While there are many people trying to make money in online customization, there’s no reason why you can’t find your own path through the ecommerce crowds. We can point to hundreds of Roland DGA customers who have found online success in the customization market— often starting with a desktop device like a BN-20 printer/cutter or a VersaUV LEF-12i UV printer and building hugely profitable businesses by making smart business decisions.
Find Your Online Marketplace
Online customization is a growth market. According to statistics website, statista, US ecommerce sales grew 14.9% in 2019 and have continued to grow exponentially in 2020— despite the challenges that people faced in this year. It’s the reason why, right now, it would be a good time to start an online business during this upward curve. However, before you start investing in a new online business and choosing what products you want to print on, there’s three things, right off the bat, you should consider:
a. Have a solid plan on what products you want to customize
Find what really interests you in the customization and personalization market and concentrate your efforts in those product areas. You may find that you’ve “spread yourself too thin” in to trying to serve too many markets at once— it’s often asking too much of yourself to manage a myriad of shopfronts and products all-at-once.
b. Keep focused on what marketplaces you want to sell in
Like any business, you’ll need to promote your products and so you’ll probably want to to invest in online ads. However, providing different designs to fit each different application and marketplace is going to be costly and inefficient. It’s preferable to concentrate your online ad spending in one niche area to avoid having to stretch your costs across many product interests.
c. You’ll need multiple machines if you want to offer customization in different markets
If you have a business plan that includes serving apparel, décor, art, merchandising, and accessory markets, you’ll need more than one Roland DG machine. While all Roland DG desktop devices are versatile and allow you to print on a range of applications, you’ll need to invest in multiple devices to fulfill different customization markets.
5 Customization Markets to Specialize in
Socks, Underwear and Quick Print Accessories
There’s a huge market for accessory customization right now and there are a few major reasons why it’s a smart one to get into.
1. In comparison to custom tees and jerseys, while the final markup doesn’t tend to be massively different, the cost for products like socks, underpants, masks, scarves, bandanas is much lower from wholesale sites like S&S activewear, Alibaba, Amazon Business, Sinalite and other bulk order suppliers.
2. Right now, there’s still a huge market for products like custom masks and bandanas and that is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Maybe you choose one or a handful of these products to specialize in and build a business around them.
3. Once you start focusing on fewer markets, you’ll start to gain extensive knowledge of these markets, i.e., what designs are trending, where the best shopfronts are to sell your products, who your biggest competitors are in this field. This helps you streamline your thinking and gain condensed, potent knowledge in one area.
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Wallpaper is a product that people used to associate with old-fashioned decorating techniques where buckets of paste and a whole load of mess were required to install it. With the introduction of the peel-and-stick wallpaper, wallpaper is now big business with mess-free, easy installation, modern designs, and custom options now offered.
Owners of BN-20 printer/cutters or CAMM-1 GS-24 vinyl cutters have many wall graphic options available to them as either a custom décor service for personalizing family rooms in homes, or branded designs for businesses. You might also consider providing “off-the-shelf” products to sell in your online marketplaces— this could be as simple as oversized vinyl wall decals with fashionable designs and sayings or “roll-to-order” wallpaper designs that you can print on-demand.
The following facts explain why wall décor personalization is a smart market to get into right now:
1. The home improvement market in the US was worth 407 billion in 2019*— it’s a huge industry that keeps growing exponentially each year, despite fluctuations in the housing market
2. Wallpaper and wall coverings are really on-trend right now for creating accent walls and specific décor touches in homes
3. Sold by the roll, custom wallpaper is seen as a specialty décor item and can command a high premium
4. Wallpaper media is easily available and not an expensive, specialty media item— it’s price comparable to other adhesive vinyl products on the market. We recommend WFRV - WallFlair Removable Vinyl that’s available from our Roland DGA Store
*figures courtesy of statista.com
Recommended Desktop Technology for Wall Décor
Print and cut vinyl, poster paper, heat transfer media and much more.
Cut vinyl, film and heat transfer media with this affordable solution.
Specialty T-shirts and Jerseys
It is inconsequential that so many people are printing and selling t-shirts, because t-shirts have not decreased one iota in popularity. In fact, according to the statistics site, statista, the t-shirt market that’s currently at 1.18 billion dollars is predicted to reach a value of 3.1 billion dollars by 2025. To break into this huge market, you might consider specializing in specific t-shirts and t-shirt designs— rather than trying to throw out a huge net to catch customers, it might be better to use the marketing equivalent of a line and a rod with your designs and sales strategy.
The line and rod could come in the form of specializing in t-shirt markets like bachelor and bachelorette t-shirts, team jerseys, holiday t-shirts, etc. These rely on photo and text personalization— the perfect applications for a VersaSTUDIO BT-12 desktop direct-to-garment printer or a VersaSTUDIO BN-20 desktop printer/cutter. To stand out in the marketplace you might also consider printing on just pocket t-shirts or just raglan t-shirts. Whatever you have to do to make your shopfront stand out from the crowd while making it more straightforward and focused than your competitors. A big problem with online t-shirt shopfronts is how chaotic and distracting they often are, containing many different designs that all trying to vie for different markets. It’s smart to be more customer and market focused.
According to popular t-shirt shopfronts Bonfire and Etsy, here is a top 10 shortlist of some of the most popular apparel categories to consider concentrating your efforts on:
1. Animal portraits
2. Inspirational sayings and words in handwritten fonts
3. Retro typography
4. Pop culture quotes, characters, and movie tie-in’s (note: there will likely be issues of copyright infringement if using these sources without permission)
5. Religious message designs
6. Mountains and outdoor themed designs
7. 90’s retro vibe designs
8. Pocket print shirts
9. Funny/ironic messages and quotes
10. Band t-shirts (note: there will likely be issues of copyright infringement if using these sources without permission)
Recommended Desktop Technology for T-Shirts
Print and cut heat transfer media, vinyl, poster paper and much more.
Print on cotton apparel, accessories and more, with this easy-to-use, versatile device
In spite of the electronic market being subject to rapid changes in technology, there are some applications within it that remain constant. The following items are ones that you might consider specializing in.
One of the biggest customization markets on the internet, personalized electronic accessory printing is an entire industry within itself. With this in mind, it would likely benefit you to concentrate on selected applications and create your own personalization niche within this market. With technology like the VersaUV 12i desktop flatbed printer, you have everything you need to personalize plastic, silicone, leather, and polycarbonate accessories— common materials used in electronic accessory production.
One thing to be aware of however, is that the electronic accessory market is an ever-changing one that’s in constant flux, making many accessories obsolete very quickly. The following list amalgamated from buzzfeed, etsy and other online sources outlines some of the trending electronic accessories to consider personalizing and creating a niche market for yourself while they’re still en vogue:
1. Bluetooth speakers and home pods
2. Electronic (smart) doorbell covers
3. Roombas and robot vacs
4. Pocket photo printers
5. Echo frames
6. Phone sanitizer and charger
7. VR headsets
8. Electronic beer dispensers
9. Drones and drone cases
Recommended Desktop Technology for Electronic Accessories
Print directly onto electronics, giftware, souvenirs, and merchandise with this product personalization solution.
Admittedly, this one covers a lot of different print businesses you could start, ie., photo art canvasses, photo mugs, photo t-shirt prints, etc., but it remains an important and profitable way to make personalized mementos, souvenirs, and custom art if you have the software skills to edit and optimize photos and artwork that your customers provide you with.
And while there’s a mountain of online and offline companies who put photos on canvas, there’s world of possible applications to consider for adding photos and artwork too and building a successful business by specializing in one or more of these products. Many owners of VersaUV flatbed printers and other Roland DG devices have forged success in the photo-personalization market and almost all of them have gravitated to one or more products to specialize in.
The following list outlines some business profiles of people who create photo personalized products to make the optimum use of their business:
- Photographers who have extended their wedding and event photography services— upselling customers with photos on memento products
- Pet store owners and pet sites who put pet pictures on pet apparel, souvenirs and giftware
- Businesses in the décor, interior design and craft markets who are making home furnishings, décor pieces, and wall art a more individually personalized experience
- Jewelers and Jewelry suppliers who are offering an added photo personalization service to add extra value to jewelry and keepsake items
- Souvenir and giftware suppliers who are including the additional option of photo personalization to make inexpensive products into high-value ones
Recommended Desktop Technology for Photo Printing
Print photos onto giftware, souvenirs, and merchandise with this product personalization solution.
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- As well as providing multiple desktop printing solutions for small businesses and home-based business startups, Roland DGA has a huge range of large format printers, laser engravers, 3D milling machines and more technology to help you start and succeed in graphics and product personalization markets. See all our machines and find a solution that fits your needs.