Selling merchandise is big business. In 2017, the Global Licensed Merchandise Market was valued at $105 billion. That number is projected to rise nearly four-fold by 2023, with a continued annual growth rate of 25 percent.
The world’s largest merch markets are North America, Europe, and Asia, mostly thanks to a growing middle class and an increase in the youth population.
Print on demand is quickly emerging as a popular avenue for monetizing creativity. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, writer, artist, or designer, print-on-demand merchandise provides a great way to put a unique twist on everyday products and sell them to customers online.
From books, mugs, backpacks, hoodies, to t-shirts, applying custom prints to items could unlock a whole new world of possibilities.
Your Print-On-Demand Brand
Print-on-demand merchandise is an excellent tool for growing a brand or raising awareness of specific campaigns. Creating a logo is only the first step.
Usually, the hard bit comes in marketing the merchandise through promoting your brand or campaign. If you’re already an individual or business with a pre-existing audience, getting your merchandise out shouldn’t be an issue.
The biggest challenge comes in for new and unestablished businesses or brands. Having an innovative design lays the foundation for your branded merchandise to take off.
Next, you’ll need to create some leads through spaces such as Reddit, Instagram, or Pinterest. Social media platforms offer a cheap and quick option to create awareness about your brand or campaign.
Consider joining like-minded groups and posting regularly to keep your feeds refreshed with new content. Create appropriate hashtags for your brand or campaign that potential clients can use when posting images of your products online.
All your posts should follow the 80/20 rule: keep 80 percent of your content informative and engaging while the remaining 20 percent should focus on sales.
If you can, reach out to influencers with a large following to help create awareness.
Creating compelling print-on-demand merchandise and coupling that with a captivating online presence will catapult your brand or campaign. Additionally, ask a few independent customers to provide some feedback.
Customer reviews provide powerful credibility that further markets your brand. Ensure all reviews and testimonials come from real customers who’ve purchased your merchandise.
Print-on-Demand Business Plan
Think of print on demand as a different type of drop shipping that gives you the freedom of creativity. If you’re running a business or are thinking of starting one, print on demand allows you to market your brand with ease.
Putting your company’s name or logo on different merchandise creates some much-needed awareness. However, before jumping aboard the print-on-demand wagon, there are a few pertinent questions you must address.
Admittedly, creativity isn’t everyone’s strong suit. You might have a killer idea of how your logo should look, but bringing that idea to fruition becomes your most significant hurdle.
If you’re limited in the creative sector, consider hiring a graphic designer with a distinct knack for logo designs. Whether it’s a design firm or a freelance graphic artist, engaging a professional could go a long way in creating the designs that you’ve envisioned.
Get Some Feedback Before Mass Production
Once you’ve settled on a name or a design, the next natural step would be to start production. However, you would do yourself a world of good by getting feedback from a few potential customers.
The last thing you want is a print that your audience will end up hating. Getting people’s opinions will save you the heartache of dealing with tons of dead stock.
Prepare a Budget
Printing on merchandise takes resources. When preparing a budget for the printing process, remember that logos with more colors will substantially impact how much you’ll pay.
If you’re printing on both sides of items like t-shirts, jumpers, or hoodies, you’ll also have to cough up more cash to get the job done. When it comes to ordering your merchandise, always order in bulk – that way, you’ll get a lower price per unit.
Don’t Get Entangled in Copyright Claims
There are some popular brands out there. Think of all the delightful Disney characters or perhaps the vast list of Pokémon.
While printing your merchandise, you might be tempted to use a few characters to spruce up your designs, but it’s not that simple.
Copyright laws exist for a reason, and breaching these laws could result in legal consequences. If you intend to use a pre-existing brand on your merchandise, consult a copyright lawyer for some guidance.
What Kind of Products Should You Print?
There’s a wide variety of print-on-demand products to choose from if you’re starting.
However, remember that the print-on-demand market is dynamic and keeps evolving. Just because you started with clothing items doesn’t mean you should solely stick to that lane. Explore which products are trending and venture into that area.
Tools such as Google Trends, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are your best bet.
Decide on a Decent Price Point
One of the main factors determining the success of your print-on-demand items is their selling price.
Sure, you might have the world’s sassiest design that draws plenty of eyeballs, but a wrong price point could undo all your hard work. As you aim to create quality branded merchandise, don’t be overly ambitious in your pricing.
Fish around other similarly branded merchandise and see what other businesses are charging.
What to Watch Out For
Print on demand is, for the most part, a hands-off endeavor. You won’t always have as much control in dealing with the products, and as such, ensure you partner with an experienced print provider you can trust. The last thing you want is orders that fail to ship or products that don’t meet the necessary standards.
The Pros of Print on Demand Over E-Commerce
Unlike conventional E-commerce ventures, print-on-demand businesses are relatively easier to set up. There’s no need to budget for sophisticated web design and website maintenance. Make use of tons of templates, plug-ins, and themes to launch your products.
Start-up costs for print-on-demand ventures are also relatively low. With most traditional businesses, inventory demands tend to be on the high end. However, with a print-on-demand business model, even a few hundred dollars are enough to get you up and running.
In most print-on-demand businesses, suppliers handle processes of printing, packing, and shipping. As a business owner, you won’t have to handle inventory management. You can instead focus your efforts on higher sales.
Perhaps the most evident advantage of print on demand is the ability to customize your products. Engage creative minds and develop designs and logos that you feel correctly represent your brand or campaign.
Print on demand is an ideal avenue to market your business or generate interest in your campaign. The mostly hands-off approach affords you plenty of time to market your business and create leads. This multi-billion-dollar juggernaut isn’t slowing down any time soon. So don’t get left behind.