If you are a creative person and you are full of ideas from early morning till late at night but short of money to invest, POD (print on demand) business is just right for you. I love it, I tried and I know what I am talking about.

To start though you will need to have some idea of how the websites work or best will be if you can create one yourself! But do not worry if you don’t, there are alternative ways of how to get it started.

WHAT IS A PRINT ON DEMAND OR POD?

It is the process in which you use a platform or app to create own designs on a large variety of items: sportswear, underwear, shoes, jewellery and many others and search for clients. Once someone decides to purchase one of our designs the company that provides you with the app will print, manufacture and ship for you.

YOUR TASKS ARE ONLY TWO




1. To be a creative designer and come up with unique stuff

2. To promote and sell

Sounds like you? Great! Let’s go ahead and dive into it deeper!

CHALLENGES AND OBSTACLES

All looks very sparkling and great as an idea to start a business with no upfront cost, but there are some cons actually and they are:

        • The items after print plus shipping come up with higher than average prices and sometimes that’s a putting off factor. Clients enjoy your content, like it, but do not purchase as it is expensive
        • Trust – if you do not have real proves from people wearing your production on your website, people do not trust you
        • Advertising fees are high.

HOW TO OVERCOME THEM?

    • Have got a selling strategy – explain to your clients how the process works and that these products are unique – none else would have them
    • Take some discounted samples from the supplier, create videos with friends and post on the website and YouTube Channel
    • Find influencers and pay them to promote your products
    • Use all available social media channels and engage and talk with people there
    • Engage all your social contacts and family to spread your items around the network
    • Learn to talk to strangers and convince them of how great your products are. Self-promoting here is a huge bit.
    • The last two will help to increase organically your brand awareness and to get people interested in your products.
    • Have got great soft skills and customer service skills
    • Have got a Refund Policy. Always promise and refund items if clients are not happy. One is mandatory and secondly, it gains trust.
    • Learn to talk to strangers and convince them of how great your products are. Self-promoting here is a huge bit.
    • Sell niche products. I know that’s tough as if you are like me not able to focus on just one topic at a time and wants to do everything and all, this might be a huge challenge , but the truth is if you want to do a business and effectively sell your items, you need to be more selective and collected.

In a nutshell: POD is an e-commerce business that combines drop-shipping and creative design. To be successful one should be not only creative but possessing a serious grasp of selling skills.

MOST EFFICIENT POD APP/WEBSITE

I will focus only on favorite and which I used in both Shopify and WooCommerce and will talk from my perspective as I worked with them quite a lot. The models I used to create daily used to been liked immediately on Instagram and gained me a lot of organic traffic there. By this time I was not into Pinterest, but I am sure if I was they would’ve gained even more traffic there.

I will talk about Printify and Printful  – they could be used separately as independent websites and integrated into a platform.

PRINTIFY




Integrations: Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy

Customer Support: 24/7 Great, with email and chat

Products: Amazing variety, they have got even shoes and trainers in their catalog! Apart from that, they have got: bags, legging, T-shirts, jewellery, phone cases, mugs, posters, clocks, socks, caps, hats, stickers, shower curtains, bath mats, blankets, pillowcases, hoodies, underwear, swimming suits, skirts, backpacks, pin buttons, laptop sleeves, aprons, watches,  and many more …

Any of the POD platforms and apps out there do not have this extreme large pallet of items.

The flexibility of the design and app (mockup generator): Great, you can play with the canvas and design a lot, you can add background colors, it allows a lot more of creativity.

Mockups Quality: Amazing, they have got good mockup models and they look pretty cool on the website and social media.

Product Pricing: The final product prices are averagely pricey, for the quality they offer lower than other apps.

Easiness of instalment and integration: 5 out 5.  In Shopify there are no additional settings required, you just need to add the app, with WooCommerce – to install the Printify plugin.

Subscription Plans: Free for up to 5 stores per individual/start-up; then $29 per 10 stores monthly; for higher demand they have got custom pricing.

PRINT ON DEMAND: LOW INVESTMENT BUSINESS 2

PRINTFUL 

Integrations: Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy

Customer Support: 24/7 Great, with email and chat

Products: A large array, my favorite are the leggings: short, long, yoga…

Any of the POD platforms and apps out there do not have this extreme large pallet of items.

The flexibility of the design and app (mockup generator): It is strict and precise but also allows a lot of creativity.

Mockups Quality: Great. Recently they started to integrate images of real people that help customers’ imagination of how they would look like in these products.

Product Pricing: The final prices are higher than the average but the quality of materials and services just amazing.

Easiness of instalment and integration: 5 out 5.  In Shopify there are no additional settings required, you just need to add the app, with WooCommerce – to install the Printful plugin.

Subscription Plans: I always used it as a free app and there’s no information about paid plans.

Video Mock-Ups This is something new that makes Printful unique and will grow your sales immediately. Videos became a large part of our life and seeing a product in its all dimensions is lovely before purchase. A huge step ahead.

Building a store from scratch This also a new feature. Printful builds you a store from scratch to finish, your only endeavor would be to design and sell the items. Another great step forward in marketing their products.

If I had time to go back and work with creating designs there, I would gladly use them again as a part of treating this initiative as a business it could give a lot of aesthetic pleasure and the unexpected consequences which the creativity brings – satisfaction from the outcome and how do people react and perceive your new idea or vision.