Starting A Print On Demand Shopify Store

August 25, 2019 0 Comments
POD ToolsDescription
ShopifyStart your store with a 14 day Free trial
FreelancerLaunch a project or a design contest to get your design made for as little as $10.
Facebook Ads MasteryLearn how to create profitable Facebook ads and sell your POD products on Facebook.
PrintfulThe most popular print-on-demand company in the USA.

What is print on demand (POD)?

POD is a form of dropshipping. Basically, you setup a store full of product (shirts, hoodies, hats, etc.) with your brand or design on them. When a product is sold you forward the order to your PODcompany and they print the item and ship it to your customer under your business name.

The most popular POD company is Printful. They have a Shopify app with almost 2,500 reviews, the majority of them are positive.

Below you can see a list of all the items you can put your brand or design on with Printful.

T-Shirts
All Over Shirts
Polo Shirts
Tank Tops
3/4 Sleeve Shirts
Long Sleeve Shirts
Embroidered Shirts
Jackets
Hoodies
Sweatshirts
Sweatpants & Joggers
Leggings
Shorts
Skirts
Dresses
Swimwear
Sports Bras
Bodysuits
Baby Bibs
Baby Bodysuits
Dad hats
Snapbacks
Trucker Hats
5 Panel Hats
Mesh Hats
Beanies
Bucket Hats
Visors
Tote Bags
Drawstring Bags
Fanny Packs
Backpacks
iPhone Cases
Samsung Cases
Bracelets
Necklaces
Flip Flops
Socks
Coffee Mugs
Stickers
Throw pillows
Pillow cases
Posters
Framed Posters
Canvas Prints
Beach Towels
Bean Bags
Embroidered Aprons

Printful vs Aliexpress

Many people use Aliexpress as a dropshipping source while others prefer a POD platform like Printful.

The biggest different with Printful is they are based in the United States so you order gets to customers within a week. With Alixpress most stuff is coming from China and takes 4-6 weeks to arrive.

Another difference is the originality aspect. When you sell stuff from Aliexpress, you are usually selling something that hundreds of other people are selling.

When you get a custom design made and sell it on your POD store, no one else will be selling that design. POD allows you to be creative and unique with the items you sell.

Picking a niche

Online their are a lot of funny and offensive shirt stores. When most people launch a shirt store that is the route they usually take. I would not recommend a store like that as it is very difficult to promote.

I suggest choosing a niche because it is much easier to identify whom you want to target. Below are some niches I recommend.

Vegan
Christian
Jewish
Gluten Free
Vegetarian
Dog owner
Cat owner
Ferret owner
Neighborhoods
States/Regions
Last Name
Graduation
Christmas
Seasons
Beekeeping
Bowlers
Woodworkers
Lesbians
Gays
Donald Trump
Bulldogs
Chihuahua
Sneakerheads
Blondes
Mothers Day
Back To School
Valentines Day
St Patricks Day
Tall People
Cars
Tennis
Basketball
Racquetball
Dartball
Pool
Darts
Geek
Food
Baseball
Soccer
Archery
MMA
Emojis
Ping Pong

Getting a design made

You have two options when coming up with designs. Option one to see what types of designs are selling well on Amazon, eBay and other online stores and mimic those designs while adding in your own touches of uniqueness. This is a good option because you are going with a design style that is proven to sell.

Rad Dad Shirt

Option two is to come up with something off the top of your head that you think looks good. Realize that just because you like it doesn’t mean others will like it or buy it. This is riskier, but it sets you apart if you can make it work.

Once you know what you are looking for you can find a designer on Fiverr.com. Using Fiverr.com basically involves contacting the people you think would do a good job and telling them what you want your design to look like.

After that you guys discuss price and timeline. Getting a design done usually involves some back and forth and a few revisions, but it is usually pretty hassle free as long as your provide a lot of detail in regards to what you are looking for.

My preferred website when I hire a designer is Freelancer.com. On this website you post what you are looking for and people will bid how much they will do the job for. You can discuss the job with multiple people and view their portfolios until you find the perfect designer to hire.

T Shirt Design Needed

Much like Fiverr, you will go back and forth and usually need some revisions, but as long as you are clear on what you are looking for, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a great designer.

