- Bespoke CMS Development
- Facebook Application
- Ecommerce Development
- User Generated Content
Toto Merch was a fantastically complex project developed in the early years of Applecado, and we’re still incredibly proud of it. The start-up came to us in 2011 with the task of recreating their novel twist on an already great idea. We set to work on creating a bespoke online platform that served as eCommerce, but more specifically, as a marketplace for independent bands and singers to showcase and sell their merchandise.
Bands would usually have to order stock out of their own cash - this is costly, means physically finding somewhere to store it, and runs the risk of being left with stock in unpopular sizes. At the time, alternative websites offered the opportunity to ship t-shirts on your behalf, but they usually required a minimum number to be ordered which meant fans had no idea how long they could be waiting.
We created a platform that allowed bands to upload their own designs, fans could buy t-shirts, posters, music, or other merchandise from the shop front. Behind the marketplace, the site automatically determined the customer’s location, and what work needed doing for the item, and automatically sent an order with all of the information to a select network of printers willing to print and ship - all on a one-at-a-time basis.
This proved to be crucial to the site’s success.
Bands are able to register and create their own online shop within the website, and for embedding in their own sites or social media pages. The shop-front can be customised to the shop owners taste with logos and colour ways.
Bands can then move onto the fun part, uploading logos and designs for their t-shirts, and choosing the colours they’d like the t-shirts to be available in.
We built an excellent t-shirt design generator that overlaid each t-shirt design onto a stock photo of each t-shirt, the generator was so good we weren’t able to tell it wasn’t a real t-shirt in the photograph.
The back-end of the website has a comprehensive network of printers and suppliers, what product they want to distribute, and in which country they are based. This helps us immediately and automatically route the orders to suppliers who offer the right service, and in the same country as the customer to reduce postage costs.
Additionally, bands are able set a profit margin balancing between keeping costs low for their fans, and gaining some much needed funds. Bands can keep a track on their monthly sales and trends with an easy to use dashboard in their account.
The new site launched and quickly accumulated more than 500 bands in it’s first six months.
Edit: Since this portfolio item was written, the business was closed in early 2016 so the team could focus on other business interests.
Toto Merch describe themselves as a revolution in direct-to-fan merchandising - allowing bands to sell their own items and MP3s alongside t-shirts and hoodies, printed 'on demand’.
The small team also run a music PR company and were very enthusiastic about the new service they could offer to bands at every stage in their careers.