Tips And Tricks For Amazon Print On Demand Sellers
While doing many of these articles for your perusal, we know that some of you are first-time readers and POD designers, while most of you are probably already aware of Amazon’s Print-On-Demand (POD) service, which launched in 2015 and has only increased since then. But if you haven’t heard, you’re in for a great treat today, because we’re going to give a few tips that many might overlook on their own POD adventures.
How Often Should You Put Up New Product?
Aiming for one new trend per month is a good way to keep your shop offerings plentiful and relevant. This one might be a little iffy sometimes but it does work occasionally! You can try it for yourself and see if it makes sense to continue, just once a month, look at some image, trend, article, post, or a meme that goes viral, then create a shirt about it. Don’t worry about the greatest quality; just get a good t-shirt out there quickly enough to catch the trend at its peak. It has the potential to make you a few new sales. You want to develop a terrific shirt that sells well year after year, so choose something current and popular enough that you anticipate a rebirth for it sometime in the future.
Trial and Error and The Long Game
Patience in all of this is very much a virtue. Merchandising is often a game played for the long-term, and sometimes designs don’t sell, but you still believe in them because they’re good. Test variables, keywords, prices, and shirt colors to see what works best for you and your design. Perhaps a design works better on dark shirts, or sells better if you change the price. Another great testing strategy is to publish the same design but with different keywords to see what works. Adding “Men Women” or “Unisex” to a title can sometimes make a big difference. You can try and experiment for yourself: if a design does not sell within the first sixty days, change its keywords; if it does not sell within three months, redo the keywords and lower the price slightly. If there are still no sales after six months, lower the price to the lowest and then if you still do not get a sale, admit that this isn’t something that is likely ever to help you and get it out of your shop.
Zigging While Others Zag
Also keep in mind there is more than a single way to market your wares. Around now, the vast majority of retailers are chasing trends, waiting for seasonal boosts, and looking for holiday designs. But what if you are seeing different trends happening at the exact same moment, trends that have nothing to do with the holidays? Right there is a business opportunity. What if you could make those t-shirts in a way that you could sell them to other customers? You can even look for local parties and events where you can be the one who provides cool t-shirts. Consider bands and local merchants in your region as well, and small businesses that like to promote through apparel.
Design for Non-Designers
What if your concepts are solid but your ability to design or illustrate on paper is less-so? It could be time to learn how to properly outsource for such things. Leave it up to the pros! Because most sellers aren’t designers, they hunt for inspiration elsewhere. There are sites like Fiverr and Upwork where you can hire a designer and buy a design for $5 to up to $60/hour. Many successful POD creators frequently work with a team of designers, either locally or remotely. Upwork is a great source for that, allowing you to work with people from around the planet instantly.
For less-affluent creators, a more practical way to get professional design is to use designs from graphic stocks such as MerchReady or Vexels; in the latter’s case, their subscription gives you access to all of their graphics for Merch use as well as other perks such as free design requests per month. Their designs are not exclusive, but you will need to receive permission from the original creators to market them.
There is also something to be said for having your online store look well-stocked and very busy. This is generally true for lower-tier accounts, but less so for higher levels, which don’t always need to be at maximum capacity. Amazon values account activity, so as long as you keep uploading designs and keeping your account active, they will reward your efforts by tiering you up and allowing you to generate more sales. Yes, sales are required to tier up, but there is a long track record of users who have been tiered up to T100-500 with only a few purchases. Even if you keep your account full, keep uploading drawings and leave them on Draft; once you’re bumped up, you’ll have already done the work and you can just make them all offerings.
You might think that designing merch for POD is a solitary and possibly lonely activity, but it’s quite the opposite; you’ll often find yourself joining online groups and searching for YouTube videos for advice, tools, and strategies that others are using successfully, all of which you’ll want to try out and hopefully make sales with. You may eventually discover that you are challenged to generate high-quality designs, that submitting designs takes more time than you have available, and that you don’t know where to begin with research.
Just be careful: if you’re doing that, you’re sort of living another merchant’s life instead of your own. First, well, stop doing that and instead get to know yourself, your capabilities, and your limitations. You know what you can do and what you either cannot or have no interest in pursuing. Then integrate all you’ve learned as much as you can into your own life and routine. This will determine whether you need to invest in designers or a design stock, whether you can upload ten products per day, how much time you commit to research, how your sales will reflect that, etc. Many people become dissatisfied and give up because they try “everything” but still get no sales, and this is just because they are attempting to go by what works for other merchants rather than what works for themselves.