Back to Posts

How to Make Your First Sale with Print on Demand

Author icon
By Emily Nelson - July 5, 2022- in Go-Getter Blog

You launched your ecommerce store, opened your digital doors for orders, & are waiting for that first sale. Now what? 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed figuring out the next steps, but the good news is there’s plenty of room to earn a profit in ecommerce. Research shows that ecommerce will make up 22% of global retail sales by 2023, up from 14.1% in 2019. 

Get in on your share of the ecommerce market by finding your target audience and giving them the products they’re looking for. Here’s how to start gaining traction & earning those first dollars in your ecommerce empire.

Start with Your Personal Network

Sure, it feels great to win a sale from a total stranger who happens upon your store & falls in love with it on the spot. But one of the most effective ways to get your first sales with print on demand is through your personal network. You’ll get some momentum going & can also earn your first valuable online reviews to establish your business credibility. 

Ask your friends, family, or drum up sales on your social media channels. Instead of offering everyone a discount, release a limited-time coupon code that lasts a day or two. You’ll spark some interest & entice those early sales without the struggle.

Offer Unique Customizations

Your target market doesn’t have much incentive to buy if your competitors are offering the same products. Instead, stand out from a saturated marketplace by offering unique customizations. Give your customers options to add their own slogans, quotes, colors, & design options. 

With no minimum orders, CustomCat makes it easy to produce just one or thousands of designs. We work with small businesses, consumers who want their own DIY customizations, & large enterprise corporations with high volumes of orders. Just upload your designs to your library & CustomCat will expertly produce, fulfill, & ship out your order with a focus on customer care.

Learn more about how to get started with CustomCat here.

Partner with Micro-Influencers

You don’t need the Kardashians to help sell your ecommerce products. Instead, look to micro-influencers with engaged audiences of 10,000 to 50,000 followers. But your ideal micro-influencer may have just a few thousand followers if your market is especially niche, like senior citizen outdoor enthusiasts who love to travel. 

There are a few ways you can work with micro-influencers to help launch your online store. Sending out samples & free products with hopes of a mention or review is one strategy. You can also set up an affiliate sale relationship with your influencers & receive a cut of your sale. Offering to pay for a sponsored post or campaign could also prove worth your time & resources. 

Before you work with a micro-influencer, ask about any past campaigns they worked on or if they have a media kit. It’s also essential to study their audience & see how they respond to their posts to get an idea of what to expect.

Host a Giveaway

Hosting a giveaway is standard advice in the ecommerce world for good reason. It stirs interest in your product & helps spread the word about your business. But make sure you have a broader strategy in place.

Instead of just hosting a giveaway, make it more competitive. Install a plugin like Giveaway Ninja with your online store that prompts social actions to earn more entries. You’ll grow your social media or email list, reach a broader audience, & grow your traffic.

Choose a Marketing Channel You Already Love

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel if you already have a marketing channel you love. Whether it’s Google Ads or Instagram Stories, you can reach your target audience by using the knowledge you already have. 

There is a caveat. Make sure your audience is active on your marketing channel of choice. For example, LinkedIn is ideal for targeting busy professionals or the B2B industry. TikTok is perfect for reaching college students & young adults, & Facebook is popular with 25 to 35-year-olds. Take some time to research your demographics to determine where to focus your time & resources.

Find a Quirky Holiday to Celebrate

While all the other online stores offer New Year’s sales, you can focus on the quirkier holidays, like Polar Bear Plunge Day. Swimsuits in winter? Winter-weather activewear jackets? Whatever you’re selling, you can find a weird holiday to spin a campaign off of & attract more attention. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Clean Off Your Desk Day – Perfect for selling POD organizational tools, pens, notepads, tote bags, & more. 

Plan a Solo Vacation Day – Help your solo traveling audience embrace their next adventure with print-on-demand stainless steel water bottles, backpacks, activewear jackets, and luggage ID tags.

Answer Your Cat’s Question Day – Cat lovers will rejoice in all the quirky feline products you can find. Whether it’s a unique summer T-shirt or home decor pillows, there should be a cat on it that answers all of their questions.

Sisters’ Day – Sisters deserve their own day to celebrate one another. Offer customized apparel, housewares, & accessories with the best quotes & sentiments about sisters.

American Beer Day – Give your customers a reason to celebrate American Beer Day with customized beer steins.

Start Building an Email List Right Away

Building an email list pairs well with other marketing strategies, like giveaways & working with micro-influencers. Start capturing emails right away through your website or social media channel with promises to send updates on your grand opening or product releases. 

As your email list grows, warm up your subscribers with flash sales & customized product options. It can take time to see traction, but once your email list hits an engaged audience, you’ll have a viable sales channel that gets results.

Gather Inspiration From Your Competition

Your competition offers invaluable clues to how to succeed in ecommerce, but the goal isn’t to copy what they’re doing. After all, you won’t stand out without a unique angle in the market. Instead, look at what your competitors are doing well & where you can make improvements. 

If your competitors’ audience is quiet on Facebook but actively engaged on Instagram, focus your efforts accordingly. If their customer base responds positively to tons of visuals & clever copy, think of how you can emulate a similar strategy while putting your own spin on it.


Need more ideas? Get more inspiration on what to do when your online store doesn’t get sales right away. Read more.

How did you make your first sale with print on demand? Let us know by leaving a comment below!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *