowest at the beginning—when our supply is the greatest—and the price will always be highest at the end—when our supply is the lowest.
Oh, and Did I Mention Free Shirts?!
Among the other notable changes to the web store is the opportunity to earn free shirts by posting pictures of your Abort73 shirts in action. Each shirt page now includes instructions for how to tag and designate the shirt when you share it online. If we decide to post the picture to our web store, we’ll refund the price you paid for the shirt and send you two more shirts for free. I really want to see Abort73 shirts get more circulation via social share, and I’m hoping the offer of free shirts will help prime the pump!
Finally, you’ll notice a new section called “Retired Shirts”—which gives you an opportunity to peruse almost all of the shirts we’ve printed in the past. It doesn’t go quite all the way back to the beginning, but it gets close. You’ll also find instructions on how to lobby us to bring a shirt back—along with the opportunity to place a special group-order for any retired shirt you'd like. Last but not least, in another nod to transparency, you’ll also find that we now list the production price for all of our in-stock shirts. You’ll find it listed in the garment details. Subtract that price from the price you pay for your shirt, and you’ll know exactly how much money you’re reinvesting into Abort73.
All that to say, make sure to visit the new Abort73 web store—where you’ve got one more week to get a BRING JUSTICE TO THE FATHERLESS T-shirt for just $10—and come back on the first and third Tuesday of each month to see what’s new!
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.