Gelato supports thousands of entrepreneurs around the world with print on demand. We have compiled a few tips to get you up and running.
Table of contents:
- Analyze the market
- Define your brand
- Design your products
- Setup your store
- Connect your store to Gelato
- Additional considerations
1. Analyze the market
Define your niche and target market
Find your niche, a specific customer group defined by its own unique needs:
- Price (luxury, moderate, discount)
- Demographics (gender, age, income/education level)
- Level of quality (premium, handmade)
- Psychographics (values, interests)
- Geographics (country, city)
Tip: Trending niches are great, but many times overcrowded thus harder to get traction in!
Do some competitive analysis
- See what other sellers are offering. You might also be able to get some good insights on how to set up your store.
- Evaluate the saturation level of your niche. Are there many other players out there selling the same kind of product (e.g. customized pet posters) to the same customer segment?
The most common competitor analysis is the so-called SWOT analysis, acronym of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Another source of inspiration about competitive analysis is this insightful article on Shopify’s Blog.
2. Define your brand
Choose a memorable store name
Keep it short. Remember that this will also be your domain name (if you decide to purchase one - more on this below), so ensure that it is available. Your name is important as it’ll impact your logo, your domain, your marketing, and much more, so invest the right amount of time on this.
Tip: You can read more about why we are called Gelato here for some inspiration.
Buy a store domain
This will give your store more credibility. Most e-commerce platforms allow you to buy a domain directly.
Create an appealing logo
There are several options out there with free and paid logo makers. Alternatively, create this yourself if you have any artistic skills or hire a graphic designer.
Here are a few of the companies that can support you:
3. Design your products
Create your products
You can design and create your products directly in the product designer within Gelato’s solution. It allows you to add both images and texts and even for your end-users to personalize the elements you select.
Test your designs
Once you have some designs ready, we recommend placing some test orders via the Gelato Dashboard to see for yourself how your design and colors will be rendered on the specific product you select.
4. Setup your store
Choose the right e-commerce platform or marketplace
In order to set up your store, you can decide to create your own website and develop everything yourself from scratch, or to use an e-commerce platform or a marketplace.
- An e-commerce platform (e.g. Shopify) is a single-seller website where the store owner sells only its products.
- A marketplace (e.g. Etsy), on the other hand, is a website where products from multiple vendors are compiled into one well-organized catalog.
Note: Gelato offers dedicated integrations with Shopify and Etsy. More info here.
Define how your customers will pay you
As part of your store setup, you will need to accept payments from your customers. Check out the options provided by your e-commerce platform or marketplace.
Define your shipping strategy
The shipping setup is different on every platform, so follow the guidelines provided by the one you’ve chosen. Shipping pricing strategies, however, are up to you and depend on your overall commercial strategy as well as on how much you pay Gelato for shipping.
Add a return and international shipping policy
Read our quality guarantee and return policy and adapt it to your store to set your customer expectations. Also, don’t forget that, although we offer local production in 30 countries, some orders might still be shipped internationally and can therefore be subject to customs fees. We suggest you add this information to your store to avoid any surprise for your customers.
5. Connect your store to Gelato
Define how to pay Gelato
You need a valid payment method for your orders to be processed right away. You can add a credit card or deposit funds into your Gelato Wallet - recommended if you are planning to have many recurring orders. If you have higher volumes, get in touch with us to discuss payment via invoice.
Connect your store to Gelato
Use one of the dedicated integrations (Shopify or Etsy) or via open API. We have step-by-step guides for each:
Add products to your store
Once your store is connected to Gelato, it’s time for you to add products. Adding products is easy and our flow can guide you through all the necessary steps: selecting the product, uploading the design, defining a name and a description, selecting beautiful mockups, defining the retail price and publishing to your store.
Note: If you already have products in your store, you can connect them to Gelato in a few clicks. Read more...
Set up fulfillment preferences (auto vs manual approval)
Your orders can be either imported to Gelato and fulfilled automatically - perfect if you are selling static designs - or imported as drafts - the right solution if you sell designs that are customized based on the end-user’s wishes. Importing drafts means you’ll manually approve each order to start the fulfillment of the order.
Place a test order via your store
Once everything is correctly set up, we recommend placing an order from your store to perform a test end-to-end and ensure that the integration works as expected before you start accepting orders from your real customers.
6. Additional considerations
Register your business
Consult a professional to make sure that your store follows all the necessary business laws depending on where you are located and where you intend to sell.
Consult a tax professional
We charge applicable taxes on your orders depending on the item purchased, the shipping destination, the buyer's location, the production (printing) location, and the actual tax rate determined by the applicable state/country and/or local tax rates.
Important: Please note that we cannot offer legal advice on taxes, so please consult a tax professional to find out what taxes to set up for your store and read the section of our Help Center dedicated to taxes and VAT.
