If you are willing to launch your Print On Demand store, the choice of the niche is the most significant decision to make.
In order to find the perfect niche for your Print On Demand Store, you need to start with a proper brainstorming process, that makes you identify the most recent market trends through (eventually) the help of multiple online tools. Once you have figured out your perfect niche, you will have a clearer view of your ideal customer profile and the products they would desire the most.
It’s a long brainstorming process but it’s so useful if you want to have a chance to succeed among the ocean of online retail competitors.
For “niche” we mean every kind of content belonging to a specific category.
A Print On Demand product niche is, therefore, a range of products targeted for a specific customer base, whose members are supposed to be interested in purchasing them.
You can make this niche broader or narrower, it depends on you and your availabilities.
Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages, but your belonging niche should be related to your idea of online retail business, to your experience in that field, and to your future expectations.
In this brainstorming process, the narrowest audience you will refer to better the chance of success you will have.
The reasons are the following ones:
- You can be seen as an ‘expert’ in that specific sub-category;
- You limit the competition;
- You can improve your online exposure with SEO tools;
- You maximize your brand awareness and customer loyalty;
- You can submit niche targeted products to your customers.
Brainstorm Your Niche
During the brainstorming process, you need to focus on the best compromise between passion and sales.
If you’re already interested in a specific field, it’s easier to understand the point of view of a customer and to measure the attraction’s power of your store.
At the same time, as a businessman, you should consider even sales. If your niche doesn’t have a passionate audience or the same visibility and potential as other niches, well, it won’t be profitable.
Both aspects have to be combined to reach the best equilibrium overall.
But, how do I start?
Well, you should start with something you are really passionate about. Write down your ideas and create a list of around 5 niches.
Go through hobbies, interests, purchasing preferences, and tastes, and ask yourself how your skills and experience can match with that field.
Then, you are ready to move to the next step and transform these ideas into concrete products, targeted for that audience.
Considering that we are talking about the print-on-demand industry, you should focus on apparel and accessories, which are trendy and commonly used.
Research The Current Trends
This is a strategic step that will let you narrow down even further your choice.
To do so, you need to dedicate time to refine your research and use some powerful tools like the ones we will mention below.
With multiple tools available, TrendHunter it’s ideal for your researches. In the “ideas” tab, is shown a broad range of articles related to a keyword, while in the “insight” tab are shown user preferences through metadata (paid option).
- Google Adwords
Google AdWords is mainly used for paid advertising on Google sites, and for those who have already a Google business account. However, the Keyword Planner tool is perfect for scanning topic ideas and trending keywords. We recommend searching keywords with at least 10,000 results per month, not more because they’re probably already saturated.
- Google Trends
It’s the perfect place where to start searching for a trend. Just type the keyword of your niche and see the overall results shown. If your keyword has a growing trend year-to-year, it’s definitely a good indication.
Choose Your Perfect Niche
Once you have finished your researches, it’s time to choose your number one niche!
It should be clear now after you have filtered and compared different trend ideas among them.
The chosen one should satisfy the basic checklist of an ideal niche:
- How narrow is it?
- How narrow is its audience?
- How much potential has its market?
- How is the trend?
- How many products are related to it?
- Am I passionate about it?
- How much value can I add to it?
- Am I aware of the time and money I have to spend on it?
- Have I ever talked about it to friends and relatives to receive feedback?
All these questions are part of this brainstorming process.
So, validate your idea and move to the next step.
Identify The Customer Profile
Identify your ideal customer profile is important as realizing which product fits most with their taste.
Choosing a niche isn’t enough if you don’t know who your customers are, which are their preferences, and the current trend they’re following.
If you don’t provide them what they’re looking for they won’t visit your store at all.
Once you realize that, picking the right product will be much easier as you know they will likely appreciate it.
A generic rule, set the characteristics of an ideal customer as follows:
- Age: 18-35
- USA based
- Female sex
- Low-Middle class
- Active in socials
- Loves traveling and having fun with friends
That profile will be the one around which centers your store and marketing strategy.
Choose The Right Niche Products
Once the niche and the customer profile are narrowed down, choosing the appropriate product is the next step.
With Print On Demand, you can test so many different ideas before choosing the one which most fits with their tastes, without risking spending a lot of money.
In dropshipping, for instance, the product selection is way more crucial: the minimum mistake equals starting again from zero the whole store.
Print on demand, instead, gives you more flexibility from this point of view: you can create designs after designs until you won’t find the 5-10 viral ones.
The main providers usually let you create free mockup images and test them through different product samples.
Start with few products before spreading your catalog. You don’t need to think in scale first.
You may introduce new products once you have created a core of successful items among your customer base.
Social media marketing is important for this purpose as it makes you establish an inner connection with your customer base, and measure their satisfaction level under each post of your products.
But, if you want to validate your product idea, Amazon is the best marketplace to visit.
You can type your niche keyword and see the related product in the results list.
You can even appreciate the number of your competitors, and which viral product they are currently selling.
Amazon is the best starting point if you are willing to sell mainly in North America. Alternatively, you can have a look at Alibaba Express or Etsy, or other famous marketplaces in the world.
If you have followed all these steps until the end, you’re at a good point compared to your competitors.
Now it’s time to running your store and Shopify is simply the best solution for you.
It’s fully integrated with the main Print On Demand providers such as Printify and Printful, so you can start to sell your fancy t-shirts right away!
However, be aware that to achieve durable results it will take some time.
But with the right mindset and a solid method on your back, you can definitely have a higher chance of success.
Are you ready to start?
BONUS – Two Great Print On Demand Services
Printful is the leader of the Print On Demand dropshipping industry. Founded in 2013, it has established its presence in the USA, Europe, and worldwide with a dozen facilities.
It’s fully-integrated with many e-commerce platforms of the caliber of Shopify, Etsy, WooCommerce, Amazon, eBay, and BigCommerce.
Once connected, all the orders are automatically sent to Printful, which will manufacture and ship the products to the customer. Considering production times (within two to five business days), standard shipping to the US or Europe takes a further three to four days and costs $3.99.
Their printing options space between DTG (“Direct to Garment”), sublimation, cut and sew, and embroidery, according to the chosen provider and the original product. You can also add different tags to the package and supplement inserts for a more unique customer experience.
Printful doesn’t require monthly fees or order minimums. Custom items could be more expensive compared to other solutions, but that’s a price you’re willing to pay for such quality and reliable service provided.
However, for beginners, it could represent a problem.
Printify is a Print On Demand company founded in Riga, Latvia, in 2015.
Specialized in the production of T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bags, decor, stickers, and much more, it operates mainly as a B2B marketplace, connecting e-commerce stores and manufacturers’ services.
Their strength’s on their product catalog, which is among the broadest for variety and the cheapest for price. Regarding this point, Printify offers the lowest price for many products and that could be an important point especially for newcomers in Print On Demand.
Like Printful, printing options are Direct to Garment, sublimation, cut and sew, and embroidery.
They provide unlimited order fulfillment, billing, and shipping, but not marketing and branding which is totally on your shoulder.
Their packages provide three solutions:
- Free: $0/month, up to 5 stores per account and unlimited designs
- Premium: $29/month, up to 10 stores per account and unlimited designs
- Enterprise: unlimited stores per account and unlimited designs
The free version is for newcomers in the Print On Demand industry, who just want to test their product on the market. For navigated sellers, we would recommend subscribing to the premium version.
Printify is currently used by thousands of suppliers due to its global network of services throughout Germany, the US, China, the UK, and Australia.