The print-on-demand model has been growing in popularity in recent years but it’s not too late to get in on the action. With the industry’s potential and the hundreds of niches left to be explored, there’s still plenty of opportunity for those looking to start their own POD business.
In fact, according to ComCap, the market for custom shirt printing alone is projected to go beyond $10 billion by the year 2025, worldwide. And with 100+ more products to choose from, the total market opportunity with this model is much, much bigger.
But how exactly do you make money with print on demand? Is this business model really as profitable as it seems? Let’s find out!
What Exactly Is POD?
Print-on-demand or POD is one of today’s most revolutionary business models. In the past, entrepreneurs who wanted to sell custom-printed products had to invest in large quantities of inventory upfront, which often resulted in costly storage fees and the risk of ending up with unsold products.
POD businesses, on the other hand, only print products when there’s an actual order, which means there’s no need to pre-produce and store inventory. This greatly reduces the financial risks involved in starting a custom-printing business.
How Does POD Work?
POD businesses work with third-party manufacturers like Awkward Styles who print and ship products on demand. When you receive an order from a customer, you simply send the design file to the printer and they’ll take care of the rest.
As soon as the order is placed, the print provider will print the design on the selected product and ship it directly to your customer’s doorstep.
What Makes Print-on-Demand Profitable?
Before we get into the different ways you can make money with POD, let’s first take a look at what makes this business model so profitable. After all, there are a lot of new business methods out there so what makes POD such a great option?
It Requires Little to No Upfront Investment
As mentioned, you can start your own POD business without having to pre-produce or store inventory. This also means that you won’t have to take out loans just so you can get the business up and running.
In fact, you can launch your very own POD store with just a few hundred dollars. All you need is a domain name, hosting, and a platform like Shopify to get started.
It’s Lets You Step Into the E-Commerce World With Little to No Risk
Alright, but what makes e-commerce so great? Well, around the globe, around 93.5% of internet users have made at least one online purchase in their lifetime (OptinMonster).
That’s nearly the entire online population!
With numbers like that, it’s no wonder that retail e-commerce sales were estimated to have reached $4.9 trillion by the year 2021 (Statista). And with a model like POD that lets you sell your products online with ease, there’s really no excuse not to get started.
It Makes Your Business Scalable
The scalability of a business is one of the most important things to consider when starting any type of company. After all, what’s the point of starting a business if it can’t grow and scale with you?
Fortunately, POD businesses are highly scalable. As your business grows and you receive more orders, you can simply increase your print volume to accommodate the demand. There’s no need to worry about storage space or pre-producing inventory because your chosen print provider will take care of everything for you.
How To Make Money With Print on Demand?
Now that we’ve identified several reasons why you should start your own POD business, let’s get into the how’s. Here are 10 foolproof ways you can make thousands with print-on-demand and get your brand in front of a larger audience in no time!
Find a Niche You’re Passionate About
Niche marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with your target audience and promote your products. By finding a niche you’re passionate about, you can better connect with the people who are most likely to buy your products.
For example, if you’re passionate about environmentalism, you can start a POD business that specializes in eco-friendly products and clothing that spreads awareness on certain environmental issues. This is a great way to not only make money with POD but also to make a difference in the world!
How To Find Your Niche
Finding your niche is about looking for a market segment that you can serve better than anyone else. According to Sprout Social, most businesses divide each market into different segments according to the following factors:
- Psychographics (values, interests, and attitudes)
- Demographics (income level, education, age, gender)
- Geographic location
- Quality level of product or service
To find your niche, start by making a list of interests, values, and attitudes that you think would make for a great target market. Then, research what other businesses are doing in that space and see how you can differentiate yourself.
Get To Know & Connect With Your Target Audience
Once you have established your niche, it’s time to get to know your target audience. After all, you can’t sell them anything if you don’t know what they want!
The best way to connect with your target audience is through social media. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram make it easy to reach out to potential customers and get to know them on a personal level.
Create Unique, Eye-Catching Designs They’ll Find Irresistible
With the help of your research and interactions with your target audience, you should have a pretty good idea of what kind of designs they would love to see on your products. Now it’s time to bring those designs to life!
Creating unique and eye-catching designs is one of the most important aspects of starting a successful POD business. And with Awkward Styles’ free mockup generator, you can easily upload your designs and try them out on a variety of products before you commit to anything.
Make Your Brand Relatable & Authentic
Building a business isn’t all about finding out how to make money with your product offerings. You also need to focus on developing a strong brand identity that will resonate with your target audience.
Your brand identity should be authentic and relatable, two qualities that will help you build trust with potential customers. Be transparent about who you are, what you stand for, and what your products can do for your customers.
