Unlocking the Power of Print-on-Demand: A Comprehensive Guide for Creatives and Entrepreneurs

Imogen
Shopify Staff

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Picture this: you team up with a supplier to jazz up their products - like t-shirts, mugs, or baseball caps - with your super cool designs. Then, you sell them under your own brand. This is what we call Print-on-Demand. It's a type of dropshipping where the supplier handles making the product, filling orders, and shipping, all on a per-order basis.

 

Print-on-Demand can be a real game-changer. You can use it to try out new business ideas or add new products to your existing business without having to buy a bunch of inventory. This way, you're not risking a lot of money on something new.

 

And guess what? Print-on-Demand isn't just for business folks. It's also a big hit with creatives of all kinds. Writers, artists, cartoonists, meme makers, and influencers have all used Print-on-Demand to make merch based on their work. So, if you're looking to turn your creative ideas into cool products, Print-on-Demand might just be your new best friend!

 

Print-on-Demand Services

 

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Shopify has a number of integrations with suppliers that offer print-on-demand services. It is important to practice due diligence when considering which supplier to go with.

 

Variables to consider would include product options, cost, shipping time, quality, and your target audience. For example, if your target audience is based primarily in Australia you would be better off going with a service that is based in/near Australia as opposed to Europe or North America.

 

A full list of our print-on-demand apps can be found here. The following print-on-demand sites are free to start with and only require you to pay for the cost of the product and shipping after someone has placed an order:

 

I would highly recommend checking out our breakdown of each app here and shopping around between the apps to find a service that fits your needs in terms of products and shipping times.

 

Designing your Flagship Products

 

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Imagine you're a designer, all set to create amazing designs with Adobe Photoshop. If you're already using Photoshop, that's fantastic! But if you're new to it, it can be a bit tricky and time-consuming to learn. Don't worry, though, there are other options if Photoshop isn't your thing. You can use tools like

 

And for cool fonts, check out Dafont and Fonts. Just remember to check if they're free to use or if you need to buy a license.

 

Another way to get designs is to buy them from places like Envato Market or Creative Market. They even have free designs, but keep in mind, the less you pay, the more likely other stores are also using them. To make your store unique, you might want to use a design that's not super common. Paid designs can cost anywhere from $10 to over $200.

 

If you want custom designs, you've got two options: run a creative contest or hire a designer. For a contest, you post your job on a platform like 99Designs or DesignCrowd. Designers will make mockups for you, and you pick your favorite, make any changes you need, and then buy the design. This can cost between $100-$500.

 

Hiring a designer is a bit different. You'll work directly with them, giving them a design brief. Make a list of designers you like, compare their work, reviews, and ratings. Some new designers might not have many reviews and could be less expensive.

 

Remember, it's okay to not get your design perfect the first time. It might take some trial and error to figure out what designs your customers love and what works best for your products. And that's totally okay!

 

Top Tips for Starting Your Print on Demand Business

 

Checking Quality

 

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Always get samples from suppliers you plan to work with. You want to be proud of the products you sell, right? So, make sure they look just like the mockups your supplier showed you. Bonus: you can use these samples for photos on your store and for marketing! Some suppliers, like Printful, even offer discounts on samples.

 

Finding Your Niche

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A niche is a group of people who share a common interest. If it's "evergreen," it means it's always relevant, like comic book fans or fishing lovers. Knowing your niche makes it easier to market your store and understand your target audience. Your target market could be anyone from cat lovers to gamers. If your ads match your products, you're more likely to make sales. Check out our guide on defining your audience for more help.

 

Shipping Strategy

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Be clear with your customers about how long shipping will take. Since the start of the pandemic, shipping times have been all over the place. Being honest about shipping times can help keep customers happy. And watch out for surprise shipping costs - they can lead to abandoned checkouts. Some sellers include shipping costs in their product price. Offering free shipping, even just for orders over a certain amount, can make customers more willing to wait.

 

Avoiding Copyright Trouble

 

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It's tempting to use popular characters or logos on your products, but be careful. Most of these are copyrighted, and using them could lead to legal problems. Check out this article on Oberlo's blog for more info on the risks of selling copyrighted goods.

 

Conclusion

 

Print-on-demand is a great way to start your online business. It lets you try out your business idea without having to buy a bunch of inventory. You can stick with it as you grow your business or switch to a different model. If you're interested in getting started, check out our free print-on-demand course.

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