Starting a Phone Case Business: An 8 Step Guide with 8 Expert Tips

Starting a Phone Case Business: An 8 Step Guide with 8 Expert Tips

Summary

It’s surely not going to be an ‘OMG What!’ moment if I tell you that as of 2024, an estimated 4.88 billion people own a smartphone. That’s an increase of 635 million new smartphone users over the past year alone (between 2023 and 2024).

Current reports suggest that the mobile phone cover market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.3% to 8.3% from 2023 to 2030.

This suggests that the market for phone cases is exceedingly large. If you plan to sell phone cases online, there has never been a better time.

Once you find a niche, you can go online with zero inventory and minimum setup costs using print-on-demand solutions. You can enable product customization in your store to thrive in the competitive market. This guide aims to help you build and grow your business.

Bring your creativity and entrepreneurial abilities to the table while we bring our technical expertise. And let’s find out how to sell phone cases.

1. Conduct a Market Research

Successful business owners always start their journey with diligent research. Whatever it takes – talking with 50 people in the industry, reading every online article, etc.; to gather as much information as possible. Here’s what your research plan must include:

Leaders of the Market – This includes studying a brand, company, or group that has the highest percentage of total revenue in the phone cases market. Study everything—what are they selling? How are they selling? What’s their marketing strategy, etc.

Market Size – this means finding out the number of people who might be interested in purchasing from you. This will help you create effective strategies that will help you in the long run.

Target market – you should clearly know who you want to sell the phone cases to. Think about the groups that are most likely to purchase from you. For instance, teenagers might be your ideal customers looking for superhero cases. A working professional might look for a practical, and minimalist case design. Identifying a target customer base will help you make further decisions like choosing the cover, design of the website, marketing strategy, etc.

Expert Tip: The key to selling phone cases online successfully is to identify a gap in the market. Look for potential customer pain points and introduce your product to solve those problems. That way, your brand will get noticed.

For this, you can start by identifying your competition and then analyze their strengths and weaknesses. This will give you a good idea of what you need (skills, ideas, strategies) to be successful.

2. Create a Business Plan

The previous step was all about gathering essentials. You will jump into the water to win the game in this part. A business plan will help you give direction to your ideas. Here, you have to make some critical decisions, like choosing the type of phone case, naming your brand, and setting a financial strategy.

1. Phone Models

Before choosing the type of phone cover you want to sell, you need to decide what phone models you want to support. For this, you need to see which phones are popular in your region.

The Samsung Galaxy S23, Apple iPhone 14 Pro, Google Pixel 7 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Motorola Moto Edge+, Google Pixel 7a, Samsung Galaxy A54 5G, Samsung Galaxy A14 5G, OnePlus 11, and Motorola Razr+ are among the best phones for 2023.

There is no shortage of resources online that will help decide the right model.

You can even do keyword research to find out what people are demanding. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Keywords Everywhere, or KWFinder enable you to track the search volume.

Keyword Research

(Do a Keyword Research to Get An Idea About What’s in Demand)

2. Types of Phone Cases

There are a host of options for types of phone cases. Some are tough cases which provide great protection while some are visually appealing. Here’s a list of popular types:

  • Hard Phone Cases: These cases are crafted from lightweight plastic or plastic-like materials and are specifically designed to fit your phone’s make and model. They offer basic protection against scratches and small drops.
  • Gel/TPU Phone Cases: These cases are made from a soft, stretchable plastic called thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is available in various colors. They provide a cushioning effect during drops and resist scratches.
  • Silicone Phone Cases: These cases are made of flexible silicone, offering a better grip to prevent accidental drops. The thin, elastic design ensures a snug fit and can absorb impact force during drops.
  • Tough Phone Cases: These cases provide extra protection against drops and impacts, usually made from a combination of hard plastic and silicone. They are thicker and heavier compared to other cases.
  • Wallet Phone Cases: These cases serve as both a phone case and a wallet, often made from leather with a polycarbonate insert to hold the phone. Popular among those who want to carry their phone and wallet together.
  • Leather Phone Cases: These higher-end cases are similar in weight and size, to gel, silicone, and hard cases, but they are made of leather, offering a stylish appearance and coming in various colors and designs.
  • Flip Phone Cases: These cases have a cover that flips over the front of the phone to protect the screen. They are usually made of leather or synthetic materials and offer good protection against scratches and minor drops.
  • Clear Phone Cases: Transparent cases that allow the phone’s original design to show through. They are typically made of hard plastic or TPU and provide basic protection against scratches and minor drops.
  • Wooden Phone Cases: Made of wood, these cases offer a unique and stylish appearance, are available in different wood types and finishes, and provide basic protection against scratches and minor drops.
  • Picture Phone Cases: These cases can be customized with your chosen picture or design. Usually made of hard plastic or TPU, offering basic protection against scratches and minor drops.

