You’ve pondered over starting your own print-on-demand (POD) business. After all, it is a great way to earn some passive income and work from home. And as an online business, it’s also very convenient since there’s no minimum order quantity. One of the essential parts of any POD business is product creation. Finding a product that you’re passionate about and that your target market will appreciate and patronize is just as important as building your online store.
With e-commerce businesses having a 19.6% share of global retail sales and personalized gifts having a significant bump in interest, your success depends on the different types of products you choose to sell. Luckily, with the right choices, your business won’t just grow; it’ll thrive!
But before we jump in, let’s take a quick peek at what the print-on-demand business model is all about.
Know your POD!
Print-on-demand businesses work just like the name implies; you print a design on a medium of your choice to fulfill customer orders! The product is made by your supplier, who then ships that product to your customer.
Like dropshipping, its low barrier of entry makes it an excellent choice for newbie entrepreneurs who want to dip their toes in an industry. It is also an e-commerce business model, meaning that you don’t have to have a physical location. You just need a functioning website, and you’re all set.
Choosing a product
When choosing a product, it’s important to know your niche. A niche is a small slice of the market that matches your interests or expertise. In this blog, we’ll tackle a whole range of products for you to get your hands on to further connect with your niche, make your customers happy, and drive consistent sales.
Note: This isn’t only for people who are just beginning their businesses; it’s also helpful for anyone who wants to branch out with new products.
T-shirts are an easy choice for your print-on-demand business. According to statistics, the t-shirt industry’s revenue stood at $43.47 billion this 2022, with expected annual growth of about 3.90%. This makes t-shirts a ripe market to enter.
It’s a great business to be in because they are one of the most customizable pieces of clothing! A lovely print that fits current trends will surely sell with your beloved customers!
2. Phone cases
A mobile phone is an essential tool for the modern person. Phone cases not only protect phones from damage, but they also reflect their owners’ individuality.
This product offering is a great way to tap into the phone market, as customized phone cases are always in demand. Offer your customer an appealing and aesthetic piece of art for their phone, and they’ll surely come back to you.
Writing is an integral part of everyone’s life. It helps us remember things and communicate with others. Plus, your handwriting allows you to show others how beautiful your words are.
A print-on-demand product line centered around personalized stationary tools will help build a loyal customer base, as these are always in demand. Be it notebooks or journals, a personalized piece of record-keeping will go a long way for your business-customer relationship!
4. Posters / Wall Art Prints
Whether you create digital art you want to print or your goal is to cater to pop culture fans who wish to display their affection and support through printed wall art, the POD business model will work just fine for you.
The ultimate show of being an ultra fan of popular culture. Posters give so much attitude to the room that having one is not enough. Custom-made posters, however, are a gift that would keep on giving. The classic canvas prints for wall decor can suit any home or office. Plus more print formats such as fine art paper and metal to choose from. Partnering with a supplier with high-quality print and a fast turnover, like Lumaprints, would make customers come back for more and more.
A warm and cozy piece of thick fabric that hugs you to keep you warm. These are the perfect gift for a client who wants to let them know they are there for that person. Not to mention that even the most basic hoodie outfit can spin you a new look!
Customized hoodies would also target the younger generations, making it easier to sell even more with such a broad demographic profile to choose from. With interest in customized prints for hoodies on the rise, a quality and aesthetically pleasing offering for your target audience would surely make your print-on-demand business a hit on the digital block!
A mug might seem like a boring gift. But custom-made mugs make great gifts because they allow you to connect with the person who receives them and show them how much they mean to you!
They have been a popular choice for many POD businesses as people, and sometimes companies, find a way to show that they care about an individual or a group of people.
As interest in custom mugs skyrocketed, a personalized line of mugs in different sizes would sell like hotcakes.
Pendants and bracelets can be personalized and customized too. That’s where your POD business comes in, to allow your customers to show their loved ones some love. A well-designed pendant would sell like candy at the right time and, if marketed correctly, would net your business big profits!
Interest in shoe customization has never been this high, but with people getting into shoe collecting, a few personalized pieces would definitely make those collections pop!
Customized shoes are a part of a bold and trendy outfit; paired with the following product in the line, your customer would bang on with their lives with these trendy fashion statements.
Bringing comfort to your tired feet, socks, specifically custom socks, are an excellent item for your print-on-demand business! Not only is it comfortable, but a high-quality and aesthetically pleasing custom sock would also complete a customer’s OOTD goals!
With a booming sock industry, your business can tap into this potential, possibly making socks a staple in your POD business.
Custom mousepads are seeing a resurgence during the pandemic as more and more people get into gaming and the PC space. With communities formed around the customization of your PC workplace, you start to notice that custom mousepads bring the overall aesthetics of the setup.
With mousepads on your product line, you will be tapping into a loyal and dedicated customer base, making return business more likely with you!
Best Practices in the Print-on-Demand Industry
Now that you have a list of products you might be interested in selling, what are the best practices for your POD business to thrive?
1. Ensure the quality of your product
One recurring problem POD business owners have is quality, as they don’t have control over that. The quality of the products you sell is dependent on your supplier. Since any defect in your products will be directed to you, sampling the base product and checking the print quality should be standard practice to ensure that your customers are satisfied and your business continues.
2. Social media is your friend
E-commerce businesses have an advantage in establishing an online presence as their websites are already enough to drive a bit of traffic toward them. But with the power of social media, you can multiply website traffic with an effective marketing campaign.
Read more about effective social media campaigns here.
3. Customer returns are normal. Deal with them professionally
In a business, you will have customers who are unhappy with their purchases. You shouldn’t let returned products discourage you from continuing with your POD business.
When a customer returns a product, ask why they’re returning it and if they are willing to accept a replacement. This can build a business-customer relationship and show that you value your customers’ satisfaction.
Related reading: 6 Ways to Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty
4. Choose a niche you’re interested in
Earlier in the article, we said that a niche is a must for a POD business to succeed. Imagine the niche as a guideline for what products you can sell. Base the niche with your interest, as this would make selling the products easier!
With the product ideas above, choosing a niche will be easier as you will know what products are in each niche.
5. Give your 100% every day!
Consistency is key when it comes to business. If you want your customers to trust you, they need to know that you can be trusted. That’s why it’s important to be consistent in all aspects of your business and your communication with them.
A consistent brand is also easy for customers to recognize, which helps them find your products or services more easily and deem you reliable and trustworthy. This makes people feel comfortable with you. They’ll come back again and again if they know that every interaction with you will be like their last.
Final thoughts for the POD…
Print-on-demand is an easy-to-set-up business model, perfect for entrepreneurship newbies or veterans who want to expand their horizons. As you can see, there are many different products you can sell on demand. And there are many ways to make those products available for purchase. While this list is not exhaustive by any means, it can help you get started thinking about how to make your print-on-demand business more profitable and scalable.
Coupling a great product line with the tips above will ensure that your business will not just grow but thrive in whatever situation it finds itself in. The best thing about selling print-on-demand products is that it’s a great way to test out your ideas without having to invest in a ton of inventory or overhead. You can build up your client base and learn what works before making any major commitments.
Always keep your customers in mind, and it will grow from there. So get creative! Try something new! And have fun!