How to start a print on demand business in 2020?

How to start a print on demand business in 2020?

The concept of a print on demand (POD) business is alluring: no minimum order quantities, no need to carry inventory, very little set up costs, and lots of success stories.

Who wouldn’t want to give it a go? If blank canvases aren’t scaring you and you truly want to have a stab at running a POD online store in 2020, then this simple ‘how-to’ guide is for you. Follow our steps from researching a profitable product niche all the way to marketing your products and you’ll be a POD entrepreneur in no time.

Discover a great idea for a profitable niche

You’d be surprised how many people start an online shop without assessing product profitability first. Choosing a profitable niche is the most important challenge you will face in your eCommerce journey.

How to do that?

A print on demand (POD) business can be set up in two ways – either focusing on a product niche or a subject niche.

1. A product-niche

A product-niche POD business requires you to decide early on what type of product you will be selling (or a selection of several similar products) and stick to that.

For instance, you might decide to sell movie-inspired pillowcases or t-shirts featuring humorous quotes. In this case, you will sell only pillowcases or only t-shirts, but many different designs.  

2. A subject-niche

A subject-niche POD business, on the other hand, requires you to uncover a trendy subject, such as ‘dream meaning’, for example, and create a range of products carrying designs that reflect this subject niche. This could include everything from pillowcases to tote bags to wall tapestries.

Where should you start looking for that profitable niche idea?

A smart thing to do would be to examine the bestselling products of 2018. And if you take time to deep-dive into details, you might discover new trends that are just teetering on mass popularity – exactly what you want.

The best places to kick off your research:

Google Trends is a very useful tool to quickly assess the popularity of any topic, as it visualizes search queries across different regions and languages, year on year.

Options No. 1 – Use Google Trends and compare niche-products

For example, hoodies vs leggings vs tote bags

Options No. 2 – Analyze Some product trends in 2020

Backpack Gym – Duffle Bag


The global fitness industry revenue totaled $87.2 bn in 2017, with European fitness club operators alone reporting total revenues of €26.6 bn. The fitness trend and demand for gym gear is projected to grow even further over the next 10 years, so it could turn out to be a ripe POD opportunity!

Bag tag

bag tag print on demand

According to Deloitte, “Travel and tourism are one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors, with bookings hitting close to $1.6 trillion in 2017.” With more and more people traveling, the demand for travel accessories is also growing – setting up a business in a niche that’s thriving is a solid strategy.

Tote bags

tote bags print on demand

Tote bags have become a fashion staple. The customization option makes them the perfect statement accessory, allowing people to express their character, thoughts, and views on life. There’s also the ‘green’ element in using tote bags, as they’re often produced from recycled materials, which is something that millennials have grown to expect from socially responsible brands.


Leggings print on demand

Both fitness and athleisure are huge trends in the eCommerce space, so they’re worth considering and exploring further. It is also a product that would rarely be returned due to size issues, for example, so it presents risks for eCommerce entrepreneurs.

Make it happen right now.

Create and validate designs for your print on demand business

Doing your own research and extracting the best ideas from the internet and your social network is a key step in finding a profitable niche. But it’s not the only one.

Before spending any money on your business idea, take it to town. Validating your designs is a crucial part of a successful start. What may seem like an awesome idea in your head, might be completely ignored or misunderstood by your target audience.

The most common methods for validating ideas include sharing designs on social media networks, online forums, and your personal network. When posting to platforms like Facebook and Twitter where a big chunk of your followers are close friends and family members, be sure to disguise the idea to avoid over-positive reactions that might skew the results. Reddit is a great research tool, too – no one will sugar coat their answers there, so you know you’re getting the real deal.

Source: Unsplash

Design isn’t your strongest suit? Then don’t waste time trying to create something yourself and find some help. There are many people who are earning some serious money through print on demand business and they have absolutely no experience in design. It’s more about implementing a robust research and idea validation process than anything else!

Set up your Print on demand business with Printify


Once you decide on your winning product or subject niche, it’s time to set up your online store. Spend some time researching successful eCommerce businesses to steal and borrow some design ideas – your website will serve as the face of your brand, so it must inspire trust and entice your target audience to browse around.

Step 1: register a domain name.

Keep in mind that you’re building a brand, so choose a name that’s catchy, easy to remember and easy to type. Then head to a site like GoDaddy and register your domain.

Step 2: choose an eCommerce platform.

Now that your domain is official, you can put it to work. The fastest way to do it is to use ShopifyWordPress + WooCommerce plugin or Etsy.  

Step 3: design your shop and create custom products.

With pre-built, customizable templates at your disposal, it’s much easier to do than it might seem. Use them as a starting point and add and customize new pages that are relevant to your store (homepage, about, contact, payment, shipping information, inspiration, etc.).

Consider buying a premium template to ensure a seamless shopping experience and beautiful aesthetics. For instance, you will want to have a top-level email marketing plugin to be able to send out cart abandonment emails as well as the functionality to generate discounts or coupon codes. While it costs you today, great design will certainly pay off in the future.

