Gen Z is no longer following the same ritual of stepping into a store and choosing from whatever options they have. This generation has always been explored to the worldwide market and thus, never learned to compromise with the available options. But, this worldwide market is also insufficient for them, and now they want the sneakers with their preferred designs. Instead of just speaking out, they want a sentence to be printed on their t-shirt. They want their coffee mug with the signature of their favorite football player on it. 

But this routine of Gen Z has introduced a completely new business domain for all. The business is Print-on-Demand. The business is like those real ones where one deals with inventory, provides the products to customers and receives the payment for the same. But, gone are the days when one had to own the piles of stock in their warehouse. It is the digital business now where you don’t even need to own a product in order to sell it. Print on demand allows you to design the product and list it on your e-commerce store. You will be paying the cost price only when the product has been delivered and payment has been received from the customer. 

How Does Print On Demand Business Work?

If you are familiar with the concept of e-commerce and dropshipping, Print on Demand will also be very easy for you. In this business model, you just need to contact an e-commerce service platform that works with this business model. You will have to choose the products on this platform you want to design as per your own idea. Send them the design via message or email and communicate the specifications for the same. Once you receive the visual of the final product, you can list it on your e-commerce store or simply share the link via different social media channels. Whenever a customer orders a product from your store, the order will be directed to the origin e-commerce platform, and they will ship the product directly to the customer’s doorstep. 

Print On Demand Working

Suppose you were charged $15 for the mug and instilled the design on it. You listed that mug on your online store for $25. After delivering the order, you will be charged only $15 and the rest $10 will be your profit.  

The Complete Print On Demand Beginners Guide

Pros and Cons of Print on Demand

Pros Cons
First of all, setting up a Print-on-Demand business is very easy. You just need to be familiar with e-commerce, and you are good to go. The investment is very small as you don’t need to keep stock of the inventory. You need not worry about inventory management. Delivery and shipping of products are not your headaches. It makes it easier for you to establish your personal brand.The profit margin is generally low as people are now more familiar with this concept. All you can control is the type of design and not the quality of the product. The complete supply chain of your product depends on your partner company. The order fulfillment can take time. 

Market Stats for Print on Demand Services 

us-print-on-demand-market
US Print On Demand Market: GrandViewResearch
  • The global Print-on-Demand market size had a value of $4.9 billion in 2021, 
  • The same market is projected to have a CAGR of 26.1% from 2021 to 2030. 
  • 20% of the retail customers are even willing to pay 20% extra of the price for their personalized designs. 
  • The global digital textile printing market is projected to have a valuation of $2.7 billion by 2026. 
print on demand as per Google Trends
print on demand as per Google Trends

How to Start a Print-On-Demand Business?

The best shot of the Print-on-Demand business is that you can run it from home only. However, it will never be like those boring data entry jobs at home as your creativity will be on work in this business. You can follow the steps to start the business: 

1. Determine the product

The product is going to carry your design and creativity to the customers. So, it is essential that you decide about the product portfolio carefully. However, we would suggest that you must include t-shirts and coffee mugs in your portfolio due to their evergreen demand. You can go for other range of products as well (will be discussed descriptively later in this blog)

2. Define your target audience

To make space for yourself and your business, you should start with a niche market. It will be easier to understand the needs and preferences of a niche market than a broader market. Brainstorm whether your design will appeal to kids, women, men, old-age people, working professionals, the household population, or youth.

3. Create designs

Design is going to make the overall difference. Make sure you produce a design appealing to your target audience. Half of the success of your product and business depends largely on the designs you provide.  

4. Define your marketplace 

You need a marketplace to sell your products. It is going to work as a shop for your designed products. You can make your app, sell it on Etsy or open a store on Shopify. Again, you should decide about the marketplace according to your target audience. 

5. Choose the right partner 

The other half of success is going to depend on your business partner. Here, you need to choose the right partner that can print your designs on products and ship them to your customer. Prefer the partner who provides both the products as well as printing services. You should review their product range, printing services, good reviews, returns handling, pricing model, shipping time, etc. 

