Custom products are a hot commodity right now.
Still don’t believe us? Look around and you’ll see people walking around in t-shirts with popular celebrity faces or sayings on them.
Consumers, it turns out, adore customized products—so much so that they’re willing to pay 20% more for them.
The question now is, how do you create and sell your own personalized products?
If you go the traditional route of purchasing, customizing, and stocking your own inventory, you risk being left with a pile of unsold products.
Fortunately, you can always use print on demand to avoid the time, risk, and investment associated with inventory management.
What is print on demand?
Print on demand (POD) is a type of dropshipping fulfillment that allows you to customize white-label products (such as mugs and tote bags) that are printed and shipped only after an order is placed.
The products are typically offered by a print-on-demand company as a blank slate. You put your own original design on the items and sell them on a per-order basis under your own brand.
Because they are printed after they are sold, the company does not require any upfront payment. That is, you do not have to buy in bulk or meet a minimum order quantity to begin selling.
In fact, the best print-on-demand companies handle everything from printing to shipping after the sale. After connecting to their platform, it only takes a few clicks to fulfill an order after a customer purchases a product.
Print-on-demand services enable you to do the following:
- Put a new product line to the test. List products on your website and see how your audience reacts without the risks of purchasing inventory.
- Make money from your social media following. Print on demand is an excellent option for creating and selling branded merchandise on platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and others.
- Produce one-of-a-kind items. You can personalize shoes, bags, t-shirts, phone cases, mugs, wall art, and much more. You can keep these for yourself or give them away as gifts.
- Online jewelry sales. Engrave jewelry with a personal message shared by the customer during the purchase process. Some POD suppliers will even consider requests to include photos, which will increase the perceived value of your products.
- Create exclusive products for a specific customer segment. For example, motorcycle enthusiasts may be interested in backpacks.
The benefits and drawbacks of print-on-demand
Dropshipping is used by print-on-demand stores, which means that warehousing, printing, and shipping are all handled by a third party. It’s one of the most accessible ways to start an ecommerce business, but before you jump in, think about the benefits and drawbacks of POD.
- Quickly create and print products. Designs can be uploaded and printed as soon as they are created. There is no downtime, and you can freely edit your designs between orders.
- Branding is possible. POD products are white-labeled, which means you can customize them with your branding so that there is no confusion about the seller when your customers receive their orders.
- A small investment is required. A print-on-demand business has lower startup costs than a traditional ecommerce business because you don’t need to buy and store inventory.
- Lower profit margins. Because all orders are charged at an individual rate, you will not receive a lower cost per item as you would with bulk orders. Depending on how you price the products and acquire customers, this could result in lower margins.
- Pricing is subject to change without notice. You have no control over the cost of the manufacturer’s printing with POD. You will have no choice but to accept price increases if they occur.
- Customization options are limited. The ability to personalize items is determined by the product and the vendor. When deciding which products to customize, consider mockup tools, base costs, available sizes, and printing techniques.