CafePress and Zazzle got you down when it comes to creating an online shop? Check out Pikistore: half site builder, half storefront for apparel that sports whatever logo or design you slap on it. Believe it or not, it's from the same folks who did Comeeko, the zany comic strip builder our very own Caroline McCarthy called "the best Web 2.0 site in the history of the universe."
Pikistore's angle for getting you to ditch the competition is that the online store you create exists as its own destination, and not a part of some network of other stores. Unlike Etsy, which does something similar, but focuses on the network of other sellers as part of the advantage, Pikistore is all about letting you create a standalone site that can be populated with your products, then giving you a way to make it a part of your existing blog or Web site.
Like other online store makers, you can take a single design and populate it onto a multitude of products without any sort of repetitive reproduction on your part. You can set markups and pick which items you want to let people buy, from mouse pads to kitchen aprons
It's also got some pretty slick-looking themes you can simply click to reskin the look and feel of your site entirely. Users of WordPress, or any other Web-based blogging platforms, will be familiar with this, and advanced users who want to make the store simply match with their own sites can drop in the CSS and whatever graphics, logos, or backgrounds they're using. It also allows for free domain transfer, which means you can link it up to your site's .com address without having to sign up for a premium plan--something we've rarely seen in a free service.
As for the end result, most shirts cost around what they do on other services. Like competing customized apparel stores, you don't need to buy an entire box of shirts; you and your buyers can simply get them printed one at a time. What makes the service especially cool is that you can track some of these purchasing statistics, including where your traffic is coming from, and what operating system and browser your users are on. These are the things typically found in analytics services like Google's, and very helpful for helping to target your audience.
I'm interested to see what the final product looks like, something that can only be accomplished with a purchase. My one qualm is that the editing interface might be a bit complicated to novice users who aren't comfortable going outside the general boundaries of the theme builder. Intermediate to advanced users, however, will find the high level of customization refreshing.
In case you're wondering what it's like to actually create a Pikistore, I've embedded an example video below (try not to get nauseous):
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