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A Complete Guide To Successfully Launching A Photo Canvas Printing Business

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Thanks to smartphones, photography is now ubiquitous. Anyone can capture memories of people and places at any time, and the obvious next step is displaying those memories on stretches of canvas, which digital printing has made possible.

From the deeply discounted to the expensively priced, there are printing vendors to suit all tastes and buyers with budgets of all sizes. If there is an entrepreneurial streak in you, dipping your toes into the pond of photo canvas printing does not involve too many startup costs.

Plus, it will bring you a steady income stream once you have established yourself. This quick guide shares concrete tips on how you can establish your own photo canvas printing business and put all that time spent at home to good use:

1. Plan out your online storefront

You can go for two options — an offline business with your physical store and workshop or an online web-to-print portal. Offline is more expensive, not to mention vastly less popular now that most companies have transitioned online due to the pandemic.

Therefore, you can set up an online storefront from the comfort of your home and target a broad audience of customers at the same time. A photo canvas printing business is one of the easiest to take internationally if you opt for the web-to-print model.

This is where customers place a print order on your site that is then outsourced to the printing and shipping vendors — from a single dashboard. By tying up with the right fulfillment partners, you can cater to as many cities and countries as you like.

It also keeps your costs lower, as only the products your buyers customize and order for themselves are the ones that get printed, which means you need not invest money in getting the materials sourced beforehand.

When planning out your online storefront front, think of the impression you want to create on a first-time visitor, just like you would for an actual shop window. What is the name of your store? What are the dominant color schemes?

What features will your web-to-print have? What will be the tone of your site content? Brainstorm ideas and pick the ones that go best with the vision you have in mind for your photo canvas printing business.

2. Choose the right online photo print editor 

A photo canvas printing storefront needs to offer an easy-to-use  online photo product editor and an attractive site layout with all the functionality one expects from any top-quality eCommerce site. 

Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento are all good options to consider with both free and paid versions for the latter.

But if you want something that enables your customers to personalize print-ready templates and place orders easily, and you manage the orders, sort out printing asap and integrate with many third-party MIS, ERP, and workflow systems, then web-to-print is ideal.

We suggest investing in it because the technology gives you more advanced functionality and plugins and helps you reach a wider audience. Plus, it is scalable and customizable as per your business requirements.

3. Do your market research

market trends for canvas printing

This is the part that many new entrepreneurs skip, thinking they will figure it out on the go. But by avoiding market research, they are setting up themselves for failure. The photo canvas printing industry is highly diverse, and different demographics want different things.

Please do your research on different audience types, based on age, gender, location, income level, and so on, and see the kinds of products they are most likely to buy. Then, pick the niche you are most interested in and think will bring you the most returns.

At the same time, have a good look at what competitors in that space are doing so that you can identify gaps and offer services that fill up those gaps.

Cannot Overlook: The Ultimate Guide for Online Photo Product Print Business

4. Offer customized product options

canvas photo printing b2c

Customization is not the complete novelty it once was. Mega brands like LL Bean or Nike allow their buyers to tweak products to their exact taste before buying. At the same time, offering customization in your photo canvas printing products will set you apart from competitors who offer only a limited range of options.

One of the prerequisites for customization to work is to have a product designing software that is easy to use across devices and browsers.

Your customer may be logging in from a smartphone while on the go, so make sure to have an interface without too many tiny buttons that the customer could press by mistake on the touchscreen of their devices.

Offer a wide range of possibilities, like different colors, textures, backgrounds, fonts, grids, text boxes, masking and overlay, and son, but keep the tool itself simple.

A drag-and-drop interface tends to be popular, as customers can move elements around until they have a look they are happy with. Be sure to invest in a tool that lets you make changes at the backend if needed and has a secure storage and admin panel.

5. Choose your printing options

printing methods

You cannot be too careful when choosing the right printing option for your business, as customers expect exact replicas of the designs they pick on durable material. You can set up the printing equipment and do it yourself.

Otherwise, if you do not have the resources, as is likely when you are starting — outsource it to a reliable third-party vendor. There are three main types of printing you need to be aware of:

  • Offset printing:

This is the most commonly used for photo canvas printing and a highly cost-effective method and involves an ink image being transferred from the plate to a rubber surface to the canvas. 

  • Dye sublimation:

This technique permanently embeds the image into the canvas surface rather than printing it on top, making it a highly durable option. At the same time, it can be expensive unless used for mass production.

  • Inkjet printing:

In this technique, hundreds of tiny ink guns fire ink droplets onto the canvas surface and recreate high-quality images.

Check Right Now: Digital vs. Offset Printing: Why Inkjet Printing Is Growing And Worth Investing In?

6. Market your photo canvas printing store

There is no surprise that a company that does not have a solid online presence in today’s digital-first world is pretty much doomed to fail. The moment you set up your website, therefore, it is time to market yourself aggressively.

Your website’s SEO should be impeccable, with all necessary keywords integrated into the content and site URLs. You also need to audit your advanced online document editor for responsiveness and loading time, as customers are unlikely to wait if your homepage takes more than a few seconds to load. 

Writing quality website content is an essential part of boosting your SEO ranking — make sure your page descriptions and any blog articles you have are on point. The same applies to your social media posts, which should be relevant and regular without exception.

Investing a certain amount in paid advertising helps you cut through the competition and get your name out there while your organic content builds traction. Google Ads lets you set up a campaign by bidding on the keywords of your choice based on the budget you have set.

You can also run ads on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, either as promoted posts or Stories that customers can swipe upon to visit your website. Above all, if you want to set yourself apart from the competition indeed, keep a two-way conversation going with your customers.

Host contests on social media, and invite your followers to share user-generated content with prizes for the best. Plus, be sure to keep interacting with your customers by responding to their comments, particularly any product questions or order-related queries they may have. 

This shows that you care about what they think, making it likelier that they will trust you enough to keep coming back.

7. Keep monitoring your performance

As you launch your web-to-print store and the customers start coming in, you will be able to gauge for yourself how well your marketing efforts are working and whether your customers like your products.

Use an analytics platform to monitor your performance and make adjustments as needed, like changing when an ad is displayed or taking down an underperforming ad.

Be attuned to what your customers are saying as well. If certain products are looking for, or any design modifications that they want, or a shipping vendor that is consistently delaying order fulfillment, be sure to respond.

This, again, calls for a consistent social media presence so that your customers know they can reach out to you if they need something.

Consistency is key

Above all, do not be disheartened if you do not start making profits right away. Canva printing a highly competitive market and jostling for space with established competitors can and will be challenging.

What you need to do is to embrace web-to-print technology, offer high-quality services and market your business smartly. It will take a few months, but you will undoubtedly see the returns coming in. Are you looking for web-to-print software for your business? Please book your free consultation with us today!

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Saumya Nawab
Saumya Nawab

Saumya is a skilled marketer who manages marketing communications at Design’N’Buy. From content and social media to branding and PR, Saumya looks after all aspects of digital marketing meticulously at Design’N’Buy. She collaborates extensively with the sales and operations teams to provide the best service to her clients. She proudly holds a masters degree in business administration and a diploma in international businesses.

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