So, here you are– you’ve identified your niche, chosen your sales platform, and configured your online shop. Whew! Now, it’s time to fill the ‘shelves’. Do I hear you say: “Let’s gooooo!”?
Now, not so fast. I know that you’re probably tempted to fill it with a whole lot of ‘this-and-that’, to make potentially everybody that comes in the (virtual) shop door happy. I’ve been there – and it didn’t get me anywhere.
If you’re a more strategic type, you’ve probably ‘hit pause’ and are asking yourself: What are the best-selling print-on-demand products? What do buyers want? Because you want your products to be in demand.
You’re on the right track if you’re thinking strategically, instead of blindly listing products that you think or hope will have appeal, or that you like. That’s another common pitfall. Have you ever heard the saying: “Give the people what they want?” There is no better time to apply this adage than when picking your online store’s products.
Based on my research of Printful, here are the 5 best-selling print-on-demand products:
This always-popular choice is in even more demand in the colder months, not surprisingly.
The humble hoodie is everywhere – but it gets elevated in style and stature by the application of your unique designs. People just love to express themselves through a unique style or ‘gettable’ saying or slogan on their everyday wear. They want to stand out to others– mostly others in a particular niche that are ‘in the know’.
Identifying Winning Products
According to Wholesale Ted, Printful’s best-selling hoodie is the Gildan 18500 (Brand/Style). It’s a heavier weight than normal, which makes it ideal for fall and winter selling, and is available in 12 colors (and a whopping 24 on their own website!).
It’s a bonus to be able to offer your customers this amount of selection, but first, bear in mind the colors inherent in your designs as you begin to list them. It’s almost a guarantee that not every hoodie color on offer is going to go with any particular design. You want the colors to be harmonious– or, proven complementary.
So, be judicious at the listing phase when you select the hoodie colors that you want to make available per each design. After all, you don’t want to become known for offering ugly, jarring color combinations! Or for offering black print on navy, or white print on cream….everything has to ‘pop’ and not look muddy or murky.
Picking a brand and style of clothing that customers like to wear is crucial, because if they like it, then you can turn them into repeat customers. Currently, this style of hoodie (Gildan 18500) stands at more than 1470 seller reviews, with a 4.5-star rating– so I’d highly recommend you put them in your store if you are selling garments.
This is another thing that I really like about Printful – you can check other sellers’ ratings before deciding to launch your products. It’s good to get an idea of the winning products this way.
Stickers – not just for kids!
Believe it or not, stickers fared overall as the fourth best-selling product in stores using the Printful app. Surprised? I was, too. But then if you think about it, they’re fun and catchy, and they make an excellent add-on product. At $3 or even $4 each, they’re easy to throw into the shopping cart along with any major items. If a customer already has their credit card out and is ready to pay $50 for a hoodie– what’s an extra few dollars?
Again, stickers are all about self-expression – a valuable component of all niches. You can slap them onto backpacks, notebooks, fridges, and laptops — the possibilities are endless.
The Meaning of Life – In Stickers
Although stickers are a small product, they can convey a strong message to the world. So make sure your designs matter to the people you’re targeting because a good sticker will resonate with them.
Thinking about your ideal customer– can you describe what would attract them to your brand? Is there a certain aesthetic or lifestyle your brand represents or is aligned with? Or maybe your clothing line stands for certain views or values?
Let’s say you sell clothing and home interior pieces that fit within the Americana aesthetic. What images and slogans ‘say’ it in shorthand? What would people in that niche know and love? That’s your starting point.
I therefore highly recommend creating stickers to match your T-shirt and mug designs, and any other associated products. If someone loves your design, they may love it equally on different products that they (or a gift recipient) will use daily and treasure. It will also give your store that ‘fun factor’ that makes buyers smile, and keen to check back often to see what’s new.
Stickers are always in style!
Ah, yes– the ubiquitous mug. Used in our kitchens, dens, and at our (WFH and work-work) desks. Who’d be without one– or three?
Just how much do we love our mugs? Here’s an interesting snippet from Wix eCommerce:
Research from Heinz Cup found that 60% of us have an unnaturally close relationship (with) our mugs with almost four in 10 people saying they wouldn’t want anyone else sharing it. It’s easy to see how selling the right customizable mug can translate into big sales.
Again, mugs with designs and messages that resonate with the customers in your niche are going to translate into sales.
Printful’s best-selling and most popular mug overall is their Classic White Mug. It makes a great blank canvas for lots of designs so it’s a winner for just that. But if you’re looking to create a little more interest, then you can go with the second most popular style of mug from Printful’s catalog, which is their color mugs. And, their black mugs are a close third, for a bolder statement piece.
What’s the Big Deal About Mugs?
The thing is, most people don’t just buy mugs out of necessity. They’re more like collection pieces kept in their cupboards that reflect their tastes, hobbies, and personalities.
I know a lot of people that live simply, but their kitchen cupboards and display shelves are positively heaving with a variety of mugs, all carefully curated from different places and times in their lives. There’s a value imbued in them that makes them nearly impossible to ever throw out. And so, the collection grows! Bear that in mind, as in “one can never have too many mugs!”
