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Print on Demand a Low-Risk Way to Sell Custom T-Shirts Online

by GK July 15, 2019
Print on demand business

Selling printed t-shirts, books, and other merchandise have become a popular business choice, especially for artists and entrepreneurs. Print on demand is a popular way of offering your audience with custom-made goodies like t-shirts, mugs, books and other items to get customers and increase sales. This is a powerful way to attract more visitors within the niche of your business. However, this type of product sourcing must have powerful marketing strategies and must be built on a high-performing e-commerce platform that supports to yield productive results.  If you are passionate about designing and printing creative stuff, print on demand is a lucrative business.

What is print on demand?

As discussed, print on demand is the business of selling creative designs printed on t-shirts, print on demand books, mugs, hats, or any household items. If you are creative enough, you can start your own print on demand business, too. The print on demand is a trending business idea that has brought a significant change in printing compared to the traditional way of printing. When it comes to traditional printing, it is done through bulk orders alone. However, with print on demand, the business saves money only by printing items as per the requirement.

Benefits of print on demand business

– No required to maintain an inventory. The design is kept digitally and the items are printed only after the order.

– The items can be printed individually and can be customized easily as well.

-The quality of digital printing is much better than traditional printing as it leverages modern technology.

-Once the item is ready with design, it can be sold easily worldwide.

-Making changes doesn’t cost you much as bulk printing is not involved.

Step by step guide to starting a successful print on demand service

Starting an online print on demand business might not cost you much, but you must give your time, hard work and dedication. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on starting a print on demand business with a little or no investment.

Pick a niche

Before you do anything else, first choose a niche that you are interested in and that is most likely to flourish. Some of the possible ideas include comics, vintage, sports, healthy living, 70’s vibe, movies, etc.

Your niche must be capable of attracting a wide audience. After selecting the niche, you can do research in google trends to find out how great it is. You can extend your research to Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, and Twitter as well.

If there is very little conversation happened in a certain niche. then it holds less potential for a print on demand business to build around it. Once the niche is finalized, choose the product ideas within the niche. Some of the most common and popular products include print on demand t-shirts, phone cases, posters, mugs, books, hoodies, pillows, etc. While there is a wide variety of choices, stick on to the market needs and ensure that the designs go along with the products and the niche. You can contact sellers to source the products, consider drop shipping as it is worth it.

Choose software

The next thing you need to do is to start a successful print on demand service is to choose the best designing software. You must choose software like Photoshop that supports both pixel and vector format. You can start with freebies initially, but if you are looking for offering professional services, it is highly recommended to use high-end software. Free ones come with limited features and less flexibility. Adobe Photoshop, WonderShare, Corel draw, Gravit, etc. are some of the software that helps you to kick-start off.

Build your store

This is another important step of your print on demand service. To showcase and sell your product to your target audience, you need an online store. Both your customers and drop shippers will connect with you through the website only. Creating an online store is a significant part and an elaborate process, but there are readymade e-commerce stores that can make the entire process hassle free and affordable. Once you have created your online website, you can showcase your products and you are already with the platform for customers and drop shippers to approach you.

Print on demand Business mistakes to avoid

If you are planning to launch a print on demand service or struggling to make sales out of your existing store, here are some of the common mistakes to look out for and how to correct them.

Expecting immediate success

While this is true with any other business, this can be crucial for your print on demand service. You have to actually commit a lot of time to drive sales out of your niche. Because there are already plenty of sites on the web which is already popular among the target audience and the competition you have to face is huge. To run a profitable print on demand store, it requires a lot of work and time and yes, patience, too.

Selling generic designs

One probable reason your print on demand business is not working well might be because of the generic designs you sell. As a print on demand industry is already so big, there is no shortage of basic designs. To start driving profit out of your business, you need to work on a specific niche, yes a very particular one that is not in demand right now but has the potential to go viral.

Trying to set unrealistic delivery time

As a print on demand service sells products that are literally printed as per the demand of customers, it will take a bit longer time to ship than readymade items. Yes, most customers crave for fast delivery, but setting an unrealistic timeline or print on demand delivery is the wrong approach.

Unclear terms and policies

We are living in an era where customers are very much demanding. They want to know and have the right to know what they will get before making the purchase. They also would like to know how long the process would take and what should be the next step if they are not satisfied with the products. Delivery time, shipping fees, and return policy if any, must be clearly mentioned on your website. Believe it or not, users are actually reading shipping terms, privacy policies and return procedures.

Investing in ads before your store is ready

Yes, you have to focus on marketing strategies to reach out to people and ads are an excellent way to increase your reach. But never invest in advertising until you have a full-fledged website set-up with all policies and terms in place and have enough designs to satisfy the demands of your customers.

Not collecting customer reviews

Product reviews actually help your new customers to understand your products, it’s quality, your services, and gain trust in your brand. It is important to collect reviews from the customers who have purchased from you. If you are not asking for reviews, you are missing out on plenty of future sales.

You can either follow up via mail or link to your review section on the order page. It is also a great idea to follow up with the customers to know more about the customer experience. This becomes crucial, especially if you are new in the industry.

Traditional print on demand business models require large financial investments and takes up a whole lot of time to set up and launch. However, with print on demand business with less inventory handling, quick processing, etc., it is an ideal option that comes with huge potential for success. All you need is any good designing software and a web store to kick off your business. If you have got passion, creativity, and skills to design, you are all ready to go.

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