Etsy’s slogan, “Difference Makes Us,” perfectly encapsulates why it’s such an amazing platform for your print-on-demand business.
Print-on-demand, as a business model, relies on making people feel like they’re getting to express themselves exactly how they want. And when people browse Etsy, they’re already primed to be on the lookout for quirky, personalized items that speak to them.
So, it only makes sense for a print-on-demand business to leverage that audience. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to get started.
The first step is to create your Etsy store, and this is a pretty straightforward process. Once you’ve created an account, you can navigate to your profile and start the “Open a Shop” process. The on-screen instructions will guide you through everything you need to provide–you’ll have to create a listing when opening your store, which you can delete later.
The initial process doesn’t take long at all, and when you’re done, your shop will be ready for customization.
How you design your store plays an important role in how successful you’ll be in the long-run. Anything that lets you stand out from the crowd is key to success, and this is especially important on marketplaces like Etsy where there’s little differentiation between sellers.
So, think about how your shop title, banner, description, and shop icon all contribute to getting across your brand image. When you’re happy with how your store looks, you can move on to thinking about the niche you want to specialize in.
It’s not impossible to succeed with a general POD business rather than a niche store, but it is certainly a bit more difficult. A niche lets you focus your efforts on a smaller subset of the market, and you can become more familiar with what your customers want. You’ll also be able to fine-tune your advertising and marketing efforts much more effectively by working with a smaller defined market.
When picking a print-on-demand niche, it is important to understand the potential buyers and their needs. Researching the niche’s communities and trends on social media platforms, such as Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram, can be an effective way to get an idea of what people in the niche are looking for.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to test the niche by starting small with a few designs from top-selling products before committing more time and resources. Market research, such as using Facebook groups to target potential customers and staying informed about the niche via blogs and forums, can also be beneficial when designing products. Reaching customers can also be done by understanding already-existing ones and creating a buyer persona for the niche.
Finally, working with micro-influencers in the related community can help spread awareness about your business. Still, the most important factor for a successful POD niche is finding people with a genuine passion. For instance, think about TV shows like Friends or Seinfeld. Even decades later, communities around these shows are a great target for POD products because of their passion and nostalgia.
As you’re probably aware, having a reliable supplier is crucial for success in the POD business–and that’s no different when you’re selling on Etsy. Luckily, there are many companies that integrate directly with Etsy to provide POD fulfillment. If you’re happy with the product catalog that one of those options has on offer, it’s as simple as creating an account on that supplier’s site and integrating your account with Etsy.
Pricing is a major factor when it comes to choosing a supplier. There’s a lot of price variability among POD suppliers, so it is important to research and compare the costs of items across different partners. Print-on-demand profitability relies heavily on finding a reliable yet affordable POD partner.
Another important aspect is shipping costs–the cost of shipping can vary significantly among print-on-demand companies, so it is worth looking into who offers the best rate for delivery within your desired timeframes. And, of course, quality is an incredibly important factor that affects customer satisfaction, as it can impact repeat customers and reviews–especially if your orders are not up to standard.
Once you have your store set up, your partner selected, and all integrations ready to go, it’s time to start listing. Ideally, you’ll start with at least twenty designs that might appeal to your niche, and then start adding more as you have time to source them. Remove underperforming designs as needed, and work on marketing your store effectively.
Now that you have a better understanding of the print-on-demand store setup process, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. Keep in mind that selecting the right niche is crucial for success, and research is essential. Consider all of the factors we’ve discussed, such as trends on social media, existing communities, and buyer personas, and you’ll be able to get your Etsy store off the ground in no time.
Alternatively, you can start your own store on an e-commerce platform, such as Shopify. This will typically involve more work, but will ultimately let you keep more of the profits from every sale you make.