Step 4: Select a print provider.

The POD plugin you decide to integrate will be your printing partner that fulfills all incoming POD orders. The importance of choosing a reliable partner cannot be overstated – this is what your reputation depends on.

Printify can easily integrate with Shopify, WordPress, and Etsy, so it’s a straightforward process. The app lets you choose from 15 suppliers, meaning you can choose the one that best suits your brand. With more than 250 blank products to choose from and the ability to create mockups within the app, you are set for a smooth start.

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  1. Joshus
    July 27

    Hello! I was wondering if I needed to set up a corporation or LLC in order to sell shirts using prinitfy?

  2. Ugo
    July 16

    Hi dear. Must I have a website to sell the POD products or can I list them on other online marketplace? If yes , like which ones ? Thanks

  3. Stanley Okaine
    June 25

    Do I need to register my business with the state first?

  4. Jayanth G S
    June 18

    Hello Elina, Hope you’re doing well..
    i have a query… Do i need to register trademark for my brand if i’m selling pod products online..??

  5. Bobbie McCoy
    May 26


    If Printify is free why do you need to buy a premium subscription and how much is it? If you charge the user for T-shirts is that an extra charge?

    1. Elina Stafecka
      May 29

      Hi Bobbie! Printify is 100% free and we charge only when you have a sale. With Printify premium you will have a discount for blank products, so it means you can earn more with bigger profits. – Elina

  6. kira
    May 5

    hi there, is there a way to edit the inside pages of a book ?

  7. Heather
    January 27

    Hi! I am starting a custom designed tote bag business and I wanted to know if I am able to view all available bag options prior to choosing a POD printing and fulfillment service. Am I able to choose any product on the market? I’m looking for high quality bags that come in various colors and sizes.

    1. Elina Stafecka
      January 28

      Heather, thanks for the question! Yes, you can see all the bags on our catalog –

      You can see available base colors, print providers when you click on each product.


  8. maya S
    January 3

    I am wondering if you have integration with Amazon? I am not seeing it anywhere as an option. Is this something you are planning on doing in the future? Thanks.

    1. Elina Stafecka
      January 3

      Maya, thank you for your questions. We are working on multiple new integrations. We can’t mention names yet, but we will keep you updated and notified. 😉

  9. Ray
    December 3

    No Gumroad integration?

    October 25

    how much will it cost me to start

  11. Nicole
    September 26

    I don’t see it as an option and wonder if I’m missing it or if maybe a product you might add in the future would be a good quality yoga mat. I have designs of my own and yoga mats available at Society6 but would love to be able to have my shirts and mats available in the same place.

  12. Natalia
    September 19

    Hey, I JUST need help in shipping setting. I have built a shopify store and offered free shipping to USA. When I connected printify it has been set for free shipping too. Which I don’t want. How can I fix it?

  13. Tony Orlando Little
    August 22

    I have a Character with lots of colors.
    Is there a limit on the amount of colors going on a t-shirt.

    1. Elina Stafecka
      August 28

      Hi, Tony! Unless you use embroidery, there is no specific limitation of colors on a design. But keep in mind – each print provider will have slightly different colors. You can read about it here – .

  14. jazzie
    August 18

    I noticed there are not any real design platform, so you should have your designs ready for upload correct?

    1. Elina Stafecka
      August 28

      Yes, you should have designs ready. But we will publish a new article soon ( next week) – where to get free print designs.

      Best wishes,

  15. Adamos Efthymios
    August 9

    I would like to know if you are paid by the buyer before you execute and deliver the order. What happens if the customer who ordered has a change of mind and does not receive the order? My question is if the customer pays you or us directly?

  16. Laura M
    August 2

    Hi there,
    Some great Info thankyou!
    Any tips on how to actually market the products once the store is up and running?
    It’s hard to find info on that. I don’t have any followings on social media etc and wondering if there’s other ways.

    Appreciate further tips!

  17. James Petrillo
    July 16

    How much money do I have to spend once I’ve designed my T-Shirt? In otherwords, do I have to buy the T-Shirts first, then sell them?

    1. Elina Stafecka
      July 17

      Hi James! No, Printify is free, so you don’t have to pay anything before a real customer purchases a product. You can read more here –

  18. Ayanna
    May 23

    I need help setting up

    1. Phil Brown
      May 24

      Hi Ayanna, maybe this is helpful to you –

      Or you can contact our customer care agents and they will help you – [email protected]

  19. TJ
    May 21

    Where can I find part 2?

    1. Phil Brown
      May 22

      Hey, TJ! We are currently working on Part 2. Is there something specific you want to know? I can suggest some other useful resources.


  20. Incognito Magnance
    May 14

    I wasn’t looking for clothing concepts. I was and am looking for print on demand for board games or card games. I design those. Can you do that?


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