Although eCommerce is nothing new, the global COVID-19 pandemic has greatly influenced consumer habits in recent years, to the point where plenty of shoppers now make 100% of their purchases online.
As the popularity of online shopping grows, many would-be entrepreneurs are tempted by the idea of starting an online store for themselves, enticed by the prospect of leaving the 9-5 world behind and building a passive income using only a laptop.
Whilst it’s true that there are dozens of ways to set up an online store in 2023 and plenty of products to offer potential customers, the combination of Shopify and print-on-demand (POD) provides the lowest barrier to entry — which is probably the reason this business model is soaring in popularity.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the most popular print-on-demand items for 2023 and offering tips on how to market your new store. However, if you’re completely new to both Shopify and the POD business model, here’s a brief primer before we get started:
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a cloud-based service that gives you all of the tools you need to create a fully-functioning eCommerce store. Unlike platforms such as WordPress, Shopify takes care of every aspect of your online store, including the hosting, product listings, shopping cart, and checkout.
What are print-on-demand products?
Print-on-demand products are items such as t-shirts or mugs that can be customized with your own designs or branding, then sold in an online store or marketplace.
Print-on-demand providers such as Printify operate differently from regular printing facilities, as they only print and ship items that you have already sold. This means you don’t need to order and store huge piles of stock, and you won’t lose money if your designs don’t sell as well as you’d hoped.
Here are the steps involved in a POD workflow
- You create a design for your item and upload it to your store.
- You also upload a copy to your POD supplier.
- Your POD account is connected to your online store.
- When customers place an order for an item, the POD supplier is automatically notified, and they print, package and ship the order on your behalf.
- Your customer receives their purchase as if it had been made and shipped by you.
- The POD supplier takes a small cut of the resulting profit.
As you can see, when combined with a simple-to-set-up solution like Shopify, print-on-demand makes a fantastic business model for online entrepreneurs — especially those new to the world of eCommerce, as the risks involved are very low.
You'll want to add many product photos to your pages. Make sure they don't slow down your Shopify storeUse TinyIMG app
Now you understand the concept of POD, let’s take a look at some of the hottest products to give you some inspiration for your Shopify store:
10 trending print-on-demand products for 2023
1. Sneakers and shoes
Believe it or not, it's actually possible to design your own custom sneakers and sports shoes (as well as slippers and flip-flops if you prefer) and have them printed and shipped using a POD service.
Whether you focus on retro-inspired designs with a very on-trend Stranger Things 80s vibe, or a more modern aesthetic, these POD items are becoming increasingly popular.
Check out the Google trends data for printed shoes to see the distinct uptick in interest of late.
Whether you plump for die-cut vinyl stickers in various shapes or sizes, holographic designs, or car stickers, these items are not only incredibly popular, they're also simple to produce and effortless to ship. The market for printed labels alone now stands at nearly $42 million worldwide, indicating that there's plenty of interest in these items, whatever genre you choose to cater towards.
Check out the Google Trends data here.
Custom printed socks make great gifts, especially if you ensure your designs appeal to niche audiences such as sci-fi fans or sports lovers. As well as having universal appeal as a gift, socks are an essential everyday clothing item, which means you can rely on perennial popularity, with a spike of interest each winter as temperatures plummet and holiday gift sales rise.
Take a look at the seasonal trends and overall popularity in the Google data.
4. All-over print hoodies
Hoodies are another clothing item that seems to stay in fashion year after year. These days, however, advances in printing technology mean that it's now pretty simple to design all-over print hoodies, which, as the name suggests, aren't limited to simple patterns on the body of the garment.
The Google trends data shows a very slight increase in popularity for custom hoodies, though we're sure all-over print designs will spur fresh interest in this well-loved garment.
Posters (as well as sub-genres such as canvas prints) have always been popular items, with fine art and museum-quality prints all available from POD suppliers, allowing you to create high-end art that's a step above the kind of poster you'd find on a child's bedroom wall. There are several proven dropshipping suppliers in the USA that actually provide quality posters and home decor items.
