Servando: Today we are back with a knowledge bomb for my readers. This is a post from a friend of mine from Thailand who is great at doing online businesses.
I met Bank first in 2015 through his blog when he was running affiliate CPA offers but since 2016 he has moved away from being an affiliate to running eCommerce stores and making multiple 6 figures with his systems.
Bank has been working in the internet marketing industry since he was an undergrad in 2008. He loves building sustainable, long-term internet marketing businesses. You can read more about his internet marketing journey on his blog at TinyMarketingLab.com. Let’s get started with his case study! I’ll let Bank write and take the wheel for now:
Selling Print-on-Demand products is one of the most popular business models you can use to create a passive income stream.
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to crush Q4 by selling Print-on-Demand products.
Table of Contents
What are Print on Demand Products?
First of all, let me explain the basic principle. A Print-on-Demand product, or POD, is basically an eCommerce business model in which you can create a design and put it on products (such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, shot glasses, tumblers, pillows, etc.) and sell on your website or other marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.
When there is an order from a customer, the POD supplier will start making the product and ship it to your customer automatically.
You don’t have to own the physical product.
No stock is needed, and there are no upfront costs.
You just need to pay the cost of the product when there is an order.
I like selling Print-on-Demand products because I don’t need to be concerned about production and shipping. The supplier will handle everything for me.
Once you’ve found a bunch of winning products, you’ll be able to earn a very stable income, and you can put your product on other Print-on-Demand websites to earn even more.
It’s not like drop-shipped or affiliate products, whose owners can remove their products or services at any time and make your income disappear overnight.
All the Print-on-Demand products are yours. The designs are yours, and you can reuse them on other POD products. Your income may disappear when your suppliers close their business, but this is unlikely to happen often. Even if it does happen, there are many other Print-on-Demand companies out there.
How to Create a Print-on-Demand Product
Creating a Print on Demand product is very easy. Basically, you need to create only the design and create a product on the supplier’s website. Most of them already have a mockup generator for you.
If you’re a graphic designer or have decent design skills, you can create the designs by yourself. If not, you can hire someone on Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, Grandesign, etc.
I’m not good at design, so I hired a couple of graphic designers for my team. But even you have good design skills, if you have a budget, I still suggest that you create a team and let them do the work for you.
Consistency is key to success in this business model.
Building a Print-on-Demand business is easy, but the everyday process is routine and boring. It’s better to hire someone to do the work for you.
What’s kind of designs can be sold?
I have been selling print on demand products – like coffee mugs, shot glasses, and travel mugs – mainly on Amazon. I’ve found that most of my top-selling products are text-based designs.
If you check the top-selling novelty mugs on Amazon, you’ll see that most of them are based on simple, text-based designs.
When I got started, I didn’t believe this. I asked my designer to create complex and beautiful work like I did when I promoted Teespring campaigns back in 2016.
It costs $20-25 per design and takes time to create – but sadly, designs like that rarely sell on Amazon.
I changed my strategy and began to create only simple text designs. My designer can create them within a few minutes. We need to do research on what quotes people like to buy.
People like products that can represent them and their personality or hobbies.
I like to do research on t-shirts. Most top-selling t-shirts contain just a simple text design. If a design sells well with the t-shirts, they can also sell well on other Print on Demand products.
You can use Google to find quotes. For example, if you are planning to create a product for Engineers, try searching Google using keywords like “funny engineer quotes” or “funny engineer t-shirt”. You’ll find many interesting quotes that can be sold.
If you find that your target niche is too competitive, you may try to layer it using another angle.
For example, the Engineer niche is quite competitive. You can layer it with another angle such as “Engineer Mom”, “Engineer in Texas”, etc.
This way, you can avoid many competitors and create many more designs.
Where to sell Print-on-Demand Products?
I mainly sell my POD products on Amazon and Shopify (with SEO traffic) only.
But there are many other places you can sell POD products. Many friends of mine are doing well on Etsy and eBay.
I actually had an Etsy account too, but it was suspended after I made my first sale without any reason. I plan to create a new account with them soon.
I have just done some research and found many other places – like Amazon Merch, Redbubble, Zazzle, Spreadshirt, Teepublic, etc. – where you can send your designs and start making sales using organic traffic.
Don’t stick to just one or two marketplaces. Try to sell your designs wherever possible. This will help you make a more stable passive income. If you can’t do it yourself, hire someone to do it for you.
How to fulfill the product
There are many ways to fulfill the product. If you sell your products on a POD site like Redbubble or Merch by Amazon, they will handle the production for you automatically.
