Etsy Print-On-Demand is a low-cost, low-risk business idea that can be easily launched and managed with minimal investment. It allows entrepreneurs to create unique designs and sell them on various products like t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases through POD (Print On Demand) suppliers. The main benefit of this business model is you don’t have to hold inventory and manage warehouse operations.
It is a viable business idea for anyone looking to start a side hustle or a small business with limited financial resources.
The need for customized home decor products and clothes is rising, so it is the perfect time for you to start a print-on-demand business using Etsy.
If you’ve ever wondered about ways to cash-in on your graphic design skills, you’re in the right spot. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to start a print-on-demand Etsy business from scratch. We’ll also offer a few tips for attracting customers in the initial stages, so make sure to read all the way through.
Now without any further ado, let’s come to the point and start with the basics.
What is Print On Demand?
Print On Demand is a business strategy that allows entrepreneurs to provide personalized products to their customers. In this model, a POD (Print On Demand) supplier initiates printing the requested product and shipping it to the customers whenever a customer places an order.
The products offered include t-shirts, jackets, mugs, phone cases, wall art, posters, tote bags, face masks, pet tags, and more.
Print On Demand is a trending business idea associated with higher competition and cost per unit. However, let us discuss the right approach with which it can become an excellent source of passive income for entrepreneurs like you. It can also develop into a full-time venture that generates thousands of dollars monthly.
A few of the main benefits of setting up a Print On Demand business are as below,
#1 – Low Cost
You don’t have to worry about mass production, maintaining stock levels, storage space, and warehouse operations as a business owner. With the print-on-demand business model, you print products and ship them only when customers place an order.
That being said, initial investments required to start a print-on-demand business are very low, and with marketplaces like Etsy, anyone can start a print-on-demand business immediately.
Additionally, it enables business owners to spend more time and money on marketing their products to ensure sales and business growth.
#2 – Risk-Free
By avoiding the upfront printing and storage of large quantities of inventory, you can potentially avoid the issues related to overprinting and unsold stock.
If you operate an Etsy Print-On-Demand business, you will be responsible for paying the POD suppliers for the printing and fulfilling customer orders. This relieves you of the burden of managing printers and fulfillment centers.
#3 – Higher Margins
You can potentially attain higher profit margins by providing unique designs to your customers. Moreover, as you save substantial money on production and inventory costs, your profit margins can increase further.
Is Etsy the right choice for selling Print On Demand products?
While you can start a print-on-demand business and offer services through your own website developed from scratch, using already developed platforms like Etsy is a good idea because they have a huge customer base.
Apart from Etsy, you can go for platforms such as Amazon. But note that anticipating the competition and customer intent is the key to success when choosing the right platform to sell print-on-demand products.
Etsy boasts over 95 million active buyers specifically looking for creative and customized products on the internet. In other words, you don’t have to struggle to find ideal customers for your unique designs.
A simple search for “Custom Tshirt” on the Etsy.com website returned over 3.5 Million results, indicating a huge demand for such products.
Though many sellers on Etsy offer print-on-demand services, you can research and figure out a niche with low competition and start selling the products. We’ll discuss finding a profitable niche later in this article.
In contrast to giants like Amazon, which fulfills customer orders by itself, Etsy allows you to select your preferred POD supplier and integrate it within the platform. This integration sends all customer orders to POD suppliers for printing and shipping.
Simply put, Etsy is a well-known brand that promises a fully-featured platform for selling print-on-demand products. And again, the great thing is a huge customer base particularly interested in customized products.
List of Top Print On Demand (POD) Suppliers
Let us shortly discuss the top print-on-demand companies with a global network. They offer seamless integration with Etsy shops for selling customized goods.
Choosing the right print-on-demand supplier is the key to success, as they will be responsible for printing and shipping products. You need to ensure that your POD supplier is reliable regarding print quality and delivery times across various locations.
Happy customers are all you need because they will drop five-star reviews for your products which will help your listings standout amongst the rivals.
