One of the best ways to learn is through other people’s mistakes. Here’s where Steve went wrong with his Print on Demand store, and how you can learn from these mistakes.
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Building a profitable Print on Demand store can feel like one heck of a challenge.
But the even bigger challenge is when you’ve already built a store, but for some reason can’t make any sales.
You obviously know something is wrong. But you can’t seem to put your finger on it. And with no one to turn to for help, it’s easy to feel “stuck,” almost as if you’re lost at sea.
That’s how Steve felt about his store Domainer Swag. So in his cry for help, we have come to the rescue with another store review. To show you where he is going wrong, so you can avoid these same mistakes.
To make this review easier to understand, we’re also going to compare it to a successful Print on Demand store – Smash Transit. And for each of Domainer Swag’s “wrongs,” we’ll compare it to how Smash Transit has overcome the same issue.
By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a better knowledge of what separates a failing store from a winning one. Plus, along the way, you will be equipped with powerful tips for increasing sales and conversions, and building the type of store customers love to purchase from.
The Failing Store: Domainer Swag
Domainer Swag is a store designed to sell domainer items and accessories. The jargon term ‘Domainer’ is used for somebody who buys domain names at a low price, holds them, and then later sells them at a higher price.
For example, Sarah purchased the domain sarahchrisp.com. While she doesn’t use it right now, this domain might come in handy if one day she decided to start her own personal brand.
A nifty domainer would realise Sarah would want to have her name as a domain. And so would have purchased this domain before Sarah could. Then later on, sell this domain to her for a higher price.
It’s quite a unique business model. Probably something Steve enjoys. And why he built his store around it.
The Winning Store: Smash Transit
This Print on Demand store focuses on selling t-shirts that showcase local icons and addresses from different cities.
Run by a millennial couple, this store has a lot of raving fans. And just from a first glance, their store is very trustworthy, with several authentic designs and accessories for the travel lover.
So what separates their store from Domainer Swag? Three things in particular.
- Their niche
- Their designs
- How their store appears
Let’s put Domainer Swag under the magnifying glass and analyse all three areas.
Reason #1: The Product Selection is too Niche
The first thing wrong with Domainer Swag is that there’s not a big enough audience on Facebook. Steve’s niche is too small to be profitable.
Before creating a niche store, you need to make sure there is an audience large enough to advertise to. And an easy way to find this out is to create a ‘dummy’ Facebook ad.
The idea is to find two or more interests that, when put together, have a big enough audience to sell to. The sweet spot is an audience size between 100,000 – 500,000.
For example, let’s say we were to create a Facebook ad for a camera lens mug. Out of our two interests, one is targets Professional Photographers of America, and the other targets Starbucks.
As you can see in the image below, both interests create an audience size of 140,000 people — right within our sweet spot. Meaning that, if we wanted to, we could sell this item on Facebook, knowing someone out there would be happy to buy our mug.
But, unfortunately for Domainer Swag, even the key word ‘domainer’ wasn’t recognized as an interest on Facebook! Other similar keywords didn’t do any justice either, like ‘domain parking,’ ‘buying domains,’ or ‘cyber investor.’
And, so, right out the gate, Steve’s t-shirt designs were bound to be failures. His niche was simply too narrow.
On the other hand, Smash Transit, despite also being very niche, has a big enough audience on Facebook to advertise to.
One product line they sell in their store are t-shirts with names of city airports, such as this LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) t-shirt.
This t-shirt would most likely appeal to people who regularly travel, or have visited the airport. And so, when creating a dummy Facebook ad, ‘LAX’ would be a good interest to target.
And, once matched with other related interest, like ‘SkyMiles’ and ‘MileagePlus,’ we now have an audience size of 130,000 people. An audience size large enough people to advertise and make sales with!
Reason #2: Many Products are Poorly Designed
When looking at Steve’s designs, it’s easy to recognize that some designs have more thought put into them than others.
