How to start an international selling print-on-demand product business?

In a print-on-demand business model, you can sell customized products printed after an order is placed. Here's a guide to understand its pros, cons and steps to begin exporting from India.
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If you are a creative person, turning your skill into a business idea and building your own customized products is a great opportunity to establish a brand. You may also be inclined to add your own designs to existing product catalogue on an e-commerce website. Either way, an on-demand printing business is for you.

On-demand printing is a business idea that provides customized designs printed on a number of objects of the customer’s choice without the hassle of ordering in bulk or holding inventory. For instance, on-demand printing on mugs, pillow covers, blankets and t-shirts are increasingly becoming popular.

What is print-on-demand?

Print-on-demand (POD), also known as ‘on-demand printing’, is a digital business model that allows you to sell customized products that are only printed after an order is placed. You don’t necessarily need to store physical inventory when you use on-demand printing. Instead, you print once you receive an order and accordingly, ship and deliver it. Print-on-demand services enable you to manufacture and ship products with your own custom designs. Many print-on-demand businesses also follow dropshipping as a model, where third-party businesses handle order processing and shipping on your behalf. You can sell your customized merchandise on an order-to-order basis rather than investing in inventory.

Usually, businesses that offer print-on-demand work with logistic partners who handle fulfillment and shipping. However, with e-commerce exports program from Amazon Global Selling, you can focus on your creative ideas for products, while Amazon handles listing, inventory, shipping, delivery, returns not just in India but internationally. If you want to start a print-on-demand export business, all you need to do is be prepared to create designs and take orders.

Pros and cons of print-on-demand business model


• A print-on-demand business helps you establish your unique brand with full control over the process.

• It helps you in offering personalized products that not only have your specifications but customizations of your customers as well.

• It is a business idea that requires low investment with high chances of revenue.

• It is a great way to test new designs and products that may otherwise appear to be risky. You can print a few samples for testing purposes.


• In contrast to other business models where product units are ready to ship at any time, running a print-on-demand business means that each order is printed after it is placed. As a result, print-on-demand is a time-consuming process.

• If you have opted for dropshipping method where the product is manufactured by third-party, you have less control over the quality.

• As there is little control over how the products are packed and shipped, customer interaction is limited.

• Since you will create customized products, return process can become complex.

Steps to sell print-on-demand products on Amazon international marketplaces

By registering to export print-on-demand products from India and sell on Amazon international marketplaces, you can benefit from increasing Amazon customer base and international tools and support provided by Amazon Global Selling. Simply upload your designs on Amazon international marketplaces and you are ready to sell your products to interested customers. You can follow these steps to start selling print-on-demand products on Amazon:

Register your business

First, you must register your export business with Amazon Global Selling. You don’t have to be an existing Amazon India seller. The registration can be done online on Seller Central. All you’ll need are KYC documents and debit or credit card (international transactions enabled).
Amazon seller registration

List your products

Once you have successfully registered to sell globally on Amazon, you can list your products. Remember to follow tips on how to list your products include attractive pictures and descriptions that’s clear to international customers. You can also seek help from third-party service providers.
How to list your products on Amazon

Ship and receive payments

Once a customer places an order, you can choose to deliver by yourself or you can opt for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Under FBA, Amazon takes care of shipping, delivery, returns and customer concerns. Once a customer purchases your product, Amazon credits the money in your bank account in the currency of your choice.
Amazon FBA

Top print-on-demand products to sell internationally

• T-shirts & hoodies
• Coasters
• Hats
• Pillows
• Mugs
• Posters
• Stickers
• Phone cases
• Mouse pads
• Tote bags
• Socks
• Blankets
• Water bottles
How Print On Demand Works?

Tips to start and run a print-on-demand business

Print-on-demand is an effective model for bringing a variety of products to life in your preferred style while also incorporating your own unique content. Most print-on-demand solutions usually offer a similar set of features such as the ability to design your new products in a variety of ways. Here are a few useful tips to run a successful print-on-demand export business:

1. Select a category

One of the most important aspects is identifying and selecting a niche category that caters to all your needs. It should be aligned with your interests and should accommodate your design skills, while giving customers enough choice. It should also be able to generate interest and demand among customers. For example, if you are thinking of selling to a younger demographic, it may be wise to build a print-on-demand business for t-shirts. You can choose quotes and witty one-liners to print.

2. List your products and customization offerings clearly

While listing your products, pay attention to the details you add. It is important to clearly mention guidelines and possibilities under customization to give your shoppers a 360-degree view of what to expect.

3. Select the right print-on-demand partner

If you decide to partner with a manufacturer and run a dropshipping business model, choose your partner keeping in mind product quality, limitations and other aspects of your business. With Amazon Global Selling, you can use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to ship your print-on-demand products without having to find a logistics partner.

4. Create a marketing strategy for your brand

Effective marketing is the key to a good business. Your aim should be to create a distinct brand, promote it across the internet, while also making it more visible among products on Amazon international marketplaces. You can opt for Amazon Advertising and A+ content to optimize your listings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make money with print-on-demand?
The revenue from a print-on-demand business is dependent on the products you sell, your target audience and how well you market to them.
Is print-on-demand a good business model?
If you are a creative person looking to start a business from home with minimal investment, print-on-demand is an excellent model to follow. You do not necessarily need to keep inventory or ship orders by yourself. All you have to do is create a design, apply it to a product and begin selling internationally.
Is print-on-demand business still a viable option?
Print-on-demand business is a viable business option.
What are the top categories for print-on-demand products?
Some of the most popular themes for print-on-demand business are:
• Animals and pets
• Activism and social causes
• Families and relationships
• Humour and Internet memes
• Jobs and hobby-related niches
• Events and special occasions
Published on June 16, 2022.

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