Whether you’re an artist, writer, designer, or entrepreneur, physical products can be the perfect canvas for monetizing your creativity.
You can put your own original spin on everyday apparels and sell them online. However, if you go the traditional route of buying and holding your own inventory, you may be left with a pile of products that aren’t selling.
Print-on-demand services offer an alternative way to bypass the time, investment, and risk associated with managing inventory, letting you go from creating to selling custom products at a fraction of the cost.
What is "print on demand" and how does it work?
Print on demand is a process where you work with a supplier to customize white-label products (like baseball hats or t-shirts) with your own designs to sell them on a per-order basis under your own brand.
That means you don’t pay for the product until after you’ve actually sold it, so there’s no need to buy in bulk or hold any inventory yourself.
Plus, with print-on-demand services everything after the sale, from printing to shipping, is handled by us. Once you’ve set everything up, it takes only a few clicks to fulfill an order once you’ve made a sale.
You can use print-on-demand services to:
- Test a business idea or new product line for an existing business without the risks that come with buying inventory.
- Monetize an audience you’ve built. Printing on demand is a great option if you’re a YouTuber, cartoonist, or social media influencer who wants to spend your time creating content instead of fulfilling orders.
- Create original products for a niche of customers. For example, apparel for people who are passionate about gaming.
- Easily print one-off items—t-shirts, shoes, jackets and so much more. You can send these as gifts or keep them for yourself and your team.
The pros and cons of print on demand
Print on demand sites can be used to build a business based on a dropshipping model—where the products and shipping are all handled by a third party. It’s one of the most accessible ways to source products or start an online store, but you should know the perks and limitations before you dive in.
- Create products quickly: Once you have the design, you can create the product and put it up for sale in minutes.
- Shipping is taken care of: Shipping and fulfillment out of your hands and in your supplier’s. After the sale, you’re just responsible for customer service.
- Low investment, lower risk: Since you’re not physically holding any inventory, it’s easier to add or remove products, test ideas, or pivot your approach.
- Lower margins: Naturally, your costs per item will be higher than if you buy in bulk. On-demand products may yield thinner profits, depending on how you price them and acquire customers.
- Limited customization: Your ability to customize products depends on the vendor and the product. You’ll have to weigh base costs, customization options, printing techniques, and available sizes when deciding on which products to customize.
Print-on-demand services for creating custom products
While many print-on-demand services might seem similar at first glance, you’ll have to carefully consider the ones you choose based on the products you want to create, where you’ll be shipping them, and the retail prices you want to offer, among other factors.
For example, a low base cost for one product might make it an obvious choice, until you realize that it would take 21 days to reach customers with your most affordable shipping option.
Exercise due diligence when you’re evaluating the right platform for you.
For more print-on-demand options, check out our Catalog.