8 Steps to Start a Print-on-demand Business Successfully

How to Start a Print-on-demand Business Successfully in 2024?

how to start a print on demand business successfully

Many steps when learning how to start a print-on-demand business may confuse starters. The most critical steps to enter the print-on-demand industry are choosing a niche with profitable products, creating an online store, and designing engaging artwork. It would be best to have an excellent fulfillment partner and a practical marketing plan.

You will feel it more simple with the straightforward process from Teeinblue Product Personalizer. Wrap it now!

Step 1: Choose a Niche with High-profit Products

A print-on-demand niche is less competitive, making it easier for you to enter the market. A good niche should have high profits and a specific audience in a determined region. Beginning with your favorite products, then analyzing their practicability can avoid reckless spending.

  • Reviewing the market research about print-on-demand industries for best-selling products and the forecast for upcoming years.
  • Utilizing Google Trends and Trendhunter to discover the print-on-demand trends in recent months and years.
  • Analyzing some keyword tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, Keywordtool.io, etc., to estimate the size of the niche.
how to start a print on demand business with a niche

Type a seed keyword on Google Trends and find related trending topics

Following the Global Print on Demand Market 2023 - 2032, here are the best ideas for you to start:

  • Best-selling niches: Personalized print-on-demand for clothing, accessories, and home decor items; Eco-friendly products for sustainability and healthier earth.
  • High-profit products: mugs (30%-60%), tote bags (20%-70%), posters (25% in minimum), t-shirts (30%-50%), and phone cases (40%-85%).
  • Top region: North America (40% market share) and Asia Pacific (the highest CAGR at 27.9%).

💡 You may concern: A list of the Worthiest Print-on-demand Products and Designs to Sell

Step 2: Create Print-on-demand Designs

Design matters when selling print-on-demand as it is critical to generating sales and establishing your unique brand identity. You must choose a design style and create appealing, printable product designs.

Multiple standards exist for a winning print-on-demand design, including creative ideas, well-organized details, proper printing size and file format, etc. Don’t rush to get all of them! Keeping in mind the basics from the start will help you have winning artwork.

  • Focus on your niche and target audience to find their interest so that you can get great inspiration.
  • Make it simple but remarkable to capture your customer’s attention at first sight.
  • Design the same same but still involve your uniqueness by following trends and adding your brand identity.
  • Keep every artwork consistent in style to help your brand stay strong in customers’ minds.

Tips: You can walk through online resources, such as Pinterest, Freepik, Vecteezy, Shutterstock, or Etsy, to learn and update the latest design trends.

💡 You may concern: Make Use of Product Personalization Benefits to Enter the Print-on-demand Market

Step 3: Pick the Best Fulfillment Suppliers

Cooperating with fulfillment suppliers helps reduce a lot of work, including processing orders to production, delivery, and managing inventory. After determining your niche and design style, it’s time to select suppliers that match you most.

start a print on demand business with a supplier

Dropship print-on-demand product with a global fulfillment supplier

Here are the criteria for you to consider:

  • Their catalog
  • Product quality and segment
  • Printing technologies
  • Production and delivery time
  • Warehouse locations
  • Reprint, returns, and refund policy
  • Customer services
  • Scalability (industry experience, size, and customer reviews)
  • Product personalization support

Nowadays, thanks to the innovation in production technology, many fulfillment companies can offer you high-quality products at a lower cost. Save the top-of-the-world print-on-demand suppliers here!

Outstanding products
Printing technologies
merchOne (Picanova)

High-quality canvas prints, mugs, and doormats

Sustainable manufacturing


Support the sustainable business with clothing, drinkware, home & living, and accessories

DTFx and cutting-edge technologies


High-quality apparel & accessories, home & living, eco-friendly products

DTG, embroidery, AOP, engraving.


Fashion with its accessories, and housewares

DTG, embroidery, and dye sublimation technology

Jewelry with message cards, dog tags, and personalized watch

Engraving, 3D cast, and graphic printing

Custom sustainable t-shirts, posters, cards, etc

DTG and sustainable methods


Eco-friendly accessories, clothing, home & living

DTG, AOP, DTF, sublimation, and UV printing


Basic apparel, tech accessories, drinkware, posters, etc

Textile printing, embroidery, direct digital printing

 Accessories, apparel, garment, and home decor
DTG, 3D digital print, dye sublimation

Bonus: All of these above print-on-demand companies can fulfill customized products. Remember to request a sample before selecting one.

