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beginner guide to print on demand

Print on Demand Dropshipping: 21 Actionable Points to Start and Scale Successfully

This guide will help you start and do exactly what is required to become a brand in your niche with a loyal brand following with print-on-demand and dropshipping models.

Sivaraman S

Founder of Qikink

Sivaraman S

Founder of Qikink

print on demand dropshipping

Introduction

In this post, I will show you how to start and succeed in your dropshipping business.

It may be an all-new terrain, or you have tried and failed earlier. There may also be skill gaps between you and your dropshipping business success.

This guide will help you start and do exactly what is required to become a brand in your niche with a loyal brand following with print-on-demand and dropshipping models.

 

1. Dropshipping introduction

dropship-process-chart

Dropshipping is a business model that allows anyone to sell physical products online without having inventory.

Orders are fulfilled to customers via a third-party wholesaler or manufacturer of that product.

Benefits:
1. Low Investment
2. Low Risk
3. Hassle-free lifestyle
4. Scalable

Print-on-demand dropshipping business is suitable for anyone who wants to start selling online.

It is the go-to option to monetize the fan following for YouTubers and Influencers.

2. Print on demand dropshipping in India

printer-and-t-shirts

Print-on-demand dropshipping India allows for selling custom-designed products online.

  1. Design and sell products online
  2. The product is printed after an order is received
  3. The supplier delivers the products to the customer after custom printing
  4. No Minimum Printing from the supplier
  5. The supplier refunds/reprints for any printing error in your designs

Choose products from the supplier product catalog and put your designs on them using the mockup generator.

It is the most profitable model in dropshipping and removes the norm surrounding dropshipping as a low-margin business.

3. Registering a dropshipping business in India

accounting-qikink

Business registration is required if you are planning the business for the long term; it is advisable to register it.

  1. GST Registration is optional in India for businesses
  2. It is mandatory when your turnover crosses 40L per year
  3. Options of monthly, quarterly, or yearly tax filings are available based on annual revenue
  4. GST is not compulsory for starting print-on-demand dropshipping with Qikink

This Business Registration post will give complete insights into GST on dropshipping businesses.

Business registration with few documents can be done online in 1-2 days.

4. Dropshipping products

qikink-products

Half the process is done when you choose the right product for dropshipping.

This list gives the most popular dropshipping and print on demand products across the world.

  1. T-Shirts
  2. Mobile Cases
  3. Coffee Mugs
  4. Posters
  5. Canvas Prints
  6. Sneakers
  7. Hoodies
  8. All-over Print Shirts
  9. Women’s Tops
  10. Joggers
  11. Tote Bags
  12. Button Badges
  13. Crop Tops
  14. Kid’s T-Shirts
  15. Pop-Grip
  16. Stickers
  17. Sipper Bottle
  18. Notepad
  19. Coasters
  20. Mouse Pad
  21. Aprons
  22. Boxers

These products can be custom-printed and Dropshipped from the manufacturers like Qikink.

Product selection is an essential aspect of any dropshipping business. Check a few posts while choosing the product as

  1. Product knowledge or research is required beforehand to serve the customers well.
  2. Manufacturers must have enough details like product photos, features, and product descriptions.
  3. Manufacturers should be able to supply continuously with consistent quality.
  4. The cost of the product should give enough margins
  5. Supplier is willing to add more varieties of the product
  6. Your customer base is familiar with the product or similar products
  7. Your designs suit well on the product

Decide on the acceptable product for your audience that will be easier to convert and cash on.

5. Find dropship vendors

qikink-vendor

You can grow your business as well as your partners’.

List and choose your print-on-demand dropshipping business partners wisely based on various parameters.

  1. Wide product range. It gives a lot of scopes to test and change to what works and adds varieties to scale.
  2. True B2B pricing. The business’s most important aspect is having good enough margins on every sale.
  3. Niche product or print areas. Qikink has Glow in Dark and all-over print in print-on-demand dropshipping.
  4. Continuous supply and consistent quality. Once you test and find a winner, your supplier should be able to get your profits with constant supply and consistent quality.
  5. Easy to connect. Choose a drop shipper who has an easy and convenient mode of communication.
  6. Product Knowledge. The product supplier must have a thorough knowledge of the product to make continuous improvements and provide you with details like features, descriptions, and photos.
  7. Business automation. Automating parts of the business happens continuously to improve the drop shipper’s lives.

Thus, once a vendor is chosen, stick with them to grow together with the same priorities.

 

6. Store setup

online-store-setup-qikink

An online store is required to sell products online.

You can text initially without a store via your social media channels.

  1. Shopify is the best to start. Print-on-demand dropshipping Shopify automation options are widely available with a lot of help videos and experts.
  2. Many other options are available, like WooCommerce, Squarespace, Zepo, Kartrocket, Magento, and Wix.
  3. Choose a self-hosted platform. Choosing, setting, and managing hosting space may take much time if you are new to this.
  4. Have a web store with a custom domain to enhance credibility and trust and a custom email domain.
  5. Choose a theme with speed and other best sales conversion practices.

 

Store setup is the first actual work to get any sales. The web store will get hundreds of thousands of sales for the business.

So, there must be enough attention and time spent choosing the domain name, platform selection, and store design.

 

7. Graphic designs

dropshipping-business-graphic-designs-qikink

Connect with the target audience with designs.

Unlike selling stock designs or plain products, original and refreshing designs to connect will highly enhance your profit margins.

  1. Get new design inspirations from online resources like Vexels and the creative market.
  2. Niche selection provides inspiration areas from real-life products. A football design on a circle coaster for a football niche, famous movie dialogues for movie buffs, and a glow-in-dark for a minimal pop culture design are working examples.
  3. Have the design niche, web store, and brand in the same message tone to let the customers associate your brand with your niche.
  4. Launch and test designs as many as possible.
  5. Design in vectors to scale with screen printing for winning designs.
  6. Combine various printing methods like glow-the-dark and over-printing for variety in designs.

There is another post here that talks about the design resources for T-shirts.

The process of designing right along with the correct print technique and products gives a stronghold for the ads to run.

8. Product display pictures

Product photos drive E-commerce sales. No, this is not exaggerated.

93% of customers consider product photos or videos key purchasing factors.

Fine art prints of original paintings and photographs and reproductions of classic works.

  1. Order samples and Hire an agency to do a photo shoot for your brand’s products
  2. If you prefer doing it within budget, you can get a light box online and click a photo via camera with samples received.
  3. It can be done still cheaper and richly using a mockup generator website like Placeit.
  4. Qikink gives free mockup generator for all its products

Anyway, it’s necessary to ensure there are rich photos of the products by highlighting the features and in line with your brand story.

Launch your brand online

You only need a good product to be successful

Launch your brand online

9. Pricing strategy

Dropshipping -qikink

Price can be fixed by testing for each product with at least 3 variations.

Refrain from going with low pricing and assuming it will sell a lot. It will not.

  1. Add more value to the correct audience to charge a higher price
  2. Competitive generic products can be set around 2x of cost price(product+printing+shipping+taxes)
  3. Niche products like glow-in-dark, all-over printing, or accessories can be set around 3x of the cost price
  4. Sell with comfortable margins to your smallest viable audience and know they better serve better.

 

10. E-Commerce best practices

The website is the place where the business happens.

It has to have all benchmarks covered fair and square. Focus on every detail of the e-commerce website.

  1. Keep it clutter-free everywhere on the website
  2. Use a self-hosted platform like Shopify or buy a premium hosting plan
  3. Focus on E-Commerce SEO in-depth for all your products, categories, about us, contact us, and home pages
  4. Build an email subscriber list from day one and give some genuine offers for signing in
  5. Show customer service numbers to reach them easily
  6. Offer Free Shipping with no minimum
  7. Charge extra for COD and incentivize paid orders
  8. Show product videos for at least a few best-selling products
  9. Show customer reviews on the product pages and home page
  10. Have a simple one-step checkout process. Also, get paid first and then get shipping details.
  11. Allow guest checkout option and give cashback offer for signup
  12. Show breadcrumbs or show a sophisticated mega menu structure with category images.

