Print on demand refers to businesses that print their products after the customers have placed an order. This business model has become very popular in recent years.
So, it is very natural to ask, does print on demand really work?
In short, print on demand does actually work. And it is a very profitable business model if you select the right markets and make the right decisions. It is a fairly easy business model that can offer a lot of profit while helping you create a brand identity.
In this article, I will try to give you a brief rundown of the benefits, advantages, and issues with print on demand. I urge that you read it all the way through to get a good grasp of the situation.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be confident and ready to start your business right away.
Does Print on Demand Actually Work?
It does work and works wonderfully. Print on demand helps you to make a very creative storefront that can attract the greatest number of customers. You can even offer a lot of options for the customer to customize the product because you don’t need to keep it printed in your inventory.
There is no fearing that one of the options you offered might not sell and go to waste. Every piece of a product created is a piece of product sold already. And if you choose a good print on demand supplier you would not have to worry about deliveries being late either.
Print on demand is a very popular business model these days, and that has made suppliers rise to the demand. So, the common fear that a customer might receive a product too late if you decide to prepare it after the order is not something you need to fear. Print on demand suppliers offers very quick delivery these days.
Related article – Is Print on Demand Profitable in 2021?
In this business, you would be putting products up for sale on your own site’s storefront. And you would only source those products after someone has placed an order.
When a customer places an order in your store you source the product from your print on demand supplier.
A customer likes your design and orders it, these people print those designs on your desired item. And now you have a product ready to sell for profit.
The fact that you do not need to prepare an inventory and can literally have an infinite catalogue of products without any inventory is the core of this business.
A lot of suppliers have plugins that help you streamline your process even further and allow more customization for your customers.
There is no fear of products going to waste. There’s no need to manage a large inventory. You can even offer your customers a ton of customization.
Print on demand lets you make very unique and creative products and the possibilities are endless. So, there’s no need for you to be in doubt about this awesome business model.
Advantages of A Print on Demand Business
I have already mentioned some of the benefits of print on demand but I do have a lot more to say about the benefits of it all.
1. Starting Costs are Low
The cost of starting this business is pretty low. You can start with free platforms like Teespring or if you want your store to look a bit more professional, you could start with Shopify and Printful together.
The cost of starting would be pretty low. However, it can increase depending on what marketing tactics you choose (free or paid).
2. Vast Marketplace
The print on demand marketplace is vast. It does raise the competition but also creates room for more variety and creativity.
You have to strive to give your customers the most unique and creative designs on an otherwise mundane t-shirt or bag or something else. This might seem hard at first but in the long term helps you create a unique brand identity.
3. No Inventory Needed
You can offer a vast amount of customization to your customers. As you do not need to keep the inventory handy. This makes your storefront much more appealing to the customers. This is another huge advantage of this business.
Keeping track of inventory and managing storage for products can be a huge hassle and can introduce a ton of cost. But when you have a print on demand business all that hassle and cost just vanishes. No need to keep track of any inventory, no need to worry about products going to waste.
You will need to source the most unique designs for your store if you want to stand out from the competition. This in turn will help you create your very own brand identity. If your goal is to establish a brand and be instantly recognizable in your customer base then print on demand is better than many other business models.
Related Article – Is Print On Demand Worth It? Can You Really Make Money From POD?
Issues with Print on Demand Business
Print on demand might seem like a bed of roses at first but it is not in fact. No business model gives you a surefire way to success. There are some difficulties you need to tackle.
Here are some complications with starting a print on demand business –
1. Fierce Competition
With print on demand being such an easy way to start a business, there are a lot of sites out there using it. Creating an oversaturated marketplace.
You need to try your hardest to stand out from the crowd and garner attention if you want to make your business sustain long term and grow sizeably.
2. Hard to Stand Out
Creative blocks are another huge issue. If you do your original art or commission them from artists, in both cases you can face this issue.
It is hard to find your style and aesthetics. Having a consistent style and still producing more and more designs is not a very easy task to tackle. This is where most shops struggle.
A lot of shops fail on the artistic front in the business of print on demand. In this line of business, your main asset is the art and designs you offer.
If you do not invest in the art you are almost sure to fail. You need to source good art at all costs. Do not in any occasion take random images from the internet or print fanart that might get you in legal trouble.
3. Customer Service Can Be Difficult
Lastly, the problem you might face in this line of business is customer service and growth.
Judging by the fact that you are trying this low maintenance business structure, it is safe to assume that you might not have any staff other than yourself. In that case, both managing extended workloads and customer service are tough.
If you can manage through these problems then print on demand can serve as an ocean of profitable opportunities for you. It can get hard but it is indeed manageable realistically speaking.
Related Article – Blogging vs Dropshipping! Which One Should You Choose?
How To Start a Profitable Print on Demand Business?
It’s pretty easy to start.
These are the steps involved
1. Choosing a Niche
You could choose a particular niche or a make a complete general store. I would recommend starting with a general store so that you can test out thousands of designs from different niches.
2. Creating and designing your store.
Go to Shopify (or click here to get a 14-day free trial) and register for an account. After signing up on the platform, you will reach your dashboard where you can design, add products etc on your store.
Please watch the video below to learn how to design your store.
3. Choosing a Print on demand suplier
Once you have the store ready, you will need to choose a supplier who will handle all your printing, shipping etc.
Some of the best suppliers are:
4. Creating your designs
Designs are the most important part of this business. If you are a graphic designer yourself, you could create your own designs.
Once you have the designs ready, just upload them to your Printful, Printify, or some other suppliers that you chose.
There are 2 ways by which you could market this store – the free and the paid way.
Some free ways to market includes:
- Creating an Instagram page for your store.
- Quora Marketing
- Using affiliate program for your store.
Do watch the below video to know more about Instagram marketing
Some paid ways to promote includes:
- Facebook and Instagram advertising
- YouTube Influencer marketing
- Instagram Theme pages marketing
- Google Shopping ads
So, that’s how you start a complete print-on-demand business. Do check out more videos on Youtube to know more about this business model.
Here I have discussed the various ins and outs of a print-on-demand business. I’ve discussed if it’s profitable or not, the benefits and issues with a business model such as this. I tried to simplify the whole scenario for you to better understand the marketplace of print on demand.
I hope this article was of some help to you and answered your question, “Does print on demand really work?” and any questions that may have come along with it.
Farewell for now, and I wish you all the best in your new business.