Print-On-Demand explained: How to sell custom products!
The print-on-demand (POD) business is changing the e-commerce industry. With globalization and the ability to buy anything from any location on the planet, long gone are the days when people had no choice but to pick the available designs from the stores nearby.
For the stores, this means that printing in bulk and hoping for the clients to like it, is not a rentable option anymore, because clients can just find what they want online and have it delivered to their home from the other side of the planet in just a few days.
That's why print-on-demand stores have become so popular lately. With a print-on-demand business model, you just print what you sell with a third party, there's no need for bulk printing or investing huge amounts of money in warehouses and stock. The risks are very low, and if your business doesn't work, chances are that you would have only wasted some time.
If you want to start your own store with this popular business model, you just need to choose your favorite POD provider that will be in charge of fulfilling your orders and shipping them to your customers. There are many options in the market so you should do some research and pick carefully.
On the other hand, your only responsibilities will be creating an online store, displaying your products, and marketing them to get the public. And of course, create some attractive designs to print on the products that make people want to buy yours instead of the ones from the neighbor next door!
Let's go through all of the steps you need to follow to start selling custom products:
1) Choose which product/s you'd like to sell
This is probably one of the toughest steps, finding the right product.
Unless you already have a very specific idea on your mind, I recommend you begin with something basic. This means an evergreen product that is profitable.
Evergreen products are those that have a strong and predictable sale record during the year. Products that are always in demand and usually remain unaffected by external factors, such as clothing, accessories, health products, and pet products.
If you're starting your store from square one, you can do some research on sites like Amazon and Alibaba to see which are the best-selling products of the year.
2) Create some designs to print on them
If you're an artist or a creative person you probably have thought about this already. One of the most significant advantages of print-on-demand is the ability to sell as many different designs as you want. As I mentioned at the beginning, bulk printing is no longer needed.
Whether you create your designs yourself, or you buy them from someone, make sure you offer something original and unique. Avoid using prints that you find online because you may be violating someone's copyright.
Also, you can pay attention to the new trends and what people are demanding. The great thing about this business model is that you can try as many options as you want, maintain the ones that get good sales, and dismiss the ones that don't work.
Another interesting idea you can explore is adding personalization options to your designs, but that's a topic for another post.
3) Set up an online store on an e-commerce platform
After you know what you are going to sell, you will need a place to do so! This is one of the most important parts and will demand you a bit of time. Make sure you create a nice online store that attracts the audience and reflects your brand.
Luckily, you can trust e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, or Magento that are user-friendly and don't require any coding experience to build it.
Take the time to add as much information as possible, such as contact information, terms and conditions, shipping times, returns and refund policies, and more. The more transparent you are with the people, the more trustworthy your business will look. Let your customers know exactly what to expect before buying to avoid bad shopping experiences!
4) Connect your store with the POD service of your choice
Most of the POD providers have the same business model: printing, packing, and shipping all of your orders to your customers. The difference between them will lay in aspects like pricing, delivery times, warehouse locations, integrations with other apps, quality of the products, quality of printing, variety of products, customer support, return policies, etc.
All providers have their pros and cons, so you must find the one that adjusts better to your specific business and goals. A key point for example would be that the POD supplier integrates with the e-commerce platform you're using.
5) Drive traffic to your store to get customers!
Working on your marketing will be key to success. You can have amazing products but if people never find out about them, your business won't work.
Besides optimizing your online store, you should think about things like social media presence, mailings campaigns, having your own blog, and running some paid ads.
Here you can find a guide with a lot of marketing tools that will help you drive the traffic that you need!
6) Once you get orders, the POD provider will print your designs on the purchased products and ship them to your customers!
This part of your business is almost on autopilot. Bear in mind that customer service is your responsibility, so make sure you pay attention to customers' feedback once they get their orders. Being aware of the quality of the products, the quality of the printed designs, and the delivery times are key to maintaining a successful business. Don't be afraid to take a turn and change your POD provider if the one you chose doesn't fulfill your customer's expectations.
Now that you clearly know the steps you need to follow, let's mention some of the print-on-demand companies available in the market. There are many options all over the world, but you can start your research here:
One of the most popular POD providers today. Their famous 5 steps are Pick, Customize, Sample, Publish, and Relax! They have the largest global print network and more than 600 products available.
Learn more about Printify here!
Another of the most popular POD providers. They will print, pack, and ship the products to your customers, so you don't have to worry about the technical side of running a store. They have warehouses both in North America and Europe.
Learn more about Printful here!
Gooten makes it easy for brands to sell online by plugging into their print-on-demand smart supply chain. Their team will take you through the Gooten 7 steps to guarantee your success and help you scale efficiently and seamlessly.
Learn more about Gooten at https://www.gooten.com/
CustomCat provides over 300 unique products. All you have to do is upload designs and choose the products you want to apply them to. They will print and ship the products to your customers for you.
Learn more about CustomCat at https://customcat.com/
TeeChip handles the logistical side of e-commerce and empowers sellers to focus on creating and selling unique products. They only work with suppliers in US and Asia.
Learn more about TeeChip at https://teechip.com/
Teezily is a POD marketplace, which is a slightly different platform. The Teezily marketplace enables sellers to display their campaigns for sale for free, taking advantage of Teezily traffic.
You can learn more about their business model at https://www.teezily.com/
I personally recommend going through all of the websites carefully and analyzing the benefits of each. Some important points you should consider before making a decision are the quality of the products and product range, the cost and profit you can make with each, their locations and delivery times, and if they integrate with different e-commerce platforms and other applications that may be useful for your business. You can check this article if you're interested in this topic and need help choosing the best POD provider for your business.
If you have read this basic guide carefully and thoughtfully, I think you're ready to launch your own print-on-demand store! There's plenty of information online about this subject, so if you still feel insecure, do some extra research to dismiss all of your doubts!
Print-on-demand is a great market and has a growing demand for its products. There's plenty of room for hard-working people with fresh ideas, you just have to give it a chance!
Do you have a print-on-demand store already? How was your experience so far? Let us know in the comments below!