Building your ownbrand and online store can be challenging yet rewarding especially once you see your first order come in. However, one of the most overlooked, and important facets of owning an online business is product selection. While everyone can just simply sell custom shirts, or mugs, it’s important to have a range of products that will appeal to your target market and keep them coming back for more.
So, how exactly do you choose which print-on-demand products to sell in your store? Well, in this blog post we’ll go over a few key factors to consider that will help make the decision process a little easier for you. Let’s get started!
Why Narrow Down Your Product Selection?
Before we get into the tips and factors you should take into account when choosing products, it’s first important to understand why you should be narrowing down your product selection in the first place.
The most common mistake new store owners make is they try to sell everything and anything under the sun in an attempt to make more sales. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one.
It’s important to have a focus and target a specific audience with your product selection. Not only will this make it easier for you to market your products, but it will also help build a brand and identity for your store.
Additionally, by having a smaller range of products at first, you can focus on quality and ensure each product is up to your standards. This is important because it’s the product quality that can make or break your brand.
So, with that being said, let’s get into the tips!
Identify Your Niche and Be Sure About It
As you build your brand and your business, you probably also think about the market you plan to target and the purpose of your venture. This is often called your niche, and it’s an important aspect of any business–big or small.
According to Sprout Social, marketing to a certain niche is much easier and more effective than trying to appeal to a large, general audience. When you focus on a niche, you can easily zero in on needs, wants, and specific pain points. Thus, this will help you identify not just the first few print on demand products to sell, but also any content or marketing strategy you’ll need to use.
Look for Opportunities and Potential Demand
Once you have identified the niche or specific market segment you want to target, make sure that there is indeed an opportunity and potential demand for the products you want to sell. The best way to do this is by conducting some market research.
For example, if you want to sell leggings aimed at new moms, a quick Google search can tell you pretty quickly if there’s potential demand for such a product. You can also look at sites like Amazon and Etsy to see if there are already similar products being sold and how well they’re doing.
Get To Know Your Customer Base
Since we’re on the subject of market research, it’s important to also get to know your customer base as best as you can. This will help you determine what type of products they might be interested in and their buying habits.
Build a Customer Persona
Building a consumer persona or avatar is like putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. Once you have a good understanding of who they are, what their needs and wants are, and what their pain points are, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about the products you sell.
Know Their Must-Haves
Now, this is the fun part–figuring out what products your customers just can’t live without. This will obviously vary depending on your niche, but there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help narrow things down.
- How do they start their day?
- What do they do on their commute?
- How do they wind down at night?
- Do they have any special interests or hobbies?
While some of these questions may seem pretty silly, you’d be surprised at how helpful they can be in terms of product and marketing ideas.
For example, if you’re targeting new moms, thinking about how they start their day can give you some great ideas for products that could make their lives just a little bit easier. Maybe they need a hands-free pumping bra or a cute and functional diaper bag.
On the other hand, if you’re targeting working young adults, thinking about their commute can give you some ideas for products that would make that time just a little bit more bearable. Maybe they need a better way to carry their files and laptops on the subway, or a cute and stylish tote bag they can use both as a work bag and a weekend bag.
The options are endless, but the point is to really get inside your customer’s head and figure out what they need and want.
Assess the Market Demands and the Competition
One of the most common print on demand products are t-shirts and other clothing items. Sure, there will always be a demand for these, but are you sure there isn’t already too much competition in that space, especially in your market?
What Products Are Already Out There?
When you’re looking for print on demand product ideas, it’s important to consider what’s already out there. This will help you assess the competition and figure out what you need to do to stand out.
For example, let’s say you’re planning to target gamers with your print on demand products. A quick search on Amazon shows that there are already a ton of t-shirts, hoodies, and other clothing items with gaming-related designs.
So, if you want to be successful in this space, you’ll need to either find a way to create better designs or offer something that no one else is.
Consider Your Possible Unique Selling Points
Now that you know what products are already out there, it’s time to start thinking about what can make your products different. If you decide to use the same product as the competition, you’ll need to find a way to make yours stand out.
Some possible unique selling points for print on demand products include:
- Designs that are unique or hard to find
- High-quality materials
- Sustainably sourced materials
- A cause or message you’re passionate about
- Customization options
Determine Your Budget & Profitability
Of course, while you want to find print on demand product ideas that will be popular with your customers, you also need to make sure they’re actually profitable. Since the print on demand model does not require you to order large quantities of products upfront, what you only need to consider is how your target customers will react to your prices. Will they be able to afford it plus shipping?
To give you a clearer idea of the existing market prices and how much you can charge for your products, here are the common price ranges of some of the most popular print on demand products:
- Shirts- Starts $7 to $12.
- Hoodies- Starts $17 to $27.
- Bottoms- Starts $16 to $20.
- Tote Bags- Starts $8 to $15.
- Facemasks- Starts $6 to $7.5.
- Mugs- Starts $8 to $11.
- Posters- Starts $5 to $9.
- Blankets- Starts $16 to $18.
Find a POD Service Provider You Can Work With
So you’ve figured out what product you want to sell and you’ve done your research on the competition. Now, it’s time to find a print on demand service provider you can work with.
Here are a few tips that should help you find the right provider:
Check Out Their Product Catalog and Offerings
While you may have already finalized the products you want to sell, it’s still a good idea to see what other options are available. After all, you never know when you might want to add new products to your store.
Compare Pricing and Quality
As with any product, you’ll want to find a balance between pricing and quality. Obviously, you don’t want to sacrifice quality for the sake of a lower price, but you also don’t want to offer products that are way beyond your customers’ budgets.
Get Started With a Small Selection of Products
Once you have chosen a POD partner to work with, you can finally start creating your mockups and launching your first product line. But instead of going all out from the get-go, it’s always best to start small. This way, you can test the waters and see how your products perform before investing too much time and money (Yep, you’ll still be spending a little for your designing and marketing efforts.).
Expand Your Product Range Gradually
Sales looking good? Congrats! Perhaps it’s time to start expanding your product range and add new items to your store. But even then, it’s best to take things slow and only add a few products at a time. For example, if the custom crop tops you’re selling are a hit, why not add custom tank tops to your store next?
Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on your competition and see what new products they’re offering. This way, you can always stay one step ahead.
And That’s a Wrap!
Choosing the products you want to sell in your print-on-demand store can be both fun and challenging. But as long as you keep your target audience in mind and offer products that are both high-quality and reasonably priced, you’re sure to find success.
And speaking of high-quality, reasonably priced POD products, be sure to check out our catalog! Who knows, you might just find your next bestseller. 😉