But if you’re selling products on websites that don’t handle the production (as when you sell non-t-shirt products on Amazon), you need to fulfill it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
Some suppliers have an integrated system which allows you to connect their system with marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.
When there is an order, the system will get the order info, make the product, ship it to your customer, and submit the tracking info back to the marketplaces for you. The whole process is done automatically.
I prefer the dropship integration method because I can save a lot of time by not fulfill orders by myself. I also don’t need to worry about whether my VA has inserted the order information correctly or not.
I just sit back and enjoy making passive income!
The “unfair advantage” of Amazon FBA
After you’ve been selling on Amazon for a while, you’ll discover you have some winning products. The next thing to do is to make more sales from these products.
On Amazon, there is a Fulfilled by Amazon or FBA service, which allows sending products to the Amazon Warehouse so Amazon can pack and ship the product for us.
Normally, when we sell POD stuff on Amazon, we will fulfill the order by ourselves or use FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant).
The supplier will make the item and ship it for us. The handling and shipping process takes around 1-2 weeks.
But that’s not what customers like. Most of them prefer to get their products fast, especially in advance of holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or New Year’s Day.
I got many orders last December. Many people wanted to purchase a gift for someone they love for New Year’s. Most people placed an order in the last week of the year and asked me whether or not I could send it by tomorrow. If I couldn’t, I had to send them a refund.
This is why we need to consider using Amazon FBA.
With FBA, Amazon can pack and ship your product within 1-2 days. That’s a lot less than FBM, which makes customers wait for a week or so. If you’re interested in learning more about this check my Amazon FBA case study.
Also, your product page will bear the “Amazon Prime Badge” and its product description will note that buyers can “Get it Today” or “Get it by Tomorrow”.
This is a huge advantage that FBA has over FBM. If you try searching Amazon using the keywords “Father’s Day mug”, you will get 30,000 results.
If you check the option “Get it Today” or “Get it By Tomorrow”, the number of results decreases to somewhere between 3,000 and 6,000 products.
That’s a 5 -10x difference!
You can avoid many competitors who are selling products in the same market just by using Amazon FBA.
I send my winning products to the Amazon Warehouse almost every month, especially when a big holiday like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. is coming up.
Most of my products sell out soon after they arrive at the Amazon Warehouse.
Before the most recent Mother’s Day, I sent 432 coffee mugs to Amazon. They sold out in less than a week.
I didn’t spend a dime on ads. They sold only from organic traffic on Amazon.
So, if you’ve found a winning product, make sure you send it to the Amazon Warehouse to make more sales.
As you can see, it’s easy to sell Print on Demand products. You don’t need to stock any products. No ads needed. You just focus on launching new products and scaling the ones that sell.
You can create a team and let them handle everything for you. The process is very easy. Just create the designs and keep uploading them. It’s very easy to find someone to work for you. You just need to do some market research.
So, if you’re planning to sell POD products in Q4 (the best time to sell gifts), it’s good to start right now.
Keep launching new products and finding the ones that sell best, and send the best-sellers to Amazon Warehouse before Q4.
- Print-on-Demand, or POD, is a business model in which you create a design that can be printed on a product (like a coffee mug or shot glass), and then sell the product through your own website or on other marketplaces. When there is an order, the product supplier will make the item and ship it to the customer for us.
- There are many marketplaces – such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Redbubble, Zazzle, etc. – where we can place POD products and get sales from organic traffic.
- When you get an order, you can place an order manually on the POD supplier’s website.
- Some suppliers (such as GearBubble, Printful, and Teelaunch) provide drop-ship integration or a system that will automate the fulfillment process for us, but it comes at a modest cost.
- The design of a POD product doesn’t need to be complex or beautiful. Many people purchase a t-shirt or coffee mug because of the message on the product.
- Focus on the quotes first. Don’t spend too much time on the design.
- Most of the top-selling novelty mugs and t-shirts on Amazon are simple text-based designs.
- If you’re selling on Amazon, there is a service called Amazon FBA that will pack and ship products for us. We just need to send the product to Amazon Warehouse, and Amazon will handle production and shipment.
- With Amazon FBA, your product will have many “unfair advantages” that FBM products don’t have.
- The FBA product will have a better ranking, an Amazon Prime Badge, and its page will show the messages like “Get it Today” or “Get it By Tomorrow”, which many of your competitors can’t offer.
- If you have a proven selling product, make sure to send it to Amazon FBA to make more sales.
The best time to start a POD business is NOW!