A blank canvas serves as an ideal space to let your creativity flow. So, what if you could turn this notion into a high selling business idea? From t-shirts, jerseys, to mugs and rugs, you can design these everyday items and set up an online marketplace for them. Print on Demand is the trend. The idea sounds nice until your pre-defined inventory doesn’t sell out and results in a backlog of unsold goods.
This is where the idea of Print-on-demand came to our rescue.
Print-on-demand offers you as an entrepreneur the flexibility to print and sell the products only when customers demand it. In a Print-on-demand online marketplace, your customers get the freedom to choose custom-made designs for their products. The business model gets rid of conventional issues of managing stock, and you get to operate the same business at half the cost. Printing-on-demand has outshined its competitors in the eCommerce market since it simplifies the entire order cycle and brings in better efficiency.
How do you start a print on demand delivery service?
Starting a print-on-demand can be much easier than a full-fledged product marketplace. Here are some tips you can consider before you begin –
Choose a niche
Before you start your print-on-delivery service, you need to find a profitable niche – The target customer segment that you’re going to market to. Your products might not sell with everybody. Serving to a clearly defined audience can make sure you make the most out of a sale.
Once you have chosen your target audience, you have to decide on a product or a subject niche. Are you sell customized mobile covers or is pop-art your thing? You can know more about what’s in demand by doing some research. Visit Amazon’s best-selling section, or do a quick Google Trends search to find out what customers are demanding in the market.
Do a test run in the market.
Is your idea getting well-liked by people? Are your designs getting thumbs-ups? Having validated ideas will give you a head-start. There are various ways you can know what your target customers would like.
Start by sharing your designs and ideas on online forums and in your personal network. To reach to a wider range of customers, post your designs on social media. Internet is always there to give us a reality check and you’ll know if people like your designs.
Another great way of showcasing your products is by creating mockups that will give your customers an idea of how your product looks like. There are many mockup generators available online for you to try. Try using Yelo, free for 14 days trial.
Set up your marketplace
Once you have your target audience and your products ready, it’s time to launch! Setting up an online marketplace can be a tedious job. Look for a platform that provides you with easy plug-and-play features to give you a strong platform to host your website.
How you design your website is also important. Your website should have all the important information in place – contact details, shipping information, returns page, payment information and more.
Strategize your shipping
Shipping can be a matter of concern when you’re not the one handling it. If you want to avoid an inbox full of angry customers, then you must be clear with the shipping timeline. Set the right expectations for the customers and be available to provide support through your website’s support page at any given moment.
Promote your website
Now that you’re in full swing, it’s time to tell the world you’re live! Here are a few ways you can make your business visible to customers –
- Set up business accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Employ User-generated-content
- Make sure your website is SEO friendly
- Take advantage of peer-reviews and customer testimonials
But before you decide to start your POD service, you have to weigh in the pros and cons of the business model.
Since you can design white-label products before selling in a print-on-demand service, there are various positives to this business model.
The capital investment required in a print-on-demand service is comparatively menial since you are physically not holding any stock. No t-shirts or mugs are sitting in bulk in a warehouse getting withered away by mice. This brings more freedom for you to experiment with ideas, add or remove products, or change your business strategy. Low investment means lower risk.
Low Turnaround Time
One of the biggest pros of a POD service is the reduced time for the sale cycle to complete. It takes off a load of managing different tasks since you have tied up with a third party to take care of the printing, packaging, shipping and post-sales services. You act as a point-of-contact between your customer and the printing & shipping service.
No Logistics Cost
If you start a product selling business online, you have to take care of hiring staff, procurement, administration, warehousing and more.
But a POD service comes with all these tasks in a ready-to-use state. As a print-on-demand entrepreneur, you don’t have to worry about logistics.
When there are pros to an idea, cons come tagged along too.
Low Margin, High Volume
Buying in bulk significantly reduces your cost per item. This concept holds to true in any given business scenario. Therefore, purchasing items as per the demand, instead of in bulk may result in higher expenditure. This way you might end up making thinner profits based on your market reach.
Low Control Over Logistics
Since shipping and other logistical responsibilities are on third party business, complications may arise. You might end up paying more shipping than required and might be at the bearing end if something goes awry with a customer. It could relate to a product they bought or with the service they received – you might end up bearing the brunt.
Print-on-demand services offer ease of operations and the flexibility to try and test ideas. Not being bound by a conventional product marketplace can offer you a better scope of development. The success of your POD service also depends on the external partners you choose to launch your marketplace.
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