Print on demand (POD) is often considered to be a canvas that monetizes your creativity. It means that if you have creativity, you can sell it with some additional marketing and designing skills.
We live in an age where we value our creativity and skills more than anything. The concept of POD makes the business more lucrative and appealing to designers, marketers, entrepreneurs or simply those who just want to start their own business.
POD has become a popular term in the world of online businesses these days. Many of us know what it is but the majority of us don’t know how to do it or how to even enter the business.
Below you will see a guide on how you can start your own POD business. POD business will require your time, effort and passion, so if you’re prepared, the following steps will help you kickstart your own business.
However, before that, let’s go through some advantages and benefits that POD offers –
- Zero production cost – No hassle with the production at all
- Zero inventory cost – No production means no inventory cost as well
- Shipping of products – The shipping is done by the suppliers themselves
- Low risk – In POD, you can easily run, test and experiment on new products as the investment is really low
- Testing new business ideas – You can test new business or product ideas for future prospects without any risk of production loss or inventory cost.
Step 1: Researching niche
Picking a specific niche and working on it is the first step of your POD journey. This is very important because based on this; the following steps will take place. Picking a niche means picking an area of interest where you want to work.
For example, you have chosen the niche “Nursing”, now what you have to do is learn everything about nursing. You have to “live in the niche” to learn the inside and outside of it. Only this way, you will gather information and knowledge.
As we’ve said, this is important because, if you are not comfortable or interested in the niche. You won’t be able to work with it. There are some other factors you have to take into account, for example, if you do not follow the trend, you won’t know what your customer is interested into.
Let’s say you have picked a niche of your interest, however, products that belong in that niche don’t sell well. In this case, your business will be heavily affected. That is why it is extremely important to do market and product research thoroughly.
If you select multiple niches to work on, then divide the niche and research on them individually. Talk to the people who belong to the niche, look into their community, and ask them what sort of design and products they like. There are plenty of ways to learn such information.
Moreover, if you are targeting special days and holidays as your niche of interest, then start working on them beforehand. This will give you the opportunity to promote early and let your audience know what products you are bringing for them in regards to that special day.
Step 2: Generating Design Idea
After you have selected a niche to work on, it’s time for you to generate design ideas which you will eventually sell. Now, if you are already a skilled designer, you will hold a huge advantage over your competitors.
Most of the time, you will have to create your own design from scratch or modify/upgrade existing designs to avoid copyright infringement. Your customers will never expect a copy of a design in your store.
They will always choose the original one. Moreover, directly copying is illegal as well. The genuine idea that comes from the mind holds the strongest value in your business. In terms of designs, complex designs won’t ensure you higher sales.
In fact, the top-selling designs in POD are very simple and elegant. Therefore, if you think you have moderate skills with good creativity, you are more likely to earn success here. However, you do need to connect with your target market, which are your customers.
Since POD relies heavily on creating and selling designs, it is important to know from where you can generate these ideas. It’s not like an idea will pop into your head just by sitting around. You have to do some research to generate these ideas.
Below we are giving a list from where you can generate your design ideas –
- Google Images
- Stock Photo Sites
These sites are considered to be the inspiration for creating designs. These sites are rich with existing designs and design ideas. You can use different keywords to look for specific designs. Basic SEO knowledge can help you a lot in this case.
Keywords and specific niches are categorized in most of the sites, so it becomes easier for a user to find their desired image and image ideas. Another way you can generate design ideas is by using spy tools.
Spy tools are also used to identify the already popular designs that are selling hot in the market. It is a shortcut if you do not feel like using your own design for your POD business.
Step 3: Setting up the Store
Setting up your online store is the easiest of the three steps we have mentioned because here your e-commerce merchants will do most of your work. The hard part here is to pick the right POD platform.
There are many POD platforms out there but some of the best are RedBubble, GearLaunch, Printful, etc. These are the best POD platforms that provide the best of the service. Picking any of the top platforms will ensure your security and they will assist you in a lot of work.
The only thing you have to do here is to buy a domain and select a fulfillment service provider (POD e-commerce merchants). Starting from the designing to preparing your theme and everything, your service providers will do the rest of the work.
Step 4: Promote your Store
No matter how good your designs are or how well decorated your store is, it will remain unknown to the customers if you do not promote it. In the beginning, we have talked about two important POD skills.
One was designing and the other was marketing. Marketing is a crucial part of the POD business. The basic idea here is to promote your product and store, which will lead to maximized sales
You have to let the customers know that you exist. Among thousands of online stores in this huge online ecosystem, you have to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Marketing techniques are a core part of every business venture; POD is no exception. You can work your marketing techniques under two kinds of traffic –
- Free Traffic
- Paid Traffic
If you are someone new in the business or with low investment, free traffic can help you to get customers and generate sales. However, you have to give in many hours of time and effort in it.
Social media platforms are the perfect place to implement a free traffic strategy. These are the places with the most amounts of leads. Social media channels like Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, etc. can generate you a good amount of leads.
You create social media accounts and start building your authority. This will take a while because it takes time to build trust, credibility, and authority in the minds of the customers.
You need to use these platforms to increase your brand awareness and gather customers. Since there are so many platforms, you don’t really have to use all of them. Just use the ones that match your business model.
Various types of advertisements boosting fall under the paid traffic category. If you have a good enough investment, you can go with this method.
Your store and products will be advertised in various places depending on which kind of advertisement you chose. You can take the help of SEO to learn which keywords are hot pick among the customers. Afterward, you can create content according to that information and place your advertisement.
Furthermore, customer reviews, user reviews, user comments are also important for the promotion of your business.
Sometimes an individual review from another customer is powerful and credible enough to generate sales than your own promotional strategies. They work as testimonials for other customers to follow. Customers tend to believe other customers most of the time than any marketing techniques.
Step 5: SELL
The final step of your POD business is simply to sell! The best thing about working in POD platforms is that you don’t have to bear any production or inventory cost.
After you have followed the last five steps, you simply upload those designs in your preferred POD platform. Your fulfillment service providers (POD platform employees) carry on the rest of the work. You simply sit back and wait for your products to sell. Your POD platform will take care of your –
- Payment Gateway
- Customer Support
- After Sales Support
- Refund Policy
It’s always the right time to start a business, especially when that industry is expanding and evolving. Print on demand is one those businesses where you can constantly learn and then monetize on those learning.
That is because when you are doing POD, you are always either doing market research or designing the next big design. If you are passionate about learning, exploring your creativity and work, then POD can be the perfect way to start your own business.