If you’re a budding entrepreneur eager to dive into the world of dropshipping, you’ve likely encountered the term “print on demand” and wondered, “What is a print on demand?” And, later on, when we realize the profit potential POD has, we’ve surely also wondered, “How do I start a print on demand business?” Well, you’ve arrived at the right place.

In this article, we’ll unravel the keys of print on demand, exploring how to turn your creative ideas into a thriving online business. We’ll break down the process step by step, providing you with valuable insights, practical tips, and ideas. By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your POD venture with confidence. Let’s team up and explore the exciting world of starting a print on demand business together.

Key Takeaways

Explore the world of Print On Demand Business for custom-designed products with minimal investment.

Strategically select a niche through market research and find a range of products that align with the niche.

Partner with AutoDS for a unique edge, handling printing, fulfillment, and seamless delivery.

Market your POD products actively through social media, Google advertising, influencer marketing, discounts, promotions, email marketing, and content creation.

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What Is A Print On Demand Business?

A print on demand business is your gateway to selling custom products featuring unique designs. Imagine creating a stunning T-shirt design or a captivating piece of art, uploading it to your online store, and letting a print on demand company handle the rest. The magic happens when a customer places an order for, let’s say, a cozy blanket adorned with your design. Here’s the beauty of it – you don’t pay for the product until it’s sold. No need to worry about buying in bulk or storing inventory. Your chosen POD service takes care of everything post-sale – from printing to shipping.

A POD business lets you focus on the fun part – designing and marketing – without the headaches of traditional e-commerce. It’s a stress-free way for anyone with creative ideas to venture into online selling.

POD Pros & Cons


  • Easy To Start: Setting up a print on demand business is really easy. With readily available services and user-friendly platforms, even beginners can jump on their journey with a smooth learning curve.
  • Low Investment Needed: Unlike traditional business models that often require significant upfront investments, print on demand lets you start with minimal financial commitment. You only pay for products once they are sold, making it a cost-effective option for aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • No Need To Hold Inventory When POD Dropshipping: Forget about dealing with storage hassles. With print on demand dropshipping, you don’t need to keep inventory. Products are produced and shipped only when a customer places an order, saving you storage costs and freeing up your space.
  • Higher Profits If Done Correctly: The absence of inventory costs, plus the ability to set competitive retail prices, allows for a healthy profit margin.


  • Longer Production Time: Since items are literally printed on demand, it could take a bit longer for customers to receive their orders. However, this always depends on the provider: most POD orders ship within 2-7 business days.
  • Dependence on Supplier Quality: Your POD business’s success hinges on the quality of your supplier. Choosing a reliable supplier is crucial, as the entire customer experience, from print quality to timely delivery, relies on their performance.

How to Start a Print On Demand Business – A Step-By-Step Guide

Embarking on your print on demand journey doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Now, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up your POD business. From choosing a niche to marketing your products, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into each step and turn your creative ideas into a thriving online business.

Select A Niche

When venturing into the print on demand universe, selecting the correct niche sets the foundation for our success. Through market research, we gain insights into our target audience, allowing us to carve our niche strategically. We can choose between plenty of lucrative niches, such as Beauty Care, Phone Cases, Swimwear, Men’s or Women’s Fashion, Home Decor, Jewelry, and many more. When selecting a niche, we decide what type of designs we want to work with. That way, we can optimize our business to provide the highest quality designs within that niche. For example, we can focus on POD car accessories, maybe on holiday or even pet accessories if we want to. And, if we have the design capabilities and proper tools, we can even dropship general POD products to reach a broader audience. 

By defining a niche, we not only reduce competition but also tailor our products to a specific audience. As mentioned, focusing on a specific audience allows us to optimize our products and design capabilities and sell top-tier POD products that we can easily mark up. This strategic approach positions us for success in the ever-evolving world of print-on-demand.

