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Getting Started with Print on Demand Shopify 2021

video tutorials Feb 18, 2021

Are you interested in selling print on demand products on your eCommerce store? In this video we cover the EXACT five steps you need to do to start selling print on demand in 2021.

We will cover what print on demand is as well as the pros and cons of a print on demand business. We will also go over how to integrate Shopify with Printful and share with you all our print on demand tips... like why you shouldn't start a print on demand t-shirt business!

 

Apps & Links Mentioned in the Video:

DISCLAIMER: This video and description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. This help support the channel and allows us to continue to make videos like this. Thank you for the support!

 


 

View the Full Video Transcript Below

So in this video, I'm going to take you step-by-step through how to get started selling print on demand products for your Shopify store.

So there are five steps that you need to do to actually start selling print on demand products for your Shopify store. But before we get into those first, I want to cover really quickly, what exactly is print on demand?

 

What is Print on Demand

You may have heard of it or seen it referenced POD, but print on demand is a service that you can enable for your store that lets you easily create products and actually have someone else fulfill them.

So it lets you upload your design to products like t-shirts, mugs, tote bags and things like that. Then a third party company actually prints your design on those products and ships it out to the customers for you. So it's a really quick and easy way to get started with selling products. That's actually one of the, the pros there. So let's go over a little bit of pros and cons.

 

Print on Demand Pros & Cons

So one of the big pros is that you can quickly start selling products on your store using print on demand. It also is a great way to test different ideas for products that you have because you don't actually have to order any inventory. So it's a very low startup costs.

When you're first getting started, you can test out different product designs and get started really quickly. And it also is a little less time consuming because you're just creating the design once and then uploading it. Plus you don't have to do any of the actual fulfillment yourself.

But of course there are a few cons. So one of the big cons is that the profit margins are typically a little bit lower because you're not having to do the actual printing and fulfillment and shipping it out to customers. There is a cost associated with that.

So you are making a little bit less profit than if you were to let's say, create one design and order a thousand bulk shirts of it. You don't have as much risk, however you don't take on as much profit.

Also you have a little bit less control in terms of actually shipping it out. You're not there to test the quality and make sure that everything's okay as well as create kind of more of a branded shipping experience.

Some print on demand companies will let you have some kind of inserts that you can put inside the package to make it a little bit more branded. However, typically this does cost additional and again, you're still not able to control the whole process to see exactly what that finished product is that is going to your customer.

Okay, so now that we've gone through some pros and cons of print on demand products, let's go into the five different steps that you need to do to get started selling print on demand for your Shopify store.

 

Step #1- Choosing your Niche & Products

Step one is to choose your products and your niche. So I have a tips here, but you really want to start out first with your niche. And I really recommend that you look at how you can actually combine niches together.

So think about what kind of audience you're going after, what are they interested in? What products or designs would really appeal to them and how can you niche a little bit further down?

An example of this is maybe you decide that you want to do a unicorn niche. You could also maybe pair that with someone who loves unicorns and coffee at the same time, you can really kind of try and narrow down more to just make sure that you're finding people that really work well together and are going to be interested in a little bit more highly focused on whatever products you're selling.

So then you could use both those niches together and create unicorn coffee mugs or a unicorn design that's drinking coffee for a tote bag or a t-shirt, something like that. So that you're really kind of blending those two niches together in your design, but we'll come back to design in just a minute.

You also want to think about what different products that you would want to actually put your designs on. So everyone kind of instantly goes towards t-shirts. However, t-shirts a lot of times have a lower profit margin. So look at creating other products because also if they like the design that you have on, let's say a t-shirt, maybe they'd be willing to buy that on a sweatshirt as well or a mug. So you can upsell them a little bit there.

A great tool that I like to use for finding niches is actually the Facebook Audience Tool. So you can go in and build out a test audience like you would, if you were doing an ad in Facebook and you can actually start adding in different interest groups there, but you want to make sure that you hit that narrow audience further button. That way you can see how many people are actually interested in both interests and not just the one first interest that you add in. So this could be a great way to just test out different ideas and see the audience size there as well.

