Print-on-demand (POD) is a great way to test a business idea without taking on the huge risks of buying and storing inventory. This business model is also an excellent side hustle.
You can start selling personalized products in minutes with close to zero money upfront. Starting a POD business without capital can be challenging, but you can do it with a little resourcefulness and creativity.
POD companies provide complete e-commerce fulfillment solutions, including product sourcing and stocking, printing of products, packaging materials, and shipping of orders to customers. All you have to do is create eye-catching designs, list your products, and sell them online—a POD company will take care of the rest.
You can privately label products such as tote bags, t-shirts, and hats, and even set up custom jewelry dropshipping. You only pay for products when customers order. There are no storage costs with the POD model, which makes it a great option if you are low on startup capital.
Here are some essential steps that will help you build a successful POD business:
After figuring out what you want to sell, nail down your target audience–this will help you decide which POD platform to use and what design to create. There is an abundance of print-on-demand research tools available online.
Using Google Trends is a great starting point. This tool allows you to find keywords and compare their popularity over time by location and interest. You can also explore related topics and search queries from Google for free.
Trendhunter is a fantastic tool for finding inspiration. The ‘Ideas’ tab contains a wealth of articles on a wide range of topics and products, while the ‘Insights’ tab offers a paid option to view consumer behavior metadata compiled through artificial intelligence and crowd-screening techniques.
There are many free POD sites to choose from. Whichever POD company you select will play a vital role in the success of your business; therefore, you need to take the time to make the right decision.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your designs are if the product quality and delivery times are poor. Printed products, for example, can fail if your design rubs off easily. Also, if delivery times are long or products arrive late, it can be challenging to build a strong brand reputation and retain customers.
When choosing a POD company, the average lead time should be considered. Ideally, you want customers to receive their products within a week or less after placing their order.
Using simple, clean designs is usually best for POD products. Too many colors or intricate details can be challenging to reproduce on certain products and may not look as good when printed, so try out different styles and techniques when creating your designs. Experimenting with different approaches can help you find the best design for you and your business. Make sure to use clear, crisp, high-quality images so that they will look good when printed.
Get feedback from friends, family, and customers on your designs, as this will help you identify areas for improvement and ensure that your designs appeal to your target audience. If you do it yourself, use professional-looking designs using graphic design software such as Inkscape, BoxySVG, GIMP, or Canva. These software solutions and apps offer a broad range of features and tools for creating and modifying designs, including adding text, shapes, and graphics.
Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok to promote your POD products. Engage with your audience and try to build a loyal customer base.
There are also free marketing tools available to help you with search engine optimization (SEO). SEO for print-on-demand businesses is an effective strategy to help your site appear at the top of Google search pages, create brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and sell your products. These tools include Ahrefs Keyword Generator, Ubersuggest, Answer The Public, and Google Keyword Planner.
Partnering with influencers in your field is also a great way to introduce your products to new audiences. You can find influencers on sites such as BuzzSumo and NinjaOutreach and offer them free products in exchange for reviews or promotions on their social networks.
Finally, when it comes to the best tools and techniques for growing and scaling your new e-commerce brand, Skup’s got you covered. We’ll help get you started with our customized training resources and coaching sessions–reach out today, and watch your online store skyrocket!