Set Up an Online Store
With the help of e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy, you can easily set up an online store to sell your products and integrate it with your POD partner’s printing and fulfillment services.
This is a great way to get your products in front of a larger audience and start generating sales. Plus, setting up an online store is relatively simple and doesn’t require a lot of start-up capital.
Find a POD Partner You Can Trust
Your print and fulfillment partner is one of the most important aspects of starting a successful POD business. After all, they’re the ones who will be printing and shipping your products to your clients!
Hence, it’s important to take your time to find a POD partner you can trust. Do your research and read online reviews to find a partner that offers quality products, great customer service, and competitive prices.
Step Up Your Marketing Game
Your brand and products, no matter how great they may be, won’t sell themselves. You need to market your business and get the word out there if you want to succeed.
There are a number of great marketing channels you can explore, such as content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising. On Facebook for example, you can use paid FB Ads to target your ideal customer and get your products in front of them. This will allow you to reach a larger audience and boost your sales eventually.
Start a TikTok Page
With over a billion of monthly active users, TikTok is one of today’s most popular social media platforms, and it’s no surprise that lots of brands nowadays are using it to reach out to their target audiences.
In fact, almost half of the platform’s users said that they have purchased from brands or businesses they discovered on TikTok (Adweek). Furthermore, 62% of TikTok users said that they become curious about a certain brand when it features a song or sound they like on the app (TikTok).
All these figures show that TikTok presents a great opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs like you. And in case you’re wondering what kind of content you should post on your TikTok page, here are some ideas:
- Funny skits that feature your products
- How-to videos that show your products in action
- Creative visuals that highlight your brand’s unique selling points
- Product reviews and testimonials by local influencers
- Dance challenge videos that feature your products
Blog About Your Niche
Apart from marketing on social media platforms, you can also start your own blog about your niche. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 61% of online shoppers in the US have purchased products after reading about them on a blog. This just goes to show that blogging can be an effective way to market your products and business while you explore more about your niche.
Find a Community Related to Your Niche or Build One Your Own
Having a strong community is essential for any business, and this also holds true for businesses in the print on demand industry. A community can help you connect with other like-minded individuals, get feedback and advice on your products, and learn more about your niche. It can also be a great way to market your products and business. You can use your community platform to promote your latest products, offer discounts, and run marketing campaigns.
To find one, simply search for online groups or forums related to your niche on social media platforms or Reddit. If you can’t find any existing community that aligns with your interests, you can always build your own from scratch on platforms that your audience frequent, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Diversify Your Offerings
As mentioned, you can easily scale up your business with POD. Thus, don’t be afraid to release new collections and product lines as you go along. This will not only help keep your business fresh and exciting but also attract new customers and retain your existing ones.
Keep an Eye on Your Competition
In any industry, it’s important to keep an eye on your competition. This way, you can learn from their successes and failures and make changes to your own business accordingly.
When it comes to the print on demand industry, there are bound to be other businesses offering products similar to yours. So, make it a point to follow them on social media, sign up for their email newsletters, and visit their websites from time to time.
Get Your Own Designer & Scale Up in No Time
When your business starts to take off, you might find yourself struggling to keep up with the demand. If this happens, it might be time to get your own designer on board. On freelancing sites like Fiverr and 99designs, you can find plenty of talented designers from all over the world who can help you with your product designs for as low as $5.
Keep Tabs on Your Performance & Always Look for Ways To Improve
You wouldn’t know what areas you need to work on and what strategies you need to change or implement if you don’t keep tabs on your performance. This is why it’s a must to have a set of KPIs (key performance indicators) that you can track on a regular basis.
According to Shopify, here are some of the top KPIs for e-commerce you might want to note:
- Average order size
- Conversion rate
- Shopping cart abandonment rate
- Product affinity
- Revenue per visitor (RPV)
- Traffic Source
- Average click-through rate (CTR)
There are over 60 KPIs that you can track, so it’s important for you to identify which ones matter the most to your business.
When tracking your KPIs, always look for ways to improve your performance. For instance, if you notice that your shopping cart abandonment rate is high, look for ways to reduce it. You can do this by providing free shipping, offering discounts, or streamlining your checkout process.
Create & Make Money Today!
Print-on-demand is a great business model for anyone who aims to establish their own brand and business without breaking the bank. However, just like any other venture, it takes time, effort, and dedication to make it work.
Nonetheless, as long as you’re willing to put in the work and continually strive for improvement, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve success with your print-on-demand business. And once you find yourself ready to finally take the plunge, you can always start creating with Awkward Styles and we’ll take care of the rest!
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