6 steps to start selling print on demand products

Gelato supports thousands of entrepreneurs around the world with print on demand. We have compiled a few tips to get you up and running.

  1. Analyze the market
  2. Define your brand
  3. Design your products
  4. Setup your store
  5. Connect your store to Gelato
  6. Additional considerations

1. Analyze the market

Define your niche and target market

Find your niche, a specific customer group defined by its own unique needs:

  • Price (luxury, moderate, discount)
  • Demographics (gender, age, income/education level)
  • Level of quality (premium, handmade)
  • Psychographics (values, interests)
  • Geographics (country, city)

Trending niches are great, but many times overcrowded thus harder to get traction in!

Do some competitive analysis

  • See what other sellers are offering. You might also be able to get some good insights on how to set up your store.
  • Evaluate the saturation level of your niche. Are there many other players out there selling the same kind of product (e.g. customized pet posters) to the same customer segment?

The most common competitor analysis is the so-called SWOT analysis, acronym of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Another source of inspiration about competitive analysis is this insightful article on Shopify’s Blog.

2. Define your brand

Choose a memorable store name
Keep it short. Remember that this will also be your domain name (if you decide to purchase one - more on this below), so ensure that it is available. Your name is important as it’ll impact your logo, your domain, your marketing, and much more, so invest the right amount of time on this.

You can read more about why we are called Gelato here for some inspiration.

Buy a store domain
This will give your store more credibility. Most e-commerce platforms allow you to buy a domain directly.

Create an appealing logo
There are several options out there with free and paid logo makers. Alternatively, create this yourself if you have any artistic skills or hire a graphic designer.

Here are a few of the companies that can support you:

3. Design your products

Create your products
You can design and create your products directly in the product designer within Gelato’s solution. It allows you to add both images and texts and even for your end-users to personalize the elements you select.

Alternatively, you can also upload print-ready files (if you already have those). In both cases, please ensure that the images you upload are compliant with our terms of use and don’t violate any copyrights.

Test your designs
Once you have some designs ready, we recommend placing some test orders via the Gelato Dashboard to see for yourself how your design and colors will be rendered on the specific product you select.

4. Setup your store

Choose the right e-commerce platform or marketplace
In order to set up your store, you can decide to create your own website and develop everything yourself from scratch, or to use an e-commerce platform or a marketplace.

  • An e-commerce platform (e.g. Shopify) is a single-seller website where the store owner sells only its products.
  • A marketplace (e.g. Etsy), on the other hand, is a website where products from multiple vendors are compiled into one well-organized catalog.

Gelato offers dedicated integrations with Shopify and Etsy. More info here.

Define how your customers will pay you
As part of your store setup, you will need to accept payments from your customers. Check out the options provided by your e-commerce platform or marketplace.

Define your shipping strategy
The shipping setup is different on every platform, so follow the guidelines provided by the one you’ve chosen. Shipping pricing strategies, however, are up to you and depend on your overall commercial strategy as well as on how much you pay Gelato for shipping.

Add a return and international shipping policy
Read our quality guarantee and return policy and adapt it to your store to set your customer expectations. Also, don’t forget that, although we offer local production in 30 countries, some orders might still be shipped internationally and can therefore be subject to customs fees. We suggest you add this information to your store to avoid any surprise for your customers.

5. Connect your store to Gelato

Define how to pay Gelato
You need a valid payment method for your orders to be processed right away. You can add a credit card or deposit funds into your Gelato Wallet - recommended if you are planning to have many recurring orders. If you have higher volumes, get in touch with us to discuss payment via invoice.

Connect your store to Gelato
Use one of the dedicated integrations (Shopify or Etsy) or via open API. We have step-by-step guides for each:

Add products to your store
Once your store is connected to Gelato, it’s time for you to add products. Adding products is easy and our flow can guide you through all the necessary steps: selecting the product, uploading the design, defining a name and a description, selecting beautiful mockups, defining the retail price and publishing to your store.

If you already have products in your store, you can connect them to Gelato in a few clicks. Read more.

Set up fulfillment preferences (auto vs manual approval)
Your orders can be either imported to Gelato and fulfilled automatically - perfect if you are selling static designs - or imported as drafts - the right solution if you sell designs that are customized based on the end-user’s wishes. Importing drafts means you’ll manually approve each order to start the fulfillment of the order.

Setting up the approval workflow for customized design

Place a test order via your store

Once everything is correctly set up, we recommend placing an order from your store to perform a test end-to-end and ensure that the integration works as expected before you start accepting orders from your real customers.

6. Additional considerations

Register your business
Consult a professional to make sure that your store follows all the necessary business laws depending on where you are located and where you intend to sell.

Consult a tax professional
We charge applicable taxes on your orders depending on the item purchased, the shipping destination, the buyer's location, the production (printing) location, and the actual tax rate determined by the applicable state/country and/or local tax rates.

Please note that we cannot offer legal advice on taxes, so please consult a tax professional to find out what taxes to set up for your store and read the section of our Help Center dedicated to taxes and VAT.

Submit legal and tax information to Gelato
Please ensure that you add your legal information to your account, including any relevant certificates (e.g. resale certificate for US businesses).

Resale certificate (US only)