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How to Make Your Print on Demand Business More Profitable

kokou adzo

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One of the great advantages of starting a print on demand business is that there’s relatively little startup capital required, and minimal overhead. All you need are some custom images or designs, and an online storefront where you can sell them. Your print on demand fulfillment partner will handle much of the rest, not only creating custom products with your design but also packing and shipping orders.

But just because print on demand businesses have low overhead, that doesn’t mean they’re always profitable. Even a store with great designs can struggle to generate revenues. With the right strategy in place, you can turn your print on demand business into a true money-maker.

Here are a few suggestions.

Tips for a Profitable Print on Demand Business

  • Find a niche audience. Trying to be all things to all people usually winds up with you spreading yourself too thin, wasting marketing dollars on an overly broad audience. Instead, look at data points from previous customers to determine which niches are most engaged with your designs. It may be beneficial to cater first and foremost to gamers, to cat owners, to musicians, etc.
  • Experiment with different product types. One of the great things about print on demand is that it makes it easy to offer different types of products. For instance, if you’ve been doing well with custom T-shirts, you might want to try expanding into hoodies or long-sleeve tees. Just make sure you track your sales data to determine what works (and what doesn’t).
  • Call for user-generated content (UGC). UGC may involve images of customers with your products, testimonials, or unboxing videos. Solicit UGC, encouraging users to include a branded hashtag, and promote the UGC that you do see. This is essentially free marketing, and can build a lot of trust in your products.
  • Capitalize on each season. The winter holidays tend to mean booming business for print on demand sellers. However, days like Valentine’s Day or even Father’s Day can also be profitable if you showcase the right products and land on the right marketing messaging. Also make sure you highlight appropriate products for, say, the start of summer, or for back-to-school shopping.
  • Offer bundles. It’s important to do anything you can to maximize your average cart value. Consider offering product “bundles,” allowing customers to save a few dollars when they buy several related products at once. Throwing in a free gift for larger orders can also work well.
  • Cultivate loyalty. Be sure you’re using your marketing channels not only to draw new customers, but to encourage repeat shoppers, as well. An email newsletter can be an especially great way to keep your print on demand business top-of-mind among previous buyers.
  • Expand your geography. If you’ve mostly focused on domestic buyers, it may be time to expand outward your print on demand products. See if your previous customer data reveals that you have a small fan base overseas. If nothing else, consider moving into other English-speaking countries.
  • Find the right partner. Your print on demand fulfillment partner has a lot of control over the final product, so it’s vital that you choose a vendor that emphasizes speedy turnaround times as well as high levels of product quality. If you’re unsatisfied with your current vendor, or simply feel the need to shop around, by all means take some time to get quotes from a few different print on demand fulfillment partners.

Turn Your Store into a Profit Center

With these tips, you can position your print on demand store to be not only nimble and efficient, but a real money-maker.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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