Step 4: Decide Where to Sell Your Product

Multiple sales channels help you set up a store when selling print-on-demand online. You can choose the best suit with the three most popular suggestions below!

Sell on an eCommerce Market Place

By creating stores on Etsy, Amazon, Shein, eBay, etc., you can easily upload your products to sell worldwide. You can make use of its free traffic sources and marketing tools to reach more audiences.

However, you must note that you cannot create a store with your own website domain. It may limit you from launching branding and advertising activities.

Pick an eCommerce Platform

There are dozens of eCommerce platforms specialized for print-on-demand, such as Shopify, Woocommerce, BigCommerce, Squarespace, Wix, etc. They offer various tools, apps, and plugins to help you set up a print-on-demand website. So, even if you are not a developer, you can make it yourself.

Among platforms, Shopify stands out as it has the largest print-on-demand network and a lot of apps for personalizing POD products. Moreover, the cost of getting a custom store is more affordable than outsourcing or hiring a professional developer, just from $25 per month.

how to create a print on demand business

Shopify pricing plan

Code and Launch Your Own Online Store

Coding your website is very time-consuming and costly at the beginning. Domain, web hosting, theme, SSL certificate, customized tools, etc., are available on eCommerce platforms. But when building manually, you must code, buy, and set them up yourself.

A custom-built online store with many features can cost as much as $30,000 or more. So, consider the best place to sell print-on-demand to avoid budget draining.

Step 5: Set a Price for Your Product

Pricing print-on-demand products is one of the most critical stages to differentiate your business from competitors right from the start. It is wise to offer an affordable price, not too cheap or expensive. And it should ensure to offer of high-quality products, satisfied customer services, and profits.

Even if you are new to starting a print-on-demand business or creating another one, this calculating the retail price method can work:

  • Cover all the production costs, including design, eCommerce platform charges, payment gateway charges, taxes, management costs, marketing investment, etc.
  • Estimate your wished profit margin for each type of product.
  • Take a look at your competitors' prices then adjust yours.
  • Decide a pricing strategy, follow it, and conduct necessary adjustments.

Step 6: Set up Your Online Store with Products

You’ve chosen the best sales channels to start a print-on-demand business. Now, the creating online store process is coming to an end. This step requires more industrious than meditating.

  • Set up all necessary information: the menu, homepage, about your company, contact information, shipping policy, payment instructions, customer services, help/support, blog categories, etc.
  • Design product pages with images, descriptions (price, features, benefits, dimensions, and unique selling points), add-to-cart buttons, testimonials, etc.
  • Prepare products to sell: You should have your white-label product’s print area, mockup images, and variants ready to add to your store.

Tips: For merchants who sell personalized print-on-demand products, a custom product builder will help you easily add multiple options for customers to choose on your stores.

how to set up a print on demand business online

An engaging product page increase sales

Step 7: Place a Test Order

Testing the buying process to ensure the flow is smooth and straightforward. Then, you can offer the best customer experience. You need to test the ability to approach the product page and the response speed of choosing personalization options, adding to the card, proceeding to checkout, reviewing the order, and completing payment.

If you start a print-on-demand Shopify store or other platforms, using a bogus gateway or placing a real order can help you run a test order. It is easy to find detailed instructions in each platform’s support center.

Step 8: Promote Your Print-on-demand Business

Now, everything is ready to launch your print-on-demand store. Let’s promote your products to generate first sales. Gradually start from the simplest things, for example:

  • Ask friends and family for the first orders and reviews.
  • Share your products and join many groups on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc.
  • Run a giveaway or offer special promotions to attract customers.
  • Spend the budget on running advertisements or working with a KOC (Key Opinion Consumer).
  • Conduct long-term marketing activities like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and email marketing.

💡 You may concern: Learn How Giftymize Start Selling Print-on-demand from Zero

how to run a print on demand business

Always try to improve your product quality and customer services

Tips to Start a Print-on-demand Business Successfully

As a new seller, embracing the steps above will give you a solid mindset. Besides, don’t skip helpful tips from Teeinblue Product Personalizer’s users to practice how to start a print-on-demand business successfully.

