Big companies produce tons of stock and store them forever. However, such is not the case with small company owners and new startups as they can’t risk wastage of product stocks due to low sales.
Is there any solution to it?

Yes, Print-on-Demand is the one.

One more luxury big companies enjoy is that they can innovate new designs and imprint them on their products. Unfortunately, this luxury is again out of the reach of small business owners. They can’t risk investing big sums into printing new designs and facing rejections of those designs by customers. Again, is there a solution to it? Yes, Web-to-Print Software is the one.

If you see, these two solutions combinedly can help new businesses grow sales exponentially with a minimal risk.

What is Print-on-Demand and How It Works?
‘Print-on-Demand’ method is a printing technology or business method to sell custom products. However, unlike in the traditional method, the business owner does not need to stock custom products and wait for customers to buy them. Rather, they can easily tie up with a manufacturer or distributor to print products as per the orders.

After receiving the request, it becomes the responsibility of that manufacturer or distributor to take care of everything from printing, shipping, and handling product returns.

All you need is to market your products through the right channels.

Who All Can Benefit from Print-on-Demand Method?

A business-minded person can always make the best use of this method to analyze the response of their new launches. It is especially useful for companies that deal in print products and items.

Graphic Designers/Illustrators
They are already well-equipped with knowledge of the latest design trends in the market. All they need to do is sell those designs to their audience and followers through various sites.

Their artistic approach to different things and a huge fanbase can help artists notch up their sales.

Writers can get their quotes, excerpts from their popular books, novels, or poems printed on different products. Such custom products are in high demand nowadays and can bring in huge returns on investments for writers.

Gift Shop Owners
Offline gift shop owners can cash in on this business method. All they need is to launch an online gift store with web-to-print software. Letting customers design and order their custom designs can help them stay on top of customers’ satisfaction always. For that, they can choose a suitable manufacturer or distributor who can fulfill order requirements.

Steps to Start the Print-on-Demand Business
Research Designs
If you are an artist, this step is not that important for you. Because you are already well-acquainted with what designs are trending. However, if you are an entrepreneur, you need to collaborate with good designers and artists to get the hang of current trends.

It is better to test a sample of each design for your product before bringing out the other. This way, you, as an entrepreneur will get the hang of what designs people like more.

Accordingly, you can plan further designs and release them.

Research Products
Besides researching designs, researching products is also essential. A few products popular these days to print your designs on are notebooks, mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, pillows, etc.

However, you still need to research and find out what product(s) has the highest profit-giving potential.

Use Google trends to understand customers’ behavioral patterns. Also ask your friends to form a general opinion of which custom item they like to buy the most.

Conducting a small survey can also help you decide on the product(s) to customize for your business.

Tie Up with a Manufacturer/Distributor/Printer
Now that you already have your product and design ready, find a competent manufacturer/distributor to print your custom orders. Always try to build a long-lasting bond with your manufacturing or distributing partner to succeed.

Prepare a Catalogue of Items to Sell
This step is crucial as it involves clicking photos of all products to go for sale. You can either click photos of your products yourself using a decent camera. If you aren’t sure of your photography skills, try to find a friend good at photography to do it for you.

The last resort is to hire a professional photographer to click snaps for your product catalogue.
Pro Tip: It is recommendable to not invest much and use a high-quality digital camera to click photos yourself. Or else, you’ll have to shell out a significant sum of money in hiring a photographer.

Register on Different Sites
The next step is to create a seller account on different sites like AliExpress, eBay, Amazon, etc. These sites give more visibility to your products and people start acknowledging your products more. So, conduct proper research to find out the best possible site for your product.

Upload Your Catalogue
After registering as a seller, upload your products on the site. Also, some keyword research is foremost to get customers to notice your products. Adding USPs of your products would also be a good idea.

Start Marketing on Social Media
Social media marketing is a great marketing tool today. Set up your Facebook account and Instagram account. Remember that these accounts must be business accounts and not personal accounts with all creator tools. Setting up a respective ads account for each social media channel is also recommendable.

See to it that your logo goes with the product(s) you deal in.

Fulfill Your Orders Timely
In the beginning while testing your samples, you can try fulfilling orders by partnering with a delivery service. But as the orders start inpouring in large numbers, it is better to switch to print-on-demand sites. Various sites like Zazzle, Printify, Printful, etc. take care of everything from taking orders, shipping them and handling their returns.

Launch Your Own E-Store
Once you get along with suppliers, a big audience, and profits from orders; you can launch your own e-store. The challenges still don’t end.

The biggest challenge is competing with the leading brands in this industry like Hallmark, Archies, etc. As they already have a huge audience, they can produce products in large stocks. Despite knowing your products have succeeded, you can’t go for inventory management straight away.

So, it is better to integrate web-to-print software with your e-store. This software will let your customers customize your products themselves by using creator tools. This will save you from risks of loss wastage in bulk production of custom products. As customers will create only what they intend to buy.

Once you get enough popularity, you may venture into producing products with custom designs in huge stocks.

In a Nutshell
Starting a new business is never a cakewalk. You have to surmount so many hurdles to eventually ace the business. The same goes with this print-on-demand business. Right from producing and testing custom designs to launching your own e-store with web-to-print software, every step poses new challenges.

Nevertheless, stay calm and be patient. Take every step judiciously throughout your journey. Success will eventually knock on your door.

Author's Bio: 

Pratik Shah is Creative Head of Brush Your Ideas, a Web-to-Print technology solution offering custom product design software & Web-to-Print Storefront Solution.