Merchandise Store Research

This is the research I promised pursuant to GMC grant request:
GA0902404 / Rocket Pool Merchandise Store

RP Merchandise Store

An online store geared towards providing Rocket Pool branded merchandise to the existing Rocket Pool community.

Outreach is not the primary purpose. That is, getting additional advertising and product placement is not a primary motivator (to be clear, advertising via our merchandise is important, having our t-shirt printer charge extra to push us on Google Ads in pinterest store lists, is not).

This store is meant to be supervised by the GMC or another pDAO tasked entity and is not necessarily meant as a profit vector for an individual or the pDAO, although, that could be altered. It is reasonable, however, that ongoing store management and maintenance be compensated by merchandise sales.


Strong Requirements:
take crypto
respect privacy

Medium Requirements:
Customize storefront (so backend must have API if not a fully custom build)

Low Requirements:
Outreach/advertising (we are less concerned about RP merch being widely advertised on t-shirt sites, for example)


  1. Pre-existing swag store
  2. All in one solutions (AIOs)
  3. Module solutions
  4. Custom build


AIOs are more expensive and more limited, including not taking crypto.
Full custom is too much work.

I would opt for the modular solution and due to fees and capabilities for international orders and crypto payments, I would go with Woocommerce on Wordpress with Printify as the POD/dropshipper.


1. Pre-existing swag store

Opinion: Not Good
Detail: First note that pre-existing swag stores are not the same as All-in-One solutions.
Pre-existing swag stores pre-print a certain amount of merchandise at a time and store it for you.
If the only time RP wanted gear was for the team to bring to conventions, for example, swag stores would be best economically,
however, we want year around, individual sales, so print on demand suites us better.

These all have apis for customizing storefront, but are not suitable for a print on demand
Blueberryink: Offers custom promotional products that can be shipped directly to customers or employees
Printfection: Offers drop shipping services for swag and event merchandise
SwagUp: Offers a one-stop shop for swag packs, including creating, automating, and distributing swag

2. All-in-One Solutions (AIO)

Opinion: Good/Okay
Pros: Least amount of work
Privacy from RP internally (store manager would not have access to shipping addresses)
Minimal management
Cons: Have not found any that take crypto
AIO store has access to shipping address
Recent reviews warn of significant quality issues
Neutral: Can minimally brand storefront depending on the AIO store used
Base Price (no shipping/taxes/profit): (prototype) Glidden 100% cotton one-sided printed t-shirt - $26

All in one solutions are pre-existing print on demand stores that take care of everything for you. You can minimally brand your storefront, but they take the money, print and ship the shirts directly to customers. A lot of them especially push that they will get your merch into the advertising pipeline which we do not need.

You are limited to the types of merchandise these stores have, which ranges from very limited to extensive enough for us. The not taking crypto part might be a killer, though. Also, base fees for merchandise are quite high ($26 for a quality t-shirt, before shipping/profit/etc.).


3. Module solutions

Opinion: Good
Pros: Very customizable
Can take Crypto
Cons: More work than options 1 and 2
Internal privacy might be challenging but is doable
More management needed
Base Price: (prototype) Glidden 100% cotton one-sided printed t-shirt - $15

This combines pre-built partial solutions. For the frontend and some of the backend, for example, Shopify and Woocommerce are the leading contenders to make a storefront. On the backend, print on demand/dropshippers can plug into the frontend framework. The dropshippers generally provide a greater variety of merch to choose from and provide modules that plug into Shopify/Woocommerce to help with store setup/payment etc. They can be configured to take crypto, but the RP store manager would have access to all order addresses. There are ways around this with a little effort.

Price per shirt goes up the more the service helps you out. For example, Shopify with Gelato does a lot of the work for you, but fees are higher, whereas, Woocommerce and using Printify API is cheap, but more work. Those are detailed in another section.

Ecommerce Storefront
Shopify ($20/month + < $1 fees per sale)
Woocommerce (free)

Gelato - POD that can hook into shopify (also has API so can work with custom website etc.)
printful - POD but can also warehouse. More options, not that we need them.
printify - better for international
gearlaunch - like printify but only integrates with shopify

4. Custom build

Opinion: Probably bad, but maybe great
Pros: Can do everything you want
Cons: Most work
Most management
Price: ?? At worst same as #3 above, unless a RP member with a printing store offered a deal

Fully custom online store. This is really only viable if a Rocket Pooler ran a print shop and wanted to be the backend for this. Another possibility is if there is a really great dropshipper/POD API that lends itself to being easily hooked into a custom frontend built on NextJS or some such framework.

NextJS store front that a Rocket Pooler uses for their print shop to create merch. Or store front that plugs into some really easy POD API.


Ecommerce Storefronts Comparison

Shopify - You do less work but pay more per shirt
Woocommerce - You do more work but it’s less per shirt and more flexibility (which means more management)


Can accept crypto
Everyone says it is expensive
Can hook into dropshippers or PODs

Shopify - Basic $20/month + 2.9% + 30c per sale
So, $0.59 on $10
This doesn’t yet count shipping/tax/POD fees (calculating shopping fees might be even a seperate cost)
Will we even sell this much stuff per month?


Woo Commerce
No fees
Hosting not included, unlike Shopify
More setup but less expensive to run per year
POD integration might be more difficult, but will have more options with WooCommerce
WooCommerce + Printify looks best all around


dropshipping - third party that will print and ship merchandise
print on demand - orders created and filled as they come in

Store Manager

The store manager is initially responsible for setting up the store, including what items will be sold. The store manager can farm out shirt design, coding, and whatever tasks they need to start up and keep the merch store operational. The first year should be included in the GMC fee. Subsequent years can be negotiated. The store manager would be responsible for the bank accounts so the DAO does not need to start an LLC or something horrible like that.

Store Oversight

Pricing over cost (i.e., profit) should be decided by the GMC (with community input if needed/desired). Eventually, there should be two store managers.