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Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Start a Phone Case Business: From Idea to Profit

Beginner's handbook

How to Start a Phone Case Business: From Idea to Profit

How to Start a Phone Case Business: From Idea to Profit
Agnese Zimele

By Agnese Zimele

11 min read

Have you ever wanted to start an online business from the comfort of your home? Selling phone cases could be the way to go.

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a person without a smartphone. Some people may even have two devices at a time or buy a new phone model every year. And with a new phone, there’s also the need for a new phone case.

Custom phone cases, especially favored by those who value individual expression, can now be effortlessly sold through print-on-demand services. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to start a phone case business online, from researching and developing your brand to designing and successfully selling the phone cases to your customers.

How to start a phone case business: 8 steps to success

The smartphone accessories market is an appealing niche for any budding entrepreneur. In fact, the phone case market is expected to grow by $13.33B globally by 2027.

So, it’s time to tap into opportunities and learn how to start your own phone case business. Let’s go through the steps that will help you get started and outshine your competition.

The first stage of developing your phone case business is research, starting with competitor analysis. You want to explore what’s currently available to understand what could make your product stand out.

Start by browsing popular web stores and online marketplaces, like Etsy or Amazon, and identify the best-selling phone cases. Are they all from the same business? What do they have in common?

Next, define your target audience based on standard demographic questions, like age, gender, and income, and learn more about your target market and their pain points.

What do they talk about, and what kind of solutions are they looking for on the web? Where can you find your primary customers and engage with them?

There are a variety of tools and websites you can use for market research. Google Trends, Reddit forums, and a simple analysis of common search queries through Semrush can be your starting point. 

Once you’ve gathered all the information, highlight the main gaps in the market that will define your phone case business niche. It could be something completely new, an improved version of an existing product (e.g., using more sustainable materials), or designs that appeal to a new customer group.

During the research phase, you should consider the types of phone cases and models your target audience uses the most.

When you’re just starting with your phone case business, you probably won’t manage to appeal to all potential customers. That’s why focusing on phone models with a large user base and high demand is better.

Around the world, most people use either Apple or Samsung phones, so it’s smart to offer phone cases for 3–4 most recent models of each of these brands.

Not all phone owners prefer the same phone case types. Some like them more sturdy, while others prefer a minimalistic design. Let’s focus on the three most common types—tough, snap, and clear cases.

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Tough cases are a must-have item in your online phone case store. Since the first launch of touchscreens, smartphone users have sought ways to protect their often fragile devices.

These phone cases provide unparalleled protection and durability, ensuring mobile phones are well-guarded against external impacts.

Snap cases strike a balance: they are less rigid and more lightweight than tough phone cases, yet they still offer impressive durability. 

This type of phone case will appeal to people who like to keep their phones slim and preserve the original look but still care about decent protection.

Not a single phone case brand could go without including clear cases in their portfolio. They are transparent, secure, and more flexible than the two phone case types mentioned before.

Clear cases are often preferred by those who want to display their phone’s design while safeguarding it from dust, dirt, scratches, and damage. Additionally, the ease of removal and reapplication may encourage phone owners to switch phone cases more frequently. 

3. Develop your brand

A strong brand is crucial for the success of any phone case business. Branding helps you build awareness and recognition and eventually allows you to bring in sales without too much effort.

All phone case businesses should consider key elements to set themselves apart from the competition—brand identity, personality, and visual representation.

Brand identity

The brand identity of your phone case business is all about your company’s core values and vision. 

Decide what overarching problem you’d like your business to solve and how you’d like others to perceive it. Consider whether to support certain social issues (e.g. climate change, economic inequality) and how you see your business contributing to the greater good.

While making smart financial decisions and achieving profit are necessities for any business, they’re not why customers choose your products. So, based on the information you gathered in the research phase, try to understand what could resonate with your target market.

A distinctive and memorable brand name will also help craft your brand identity. If you already have ideas, great. If not, you can use tools like Looka or Namelix to generate numerous brand names using your specified keywords.

Brand personality

Just like humans, brands, too, have a personality. It’s a combination of different qualities that make the brand relatable, give it a human touch, and elicit a certain emotional response.

Think about how you’d like your customers to see your brand and what would make them engage more. Do you want to exude fun, creativity, and trustworthiness, or perhaps be more formal and reflect exclusivity?

Your brand personality will determine how you communicate with your customers, whether in ads, direct messages, or emails about order confirmation. It should be consistent across all your channels and content, so choose a personality you feel comfortable with and can embrace in the long term.

Brand visuals

Once you’ve determined your brand’s vision and traits, it’s time to create a distinctive look. A pre-defined color scheme for your products and other visuals will amplify your brand identity.

Different colors can evoke different emotions. If you want to sell phone cases meant for children, vivid, energetic colors will work best, while business people will likely go for something more minimalistic and simple.

You should use your brand colors in your company logo and online store. The logo doesn’t have to be anything complex. It can include your brand name written in a specific font that expresses your brand personality, just like the colors.

The next step involves creating designs and giving your phone case brand a real identity.

  • You can use sites like Pinterest, Dribble, Shutterstock, and others to get inspired, while Canva, Figma, and Adobe Illustrator will let you turn your ideas into reality.

  • If you’re not a skilled designer, you will probably want to hire a professional to create high-quality graphics that fit the particular phone case model and capture the attention of your potential clients.

Revisit your research and analyze reviews to understand customer preferences and look for opportunities to stand out from the competition. You could include seasonal designs or those that speak to particular personalities, such as travelers or athletes. You can enhance these with inspirational quotes or opt for designs without text. 

A growing trend involves adding 3D elements or glitter to clear cases, making phone cases more engaging and entertaining. It all comes down to the needs and wants of your target customers.