Once you create a list of different types of phone cases, you can find out what’s trending right now using tools like Google Trends, which lets you compare the search volume of different queries.

Google Trends Helps

(Tools like Google Trends Helps You Find Trending Phone Cases)

Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, etc., are great places to check what kinds of phone cases are getting the most attention.

Trending products with an added USP of product customization can be a deadly combo. Sell phone cases online using a product designer tool where your customers can customize their cases and covers. See how it will work with your store here.

 

3. Naming Your Brand

You might have already started thinking about this. Now it’s time to finalize the name. We suggest you choose a name that conveys the values and goals of your company. Make sure it is short, easy to pronounce, and, most importantly, unique. With the help of domain generators like GoDaddy, you can check the availability of the desired domain.

4. Planning your Budget

Budgeting is crucial to avoid early financial disasters. A financial plan will be of huge help when applying for a loan, hiring an employee, or promoting your business.

The overall cost of starting a phone case business depends on the business model you decide. However, a budget plan for a startup includes startup costs like infrastructure, fixed costs like best php hosting fees, business insurance, variable expenses like shipping charges, transportation, raw materials, and so on.

If you do not want to build a website traditionally, you can make your phone case business live at a minimum cost with a web-to-print storefront. At PrintXpand, we provide a ready-to-sell B2B & B2C Web-to-Print Storefront with all the features you need to start selling.

Our W2P solution comes with

  • Industry themes to customize the front-end
  • Fully functional product designer tool for enabling great shopping experiences
  • ERP tools like inventory manager, order manager, print job manager, and more
  • CRM integration for better customer relationship management
  • Variety of marketing tools

Here is a sneak peek into how a product page of your phone case business might look:

Phone Case Business Online

(Take Your Phone Case Business Online With us)

Curious to know more? Share with us your requirements, and we will show you a personalized demo that suits your business logic.

 

Expert Tip: Looking at what others are doing is always a good idea. Check guides, free templates and samples, and other online resources to help you start the business planning process.

Clear all The Legal Aspects of Starting a Phone Case Business

We know it’s very tempting to jump straight into selling products. But spend some time to make your online business legal to avoid any civil complications. Following are the essential business licenses if you wish to operate your business legally:

  • Business Operation License – allows you to conduct business in your city, country, or state.
  • Sales Tax Registration – retail operators need to collect sales tax in most regions, and this license will help you obtain a tax permit.
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)– a tax ID number that identifies your business as a distinct tax entity.
  • Seller’s Permit – a license to sell goods online.

Expert Tip: If you are unsure that you can manage these legalities yourself, seek advice from a lawyer, accountant, or local economic development agency. They will help you identify all permits and licenses that apply to your business.

Find Designs for Your Phone Cases

If you have an artistic flair, you can create your designs using Photoshop, Caseapp, or mockup generator websites. The second option is to reach out to professional designers on platforms like Dribbble or Fiver.

Apart from ready-made designs, you can even let your shoppers design your products by integrating a product designer tool. Let customizable phone cases be your biggest differentiator. Integrate a product designer tool to enable shoppers to design their phone cases.

1Phone 40067

(Full-functional Phone Case Designer Tool That is Compatible with All eCommerce Platforms)

 

Expert Tip: If you are going to create designs yourself before you finalize designs, it’s good to get feedback by posting your designs on platforms like Reddit, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Define Your Brand Identity

As Jeff Bezos says, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” A strong brand identity is crucial for establishing who you are.

