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Beginner's handbook

How to Choose Print-on-Demand Products for Your Store

By Reading Time: 5 minutes

It’s thought that an average person makes about 35,000 decisions per day. For an online store owner, some days a good portion of these decisions will be spent choosing products for your online store. 

Those choices are not easy to make. After all—these products will represent your brand and showcase your unique designs. 

tshirts in boxes
Source: Printful

We’re here to help you navigate through the Printful Product Catalog and choose items that you’ll be proud to sell to your customers.

Let’s get this show on the road!

The formula for choosing your products

One of the most important things you need to do as an entrepreneur is to get to know your audience. If you don’t have any customers just yet, paint yourself a picture. Who is your customer and what are they buying? This will help shape your brand, choose products, and adjust the offering based on the demand from your customers.

woman and a man in hoodies
Source: Printful

Before starting to comb the world wide web for products to sell, there’s one thing you have to be sure about—your store’s niche. It will be the guiding light throughout your path; it can also help you decide on the products to add to your store.

When researching your niche, you’ll drift into the waters of your competitors. Pay attention to the products they’re selling! Maybe you can draw some inspiration from other businesses in your niche.

You’ll notice your competitors selling products from different categories. Try that too—think of your products not just as individual pieces, but a complementary range of items. For example, swimsuits, towels, and water bottles can be sold together as a beachwear set. Even though these products are from different categories, they work well together. 

Offering your customers complementary products to the ones they already intend to buy is called cross-selling. It’s a great way to increase an average order value, boost conversion rates, and promote higher-margin items on your store.

You should also consider the quality of your products. The best way to make sure you’re going to sell products you can be proud of is to order samples. 

You obviously also want your products to bring you profit. It’s the reward for your hard work, time, and dedication to your brand. Pricing your products can seem tricky, but nothing is impossible with a little bit of research!

To sum it up, I’ve come up with this formula:

products on your store = fit your niche + are good quality + are profitable

Number of products to add

Sometimes, less is more, and researchers agree! Psychologist Barry Schwartz found that when presented with many options, people take longer to decide and experience choice paralysis and anxiety. He calls it “the paradox of choice.”

hoodies in different colors
Source: Printful

Choice is good, but too much of it can lead to abandoned carts due to indecisiveness. So how to achieve that perfect balance?

I consulted my teammates from Printful’s Store Setup Services who’ve helped our customers set up hundreds of stores. They explained that the two main challenges Printful customers face when choosing products for their store are: “I don’t know what I need” or “I want everything!”

Here are the main points of advice from the experts:

  • Don’t rush—start slow! That applies to the number of items on your store as well as color and design variations.
  • Begin with basic colors, like black and white for t-shirts which are evergreen bestsellers.

Let’s go through some of the most popular product categories to sell and see whether these fit your brand!

Bestselling categories you can start with

T-shirts and hoodies

T-shirts and hoodies are true wardrobe staples that haven’t lost their appeal throughout the decades. 

woman in a jungle in a hoodie
Source: Printful

There’s usually an abundance of styles, colors, and cuts that print-on-demand companies offer because of the popularity of these products. That gives you a great opportunity to find items that’ll appeal to your audience.

For example, young children like warm and bright colors, so if you design kids’ apparel, choose yellow, orange, or green tees and hoodies. Or maybe your main audience is women, so consider offering some of the bestsellers from the women’s section of Printful’s Product Catalog, like the Women’s Fashion Fit T-Shirt or the Unisex Heavy Blend Hoodie.

A good hoodie isn’t only the t-shirt’s best friend, but it’s also an investment piece, and people are willing to spend a significant amount of money on this type of product. Speaking from my own experience, if I see a hoodie and fall in love with the design, there’s a good chance I’d spend up to $100 (or more on) it. Why? Because I know it’ll last for years and won’t go out of style.

Home & living

The home decor category comprises items like pillows, canvas, blankets, mugs, and more. It’s all the things people look for when they want to freshen up their living space. 

hammock with a pillow
Source: Printful

One of the shining stars of this category is mugs, mostly because the demand for these items is stable all year round. It’s also a versatile item to sell—people love to both give and receive it as a gift, no matter the occasion.

The great thing about this category is that it’s easy to cross-sell. Just imagine: a customer wants to buy an accent cushion on your store. There’s a big chance they’d also purchase a complementary blanket to tie the room together.

Hats

Looking for another versatile product category? Look no further than hats!

Most hats these days are true chameleons: they go with plenty of styles and looks, and there’s a hat for every season. Regular and all-over print beanies, dad caps, snapbacks, visors, and buckets hats are just some of the options out there. Some are winter staples, while others are absolute summer necessities!

man in a beanie
Source: Printful

Take a gander at your store. If it’s inspired by the urban aesthetic, try selling snapbacks and bucket hats. For customers that prefer sleek designs, offer a classic baseball cap with a chic embroidery graphic.

Accessories

Small items that make a big difference—that’s the accessories category. Those are different items that can enhance and give a little zing to anyone’s look. Think bags, phone cases, jewelry, and more.

For example, phone covers are a popular product all year round. There’s a new smartphone model coming out every year or two, so if a customer liked the cases you offer, there’s a high chance they’ll return to purchase one for their new phone too. 

The best thing about phone cases is the fact that you can play around and experiment with different designs to turn them into just what your customers want. Same as with other products, phone cases can be customized with any design that suits your store’s theme.

phone case
Source: Printful

Bags are another amazing category that can adapt to almost anything—depending on the style, they can suit different niches. 

For example, fanny packs are great for all of these:

  • Summery stores that cater to festival-goers, hikers, and nature lovers 
  • Brands that create products for school kids and the college crowd
  • Businesses that create trendy streetwear accessories

Activewear

The fashion train is moving forward and activewear is definitely along for the ride. Over the years, workout clothes have evolved to be just as important for fashion as any other item.

woman in a leggings and sports bra set
Source: Printful

If you’re looking for product categories that are easy to cross-sell, you’ve hit the jackpot with activewear. The obvious one is leggings and a sports bra set, because who doesn’t like a matching gym outfit? Another classic is the basketball shorts and sleeveless tank combo.

You can then expand and sell items like water bottles, duffle bags, and backpacks—everything that goes hand in hand with a good workout session.

Keeping your catalog relevant

Style trends are ever-changing so it’s important to keep your catalog up-to-date. Research what’s popping up in the fashion world and is topical for your customers. Some ways to do this could be to explore style blogs, follow influencers and bloggers, and dive into fashion forecasting websites. 

The cool thing with print-on-demand is, it’s easy to experiment with all the new products and trends because you don’t have to order your products in bulk, and they’re customized only when a customer places an order. So you can easily add and remove different items and test what works and what doesn’t. 

Another good tip from our Store Setup Services team is: as soon as you see a product that works, try adding more variants with that design and then, other products with that design. 

patterns
Source: Printful

But in the end, what matters the most is your personal touch. Your designs are the key to unlock the potential of the sales you can get. They’re the reason why your customer decided to shop in your store and not anyone else’s. 

I’d love to hear your methods and tips for choosing products for your online store. Share your advice in the comments below!

Laura is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful. She speaks 5 languages and her professional passion lies in translating, copywriting, and the overall art of marketing.

Comments

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey! It shouldn’t be like that. If you’re experiencing this problem, please get in touch with our Customer Support via [email protected] or the live website chat, and our team will have a look.

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