What are the common mistakes that beginners make when starting a Print On Demand business? Better yet, we put together an actionable step-by-step guide to avoid making these mistakes altogether.
Building a profitable store takes time. Between honing your creative skills to marketing strategy this industry may not be for everyone. Luckily we have a ton of articles that walk you through the basics and more advanced topics as well.
Pick A Niche
The e commerce industry is oversaturated to say the least. That is why it’s so important to base your store on a particular niche. With that said, niche marketing can sometimes be easier because you can tailor your message to a very specific audience.
Learn An Art Program
Before you get ready to launch an online store, please be sure to learn the ins and outs of the art program you intend to use before you invest money into this idea. There are plenty of programs that you can choose from. Some are a bit pricey but others are free. GIMP is free program that you can use to get started. As you continue to develop your skills you can look into the more expansive programs, such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
Prepare For Holidays
It’s never too early to start preparing for the holiday season. November and December are critical months in the gift industry. Preparing for holidays two months prior will most certainly not have the same effect as to someone who starts preparing six months in advance (even that might be too late). We can’t stress the importance of planning early for major holidays. Don’t forget to check out:
Provide Great Customer Service
Print on demand is far more often considered as a passive stream of income than anything else. Even with a passive income, you must fully understand the importance of customer service. Without a question, outstanding customer service is at the heart of every successful company. You will spend a lot of time answering customers’ calls and emails to make sure they are being taken care of. The goal is to respond within 24 hours.
Set Clear Expectations
Print on demand products usually take longer to be delivered in comparison to Amazon where the products are shipped generally when the customer places the order. With Print On Demand it’s a tad different. Be transparent. Craft clear production and shipping policies.
Offer Multiple Products
Print on demand doesn’t require you to have an inventory. Don’t limit your store to only tees and hoodies. Please, take full advantage of your supplier’s catalog for unique product ideas.
Invest In Marketing
What kind of relationship do you have with marketing? Marketing is all too often looked at as a 1-time expense that occurs instead of an ongoing investment in building your brand and increasing revenues and profits. You gotta spend money to make money, isn’t that right?
Outsource Your Weaknesses
Entrepreneurs tend to wear many hats. It can be very tempting to be responsible for all the tasks that come with owning a business. When you outsource, many positive things happen, for example you will have time to be creative again.
Own Up To Mistakes
You will most likely make mistakes and that’s more than okay. No one in the history of entrepreneurship hasn’t made it to the top without some major setbacks. Always own up to your mistakes. Let your customers know that you are in the wrong. Work as fast as you can to fix the problem. If the problem is of a larger nature keep your customers updated until the matter is resolved.
Familiarize Yourself With Copyrights & Trademarks
Do not print designs that you found on Google without asking for permission to do so. It is illegal and it can get you in trouble with the law. You aren’t allowed to use any brand’s slogans and logos to create spin-off designs. CustomCat doesn’t assume liability for copyright infringement. Consulting a copyright attorney is always the best action if you have questions about certain products.
Read more about the legal side of doing e commerce business here.
Understand The Art Files
One way to avoid submitting low-resolution files is to properly review our design guidelines. Ask for help if there is anything that needs to be clarified. Learn how to make prints that have the “Wow” factor – How To Prepare Print On Demand File.
Visit our Artwork Guidelines to prepare the perfect print on demand file.
Identify Your Target Audience
Failing to identify your target audience can result in your business never taking off. To properly understand your customers’ wants you must conduct research and align your brand with their needs.
Check For Bad Grammar
Unless the design is intentionally spelled incorrectly, always check for mistakes before you add products to your catalog.
Get Familiar With Design Placement
Certain things look good on certain products. You’ll understand what we mean by this once you fully familiarize yourself with your supplier’s catalog. In general, patterns look great on all-over prints (All Over Print ¾ Sleeve Raglan, T-Shirt, and Tank Top). Photographs, graphic elements, diagrams, and charts work best with posters and canvas. Typography is generally used for DTG products and mugs.
Have A Solid Marketing Plan
Not having a marketing strategy makes achieving your business goals significantly harder, because you’ll just be implementing random activities. To come up with a solid marketing plan you must first learn about the industry, analyze competition, set a budget, and come up with a plan to achieve your business goals. This doesn’t have to be a 2-month long process, but you should at least have an actionable plan in place to achieve a set of goals.
Build A Great Website
Design a website with customers’ needs in mind. The website should clearly answer the basic questions that customers might have regarding your business. Include FAQ, policies (returns and exchanges), shipping information, contact information, about us page, trust badge icons, and many other features. What features do I need to add to have a top-performing e-commerce site? – 9 Things To Add To Your Ecommerce Store.
Include High-Converting Mockups
People want to be able to visualize themselves wearing your product. Placeit.com is an American company that creates high-quality branding materials. At $14.99/mo you can access thousands of templates at a click of a button.
Implement Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is the most effective marketing channel and for every $1 you spend, you can expect a return on your investment of $43. Email marketing outperforms any other online marketing strategies, including social media. Returning customers are more likely to purchase as opposed to new customers. Want to take advantage of email marketing now? Check out our article on Why You Should Use Email Marketing.
Establish a social media presence and regularly post updates. More importantly, set up a time to engage with your audience. Social media itself can be a full-time job, therefore, we recommend batching and scheduling your content in advance so you can focus on more important (email marketing) profit-generating tasks instead.