Here are 4 key benefits of branding:

Customer recognition – while shopping, if shoppers find something that is eye-catching, whether it’s typography, logo, or color, they are likely to stop scrolling and explore what you have to offer.

Customer loyalty – a strong name or logo will keep your company in customers’ minds. The more they remember/recognize you, the more often they will come back.

Improves credibility – a strong brand identity will project an image of an established business, both among customers and within the industry.

Differentiation – as somebody just starting, brand identity will help you stand out from your competitors.

What to include in your brand identity strategy?

  • A simple memorable logo on your website, social media handles, and packaging.
  • Typography that is classic, clean, and timeless.
  • Symbols and photographs that set well with the vision of your brand.
  • Choose a color that reflects your personality. Remember, colors are powerful, and people have psychological ties with every color.

Expert Tip: Before you begin with this step, be very clear with your brand’s story, vision, values, and personality. Once you have that sorted, you can easily build a customer identity.

Take Your Store Online

You can take your business online with minimum setup costs and zero inventory by choosing a print-on-demand business model. Here’s how it works:

How-Print-on-demand-Works-1

If you want to sell phone covers online using print on demand, you must build an eCommerce website. Popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, etc., will allow you to manage online sales operations.

Today, these eCommerce platforms go way beyond buying and selling online. Cloud-based platforms integrate both front-end and back-end to provide scalable and customizable functionality to your store. The choice of the platform will depend on your budget and requirements. But make sure you do proper research before making a choice.

 

Related Content: How to Start Print-on-demand Business

 

Once you establish a store online, your goal will be to attract customers. This is a tough task; we know that. Therefore, we suggest that you offer personalization. Businesses online offer a personalized experience where customers can buy products customized for them.

One way to offer a customized experience is to give your customers the freedom to design their phone cases. You can integrate a product design tool into your e-commerce Store.

With the help of multiple features of the tool, customers can craft creative designs on the mobile cover. You can even charge a premium price for this. Following are the benefits you can expect by integrating a design tool:

  • Millennials comprise a huge portion of online shoppers who love customized products. You will see a massive crowd of young buyers in your store if you give users the liberty to design.
  • Shoppers get more attached to personalized products. Therefore, they are likely to return to you. This way you increase sales.
  • You will likely get a boost in Google rankings and gain a strong online presence.

Mobile Cover Design Software Features:

  • Background Color Management
  • Multiple Design Areas
  • Image Masking
  • Custom Templates
  • 10,000+ Customizable Clipart
  • Custom Image Upload
  • Image Effects/Editing

Not only your customers, but you as a business also enjoy the benefits of using our designer software. You can set custom pricing, manage printing methods, add warning messages, control editing, and more. Learn more about how designer software can benefit your business.

Expert Tip: 74% of customers have a chance of buying a product based on a positive CX alone, while 80% are more likely to buy when brands offer experiences personalized to them. Product personalization has the potential to provide a unique experience. Make sure your business has something unique to offer.

Choose Printing Method

The printing method depends on both design type and quantity. If the design involves many images, colors, and patterns, you will need a method to accommodate the details. Moreover, choose a method suitable for bulk printing if you will print in bulk. Check out the types of phone case printing:

Printing Method

Suitable Phone Case Material

Advantages

Disadvantages

Screen printing

– Gel
– Rubber
– Hard Plastic
– Wood
– Metal
– High-volume orders
– Good quality
– Bright colors
– Less durable
– Slow production time
– Not ideal for small quantities

Digital UV printing

– Wood
– Metal
– plastic
– Faster production speed
– Budget-friendly
– High-quality print
– Offers creative possibilities
– Not durable

Embossing

– Polyurethane (PU) Leather – Cost-effective
– Quick turnaround time
– Consistent quality
– No images
– No colors
– Suitable only for malleable materials

Heat transfer

– Plastic
– Metal
– Leather Polyurethane
– Wooden
– Print complex designs
– Durable
– Cost-effective for small orders
– Slow production speed
– Not suitable for bulk orders

Hydrographic

– Plastic
– Wood
– Fiberglass
– Metal
– Suitable for printing complex patterns
– Gives a matte/glossy finish
– Cost-effective
– Less durable

 

Expert Tip: Before you finalize a printing method, look at some samples and pay attention to every detail. Always double-check the final print to ensure it’s right for you.