6. Create the product 

Design the product using the appropriate tool. The design can be in the form of a logo, text, color, pattern, or anything you think interests the target audience. Send the designed product to your business partner and make the necessary communication. 

7. Promote the product

You need to remember that the margin on your product might be and might not be big. It depends on the type of product as well as your target audience. Promote your product on the various platforms to secure a good profit. 

Best Business Platforms for Print On Demand Products

As we defined earlier, half of your business success will depend on your partner firm. Always remember, you are providing the design but they are handling the overall inventory. So their share in business performance can never be ignored and thus should be chosen carefully. We are providing here the list of some platforms that will assist you in setting up the business. 

1. Printful 

Printful 

Printful fulfills its promise to be your efficient business partner by guiding you throughout the process. The platform provides you with access to excellent video tutorials and resource pages. Considering the real business time, it offers you more than 280 products. Print runs 15 printing facilities around the globe. The printing facilities at different locations will significantly shorten the product’s delivery time. 

Available at Website Android & iOS

2. Printify

Printify app

Printify is a step ahead with the capabilities of becoming your business partner. The company offers a product range of 600+. At the same time, the firm operates with more than 67 printing facilities around the world. It will let you deliver the order to the doorstep of customers in less time. The quality of the product is also excellent at Printify. So your customers will never be disappointed with the quality of products. 

Available at Website & Shopify App

3. Teelaunch

Teelaunch

If you are looking for a partner who can help you increase the profit margin by slightly compromising quality and products, Teelaunch can be that. It is a small print-on-demand service provider with around 100 products to design personally. However, the quality of the product is not that superior compared to Printify or Printful. The delivery time is also much longer, which can go up to 2-3 weeks for international orders. 

Available at Website & Shopify App

4. Gelato

Gelato

If you have confidence in your design capability and wish to serve a global audience, Gelato can be the perfect business partner. The company runs printing facilities in over 34 countries with hundreds of products. It shortens the delivery time and makes the shipment faster. 

Available at Website Shopify App Android & iOS

5. Zazzle

Zazzle

If you don’t ever want to deal with the inventory or don’t carry a social network to convert them into customers, there are still the doors to earn money via print on demand. Zazzle is one of the most popular platforms to help you capitalize on your creativity. On this platform, you don’t need to buy or sell anything, but you can just share the design ideas you have for different products. Whenever any customer buys your designed products from Zazzle, you will earn a referral amount. It’s that simple.

Available at Website Android & iOS

Best Designs to Try with The Products

1. Pets

Pets print on demand clothes

Everyone likes pets as they are adorable. Printing the pet’s design on t-shirts, coffee mugs, phone covers, backpacks etc. can be a good idea to make the products more attractive. Designs like these are already very popular in the market, and thus you need not to bother about making space for yourself. 

2. Texts

print text tshirts

Putting the attractive, different, and insane texts on the various products such as t-shirts, backpacks, coffee mugs, hats, caps, sneakers, and many others can be one of the best ideas. You can use a famous dialogue from a movie, a slag line or anything you think would look cool. 

3. Designs Relevant to Profession

coder thsirt

You might or might not love your profession at the moment. But plenty of people love their job or want to show off their positions in front of others. So you can print different designs representing the profession. 

4. Sports

Sports mug

Everyone is crazy either for one sport or another. So, products with sporty designs have a big place for themselves in the market. Different players, teams, and businesses are already making millions by offering merchandise with similar designs. You can too… 

5. Locations and Travel

travel print tshirt for women

Tourism is a big industry, and tourism-designed clothing is an attractive one. You can simply put different locations, tourist spots, monuments, hill stations, etc. on your products. People will definitely prefer to buy them whenever they plan to take a tour. 

6. Family and Friends

Friends cartoon print

Family and friends are the ones to whom a person is most connected to. You can instill quotes, designs, cartoons, graphics, and other things representing affection toward family or friends. 

