Selling Print on Demand on Amazon and Etsy is a great way to build passive income from the internet.
You might not really get great traction at the early stage of your POD business without hosting your business on these platforms.
Amazon is hands down the largest online retailer in the world. With billions of visitors coming to shop every month, there is no better place to list your products. Who doesn’t enjoy good traction?
I know I do!
Etsy is also another great platform to sell personalized items and creative crafts. It enjoys millions of monthly visitors who come ready to buy.
It is easily the best place to sell anything you’ve got, from customized T-shirts to flowery-patterned face masks and coffee mugs.
It is the home of print-on-demand items.
So, we can all agree on one thing – Amazon and Etsy are essential to your growth as a print-on-demand seller.
But here’s another thing we can agree on. As great as both platforms are, they are not enough to build a profitable and sustainable POD business in the long-term.
Unless you want to do POD for just a while and ditch it for something else later, then you can skip this article.
But if you want to build a long-term business, then you need to understand that solely relying on Amazon and Etsy might not be a good idea.
Sure, there are numerous reasons why you should make use of these platforms. They afford you low investment for what it’s worth, and they are straightforward to set up.
You literally need next to nothing to set up an Amazon or Etsy account. You can get an account up and running in a matter of minutes.
There is also lower risk and lesser worries about visitors. The marketplace already has enough traction to empty your entire inventory in the blink of an eye.
All you have to do is to plug yourself into the right place, improve your visibility, and offer great products. You must understand basic SEO also.
But this is not the article for all of that.
All I am saying is that it’s quite risky to rely on only these two marketplaces.
If you want to build a long-term POD business, you need to have more control over your business.
It is much better to create your own store, which you can have more control over.
From my experience with paid and free traffic, I know that it is possible to get enough traction for a stand-alone store.
So, I have always been curious about how I could use the combination of paid and free traffic to build my own store.
It’s more or less like building your own version of mini Amazon or Etsy, where you get to be the only seller.
This has been my unexecuted plan for years! But unfortunately, I haven’t got it done yet.
So, it’s your lucky day. I have a plan for you. You should really take it up. It might be the start of something life-changing for your business.
So, the first question. Why exactly do you even need to consider building your own store?
Why should you start building your own store?
Now that I think about it, I’ve had a lot of not-so-great experiences with Amazon and Etsy.
I have been suspended at different times on both platforms. I’ve been at the brink of losing everything I’ve spent the last couple of years building on those platforms in less than a minute.
Read more about my exciting stories here:
- My Amazon Seller Account was Deactivated – Here’s my story, and what I did to get it back.
- Etsy Account Suspension – Easy Guide to Getting Your Account Back
Not as exciting now, huh!?
Here are a couple of reasons why you should start building your own store.
No Rules, No Suspensions
Just run a quick Google search for Etsy Guidelines or Amazon Rules. You would be surprised at how under-informed you might have been all this while about all the myriads of rules guiding these platforms.
Both Amazon and Etsy have their own separate rules. There are different rules guiding users, product listing, pricing, SEO, order fulfillment, customer satisfaction, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
You have to be – you must be – familiar with all of these things. Otherwise, you run at the risk of getting kicked off their platform.
Otherwise, they can suspend your account at any time if you break the rules. And with so many rules, who knows which one you are breaking right now!
In fact, there are times when they might suspend your account without any reason too. It’s all too risky in the long run.
If you want to build something long-term and sustainable, I advise that you have your own store. It would give you better control over your business existence.
Having all your eggs in the Amazon or Etsy basket would only put the existence of your business in continued uncertainty.
I don’t know how you feel about that. But having to go to bed every night knowing that I might wake up to meet my 5-year-old Amazon account suspended is not really the best way to live your life.
I don’t want to live like that, in constant fear and uncertainty. I know you don’t either.
This is what makes owning your own store a very considerable alternative. No one can suspend your account.
There is a great deal of peace that comes with certainty.
Build Customer List
Since buyers can only find your business on these marketplaces, you cannot build a comprehensive customer list of everyone that has purchased your products.
This is not a good thing for your business.
If you want to build a sustainable business, you must create a system where you can build a great relationship with your customers.
This would foster recurrent sales and more referrals too. But since you cannot communicate directly with the buyers on Amazon and Etsy, you cannot convince them to buy from you next time.
Most of the time, you might get only one sale from one customer on Amazon and Etsy.
But with your own store, you will be able to make a relationship with your customers to make more sales. You can also build a customer email list to market in the future.
Some Bad Things About Owning a Store…
Before you zoom off to delete your Etsy account, you might want to read this part too!
You must be ready to overcome several hurdles if you want to run a successful store.
Here are a few:
Amazon gets well over a hundred million visitors daily. It is buzzing traffic. But you would not enjoy this kind of traffic in your own store. At least, not yet.
You tend to enjoy less traffic when you get started. It’s not like you list a product on Amazon or Etsy which have tons of visitors.
You have to find visitors all by yourself. But it’s not a cause for alarm. You can actually find visitors using free or paid traffic.
With enough marketing strategy and money, you should be able to push your store to thousands of visitors daily.
You don’t get to do much when Amazon has already set up all the platforms you need. If you are setting up your own store, you must be ready to work.
It’s like going out in the wild all alone. There’s so much to do, and you only got yourself. You have to set up your own store, customize your theme, install some apps, and all of that.
