Biggest print-on-demand business mistakes to avoid


Print-on-demand is a challenging, creative, and constantly changing business. It helps to make your brand recognizable, create special gifts for your customers, and add another channel of getting profit. Operating print-on-demand businesses have learned from their mistakes during the course of their growth. PodZa is among such companies, we want to outline the typical issues we’ve faced, so the new businesses would never make them even once. This material may be equally interesting for the industry sophomores who wish to maximize their profitability and make successful corrections to their business course. We hope that with such efforts the print on demand industry would continue its development and will reach new heights in 2021. Please keep reading our blog for finding more POD solutions for your business, e.g. print on demand for Shopify. Let’s dive into the world of common print-on-demand business mistakes and how to resolve them.

Table of contents

Poor design samples

Low products range

Bad customer experience

No efforts in upselling


If your research for design samples is not done correctly, you may find rather obvious, stale, or simply poor choices for your print-on-demand product line. This can end up with more stress than profit, as you will not be able to find your niche in the market. This could result in a decrease in customer satisfaction level, their orders may become one-timers without any future prospects. 

Creating a successful print-on-demand product line assumes showing your creativity to potential clients. Carefully choose the designs for your advertising pages and follow the trends on social networks to see what your potential customer may find interesting.

Ways to find new designs:

  1. You may consider testing several art designers for the paid trial period to observe if their creativity matches your company’s vision and originality.
  2. If you already have a credible fanbase, think over the possibility of announcingthe best future designs” contest that some big companies promote annually. The observation of the contestants’ creative activity may not only bring you ready innovative designs but acquaint you with some talented art enthusiasts willing to help your business goals.
  3. Something old may bring ideas for the new. Take a glimpse at history. We’re certain that you will be able to get inspired by the ready designs that have become classic. No need to copy anything, we don’t want you to be accused of plagiarism. Get inspired by style, ideas, and trends that were relevant 50-60 years ago.

As for the copyright, if you find good design ideas, make sure they are publicly available and do not belong to the particular artist or another print-on-demand business. If you see the water or trademarks, remember that copyright infringement claims will not go past you once you remove them from the picture. Stealing ideas is the worst possible way of starting your printing business. 

The product range is essential for the print-on-demand business and it’s important to find new product ideas regularly. Have you considered special offers for all the holidays? Are you fully aware of all the special days that are celebrated in your country? What do you offer apart from T-shirts and postcards? Do you remember the birthdays of your recurring customers? These critical questions should be considered once you start learning how to run your print-on-demand business. 

As you research the most successful print-on-demand websites, please pay attention to what items they offer as a background for their prints and how successfully they integrate with the major e-commerce stores to custom clothes, posters, cups, bags, pins, caps, and other small and big accessories. The more significant the product range you are ready to provide for your end customer, the more potential demand you will get. Think over the possibilities of printing your designs or more demanding items like 3D models, furniture, accessorize, and interior decorations. Your imagination is limited only to the options of your printers.

The client is the core of your business. The creation of an appealing online store is highly crucial for your visitors. Accordingly, you should consider different resources for your e-store design to look professional and ready for the new orders. If your store does not look attractive and intuitive, the customers will fairly spend time figuring out how to order from you. Big companies have already made their conclusions from this market research to boost their customer satisfaction rates and suit their sites into the more intuitive ground.

Also, make sure that you have one or several social network integrations to create 24/7 contact with your clients. If you cannot establish a round-the-clock support team, make the opportunity for your current and potential customers to leave a message or share their experiences with you. If you can integrate delivery services in your activity, ensure that they successfully embody it and your customer can easily track their deliveries.

Don’t forget about customer support chats / click to call options to timely react to all customer requests. Also, work on return and refund policies to effectively process all the needs and requests of your customers. In case there are any negative reviews from the clients, try to learn from it at every step and make the customer satisfied by offering alternative products and solutions.

Upselling is your ticket into the future as it ensures your customers to return and purchase more. When you wish to influence your customer and attract their attention, think of the alternative POD solutions that can urge your customer to stay longer or consider the possibilities you can offer. For example, if your clients order corporate print cups, consider advertising framed wall arts or canvases with motivational quotes for their business's office. If they are interested in the T-shirts, consider the similar-printed eco-friendly bags or accessorize them to keep your client's focus on your novelties. 

The complementary products can also become an efficient way of attracting new customers to your shop and ordering more related goods if you think of their availability.

Apparently, some mistakes should never occur during the running of a print-on-demand business. Though some might seem obvious, remember that first impressions matter most in such subjective ground as successful design choices for printing. Ensure that your message in printing is loud and clear and that your ideas are bright and attractive to raise others' moods and boost your client's businesses. Therefore, avoid offensive or vulgar designs, possible research options for complimentary products, catch up with all holidays and special occasions, and do not forget that your client is your primary asset. 

PODDecember 16, 2020
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