The Secret To Succeed With Personalized Print On Demand Products In 2020

Marcel Behrens - The POD Partner

You’re probably aware that personalized print on demand products are booming and considered the next best thing since sliced bread. But what exactly is the secret to success with selling personalized products?

In this article I’m going to dive a little deeper into personalization to show you what I consider the secret of success with personalized print on demand products.

What are personalized print on demand products?

The simplest definition I can think of is this: Personalization is the process of adding a personal touch to a print on demand product. For instance: Adding the customer’s name to a design and print it on a product, For instance, a mug or t-shirt.

Although personalization is broader than that, in its simplest form it gets back to taking something of value for the customer and using it to evoke an emotion. That is what makes it personal.

Why are personalized print on demand products so popular right now?

There is a pretty simple answer to this as well. People like to feel special and unique. Personalized products and experiences make people feel unique, they make them stand out from the crowd.

People appreciate a company that recognizes their needs, remembers them and offers them an enjoyable experience.

People who have the option to personalize the products they love tend to be more engaged, purchase more often, and spend more per visit than those who can’t customize their products in any way.

Finally, the added benefit of being able to personalize the product is that it strengthens the customer experience. They gain control and become a partner in the final product creation process.

As I always say: A better customer experience increases the chance of a conversion.

Why are personalized print on demand products considered a better option?

Lots of studies have been conducted and they all share one result: People perceive personalized products as having more value than non-personalized products. On average personalized products sells 33% more than regular products without personalization.

The psychology behind this has nothing to do with the product, but everything with the feeling it brings. That feeling evokes an emotional response.

For instance, giving somebody a personalized gift will tell the person receiving the gift you went the extra mile and chose something that will remind them about that special occasion. It makes the gift - and the occasion - memorable.

What triggers people to buy a personalized item?

Dale Carnegie once said: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” This is still true when you look at print on demand personalization.

By personalizing a product with a person's name, the product becomes more valuable to the person as their name is the most important thing to them. Add their personal motto or another aspect that appeals to them and it's even more valuable.

Adding the name is the most obvious of them all. To find out what triggers people besides their name you need to look into the data. But data isn’t enough.

A lot of companies assume they can predict customer behaviour based on data analysis. They take what customers have done in the past and assume they will do the same in the future.

As you know, assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.

We humans are emotionally driven, quite complex and most of us are intelligent. Our decisions are always influenced by multiple factors. We can have different mindsets when we are shopping. We can be focused, mindful, just exploring, disoriented or have no interest at all.

As we cannot check the body language of the customer, we mostly need to analyse browsing behaviours to determine what makes a customer buy the product.

Focused customers just get in, add to cart and buy. The mindful customers will stay on a page longer, checking different items before they add to cart.

On the other hand, people who are just exploring will wander your whole store, and so will the disoriented. And finally those who have no interest will either leave after a quick glance, or add to cart and then leave.

Finding the trigger with your target audience will not be an easy job. The good news is that your audience is most likely willing to tell you what they like to buy. Asking them is a great way to find out, and social media can be your best friend here.

Why should I sell personalized products on my online store?

Personalization isn’t just a trend anymore. Selling personalized print on demand products is a natural evolution in today's 'instant gratification' economy where consumers have grown accustomed to having access to on-demand, customized services.

Here are 4 reasons to start selling personalized products

The time is now

Personalization started to become more important online around 2013. Expectations are that the market will still grow in the coming years, and as technology is progressing every passing day, it becomes important for you to adapt to it before it becomes mainstream.

This new technology makes it possible to offer your customers the latest products suitable for personalization. It’s not just t-shirts and hoodies anymore.

Companies like plunged into the market at the right time and the success of the venture is well known.

Build a brand and stand out from the crowd

As an ecommerce business, you have to do something that others aren’t doing. In the online market, your customers can compare prices of the common products literally at their fingertips.

So, you have to offer something unique and personal that keeps your customers coming back.

Product personalization is something where you can offer a lot of unique concepts and designs to your customers which give them reasons to come to you instead of your competitors.

Create better engagement and customer loyalty

Offering personalized products helps you build trust and customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to buy a product they designed themselves as they have put some effort into it.

One they receive the product and like it, they are bound to share, rate and comment on their buying experience and come back to you to shop for more. Customers who are happy with their purchase readily share photos of their personalized products online, helping to transform shoppers into brand ambassadors.

Especially smaller businesses are uniquely positioned to provide customers with an intimate and custom shopping experience that many customers (especially Millennials) are seeking.

It’s more cost-effective

Many print on demand businesses are hesitant to introduce personalized products in their store because of the perceived high cost of a good product personalization software. But there is no need for that.

Setting up a store with personalized products is not much different than setting up a regular ecommerce store. It simply means you will switch from automatic to manual fulfillment and create good workflows for your team.

Also, the customer is all fine with paying a little extra if you are offering them something worth it. The extra should cover the costs for the manual fulfillment.

Last, customization helps companies differentiate their products from those of their competitors. The Internet is rapidly making it easier for customers to compare the prices of products with standard features, so standing out is a must.

How To Make A Difference Selling Personalized Items

As said, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Focus on a quick turnaround time

Nowadays customers are used to waiting a little while for personalized items. if you can promise quicker goods and faster delivery, they’re more likely to pick you. Just remember it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around.

Quality is everything

Lots of companies offer to print on apparel, mugs and canvases. Not many companies offer to print on other high quality products. Whichever you choose, make sure the quality is top notch.

Start small

If you already have a successful store, adding a hundred personalized goods on top of that could completely overwhelm you. Try just a few at first, and scale up if it makes sense.

Ask your customers

You’ll be surprised by how much feedback you get when you simply ask “do you like these items? What else would you like us to offer?”

How much can you charge for personalized products?

Pricing is always a hot topic and opinions differ. Lower your prices and you may create a perception you’re cheap and sell low quality products. Price too high and people will move to your competitor.

The biggest advantage you have with unique personalized print on demand products is that the competition is low, or non-existent. Still you need to take into account what people are willing to pay. Most times though, they are willing to pay more than you expect at first.

The solution? Test what works best for your audience. It’s the only way to know for sure.

So is selling personalized print on demand products the better choice?

Short answer: Yes.

Slightly longer answer: Yes, but it depends.

Let me explain that.

Selling a unique design on a print on demand product still works. Your product just needs to solve an annoying problem or feed an irrational passion for a specific audience. Otherwise you’re just applying a red ocean strategy.

Selling a personalized design on a print on demand product works. Again, your design and product needs to evoke a deeper emotion in your customer. More important, it needs to be something unique.

Unique doesn’t mean that people can only buy it from you (but if that is the case - awesome!), unique also means the customer experience needs to be as good as possible before, during and after the sale.

Creating an awesome customer experience is a blue ocean strategy that not many print on demand businesses focus on yet. The primary focus is still on sales. The keyword here is ‘yet’.

Once business owners start to realize that the customer experience makes the biggest difference to their bottom line we’ll see a massive shift to personalization.

Don’t wait until you’re too late. Take action now!

Grow your business with The POD Partner!

We make running your print on demand business easier. We can help you set up your backend operations, or fully manage it on your behalf with the goal of improving the customer experience and giving you more time to focus on the stuff you’re good at!

If manual order fulfillment for personalized products gives you headaches, we love to have a chat to see if we can help you out!

Marcel Behrens

Marcel Behrens

Founder of The POD Partner