Print-on-demand business is quite popular these days. Individuals purchase custom merchandise to express their beliefs. For example, to support a political party or a local charity. Companies get matching t-shirts to build team spirit. Some people get gimmicky t-shirts for fun. And these are just a few examples.
If you have been thinking about starting an online business, then starting your own clothing brand with Printify could be just the thing. And this article should be of great help to create a POD venture from scratch.
Research the Market
You should start with the market research. Because custom merchandise is so popular, do not expect to jump right in and make a bank. No, most niches are already oversaturated, and you will need to spend time looking for one that has manageable competition.
It would also help if you went with something that you like. For example, video games or animals. Working in a niche that coincides with one’s hobbies makes it easier to find motivation.
For example, if you like animals and have some wacky design ideas, do not cover pets in general. Instead, pick one breed, like huskies, and see whether you can narrow that even further—huskies wearing glasses, huskies in superhero costumes, and so on.
The goal is to spend time researching the market and increase the odds of building a profitable store instead of one that will ultimately fail because there is too much competition.
Besides, having more information will help you decide on the business model. In 2017, 23% of all online sales globally were fulfilled through the dropshipping model, and the number has grown since then. Depending on the information you gather, you may also want to go with dropshipping or consider a different business model.
Check the Laws
Check with the local authorities to make sure that you pay your taxes properly. Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to the legislature. If you are planning to build a legit business, follow the necessary procedures. Otherwise, you risk ending in a lot of trouble.
If nothing else, you can talk with people who are already running a similar venture and ask them what you should do. Even if such a consultation costs you money, it will give peace of mind since you will know that you are following the law.
Consider Hiring a Partner
Running an ecommerce store alone can be quite difficult. When it comes to print-on-demand, hiring a partner may not be a bad idea, especially if they have the skills you lack – for instance, graphic design.
Having another person come up with new design ideas for the merchandise would mean that you can focus on other business matters, such as promoting the website.
The first few weeks or even months might be slow, so getting a pair of helping hands may not be that necessary. However, if you notice that working on every business aspect yourself has become impossible due to lack of time, then you should look for a business partner.
Launch a Website
Launching a website should not be that difficult given how simplified the process is, thanks to Shopify and other platforms. You can have the website up and running in a matter of minutes, but the default version will not bring you anywhere.
Adding product pictures and descriptions, creating an FAQ page, adding social media buttons, the search bar, and other website elements will also be part of the process.
Also, you need to get reliable hosting. The website should be up for 99.9 percent of the time, and the loading speed of pages should be reasonable as well. Each second of lost time means losing potential customers because people who visit the website will not bother waiting if it takes too long to load.
Lastly, do not forget about mobile optimization. Roughly half of the internet traffic is made up of smartphone and tablet users. There may also come a time to develop an app for Android and iOS to sell even more merchandise to mobile users, though that one will likely need to wait.
First, you will need to establish your presence on the internet, and having a properly optimized website is one of the keys to that.
Promote the Products
Speaking of establishing an online presence, expect to spend a lot of resources to promote the store. People will not appear on your website out of thin air. You need to advertise the business to attract clients.
There are a couple of ways to gain leads and turn those leads into customers for a print-on-demand store.
- SEO: Search engine optimization plays a prominent role in many advertising strategies. Organic traffic is valuable because people who come from Google and other search engines would reach a website after entering keywords that revolve around the intent to buy.
- Social media marketing: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have millions of active users every day. You can organize contests, run ad campaigns, promote products directly on relevant groups, and take advantage of the popularity of these platforms in other ways to gain customers.
- PPC marketing and email marketing: These two methods might have fallen out of favor because of SEO and social media, but you can still create campaigns and let people know about your business. For email marketing, try not to spam inboxes with promotional offers too much; and for PPC, focus on ad copy to make it relevant and attractive.