Any alternative to a direct hire is to hold a contest. If you are unsure what type of design you are looking for, I suggest a contest. It will allow you to look at 30 to 100 designs at once and decide which one is best for you.

Contest

You can launch a design contest on Designcrowd and Freelancer.

No matter which site you use to get design done, make sure any artwork used in your design is original. People will try and trick you with clip art or random images they download of Google images. Make sure they can prove that they made any graphics included in your design.

Also make sure you know the file format, size requirements and acceptable print colors at Printful so you can refer that information to the person making your designs.

Making mockups of your designs

Once you have your designs, you will need photos of people wearing your stuff that you can use on your website and social media. Use Placeit to put your designs on shirts, hats, hoodies and whatever else you plan to sell.

It would obviously be better to order some of your merchandise and take real photos of people wearing it, but that would be expensive, so Placeit is the next best option.

Setting Up Your Store

Buy a domain: I recommend Namecheap. Get a .com domain. Expect to pay about $25 for a domain with privacy.

Join Shopify: Your first 14 days on Shopify are free, after that you have to pay $29.99 for their lowest level plan.

Get the printful Shopify app: Install the Printful app, it will allow you to connect your store so that when orders are placed they are automatically sent to Printful.

Get Aweber for email marketing: Most of your visitors will leave your store and never comeback. Make sure you collect their email address before they leave.

Install a list building Shopify app: You need one to collect emails and store them in your Aweber account. The best ones are usually cost about $10 to $20 a month. You should be able to make that money back if you send out emails announcing sales and discounts.

Install a contact form app: People may have questions about your products, shipping, return policy, etc. Their are dozens of great free contact form Shopify apps that will allow people to reach out and ask questions.

Install a free Shopify theme: Shopify has 10 Free themes. Once you store starts to make a little money you can upgrade to a paid theme.

Setup your pages: Next you should setup an about page, return policy and a privacy policy. This is pretty easy to do. On the left sidebar of your Shopify admin area click the link that says Online Store. Next click the link pages.

On the main screen you can click the add page button to setup your first page.

Add your products: When you setup you products make sure you mention measurement, fabrics, shipping costs and estimated shipping time. Try to have at least 2 pictures of every product.

Setup a Facebook pixel and Google analytics: The Facebook pixel will allow you to track sales that come from your Facebook ads. The Google analytics code will allow you to monitor you visitors movements on your site.

You can set both up by clicking Online Store on the sidebar in the Shopify admin area.

On the main area of the screen you will see the Google Analytics and Facebook pixel area. Enter the number for each one in the appropriate box and hit save.

Pricing your products

From my experience, items should be priced double what you pay for them with shipping as an additional charge. If it cost $14 to print a shirt on Printful then you should charge your customers at least $28.

My thought is price high and offer discounts for high order amounts. Charging $30 a shirt might turn some people away, but if you give them $10 off orders over $75 they might forgive the high prices.

Don’t stress too much about having the perfect pricing. You can always raise or lower your prices in the future.

When it comes to shipping, charge your customers what your POD service is charging you.

Marketing

I suggest having an advertising budget of $250 for your first month in business. I think you should spend that entire $250 on Facebook ads. They have the highest quality traffic and the best targeting options.

When running campaigns I suggest targeting two or three interests. If you are selling a pink vegan shirt don’t make the mistake of targeting all vegans. Instead promote that shirt to female vegans of a certain age group that like the color pink. See the example below.

The more specific you can be with your ads, the more likely you are to build a successful store.

If you want to learn how to run successful facebook campaigns I recommend trying the Facebook Ads Mastery course, it has a 60 day money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied.

Startup Costs

Expect to spend $350 to $500 on the startup of your POD store. A lot of that depends on how much your design will cost. An all text design can be made for $30-$50. If you need complex graphics then the prices go up to $100 to $250.

Conclusion

POD is a great alternative to selling stuff from Aliexpress. You have the opportunity to sell designs no one else is selling and you can get customers their stuff faster.

With the right designs and the right marketing POD can be easy money. Keep in mine, every design you launch may not be a hit. You might need to launch 3 or 4 designs before one sells well. Don’t get discouraged, stay committed and stay focused and success will come.

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