A print-on-demand store is a solid method to make money on the internet. Custom merchandise continues to become more popular. One of the most recent examples is face masks.
The pandemic made us wear masks for protection, but not all people are that keen to wear plain face masks. Instead, they want something gimmicky for fun, and it helps when wearing a custom face mask brightens the day of those around you.
Besides, you do not need to invest in printing equipment to produce the goods. A 100% free merch maker covers that part of the business and lets you focus on other aspects.
Speaking of which, the following tips should help you create a solid print-on-demand store that you can monetize and improve your financial situation.
Research the Market
Market research should be the first thing you need to do. Given how popular custom merchandise is, you will likely face competition regardless of the niche. However, for newcomers who lack experience, going up against already established brands will make the situation even harder.
Therefore, you should aim to find a relatively narrow niche that is not too saturated. For instance, if you plan on selling custom t-shirts with funny pets, do not aim too broad at first. Pick a breed like huskies or Siamese cats and work from there.
Knowing one’s demographics is also important. Are you targeting younger or older people? Take this, for instance: 79% of mobile device users have made a purchase online using their devices at least once in 2018. And since it is younger people who use smartphones more often, you will need to put extra effort into making the website mobile-friendly.
Ultimately, the more time you spend researching the market, the higher your odds of success become.
Find Reliable Supplier
As a rule of thumb, you should stick to the drop shipping business model. Eliminating logistical problems like warehousing and shipping frees up the resources that you can use to improve customer service.
A reliable supplier is not that easy to come by. Similar to market research, you should spend enough time to find a supplier that will provide you with quality products regularly.
Ask for recommendations, look up the information you can find on the internet, and get in touch with potential suppliers directly so that you do not end up with one that fails to meet your expectations.
Develop a Website
A proper website is one of the keys when it comes to a successful online business. Besides the point about optimizing the website for smartphones and tablets, you should make it intuitive for visitors so that they have no problems navigating through pages.
It should be clear where one can find products and their descriptions. Customer support live chat is also a good addition, as is an FAQ page.
In case you are not confident enough to create a website yourself because you are afraid of messing up or missing some important elements, hire a developer who can do the work for you. It will cost some money, but at least you will know what the website is set up properly.
Promote the Store
For some, business promotion is fun; for others, it is a pain, and they would much rather do something else. Regardless of your stance, promoting a store is inevitable if you want to see customers.
There are multiple marketing channels to consider. A lot comes down to available resources. If you do not have that much money to spare, you may have limited options. On the other hand, once your business picks up, you can reinvest the profits into marketing.
An effective promotional strategy should include:
- search engine optimization
- social media marketing
- email marketing
- collaborations with influencers
- pay-per-click marketing
If you notice that either of these produces better results than the rest, do not hesitate and focus on what works instead of sticking to methods that bring lackluster results.
Keep Tabs on Competition
Similar to market research, to determine which niche you want to work in, you should spend enough time to see what your competition is up to. Some of the top POD sellers may be too difficult to overtake, but you find some inspiration from their marketing efforts, website layout, and other parts of running a business.
Add New Merchandise
There may come a time when your sales drop. Stagnation is inevitable in many cases, but that should not be a reason to start taking drastic measures. If anything, you should take that as an opportunity to expand available merchandise.
New products work well when it comes to piquing customer interest. And in case you or your graphic designer is struggling to come up with fresh design ideas, hire a freelancer who can bring fresh suggestions to the table.