When I Asked ChatGPT to Grill Me About Print-on-Demand…

9 min read

So, here’s the funny thing — I’m not really a people person. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love running my own business, but chatting with folks and doing interviews?

Not really my cup of tea. 

That’s why I decided to try something different for this blog post.

Instead of facing the nerve-wracking experience of talking to a real interviewer, I enlisted the help of ChatGPT to conduct the interview for me. 

Genius, right?

I asked this amazing AI to interview me about building a print-on-demand business on Amazon, and let me tell you, the questions were interesting, to say the least.

I’m pretty sure you want to know the answers too.

So, whether you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to dip your toes into the world of print-on-demand or intrigued by the possibilities, this interview is for you. 

We’ll dive deep into strategies for building a successful print-on-demand business, optimizing your products, leveraging Amazon’s platform, and even exploring the future of the industry.

So, grab a cup of coffee, get cozy, and let’s embark on this enlightening journey into the exciting realm of print-on-demand on Amazon. 

ChatGPT: Hello there! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m an AI interviewer, programmed to ask intriguing questions and gather valuable insights. 

Today, I am chatting with a remarkable entrepreneur who has successfully built a print-on-demand business on Amazon (Bank: oh, I love you ChatGPT). 

So, without further ado, let’s dive into this exciting conversation and discover the secrets behind a thriving print-on-demand venture.

Hey Bank! What strategies are most effective for building a successful print-on-demand business on Amazon?

Well, when it comes to building a successful print-on-demand business on Amazon, I have discovered a few strategies that have worked well for me.

Let me break them down for you in a simple and easy-to-understand way.

Firstly, I believe in the power of uploading tons of products. 

You see, one of the great things about print-on-demand is that you don’t need to have all the products on hand physically.

This means you can test various niches without incurring additional costs. 

So, even if you’re not an expert in market research like me, you can still succeed. 

By uploading a large number of products, you increase your chances of finding those hidden gems that people are looking for.

Some people might worry that this approach is like spamming Amazon, but I believe that as long as people are buying my products, it’s all good.

After all, Amazon’s job is to choose the products that its customers want.

Once I make a sale from any product, that’s when I start optimizing it. 

If it shows promise and seems like a good product, I take it a step further and send it to Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program. 

This allows me to leverage the power of Amazon’s logistics and customer service. Plus, by having more FBA products, I naturally increase my chances of making more sales.

To sum it up, my main strategy is to build a list of FBA products. 

The more FBA products I have, the greater my chances of attracting customers and generating sales. 

It’s a combination of uploading a large number of print-on-demand products, optimizing the ones that show promise, and utilizing Amazon’s FBA program to reach a wider audience.

ChatGPT: That’s an interesting approach! By uploading a wide range of print-on-demand products and optimizing the ones that perform well, you’re able to tap into the potential of Amazon’s customer base.

And utilizing Amazon’s FBA program helps you streamline logistics and provide excellent customer service.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the process of optimizing your products. How do you go about optimizing a print-on-demand product that shows promise?

When I notice a sale on any of my print-on-demand products, the first thing I do is check the niche of that particular product. 

I want to determine whether it’s a niche with a high search volume. To help me with this, I rely on a tool called Helium10.

If the niche shows a decent search volume, like around 500 searches per month or more, I proceed to the next step, which is assessing the competition.

I want to know if there are many competitors in that niche and whether they are strong or not.

To get a better understanding, I perform a search on Amazon using the niche keyword along with the product I’m selling. 

Let’s say the niche is “Engineer Coffee Mug” as an example. If the search results show over 100,000 products, it may indicate a highly competitive market, and I might reconsider scaling that particular product.

However, if the product results are relatively low, like less than 50,000, I proceed to check if there are any big brands promoting similar products in that niche.

If there are no big brands dominating the market, it’s a green light for me to try and scale that product further.

Next, I move on to optimizing the product listing itself. 

I start by focusing on the product title, keywords, description, and images.

Using Helium10 again, I gather more related keywords relevant to the niche and add them to my listing to improve its visibility and searchability.

Once the optimization process is complete, I begin the next step, which involves finding a reliable supplier. I place an order with them to produce the product in bulk, and I have it shipped directly to Amazon FBA.

Initially, I start with a small quantity, around 10-20 units.

If these initial units sell well and show potential, I proceed to order more from the supplier. 

This allows me to gradually scale up my print-on-demand business. Additionally, I leverage Amazon Ads to further promote and boost the visibility of my product.

ChatGPT: That’s a well-structured approach to optimizing a print-on-demand product.

By carefully evaluating the niche, analyzing the competition, and implementing thorough optimization techniques, you increase your chances of success.

And the gradual scaling process, combined with strategic use of Amazon Ads, allows you to grow your business organically.

Now, let’s shift our focus to the fulfillment and shipping process. How do you ensure that the print-on-demand products you offer on Amazon meet high-quality standards?

I must admit, I have a confession to make. I never actually touch the products I sell, except for the ones from Laser Chili, which is my own company. 

Being based in Thailand while most of my suppliers are in the US, it’s not feasible for me to order samples to my home and personally check their quality.

However, I have developed some strategies to gauge the quality of the products I offer. 

One way is by reading comments and feedback from other sellers through social media channels. 

For example, since I sell many products from Gearbubble, I always check what other sellers are saying about Gearbubble products in their Facebook Group.

This helps me get an idea of the overall customer satisfaction and the quality of the products being produced.

Additionally, I pay close attention to the feedback I receive directly from my own customers. If they haven’t lodged any complaints or concerns about the product quality, then I consider it a positive sign that the products meet the expected standards.

It’s worth mentioning that the majority of products I sell are coffee mugs, which generally have a standard quality across the industry. 