Choose Which POD Products To Sell

Now that we’ve chosen our niche, let’s take a closer look at the products we want to offer. For instance, think T-shirts, sweatpants, socks, mugs, and notebooks – a variety that caters to different tastes. Our goal here is to have a diverse collection that fits well with our chosen niche. A careful selection ensures our products not only look good but also connect with the people we’re trying to reach. It’s all about creating a range that resonates with our audience and lays the groundwork for a successful print on demand business.

Pro Tip: If our niche is centered around pets, we should focus on offering pet-specific or pet-related items, like a t-shirt with a funny pet design or a custom pet bed. This ensures our product selection aligns perfectly with our audience’s interests and enhances the success of our POD business.

Design Your Prints

Design for print on demand business

With our niche and product lineup sorted, it’s time to add that special touch – our designs. While social media platforms like Pinterest can provide inspiration, websites like Kittl offer predesigned images and the ability to customize or create designs with AI for print-on-demand. 

Additionally, Etsy is another excellent option for finding designs; you can purchase digital files related to your niche.

But a word of caution: let’s avoid using logos or commercial images without permission. This is because certain slogans, logos, and sayings are copyrighted and can cause copyright issues for our business. To avoid this, we can use a copyright checker to ensure we’re allowed to sell the designs we want to sell. If the design process feels a bit overwhelming, we can always team up with a freelance designer. Together, we can craft designs that not only look good but also speak directly to our audience. As we infuse our creativity into the prints, we’re building a print on demand business that stands out with its unique identity. 

Pro Tip: Take advantage of platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr to get in touch with the best-rated freelancer designers 

Select A Selling Channel & Build Your Online Store

Now that we’ve shaped our business model, pinpointed our niche, and decided on the products, it’s time to establish our online presence. Building a store is like creating a digital home for our business. We need to choose a platform that not only looks good but also aligns with our values and caters to our audience.

Consider popular channels like:

  • eBay: A well-established online marketplace that allows us to tap into a large audience and benefit from its trusted platform.
  • Etsy: Known for handcrafted items and unique creations, this is an ideal platform for print-on-demand products with a niche-focused audience.
  • Shopify: A widely used and versatile platform, Shopify is perfect for entrepreneurs who want a seamless and professional setup for their print-on-demand business. This is a great option for people who want to start their own brand with POD.
  • Facebook: With its vast user base, Facebook provides opportunities for selling directly through the platform or redirecting traffic to your dedicated store.

Staying on top of trends and understanding the policies of the selected platform is vital for a successful online store. It’s not just about selling; it’s about creating an inviting space that reflects who we are and resonates with our customers.

Connecting Your POD Store To AutoDS

Amazingly, there are POD dropshipping tools that can help us run our dropshipping business. With AutoDS’ POD feature, we can design hundreds of different products or give our customers the chance to design them. Plus, with AutoDS, we can automate and optimize our entire POD business.

Connect your POD store to AutoDS

We need to start off by connecting our POD store to AutoDS. To do this, we just need to sign into the AutoDS platform and click on the button in the top left-hand corner to “Add Store”. Then, we need to select the type of POD store we will be running. Then, depending on what type of store we have, we just need to add our store link or connect to the proper marketplace. Now, our POD dropshipping store is connected with the AutoDS platform.

Choose A Print On Demand Supplier 

For those of us creating our own store, partnering with a print on demand company becomes crucial. Why? Because they handle the nitty-gritty – from printing to fulfillment and delivery. 

Take, for instance, the AutoDS Print On Demand feature. It’s as easy as choosing a product, uploading the artwork, and AutoDS takes care of the rest. AutoDS, in collaboration with reliable POD suppliers, streamlines the entire journey, offering an effortless and efficient way to bring our unique designs to life.

When choosing the right print on demand partner, consider factors like product range, printing services, customer reviews, returns handling, pricing models, and shipping speed. Research each option thoroughly to find the one that seamlessly fits your business needs.

Designing A POD Product

Edit product with POD design

Notably, with AutoDS’ POD tool, we can easily design our products. To begin with, we need to open the POD tool located in the nav bar on the left. Then, an extensive selection of products appears that we can choose and easily edit. After hovering over the product, we just need to click on the “Edit Product” button so that we can design our product.

