How to Sell Custom Products with Print on Demand
Looking to establish a successful e-commerce venture? One of the most popular options is to launch a print on demand store. Among the many positives of print on demand is that it allows you to offer truly one-of-a-kind, custom products to your target audience. Given the outsized demand for original home decor, unique apparel, and individualized gifts, print on demand is potentially quite lucrative.
For those new to the field, though, it may be tough to know where to begin. In this article, you’ll learn just a few of the basics of selling custom products via the print on demand model.
Understand How Print on Demand Works
A good place to begin is by ensuring a thorough working knowledge of print on demand.
When you set up a print on demand store, you work with a fulfillment partner, who prints your original artwork, patterns, and designs on white label products. These products often include apparel and home decor, but may also include things like mugs, wall hangings, and more. Products are printed on a per-order basis, which means that, as the seller, you don’t have to maintain excess inventory. You also don’t have to worry about packing and shipping orders. Your fulfillment partner should handle all of that on your behalf.
Set Up Shop
As for establishing your print on demand store, there are a few basic steps every seller has to follow.
- Choose your designs. If you’re an artist, designer, or printmaker, then you probably already have some good ideas. If you’re not, don’t let it stop you from embracing the print on demand business model! There are plenty of online platforms, such as Guru, where you can connect with freelance artists and designers.
- Find a fulfilment partner. You’ll also need to choose the print on demand fulfillment partner you’re going to work with. We recommend shopping around, comparing the pricing offered to you by a few different vendors. Also ask about things like e-commerce integration, international shipping options, average delivery times, and quality control. Before choosing any fulfillment partner, request a couple of test products, just to ensure a high standard of quality.
- Choose a channel to sell. Your fulfillment partner works on the back end, but you’ll also need a customer-facing storefront. You may choose to sell from your personal website or from an established e-commerce platform, like Amazon, Etsy, or Shopify.
Build an Audience
Custom products can certainly be popular, but that doesn’t mean they sell themselves. Successful print on demand stores are bolstered by strong marketing and audience outreach strategies. Some general pointers:
- It’s usually best to focus on a niche audience, rather than chasing broader appeal. For example, if you find that your products tend to be especially popular among gamers or among sorority members, those are probably the demographic to court with your marketing dollars.
- Social commerce is a major opportunity for print on demand sellers. Partner with influencers, and be active on your own social channels, to provide customers with a seamless online shopping experience.
- Bringing in new customers matters, but customer retention can actually offer better bang for buck! Develop loyal, recurring customers by providing regular content updates on your website, by continually cycling through different products, and by offering special savings and discounts via your email newsletter.
Find Your Way as a Print on Demand Seller
To launch a profitable business selling custom products, the print on demand approach may be your best bet. Follow these tips and strategies to get started, and to position your e-commerce business for lasting success.