Finding a Manufacturer

If you are new to the phone case industry, you might find it difficult to hunt a manufacturer. So, we have made your task easy by giving you some options. (a) You can find possible manufacturers from searchable directories like Thomasnet.com, (b) check online directories like Alibaba, (c) do what everybody does – Google.

Things to keep in mind while choosing a manufacturer:

  • Product– choose a manufacturer who is willing to provide the type of products you want and not the one who tricks you into buying what they have.
  • Quality – there is no need to explain how important quality is. Go through information on material type and process before signing a contract.
  • Price – make sure you are paying the standard amount in the market.
  • Timing – ask your manufacturer about the lead time and manufacturing time. This will give you a clear idea about when to place your order.
  • Minimum Order Policy – check with the manufacturer if they have any such policy. Most manufacturers do not accept an order less than the prescribed quantity.
  • Sample Price – check with the manufacturer if you will get a free sample or must pay any amount.

This procedure could be time-consuming but it is worth it. Contact potential manufacturers personally and ask every question you have. Once you have a list of preferred manufacturers, prioritize based on the above metrics.

Expert Tip: Always have one manufacturer as a backup. So, if something goes wrong, your business will keep going.

Dropshipping for your business

One of the easiest ways to source your products is dropshipping. In dropshipping, you choose a manufacturer, and they will ship your phone cases directly to your customers on your behalf.

How-Print-on-demand-Works

Whether you choose the dropshipping business model or build a website from scratch, the PrintXpand product designer tool can help you offer customized phone cases as an added USP

Launch and Promote

Now that you have the product, manufacturer, and online store, it’s time to launch and market your business.

Here are some popular marketing methods that you need to know:

1. Search Engine Marketing

This is the practice of using SEO or paid advertisements to appear on search engine result pages. SEO is all about earning the top position in the search results by creating relevant content for a keyword. While paid ads allow you to put your ad in front of the customer who is looking to buy a phone cover.

2. Social Media Marketing

Here, you use social media platforms to connect with your customers and promote your brand and products. The strategy to effectively use social media includes focusing on one or two platforms that you think your target audience is active on. In your case, we suggest Instagram and Pinterest which are popular among Millennials. Also, these two platforms are highly visual. So, phone case designs would work well here. Secondly, create a social media posting plan that includes information on the type of content you wish to share – promotional, informative, entertaining, etc.

3. Influencer Marketing

Customers consider reviews and ratings from people with popularity and authority. 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube. To begin with, you can have an influencer share your product or write a post.

Expert Tip: The best way to keep your business going is to provide exceptional customer service. Satisfied customers are your brand ambassadors. Once they have a positive experience, they will spread the word.

Are You Ready to Start?

Building a business around phone cases is comparatively easy compared to other products. But like any business with fewer barriers to entry, competition ought to be higher. If you need help managing everything, feel free to get in touch with us.

We have helped businesses like OtterBox build their dream store with our offerings like a product designer tool, Print ERP, mobile to print designer app, and more. From a start-up, OtterBox has grown into the most adaptable printing powerhouse, extending into areas as broad as engraving, screen-printing, UV printing, vinyl wraps, and custom signage.

It has products in its portfolio ranging from apparel, promotional products, name badges, drinkware, canvas prints, and awards.

What makes OtterBox unique is that its Shopify store has integrated our state-of-the-art Designer Tool that allows its customers to design different kinds of products based on their preferences. This eventually helped the brand gain customer loyalty.

In addition, it means that OtterBox’s products and services offered to the client will have a raised value, and customer satisfaction has greatly improved.

OtterBox continues to lead in the quest for solutions that offer its customers innovative products to meet today’s needs. Tell us about your project, and we will get back to you.

 
All product and company names are trademarks™, registered® or copyright© trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Maulik Shah

Maulik Shah

After the huge success of Biztech’s other products, founder Maulik Shah ventured out to make a web-to-print software solution, and thus, PrintXpand was born. His visionary ideas and innovative power have always been the cornerstone of the success of the company at every step. Maulik enjoys bird watching, playing cricket and is an avid reader.

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