Suppose you're a t-shirt printing business owner looking to expand your product offerings or an entrepreneur looking to start a print on demand (POD) business.

In that case, this article will provide valuable insights and tips on making the transition!

So, without further ado, let's get started.

First things first:

What is print on demand?

Print on demand (POD) is a business model where your products are printed once a customer places an order on your online store.

Everyday POD items to sell include T-shirts, posters, or mugs.

The beauty of POD is that it allows you to offer customers a wide range of designs and products without the risk of overstocking or understocking.

In other words, you don't have to hold inventory, which can be a relief for business owners.

Print on demand business model

Advantages of print on demand over t-shirt printing

  • POD services offer a more comprehensive range of products. With POD services, you can offer products such as hoodies, tote bags, and phone cases without investing in expensive equipment or materials!
  • You don't have to worry about holding inventory or managing stock. This frees up time and resources, allowing you to focus on other essential aspects of your business, such as creating new designs and marketing your products effectively.
  • You don't need to invest in expensive equipment or materials. Using POD services, you can use their flexibility and convenience to create high-quality products that meet your customers' needs.

Disadvantages of print on demand over t-shirt printing

  • The cost per item can be higher than traditional t-shirt printing. POD requires specialized equipment and expertise, which can be more expensive than traditional methods. The cost per unit decreases as the number of units increases, making it advantageous for larger orders.
  • You rely on a third-party supplier to print and ship your products. This can cause delays or quality issues if the supplier is unreliable. You can mitigate this by researching and selecting a reputable supplier with a proven track record of delivering high-quality products.

Now let's look at how you can find the supplier that will work best for you!

How do you find a print on demand supplier you can trust? (3 Tips)

There are tons of different POD suppliers out there! That's why we'll look at three ways you can know whether it's a good supplier.

Let's begin:

1. Look for reviews from previous customers

Trust pilot's reviews on Gelato
Gelato Reviews

When searching for a POD supplier, looking for reviews and ratings from previous customers is essential.

For example, if you're looking for a supplier specializing in eco-friendly products, you might want to search for reviews of suppliers with experience in this niche.

Doing so lets you know their quality and delivery history and avoid suppliers with a history of issues.

Another example of why reviews are critical is if you're looking for a supplier that can provide fast shipping times.

In this case, you might want to search for reviews from customers who have received their products quickly.

This can help you gauge the supplier's ability to deliver products on time, which is crucial if you have a tight deadline!

2. Look for suppliers that specialize in your niche

Dropship customized bandanas for dogs
Redbubble

When looking for a POD supplier, it is crucial to find one that specializes in your niche and can provide the products your customers are looking for.

For instance, if your niche is eco-friendly, you might want to search for a supplier with experience producing environmentally friendly products.

This could include using organic materials or eco-friendly inks in the printing process.

On the other hand, if you operate in the pet niche, you might want to look for a supplier with experience producing pet-related products, such as pet bandanas or pet beds.

By finding a supplier specializing in your niche, you can ensure that your products meet the needs and expectations of your customers.

For more ideas on how you can find your niche, here is an article on the 27 Best Print on Demand Niche Ideas for Your Store in 2024

3. Consider the supplier's location

Packages falling in Europe

Your POD supplier's location can significantly impact shipping times and costs.

When considering a supplier, look for one as close to your target market as much as possible.

Not only will this reduce shipping times and costs, but it can also improve your overall customer satisfaction by allowing for faster delivery times.

Also, a supplier loose to your target market may better understand the local market and its unique needs, allowing them to better tailor their services and products to meet those needs.

This can improve product quality, customer satisfaction, and overall business success. Therefore, it is essential to carefully consider the location of your POD supplier when making decisions about your supply chain and logistics strategy.

Here are the 14 Best Print on Demand Suppliers in Europe (Free & Paid) for more info.

5 Steps to move from T-shirt printing to print on demand

To move from t-shirt printing to print on demand, you need to research and select a POD supplier, create designs for POD products, upload your designs to the supplier, sync your products with an online store, and test and launch your products.

These steps require careful consideration and planning, but you can successfully transition to a more flexible and cost-effective business model with the right approach.

1. Research and select a print on demand supplier

When researching and comparing different POD suppliers, it's essential to look closely at what each supplier offers to ensure that it meets your needs.

It would be best to start by identifying the specific products and materials your customers are looking for and then look for a supplier that can provide those items with the quality and delivery time you require.

In addition to quality and delivery, consider other factors such as pricing, customer service, and the supplier's overall reputation in the industry.

You may also want to look for a supplier offering various customization options, such as adding your branding or creating unique designs.

Once you have identified a few potential suppliers, take the time to reach out to them and ask questions about their services and capabilities.

This will help you better understand whether they are a good fit for your business and whether they can meet your specific needs.

With some research and due diligence, you can find a POD supplier to help you grow your business and meet your customers' needs!

