Everything You Need to Know About Print On Demand

With print on demand (POD), almost any physical product can become a blank canvas to monetize your creativity or skills.

Regardless of the product – t-shirts, books, posters, hats, water bottles, etc. – print on demand allows you to put your own cool twists on ordinary items so you can sell custom products at a fraction of the cost.

Here’s everything you need to know if you’re looking into monetizing products through print on demand services.

What exactly is print on demand?

Print on demand is the process of working with a supplier of plain, unbranded products (think trade show giveaways, for example) in order to customize them with your own designs to sell on a per-order basis.

This means you’re not paying for any product or holding any inventory until after the sale is made; once a transaction is complete, then you’d order your print products based on the order, or demand, hence the name.

What are the best uses for print on demand services?

Thanks to unmatched flexibility, print on demand offers an array of applications:

Test a new idea

You can test a new logo, colours, messaging, ideas, or products for your business without the costly investments or risks that come with purchasing inventory in bulk.

Monetize your audiences

If you’re a YouTuber, cartoonist, art designer, social media influencer, or other creative type, printing on demand is an excellent way to monetize your intellectual property with your established audiences. You’ll have more time to create content, too, rather than fulfilling orders.

Create niche products

If your business happens to have a niche audience carved out from your overall larger audience, you can create niche, in-demand products that they may be asking you for, without ordering mass inventory that’ll collect dust for months.

One-off item availability

Print unique, inaugural products one at a time for very particular functions. Print custom laptop skins for your startup team, promotional mugs for a select few clients, phone cases for YouTube channel subscribers…the possibilities are endless with print on demand.

What are the pros and cons of print on demand?

Print on demand is typically done via a dropshipping model, or where products and shipping are all managed through a third party. This is the easiest and most accessible way to source products or get your online business up-and-running; these are the pros and cons of each when using the dropshipping approach:

Pros

  • Design new products fast – Once your design is created, you can quickly put the product up for sale in minutes
  • Hassle-free shipping – All the tedious shipping and fulfillment logistics are now the responsibility of your supplier. You can just focus on creating more content and designs, and customer service.
  • Low investment, risks – You’re not buying and sitting on any surplus inventory, giving you more cash flow flexibility to test ideas, pivot your approach, or add/remove products.

Cons

  • Margins – As with most things made-to-order, costs per item production will be higher because you aren’t buying in bulk.
  • Less control on shipping – Shipping costs and fluctuate based on the variety of products you sell. Options may be even more limited if you’re trying to make a unique unboxing experience, for example.
  • Restrained customization – How far your product customization goes rests on the vendor and product you choose.

This is just a quick crash course on the benefits print on demand services can afford artists, writers, designers, and entrepreneurs across all industries. Get in touch with a Print Three location near you and learn how to monetize you creativity with print on demand.