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Print on Demand’s approach was more like a creative solution for e-commerce retailers looking to expand their service offerings and differentiate themselves in an overcrowded apparel and gift goods market. However, the last year and a half have changed everything upside down: today the POD business is already an independent market that is about to be saturated (if not yet saturated). Numerous digital solutions have provided a huge range of production options, with customer suggestions on the top.

Successful brands that were able to quickly navigate through the crisis have brought the POD market to a highly competitive level, where every new player will have to compete for a place in this arena.

Does it make sense to launch a POD business in 2021?

Of course, yes. The post-COVID world focuses on creativity and the ability to come up with actionable solutions that solve your client’s problem/wish effectively and completely. If you come up with new styles, new print options, offer better shipping prices, and spend a minimum on intermediaries, then you have every chance of success.

For example, you use a new printing technique that ensures product durability (lightfast inks, lamination), eco-friendly materials throughout the production line, free shipping worldwide, and at the same time do it all yourself, without spending money on intermediaries.

You might think that if you want to start a Print on Demand business, you need a lot of investments like these, but this is not the case. And the proof of this is the opportunities given by famous POD giants such as Shopify, Zazzle, Printful, and others.

Let’s take a look at what they offer in order to understand, why it always makes sense to start making your business dream come true, even in saturated markets.

Shopify

Shopify is the leading e-commerce platform that allows entrepreneurs to start their own online stores from scratch. There are already more than a million online stores here, and their number continues to grow.

The platform’s intuitive interface will allow you to create and manage a full-fledged online store, even if you have no experience in website creation and coding at all. Shopify is ideal for entrepreneurs looking to start their own online store with minimal investment in a short period of time. In addition, Shopify provides access to a variety of themes and widgets and PodZa will help automate the Print on Demand site processes and increase key business performance indicators.

One of the most compelling opportunities of the platform is drop-shipping. You can start selling products that you haven’t spent a dime on and that don’t clutter up your home/office. All you need to do is to find suppliers of quality products and pay them a percentage of your sales done.

Printful

They have 800 employees. Their offices and fulfillment centers are located in Europe and the United States.

You can purchase clothing such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, shorts, leggings, and embroidered shirts directly on the platform. You can also find aprons, bean bags, towels, wall art, pillows, coffee mugs, hats, socks, jewelry, phone cases, and products for which customization option is supported.

Once you’ve bought everything you need, you can open your online store. When a customer orders something from your store, Printful makes all the fulfillment and delivery routine for you.

Sure, in this case you’ll have to invest some money, but you’ll get the following benefits:

  • you don’t need to waste a time searching for suppliers;
  • trying their products in action;
  • worrying about the possible risks of working with third parties.

You shouldn’t worry about delivery as well. Printful will do everything for you.

Everything is in one place at Printful. This allows you to control and manage all the processes and focus on business, which is fully on your responsibility.

Zazzle

The Zazzle company was founded in 2005, but for 15 years its development has not slowed down at all. 3 brothers founded the company in a garage, and today Zazzle is one of the most famous print-on-demand platforms.

If you’re one of those startups, who don’t want to offer cliché products to customers (clothes, shoes and casual accessories), this is the solution for you.

The possibilities for printing are almost endless: not only clothes, shoes and accessories are on offer, but also products such as stationery, gift cards, business cards, notebooks and folders. You can even print on sports goods such as table tennis equipment, cornball sets, playing cards, soccer balls, dart boards, skateboards, baseballs, and golf equipment.

Fine Art America

Another interesting project offers a POD-business to artists, photographers, designers, illustrators and other masters who create any kind of images. You can upload a photo of any work of yours, be it graphic design or oil painting, and of your choice it will decorate any household, interior item, clothing or accessories pieces. This solution is pretty beneficial for many reasons:

  • One work can be sold many times and through different products,
  • You get a lot of works for your portfolio at once, and sales metrics will be an additional advantage, which will show your professionalism not only as an artist/photographer/designer but also as an e-commerce specialist. And if you are working out marketing and/or SMM strategy on your own, which is also available on the platform), you’ll kill several birds with one stone.
  • You’ll stop being tied to offline and online exhibitions and auctions (relevant for artists and photographers). You’ll not live in fear that a picture that took tons of paint, time and effort, or a photo that was taken in extreme conditions, will not find buyers. Even if some work will not be in demand for a long time, the virality of other images (sometimes just one piece!) will pay off all your investment.

As noted above, Fine Art America provides growth opportunities for sellers. You can launch your own ecommerce store, run email newsletters, sell on Facebook, and more.

2021 can become your time

Making big money by selling your art with Print on Demand online store platforms is still possible in 2021. The main factor of your satisfaction with this business is your expectations.

Before launching your store on a particular web-platform, explore and compare all the options provided. Some of the sites offer a royalty as well as commission scheme. Each of them has different schemes for payments and funds withdrawal. Explore it in context with your region. This will save you from frustration and wasted time.

Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be on the right way to sustainable business.