Here we have this cool t-shirt. A smart design with some good thought put into it. So far, so good.
But then the further we move along across his t-shirts, the uglier it gets. Take this design below as a clear example. The curly font hardly matches the theme of his niche. And unless you use your squinting powers, it’s hard to understand what the text says. Some of the text isn’t grammatically correct either, with the first word ‘with’ starting with a lower-case letter.
This design reeks of laziness, and visitors to your store will be the first to smell this. It’s Steve’s lack of effort in his designs that are driving them away. (Besides, why on earth would anybody want to buy a t-shirt with grammatical errors?)
Even if they wanted to buy one of these t-shirts, that desire may come to a screeching halt as soon as they see his other designs. Customers don’t buy a shirt just because it looks ‘nice.’ A large part of their decision comes down to how much they trust you. And, if your designs aren’t consistent, or reek of laziness, that trust will quickly diminish. And they would be far less likely to purchase.
This is where Domainer Swag could learn from Smash transit. The majority of their designs are created by a professional designer.
Though some of their t-shirts are just normal text, there is a purpose behind it: to emulate the style of text used when creating street addresses. These guys are very selective with their fonts, matching them to the style of shirt being worn.
As a side note: you don’t need to be a professional designer to create a good design. In fact, you can hire incredible designers from as little as $5 on a website called Fivver. Here, you’ll find thousands of designers who churn out several amazing designs every day.
Reason #3: The Store Looks Very Untrustworthy
Like your product designs, your store should receive just as much care and effort. Branding your store rather than creating a generic niche website is what takes a store from good to great.
Sadly, this wasn’t the case for Domainer Swag. They put just as much effort into their store as they did for their designs – a very minimal amount.
To start, they don’t have a logo. This may seem trivial, but even the simplest logo is an indicator of somebody who cares about their brand. (Otherwise why would they even bother creating one?)
Likewise, Domainer Swag hasn’t cared to create a favicon. Again, this might seem so trivial that you think customer’s won’t even take notice. But think about your reaction to a website that has a favicon to one that doesn’t. If you were to choose, you’d probably trust the website with a favicon over the one without. Not because you know what the website is about, but simply because every credible site you can name has one.
The stock image on the store homepage is too pixelated. Customers hate this! They’ll think, “If they can’t make the effort to choose an image that is big enough and isn’t stretched, how can I trust them to put effort into their customer service?”
Again, all of these areas might seem unimportant, or “less of a priority,” but they go a long way in building trust with your store visitors. And trust is a MAJOR factor to succeeding with Print on Demand.
Why? Chances are the majority of your traffic will come from a Facebook ad. Not having a clue of who you are, people click on your ad to your landing page. And the first thing they want to know before handing out their credit card is, “Can I trust this store?”
Having this at the back of their mind, they become wide-eyed visitors, judging every little thing on your store. From your logo to your favicon, and from your homepage to product descriptions, customers are getting a feel of whether you are legit enough for them to safely purchase something. Or whether you’re just another scammy website.
That’s why at Wholesale Ted, we stress how important it is to build a store that appears trustworthy. (Heck, we even show you how!) Because doing so will tremendously help you to increase sales and conversions. And turn even the most skeptical visitor into a happy customer.
The Bottom Line
The three big takeaways from this blog are:
- Make sure your niche has an audience big enough to sell to. An easy way to find out is to see whether two interests create an audience size between 100,00 and 500,000.
- Put in effort with all your designs. This is the reason people land on your store in the first place. And what will turn them into a paying customer.
- Build a store that’s trustworthy. Customers aren’t just sold by your designs – but your entire brand. Not only will a store they can trust create a stronger desire to buy, but a great user experience will keep them coming back.
Even with these three takeaways alone, you can build the type of Print on Demand store customers love. The challenge here now is actually taking action. And if you want to make money with Print on Demand, you won’t go very far cutting corners. Treating each area of your store with the same level of effort is what separates you from several other Print on Demand stores.