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How to Crush Your Print-on-Demand Sales in 2021

9 min read

I’ve been selling print-on-demand products since 2015. I started by selling t-shirts on Teespring using Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ad costs were cheap back then, and I could use software to scrape User IDs and create custom audiences.

Using this software, we could create *highly* targeted audiences and use them to promote our t-shirt campaigns. The cost to make one t-shirt sale was VERY low.

Those were the good old days. Facebook blocked that software, and the costs were never again that cheap.

Anyway, there are still many ways to sell print-on-demand products.

We don’t sell only t-shirts. We also sell other products such as coffee mugs, shot glasses, travel mugs, tumblers, face masks, etc.

And selling via Facebook is just one option. We can also make tons of sales using free traffic from marketplaces such as Amazon or Etsy.

I’ve tried various methods to sell print-on-demand products over the past few years. In this article, I’ll share my thoughts about how to crush print-on-demand sales in 2021.

Let’s get started.


Selling Personalized Products on Etsy

Sales
90%
Activeness
100%
Difficulty
20%

If you go to Etsy’s website, you’ll find that most of the top-selling items are personalized products.

Personalized mugs bearing people’s names or cartoon characters, and bracelets with people’s names on them are the top-selling products on Etsy.

It’s the nature of Etsy’s customers. They LOVE personalized items. They like to customize product designs so they’re unique to them.

If you have a product you can customize, it will be VERY EASY to sell.

The problem is that it takes time to create a customized design and place the order manually.

And this doesn’t include the time you often need to spend with your customers to adjust or tweak the design in the way they want.

You have to be active and patient to sell personalized products.

I had one personalized product in my Etsy store. I didn’t want to create one, but a repeat customer wanted me to tweak the design on the product she wanted.

This repeat customer has spent over $500 in my shop, so I opened up a personalized listing for her.

Since then, I’ve realized that people on Etsy are picky about product designs.

Even when my listings don’t offer a customization option, people message me and ask if I can change the font or customize something else in the design.

The font must be the specific style, color, and size they want. The heart (if you have it on the design) must be located in the position they want. And so on. You get the idea.

It takes ages to create a final design for one order – and the customer still might not like the finished product!

It’s not only the design you have to do manually. You also have to manually place an order on the supplier’s website.

Personalized products can’t be automated through integration or a system like PODTurbo. You have to upload the design to the supplier’s site and enter the customer’s address manually.

Imagine doing this for 3,000 orders!

So, I closed this listing. I open it back up only when some of my repeat customers message me directly.

Anyway, if you’ve just started selling print-on-demand products, selling personalized products on Etsy is the fastest and easiest way to make many sales. I highly recommend it.

Some of my friends just started selling personalized items, and many of them have already made over 500 sales a month on Etsy.

But if you’re like me, you don’t want to do all that manual work or communicate much with customers. Luckily, there are other ways to make money from the print-on-demand business.

Let’s check out the next one.


Selling Print-on-Demand Products on Etsy

Sales
60%
Activeness
20%
Difficulty
20%

Another way to crush print-on-demand sales is selling them on Etsy, but not personalizing the products.

That said, sales from non-personalized POD products are definitely lower than sales from personalized ones.

The upside is that you don’t have to do much manual work.

You don’t have to create a personalized design for each customer. You don’t have to chat with the customer about the design (and trust me, it’s no fun talking to Etsy customers!).

You also don’t have to create an order and manually enter the customer’s address. You can use software like PODTurbo to upload your products to Etsy and let it handle the ordering and fulfillment process automatically.

The Low Hanging Fruit Model

This is what I usually do, because most of the processes can be automated.

Anyway, it comes with costs.

Apart from the software and product costs, you have to pay $0.20 every four months to list a single product on Etsy.

With personalized products, you need to list only 100-200 products to make great sales.

But for non-personalized items, you need to list a lot more – like 1,000-10,000 products – to see consistent sales.

Let’s say you have 10,000 products. You’ll need to pay Etsy $2,000 for the listing fees every four months, or $500 a month.

You can definitely make more sales by paying those fees, but in my experience, few people are willing to pay $2,000 when they’re starting out.

But this is what I’ve done from the beginning. I keep listing my products every day using PODTurbo. I’m willing to pay the listing fee.

I also spend a lot on Facebook Ads, so paying $2,000 for four months (or $500 a month) to sell 10,000 products is acceptable for me.

If no products sell during these four months, I won’t renew them and will add new products to my store.

Anyway, my shop stats tell me that I always make a lot more than what I pay in listing fees. Actually, my Q4 profits alone covered my listing fees for the full year.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that you need to list different kinds of products in your Etsy store.

Don’t list only coffee mugs. Try to add other products such as two- tone coffee mugs, shot glasses, travel mugs, tumblers, face masks, bracelets, or necklaces.

Because many new print-on-demand sellers usually start by listing coffee mugs, the competition will keep increasing every year.

Don’t get me wrong. Most of my sales come from coffee mugs. But I’ve noticed that other products sell well too, even if I add just a few of them to my store.

For example, I added 48 Jewelry Message Cards to my Etsy store last month. So far, I’ve made over 20 sales (over $500 worth).

Also, a lot of people are buying face masks this year because of the pandemic. I got my first face mask sale after listing just a few of them in my store.

Jewelry message cards and face masks are easier to sell than coffee mugs.