These e-commerce best practices will ensure the optimum conversion rate for the ad money spent.

Also, check this post on reducing COD return dropshipping in India.

11. Initial sales

The initial sales are crucial and should be received within 30 days of starting the web store. Focus on getting targeted visitors to your store.

  1. Write a personalized mail to your friends and family with an offer coupon
  2. Get friends and family to share the offer and website among all  their contacts
  3. Start to work with influencers directly
  4. Bring online visitors from offline efforts like offering coupons to nearby coffee shop customers.
  5. Try minimum-budget Facebook and Instagram Advertisements
  6. Send cart abandonment emails
  7. Do not underestimate the power of re-marketing

Ensuring the above action points should bring in initial sales in a much shorter timeline.

12. Digital marketing

There are 25 million+ e-commerce websites in the world.

Only around 600k+ web stores make 1000+ USD annual revenue.

The missing link is digital marketing. No drop shipping company with a proper digital marketing strategy will fail cheaply.

Digital marketing is not only for scaling your business; it is essential to start the ground.

  1. Choose your smallest audience who will purchase and share it with others
  2.  Marketing in digital platforms comprises Paid search ads(Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube), SEO, Influencer Marketing, and Email Marketing.
  3. Facebook and Instagram offer unique targeting features that prove the best ones.
  4. Keep the focus on SEO and building an email subscriber list
  5. Make sure to create irresistible offers from time to time and shout out across all channels, including email
  6. Use tools like Socioh for a better Facebook advertisement conversion rate
  7. Giveaways in social media from time to time attract followers (return orders can be used here)
  8. Deepen your knowledge of paid ads using online courses from Udemy, etc.

Digital marketing is essential for the dropshipping business to reach the right audience and optimum cost.

Digital marketing is not only for scaling your business, it is an essential requirement to start the ground.

13. Social media

Social media is not just an extension of digital marketing. It is an extension of your web store.

Your old, present, and future customers are hanging out here.

  1. Create and post shareable content
  2. Use relevant hashtags
  3. Reply to messages as fast as possible
  4. Post regularly at a particular time
  5. Post Images, Product Photos, Review Videos, Customer pictures, Feature videos, and more to engage and share.
  6. Remember, commerce is going to become mainstream across social channels.
  7. Get mentions from Influencers
  8. Enable In-app purchases
  9. Use tools like Canva, Crello, and Pixtellar to create visually stunning content.

Enable the social media accounts of your brand in a proper way to interact with your niche audience.

See it as an opportunity to stay in touch and grow your tribe.

 

14. To fulfil the orders

The orders started coming in; it was time to do business.

For orders fulfilled by Qikink,

  1. For Shopify & WooCommerce users, you have integrated with Qikink during store setup. The orders are automatically pulled to the Qikink Dashboard and processed with a click of a button.
  2. You can log in to the Qikink dashboard for other platforms and place orders. Either by creating orders individually or via bulk xls upload.
  3. Qikink processes and dispatches the orders with your custom designs and custom branding.

For orders not fulfilled by Qikink, you can contact your vendor in your preferred mode of communication with a list of order details.

And follow it up until fulfillment. Here is the step-by-step of how Qikink works for Order Fulfilment.

 

15. Qikink dashboard

Qikink dashboard is your one order management place. It allows you to manage your day-to-day shipping business activities.

  1. Create Orders via Orders -> Create, one by one. Or use the Bulk Order option to upload the orders via xls upload in bulk.
  2. Check order statuses about printing, dispatch, and delivery.
  3. Get the airway number for all shipped orders in the dashboard
  4. Manage returns with 100 an effective return management system in place
  5. Download invoices to file GST and take advantage of input credit
  6. Create mockups in single and in bulk
  7. Get the account statement of all your transactions
  8. Check the final cost price before submitting any order
  9. Push Products to the Shopify store

It provides all the necessary tools to start and run the print-on-demand dropshipping business profitably.

