There are quite a few reasons why you’d like to start a Print On Demand (POD) business but don’t have a website: you might be a business owner looking to use POD to order company merch for new and existing employees, like your own company merch store you might be an artist who is looking for a RedBubble, Etsy or Society6 alternative as you want to control more of the buying experience or you find that sites like RedBubble are too expensive for your clients you want to create POD products to sell at markets you want to manually order POD products you want to sell products online but don’t want to pay ongoing fees for a website you’re intimidated by needing to learn how to order products as well as build an e-commerce store from scratch In this article, we’ll look at some options for being able to manually take orders from customers and then order the products from POD suppliers and have the products mailed directly to the customer. Taking orders online Firstly, I’m going to assume that you have a way to bill or invoice customers directly. This might be through an invoice software platform, through a payment processor like Stripe (using their Stripe Payment links) or PayPal (using their PayPal Pay Me links) or through online form software that connects to a payment processor, like Typeform. Without a website, you might be taking these orders through social media, in-person or through staff requests. Ordering POD products manually You’ve got your request for a product or have had someone make a payment for a product and you’d now like to fulfil the product order manually through a POD supplier. The three main POD suppliers who offer the ability to place manual orders are: Canva Print on Demand – manual orders Gelato POD Prodigi Canva Print on Demand – manual orders Canva is an excellent design software platform that also offers print options. Most people will use the print options to create their own designs for personal use but you can use Canva for manual Print On Demand orders. The process for creating manual orders through Canva and having the product sent directly to the customer or a staff member is: Customer requests product or staff member requests company merch You take payment for customer order You have your design files stored in a Canva You can select the option, for example, to print company t-shirts You’ll then be able to select the options for your company’s merch By clicking the Add to cart button, you’ll be able to use the same design to order in different sizes as per your customer needs. You can then choose the shipping options and complete the order. One important thing to note is that Canva doesn’t include the invoice for your order in the package. This means that your customer won’t see the wholesale price that you’ve charged the customer. When I reached out to Canva support, they confirmed (in February 2023): We understand that you wanted to know if a physical invoice is included in the order. Let me assist you. Please note that we do not have a physical invoice. The shipping label attached to the package indicates the sender and recipient’s details only. We appreciate the feedback regarding the option to add a billing address. For now, the address required for the order is just the shipping address. Gelato POD – manual orders With most POD providers requiring you to link to an existing e-commerce website, it is handy to find some suppliers like Gelato who allow you to create manual POD orders. They do have the option to connect to e-commerce websites but your steps to creating a manual POD order within Gelato is: Sign up for a free Gelato account (there are paid options if you have a higher volume of sales and want discounted shipping and other perks) Choose the Custom option when connecting a store Add new products from Gelato’s extensive product catalogue Create a manual order where you’ll select your own-designed products, choose shipping options and pay for your order. The main benefit to having a RedBubble alternative where you have more control is the ability to access cheaper product prices, cheaper shipping rates and a more personalised experience for your customers or staff. Prodigi manual orders Prodigi is another POD supplier where you can create manual orders without a website in multiple countries. By ordering products yourself and having the products printed and shipped from the country of the buyer, you’ll save in shipping costs and the environmental impact of travel miles. Prodigi has a slightly simpler process for fulfilling orders through their POD dashboard as you don’t need to create a custom “store” to start the order. The steps to creating a manual POD order through Prodigi are: Sign up for a free Prodigi account Choose “+ Create Order” and select your delivery country Choose your product and “Add to basket” You’ll then have the option to add your design to the product After adding your design, you’ll then be able to choose delivery options, review your design and complete the manual POD order (your account will be charged) In Summary As discussed above, there are plenty of reasons why you might need to make a manual order from a print-on-demand provider. Using the three options above you can avoid the extra ongoing cost and time needed to create an e-commerce website and just get your POD products created quickly and cost-effectively. About Print On Demand (POD) and how it works Print on demand (POD) is a type of business model that allows entrepreneurs to create, print, and sell products without having to maintain any inventory. It’s becoming increasingly popular as it eliminates the need for up-front investments in large amounts of stock or inventory. Instead, entrepreneurs can order items as needed, saving money and reducing waste. For entrepreneurs looking to start a POD business, the first step is to select a product. Popular items for print-on-demand include apparel, mugs, notebooks, and posters. After selecting a product, the next step is to choose a printing partner who can produce quality items quickly and cost-effectively. Once the printing partner has been chosen, entrepreneurs can begin creating designs or uploading artwork for their products. Once the products have been designed and printed, entrepreneurs can begin selling them without a website. Here are some of the best ways to get started: Use Social Media Platforms: Create accounts on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Post photos of your products and provide links for customers to purchase them. You can also use these platforms to create ads and reach a wider audience. Sell on Third-Party Marketplaces: Use third-party marketplaces such as Etsy, Redbubble, and Zazzle to sell your products. These sites make it easy for customers to find and purchase your items without having to visit a website. Utilize Email Lists: Create an email list of potential customers and send out regular newsletters with product updates and promotions. Participate in Local Events: Participate in local craft fairs and events to get the word out about your products. Doing so will help you reach a larger audience and increase sales. Reach Out to Influencers: Reach out to influencers in your niche who can help promote your products on their platforms. Utilize Paid Ads: Invest in paid advertising to reach a larger audience and drive more sales. Popular platforms for POD businesses include Google Ads and Facebook Ads, as well as other social media platforms. Network with Other Businesses: Reach out to other business owners in your niche and form partnerships or collaborations to increase visibility and sales.