No matter whether you target music lovers, art enthusiasts, or even sports fans, custom posters are not only popular; they're also great for profit margins and simple to ship, making them an ideal item for your Shopify store.
Check out the Google trends data for custom posters.
Printed scarves make great gifts and add an instant splash of color to plain outfits. Because scarves work with almost any outfit and in multiple genres, they make the perfect addition to your Shopify store.
You might be tempted to try selling custom POD facemasks, but although we're not out of the COVID-19 woods yet, the time has probably passed for making big bucks from masks, whereas scarves are a more versatile and adaptable product to work with.
Here's the Google trends data for custom scarves.
7. Tote bags
Tote bags are fantastic POD items to sell in a Shopify store. The custom printing possibilities are endless, with any number of trendy design options possible. In addition, as people become ever more aware of sustainability and the need to make eco-friendly choices, tote bags are becoming more popular as an alternative to plastic shopping bags.
Need more convincing that tote bags are a hot product in 2023? Check out this report, which suggests sales of tote bags are expected to grow by $5.85 billion over the next 4 years.
Begin early to get your Shopify store up and running for the start of school in September 2023. That's worth thinking about, because there's a perennial surge in demand for school-related items that can be extremely profitable for POD sellers if they offer the right items in their stores.
Out of all the custom-printed items you could offer, backpacks are probably one of the most striking. Many people think print-on-demand is limited to basic items such as mugs and t-shirts, but these days, there are all manner of exciting items available for the custom design treatment.
Check out the Google trends data and the peaks in interest just before each school year begins.
9. Bedding and blankets
Everyone has positive associations with climbing into a cozy bed at the end of a hard day, or lounging on the sofa on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Today, it's possible to capitalize on some of those feel-good vibes by selling your own custom designs on pillows, blankets, duvet covers, and comforters. These items offer enormous scope for big and bold designs, with some of the smaller pieces working well as seasonal gifts.
Check out the Google trends graphs for printed bed sheets.
10. Yoga mats
When COVID-19 forced gyms to close and restricted people's movements, many took to exercising at home. Yoga became a popular pastime during the pandemic's peak as both an effective form of exercise and a tool for meditation.
As a result of the rise in popularity of yoga, custom-printed yoga mats have become very popular. These POD items are easy to ship, with excellent profit margins and a huge surface area for striking custom designs.
Check out how yoga mats are trending in Google's data.
How do you market a Shopify store?
Now you’re equipped with a few insights into the hottest POD products of 2023, let’s explore how to go about marketing your Shopify store and sending traffic to your product pages:
Understand your audience
When designing and marketing POD products, it's vital to consider your target market. What type of person would buy your designs? Where do those people hang out online, and how can you get their attention? Unless you can answer these sorts of questions, finding buyers for your designs won't be easy.
Enlist the help of influencers
Many people buy products because their favorite Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube influencer has used or recommended them. Approaching influencers and offering them free samples of your items can help you build social proof and potentially provide real photos of your items being worn or used by e-celebs.
Use product reviews
Customer reviews (testimonials) help to make your Shopify store and brand look more authentic and give the impression that your site is well-trafficked and making regular sales. Most customers read reviews before making a purchase, with up to 88% giving as much weight to an online review as a personal recommendation.
Pay for social media ads
Running ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok can be a very effective way to send traffic to your Shopify store. Once you've taken the time to understand your audience and where they spend their time online, you can pick a social media platform and target specific keywords to make your ads as effective as possible.
The combination of a print-on-demand service such as Printify and a Shopify online store can be a fantastic entry point to the world of eCommerce, potentially providing you with a full-time income from the comfort of your own home. With a bit of research and some inspiration from our list of the 10 hottest print-on-demand products for 2023, you could be building your own successful online business in no time. Good luck!
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