Our top 3 recommendations for Etsy Print On Demand suppliers are as below:
Let us quickly overlook each one of them in the following section.
#1 – Printify – Huge Product Catalog
The great thing about Printify is that it allows you to choose from various printers and check for product quality.
Printify has a huge network of print providers spread across 100+ locations worldwide. From fashion items to home decor products, Printify boasts over 500 print-on-demand products, making it an ideal choice for your Etsy store.
By integrating the Etsy store with Printify, users can upload their products from the Printify app. Additionally, all orders from your Etsy store can be managed conveniently from the Printify app.
It is an easy-to-use solution with excellent customer support if you encounter any problem integrating Printify with Etsy.
- Free plan for startups
- Huge product catalog
- Mockup generator
- A global network of print providers
- Automatic order routing for faster delivery
- Integration support for Etsy, Shopify, eBay, WooCommerce, and Wix
- High-quality printing
- No minimum order quantity
- Customizable packaging
- Longer shipping times due to third-party print providers
- Limited product customization
#2 – Printful – Best Customization and Branding Tools
Printful comes with local and international fulfillment centers for faster delivery. It offers a wide range of print-on-demand products, including t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, hats, bags, backpacks, mugs, posters, and blankets.
You will surely be surprised by their huge selection of home decor products and fashion items.
Additionally, customers will receive discounts on bulk orders.
Printful is an excellent choice if you are searching for a versatile and flexible POD supplier that will allow you to showcase your brand prominently.
In contrast to Printify, which offers a subscription-based service, Printful asks you to pay for the actual product that needs to be printed. Note that the final pricing may vary depending on the product type.
- A huge network of warehouses and printing facilities
- 300+ print-on-demand products
- Integration support for Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, and more
- No minimum order quantity
- Excellent print quality
- Impressive order management
- Customizable packaging
- A bit pricey compared to rivals
- Not all products are eligible for global shipping
- Low margins on a few products
#3 – Gelato – Best Print Quality
Gelato is our third pick, with print providers across 32 countries. It is popular for offering superior print quality and fast shipping.
The company promotes green and sustainable practices in its product printing strategy. They achieve this by utilizing eco-friendly materials and offsetting their carbon footprint. This approach ensures the sustainability of their operations while reducing their environmental impact.
However, in contrast to the Printify and Prinful, this POD supplier’s catalog includes only 90 products. But without any doubt, Gelato’s product catalog covers almost all of the popular print-on-demand products and is enough for most Etsy sellers.
Their product portfolio includes phone cases, wall art, wallpapers, mugs, posters, photo books, cards, calendars, tote bags, and more, along with apparel for men, women, and kids.
Integrating your Etsy store with Gelato is really easy; all you need to do is follow a few simple steps, and it’s done! If you are stuck with something, they have a dedicated support team for you.
- Green and sustainable product printing
- A huge network of print providers
- Free plan for startups
- Integration support for Etsy, Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, BigCommerce, and Squarespace
- No minimum order quantity
- Great print quality and product finishing
- Excellent customer support
- A low number of print-on-demand products compared to rivals
- Most of the design assets and customization tools are accessible only to paid plan users
How to start an Esty Print On Demand Business: Step-by-Step Guide
Starting a Print On Demand business is a relatively simple process. While you can sell POD products on several platforms, such as Amazon and eBay, this article will focus solely on starting a POD business and selling products on Etsy.
As a widely popular platform that attracts millions of visitors regularly, Etsy presents an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs.
According to recent studies, the global Print On Demand market is expected to generate a remarkable $39.87 billion in revenue by 2030. In 2021, the market was valued at $4.91 billion and was projected to grow at a CAGR of 26.20% from 2022 to 2030.
These figures indicate a significant and growing demand for customized products in the years ahead, presenting a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs to establish a passive source of income.
So, what are you waiting for? This is the right time. Follow the steps mentioned below and launch your print-on-demand business right away!