Grasp Pros & Cons of Print-on-demand

You will not spend money on the inventory when you have a print-on-demand business. However, if your targeted customers live in the USA but use fulfillment service from a print-on-demand provider based in China, dealing with the long shipping time can cause you a headache.

So, how do you handle the long delivery times?

  • Be transparent about the shipping time: inform the time in 2-3 weeks
  • Choose fulfillment providers from your customer's country to shorten the production and shipping time.
  • Check your print-on-demand provider’s third-party partners for pricing, fulfillment time, and customer services.

Create Engaging Mockups

Usually, some print-on-demand companies will provide you with mockups from their website. However, they typically come with plain white background and, to be honest, look pretty boring and terrible for advertising. That’s why having realistic lifestyle mockups is the key.

Here is a list of some fantastic sources where you can find free mockup images for your online store:

  • Placeit.net
  • Freepik
  • Pixeden
  • Graphic Burger
  • Rawpixel
  • Canva
setting up print on demand products

Realistic lifestyle mockup images from Rawpixel

Be Consistent in Customer Services

Besides product quality and hyper-personalized experiences, consistency is one of the most important fundamentals of customer service. It helps you to:

  • Set positive expectations and build a reputation for fairness, reliability, and dependability.
  • Maintain customer loyalty.
  • Control the narrative easily.

Don't Just Opt for Selling T-shirts

Of course, selling T-shirts is a great niche at present and in the near future. Still, they are not the only type of print-on-demand product out there. Besides apparel, here are some best-selling print-on-demand products that you can sell to take your e-commerce brand to the next level.

Utilize a Design for Many Products

A T-shirt only has limited front and back print areasprovider’s guidelines to create a design that can be adjusted to fit the ratio of many print areas. For example, you can have a mockup image with the model wearing a T-shirt and holding a tote bag with the same design.

print on demand business tips

Cross-selling products with the same design for your shop

Note: Not all types of design work with all types of products. So, it would be great to remember that when you apply a design to many products, you should follow your provider’s guidelines to create a print-on-demand design that can be adjusted to fit the ratio of many print areas.

Learn from Customer Feedback

Requesting customer feedback shows that you appreciate their opinions and care about their experience. Involving them in the business and seeking their input can lead to stronger relationships with your customers. But don’t stop at listening, you should improve your products to make them satisfied.

Other Tips to Start POD Business

Here are other small tips that work for you:

  • Add a maximum of 5 color variants: giving them so many options causes decision anxiety, and it will take longer times to choose. And finally, customers end up not choosing anything at all (Analysis Paralysis)
  • Take notice of trademark when designing: Using a design, clipart, or quote with a trademark is illegal. Remember to check it on each country’s trademark search engine.

Frequently Asked Questions on Creating a Print-on-demand Business

Starting new things always comes with a lot of questions. This part is for you if you are wondering about startup costs for print-on-demand.

How Much is Print-on-demand Startup Cost?

The startup cost for a print-on-demand store may vary from $50 to $400, even thousands of dollars. It depends on which platform you create your stores, and how you design artwork as well as manage your business. But can you start with no money? Let’s get the detail in the next section!

print on demand startup cost

Try to reduce costs if you have a low budget by utilizing your ability

How to Start a Print-on-demand Business with No Money?

Starting print-on-demand with no money is rarely possible, but you can minimize expenses easily.

  • At first, it is possible to cut down the design cost. Finding selling ideas on Freepik, Pinterest, Open Clipart, and other free online resources and designing on Canva are great and efficient ways.
  • Then, you should choose a print-on-demand company that does not charge you any fee until the first order is delivered. Most global suppliers, such as Printful, Printify, etc., apply this policy.
  • Finally, you must find a platform offering a long free trial or low-cost pricing. For example, Shopify offers you free for three days and extends the trial at only 1$ per month for the first 3 months.

You’ve passed all the essentials about how to start a print-on-demand business. Each step requires great meticulousness and patience, from choosing products, fulfillment partners, eCommerce platforms, and designing artwork to promoting. Hope you can succeed in selling print-on-demand with the above steps. Join Teeinblue Product Personalizer global community on Facebook to get more helpful tips!


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