So, if you want to sell print-on-demand products on Etsy, list many kinds of products. Don’t stick with just a white coffee mug.

And always try to find new products to sell.

This is a print-on-demand model I’ll continue to use next year.


Selling Print-on-Demand Products using Amazon FBM

Sales
30%
Activeness
20%
Difficulty
10%

Selling print-on-demand products on Amazon is similar to what we do on Etsy.

But it’s easier, because we don’t have to pay listing fees. We can list as many items as we want. Many PODTurbo members use the system to upload 200 products a day to Amazon.

Sadly, selling on Amazon is more difficult than selling on Etsy.

The low barrier to entry equals more competition.

It’s not like listing a product on Etsy, where we have to pay $0.20 per listing. Etsy has a barrier to entry, so the competition there is much lower than it is on Amazon.

Since people can list as many coffee mugs as they want on Amazon, there are always tons of coffee mugs in the search results for a given search term.

You have to ensure your coffee mug has a better ranking and a more eye-catching design.

You can solve this problem by adding other products such as shot glasses, travel mugs, jewelry message cards, and others to your Amazon store. You’ll make more sales.

But that’s not the main solution. You shouldn’t expect it to produce many sales.

Selling POD products this way is referred to as FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant).

We should think of Amazon FBM as a step towards another model that can bring us tons of sales.

Use the FBM model to find products that sell a few units, then make them FBA.

Let’s learn more about FBA.


Use Amazon FBA to Make Tons of Print-on-Demand Sales

Sales
80%
Activeness
5%
Difficulty
30%

This is the MAIN business model I’ll focus on next year. I LOVE IT!

Why? Because it’s easy to do, and you can make tons of sales.

You just have to pick a few winning products from your Amazon FBM, order them in bulk, and ship them to Amazon.

You can do this by contacting your AliExpress or Alibaba supplier. The products are cheap, and the suppliers know how to ship products to Amazon.

Amazon will handle the fulfillment and customer service for you. You don’t have to worry about shipping, and you don’t have to talk to customers.

Just pick your winning products and make them FBA. It’s the easiest way to sell print-on-demand products nowadays.

But you have to be sure the products you send to Amazon FBA are winners.

The easiest way to do that is by listing many products on Amazon using the FBM business model I’ve outlined.

Use PODTurbo to list tons of products, see which ones sell, and make them FBA.

This is the easiest way to find winning products for Amazon FBA.

If you just blindly pick products for Amazon FBA, the chances that the product won’t sell will be very high.

And you’ll also pay a lot in storage fees (because Amazon FBA isn’t free).

I have a detailed guide on how to crush print-on-demand sales on Amazon FBA. You can read it here.

A few people I know are making over $200K a year selling print-on-demand products through Amazon FBA.

This business model will be my main focus in 2021. I have thousands of products in my Amazon account, and I’ll try to pick new ones to send to FBA.

This year, I’ve sent around 50 SKUs to the Amazon Warehouse. Next year, I’ll send more. My goal is to have at least 200 SKUs.


Scale Your Print-on-Demand Sales to the Moon using Facebook Ads

Sales
100%
Activeness
70%
Difficulty
90%

Okay, all of the print-on-demand models above are all about selling print-on-demand products using organic or free traffic.

They’re all easy and, for people just starting out, are very low risk.

But if you want to scale your print-on-demand business to the next level, you might want to use paid traffic.

TO THE MOOOOOOOON!

You can make tons of sales using Facebook Ads in a very short time, but this business model is hard to implement.

You need to find winning products, learn how to use Facebook Ads, understand how to select the right target audience, and know how to scale it and maintain good ROI.

You have to pay to learn all these things and start making money.

Anyway, the process of finding winning products to promote using Facebook Ads is easier if you also sell print-on-demand products in the marketplaces.

Just pick the ones that sell well on Amazon or Etsy and promote them using Facebook ads.

I did exactly this for Mother’s and Father’s Day and made over $350K within a few weeks.

It’s like a shortcut. You don’t have to spend lots of money to find winning products, like we did before.

But not all hot-selling products on the marketplaces can be scaled using paid traffic. You still need to find the right audience to show your product to.

If the audience and the product don’t match, your product won’t sell.

You have to spend money to find the right audience for your product. You might lose money when you start, but after you match the right audience and the right product, you can scale it to 5-6 figures.

This is definitely another business model that I’ll keep using next year. I can’t wait to make 6-figures again from Mother’s Day and Father’s Day!


That’s a Wrap

Okay, these are all the ways you can sell print-on-demand products in 2021.

All of them are proven methods that have helped me and my students earn 6-7 figures this year.

You can start by selling personalized products on Etsy if you want to make quick sales.

Then you can invest some money into a system like PODTurbo to help you quickly list tons of products on Amazon and Etsy.

Sales by PODTurbo members just aren’t stopping. They’ve made over 300-400 sales every day in December.

And their sales will only keep growing next year.

Want to start selling on Amazon? Send some of your products to the Amazon Warehouse. You’ll make tons of sales using the Amazon FBA method.

You could stop there because you can expect to make over $100-200K a year from Amazon FBA.

But if you want to take things to the next level, learn how to use paid traffic such as Facebook Ads to promote your products.

OK, that’s all for this post.

It’s time to add more products to my store!

See you soon! 🙂

—Bank K.

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