Step #1 – Select A Niche
A niche refers to a specific market segment, including individuals with common interests. By concentrating on a particular niche, business owners can enhance their knowledge and expertise in that specific area, foster a loyal customer base, and establish a competitive edge.
Print-on-demand is not a new concept, and the market is currently flooded with numerous sellers offering products at competitive prices.
As a result, it’s crucial to identify a low-competition niche to ensure success in this field.
Depending on your area of interest and various market research techniques, you can easily find a profitable and low-competition niche.
It’s essential to note that identifying a profitable and low-competition niche is a critical step that holds the utmost significance. This step plays a vital role in ensuring the long-term success of your business.
Step #2 – Setup an Etsy Store
In the next step, you need to create an account on Etsy and set up your store in order to start selling products.
Navigate to the Etsy.com website to create an account and sign up using an email address. A verification email will be sent to you. Check your email inbox and click on the verification link as a final step to creating an account.
Once you create the account, it’s time to launch your Etsy store. Go to the homepage of the Etsy official website, hover over the upper right corner of the screen, and click on the account icon. Choose “Sell on Etsy” from the various available options. A new page will open, scroll down to the bottom of the page and then click on “Open Your Etsy Shop.”
You will be prompted to provide basic details, such as your shop name and credit card information.
You will need to choose your preferred language, country, and currency for your shop. Next, you should select a clear and descriptive name for your store, and if the name is already taken, Etsy will suggest alternative options. Finally, you will need to enter your credit card details and set up your preferred payment methods and billing information for your account.
Next, Etsy will ask you to list your first product, but we will discuss in detail about listing products in the next step. For now, you can fill in rough details about your first product.
As an online business owner, you must offer comprehensive information about your brand to establish its unique identity and build a strong rapport with the customers.
So do not forget to leverage Etsy’s “About” section, which provides an excellent opportunity to share in-depth details about your business, such as your core values, operational practices, and product range.
Step #3 – List Your Products
To list your products on Etsy, the first step is to upload high-quality product images. Including at least 3-5 images for each product is recommended, with a preferred file format of jpg, gif, or png. For optimal display, the recommended image size is between 1000-2000 pixels.
Further, you will be asked to enter product titles, descriptions, tags, types, and more details. It is important to note that writing descriptive titles, including multiple tags, and providing detailed descriptions is the key to success for Etsy sellers.
Now, scroll down to see the section named “Variations.”
As you sell customizable products, you must create product variations so customers can select from various options.
To create variations, click “Add a variation” and then enter the name of the customization. For example, if your product is available in 10 different colors, you can name your customization “Available Colors.” Next, in the “Values” field, enter all of the options available for customers.
Turn the toggle switch before the “Customization” option to allow customers to submit their personal preferences.
Lastly, you need to assign a POD partner for your product. The following section discusses the same.
Note that a few print-on-demand suppliers allow users to create and upload listings from their app for added convenience.
Step #4 – Connect a POD partner with your Etsy store
This is one of the crucial steps when it comes to selling print-on-demand products using Etsy.
Before hitting the publish button, scroll down to the bottom of the product listing page to find the option “Production Partners.” Here you need to provide the complete details about your POD supplier. In the previous section, we have already discussed the top 3 print-on-demand solutions for your Etsy store.
Enter the name of your production partner and location. Then describe your partnership and services offered by the POD supplier shortly. Etsy will ask you to answer a few questions about your print-on-demand supplier, including the reason for the partnership and your role in the design process.
Note that you can also connect your POD partner with the Etsy store right from the dashboard of the respective POD partner app.
We are using Printify; let us tell you how you can connect your Printify account with the Etsy store. From the dashboard of the Printify app, hover over the left-hand side menu and click on “My Store.” Then click the “Connect” button before the “My new store.” Choose “Etsy” from the available options, and you will be redirected to Etsy’s official website and asked to allow access to your store.