Here's an overview of the best print on demand suppliers in 2024:

IMAGE SUPPLIER
Printful
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 / $24.99 per month
  • No outsourcing: The communication and product sourcing to be efficient when it’s all under the same management.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
CustomCat
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 / $30 per month
  • Easy to use: It’s a joy to go through signing up and connecting your store ready to sell.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Printify
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 / $29 per month
  • Lower than average product costs: There’s a lot to see and gain through many suppliers, and some are only found with printify.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Gelato
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 / $15 / $99 per month
  • Many integrations: Can connect to all of platforms via their integration or API.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
SPOD
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 per month
  • Fantastic usability of the website: The navigation and ease of use of the website is something that an absolute beginner would have no trouble with at all.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Gooten
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 per month
  • Flat rate shipping: All orders will always have flat shipping to every location they can ship to.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Printy6
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 per month
  • Inexpensive products: Due to China’s highly efficient manufacturing, their products are super affordable.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
JetPrint
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 per month
  • Beautiful mock-up photos: They know how to make your product look great when designing a product with them.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Teelaunch
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 per month
  • Easy and free to use: Has astonishing most minor steps to use them than most other suppliers.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Print Aura
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 per month
  • Excellent customer service: Their communication system with help has been regarded as the top tier throughout the years.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Sellfy
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 / $19 / $49/ $99 per month
  • Easy to use: They have a straightforward signup process and easy-to-navigate site use.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Cafe Press
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 / $7 / $15 per month
  • Easy to use: The setup to upload designs right on the platform is simple and easy to use.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Zazzle
  • Niche: General
  • Pricing: $0 / $19/ $39 per month
  • Special shipping program: The shipping rates can go down to 2-3 days with great pricing options.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
T-Pop
  • Niche: Eco-friendly
  • Pricing: $0 per month
  • UK friendly: T-Pop is a giant supplier for the UK and worth looking into if most of your customers are from Europe.
VIEW SUPPLIER →
Scalable Press
  • Niche: Shirts
  • Pricing: $0 per month
  • Fast and reliable customer support: Their turnaround times on emails and phone calls have been fast, as reported by their customers.
VIEW SUPPLIER →

2. Create designs for print on demand products

When creating product designs, it's essential to consider a few key factors.

First, consider your target audience and what kind of designs would appeal to them. Are you designing for a younger audience or an older one? What styles and colors are popular among your demographic?

hoodie for truck drivers
Spreadshirt

Once you understand your audience, you can brainstorm design ideas that resonate with them.

Another critical aspect of the design is ensuring that your visuals are of the highest quality possible. This means investing in good design software and using high-quality images and graphics in your designs.

Not only will this make your designs look more professional, but it will also make them more appealing to your customers.

Finally, don't be afraid to get creative with your designs! Experiment with different styles, colors, and layouts to see what works best for your products.

By taking the time to create unique and eye-catching designs, you'll be able to set yourself apart from the competition and draw in more customers.

3. Upload your designs to the print on demand supplier

Adding new work to redbubble

Once you have your designs ready, it's time to upload them to your chosen POD supplier. This process can be the most exciting and nerve-wracking step in the entire process, but it's essential to take your time and make sure you get it right.

You'll want to carefully review the specifications and requirements for file formats and image sizes, as these can vary from supplier to supplier.

It's also a good idea to check out their printing process and quality control measures to ensure your designs will be printed exactly as you intended.

Don't forget that you can always ask your supplier for help or advice if you're unsure about anything!

Remember, the success of your POD business depends on the quality of your products, so it's worth taking the extra time to ensure everything is perfect before you hit that upload button.

4. Sync print on demand products with an online store

Syncing art prints on Printful

A critical step in managing your print on demand products is to ensure they are synced with your online store.

By doing so, you can ensure that your customers can easily access your products and purchase them quickly and easily.

This can help increase your sales and customer satisfaction, as customers will appreciate the convenience of browsing and purchasing your products online.

Additionally, syncing your products can help you manage your inventory more effectively.

You can track your stock levels and adjust as needed to ensure you always have enough products to meet demand.

5. Test and launch your print on demand products

Phone cases on Redubble
Source

When it comes to testing, it's essential to consider what tests are appropriate for your product.

For instance, if you're creating a clothing item, you might want to conduct wash tests to ensure the design doesn't fade or crack after multiple washes.

If you're creating a phone case, you might want to test for durability by dropping it from different heights to see if it can withstand impact.

As for the launch strategy, you can promote your product to your target customers in many ways.

For example, if you're launching a new line of eco-friendly products, you might want to partner with a sustainability influencer to promote your products on social media.

Alternatively, you could host a launch event at a local store or market to introduce your products to potential customers. Another option is to offer special promotions or discounts to encourage customers to try your products for the first time.

Summary

Before we go to the final verdict, we've created a quick summary of this article for you, so you can easily remember it:

  • Print on demand (POD) is a business model where your products are printed once a customer places an order on your online store. Everyday POD items to sell include T-shirts, posters, or mugs.
  • You don't need to invest in expensive equipment or materials. Using POD services, you can use their flexibility and convenience to create high-quality products that meet your customers' needs.
  • When searching for a POD supplier, looking for reviews and ratings from previous customers is essential.
  • Consider your target audience and what kind of designs would appeal to them. Are you designing for a younger audience or an older one? What styles and colors are popular among your demographic?
  • You'll want to carefully review the specifications and requirements for file formats and image sizes, as these can vary from supplier to supplier.
  • if you're creating a clothing item, you might want to conduct wash tests to ensure the design doesn't fade or crack after multiple washes.

Conclusion

Print on demand has become increasingly popular due to its flexibility and low-risk nature. Unlike traditional printing methods, with print on demand, you are not required to order large quantities of products upfront.

Instead, you can work with a reliable POD supplier to offer your customers a wide range of products. This means you can quickly expand your product offerings beyond t-shirts, including mugs, phone cases, and even books.

By following these steps and transitioning to print on demand, you can grow your business and offer your customers a more diverse range of products!

This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can ultimately help drive sales and revenue.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!

Want to learn more about print on demand?

Ready to move your print on demand store to the next level? Check out the articles below:

Plus, don't forget to check out our in-depth how-to start a print on demand business guide here!

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