Once your design files are ready, you can use digital mockup generators like the Printful Design Maker. It lets you see your design on phone cases of different types and sizes and understand whether any adjustments are necessary before production.

a screen shot of a phone

Source: Printful Design Maker

The Printful Design Maker also gives you access to a vast database of patterns, graphics, and fonts, making it easy for beginners to create designs and launch their phone case business.

a screenshot of a phone

Source: Printful Design Maker

Most people have no idea how to make phone cases and don’t have the resources to build a whole factory and warehouse. Partnering with a print-on-demand company like Printful allows you to sell custom phone cases without worrying about production or inventory management.

You can use the Printful Design Maker to finalize your product, order a few samples to test the quality, and see what your phone cases look like in real life. There are no order minimums, and you only pay once a customer makes a purchase, so you don’t need any upfront investment. 

Printful also offers dropshipping services and takes care of your order from start to finish—from phone case production to delivery under your own brand. Plus, Printful has 11 fulfillment centers worldwide, ensuring short delivery times and allowing you to easily expand your phone case business globally. 

a map of the world with different countries/regions

Source: Printful

The whole process is fully automated. Once you integrate Printful into your online store (there are currently 29 ecommerce platforms and marketplaces available), you can forget about manual work and dedicate yourself fully to marketing your products.

You have your brand and designs developed and tested. It’s time to create a cozy place for your phone cases where everyone can find and order them.

Essentially, you have two options—ecommerce platforms and online marketplaces.

Squarespace, WooCommerce (WordPress plugin), Shopify, Wix, and other ecommerce platforms allow you to build an online phone case store without any coding skills. You can use pre-made templates and give the website your distinctive touch based on your brand colors and personality.

Etsy, Walmart, eBay, and Amazon are the most popular marketplaces, serving thousands of clients daily. While you won’t be able to customize your storefront a lot, either of these online shopping giants will grant you exposure to a large customer base and offer various marketing solutions.

You can also build your phone case website from scratch and integrate Printful using API. However, this process might be considerably more costly and slower than the two options listed above.

If you’re new to selling phone cases online, one sales channel will keep you busy enough. However, if you have the necessary resources, experiment with several sales channels at once to reach a wider audience and see where customer demand is higher. For example, you could have both your own ecommerce website and an Etsy store that would allow you to expand your business and diversify your user base.

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7. Choose a price point

Defining the right price point for your products is critical to establishing a profitable phone case business. The process can get overwhelming and challenging, primarily if you’ve never run a business before.

Charging too much for your phone cases can indicate exclusivity but limit your customer base. Charging too little may imply low quality and make it more difficult for you to make a decent profit.

The best way to set a price point is to research what’s happening in the phone case industry. How much do other custom phone case companies charge for their products? Would that help you cover your costs? Can you charge more due to better quality, design, or service?

If you’re still puzzled after answering these questions, use Printful’s handy pricing guide and calculator. It will show you a recommended price range for your custom phone cases based on market data and let you predict your earnings depending on how much and where you sell.

8. Market your products

The ultimate goal of any seller is to make their phone case business profitable. To make that happen, you need to develop a digital marketing strategy. Without it, you’re relying on pure chance that somebody will land in your store and buy your phone cases.

Choose your marketing channels based on where your target audience typically looks for products. Let’s explore some of the most common ways to promote your custom phone case business.

SEO

People often use Google to find products they need. Optimizing your landing pages to meet the buyer’s search intent is the first step to increasing your online store’s traffic.

Setting up Google Analytics will help you better understand what keywords to use to organically reach potential customers and increase visibility. You can also use Google ads, a paid advertising service, to promote your phone cases and put them at the top of specific search results.

Social media

Promoting your brand on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok allows you to meet your customer where they spend most of their screen time. Almost half of Americans make online purchases after seeing the product on social media.
That doesn’t mean you should be present on all of these channels at once. Place ads on those social media platforms with the highest percentage of your target customer base.

Image or video-based ads on Instagram and Facebook are a good start to showcase your high-quality phone cases. If you’re targeting Gen Z, TikTok would be the best platform to reach them.

Aside from ads, create permanent Instagram or TikTok accounts where you can publish some behind-the-scenes footage or announce new products, learn more about your customers, and build loyalty.

Email marketing

It may seem like too much effort when you’re just starting, but email can be a powerful marketing tool for engaging existing and potential customers.

You don’t have to build complex marketing funnels right away. It would be enough to create a newsletter sign-up form on your website and start gathering e-mail addresses. You can then send e-mails about different promotions on custom phone cases or new designs and reengage with your client base.

Final words: How to start a phone case business

Now you have all the information you need to launch a phone case business. After all, with the increasing number of mobile phone users worldwide, the demand for phone cases will only increase, so it’s the perfect time to tap into the market.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can define your target market, create a strong brand, polish your designs, and successfully sell phone cases online.

Even though the phone case market might seem saturated, there’s always a place for dedicated and exceptional sellers. If you aim for a specific market niche, create designs that speak to your target audience, and market them in a way that gets your customers engaged, sales won’t be a problem.

Printful can help you fulfill your dream of becoming a business owner. Who knows, maybe selling phone accessories will be the start of something bigger in the future.

author

By Agnese Zimele on Jan 29, 2024

Agnese Zimele

Guest author

Agnese is a seasoned content specialist with a passion for running and traveling. She discovered her love for writing in high school and has helped multiple brands and individuals craft their stories ever since.

Agnese is a seasoned content specialist with a passion for running and traveling. She discovered her love for writing in high school and has helped multiple brands and individuals craft their stories ever since.