 

Step #2- Creating your Designs

So once you've got your niche figured out and you know, what kind of products you're going to put your designs on you are going to then need to create the design. So there's a couple of different ways to do it.

Of course, first off you can actually create the design yourself using a tool like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, or even using a free online tool like Canva.com.

If you're not a designer, you can always go with finding a designer that you can work with. So you could look at hiring a designer on a platform like Fiverr or Upwork, and actually partnering with them and working step-by-step to create a design together.

You can also look at actually just purchasing a design that's already created. So a great site for this would be Creative Market. Now you do want to make sure that you purchase the commercial license of a design that you are interested in this way. You can actually have the permission then to resell it.

If you purchase the personal license, you don't technically have the permission to resell and put this design on a product and you can of course get into some trouble for that. So make sure if you do purchase a design, you are going with that commercial license.

 

Step #3- Setting up your eCommerce Store & Choosing your Print Provider

Okay, so step number three is to actually get everything set up and connected. So first you're going to want to set up your e-commerce store.

So you could do this on a platform like Etsy. They connect to a lot of these different print on demand suppliers, or you can set up a Shopify store, which is of course our preferred favorite.

You'll want to go through this step though of setting up whatever e-commerce platform that you have.

I'm not going to go over in this video how to set up your Shopify store, but if you are interested in that, we do have an online class that shows you exactly step-by-step how to set up your own Shopify store and customize everything. So if you're interested in that, I will put a link in the description area below.

Once you've got your Shopify store or your Etsy store set up, you then need to choose what print provider you're going to use. There are a bunch of different print on demand suppliers out there of all different sizes.

The two that I really recommend that you can see in the Shopify app store that also work with Etsy are Printful and Printify. They have a lot of different options in their catalogs. They're actually a little bit different of how they have them and they both have pretty competitive prices. So I recommend before you actually choose which print provider you're going to use to go to both of their websites and look at their product catalogs and figure out what products are you the most interested in putting your designs on and selling on your site because that could then influence which one you go with.

Or you can actually even add both to your store. If you wanted to have some products from one, some products from another, but once you've decided on your print provider, you're then going to go to the Shopify app store and add the app there.

If you've decided to go with an Etsy store, you can just go to either of their websites and create an account there and then link it to your Etsy store. Once you've got the app added to your Shopify store, you can then go in, create an account with that print provider and very quickly get started.

So the first step, once you are ready to actually get started with this print provider that you've chosen is to upload your designs. So that was in the previous step you've created designs and depending on the products that you've chosen to go with, there will be different sizing requirements of what kind of design is going to have the highest quality resolution.

You really want to make sure when you're uploading your design, that you get all of the okays, that your design is a high quality design. That means it's going to print really nicely for you. You can always see the design recommendations on their website for how big the file needs to be or what resolution it needs to be as well.

Once you upload your design, though, you then will start to move it around and you can customize its placement as well as choose the colors that your design will be on. So for example, if you choose a t-shirt, you can then choose what t-shirt color design you want to have your design on and even upload an additional design let's say for darker colored shirts.

One thing that I really recommend when it comes to design color options is to really not go over five. I see so many times people will have a t-shirt on their site that they're selling with print on demand, and they will have all like 10+ t-shirt colors available. And honestly, it's just too many options that a lot of times, if you present people with too many options, they just won't buy.

So I recommend keeping it to a max of five colors that you choose. I recommend thinking through who your audience is and what colors that they would be the most likely to gravitate towards and what colors your design looks the best on.

Once you've got your design figured out and your colors selected you then will be taken through the process of adding in your product details. So you want to make sure that you change out the product details here. Again, I see so many times where people just go with the default naming, and you don't want to do that. You want to change the product titleand the description.

You want to make sure that you're making it custom for your product, and it's going to relate to your target audience. You don't want to just go with the generic because again, people are not going to resonate with that. And they're probably not going to end up purchasing.

Once you got all that figured out, you can then choose your pricing that you're going to have for your product and select which images to use for your product page. Another pro tip here is to make sure to not just go with the default images.