 

16. Taxation for dropshipping

The taxation for dropshipping in Indian business operations, as

  1. GST is mandatory for businesses in India with annual revenue above 40 lakhs
  2. It is required to avail of the benefits of input tax credit
  3. In GST terms, Qikink sells products to you(Registered or unregistered Business), and you are selling the products to your customers.
  4. GST can be filed and paid monthly, quarterly, and yearly, as well
  5. GST registration place of address can be your home or office.
  6. The place of supply is from Qikink to your customer. It is mentioned in Section 10(1)(b) of the GST Act. For goods movement between Qikink and your customer, it can be billed to your principal place of business.
  7.  Selling outside India(International sales) doesn’t attract any GST in the invoice since all exports are zero-rated.
  8. GST is mandatory for selling products on marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon

Once GSTIN is registered, proper filing periodically as written is mandatory for running a business in the long run. It is suggested to register GST before starting dropshipping in India to avail of the input tax credits and file GST returns monthly for ease of processing of bank loans in the future.

 

17. Scale up dropshipping orders

Think about scaling up when you get a continuous flow of orders.

  1. Save and analyze data as much as possible to learn customer’s buying patterns, repeat orders, locations, and successful ads to improve on other campaigns.
  2. Move best-selling apparel designs to screen printing in bulk
  3. Add a new audience for the same product type
  4. Introduce new niches(allied) which are relevant to the audience. Do not jump into an irrelevant new niche onto the same brand.
  5. Bring in fresh graphics and design continuously
  6. Grow social media followers with giveaway contests
  7. Attract influencers relevant to your niche and target audience
  8. Double down on winning ad sets with appropriate expansion in the target audience
  9. Introduce particular print types or new product types for the best-selling niche
  10. Re-invest the money in the business.

Not all businesses are scalable. Starting Dropshipping in India allows the company to scale to new heights with every winning product and ad set.

Not limited to ads, creating a niche brand in a market like India provides enduring value.

 

18. Sell on marketplaces for dropshipping in India

Marketplaces are to give more visibility to the brand you are building. Play the marketplace offering with few products.

  1. Do not offer the entire product range
  2. List the products on 1 or marketplaces only
  3. Identify niche international marketplaces for your products
  4. List the products with the best content possible, which gives a good Listing quality score
  5. Use competitive pricing for selling in marketplaces
  6. Selling the best-selling apparel designs with screen printing stock in the market is the best fit
  7. Try sending best-selling products from the need to their inventory for priority search placement

Selling some of your best-selling products with a list provides an advantage for better reach into the market.

With the brand reach of a wider audience, your brand searches will increase, and so will your website visitors.

Dropshipping in India also provides marketplace opportunities; check this post on Amazon Dropshipping to start selling on Amazon profitably.

19. Printing methods

Dropshipping doesn’t mean your store has to be monotonous.

Offer various products with various printing methods to appeal to diversified collections.

  1. Direct Garment (DTG) Digital Printing for cotton apparel styles
  2. Dye Sublimation for Accessories like Phone cases, Coffee Mugs, Coasters, and more
  3. Screen Printing for all apparel and cloth accessories like Tote Bags, Aprons, and Caps
  4. Digital Printing on Paper Products like Posters, Cards
  5. UV Printers for Mobile Cases. Also, for specialty embossed and textured prints
  6. Eco Solvent Printers for Decorative Acrylic Boards, Foam Boards, Stickers, Wall Decals, and more
  7. Dye Sublimation Printer for all printed apparel styles
  8. Vinyl Printing for Sports Jersey Logo, name, and numbers
  9. Glow in Dark Vinyl for all apparel styles
  10. Embroidery Applique for Polo, which can be applied on-demand on Polo T-shirts
  11. Cut and sewn color block sportswear models that can be sewn on demand per the style ordered.

Qikink is equipped with all the above printing and sewing methods to offer a range of products. Use Qikink to start dropshipping in India with free signup.

