If you don’t know what Print on Demand is, it’s exactly how it sounds. The way it works is: when a customer places an order on a design/artwork from your store, it gets printed on demand on whichever product the customer has selected.
Now you know what print on demand is: how do you make money from it?
To answer this, Michael Shih, who has made over $1 million dollars with this exact model is going to give us his some of his wisdom on how to build a great income with POD – and also what to avoid as a beginner.
Let’s get started.
Tip #1: Sell Products Customers Can Customize Themselves
With Print on Demand, conversions are extremely important: even more important than with dropshipping.
Why? It’s because with Print on Demand, the price to purchase the products is higher. This means that to make similar profit margins, you need to be able to price your items higher than with Aliexpress dropshipping.
To be able to ask for higher prices, it’s important that you are selling extremely engaging products that elicit an emotional reaction from a customer.
People don’t buy it because it’s made out of cotton. They buy it because they want to have a motto which boosts their energy and make them feel dynamic all day long
When you inspire an emotion – whether it’s envy, jealousy, excitement, happiness – you create a strong desire in the customer to buy. Which, in turn will increase your conversion rates.
A very effective way to do that is to involve the customer in the product creation process and let them customize it themselves by uploading photos and custom engraving it. Shine On and Print Tech are two examples of apps that allow you to do this.
Tip #2: Use Bold Custom Pricing to Get More Sales
Here’s something that most people do not realize: Highly successful drop-shipping stores aren’t successful because one product.
People like Michael, who was able to turn $3,583.08 in ad spend into $14,436.78 in sales have a totally different approach.
The secret to how he did it? Getting customers to purchase more than one item from his store.
The Bulk Product Discount App is a great way to get customers to buy more than 1 item from you.
First, it adds a table to your store, showing the customer what discount they’ll get on the sale.
Then, it will automatically calculate the discount when the customer adds multiple items to their cart (no coupon codes required).
This works especially well for items where customers have a reason to buy more than 1, such as throw pillows, which when bought in multiples create a synchronized look.
Tip #3: To Scale Your Store, Hire A Designer
A big advantage with print on demand is you do not need to be a designer, neither do you have to create your designs yourself.
Instead, what I, and many other successful people in print on demand do to find profitable designs is hire a designer to create them for you.
If you read my previous blog on how to make money with Print on Demand, this tip might confuse you as I recommended using sites like Shutterstock where you can quickly purchase great designs from.
While using Shutterstock to quickly and easily find designs to use for your store works well in the beginning as your store grows, people will be able to copy you and download it for themselves.
This is the difference between beginner and advanced Print on Demand stores.
To really scale up, it’s inevitable that as you grow you’re more likely to shift away from purchasing illustrations sites like Shutterstock, and start working with designers.
Having a designer will allow you to create and test designs quickly and cheaply. It isn’t safe to rely on one design; you want multiple designs that you can use and test. The first design might not hit the nail – but the 4th, 5th, or 6th might. But if you only have one design you would have never known, or it would take you a heck of a long time than if you were to leverage one designer.
Upwork.com, 99Designs.com and Freelancer.com are all great places to find good designers.
Tip #4: Do Not Use Fan Art for Print on Demand (It’s ILLEGAL)
This is, so, SO important.
Do not ever use fanart as your designs for Print on Demand products.
It is illegal to create and sell artwork that is derived from copyrighted characters and trademarked logos.
It doesn’t matter if your artwork isn’t identical: if it’s very clearly a piece of fan art based on the Llama pinata in Fortnite, then it is illegal.
Funnily enough, it is very common to see people use Fanart for Print on Demand products. Are they allowed to? No, they aren’t.
And even if other brands don’t have a specific “fan art” policy on their site, like Epic games (creators of Fortnite) above, keep in mind that it is – by default – illegal unless you get explicit permission.
While it may appear tempting to use fanart – because you already know there are millions of raving fans ready to buy – you can get yourself caught up in a very, very sticky situation.
Remember: Just because it is common, doesn’t mean that it is OK, and eventually they will get shut down.
Tip #5: Use Pinterest To Find Winning Designs
To finish off, here’s a simple but sneaky Pinterest Hack to find winning designs.
In the search bar, type in ‘impresive tattoo.’
From here, you’ll find a range of unique designs that people are PASSIONATE about. This is much smarter than just typing in ‘tattoo designs’, which other people who do print on demand are probably already searching for.