Starting an online business is a great opportunity in our time. POD business is one of the best ways to earn money and build your brand name. Before we get in-depth about POD and how to have a successful POD business we need to know what is a print on demand business.
Today I will start only by explaining some information about POD business and what is it about. Before anyone starts a new job they learn what is it and how to do it. Working from home is real and POD business can be the best way to achieve that.
What Does POD Mean?
Print-on-demand or POD, in short, is a process where you work with a supplier to customize products (white-label products) such as T-shirts, Mugs, baseball hats, tote bags, or some many other products with your own designs. After you finish customizing your designs on the desired products, you can sell them on a per-order basis under your own brand name on your website or a third party website such as Amazon or Etsy.
The great part about this business, you don’t pay for the product until after someone buys it. So there’s no need to purchase the products in bulk or hold (have) any inventory yourself.
Plus, the beauty of print-on-demand services (I enjoy a lot) is that everything after your customer purchases your product from printing to shipping is handled by your supplier. So, once you’ve done setting everything up in your store, it takes only a few clicks to fulfill the orders.
How To Use POD Services?
Print on demand is not meant to be only for business owners. There are many ways to use print on demand. You can use POD services to do different things include:
- Testing a new product or a business idea without the risk that comes with paying money to buy inventory and bulk products.
- POD is a great option to monetize an audience you’ve built. If you are an influencer, YouTuber, or even an art creator, you would want to spend time interacting with your followers and spend time creating content instead of spending time printing and shipping orders.
- If you want to create an original artwork for a specific niche, POD is your best choice. You can create original artwork with different products for people who are passionate about something (like cat lovers).
- It is easy to choose the best product for you and easy to print your design. There are so many various products that can be used as gifts in this business.
The Pros And Cons Of Print On Demand (POD)
POD business is under the term “dropshipping.” Because you are selling your products using a third party (Your Supplier), your supplier is handling fulfilling your order and shipping them, which means you are dropshipping.
As anything in our world, print on demand has various pros and cons that you need to know before you start this business!
The print on demand business sounds like a gold mine, hell no, before I started this business, I was searching for more information about it, and it seemed the best next thing after eating good delicious food!
But, when I started with this business, I began to understand that the POD business is not all sweet; there are some cons lurking around this business.
Pros of POD
1. Printing and Shipping are taken care of: Isn’t that great? Less work for you to do. Now you have more time for yourself to improve your business and your ways of marketing. You only need to worry about marketing as well as the customer services if you work on your website or platforms such as Etsy.
2. Low risk, low investment, easy to do: I am talking here from my experience. When I started this small business, I had no idea what I am doing. All you need is to start learning, and you will do it!
That was also the first reason to encourage me to start with this business. I began with an MBA, and that cost me $0. All I had to do is, send my application and wait for their answer.
Then, I started my business for free! However, some great tools will, for sure, help you to scale your business, improve the outcome, and make your life easier. I will talk about them in my next posts in detail.
However, if you want to start your website and build your brand, then you need some money to buy a domain name and to subscribe with a host such as Shopify. Or you can start with WordPress and pay less for the host.
3. Creating products and designs is easy and quick: Once you finish your design, it takes minutes to upload your design and publish it to your customers.
4. POD is a great and easy way for working people to earn extra cash. If you already have a daily job, it is not difficult to start this business and make extra money. Most of the work in the POD business is automated by your supplier or the tools that you may use.
5. POD is a great way to show your love for your followers as an influencer. As an influencer, you have so many people who love you and want to be in touch with you all the time. You can now use POD as an idea to give them good designs and products you both have passionate about. Don’t forget to provide them with some “giveaway products.”
6. No need to buy or rent inventory space. This is the best next thing in this business. Unlike the standard Aliexpress dropshipping, your supplier takes care of all your orders fulfillment and shipping them while you can focus on selling.
7. Quick to set up your store. Some years ago, you had to hire an expert web designer to build your website. Now, the time of needing to hire an expert web designer is over. With all the available themes, guides, Youtube videos, plugins, and templates, you can have your store up and running in a matter of hours.
8. Products are hard to copy for copy cats and competition. Even though this is partially true and unlike most dropshipping businesses, few can have the same products as you do. But, nowadays, so many copycats are trying to copy your designs and work. But, if you keep the hard work and offer new designs, you will be fine!
9. Ability to customize and personalize designs and products. The POD business gives you the ability to have unique designs. So, if you are an artist, you can give your heart into this business and earn both followers and money! I am not an artist myself, but I offer unique simple designs, and sometimes I hire an artist to do some designs, and that’s a fantastic opportunity.
10. The ability to access international markets. With this business, your store will be able to sell and ship products wherever your supplier can ship products. And most manufacturers deliver internationally.
11. Easy to experiment with your products and designs. Whenever you a new idea, design, or product, you only have to add it to your store and do an experiment to see if people like it. That is a great way always to show your audience new ideas and unique products and designs.
12. Scale your business and always test new designs, ideas, and products without financial risk. You can see which designs and products sell well and which don’t, so you can easily make adjustments on the go that suits your audience.
13. It is a fun business. When I started this business I found it fun to learn new skills and the ability to show the world my ideas and how much I improved in many things. Also, it is so fun and great to share my love with specific things with people share the same love. I mean I am in love with cats! so it is amazing to connect with cat lovers through my designs!
