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How to Start a Print On Demand Business with Ecwid

10 min read

Starting a Print-on-Demand business is now easier than ever. We’ve made it simple (and affordable) for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own custom designs brand and sell a variety of products in very little time.

Often, creators find themselves discouraged when looking for options to start selling their customized products online. This typically occurs as they realize their web design knowledge is not the best, they don’t know how they can offer their customers secure transactions, and the most common one, they lack the financial ability and storage space necessary to buy products in bulk.

Thankfully, print-on-demand has become a powerful alternative for aspiring entrepreneurs to successfully address all of these obstacles, allowing them to create and sell custom items with no need for inventory or money upfront. All from the comfort of their homes!

This guide is designed to help you launch your very own print-on-demand business, and teach you how to connect any of our dropshipping integrations to your online store so you can start selling custom design products under your brand.

You’ll be able to start fulfilling orders with only a few clicks, with no need to spend too much time on the behind-the-scenes. Everything after the sale, including shipping, is handled by your supplier of choice, making it easier than ever to create your own print-on-demand business.

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What Is Print On Demand?

Print-on-demand (POD) is an order fulfillment method where items are printed and paid for only when an order is made regardless of the order amount. This helps creators avoid risky investments, test the market, and completely get rid of costly minimum quantity orders and money wasted in inventory that is not sold.

It is easier than ever to start selling your designs with POD; all you need to do is connect your free Ecwid store to one of the many POD integrations from the Ecwid app market.

Print-on-demand can be a great option for you if:

  • You want to start an online store and sell custom designs with no need for an order minimum.
  • You desire to start your own brand but lack the financial ability to make risky investments.
  • You want to grow your business and test new products.
  • You don’t have the time to spend on the technical side of your business.

With the use of print-on-demand services, you can easily take more risks and test new products you’d have not otherwise considered under traditional methods that require bulk buying. The sky’s the limit for sellers wishing to test new markets and niches with POD. There is also no need to worry about third-party logos or recognition. Most suppliers agree to customize your products and packaging with your brand logo.

How to Get Your Print On Demand Business Started

Step 1. Set up an Ecwid account

In order to provide your customers with a branded experience, the first step is to sign up for an ecommerce service like Ecwid and create your online store’s website. You’ll need a Venture plan or higher to get started.

You’ll want to pick a store theme, add your logo, and set up your page. We have made it as easy as possible for anyone to set up an online store with Ecwid. Regardless of your web experience level, there is no need to feel frightened about this part. Also, do not worry about setting up products or collections just yet, this is covered in the next steps and is easier than it sounds.

Step 2. Connect Ecwid to a POD service

Once you have a plan of choice and your store is ready to go, it is time to choose a print-on-demand service.

Go to the Ecwid App Market, look for a POD integration like Printful, and install it. You’ll probably want to pick a provider based on reliability and where you are in the world. Provider’s shipping speed tends to vary depending on factors like location and time of the year. Make sure to study all of these when picking a provider.

Step 3. Set up your products and inventory

Once your provider of choice is installed and connected to your Ecwid store, it is time to get inventory and designs ready.

After installing the app, you can choose from a range of products and designs, or simply choose to make the designs yourself. Among your list of options, you’ll find items like t-shirts, hoodies, posters, canvas, mugs, etc. Once you’ve chosen a design, you can start applying your graphics to any of these products.

At Ecwid, we recommend having a clear understanding of your product market and niche. This way you can know who the item is meant for, as well as design and market it appropriately. Another recommendation is to start with 10-15 products as you become familiar with POD.

Once you have your products available for purchase, your integration of choice will be automatically notified when a customer makes a purchase from your online store. The provider will then print your graphic, pack it and ship it to the customer.

The order fulfillment process can vary across POD services, some can require you to personally approve and pay for the order before it is processed. But overall, most of the burden remains on the supplier and not the seller.

Step 4. Launch and open your print on demand store for business

This is the final and probably most important step to get your POD business started. Once you have everything ready, it is time to launch your store so others can find you and buy from you.

You might want to perform a store test before you begin advertising to make sure everything is running as it is supposed to. You can do this by starting a transaction and canceling at the point of payment so you are not actually charged. This way you’ll be able to notice any errors that could upset your customers. We have created a before-store launch checklist to guide you through the process.

Are There Any Downsides to Print On Demand?

Although the investment risks are low, there are certainly a few things to be aware of when deciding to open a POD business.

Sellers don’t have control of the products’ quality

Printing on demand means creating and shipping at the moment of purchase. Unfortunately, sellers never actually get to see the finished product before it is shipped to buyers under this method. To avoid any quality issues, sellers should partner with a trustworthy supplier known to have strong business ethics.

At Ecwid, we do have quality control to help minimize issues like this, but this becomes harder when errors are constant and suppliers have absolutely no regard for customers or the seller’s brand.

Sellers have very little control of product availability

Availability is mainly dependable on the supplier’s time and inventory, not yours. Suppliers are constantly working with multiple other sellers; this can lead to a shortage of fabric or any other material necessary for customer demands. When this happens, all you can do is wait on the supplier to replenish stock.

Sellers have little order fulfillment control

Since products are printed on-demand, it takes a lot longer for them to be shipped than it does when you already have the item in stock. Also, since shipping is in the hands of POD companies and suppliers, it can be hard to make promises about the item’s time of arrival.

A lower profit margin for sellers

Unlike traditional methods that require bulk buying, POD relies on sellers buying one product at a time. This results in a higher cost when compared to bulk buying.

Don’t Let the Cons Discourage You

Nothing is perfect, and most things come with precautions. The above list is only mentioned to make sure you’re aware of the common issues you could face and help you decide if this is the right path for you.

Thankfully, since the upfront cost for POD is fairly low, the investment risks are close to non-existent. As long as you are committed to your store and rely on reliable tools, you can easily be part of the many other sellers that have successfully achieved desirable results.

Testing Is Your Secret Weapon

The beauty of POD relies on the seller’s ability to test new products over and over again with no impact on their finances. It may take time before you find the right products for your audience, this is why testing can be so helpful. With Ecwid and our print-on-demand partners, you can try new markets and products without the need of risky investments.

Do you want to learn more about the print-on-demand business?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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