7. Seasonal Designs

Seasonal print Designs

Seasonal designs have always been the attraction point for the customers. You can design the products according to the seasons, such as Christmas, New Year, Valentine, Halloween, thanksgiving, graduation, Good Friday, etc. 

Different Print on Products You Can Focus on 

T-shirtsSneakersTote bags
StickersFace masksPosters
HoodiesBackpacksBedsheets
Fanny packsScarvesSocks
MugsPhone casesHats
Laptop coversYoga mats

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Tips for Starting a Print On Demand Business

These are some of the tips that might help you to give a good start to the business. You need to remember that every decision you make in the process will significantly influence your business’s performance. So, the following tips can enhance your decision-making in the industry: 

1. Strategic Shipping 

You might not be delivering the product at your customers’ doorsteps, but still, the purchase has been made via you, and the customer is expecting efficient service from you. So it would be best if you communicated about the strategic shipping time depending on how much time it will take to print the design on the product and deliver it to the address. If your business partner delivers a simple product within three days, you should add another two days in the process. 

2. Order Sample

Before your customer, you should buy your own product to know if it is value for money. Order a couple of products from your business partner. Check the product quality, printing quality, shipment time, services, etc. 

3. Focus on Niche Market in Beginning 

You should focus on serving a niche market. It will be easier to market and understand the emotions of a small customer segment to generate better results. You can always scale up your business stepwise. 

4. Create and Spread Mock-Up

People need to know about your products. Create a spread mock-up via both digital and physical media. The more people get to know about your product, the more they will be willing to pay extra pennies for the products. 

How Can We Help You?

Designing the product is entirely your deal. Manufacturing and delivering the product is ultimately your partners’ responsibility. But your designs and business partners’ services only matter when you have a platform to connect with the customers. If you have good ideas about the designs of different products, the best option for you is to develop your own website or app to run the digital store wholly under your control. 

We at Emizentech are willing to have a conversation about your business idea and give our contribution to it. You can have a consultation session with our experts free of cost regarding setting up a high-end online store for your products and services. Clear all your doubts regarding the platform and take the right decision. 

Wrapping Up 

Print-on-Demand is one of the quickly growing industries in the competitive market. It puts the creativity of people to work. You can contact a company providing the Print-on-Demand services and ask them to instill the designs on different products. Later, you can sell these products on your online or offline store by securing a good profit margin for yourself. The complete manufacturing, designing and delivery process will be ensured by your business partner only. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Print On Demand Business

  1. What is print on demand?

    Print on demand is a business model in which you connect with a real business company providing the inventory and printing services. You can ask them to print your designs on the different products. You can sell these products on different platforms to secure a good profit for yourself. 

  2. Who takes care of inventory management and the shipping process?

    It is your business partner who will take care of inventory. You don’t need to buy products in bulk and store them at your place. You can forward the order as per your received request from the customers. The shipment will also be made by your business partner only. 

  3. What are some of the business partners I can contact?

    Printful, Printify, Teelaunch, Gelato, Zazzle, etc. are some of the best platforms you can connect to start your print-on-demand business. 

  4. How much can I make in the print-on-demand business?

    Your profit will also differ depending on the quantity and types of products and the target audience you serve. However, you can quickly secure a profit of $8-$10 on every product you sell. 

  5. Can I connect with multiple business partners at the same time? 

    Yes, you can connect to as many business partners simultaneously. It is also very beneficial as it provides you freedom and choices over a range of products, locations, and quality of products. 

  6. Do I need significant investment to start print-on-demand? 

    It might require a little finance to order the sample, getting registered with your business partners, and paying advance for the products in some circumstances. However, it doesn’t require any significant amount of investment to start this business. 

Author

CTO at Emizentech and a member of the Forbes technology council, Amit Samsukha, is acknowledged by the Indian tech world as an innovator and community builder. He has a well-established vocation with 12+ years of progressive experience in the technology industry. He directs all product initiatives, worldwide sales and marketing, and business enablement. He has spearheaded the journey in the e-commerce landscape for various businesses in India and the U.S.