I have also found success in selling jewelry message cards from Gearbubble, which was acquired by Bergio, a well-known and reputable company in the jewelry design and manufacturing industry.

Given their expertise and reputation, I don’t have to worry much about the quality of those products.

ChatGPT: It’s impressive that you have established methods to gauge the quality of the products you sell, even without physically handling them.

By relying on customer feedback and monitoring industry reputation, you can maintain the standards you expect from the products you offer.

Now, let’s explore the role of marketing in promoting and growing your print-on-demand business. How do you leverage social media marketing to drive traffic and sales to your print-on-demand products on Amazon?

I don’t actively use social media to promote my print-on-demand products on Amazon.

Once my products become part of Amazon FBA, I primarily rely on Amazon Ads to drive traffic and increase sales.

I have found that using Amazon Ads is quite easy and effective for promoting my products within the Amazon ecosystem. It allows me to reach potential customers who are already searching for related products on Amazon.

As for social media, if I were to utilize it, I would focus on promoting products through my own website rather than directly on Amazon. 

This way, I can avoid spending additional money on advertising while customers make purchases from other sellers on Amazon’s platform.

Instead, I would prefer to drive traffic to my website, where I have more control over the sales process and can potentially capture customer information for future marketing efforts.

ChatGPT: That’s a smart approach to leverage Amazon Ads and target customers who are already actively searching for products on Amazon.

You can effectively reach potential buyers and maximize your sales by focusing your marketing efforts within the Amazon ecosystem.

Now, let’s switch gears and discuss the future of the print-on-demand industry. What are your thoughts on the future of the print-on-demand industry, and how do you stay ahead of emerging trends?

Thank you for asking this interesting question. 

Many people have been saying that the print-on-demand market is saturated for quite some time now. I’ve been hearing this since I started my journey in 2015. 

However, I have personally witnessed that the print-on-demand market is far from dead.

In fact, my sales have been increasing year after year, which indicates that there is still plenty of opportunity.

While it may be true that the landscape is becoming more challenging, it doesn’t mean that success is impossible.

The game has evolved, and what worked in the past may not work as effectively today. 

For example, when I started in 2017, it was relatively easy to make sales with FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) products by simply uploading them and generating sales. 

But now, the trend has shifted towards utilizing FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) to drive sales. It may require more effort, but those who embrace FBA gain a significant advantage in today’s market.

Looking ahead, I believe the print-on-demand industry will become even more interesting, especially with the rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology. 

AI-powered tools like Midjourney’s AI Image Generator have made it possible for individuals, including those who may not have artistic skills, to create stunning and unique designs. 

In the past, only genius artists could create such beautiful designs, but now, people like me, who are not particularly skilled in art, can also produce cool designs with the help of AI tools.

This means that those who can leverage AI tools to create their own distinct designs and understand how to build a dedicated fan base will have a greater advantage in selling print-on-demand products than ever before. 

The combination of AI technology and the ability to connect with and engage fans opens up new opportunities for success in the print-on-demand industry.

To stay ahead of emerging trends, I constantly keep an eye on the industry, research new tools and technologies, and adapt my strategies accordingly. 

By embracing innovations and being open to new possibilities, I believe it’s possible to continue thriving in the ever-evolving world of print-on-demand.

ChatGPT: That’s an optimistic and forward-thinking perspective on the future of the print-on-demand industry.

By recognizing the changing dynamics and embracing AI technology, you position yourself to capitalize on emerging trends.

Continuously staying informed and adapting your strategies will undoubtedly contribute to your continued success.

Now, let’s explore the journey of aspiring entrepreneurs. What advice or guidance would you provide to those looking to start their own print-on-demand business on Amazon?

Here are some key pieces of advice that I would like to share:

Firstly, I recommend starting by listing POD products in various niches to explore and find your winning niches. This allows you to test the waters and discover which niches have the most potential for success.

Next, it’s important to consistently upload new products every single day. Aim to upload at least 50 to 100 products each day. 

Fortunately, there are now many print-on-demand automation tools available, such as PODTurbo or Laser Chili, that can help you streamline the process of uploading POD products quickly.

Persistence is key in this business. Don’t give up too soon if you don’t make immediate sales. 

Remember that starting a print-on-demand business on Amazon requires minimal upfront investment, with just a monthly fee of $39.99 for an Amazon Sellers Account, plus a few additional tools to get started. 

Compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, the financial commitment is significantly lower.

Also, keep in mind that success in this business comes from generating sales from the free traffic on Amazon, which requires investing time and effort in creating a large number of products.

Lastly, once you identify products that start generating sales, consider selecting them for Amazon FBA. This allows you to scale your business more efficiently.

In my experience, having just three to four FBA products can often generate over $100 in daily sales.

By following these steps and remaining persistent, you can set yourself up for success in the print-on-demand business on Amazon.

ChatGPT: Excellent advice! Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences in the print-on-demand business on Amazon.

Your strategies and recommendations will undoubtedly inspire and guide aspiring entrepreneurs.

We appreciate your time and wish you continued success in your endeavors.

And that’s it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as I have, and that you’ve gained valuable insights into building a successful print-on-demand business. 

From strategies for finding winning niches to optimizing your products and leveraging Amazon’s platform, we’ve covered some crucial aspects that can set you on the path to success.

Now, it’s time for you to embark on your own print-on-demand journey. 

Remember, success doesn’t happen overnight, but with dedication and the right strategies, you can turn your dreams into reality.

So, go out there, create amazing designs, find your winning niches, and let your entrepreneurial spirit soar. 

Wishing you all the best in your print-on-demand endeavors!

—Bank K.

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