Design your POD product with AutoDS POD tool

After that, we can just upload the design we want to print, choose from the available product colors, and position the design where we want it. And that does it! We’ve designed our first POD product. 

Import POD Products To Your Store 

After designing our POD products, we can save them to our drafts page. From there, we can import all of our POD products to our store with just a click of a button. In fact, we can do single-product imports, import in bulk, or even schedule imports for future dates. We also have a chance to edit our POD product listings before they’re imported into our store. That way, both our products and listings are optimized to attract customers and boost sales.

Market Your POD Products

social media ads for print on demand business

Having a store is just the beginning; now, we need to let the world know we exist. No matter how well-crafted our products are, they won’t reach their full potential without marketing.

Attracting customers to our store requires a proactive approach, and marketing is the engine that drives visibility and sales. We can have great products, but the most important part is making sure the right audience discovers them.

To that end, we have to invest time and resources in various marketing avenues. A few of them are: 

  • Organic content on social media to connect with potential customers authentically, build a community around our brand, and showcase our products organically. For this matter, we can trust platforms where virality is the king, such as TikTok.
  • Google advertising to make sure our products appear prominently in relevant search results, reaching a wider audience actively searching for items within our niche.
  • Influencer marketing to tap into the influencer’s established audience, gaining credibility and expanding our reach to potential customers who trust their recommendations.
  • Discounts or promotions attract price-conscious customers and drive sales while creating a sense of urgency or exclusivity.
  • Email marketing to directly engage with our audience, providing personalized updates and exclusive offers, fostering a long-term relationship that encourages repeat business.
  • Content creation, such as blog posts, videos, or infographics. This not only showcases our expertise in the niche but also attracts and retains customers by offering them relevant and informative material.

Fulfilling POD Orders

To ensure customer satisfaction, we must fulfill orders immediately. However, when we receive more POD orders daily, fulfilling them manually is a hassle. It also opens the door for mistakes.

With manual fulfillment, we have to manually fill in every detail of our customers’ shipping information. Basically, we go on our supplier’s website and fill in our customers’ addresses, shipping information, and product specifications one by one.

On the other hand, if we automate our order fulfillment with the AutoDS Automatic Orders tool, the system will automatically process our orders as soon as they come in. It fulfills the order from our supplier directly to our buyer. Now, as soon as tracking information is available from our supplier, AutoDS will grab it and update it automatically on our customers’ orders. Furthermore, the order status and the supplier’s order number will automatically update automatically.

Ultimately, automating our order fulfillment will save us a lot of headaches and will expedite the fulfillment process.

Pro Tips On How To Start Your Own Print On Demand Business

Now, let’s delve into practical tips that can elevate any POD journey. These are key aspects to ensure a good start and sustained success in our print on demand business. Let’s navigate the insights and start making informed decisions that contribute to the growth and prosperity of our enterprise.

1. Work With A Reliable POD Supplier

AutoDS platform print on demand feature

Working with a POD dropshipping solution is a game-changer, and AutoDS makes this process super easy. The platform offers a diverse range of customizable products, categorized for easy navigation like accessories, decorations, clothes, and more. Plus, we can easily go back and make changes to our custom products using the simple editor. Also, AutoDS has a big selection of POD products that are always updated to evolving market trends. 

Now, why is this a great idea? Well, first, it gives our store an edge. Offering customizable products makes us different from other stores, and customers love that. For a POD business, the value proposition is higher and clearer.

And here’s the cool part – having a print on demand option can actually help us sell more. People are willing to pay a bit more for things they can personalize. So, not only do we stand out, but we can also expect more sales.

Lastly, but very importantly, AutoDS also makes sure to team up with reliable POD suppliers so we don’t have to worry about the quality. We can always count on trustworthy partners to make sure our custom products are top-notch. So, by working with AutoDS for print on demand, we’re offering a unique and attractive shopping experience for our customers.

