I get a lot of questions about pre-orders vs RTS & what I think is best. My answer is: BOTH can be used to grow your business and increase your profit margins.
I can’t speak for other transfer shops, so I am only using our TAT & pricing as examples below.
Pros of ordering RTS transfers
• we typically ship RTS transfers in 1 business day (3 business days max) so you can place an order and receive it within a week (UPS or priority mail)
• we annotate if a transfer is not restocking every MONDAY, so you know ahead of time if you need to pull designs from your website
• you don’t have to purchase transfers without knowing if they will sell (not sitting on debt)
Cons of ordering RTS transfers
• You have to make sure you check our website every single Monday to make sure you aren’t offering a design that is not going to be restocked.
• RTS transfers are more expensive
• there can always be delays or damages with the mail
Pros of pre-orders
• cheaper cost
• you have them on hand so you are controlling inventory without fear of overselling
• when selling after you receive, your TAT is super quick
• you can always sell what’s left at an incentive price so you don’t take any type of a loss
Cons of pre-orders
• if selling as a pre-order in your group then there is a long TAT
• possibility of pre-order not making it into production if not enough are sold (our pre-order production numbers are posted in the announcements)
• upfront investment if not selling in your group as a pre-order
Honestly, I think a combination of both can make your business very successful. If you know your customer base very well, then you probably know what will sell and what won’t so some pre-orders (especially full color transfers) makes sense.
But if you don’t want to put any money upfront, then RTS is going to be best. BUT that is going to mean shorter profit margins.
So really, you need to find that balance is right for your current season in your business.