A lot of times, maybe the product on a white background looks really good in terms of a collection page of all the products styled next to each other. But you want to still have some stylized images that you use for your marketing and for your store.

So for this, I always recommend the online software PlaceIt which lets you upload your design there and put it onto more lifestyle images. You can then download that image and use it for your Shopify store and add it in as well as well as use it for social media.

It just makes your product page a little bit more different than other people's and it makes it a little bit more eye catching.

So once you've got all your product details in, you can then publish it to your Shopify store. You can still make other changes on your product page in the backend of Shopify to customize it a little bit more, but you want to make sure that you're careful about not changing any of those core details like pricing or your sizing, because then that can actually mess up how it syncs into the print on demand app.

If you did create a custom image with PlaceIt, you could add in that image there and drag and drop the order of the images around and that won't affect anything with the product syncing to the print on demand provider.

 

Step #4- Promoting your Shopify Store

Now that you've got your products in and your store set up, you then want to go into the fourth step, which is to promote your store.

So there are a lot of different ways to promote your store and hopefully you've thought about how exactly you're going to reach your target audience and promote your store ahead of time.

A lot of key ways that you can do that is through social media, and go ahead and start building up a following there that you circulate your products to. You could also try influencer marketing. We just had a video go out about how to find influencers for Instagram, for your Shopify store. So if you're interested in that, I will put a link in the info cards above and the description below.

And of course another great way is paid advertising. This can be really helpful when you're just getting started to send a flood of traffic to your site, as well as to test out some of the new products that you've created. Again, the benefit of print on demand is that you can create a lot of different designs and products and see what resonates most with your target audience. So being able to send ads to a couple of different product pages will really help you see which products are resonating the most with your target audience.

 

Step #5- Fulfilling your Orders

So in the last step I want to talk about, is about how to actually fulfill your orders. So again, a benefit of actually working with a print on demand supplier is that you don't personally have to print the design or ship it out to your customers. They do all that for you.

However, there is still a little bit of fulfillment and processes that you just want to make sure for on your end.

The fulfillment should be automatic if you've got it linked and set up that way. So that as soon as an order comes in from a customer, it is automatically sent off to your print on demand supplier's system and they start fulfilling that.

Now you do want to make sure though that you have a credit card set up with this print on demand provider, and you can do that through the app settings.

You want to make sure that you have that credit card set up because it's actually a little bit of a downtime or a delay in between. So let's say your customer has just purchased an item for $25 on your shop. Well, that goes into whatever bank account you have set up with Shopify or whoever your payment provider is and that'll take two to three business days.

However, your order will hopefully go into fulfillment within 24 hours of being received. So they will, as soon as they start fulfilling that order for you actually go ahead and charge you. So they'll charge you for the cost of what it is for printing that product. So the customer paid $25, let's say, and your actual cost of goods is $12. So you will get charged that $12 or whatever additional it is for shipping as well, as soon as they start fulfilling that order.

So it's good to have that credit card or debit card linked in with your print on demand providers so that there's no delay in time for processing that order.

You also want to make sure that you do have shipping set up with your print on demand provider. And a lot of times you can do this through the shipping settings in the app that you've chosen as well, but again, it should be a pretty automated process.

That's the huge benefit of doing print on demand is that there's a lot less for you to manage on the backend. I do recommend going into your Shopify store at least every day or so just to make sure that orders are going through to fulfillment and that there's no problems that you're needing to wait on. And that, you know, things are being shipped out, customers are getting the shipping notification and everything's running smoothly.

So I hope that helps you understand the process of how to get started with print on demand products for your Shopify store. It's pretty easy and seamless. Once you go through all the different steps.

And again, it's a great option for testing out products and launching your store really quickly.

So have you tried print on demand before? What provider was your favorite or what products were your favorite to sell? I would love to know. So it makes sure to comment below also we have a playlist over here of our top growth strategies for how to grow your Shopify store for 2021 and beyond.

So make sure to check that out if you haven't yet and make sure to subscribe to this channel. We post videos every week, all about Shopify and how to grow your online store.

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