Print-on-demand continues to grow in popularity as far as ideas to make money online go. With available services online, you can design your own eye catching sneakers, t-shirts, hoodies, and other types of custom merchandise. There is also an option to hire a freelance graphic designer and let them do the work while you focus on other aspects, such as advertising.
However, while the idea of starting such a business may seem attractive, you cannot underestimate the difficulties in your way. Keep in mind that not everyone who considers developing a print-on-demand store succeeds.
Of course, if you have the motivation and believe that you have what it takes to make the business work, you should pursue this goal regardless. And knowing what problems you are likely to encounter would improve the odds of success.
For someone new to print-on-demand and ecommerce, fighting against already established brands may prove too difficult. Some people struggle with market research to find a niche that is not too competitive. And even if they do, it is not something that they would like to work in.
Attracting organic traffic is also hard because other brands had a head start with their SEO campaigns, meaning that you will need to look for other marketing methods, especially if you lack money to invest in search engine optimization.
Custom experience is one of those things that new ecommerce store owners underestimate. These days, online shoppers have enough experience to decide whether a website is worth their time.
Take mobile optimization, for example. Almost 79% of mobile device users have made a purchase online using their devices in the first six months of 2018. Since then, the number has grown, particularly during the pandemic, because ordering goods or services on a smartphone or a tablet is quite convenient.
Another instance of failing to provide proper customer experience is the lack of available payment methods. Limiting available options to just a credit card leads to poor conversion rates. If anything, potential shoppers abandon their shopping cart when they cannot find a preferable payment alternative.
Besides accepting credit cards, ecommerce stores should also not have problems with services like PayPal, Skrill, and Payoneer. Cryptocurrency is also worth considering.
Lastly, customer support. If you fail to respond to customer questions on social media, emails, or your website, do not expect to see them spend money on your products.
Reliance on Suppliers
Sticking to the dropshipping business model means that you do not have to worry about logistical problems, like warehousing or shipping. However, these perks come with certain downsides.
One of the biggest disadvantages of dropshipping is that you have to rely on suppliers. It is great if you can find someone who can manufacture enough quality merchandise, but even a small hiccup can snowball and lead to you looking for another supplier. And the more time you spend searching for a new supplier, the more money you lose.
Cybersecurity problems may not be an agenda early on when your business is still looking to develop. However, the issue becomes apparent once a brand becomes recognizable.
Unpredictable attacks from the competition or unrelated parties that have bad intentions can really be detrimental. For instance, constant DDDoSing may slow down a website’s speed or make it inaccessible.
A website’s uptime should be around 99.9 percent. Businesses lose money every minute that their site is down.
Thankfully, there are security tools that can protect you from potential cybersecurity threats, but reliable security tools will cost money, which is additional expenses.
Finding the right demographics for your merchandise is not as easy as it sounds. Similar to dealing with the competition, you will also need to research the market to narrow down possible niches in which you can sell the products.
For instance, maybe you will decide to create caricatures of professional athletes and print them on the merchandise. What do you think your audience should be? Young people? Their interest in sports may not be as high as you think.
What about older people who grew up watching their favorites team? Do they continue to support their favorites? If so, how many of these people do their shopping online?
These are the questions one needs to ask to determine whether they can find the right idea for products, and as you can expect, it is not that simple.
Even if you have quality merchandise, do not expect it to sell right away. Advertising is an ordeal that businesses have to go through to make profits.
It is likely that the competition is pouring more resources to collaborate with the top influencers, running effective SEO, PPC, and email marketing campaigns, or finding new ways to raise brand awareness.
Having money at your disposal simplifies things, but if you are on a tight budget, the odds of creating successful marketing campaigns early on are rather low.