It’s 2021, and retail eCommerce is thriving now more than ever. Due to COVID-19, the retail industry had a major makeover. Not only that, almost everything we’re used to has shifted to the virtual world. So if you want to jump right into the high eCommerce success rate, you probably encountered the term print on demand. In this article, let’s see whether POD should be your next business venture.

A Closer Look on Print On Demand

Print on demand is an online service that allows you to customize products and sell them on a per-order basis. It’s a more convenient way to start an online business, especially if you have your designs. You don’t even have to involve yourself with the gruesome process of printing, packaging, and logistics. 

Who is it for?

Print on demand often involves design customization. It’s a platform that benefits graphic designers the most. This service is widely used by freelance designers, influencers, content creators, and entrepreneurs. For example, you might have encountered your favorite Youtuber selling their merchandise through a POD platform.  

Aside from the creatives, entrepreneurs are also in the print on demand business. Most of them hire a graphic designer to help them transform their niche ideas into marketable designs. 

Is POD profitable?

Print on demand or POD is one of the easiest ways to earn money online. Depending on your chosen niche, design, and marketing strategy, print on demand is profitable. However, it’s not exactly an overnight success. 

How much will it cost me?

The advantage of using print on demand platforms is not worrying about production costs. However, expect to spend money on website, design, and marketing.While some websites are free, other sites will cost you a subscription. For example, Shopify is one of the best sites to host your print on demand products. If you’re setting up a shop on Shopify, expect to pay $29 and above. 

Meanwhile, the free websites include Zazzle, Printful, Teespring, and more. Although free websites are more favorable in terms of budget, setting up your site allows more freedom for branding. So you have to decide whether branding or budget is your main priority. 

Print On Demand Process 

Using print on demand platforms is easy. First, you need to select your preferred platform. Then, you need to check if that platform offers various products for customization. After choosing your platform, create an account and upload your designs. 

When uploading designs, you need to lay out the design on your product. Most print on demand platforms have a smooth and easy-to-use interface, so you don’t need to worry. The upload and layout process is not complex. Just scale the size of your design and place wherever you like within the print area. Once you’re satisfied with the scale and layout, you can finalize the product upload. 

Usually, there are tagging options available to make your products visible to the target market. While doing this, you have to research what relevant keywords are trendy. You also need to pay close attention to the product name and optimize it for search engines. 

The most important part of your POD process is setting your margins. Each product will have a predetermined cost. From that, you need to input your desired profit. Depending on your platform, most products usually don’t have a limit. However, do take note that there are pricing limitations for face masks. 

Once your custom product is ready, it’s time to make some noise on social media. Yes, the rest is up to your marketing strategy. The first sale usually depends on how well you execute your marketing strategy.

The Pros of Print on Demand

Easy Set-Up

It’s easy to set up your print on demand shop. Most print on demand platforms have a user-friendly interface. It’s also easy to upload and layout designs. 

Low Capital

Most print on demand platforms are free. It means you don’t have to agonize about production costs. However, do expect spending money for marketing, design, and website hosting. Overall, the strategy entirely depends on you. 

So if you have fantastic design skills and have a social media presence, you can start your print on demand business with no capital at all! 

Minimal to Zero Inventory

With print on demand, all your product comes from a third-party source. So that means you don’t have to worry about your inventory. 

Say Goodbye to Extra Work

Print on demand is a third-party service that does all the dirty work for you. In this case, dirty work means material sourcing, printing, packaging, and logistics! It allows you to focus on designs or marketing.  

Don’t Need Machinery Investment

It’s hard to start a printing business on your own. You have to worry about which printer to use, what plotter is more convenient for cutting, and more. On the other hand, print on demand does not need any machinery investment on your part. Therefore, it’s more convenient to partner with a print on demand company that has more knowledge about printing, cutting, and which materials to use. 

The Downside of Print on Demand

Limited Customization

The downside of using a third-party service is the limited customization options. First, if you prefer to upload your designs on a free POD platform, you have limited branding options. All you can do to reflect your branding is by a banner and profile picture. Some POD sites let you change the color of the background and button. However, all of that is not enough to express your branding. 

Also, you have limited customization in terms of design. For example, most POD platforms have a predetermined printing area. So that takes away creative freedom on your part.  

Low Margin of Profit

For print on demand, the cost of goods is always higher compared to wholesale. So expect your profit margins to be lower. It’s reasonable because the POD companies handle all the material, printing, packaging, and shipping. 

Limited Information

If you manage to sell a product, you don’t have full access to the buyer’s information. So it means you don’t get to know who bought your work unless someone reaches out to contact you. Another downside is not having the opportunity to highlight your brand. As you work with POD companies, they expect to ship your design with their logos attached, not yours. 

No Control on Product Quality and Availability

As you work with a third-party supplier, you don’t have complete authority on the product quality, availability, and more. So, if you don’t order a sample of your own, you’ll never know what the product feels like. Another print on demand con is the availability of a product and even the fulfillment order. The product availability and fulfillment are entirely up to the supplier, so this may cause some frustrations on your part. 

Print on Demand Platforms

  • Printify
  • Printful
  • SPOD
  • Gooten
  • Gelato
  • CustomCat
  • Teelaunch
  • Lulu Xpress
  • T-Pop
  • JetPrint

In Conclusion

Print on demand is one of the many options to earn money online. We can say that there are a lot of reasons to love and hate this type of service. However, we all agree that print on demand is a great passive income. So if you’re looking for a quick way to earn money, print on demand is not an option.