If you’re thinking about outsourcing it, then you must be ready to part ways with some cash. Regardless, you would still be charged with the task of managing your store from time to time. It’s a lot of work.
Let me not get started on the amount of SEO work you have to do to rank your store high for relevant keywords and phrases.
Building your Brand from the Scratch
Trust is very key in influencing purchase decisions. If someone is not buying from you, the chances are that they don’t trust you yet.
The same principles work on the other side of the table. If someone trusts you, they will keep coming back to you.
Over the years, Amazon and Etsy have been able to build their own brand. Millions of people trust these two websites.
They don’t have to run too many ads before visitors come flooding their page like ants around a sugar cube.
So, if you build your own store, you must be ready to build your own brand. You don’t just sell by putting out products. You sell by making people trust you.
That is the only way to get them to buy products from your store.
Customer Service & Order Fulfillment
If you missed Amazon’s services for anything, it would be their highly professional customer service.
If you set up your own store, you must be ready to take this task up. And trust me, it is not as easy as it sounds.
You cannot do it, a good alternative is to hire someone to handle it for you. While this is a good idea, it might also require that you invest in it financially.
Action Plan to Build Your Own Store
Here we are; my very own action plan.
If I was going to start building my own store, this is probably all that I’m going to do. This is my plan. But you can tweak anything in it and adapt it for your own business.
Building your store with a reliable host
There are different places where you can host your store. But Gearbubble remains one of the most reliable ones out there (at least, for me).
For one, Gearbubble was specifically made for eCommerce stores and POD businesses. You would find everything fitting your needs.
Gearbubble is one of the best platforms to host your store and build your own website. It is a great tool for anyone who wants to start their very own store.
It has an optimized eCommerce store that allows you to sell your products to different people without relying on Amazon or Etsy traction. You can get your traction from paid or free traffic.
There are two packages of Gearbubble services. You can either use regular Gearbubble, which is the free version, or you can opt for Gearbubble Pro, which is the paid service.
Although the Gearbubble Pro has more features than the regular version, you can still get started on the regular service.
Right now, you can add your own domain name to your regular Gearbubble account for free, and you will get a website like Gearbubble under your own domain name.
This way, you can have your store hosted on Gearbubble and a customized website that you can direct your traction with.
Shopify is another great place to host your store.
I know a lot of stores on Shopify that are doing really great. But if you are considering Shopify, you must be sure that you have a good theme that would help you convert visitors to buyers.
A good user experience is important to keep your users happy. If your users have troubles with navigating your website properly or they cannot easily find products, then you’re toast! They would most likely not come back.
For me, I think I’ll use the regular Gearbubble with my own domain name because it’s free.
More so, I plan to sell only print-on-demand products. So, I don’t really need themes or any apps. I could just get started right away!
Another great thing about Gearbubble is that I can sell personalized products without using any app.
It is effortless to get started, very straightforward. I recommend it!
Build a niche store
I have an article written on niches and how to choose niches. You should check it out.
If you want to build a profitable POD store, it is not enough that you list products only during holidays or special sales.
These things only come once in a couple of months. Except for the Q4, where the whole months are packed full of holidays, other times of the year are not so traction-friendly.
I mean, there’s no special thing happening in March.
Or is there? I hope I’m not missing anything?
I’m trying to say that you should carry out your research and look out for the best niches to create products. You can start with one niche and expand it later. It is all up to you!
For what it’s worth, niche products never go out of fashion. They are always in demand all year long. So, you would be doing your business and your pocket a good thing to have them.
When listing your niche products, you should pay attention to the product title and product description. Ensure that you write a very engaging and convincing product description.
Also, never forget to add each product’s main keywords to the product description and product title. If you would be using Google Shopping Ads, Google will use keywords on the landing page to show the product. So, it would help if you got it done.
Set up Google Shopping Ads
There are different ways to generate paid traffic online, and Google Shopping Ads is one of the best ways to get it done.
It is also a sure-fire way to generate passive income with paid traffic.
Compared to Facebook Ads, Google Shopping Ads is much more stable and effective.
Although I don’t really know about Google Shopping Ads yet, I am still learning the ropes. I need to study more about it. Maybe I will write an article on it sometime soon.
Apart from Google Shopping Ads, I might have to learn more about Google Search too. The whole Google business space is wide! I have to tap into it.
Use FaceBook Ads
It might not be the most stable paid traffic system, but it sure is one of the most effective.
Facebook ads have the chance of reaching thousands of impressions. So, you cannot take Facebook ads out of the equation.
At some point, you might still need to run Facebook Ads on some products as well. What you have to do is to select your top products and promote them with Facebook Ads.
I already have an intensive course about Facebook Ads. Make sure to check it out!
You can also create retargeting campaigns on Facebook Ads for all products. This would boost your website traffic exponentially.
For now, you might not have to worry so much about SEO as you are just starting.
Also, I actually think sending paid traffic to the website will help the website get a better ranking on search engines automatically.
So, there you have it! That is my plan. I don’t know if it’s good or not. But that is my plan anyway.
My goal this year is to get my own marketplace. My very store where I can list all my products and make sales all year long without any worries of account suspension or stuff like that.
I am still working out a couple of details. So, watch this space! 😉
I will implement it and update you later this year. You can follow these steps, too, and we can share the journey along the way.
—Bank “Passive Income Store” K.