2. Do Research To Find The Best Prices

Setting the right prices for our products is key to making a profit in the print on demand world. When determining our product retail prices, a few important factors come into play.

Firstly, it’s crucial to know the average price of similar products in the market. Doing a bit of research on current market trends and comparing costs for similar items will help us understand where we stand and what our customers might expect.

Another thing to keep in mind is the location of our customers. Opting for a local print provider can trim down both delivery time and shipping costs, contributing to a more efficient and cost-effective process. Usually, providers ship their products from multiple locations to the US.

Lastly, free shipping is a third point to think about. While this can be an excellent sales trigger, it’s essential to factor in the actual shipping cost. This means adding the shipping cost to the product’s retail price, ensuring we cover these expenses without compromising our profit margins.

Getting the product pricing right is a strategic move that sets the stage for our success. By carefully considering these elements, we can enhance our chances of achieving success in the competitive print on demand landscape.

3. Test the Quality of Your Supplier’s Products

print on demand business supplier's test

Ensuring top-notch quality in our print on demand business is non-negotiable for success. The products we offer must not only look good but also serve their purpose effectively. Customer confidence in our products is key to driving more sales and building a strong reputation.

To increase the value that customers associate with our products, the first and crucial step is selecting reliable suppliers. These partners play a vital role in delivering the quality we promise to our customers.

Keeping a stellar reputation for our e-commerce store involves a proactive approach. Ordering samples from our print providers is a great practice to check the product’s quality. This will allow us to examine the print quality, style, colors, and overall end product. By taking this step, we ensure that what we offer aligns with the expectations of our customers, leading to satisfied buyers and a positive brand image. In the world of print on demand, quality assurance is a commitment to delivering excellence.

4. Show Your POD Designs With Mockups 

In the dynamic world of print on demand, visually showcasing our designs is a powerful strategy. By utilizing mockups, we can present our creations in a realistic and appealing manner.

Mockups allow us to display how our designs would look on various products, offering potential customers a glimpse into the final product. This not only enhances the overall shopping experience but also builds trust and confidence in the quality of our designs. For example, AutoDS provides mockups in our product listings, ensuring that our POD business stands out with visually engaging and compelling presentations. Keep in mind that other websites like Placeit.net provide a variety of mockup options, including a built-in generator for different kinds of mockups and even the option to create videos showcasing someone wearing or using an item with the design.

5. Search For Print On Demand Business Ideas

For POD’s business success, finding unique ideas is a key factor in standing out from the competition. Researching and identifying niche markets that align with our interests and have potential customer demand is a strategic approach. Exploring trending products, delving into customer preferences, and staying informed about market trends are essential steps in discovering lucrative print-on-demand business ideas.

AutoDS supports entrepreneurs on this journey by providing valuable insights and tools to uncover new and innovative ideas, ensuring our print on demand venture remains vibrant, relevant, and poised for success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Dropship Print On Demand Products?

Yes, definitely! AutoDS’s new Print on Demand feature enables you to source trending products from our Winning Products Hub and engage in the print on demand business seamlessly.

Which Is The Best Print-On-Demand Company?

There are several options available. It’s advisable to choose a supplier with reliable qualities. An all-in-one solution like AutoDS can save time and enhance your print on demand business quickly.

Where Can I Sell Print-On-Demand Products? 

You can sell your print on demand products on platforms such as Shopify or eBay. However, since Etsy caters to handcrafted items and specific niche products, it’s an excellent platform for building an audience for POD products.


And that’s it for today! Through this article, we’ve discovered the exciting possibilities that come with turning our creative ideas into a print on demand business. From selecting a niche to designing prints, choosing products, and marketing our store, each step contributes to the world of POD business.

By partnering with reliable solutions like AutoDS, you’re equipped to navigate this journey smoothly. But hey, a good POD journey doesn’t stop right here; in fact, this is only the beginning. To learn more about strategies and tips for your online business, meet us here: