Think of something that never goes out of style, and one that may come to mind is t-shirts! Trends may come and go, but with tees, it’s a simple matter of prints, and the print possibilities are as good as endless.
If you’re passionate about t-shirts, a budding or aspiring artist who wants to sell their prints on t-shirts online then print on demand, or POD, is a business model in ecommerce that allows you to do this. With print on demand, you provide your customers with custom creations and designs without having to worry about needing an entire warehouse to store inventory or the upfront cost of stocking up on products that might get dusty on your shelf.
When someone comes to visit your online shop, places an order, and purchases an item, the order will be forwarded to your third-party POD supplier who will take care of all the printing, packaging, and shipping for you.
If you are interested in starting an ecommerce business specifically in print on demand tees, then you’re in the right place and this article is for you. We will let you in on the advantages of launching a print on demand business, and provide you with tips on how to get started.
The Print on Demand Advantage
1. Easy to start
Let’s begin with the most ideal aspect of running a print on demand t-shirt business—it’s easy to start. This is very appealing for those new to ecommerce and it is perfect for those with little business experience. You could very well launch your POD business on Shopify and all the resources you will need is your computer, steady internet connection, and determination to succeed.
Unlike traditional business models of the past, you won’t need to gather up a large capital to build your storefront or rent a location and buy and print your merch yourself.
You can just forget about things like inventory, physical goods, and shipping—this is of no concern to you. Much of the details will be worked out by your third-party supplier, so you don’t have to worry about printing out tees yourself at the risk of not selling them.
When you are running an online print on demand venture, your products will be printed once they are sold.
2. Start something unique and creative
Maybe you already have some great designs or a few awesome t-shirt ideas. Running a print on demand business will be a great way for you to express some of your ideas and bring to life your custom creations. If you’re a creative person or a graphic artist, then print on demand should be fun for you. However, print on demand can also be done by working with freelancers for designs; you can always buy pre-made designs or use a vast multitude of copyright-free images.
A print on demand business is also great if you already have an existing brand or business, like for YouTubers and influencers who want to provide branded merchandise for fans and followers.
3. Automated process
Who wouldn’t want a business that virtually runs itself? Another thing about print on demand is that the process can be fully automated on Shopify, from processing orders, and printing, even to your marketing campaign. You would be running a fully automated shop that is open 24/7 all the days of the year.
How to Start
Now that we have mentioned the advantages of print on demand, you may have decided to start your own business. Here are five simple steps for you to launch your own print on demand business on Shopify.
1. Choose your product niche
Choosing a niche is a very important step that you have to consider with care. Having a niche will help you stand apart from your competition and distinguish your business and brand from the rest. There are many ways of finding the right niche to focus on.
The first is to consider your hobbies, passion, and interests. The ideal choice is to settle for a niche that already has an established consumer base. You want to choose a niche that a lot of people are passionate about, a niche that gets people excited.
For instance, things related to all-time favorite books or video games, or maybe you can specialize in printing funny quotes about beer on different types of merchandise. It’s all up to you.
There are a number of tools available online for you to track the popularity of your design ideas. Tools like Google Trends or Facebook’s Audience Insights are powerful analytics tools that will help you track the rise and fall of various product niches using keyword searches. It can also help you track the level of activity of your potential consumer base.
2. Choose your designs
Now that you have chosen your profitable niche, it’s time to get your designs! If you have your own designs in mind now is the time to let your creative side flourish. But if you’re not, you can always hire the help of freelancers from places like Upwork, Freelancer, Fiver, Outsourcely, and other trusted platforms.
If you are the creative type and you really do want to go on ahead with your own designs, then you can go ahead and modify some royalty-free premade designs from platforms like Creative Market.
3. Get your Shopify Website ready
Go to Shopify and start your free trial and start setting up shop. Shopify provides you with templates to set up your store and make the process of store design and development relatively easy and highly customizable. This is a very user-friendly and uncomplicated way to set up your shop, and no experience with coding is necessary. You also won’t need to shell out any cash during this process as building your Shopify store is pretty much easy and free on a trial period.
Take some time to put some thought into your Shopify store setup and designs. You want a store that looks legitimate and trustworthy.
4. Install a print on demand app on Shopify
POD apps are what will automate the process for you. These apps will process your orders and relay them to your suppliers automatically.
These apps also help you create product mockups. Yes, you have your designs, but your customers are going to actually want to see what your designs will look like on your t-shirts. You will need an application that will allow you to choose from different products and colors, an application that will allow you to add your artwork onto the product, and then import them for customer viewing on your store. This will help you build a catalog of items to sell.
Listed below are some of the apps that you might want to integrate to your Shopify store.
Printful is an on-demand, online printing, fulfillment, and shipping app. They have up to 200 products for you to customize with your own designs, from pillow cases to t-shirts, pillows, hoodies, and more. They also have an easy-to-use mockup generator for you to feature your designs on their available surfaces. They also manage inventory and shipping for you. On Printful, there are no set up fees, they only charge when a customer buys from your shop.
Printful is currently considered the most popular print on demand service. It integrates seamlessly with your Shopify store and handles all your orders and shipping with their automated process.
Printify is another on demand manufacturer and a great app for your Shopify print on demand drop shipping business. Today, there are over 50,000 stores that use Pritify’s services. Much like Printful, you can design and customize products with your designs.
On Printify, you can select from hundreds of items, and create products with your own designs. They also manage an automated order production, and ship out your products with your branding directly to your consumers.
Pixels is another popular Shopify app for your shop that offers an automated order, print, and shipping services. They are the largest print on demand company in the world; they currently have 15 manufacturing centers located in 5 different countries
You can add hundreds of print on demand products to your Shopify store within seconds. The great thing about Pixels is their timely service. Pixels manufacture your products in 3-4 days, drop ships directly to your buyers, and notify you whenever the process is completed.
Teelaunch is another leading print on demand fulfillment company. They boast production facilities in several countries all over the world for you to be able to sell from anywhere to anywhere. It is an uncomplicated app for you to create design mockups and then have them show up live on your store. The Teelaunch system also creates fulfillment orders automatically, and prints, and ships for you. Teelaunch also keeps its prices low, so that you can make your profits and enjoy their service hassle-free.
Market Your Shop
Spread the word about your store by creating business profiles on social media and showcase your brand and your products. You can create your own hashtags, hire an influencer on social media to boost brand awareness, or use paid ads on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to make sure that when you do get sales to add your customers’ reviews and testimonials to your site! Testimonials are another effective marketing strategy, because people tend to make purchases based on positive shop reviews.
Back to You
Now that you know the basics of the print on demand business, it’s all on you to get yourself started on a successful POD venture. This is one of the best ways for you to get into the drop shipping business with very little investments, and if done right, could have you running a very profitable, life altering business.
Get in Touch
At Ecommerce Pro, we help entrepreneurs and business owners build better and more successful ecommerce businesses. Have a question or a project in mind? Get in touch with us today!