You’ve seen them on gift shop racks in every tourist destination you’ve visited: postcards featuring photos of local attractions and hot spots. The following details how you can get in on the action and make easy money selling tourist postcards, broken down into five simple steps.
1. Get great photos
If you want to sell postcards to tourists, you need to start with spectacular photos. You can use a high-quality DSLR camera to take your own photos; or, if you don’t have a photographer’s eye, you can hire or partner with someone who does to take photos for you. Be sure to process your photos with software such as Lightroom or Photoshop to give them a professional’s finishing touch.
2. Make your postcards different and better
Visit local gift shops to compare competitors’ postcards (in fact, it’s a good idea to do this before you take your initial photos). It’s important to make your postcards different and better in order to attract buyers. Ideas include taking shots from unique perspectives, applying interesting filters with photo editing software, or adding humorous or sentimental text that your audience will relate to. Your postcards have to stand out in order to achieve high sales figures.
3. Print your postcards
Your postcards must be printed on premium paper stocks in order to attract customers, and you need to be able to print premium postcards at discount prices in order to maximize profits. The best strategy would be to print a few hundred of each postcard you wish to sell, then see which sell best. You can then print higher volumes of your winning postcards to keep your overhead low and ROI high. Look for postcard printing discounts to increase profits; PsPrint, for example, often offers postcard printing discounts up to 60 percent off. At that rate, you could print 5,000 4-inch by 6-inch 14 point C2S full-color postcards for around $150. Add tax and shipping, and you’re up to $225. If you could sell all 5,000 for just one dollar each, you’d still turn a handsome profit.
4. Partner with gift shops
Most tourist destination gift shops won’t buy postcards wholesale and sell retail; rather, they prefer to sell postcards on consignment. Essentially, you set up a rack (that you provide) in the gift shop. When a customer purchases a postcard, the gift shop handles the sale and keeps a commission. You get a check for the difference. Commission rates vary, though 50 percent is typically the top rate.
5. Track sales and inventory
Once you’re all set up with local gift shops, you need to regularly visit them to pick up your earnings and track inventory. You also need to make sure earnings match inventory – you don’t want unsold postcards to go missing. When inventory gets low, print more postcards to restock. In addition, make sure your racks are positioned in prominent areas where customers are likely to see them. So how much can you make selling postcards? It ultimately depends on the tourist activity at your destination, your travel expenses, and how well your postcards sell. Using our one-dollar 5,000 postcard sales example, after printing and shipping ($225) and 50 percent split with retailers, you would net $2,287.50. Compare discount postcard printing options here. Image credit: Boston Public Library via Flickr, Creative Commons license