What design shouldn’t go on a mug? Anything generic, one-size-fits-all mug designs, or that could easily be found at your local dollar store. Be as specific for your niche as you possibly can.
Let’s say you sell athletic wear for people who love the keto diet. Here’s your perfect chance to create a mug with a witty quote or meme about their diet philosophy!
When your ideal customer sees this mug in your store, they’ll feel a bit excited, like it was made especially for them. And, well, wasn’t it? The more niche-specific and personalized the mug you sell, the better. They might also like the matching T-Shirt and sticker. Cross-selling works, remember! There’s no harm in getting the most mileage from your designs, either.
It pays to keep adding to your store’s own collection of mugs. Follow the seasons, trends, and holidays. Have fun with it! No doubt your customers will, too.
There’s nothing like a mug with a message.
The answer as to which product has made the most money on Printful is Unisex T-shirts.
Considering all the products that Printful sells, Unisex T-shirts were by far their number one top seller. Now, some people might be surprised to hear that because there’s a bit of a feeling out there maybe that the T-Shirt market is saturated. In truth, I believed that too, at the start. But, the demand only seems to be growing.
Printful’s Power Couple
Out of all Printful’s T-shirt offerings, there are two styles that easily outsold the rest. The first one is the Gildan 64000 Softstyle. This was the second most popular T-shirt with customers this past year and is the lowest-cost T-shirt on Printful.
And so, a lot of new stores will likely go for this T-shirt–because of its high-profit margins while also appealing to customers since it’s so soft and comfortable to wear.
But if you can afford it, you may want to look at the most popular T-shirt overall on Printful, which is the Bella+Canvas 3001. Sure, it is a bit more expensive, but customers really love it, going by reviews. You will still make your investment (base cost) back with a higher price margin.
The Appeal of ‘Made in the USA’
Also, it’s good to know that the brand Bella+Canvas has a strong USA focus in its manufacturing. Increasingly, customers care about where and how their products are made and prefer to support home-grown manufacturers.
The Unisex T-Shirt follows the same selling philosophy as hoodies, but for warmer weather (or peeking out from under a cardi in cooler months!). By this, I mean that people like to wear their messages and get noticed for them.
Spend your time crafting quality designs, or even outsource some professional designs. Fiverr is a good market for them, and you could find a favorite designer to keep at your fingertips for all your T-shirt design needs.
Get to Know Your Design Apps
There is also a fantastic app called Kittl that you should investigate, as they have pre-made but modifiable designs that you can tweak to suit your style and message. It is available in a free plan, and then 3-tier pricing follows depending on your needs. By all means, jump in and get started for free!
You may know from one of my previous posts that we adore Canva, which has a wealth of resources including stock photos and design elements that you can use to your heart’s content. They really are a one-stop shop for your projects. Again, they offer a free plan and a Pro plan which is priced very reasonably for all that you get, and it’s a very easy-to-use platform.
Above all, if customers can appreciate your efforts to present quality designs that ‘speak’ to them, it should pay off in spades, and they’ll keep coming back.
Always go for the ‘Wow’ factor.
It’s no secret: people love their phones! And what do they love more than their phones? “Dressing” them up, of course!
Not to mention: most people upgrade their phones on average every two years, at the end of their mobile-network supplier contracts. It’s out with the old, and in with the new!
Phones are one of the most adored and ubiquitous fashion accessories nowadays, and you’ll need to keep up by offering loads of design selections in your store for this key piece.
Evergreen, but Peaks in the Autumn
Naturally, you can market phone cases all year round, but they’re especially hot whenever new phone models launch. The steady search volume from google trends for phone cases shows that no matter the time of year or occasion, people are always eager to protect their tech from scratches and bumps.
And if you look closer, you’ll see where search volume spikes around the autumn, when new phone models are released. You are well advised to work on your designs during the summer months in order to be ready to push them out for this increased demand. Don’t be late for that party!
Printful carries iPhone and Samsung phone cases, along with a biodegradable option for iPhones. It’s a good idea to offer all of these, and see which are your biggest sellers.
Phone cases can be paired with other items in your collection as an accent piece or to match your apparel items. Remember when I mentioned cross-selling with stickers? This is another example of that same opportunity.
Mobile phone cases: a bit like portable art!
So, there you have it: an answer to “What are the Best-Selling Products in Print on Demand?
These five items are a good solid core for your store’s offerings. Get your designs together, build your collections, and then start to look at other products that you can branch into, and possibly use for more cross-selling pairs later on.
But, I’m sure you can tell that building your store’s foundation will keep you more than busy enough for now. So– dig in, and get those collections up and running! I hope you love what you create.
To moving forward,
About the Author
Dani Sherman, CEO at EcomGemini
Dani's been immersed in the online space for the past several years, and she loves to share the valuable lessons she's learned. She's here to help you get started with your own dreams of running a successful online business. Her weekly blog focuses on all things Print-On-Demand and eCommerce. So, check back often to see what's new, and to be inspired!