You are limited to your imagination to offer diversified products and service offerings to your niche audience.

 

20. Tools for dropshipping in India

Tools help us in getting the required work done efficiently and quickly.

To do Successful dropshipping in India, you require such tools,

  1. Google Trends for free market research on trending products
  2. Using Google Keyword Planner from Google Ads is best for Keyword research
  3. Answerthepublic helps find search intent
  4. Google Analytics is best for analyzing website traffic
  5. Google search console for crawling errors, spam backlinks, search queries, and more
  6. Pixel is mandatory to assess the Facebook Ads’ performance
  7. Placeit to create lively mockups
  8. Canva or Crello for social media creatives
  9. Biteable to create stunning video content
  10. Socioh to make creative Facebook ad copies
  11. Shopify for web store development
  12. Zoho for all-in-one accounting needs, including GST filing
  13. Godaddy for domain registration
  14. Buffer for social media management
  15. Zapier, a process automation tool involving most of the apps you use
  16. Semrush is a premium tool for complete website and keyword analysis
  17. Buzzsumo to find popular content across channels
  18. Mailchimp for email marketing

There are many more tools as well. Most of them are optional for you at every stage.

Choose a few among them as per your stage and use them to your advantage.

 

21. E-Commerce SEO for dropshipping in India

Lastly, I think SEO is for something other than e-commerce.

Tap the search queries on your niche and get free sales without ad spend.

  1. Yoast for WooCommerce and Plugin SEO for Shopify, install and configure every detail.
  2. Make URLs shorter with the most important keyword for the page
  3. Handle ‘page not found with a 404 Page
  4. Check the Google search console for possible errors to fix
  5. Use XML sitemap
  6. Avoid thin and duplicate content on web pages
  7. Use Canonical tags to show different variations of the same product type
  8. Reduce page loading time by optimizing images and reducing server requests
  9. Use Hreflang for International websites if possible
  10. Check and fix internal and external dead links
  11. Use 1000+ words in the Product description, price, and shipping information on the product page, plus different image variations, product videos, and user reviews.
  12. Do Keyword research and search intent for keywords on product description content.
  13. Title Tag must-have offers and modifier text for better CTR
  14. Use recommendations and features in the description with search and search intent keywords
  15. Implement Product review schema

Implementing these will give an advantage to your Indian Dropshipping brand over other websites in your niche for search queries.

 

Conclusion

Dropshipping in India can be taken as a lifestyle. It is worth the time spent on it. Like any business, it has to be tried, tested and practiced to master the same. Let us know in the comments which helps you most in the above post. We will keep the post updated with more information.

We will keep the post updated with more information.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Print-on-demand dropshipping allows you to sell custom products without inventory and upfront costs. This makes it a low-risk business model with a high potential for profit.

The 21 actionable points mentioned in the blog cover various aspects of starting and running a print-on-demand dropshipping business, such as finding a niche, creating a brand, and marketing. These points are important because they provide a roadmap to success and help you avoid common mistakes.

You can find print-on-demand dropshipping suppliers by researching online, asking for recommendations from other business owners, and attending trade shows and conferences. It’s important to choose a reliable supplier with quality products and timely shipping.

When selecting products to sell in a print-on-demand dropshipping store, it’s important to consider your target audience, market trends, and profit margins. You should also test different products and analyze their performance to make data-driven decisions.

To set competitive prices for your print-on-demand products, you should consider factors such as production costs, shipping fees, and market demand. You should also research your competitors and set prices that offer value to your customers while ensuring profitability for your business.

Sivaraman S

With over 10+ years of experience in the industry, Our founder has dedicated his career to helping brands achieve exponential growth through innovative print-on-demand solutions.

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About the author

With over 10+ years of experience in the industry, Our founder has dedicated his career to helping brands achieve exponential growth through innovative print-on-demand solutions.
With over 10+ years of experience in the industry, Our founder has dedicated his career to helping brands achieve exponential growth through innovative print-on-demand solutions.
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