+ FREE Domain for 1 year
Deal ends in:
Do you have plenty of creative energy, but struggle to monetize it? Or are you an entrepreneur looking for a low-risk way to make money online?
Check out print on demand.
If you want to either run it as a standalone business or have it as part of an already existing enterprise, print on demand can be the go-to solution for both.
You can easily test out your ideas without a big up-front investment. Plus, it’s an easy way to make money online as more and more people look for uniquely designed products.
In this article, we’ll help you to fully understand what print on demand is, how you can set your own eCommerce store up, and which suppliers you should go with.
You could be running your very own print on demand empire before you know it.
✅ Running a print on demand business is for you if you are good at customer support and marketing.
❌ Don’t bother with print on demand if you want to sell custom products and build a strong brand.
Table of Contents
Traditionally, if you wanted to set up your own store, you needed to invest lots of time and money to:
Luckily, that’s not the case anymore. You could start your own online store today if you want to, all thanks to the internet.
So, what are print on demand eCommerce services and how do they work?
It’s not that complicated:
Since print on demand businesses are based on the dropshipping eCommerce model, you’ll only the face of the business.
Someone else will store the products, prepare, and ship them on your behalf.
And that’s great news for eCommerce novices, because:
It’s not all a bed of roses in the print on demand world. Profit margins and drop shipping woes are but a few downsides to this type of eCommerce business.
Here are the main cons:
If you’re reading on, it seems that we’ve convinced you that running a print on demand business is for you.
Ready to dive into the world of print on demand shirts, tote bags, and phone cases? Become your own boss and create that perfect side gig in 7 steps.
Like with any other business, you need a strong and unique idea to get started.
While you can sell your products to anyone and everyone, usually only a particular group of people will be really interested.
Think about who’d be interested in your product? Make a detailed profile of your target market and ideal buyer.
Picking a niche could come in handy too; deciding on your particular focus or specialty within your market will help you stand out amongst the competition.
For example, rather than selling generic t-shirts, you could focus on making t-shirts geared towards fans of particular sports teams, TV series aficionados, or matching t-shirts for enamored couples.
Having a niche will also make it easier to:
Branding is essential for your success in the world of print on demand.
And although it’s much harder to brand a print on demand business, you should still figure out:
Don’t forget, as with any new business, you will also have to take care of the formal business registration with your local authorities.
It’s time to get creative and come up with the designs for your print on demand products.
You have two ways to go about doing this:
No matter which way you go, the first version of any design probably won’t be good enough.
If you opt to create the designs yourself, make sure to run them by friends and family to get feedback and make changes.
If you have hired a professional, you will need to go through several rounds of edits to make the necessary adjustments.
And don’t forget to check if the designer has any rights reserved when it comes to the finished product. You wouldn’t want to infringe them and face a potential lawsuit.
Next, it’s time to pick your eCommerce platform and put your online store together.
And as for your eCommerce store, look for a platform that makes it easy for you to get going right away.
It needs to provide you with:
You should let your niche and business focus determine which print on demand supplier is the best fit for you.
Pay attention to things like shipping costs, available products, and customer service. You want to work with a partner that is there for you if you need help.
If you’re looking to feature more custom products in your store (say, speakers and watches), a print on demand company offering only apparel obviously won’t cut it.
Once you’re convinced of your supplier, order some samples of your products.
After your samples have reached you, inspect the products thoroughly, and note down any faults. Your samples can be used in product photography for superb product listings in your store.
It’s also good to get first-hand experience in the shipping process.
Some print on demand suppliers also offer impressive mockup tools that let you see how your design will look on the products without having to wait for the order to arrive.
Now that you have your store and your print on demand supplier ready, it’s time to start driving traffic to your eCommerce store.
There are lots of ways to market your on demand print store, but some work better for eCommerce than others.
Whichever approach you choose, stay at it when you sell products online.
The world of digital marketing changes constantly and you’ll want to be the first to hear about any new marketing tips that could help propel your printing business forward.
You’ve made your first sale – congratulations!
It’s an achievement worth celebrating and should act as a little motivator for you to keep up the good work.
The order will now be relayed to your print on demand partner, who will print your design on the ordered product, package it, and ship it to the customer.
Don’t forget to get feedback on the order process from your customers. You want to make sure that any issues are dealt with immediately, or you’ll risk getting bad reviews and tarnishing the reputation of your business.
You should now have a firm idea of how print on demand eCommerce works, but one thing remains – choosing a print on demand partner.
