How to Start a Phone Case Business With Print on Demand

Smartphones become more popular every year: over the past 10 years, global sales have grown from $472 million (in 2011) to more than $1.5 billion (in 2021). It is obvious that the market of protective accessories for smartphones does not stand still too: in 2019, it was estimated at $81.4 billion, and it promises to increase by nearly $71 billion by 2029. In such circumstances, starting a phone case business is quite profitable, including printing to order. In this article, we will look at why it is beneficial and how to start POD in 8 easy steps.

Table of contents

Is phone cases business profitable?

How to start a phone case company in 8 steps


The POD business of selling phone covers opens up ample opportunities for modern business people to develop, conquer new markets, and attract profits. 

This is due to the following factors:

  • The population is growing: according to UN forecasts, it may reach 8.5 billion people by 2030. 
  • More people wish to have phones: in January 2020 — January 2021, mobile users increased by 1.8% (+93 million). 
  • Smartphones are becoming more affordable for purchase: options with the best price and quality appear every day.
  • Mobile Internet is taking over the world: 9 out of 10 users admit that they use smartphones to access the Internet. 

The modern consumer strives to always have a phone at hand, especially in a pandemic. Smartphones are now a tool for making fast online purchases and secure electronic payments.

All of the above factors affect the market situation positively. In such realities, a POD startup to manufacture phone cases has every chance to become a large recognizable company in its field. 

However, there are also some obstacles: competition among phone cases brands, especially iPhone, and unstable demand among different audiences (boomers, villagers) who use smartphones less actively. To avoid problems, it is worth thinking over a development strategy in advance.

Can you start your POD company without any inventory?

Identify your target niche

A business starts with an idea, and an idea starts with a need. Therefore, the first step should be analysis, finding a balance between demand and competition. Focus on areas that big brands did not capture, such as hand-embroidered items or the eco POD phone cases.

This is exactly what Andrew Moore, the owner of Felony Case, did in his time. He opted for fashionable iPhone cases because he noticed a high demand in the market. It became the foundation for a profitable business.

Your marketing research plan might look like this:

  • Analyze industry brands and high-income companies, their assortment, and business strategies.
  • Find your target audience to focus on when choosing a design for covers and preparing ads.
  • Study the audience's requirements for accessories: phone models, style, material, prints, price, etc.

The obtained data will be helpful to you when you will select the characteristics of accessories and develop a strategy for the best print-on-demand phone cases.

Choose types of phone cases

This is another step towards choosing a path in a niche. And here, you cannot omit analysis as well. To find out more about popular cases, use Google Trends and analyze requests, take a look at marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, Etsy) and social networks (Pinterest, etc.). You will understand what products and background images are in demand.

Popular cover types:

  • Bumper: worn around the perimeter of the device for side protection.
  • Back cover: protects the sides of the smartphone and the rear part, so buttons and connectors remain accessible. 
  • Book/wallet: covers the gadget on all sides and often has separate pockets for money.
  • Flip: differs from the previous one in that its cover opens vertically downward.
  • Battery: pad or book with built-in battery for charging.
  • Wrist: Has an arm mount for sports activities. 

You can choose one cover type or several, depending on the target audience. For example, a wrist cover is relevant for athletes, and a mirror phone case is suitable for teenagers. Wallet phone cases win in terms of design opportunities as they completely cover the smartphone.

Design phone case

Choose the material for the production: this will determine your possibilities in the design. To make your own phone cases inexpensively or test a drawing, you may choose plastic, silicone, or rubber. Plastic is convenient for drawing patterns of any complexity. 

If you choose leather, leatherette, or suede, you will have to abandon standard patterns in favor of expensive options, for example, hand embroidery. Want to make an eco-friendly wooden case for a phone? Get ready to handle complex engraving orders. 

To develop a style, take ideas from Google, social networks, and stores. You can involve your team to do it faster. Don't forget that the style should appeal to customers and be associated with your brand. 

phone cases store

Set up prices

Pay attention to pricing policy. It is simple since you already have basic data about your target audience and competitors. Think about the price that will cover the manufacturing costs of custom phone case production and attract customers. 

But remember that you still have to create an online store, find POD partners (they usually have different cooperation terms), and launch advertising. Of course, it requires an investment. A flexible approach will help you: calculate the price for a product depending on the cost of the entire batch + 50% and additional fees.

Create your brand 

It's time to make your brand recognizable among competitors: come up with a unique name, develop a logo, formulate a mission and values. The name and mission should correspond to your vision of print-on-demand phone cases as well as be vivid and memorable.

Color palette plays an essential role in a brand logo. You may study the psychology of color in advance to create the most attractive look. To avoid mistakes at this stage, we recommend contacting professional naming copywriters and designers, for example, from the Dribbble online community.

Create your online store

Decide on the print-on-demand platform to build your website. For example, Wix is ​​an e-commerce platform that offers ample opportunities to run a POD business and collaborate with large fulfillment companies.

To start on-demand sales, you may need to purchase a tariff plan. It gives you access to professional website development tools and POD applications. When the account is ready, all that remains is to customize the design and place the relevant content prepared by copywriters and designers in the store.

Find print-on-demand company

Connecting a store to POD services is the final step on your journey to your own print-on-demand business in the phone case niche. First, find out what integrations your platform supports. For example, Printify and Printful are available in Wix, and Shopify allows connecting CustomCat and TeeLaunch.

Keep in mind that all print-on-demand sites, drop-ship partners, and e-commerce platforms dictate their own game rules, and your income may depend on them. Therefore, carefully study the terms of cooperation.

Have you chosen the service you need? Open it, set terms of payment and delivery, and fill the product catalog. Here, the previously developed designs will come in handy: you can apply them to virtual products and place them in the showcase using a generator.

Sell ​​your phone case

You're done! Now the process is automated: when your store receives an order, the POD partner will receive a notification and start working. The partner will also wrap the goods in your original packaging and send them to the buyer. All you need to do is update the assortment and control the order status from the administrative panel using the tracking number.

Useful Tips for a Small Business: How to Lower Shipping Costs

So, working on the print-on-demand model simplifies the production of cell phone cases. You relieve yourself of the responsibility for purchasing and storing materials, manufacturing products, packaging covers, and delivery to the end consumer. It allows you to develop your business faster, enter new markets, and manage your income flexibly.

Dreaming of a POD store? Contact Multi-Programming Solutions! We will help you create and configure a store from scratch, develop plugins and modules, and integrate with partners and payment gateways.

PoD ProductsNovember 25, 2021
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