Case Study: How I made $2,252 a month selling print-on-demand products on Etsy using an automation tool.

7 min read

Print-on-demand products such as coffee mugs, shot glasses, travel mugs, and tumblers have been selling really well on Etsy.

If you find gift products on Etsy, you’ll see that most of the top-selling products contain a message on them.

(Like coffee mugs with a message from mom to son, father to daughter, coworker to coworker, etc.)

I started selling print-on-demand products on Etsy last October.

I started with coffee mugs in different niches. No shot glasses, travel mugs, or tumblers – yet. Just coffee mugs.

There is a listing fee on Etsy, so I wanted to start testing with what I thought it would easiest to sell, which is a coffee mug.

Since then, I’ve made over $2,252 from this marketplace.

Without ads. Without any inventory. All the products are made to order.

In this article, I’m going to describe my success in selling the print-on-demand products on Etsy – and how you can repeat it.

How I do Market Research on Etsy

When I first started selling print-on-demand products on Etsy, most of the products I’d listed were my top-selling products on Amazon.

I have my old selling stats from Amazon. So it was easy for me to make my first sale.

If you’re selling something on other marketplaces, it’s easy to duplicate your top-selling products on Etsy and make your first sale – fast.

But no worries if you’ve just got started.

You can make that first sale fast, too. Selling print-on-demand products on Etsy isn’t difficult.

Let me walk you through how to do it.

Start with market research.

When I do research on Etsy, I want to learn what people are looking for.

I usually do an Etsy search using popular keywords like “Mother’s day gift”, “Father’s day gift”, “Engineer gift”, “Nurse gifts”, “Christmas gift”, “Dog Mug”, etc.

If you want to find what people are buying, there’s no need to get a spy tool. Just go to Etsy and search for something.

I was surprised when I saw the products that popped up in the search results.

Most of the top-selling products are personalized products.

People here like products with their names, their family member’s names, their dog names, etc on them.

If you search Etsy with using keyword “Dog Mug, you’ll see results like this:

The top 12 products are personalized products. They don’t have just the name on them – people can also customize the images on the product.

People can select a dog breed, the number of dogs, and even the hair style, shirt, etc. of the people on the mugs!

This is really cool. There are many positive customer reviews for these items. It shows that people here really like unique products.

Anyway, I did this for research purposes only. I don’t sell personalized products personally.

It takes too much time (for me) to create an order manually, and I don’t like to deal with people who want to make changes to designs.

So I just keep searching for other products on Etsy and find what I can do.

I like these products:

These are 7 of the 8 products at the bottom of the first page. They are “dog breed” coffee mugs.

Caucasian Shepherd
Greater Swiss Mountain
American Eskimo
Entlebucher Mountain


Do you know these breeds?

These are very niche products. If dog lovers search Etsy for the dog breed they have, these products will usually pop up at the top of the search results.

Let try searching with the keyword “Canaan Dog Mug.

You see? The mug from this seller is in second place (excluding the ads). This seller also buys ads for their store, so it seems he or she is doing well with selling print-on-demand products.

I’m not sure whether his or her dog-breed mugs are selling well or not. So I’ll go to the store page to check stats like sales and customer reviews.

(For privacy reasons, I’ll blur out the store name.)

You can see that this seller has made over 3,543 sales on Etsy since 2017!

This is a pretty good number.

Most of the products in this store are non-personalized products, and this seller can make many sales passively.

You can check the customer reviews at the bottom of the store’s page. When I did it, this is what I found:

(Again, I’ll blur out some details to maintain this seller’s privacy.)

It seems like people like other products from this seller. Not the dog-breed mugs.

I’ll check to see which products have many reviews, try to understand why people buy them, then try to come up with some new product ideas.

I do this process for other top-selling stores. I’ve gotten many great ideas by doing product research this way.


After doing product research on Etsy for a while, I found that many shops sell print-on-demand products that contain a phrase with a NICHE word on it.

For example:

Keep Calm, I’m a [NICHE].
Best [NICHE] ever.
Trust me, I’m a [NICHE].

Just replace [NICHE] with any profession, family member name, dog-breed lover, etc.

I like selling print-on-demand products this way, too.

All I have to do is find popular phrases that people will buy, and let my designer create unique designs for different niches.

Then, I use these designs to create unique gift products such as personalized coffee mugs, shot glasses, travel mugs, tumblers, pillow cases, etc.

I put tons of products in my account in a very short time.

That’s what I do when I research products on Etsy.

List products almost 100% automatically using PODTurbo.

Selling print-on-demand products using the low-hanging style is a numbers game.

It’s like the spaghetti method. – “Throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks.”

We have to list as many products as we can, in many different niches. We check which products can be sold, and try to scale using the stats we have.

That what I do when I sell print-on-demand products on Amazon and Etsy.

I have almost 100,000 products on Amazon.

Now I have over 2,000 products on Etsy, and this number is growing every day.

But I don’t do it all by myself. I asked my programmer to build an automated listing tool called PODTurbo.

(I know I’m biased, but I think this tool is awesome.)

It helps me do 90% of my work on Etsy. 100% on eBay. 100% on Shopify and WooCommerce.

It creates products on Etsy, including product mockups, titles, descriptions, and keywords. And it sets prices for me.

(If Etsy updates something in its API, this tool will be able to do 100% of the work. But I’m not sure they will.)

All I have to do is add some product options and click “Publish”. It takes me about 20 seconds to list a product on Etsy.

I list 50 products a day on Etsy, so it takes me from 15 to 20 minutes to get this done.

When I get an order, I just have to click the “order” button in the system. The order info is sent to Gearbubble automatically.

(This ordering process will be 100% automated early next year.)

When the product is shipped, Gearbubble, which is a supplier, will send the tracking info back to the system. The system will then fulfill the Etsy order automatically.

I don’t have to do anything. Just focus on product research and creating good products.

This is the key that helps me make over $2,252 on Etsy in the past 30 days.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to do it if I had to list the products manually.

The Results

So far, the results have been pretty good.

In the past 30 days, I made $2,252 from 2,243 products. I’ve had 6,523 views, 3,260 visits and made 141 sales. My conversion rate is around 4.3%.

The point is, I started this business in late October. It took me about a month and a few minutes per day to obtain these results.

I’m really okay with this.

Hopefully, next year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will be even better!

I’ve already added almost 1,000 products related to these special days to the PODTurbo system. They will be published soon. 🙂

What will I do next?

Well, I’ll keep listing new products in different niches on Etsy using PODTurbo.

Currently, I’ve listed products in the profession niches only. There are so many other niches – family, dog breeds, cat breeds, hobbies, etc. where I can get more traffic for my store.

Anyway, I’ll focus on listing products for upcoming holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.

We can make a lot of sales from these holidays.

Okay, that’s all on my journey selling print-on-demand products on Etsy using the automation tool my team built.

I’ll keep you posted when I have more updates.

Talk soon!

—Bank “Automate Automate Automate” K.

P.S. I have just watched Ford v Ferrari. Have you seen this movie yet?

I really like the character Ken Milles. He is obsessed with his car. He knows everything about it, and he did his job as a mechanic and racer extremely well.

Milles described himself this way:

“I am a mechanic. That has been the direction of my entire vocational life. Driving is a hobby, a relaxation for me, like golfing is to others. I should like to drive a Formula One machine, not for the grand prize, but just to see what it is like. I should think it would be jolly good fun!”

(Source: Wikipedia)

It’s a good movie. You should watch it. 🙂

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