Print-on-demand is one of the most convenient and feasible models for new business owners and aspiring ones. Any person with the drive to share their ideas and establish their brand can quickly start a business with POD. Nevertheless, it would still entail you to make crucial and calculated decisions right from the very beginning. For a head start, here are the critical steps that you need to follow to achieve success.
Step 1: Choose your niche and products
Print-on-demand is a great way to make money, but it can be hard to know what niche to choose. How do you know which one will work best for you? Choosing the right niche before starting your print-on-demand business is vital because it’s the first step in making sure that you’ll have success.
POD doesn’t have a definite or main niche; so, sellers can sell anything from t-shirts, books, home items, or signage. If you’re not sure what niche to pick or if you’re hesitant about who would buy from you, we provided a guide below so you can choose what kind of items you want to sell and how much they should cost.
While choosing your product options and pricing strategy, keep in mind that one should find out which niche is more profitable. It can be costly to fail at this step, especially if you’re going for high-quality products. To help you easily figure out your niche and which products you can sell, here are some tips you might wanna consider:
- Research. Join online forums on platforms like Reddit, lurk on social media sites such as Instagram, and Twitter, and look for potential competitors on e-commerce platforms including Etsy, Shopify, and WooCommerce. Browsing these different platforms will help you find a niche you may be interested in and get a grasp of the market and the products you must sell.
- Know what sells. This becomes a lot easier once you’ve decided on what e-commerce platform you’re using. You may check the trends and rankings on your chosen site from time to time to know which shops and products are getting traction. You may also use tools such as eRank for Etsy to get more information on the current trends in your niche and the leading products and sellers.
- Stay in the loop. Trends in the online world change and evolve fast so you have to keep an eye on these, especially those that are related to your niche to make sure that what you’re selling is in.
Step 2: Choose a good print provider
Print-on-demand is a way for people to make money, but they need to choose a print provider first. Some print providers are good, but the best way to get the most out of print-on-demand is to choose a print provider that’s worth your time and money.
It’s crucial to find the right print provider to have a successful print-on-demand business. It is because once you make a deal, your selling system will only become as good as what your print provider can provide.
Here are some things you should look for:
- Quality products. The quality of the products you’ll be getting is paramount. They should have quality printing and materials that will withstand a lot of wear and tear. To guarantee the quality of the items you’ll be selling, you may order samples first and see them for yourself.
- Reliable shipping carriers. You have to make sure that the print provider you’ll be working with has stable shipping timeframes. You may also read reviews to find those that have low number of lost and damaged packages during transit.
- Fast production times. The time it takes for the order fulfillment can influence your customers’ satisfaction so be sure to find a print provider that can produce and ship your orders fast.
- Reasonable product costs and shipping rates. You shouldn’t have to pay a lot for small or large quantities of your product orders.
- Customization options. Some print providers will only offer one size or type of product, which is not what people want these days. Make sure you choose a company that offers versatility to cover a wider audience.
- Merchant support. Work with a print provider that can help you address your concerns any time. There are POD companies that offer support, 24/7 through different channels including email and live chat.
Step 3: Get your designs and website ready
Designs make or break a print-on-demand business. You can get free online or from your print provider. You can also create your own if you’re confident with what you have. Along with choosing a good design, it’s essential to choose colors that match and fonts easy on the eyes. These designs will also need to go to mockups since customers want to see the product preview before seeing the prints.
Investing time and money to have the right designer also creates an enormous return on investment. But keep in mind that your designers should know what print-on-demand is all about and understand how it works. Only then will they be able to create designs catered to print-on-demand buyers.
The design is one of the top factors why someone will decide whether they will buy from you or not. Your designs already need to look amazing, but they must also be functional for people to find what they want quickly without hassle. You need to come up with unique designs so that your customers can save time from finding good choices. If your designs are feasible, your print-on-demand buyers will only need a few clicks when purchasing.
Before putting your print-on-demand designs up for sale, you need to have your website ready. Correct information presented with pleasing aesthetics is the stepping stone of a print-on-demand business. If you can get help from experts to build your website, do so. Considering that you’re running a global business, there’ll be a lot of work to do for your site.
Step 4: Configure and upload your products, and keep your print provider in the loop
Your online store is almost complete! The next thing you’ll need to do is create the product page with its information to be visible in your online store. During this step, it’s important to use high-quality images and place keywords everywhere you can so you’ll get more visitors and consequently, earn a good profit.
Sync your website with your print provider’s to make sure that they are up to date on any new designs you offer, and so they’re notified whenever a customer makes an order. Your print provider does the heavy lifting from customization to shipping, so be sure to provide them with your online store’s information correctly to ensure the process goes smoothly from A-Z. When posting your designs or mockups, be careful about technical details, such as color options and image resolution.
Keep in mind that you should sync the information in your online store with your print provider’s website. It means that the graphic and the product lists should always match to avoid confusing and frustrating your customers.
Step 5: Focus on building your business and let your print provider handle the rest
Now that your store is ready, and you have someone to fulfill your orders, you can invest more energy into selling and promoting your products. This is the perfect time to start learning the ins and outs of social media advertising and creating ads on your marketplace platform. Of course, let’s not forget about the importance of SEO.
Thanks to POD, you’ll have more time on your hands, which means you can perfect the little, but very important, details that ensure your brand or business succeed. You can work on increasing your followers on social media, making new designs, engaging more with your customers, and creating an advertising budget.
Step 6: Check your performance, experiment, and make improvements
Now, your print-on-demand business is up and running! You can make it big in the print-on-demand industry with adequate testing before launching. It can help you avoid customer problems later because program issues or delays in shipping times are already addressed.
These things will cost you money and time, making every second count when optimizing time for marketing and advertising. If you skipped the testing stage, you could fix the issues later with added costs and labor.
And when you feel you’re ready…
Take bolder steps. What we’ve given you are just some of the things you must consider as you start your POD business. Don’t limit yourself and your business to these steps, and always try to look for things you can improve on. It’d also help keep an eye on the fast and ever-changing trends related to your niche.