Connecting your Etsy store with the selected POD partners is really simple. However, if you are stuck with something, feel free to contact your POD supplier’s customer support team. All of the print-on-demand solutions listed above offer excellent support.
Step #5 – Product Marketing
This is the final step, where you will learn the pro tips to attract customers to your store.
It is essential for your store to appear in the search results when the customers type in the keywords related to your products. Make use of Etsy SEO strategies to optimize your product listing and ensure you will rank higher in the search results.
Prepare a list of keywords for each product using third-party keyword research tools and Etsy search’s autocomplete suggestions.
Then use the sections such as title, description, image alt texts, and tags to include those keywords in your product listing.
Product descriptions and tags are the best sections to include multiple keywords. You to add up to 13 keywords as product tags.
Please remember using the appropriate and optimal number of keywords is the key to success in Etsy SEO. You should avoid forcefully inserting keywords in your product titles and descriptions.
Many sellers are leveraging Etsy SEO to attract customers for free. But what if you will struggle to gain enough customers and make desired sales initially? Then Etsy Ads is your way to go!
In contrast to social media ads, Etsy ads are proven to offer a good return on investment. They are easy to set up and manage over the long run.
To achieve a higher return on investment, it’s crucial to maintain consistency in your marketing efforts and regularly optimize your campaigns through data-driven decision-making when using Etsy Ads.
Best Print On Demand products to sell on Etsy
The list of customizable products that you can sell on Etsy is huge. But the best product for you depends on your area of interest and the profitable niche you will figure out, as mentioned earlier.
Choosing a proper niche and picking up the right products to print is essential. But you also should not ignore the importance of unique designs that will ultimately define the success of your print-on-demand business.
You can use various online and desktop-based tools, such as Canva, to create unique designs for product printing.
On average, a successful Etsy store selling print-on-demand products makes over $3000-10000 per month. Here is a list of top print-on-demand products in 2023.
- Unisex t-shirts
- Tote bags
- Children’s t-shirts
- Yoga pants
- Phone cases
- Pet products
- Holiday and special event products
- Fanny Pack
Note that the competition for all of the above products is so high. So it is a wise choice to select a profitable and low-competition niche for your print-on-demand business.
Explore the Etsy.com website and go through top-performing stores for more ideas.
Q. How does Etsy Print-On-Demand work?
To operate a print-on-demand business on Etsy, the initial step is to establish an Etsy store and integrate with a POD partner. After listing your products, customers can browse and select from the available options to place their orders. Finally, your print-on-demand partner will receive the orders automatically for fulfillment.
Few POD suppliers allow businesses to customize product packaging to showcase their brands.
Compensation for order fulfillment is required to be paid to your POD supplier, and the specific charges vary depending on the type of product.
Q. Do I need design skills to use Etsy Print on Demand?
While having a background in graphic design is advantageous, it is possible to create professional designs for your Etsy Print on Demand business even without prior experience. With the appropriate tools and knowledge, you can learn to create high-quality designs.
Canva is our go-to tool when it comes to creating unique designs to print on products. Apart from Canva, you can choose from PlaceIt, Photopea, etc.
You can either start with a blank page or use premade templates for design inspiration and come up with unique designs.
Q. How much can I earn from selling Print on Demand products on Etsy?
Your earning may depend on various factors such as your products, the niche, competition, marketing strategies, and more.
But a successful Etsy store will generally make around $500 to $1000 monthly by selling print-on-demand products. It can be scaled to several thousand dollars monthly with consistency and marketing efforts.
Etsy Print on Demand business is easy to start, and many entrepreneurs are making thousands of dollars per month by selling customizable products.
Print On Demand business represents a make once and sell forever opportunity.
All you have to do is create unique designs and make them available for printing on various products. It is that simple!
A few things to take care of include researching for a profitable niche, choosing a reliable print-on-demand partner, and ensuring the quality of the printed product.
I hope this article has answered your questions about starting a print-on-demand business using Etsy. In case of any further doubts, please comment below.