Easy Beginners Guide to Print on Demand: Pros and Cons of POD Printing

Having access to a variety of different items is what makes physical shopping so exciting. The ability to buy something that you like, something that you need, and something that you just have to have.

The downside of this? The cost of these items. If you’re like most consumers, then you’re probably pretty aware of the fact that there are some pretty hefty price tags associated with some items.

The cost of branded items and the cost of items that are mass-produced are two different things. This is where Print on Demand (POD) printing comes in. If you’re not quite sure how POD works, then you’re probably not alone.

It can be a fairly confusing concept, but it’s worth exploring if you’re a fan of keeping costs as low as possible. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of POD printing, as well as how POD can help you save money.

What Is Print On Demand?

Print on demand (POD) is a printing method that allows customers to place orders for customized products without having to store an inventory in advance or wait for long production times to fill orders. As the name suggests, print on demand refers to the ability to print a single copy of a product at a time.

As the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, more and more businesses are looking for new ways to meet consumer demand. Print on demand is one of the most convenient and cost-effective solutions for small businesses that have limited storage space and high turnover.

Print on demand also works well for large businesses that need to produce custom products, such as T-shirts or posters. In addition, print on demand offers flexibility and convenience for customers.

Whether they need one or one hundred copies of a product, customers can order exactly what they need and get it delivered right to their door. As the print on demand market continues to grow, more companies are coming up with new ways to use this technology.

By offering custom products that customers can personalize to fit their needs and tastes, businesses can stand out from the competition and build loyalty as well as brand recognition among their customer base.

For individuals looking to start their own small brands, POD is ideal because it allows you to start producing custom items with little to no up-front costs.

Which Companies Offer Print On Demand?

While there are many companies that offer print on demand services, in fact that list is growing each day with the profit margin of POD, we will list the most common sites here and describe each site in a bit more detail later in this article.

How Does Print On Demand Work?

Print on demand (POD) is a type of printing technology that allows businesses to print products one at a time. Unlike traditional printing methods that require large upfront investments and large quantities of inventory, POD allows businesses to only print the number of products that are sold.

This cost-savings is one of the most appealing benefits of POD. Additionally, POD offers businesses the flexibility to create customized products with short lead times and low minimum order requirements.

When a customer places an order for a product from your store using a print-on-demand service, the customer becomes the manufacturer. The customer designs their product and uploads it to a print-on-demand service provider.

From there, the customer gives the provider a set date by which the product is to be delivered. Once the set date is past, the customer places another order for more printed copies.

This process virtually eliminates the need for inventory storage and shipping costs. Print on demand is also known as digital printing. The basic idea behind print-on-demand is that an item is printed only when someone orders it.

There’s no inventory sitting around, just waiting to be sold, so there’s no risk of money being tied up in inventory that doesn’t sell.

Types Of Print On Demand

– Direct to Consumer (DTC):

DTC is the process of printing a product and delivering it directly to the customer. You or a fulfillment company handles all the shipping and customer service aspects of the print on demand product.

– Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA):

FBA is the method of selling products that are fulfilled by Amazon (or another fulfillment service). This is a proven, scalable, and reliable model for selling print-on-demand products.

Amazon has also launched a newer business model to capture the POD market which they call “Amazon Merch”. You can upload artwork and designs on items and Amazon will print and ship the items for you and pay you royalties for your creations.

Pros Of Print On Demand

– Cost-effective:

Printing custom products can be expensive. POD can help you reduce production costs and increase margins. You can use templates, pre-printed materials, and FDM/3DP printing technologies to cut down on production costs.

– Flexibility: 

Printing large quantities of custom products is difficult and expensive. POD is flexible enough to allow you to print just what you need, keeping inventory and storage costs down.

– Independence: 

Many retailers want to remain dependent of suppliers, but having your own production facility and printing press gives you more independence.

– Brand recognition:

Building brand recognition is key to long-term success as an entrepreneur. Having your own products in your own store adds instant credibility and helps cement your brand in the minds of customers.

Cons Of Print On Demand

– Narrower Profit Margins: 

Since you are using an outside company to produce and likely ship your product, you are subject to the cost of the product as well as their profit margin. This can translate to a slightly lower profit margin at the lower volume when you’re getting started, but can turn into a significant dollar amount as you scale your business.

– Not In Direct Control Of The Product:

Since you’re not directly producing the product, you have limited control on production, product quality and packaging. You should take time to make sure that the company you use ethically produces their items in a way that aligns with your brand image.

– Quality Issues May Not Be Addressed Before Shipping:

Any potential quality issues with your products may not be noticed before shipping out to your customer. You are not in control of product quality since for the most part, the product will drop ship directly to your customer. 

It is vital to your brand image that you select an established POD company with a track record of high quality to protect your brand image to your customers.

Should You Use Print On Demand For Your Next Product Order?

If you’re interested in using print on demand printing to lower costs and earn more profit, then think carefully about whether you should make your products available for print-on-demand.

POD is great for creating limited runs. However, if you want to sell your products indefinitely, then self-publishing may not be the best option. You can save a significant amount of money with print-on-demand.

However, be sure that you are keeping costs low enough to make it worth printing your product. You also want to make sure that your product will be profitable.

Top Companies That Offer Print On Demand

Printful screenshot

Some of the Key points of Printful that may make it the right choice for you are;

100% FREE to use and signup – Completely free to signup and start using their service as soon as you have your storefront integrated. 

Local Fulfillment – Speed and consistency—global in-house and partner facilities offer competitive shipping rates and consistent quality.

Custom Branding Tools – Build your reputation by keeping your brand at the forefront. We’re a white-label partner, so your customers won’t see our name attached to your products.

Reliable Quality – Make a lasting impression by using our industry-leading tech, quality inks, and premium materials. 99.4% of our orders reach happy customers with no issues.

Intuitive Design Controls – Create unique pieces with our built-in Design Maker, even with no design experience! Simple or intricate, patterned or minimalist—our features are versatile.

Smooth Automation – When customers buy from you, we receive and fulfill their orders automatically, so you can focus on running your business.

No Order Minimums – Save money and avoid any leftover stock. The products you sell are created only when your customer places an order.

Some of the Key points of Printify that may make it the right choice for you are;

100% FREE to use and signup – Completely free to signup and start using their service as soon as you have your storefront integrated.

Huge Selection – More than 600 different products to customize and sell in your storefront. Top quality products that are hot sellers.

Higher Profits – One of the lowest cost to produce versus like companies because they are always searching for ways to maximize your margins. 

Simple Fulfillment – When customers buy from you, they receive and fulfill the orders automatically. Packing and shipping is done for you.

Final Words: Should You Use Print On Demand?

If you’re looking for a quick solution for sourcing your products with little to no up-front investment, then POD will likely be the answer for your start-up.

As mentioned above, scaling your brand after you have some success can be a bit more challenging using this method.

Let me know what you think in the comments below about which topic in this article was most helpful for you in starting your own brand.

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