Print On Demand: The Perfect Avenue To Start A Low-Risk Online Store

Print On Demand: The Perfect Avenue To Start A Low-Risk Online Store

The concept of print on demand is a handy solution for artists, writers, and designers, who look to selling physical products as a means to monetize their creativity.

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Selling T-shirts, posters, backpacks, books, and many other such articles with a personal touch is a great idea. However, the traditional route of buying and holding inventory isn’t a feasible option. Print on demand comes into play in such cases.

What is Print On Demand?

The process of working with a supplier to customize white-label products (like Tshirts or baseball hats) with your own designs and selling them on a per-order basis under your brand is the concept behind “Print On Demand”.

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You pay for the product only after having sold it, which doesn’t require you to hold any inventory yourself. Plus, everything from printing to shipping, is taken care of by your supplier once the sale is made. After having set up everything, your order fulfillment is just a few clicks away from a sale.

Pros Of Print On Demand Services

  • Trial and testing – Prin-on-demand is a great way to test a business idea or a new product line in an existing business to avoid the risk of buying inventory
  • Monetizing an existing audience – Content creators like social media influencers or YouTubers can use print on demand services to monetize the audience they’ve built without fulfilling orders themselves
  • Original products for a niche – Artists or designers can focus on designing apparel or other products for a specific audience in the likes of gamers or TV show lovers
  • Easily print one-off items – Print on demand can be used for multiple products like books, bags, shoes, t-shirts, laptop skins, clocks, phone covers, mugs, etc.
  • Easy product creation – Once the design is ready, the product can be created and put up for sale within minutes
  • Shipping outsourced – Order fulfillment is the responsibility of your supplier. All you need to take care of, after the sale, is customer service
  • Low investment and risk – Since you don’t need to hold any inventory, there’s hardly any investment or risk involved 

Cons Of Print On Demand Services

  • Lower margins – Since you aren’t buying items in bulk, your costs would be higher, and also you’d be spending a considerable amount with your print on demand service provider
  • Lesser control – Shipping costs vary from product to product and can get complicated. Your control over creating a standout unboxing experience is also reduced
  • Limited customization – You need to weigh base costs, printing techniques, available sizes, and customization options while considering the products to customize, all of which will also depend on the product and the vendor

Tips For Starting A Low-Risk Print On Demand Business

As mentioned earlier, print on demand gives you the privilege of not having to manage your own inventory. However, there are a few considerations to be made if you are looking to start a print on demand business.

We’ve curated a list of tips that might help you build your print on demand business.

Tips For Starting A Low-Risk Print On Demand Business

#1 Strategize your Shipping

Customer satisfaction is highly dependent on how they receive the products they buy. Even though you aren’t directly taking care of shipping, there are a few things you could strategize to improve their experience.

Whenever you are intimating the shipping time to the customers, make sure you’re also taking into consideration the printing time, which could add 2 to 4 days to fulfillment time.

Create a FAQ page or a separate shipping page, where you can clearly explain all the terms of your shipping well to the customers. The more upfront and transparent you are about the shipping; the better the confidence you build amongst your potential customers.

You can also consider absorbing the shipping costs into your retail price, partially or completely. It’s a known fact that surprising shipping costs added during checkout increase cart abandonment.

 Besides, free shipping has its own benefits:

  • Even if offered in specific regions, free shipping acts as a sales sweetener providing customers an incentive to buy
  • Conditional free shipping like setting a minimum purchase limit to acquire free shipping encourages customers to buy more products and at the same time helps you achieve a better shipping rate by shipping products together
  • Free shipping gives the necessary satisfaction to customers, and you can use it to justify longer wait times in fulfillment

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#2 Order Samples

Quality assurance is the topmost priority when using print on demand services online. The possibility of something getting lost in translation or a modification in the design from what you saw on screen to the printed product is high.

You need to ensure that the physical product you ordered looks and feels exactly how you intended it to be and the perfect way to do that is to be your own customer.

You can use sample discounts or free shipping options to buy the products yourself and experience first-hand what it’s like to receive your own products.

One of the other benefits of ordering samples is that you can take some really cool pictures to spruce up your Instagram marketing. 

#3 Niche Marketing

The key to building a successful print on demand business is to target a particular niche. If you’re planning to design and sell simple products like t-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, etc. it’s always better to define the audience you are targeting.

Otherwise, you’ll just get lost into the vast pool of generic business with very fewer results. For example, if you target fitness enthusiasts or cat owners, you can design specific products that are in demand and incur lower costs to acquire customers by maximizing your profits since your targeting decisions would be precise.

You can also build an audience of your own through target marketing, to whom you can always sell your newer products in the future. A few ideas for that are:

  • Starting an Instagram account and creating content to build a follower base amongst your target audience. Building relationships with them would help you in converting your sales
  • Running Facebook ads and targeting the interests of your niche customer base and using low-cost ads to analyze which designs are resonating with your audience
  • Collecting emails from visitors so that you can continue marketing it to them for free through email marketing
  • Collaborating with social media influencers to reach out to an unexplored customer base

#4 Create Mockups

Many print on demand services help you create your own mockups, where you can show your products in the flesh. They also provide mockup templates that you can use to bring your products to life.

Mockups increase the chances of people buying your products as they get a better perspective and it’s worth spending a few extra bucks on.

Final Thoughts

Print on demand services provide an accessible source of inventory for beginners and even existing entrepreneurs who want to start a side-business with a new product line. It allows them to try an idea before going all-in.

Once you have tried something new and you see positive results from it, you can start holding inventory and increase your margins, or also continue these services and focus on growing your business even more.

To conclude, print on demand gives you the opportunity to put your talents to good use and start up a low-risk online business with it.

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