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How to Sustain in Printing Business amid the COVID-19 Crisis

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April 9 2020

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc around the world. It has hard hit every single business.

In our previous blog, we enlisted the importance of switching from your offline store to online print  store amid this pandemic with the required steps. 

We hope you may have already resorted to online printing. If not, you should go for it asap.

And if you have one now, a big congrats! It is said, ‘Well begun is half done.’

Now is the time to execute the second half. 

But what does that include? Challenges an online store poses.

Survival Strategies Post Taking Print Business Online

Online print stores might not be easy-to-run and you might come across a host of challenges, especially in these tough times. 

Nonetheless, if you plan some surefire strategies, you can surmount those challenges and run your online store successfully.

Below are the things worth considering.

Items to Offer:

It is obvious that customers won’t buy all the products they would buy unlike in normal times. For example, custom gift items, shoes, etc. would take a backseat and not attract bigger orders. However, there are yet  items that can attract good sales.

Let’s understand what all products you can sell this time to gain profit. 

Custom T-Shirts

Fundraiser T-Shirts-

These types of-shirts are a valuable merchandise during this time. By integrating t-shirt design tool, you can help NGOs and localized volunteers design a T-shirt to appeal to people to contribute for the COVID-19 cause. 

You can run a fund-raiser campaign yourself. Try selling several t-shirt designs and announce that a fixed percentage of the selling price of each piece will go to COVID-19 contributions. This way, you won’t only be able to sell your t-shirts but also inspire people to contribute for a novel cause. 

Awareness T-Shirts-

To spread awareness about COVID-19, you can offer custom slogans in your product designer quote and text library for customers to print on t-shirts.  

For instance, you can include slogans in your designer tool like ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’, ‘Wash Your Hands. Keep CORONA Away’, ‘Stay Indoors, Serve Your Country’, ‘Stay Indoors, Save Humanity’, etc. 

You can also update your clip art image library with images for the purpose. For instance, you can offer an image of a man staying indoors and a shield around him protecting him from COVID-19 (a symbolic image or caricature) waiting outside and getting frustrated. Or you can work out an image to inform people about the importance of sanitizers.  

Motivational/Inspirational T-Shirts-

Amidst this gloomy and distressing environment prevailing today, motivation and emotional strength are indispensable. You can fill people with motivation and imbibe in them a sense of unity through custom t-shirts. 

For instance, you can offer print with inspirational messages like ‘WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER #COVID-19’, ‘PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING, NOT EMOTIONAL, #COVID-19’, ‘TOGETHER, WE’LL BEAT IT, #COVID-19’, ‘I FOUGHT, I SURVIVED, #COVID-19’. 

Similarly, innovative images and caricatures may also work and convey the message well.

Thanksgiving T-Shirts-

Our doctors, policemen, soldiers, sanitation workers, postmen, etc. are staying outdoors and risking their lives, just to protect and serve us. So, it is high time we acknowledged their services, thanked them and boosted their morale. 

You can offer thanksgiving t-shirts acknowledging their contribution. Include thanks-giving notes like, ‘THANKS DOCS FOR SAVING US, #COVID-19’, ‘HIGHLY INDEBTED TO ESSENTIAl SERVICE PROVIDERS, #COVID-19’. 

Other slogans like ‘WE ARE WITH YOU, DOCS and COPS, #COVID-19’ can also help customers show their support and solidarity. 

In the same way as with other types, you can work out visual designs too.

Community T-Shirts-

Several NGOs or voluntary help groups may require t-shirts that they can use as a uniform. You can offer custom t-shirts by letting them design a t-shirt for themselves and order it from your store. 

They can design custom t-shirts with ‘WE CARE FOR YOU’, ‘WE ARE THERE TO HELP YOU’, etc printed to represent their group identity and boost the team-spirit. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Various 3-D printing companies across the globe have risen to the occasion and have initiated manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) to curb their shortage.

If you have a 3-D printer and enough capital reserve, you can apply for the manufacture of PPE including 3-D printed face shields, surgical masks, hospital gowns, etc. But you need to keep following important points in mind:

- Ensure that you adhere to proper guidelines by health regulatory bodies/authorities and get them approved for use.

- Ensure that you have employees who have proper technical knowledge of advanced 3-D printing.

- Collaborate with raw material suppliers well so as to ensure a continuous supply of raw materials for PPE manufacturing amidst the prevailing lockdown scenario.

- Collaborate with the local government, health regulatory bodies, hospitals and care clinics and supply your PPE to them at nominal rates.

Also, make your social presence known so that people know that you have started printing PPE and local health authorities reach out to you for supplies.

Photo Albums and Signages

People nowadays are finding ways to keep them sane and a bit entertained amidst the sluggish lockdown. It is time when several of them might relive their childhood or youth memories and get lost into nostalgia through photos. As a result, the demand of custom photo albums may soar.

Also, as different government agencies, health regulatory bodies, etc. require custom signages to display information about COVID-19 testing sites, symptom-related drop-off areas, area-wise helpline numbers publicly or spread awareness about the disease. 

Thus, offering custom photo albums and signages may also turn profitable. 

Marketing Strategies

Once you have thought of manufacturing custom products online, the next thing you should think of is the marketing strategy. Though general marketing strategies including on-page SEO, off-page SEO, mailer campaigns, etc. will definitely help, you’ll still need to reinforce them further.

And make them more adapted to the current scenario. 

- Start researching your competitors and offers to get a better idea of their preparation and strategies.

- Research your niche markets. In general, you’ll not be able to get individual customers in today’s scenario. Rather, you’ll be able to get various NGOs, local hospitals or health clinics, or other small help groups. 

Hence, focus more on these niche customers than individual buyers. 

- Set your pricing strategy judiciously. Don’t set it too high or too low. 

To begin with, start with proper assessment of the investment you would make in procuring the raw materials. After that, research market prices as well. Only after properly assessing these two factors, set an optimal price for your PPE.

Pro Tip: If you can afford it, you can also offer the first few models of various PPE for a free trial or at a discounted price. This may not only engage your niche customers but also raise your brand value as people will acknowledge your generous step.

- Try out a social media campaign intended to spread awareness about COVID-19 and how printing can help fight it. 

If your brand is big enough, try collaborating with small-scale print business owners to help them start dealing in PPE. Supply your manufactured PPE to them at a wholesale price so that they can sell it ahead. 

This way, you’ll get an edge in both B2B as well as B2C business.

Are You Ready to Fight the COVID-19 Crisis?

Printing business is undoubtedly witnessing a big crisis. However, there is still a silver lining for your print business. Switching from offline to online printing business and tweaking your marketing strategies may work wonders. 

And you may soon wade through this crisis and swim to the end of this dark tunnel.

Good luck with your fight against the crisis. 

Stay safe, healthy and productive!

See ya with your print business intact soon!

Join us on our FREE webinar on: How to Navigate Printing Business During Global Crisis

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Sulabh Chauhan

With experience in content writing and a good command over Grammar, Sulabh Chauhan is always up for innovative writing. He also possesses good research skills that become the source of valuable content in his posts. With an inclination towards exploring the printing technology, he keeps searching for the latest trends and printing industry practices. He is such a big cinephile that hardly any Friday of his life passes without a movie in a cinema hall!