Ten Reasons Why Your Print-on-Demand Products Aren’t Selling, and How to Fix it

After listing a few print-on-demand products, some people might find that they made the first sale very fast, within the first week, while others might not be able to make a sale for many months.

This actually depends on several factors, such as the design, the keywords in the product title and description, the selected niche market, etc.

I made my first sale in the first week after I listed 15 coffee mugs. The mug that sold contained funny designs about the photographer.

I didn’t do a proper keyword at that time, either, but I think the reason that this product was sold so fast was that it was the winning t-shirt design I sold using the FB ads before.

I just tried putting the same design on a coffee mug and uploaded it to Amazon to test the low-hanging method.

Or maybe it was all luck… lol

But the second sale was made several weeks after that, even though I kept uploading new products to my store.

There are many reasons why your print-on-demand products haven’t sold.

Since I share my print-on-demand selling strategy in 1-Hour System, I have audited some stores for my members and I found some common mistakes that most people make.

In this article, I’m going to share some of the causes I found and some ways of how to fix them.


Reason #1 – Only list a few products

After I audited some people’s stores, the first reason I found why they can’t make as much sales is that they don’t list many products yet.

Many of them listed fewer than 1,000 products. It’s quite difficult to make consistent sales.

Well, it’s actually possible to make many sales with fewer than 1,000 products, but you need to have really good products with really good designs, well-researched keywords, etc.

But I don’t recommend you to do it that way, because if you do a really deep research on everything and still don’t make a sale, you will discouraged and have no desire to list more products.

How to fix: The first problem is very easy to fix. Just keep listing more products with good designs, using different keywords in different niches.

Don’t expect many sales if you have just a few products. Focus on the listing process first. Keep listing new products every single day. No matter what.


Reason #2 – Only list a few phrases

The second reason I found is that most people list many products, but they do it with just a few phrases.

Let say they have 2,000 mugs for 500 professional niches. That means they have just four main phrases for these 2,000 products.

Let me show you the example. They may have four main phrases like these:

Keep Calm, I’m a [PROFESSION]
Best [PROFESSION] Ever
Trust me, I’m a [PROFESSION]
Great [PROFESSION] Dad

Then, they use each phrase to create 500 profession coffee mugs. The total mugs from four phrases will be 2,000 products.

The problem is, not many phrases can be sold well.

I have listed almost 100,000 products with 500-600 main phrases. I found that there are just around 50-60 phrases that can sell really well.

How to fix this: Listing 2,000 coffee mugs is a good thing to do. You should get some sales after doing this.

But if you want to make more sales, you have to list more products with new phrases.

When you find a phrase that can make some sales, create multiple designs for the same phrases over and over with different keywords.


Reason #3 – The phase is too competitive

I also found that most people select the phrases that are very competitive, like “Best [NICHE] ever” or “Keep Calm, I’m a [NICHE]”.

(The phrases I show above are very competitive. Don’t use them to create your products!)

Amazon already has thousands of products that have these competitive phrases, so you shouldn’t create another one.

How to fix: Apart from listing more products with more phrases, it’s better to spend some of your time finding the phrases that have low competition.

Find a quote that not many people use  for your product.

Spend your time researching phrases on the Internet, and find some new funny quotes that you can modify to your benefit.


Reason #4 – The designs don’t look good

The next problem I found is that people don’t have good designs for their products.

Well, I always tell you that a product with a simple, ugly text designs can sell well in Amazon, BUT you need to make sure that the design must be well-organized.

When I audited some people’s stores, I found that their coffee mugs contained too many fonts with the same designs. Some designs even contained symbols that were irrelevant to the phrase.

How to fix: The design should have an orderly typographic style. Don’t use too many fonts in the same design, or if you want to use many fonts, make sure to organize them well.

Also, don’t add too many colors in the same design. Most of my top selling designs only have a black color.

Some winning designs for Valentine’s Day have two colors; black and red (for the heart symbol).


Reason #5 – Use one design to create just one product

Most people create a design and use it to create just one product, which is a coffee mug.

Actually, there are so many other products that can sell really well, such as a shot glass, travel mug, tumbler, two-tone mug, etc.

In the past two years, I hired a virtual assistant to list three products with one design, which are a coffee mug, shot glass, and travel mug.

(That’s why I have listed so many products in such a short time.)

The shot glass can sell well and I have four shot glasses that I sent to Amazon FBA.

The competition was very low, so they all sold really well and the base cost was very cheap.

Some travel mugs can be sold too, but less than shot glasses.

I think people buy shot glasses to celebrate special events, like Christmas or New Year’s. Also, the price of a travel mug is way higher than a shot glass too.

I price a shot glass at $9.95-12.95, with free shipping. It’s easy to sell.

Recently, Gearbubble just released the new product, a two-tone mug, just a few weeks ago.

I listed over 2,000 two-tone mugs already and started getting many sales. It’s another hot product with low competition. I think I like it more than a plain coffee mug too.

How to fix: Use one design to create all of the products you can. I recommend you start with shot glasses and two-tone mugs. These two products are selling pretty well.

If you have more time or are using the automation tool, you should list as many products as you can to make more sales.

You can use the same title for all products, but make sure to change the product type keyword in it.

For example, if you use the same title of the coffee mug to create a shot glass, make sure to change the word “coffee mug” to “shot glass”.

This will help you get more traffic from the new keyword, which is “shot glass” in this case.

The more product types you have, the more organic traffic from different keywords you will make.


Reason #6 – The product title doesn’t contain good keywords

When I audited stores for my clients, I found that most of them didn’t have good keywords in the product title and description.

Many of them also added too many irrelevant keywords.