Submit legal and tax information to Gelato
Please ensure that you add your legal information to your account, including any relevant certificates (e.g. resale certificate for US businesses).
This guide is dedicated to those who have started but are looking for ways to grow their business.
There is no "silver bullet" or unique recipe for success in an e-commerce business but there are a number of best practices. We have worked with many successful customers. Here are three stories we hope will inspire and spark new ideas and perspectives:
Table of contents
1. Expand your product offering
- Is your product offering too narrow?
- Are your products appealing to the segments you want to target?
- Have you considered cross-selling and up-selling?
- Are there any other products that might be interesting to your target segments?
One of the key advantages of adding new products to your store is to appeal to a larger audience. Also, you might be able to target multiple segments with different products or up-/cross-sell to your existing customer base, and thus increasing your average order value (AOV).
Some examples of both strategies that we've seen work well are:
- Offer frames to your posters
- Offer the same design on multiple products with different price ranges, e.g. on a poster only (basic segment), on a canvas (premium segment), on an acrylic/metallic print (luxury segment)
Gelato offers an extensive catalog of products printed locally on demand thanks to our network of print partners. Adding a new product to your store takes minutes and you can easily test the market response and adapt your offering, pricing and commercial strategy in seconds.
- How to add your products to your Shopify store
- How to add your products to your Etsy store
- How to offer posters with an without frames in Shopify
2. Expand your geographical reach
Another way to increase your market is to expand your geographical reach. This means selling in more countries, thus reaching a higher number of potential customers.
For many merchants, the fact that they are not local makes delivery expensive and time-consuming - if it arrives…
Many times we've heard phrases like: "How do I adapt my supply chain to support global scale?" or "How do I deal with suppliers in a different time zone and who speak a different language?".
We take care of that for you. Over the course of more than 10 years, Gelato has built an extensive network of print and logistics partners that allows our customers to print locally in 30 countries and to deliver to 200+ countries and territories worldwide.
For example, are you only selling locally in the United States and would like to expand globally? No problem! We support thousands of Sellers daily with just that :-) Your products arrive safely to 5 billion potential customers, and in most cases within 72 hours.
- Where does Gelato print locally?
- Which countries does Gelato deliver to?
- How quickly does Gelato deliver?
- How much does shipping cost?
3. Optimize your marketing strategy
According to Shopify, one of the key elements to make dropshipping a success is to focus on marketing and SEO, which becomes particularly important right after you launch your e-commerce business and can easily take most of your time and money.
There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy but based upon our experience working with e-commerce owners from all over the world, here are a few strategies that you can deploy:
Craft a genuine and personal story
Get clear about what you offer to your customers, why you do it better than anyone else, and how you will communicate this to potential customers.
Storytelling in social media
Identify which channels your target customers use, and share content that is valuable to your customers and that they find engaging. Place your products in a context that brings value by e.g. showcasing “five ways to decorate your home office” rather than simply promoting your products.
Advertising in social media
Sponsoring the content you craft in social media channels such as Facebook and Linkedin can be a cost-efficient way to expose your brand to a specific, segmented audience. Choose between anything from the industry your customers work in, their hobbies and interests or where they are located. Installing pixels can help you track and measure the effectiveness of your ads.
Google rewards quality content, so consider starting a blog or writing articles that can help bring traffic to your website. Depending on your business, what topics can you position yourself within? If you are e.g. selling framed cycling maps, what can you share about your passion for cycling trends, tips and training? Use relevant keywords and metadata to boost SEO.
The power of newsletters
Existing customers are your most important audience. They already engage with your products and brand - your mission is to stay relevant and give them good reasons to buy more. However, the same rules apply here - show you value, don’t tell. Craft content that is relevant and that triggers your customers’ interest.
- Welcome to Gelato!
- Getting Started Guide (Manual Orders)
- Getting Started Guide (Shopify integration)
- Getting Started Guide (Etsy integration)
- Frames & Hangers - Stock Status
- What print products do you offer?
- Where can I find product dimensions?
- How can I check your product price?
- How does the sign-up promotion work?
- Why do I get charged VAT/tax on some orders and not others?
- Can I claim back the VAT of my order?
- Where do you print locally?
- How quickly do you deliver?
- How do I estimate the price for shipping?
- Where can I find the flat rates for shipping?
- How do I see where a specific product is being printed?
- I receive an error message when I try to place an order. What should I do?
- Email Notification from Gelato: Order  is on hold - Action required
- How do I contact Gelato?
- Do you offer 24/7 customer support?
- Getting Started with Gelato Customer Service
- What is you return policy and quality guarantee?
- How do I report a problem with my order?
- How do I place a manual order via the Gelato Dashboard?
- How do I check the order status in the Gelato Dashboard?
- How do I check estimated delivery date and tracking in the Gelato Dashboard?