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How To Start A Print-on-Demand (POD) Store With Shopify - 8 Steps to Success

Last updated: March 07, 2023
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Mike

Author

Daniel

Researcher

This comprehensive tutorial will walk you through the steps to start a Print-on-Demand (POD) store with Shopify.

How Does Print on Demand (POS) Work on Shopify?

Print on Demand (POD) works as a fulfillment mode available on Shopify that enables entrepreneurs to not only sell custom products but also create their own designs. This is different from dropshipping, where merchants source and sell products that are already made by a third-party supplier.

Meanwhile, Shopify acts as a supporting role, offering all the necessary tools for setting up and managing an online store, making it a perfect option for starting a POD business.

How to Start A Print on Demand (POD) Store With Shopify: 5 Things To Do First

Before starting a Print on Demand (POD) store on Shopify, there are specific things you need to do to ensure that your POD business is appropriately set up and ready to sell.

Determine Your Budget

The first thing to do is determine your budget. You must consider all the costs associated with starting and running your POD store, including the cost of setting up and maintaining your Shopify, product designs, suppliers, and marketing.

Decide Who Will Create Your Designs

You can create your own designs or get them done from outsourced services. If you go for in-house designs, ensure you have all the necessary tools.

Avoid Copyrights

When starting a POD store on Shopify, it’s essential to ensure that you do not use or imitate existing logos or artwork of other brands in your POD store. Instead, focus on creating original designs to help you build a unique brand identity on the market.

Expand Your Product Line

Another thing to do before starting a POD business on Shopify is to sell various product types rather than limiting yourself to just one. This can help you diversify your business and reach a wider audience, potentially increasing your sales and revenue.

Check Your niche

It’s a good idea to check that the niche you have chosen for your POD store on Shopify is not banned from social media channels. If your niche is restricted on popular social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it can limit your ability to reach potential customers.

Start Print on Demand (POD) Store on Shopify: A Detailed Walk-Through

Step 1: Create Your Shopify Store

The first step to starting a POD store with Shopify is to sign up for Shopify and set up your online store. We recommend you take advantage of the Shopify free trial to familiarize yourself with Shopify’s features that aid in running your POD business efficiently.

Our tutorial here on starting a Shopify store provides a comprehensive guide to getting your online store up and running. If you are looking for a quick overview, here is a shortened version to get you started:

  • Head to the Shopify website and provide your email address
  • Click the “Start free trial” button
  • Once you are through with Shopify’s initial questions, you can now access your admin dashboard

  • From the left-side menu, you can view orders, products, analytics, and customers, along with the online store and settings.
  • You can add a theme to your Shopify store, set up your preferred payment methods, and much more.

Step 2: Find a Niche

Finding a niche is crucial in starting a print-on-demand business with Shopify. By focusing on a specific niche, you can tailor your products and marketing strategies to a particular target audience, leading to more favorable business outcomes, including improved customer engagement, higher sales, and improved profitability.

Here are some steps that help you land on a niche that works for your print-on-demand (POD) store:

Conduct market research

Market research can provide valuable information about consumer preferences, trends, and buying behaviors, which can help you identify your potential niche for your POD business.

By using tools such as Google Trends and Amazon, you can determine which popular industries or items are in high demand or are lucrative and whether there is an opportunity for your printed products or services to get into those markets.

Perform keyword analysis

A keyword analysis is essential in starting a print-on-demand (POD) store on Shopify. By conducting keyword research, you can identify the terms and phrases that customers are searching for, which will help you optimize various elements of your Shopify store, such as product descriptions, titles, homepages, and blog posts for search engines.

You can use Google Keyword Planner, a keyword research tool, to generate a list of keywords related to your product and their estimated search volume.

Evaluate Your Competitors

It’s a good idea to research competition in each niche you have identified. Start by looking at their product offerings, their pricing ranges, and the marketing strategies they implement.

Step 3: Locate Your POD Companies

Finding the best POD supplier for your Shopify store plays a vital role in the success of your business.

Where Can I Find My POD Supplier?

The Shopify App Store is a great place to find many different POD companies. Once you have shortlisted a few options, check their reviews and ratings to ensure they meet your standard.

Can I Find POD suppliers outside of the Shopify App Store?

Yes, you can find print-on-demand (POD) suppliers outside Shopify. You can use online searches to locate your POD suppliers or check out a POD supplier marketplace.

What are the critical aspects to look for when choosing a POD provider?

When choosing a POD supplier, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

Shipping

  • What is the turnaround time for production after a customer has placed an order?
  • From where do they send out the orders?
  • What is the standard delivery time frame?
  • How is the shipping cost determined?”

Printing options & unique features

  • What printing methods and personalized options do they offer?
  • What are their unique features or offerings?

Target audience

  • Which audience does their POD solution target?
  • Does their target audience match your own?

Product Catalog

  • What types of products do they offer?
  • What are their print-on-demand product customization options?

Some of the well-known POD suppliers available on the Shopify App Store include:

These POD sites offer a no-cost setup, where you do not have to pay for the product and shipping until a customer places an order.

Step 4: Integrate with the POD supplier

Once you have selected a POD supplier, it’s time to link it to your Shopify for an efficient and smooth process of handling orders and customer payments.

To connect a POD supplier with your Shopify store,

  • Click on the Apps menu in your Shopify dashboard.
  • Search for your POD apps and then click on “Search for (name of POD supplier) in the Shopify App Store

  • This will open the app page in the App Store and then click Add App.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the connection process.

Note:

While most POD suppliers offer apps in the Shopify App Store, some may not. In this case, it’s best to directly contact the supplier and inquire if they provide any apps that can be integrated with your Shopify store.

Step 5: Design and Upload Your Products

With a POD app tied to your Shopify store, you can easily browse products, create mockups and upload them to your store within its dashboard.

The process of designing a POD product varies depending on the POD app you install and the supplier you work with.

In this guide, we will show you how to create a design using the Teelaunch POD app.

  • Once Teelaunch is connected to your Shopify, head to Apps from your admin dashboard and search for it.

  • From the Teelaunch dashboard, select the design you want to create from the left sidebar.
  • From the Design pop-up window, you should see product information, design requirements, pricing, and shipping cost.
  • Under the Add Artwork section, click “Select Image” and select the design for both the front and back of the product.
  • Select colors for your design. You can select multiple colors at the same time and Hit Next.
  • On the next screen, provide your product title and description. Also, decide on sell prices for each variant.

  • Select Create to finish creating your product. Now, select Products from the Teelaunch dashboard and hit Send to Store to add the product to your Shopify store.

Tips:

  • You can create your own designs using tools like Canvas or Photoshop. Use social media channels like Pinterest or Facebook pages to seek design ideas.
  • If you choose to work with a designer, you can find a range of talented individuals on platforms such as Behance or 99designs.

Step 6: Order Samples

It’s a good idea to place a test order from your POD supplier when starting a POD business on Shopify. This allows you to evaluate the quality of your products and ensure they meet your standards in terms of printing, packaging, and shipping.

Having samples on hand allows you to check if your product designs and descriptions are accurate. This helps you reduce issues and customer complaints. If you find any discrepancies, ensure to reach out to your supplier for advice on how to fix any issues.

Step 7: Market & Promote Your Store

Once you have ensured that your products meet your standards, it is time to market and promote your POD store to attract potential customers and drive sales.

A comprehensive marketing strategy helps you reach your target audience, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to your store, which can ultimately convert visitors to customers.

Step 8: Ready your Store for Launch

After you have set up your store, added your POD products, ensured they meet your standards and implemented your marketing campaign, it’s time to make your store accessible to the public.

Once your store is online, make sure to keep track of your store’s performance and monitor its optimization to improve user experience.

Start Print-on-Demand (POD) Store with Shopify: 5 Expert Tips for Maximum Profitability

There are several tips for starting a profitable Print-on-Demand (POD) store on Shopify. They are as follows:

Be Upfront About Your Shipping Times

It’s essential to be upfront about shipping times when starting a POD store with Shopify. Setting realistic expectations about shipping times can help build trust and credibility with your customers, increasing their likelihood of returning for future purchases.

Shipping times can vary depending on many factors, such as customers’ location, the shipping carrier you work with, and the production time for your POD products. Ensure to include estimated shipping times on your website or notification emails.

Use Mockups

Using mockups for your Print-on-Demand (POD) products is a great way to show off your product designs. Adopting high-quality mockups gives your customers a better idea of what they will look like when they are worn.

Focus on a Niche

Focusing on a niche is a great strategy when starting a POD business on Shopify. By focusing on a single niche, you can target a clearly defined audience, which helps you create products in high demand while lowering the costs of customer research.

If your audience is too broad, it may be difficult to effectively target your desired audience and implement marketing strategies. As a result, you may lose a large number of potential customers.

Optimize Your Product Listings for SEO

SEO is vital to driving traffic and sales. Optimizing your POD listings help your products rank higher on search engines. Make sure you use relevant and targeted keywords in product titles, descriptions, and tags to improve your rank on search engines.

Start a Print-on-Demand (POD) Store on Shopify: How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of starting a Print-on-Demand business on Shopify can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of business you are selling in, the POD supplier you choose to work with, and the level of product customization you require.

Here are some of the typical costs that you may incur when starting a POD store on Shopify.

  • Shopify monthly charge: Shopify pricing plan starts at $5 per month for the Starter plan and goes up to $2000 for the Plus plan.
  • POD supplier fees: The cost of using a POD supplier may vary widely, depending on their product types, printing techniques, and customization options.
  • Design tools: If you plan to create your own designs, you may need professional tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, which cost up to hundreds of dollars per year.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Social media ads or influencer marketing may cost up to thousands of dollars per year.

Bottom Up

That’s how to start a Print-on-Demand (POD) store with Shopify. We hope you’ve enjoyed our post on creating a Print-on-Demand (POD) business on Shopify and find it helpful during your build.


Mike is a content writer at Avada, with a love for video games, gadgets, and software. He has been writing about the industry now for over 7 years. He likes to keep up-to-date with the latest software releases. He's also an avid reader, and he enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends. When he's not working, you can usually find him playing video games or exploring new outdoor activities.

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