Depending on your product and your printing needs, one company might be better suited than some other one. For example, if you want to sell children’s books, a supplier specializing in clothing will not be the right choice.
To help you decide what’s the best partner for your store, here are 9 print on demand companies that you can choose from.
Printful is probably one of the biggest print on demand companies around.
The brand boasts a wide selection of different products (almost anything from clothing to phone cases) and offers worldwide shipping. And, with print houses in both the US and Europe, Printful is able to keep their shipping costs low as well.
The company isn’t only widely integrated with many eCommerce platforms, but it also offers various printing services such as direct-to-product, cut and sew, and even embroidery.
While the platform itself is free to use, you can customize your labels and packaging for an additional fee.
Printful is a great partner for:
What sets Printify apart is its wide supplier network.
This helps the platform keep their prices low and their selection varied. You won’t find print on demand shower curtains too often – what an opportunity!
Shipping times and costs are calculated based on the location of the supplier, so if you do your research, you’re bound to find some real gems.
The platform itself is free to use and offers a premium subscription with discounted prices for products.
Overall, Printify is particularly good for:
Looking to sell self-published books?
Lulu Express is the go-to print on demand company for all aspiring authors and anyone else wanting to publish their work in print format.
Print on demand books suit many niches, even if your online shop’s main products aren’t related to literature. For example, if you run a cooking shop, you could create an annual recipe book based on the top recipes you’ve published on your shop’s blog.
Lulu Express offers discounts for bulk purchases and has various printing and binding options to choose from.
The platform also boasts a wide selection of print products like books and calendars, and competitive shipping costs and shipping locations.
Lulu Express is a great printing partner for:
Want to position yourself as the eCommerce store with faster-than-lighting shipping? Look into partnering with SPOD.
SPOD’s main promise is to have all products printed and on their way to customers from the US warehouses within 48 hours.
This means that if you’re planning on having a slice of the American market, SPOD could be a strong contender to help you keep your customers happy.
The product selection is not as wide as on a few of the other print on demand platforms, but the high quality of the products makes up for it.
The platform comes with a handy product designer tool, too.
Pick SPOD, if:
Good news for all the European eCommerce shop owners: T-Pop has your clothing and accessory needs covered.
The print on demand company has a couple of unique selling points to their services. Not only do they offer a 100% automated service, but they have competitive shipping costs and a variety of branding options too.
So, if you’re concerned about the unboxing experience, T-Pop might be the perfect partner for you.
Or, if you’re building an environmentally friendly brand, you’ll be happy to know that T-Pop has a zero-plastic packaging policy.
And, they source their product suppliers from ethical manufacturers whenever possible.
Sell online with T-Pop, if you:
Did you think that all print on demand businesses only do hoodies and mugs?
It’s one of those print on demand companies that has quite the niche within the industry itself. Anyone setting up an online watch shop will probably go for JetPrint.
Boasting a selection of different straps, designs, clock faces, and colors, the platform automatically generates multiple product photos for you.
All orders are covered by the simplified international shipping options (free and express), meaning that you can pamper your customers with no additional fees.
JetPrint is the best print on demand supplier for you, if:
Is your product going to need a big canvas? Big enough to cover a whole shirt or a pair of leggings?
AOP+ specializes in all-over-print products. You’ll only need to upload your design and select the product you want.
Printing everything in their own factory, you won’t have to worry about third-party printing quality, either.
You can get started for free, but the company also offers a paid membership with perks like discounts and more customization options.
Sell online with AOP+ as your printing partner, if:
Teeleaunch has based their print on demand services around (you guessed it) t-shirts.
And they clearly know what they’re doing, since their high-quality mockup tool gets praised frequently among print on demand shop owner chasing the best profit margins.
But don’t be fooled.
Teelaunch offers much more than mere t-shirts; choose from backpacks to speakers, and from plates to power banks.
The brand doesn’t offer that many different printing options (you can only choose from direct-to-product or cut and sew), but you can get laser etching for travel mugs and chopping boards.
Check out Teelaunch, if:
Are you looking for a print on demand partner with a substantial product catalog?
If you aren’t relying on a mockup tool for your eCommerce store’s listings, you should consider getting familiar with CustomCat.
While their services are aimed at online stores with bigger order volumes, you could find some interesting products like sports duffel bags and laptop cases in their catalog.
Consider joining their paid subscription plan, which gives you great discounts across the entire website.
Go with CustomCat, if:
It doesn’t matter whether your dream is to run an online marketplace for customized phone cases or have a t-shirt empire to your name.
With print on demand, you can start selling your dream products fast.
Can you afford to not give it a shot?