For example, the coffee mug has the phrase like “Trust me, I’m an Engineer” but the product title contains so many keywords like “gifts for mom”, “gifts for dad”, “gifts for men”, “gifts for women”, “gifts for boys”, “gifts for girls”, “gifts for aunt”, “gift for uncle”, the list goes on. Too long!

The profession-related mugs are usually bought for coworkers, so the keywords like “gifts for coworkers” or “gifts for colleagues” are better for this niche.

The keyword “gifts for men” and “gifts for women” might fit for the profession niches too, but avoid using irrelevant keywords like “gifts for boys/girls”.

These two keywords might be good if the phrase on the product is “Future Engineer” or something like that. But most of the time, they’re irrelevant.

Another reason that you should not add the irrelevant keywords to the product title is that your product will have a bad ranking.

Imagine this, your Engineer coffee mug indexes in Amazon search for the keyword “gifts for boys” and ranks in a good position.

But when people search for this keyword to find a gift for their children, they will see your product but won’t make a purchase because it’s not a kind of gift they are looking for.

They are looking for toys for their children. Not an Engineer mug.

As a result, the Amazon search algorithm will notice this. They give you a good ranking for that keyword, but people don’t even click it to the product page, they will lower the product ranking score and move it to the bottom or, worse, remove your product from this search result altogether.

Also, I found that some people use a very long product title. They have a very long product title with many different or sometimes duplicated keywords.

Even Amazon allows for 250 characters for the product title; they don’t index all words. But it looks spammy in people’s eyes.

How to fix: Try to add only the relevant keywords to the product title. Focus on some keywords that have high search volume and low competition. Also, don’t add too many keywords in the title. Keep it short and sweet.


Reason #7 – Don’t put the main keyword at the front of the product title

Apart from adding irrelevant keywords and using long product titles, some people also don’t put the main keyword at the front of the product title.

For example, the product is an Engineer coffee mug but the keyword, like “Engineer Coffee Mug” or “Engineer Gifts”, is not at the front of the product title.

Some people put the phrase on the product or a keyword like “Gifts for Men” or “Gifts for Women” at the front of the product title.

These keywords are too broad and it’s difficult to get at the top of the search results this way.

It’s better to put the main keyword that is relevant to the product first, then follow it by the phrase.

This is very important.

I tested putting the main keywords in different positions of the product title, and I found that when I put the main keyword at the front of the title, the product keeps climbing the Amazon search rankings for that keyword.

How to fix: This one is easy to fix. You just have to do some keyword research to find out which main keyword should be put at the front of the product title.

I usually use MerchantWords to check the search volume for keywords first and then check the number of products for each keyword in Amazon.

If the search volume is medium to high and the number of the products for that keyword is low, I’ll put that keyword at the front of the title.


Reason #8 – Don’t add the main keyword in the product description

Another problem is that people use the default product description provided by the supplier.

Do you use the Gearbubble Dropship to upload products to Amazon? The default product description will be like this:

Absolutely love your order or contact us and we’ll make it right. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

And the product features (the bullets) will look like this:

  • High quality mug makes the perfect gift for everyone.
  • Printed on only the highest quality mugs. The print will never fade no matter how many times it is washed.
  • Packaged, and shipped from the USA.
  • Dishwasher and Microwave safe.
  • Shipped in a custom made styrofoam package to ensure it arrives perfect. GUARANTEED.

The product description and features provided by the supplier are too general.

If you list an “Engineer” coffee mug, the description from the supplier will be just about the coffee mug. There is no “Engineer” keyword.

And this is a BIG mistake! The product description and features without the keyword in it don’t help your product attain a better ranking.

How to fix: You should add at least one main keyword to the product description and product features.

For example, if your product is an Engineer coffee mug, try to add the word “Engineer” at least once in both the product description and product features.

If you use PODTurbo, you can add {NICHE} token to the product description and features in the “Category Template” menu. The system will then replace the main keyword to the token automatically.


Reason #9 – Add a product to just one marketplace

Most people add their products to only one marketplace, which is either Amazon or Etsy.

This is not enough and it’s quite difficult to make consistent sales from just one marketplace.

If you find some top store in Amazon, you will see that most of them also have other stores on Etsy and eBay.

There are so many other marketplaces you can add your products to so you can start making passive income from the organic traffic, such as Bonanza and Storenvy.

The more sale channels you have, the more passive and consistent income you will be able to make.

How to fix: Add your products to as many marketplaces as possible. You may hire someone to do it for you or you can use an automation tool, like PODTurbo.


Reason #10 – Don’t scale the niche that we can sell

The last reason that I found is that many sellers don’t scale after making some sales.

People who sell print-on-demand products using the low-hanging style rarely check the sale stats.

But I can understand that. When I got started, I rarely checked my sale stats in detail as well. I just kept listing new products.

Listing new products is a good thing to do, but you can easily make more sales if you check the sale stats list new products based on the data you have.

How to fix: Check the sale stats and see what niche you can sell, then keep listing new products in that selling niche.

Let assume that you know most of the sales you made are from the Engineer niche. Now you should find more specific phrases, creating more products, and doing a deep keyword research for this Engineer niche.

I wrote an article about how to discover the undiscovered top-selling niche on Amazon. You can find the small script to extract your sale stats from Amazon to show you which niches sold well.


That’s a Wrap

Those are the ten reasons I found as to why print-on-demand products aren’t selling.

Most of the problems can easily be fixed and you can quickly implement some of them with your store. These are the same methods I use when I want to make more sales from my own stores.

If you have more questions or want me to audit your store, feel free to shoot me an email. I’ll try to find time to explore your store and, hopefully, I can give you some suggestions 🙂

—Bank K.

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