14. If I can do it, you can do it! Come on! when I started this business, I had no idea what designing is, how to start or do much stuff. I didn’t even know how to do proper research. I am a medical doctor and yet I am learning all these new skills. So, If I can do it, you can do it! Believe in yourself and just do it!
Selling your unique designs and products is fun, and when you get good feedback, it will give you satisfaction. Also, selling your unique ideas is the best way to build your brand and an excellent community sharing the same ideas and love.
Cons of POD
1. Finding a great production partner with quality products. One of the challenges I had to go through find an excellent supplier and production partner. After all, we are not in control of fulfillment and shipping. To give your customers the best experience, you have to make sure all the steps till they get their order is perfect and with excellent quality! Fortunately, I found Shirtly! After I suffered trying some production partners, Shirtly managed to please me with their superb services.
2. You can’t keep working without tools to help you with your business. Even if you start your business without buying or subscribing any tool, you will have to do so sooner or later. This may cost you money but think about it as an investment. I use several tools to help me with this business, and I am sure they are going to be a big hit for my business in the future! I will write in detail about all of them. But, here are some of the tools I find a must to have while doing this business: Merch Informer, PrettyMerch, Merch Momentum, DS Amazon Quick View, and Productor for Merch by Amazon.
3. Even though the POD business is getting better year after year, there is still limited customization. Your ability as a POD business owner to customize products depends on the supplier and the product. You’ll have to weigh customization options, available sizes, printing techniques, colors, and the base cost when deciding which product you want to sell and customize.
4. Your order fulfillment and reputation depends on your suppliers. This point is crucial, if not the most important one. When your customer orders from you, that means they ordered from YOU, not your supplier. That’s why you have to find the best supplier for your business.
Logistics of your business can become a problem as your brand and business grow. The customer experience is your goal; if their experience is good, then they will come back to buy again from you; if not, then you will lose them forever. Your supplier must offer you some good quality products as well as perfect fulfillment and shipping time. With that service, you will gain customers’ trust and love.
5. Since you are dealing with a third party in this line of business, you have less to no control over shipping. You are limited to what your supplier offer; you can’t control the shipping cost or the shipping options.
6. Print-on-demand business is not like bulk product dropshipping, such as Aliexpress dropshipping. The profit margins are lower than other dropshipping types. Everyone wants a piece from the cake, you want to make money, and your supplier wants the same.
7. POD business needs a lot of research for new niches, ideas, copyright, and trademark. If you want to succeed in this business, you will have to learn how to research everything properly.
8. Order fulfillment and delivery time can take up to 2 weeks and sometimes more. We back again to choose the best supplier. We all bought something using Amazon or any other platform. The worst thing for you are delays, mistakes, wrong addresses, and lousy customer services. The same is for your customer, in worst-case scenarios, delays and errors will cause frustrated customers, bad reviews, and even best customer support services can do little about it.
9. Returns and cancellation management can be tricky and challenging. Always make sure to write your return policy and stick with it. You can make sure also to write and aligned your return policy with your supplier.
10. Finding a profitable niche and learning to do proper research can take time and effort. Learning how to find profitable niches is and will be challenging even if you years of experience. That’s not something you worry about because it is part of the job. However, it is considered one of the “bad” sides of the POD business.
Best Print On Demand Companies
When it comes to print-on-demand business, you need to ask you some questions before you choose your POD company (supplier). The most important question is, do you want to have your own website or store to start in the POD business? Or do you want just to upload your design and let your supplier do all the job, and you take the small piece of the cake?
As you may know or not, there are so many great print-on-demand companies and suppliers out there, some are special for certain products, and others share standard products like T-shirts.
If you want to upload your design and let all the work on the company, then this list is for you!
- Merch by Amazon (also known as MBA) is my first choice! Although the MBA is practically new compared to other platforms, the fact the Amazon has so many customers and considered the best selling platform makes the MBA at the top of this list! You can earn money from organic visitors and buyers.
- Redbubble is one of the big platforms out there; they a big consumer base, and that makes Redbubble at the top of my list.
- Zazzle is also one of the good choices to increase your profit by adding your designs there. Zazzle has a good consumer base and various products to offer to your customers.
- TeeSpring: I didn’t use Teespring yet, but I loved reading some reviews about it and how good it is to work there. The problem with Teespring is that the platform needs your effort in marketing to start earning money and to gain their trust. You need to learn some trust points, and after that, they will send organic buyers to your designs.
- TeeChip is one of the fantastic platforms to earn a tremendous amount of money by selling different products. However, TeeChip has weak to no organic traffic. You must advertise and market your designs.
- CafePress is another platform with various options and products that you can sell with a vast consumer base. I found it challenging to use their platform, but you can learn how to use it over time.
- Spreadshirt offers a fantastic collection of products with eco-friendly apparel, and that alone makes this platform a great choice. However, my experience was terrible with the customer service and seller support team, which made it impossible for me to work with them.
- Society6 is one of the platforms on my list that I want to work on to improve my POD business. Society6 has its own unique platform with its unique community that I want to be part of and experience their services.
- TeePublic is a known platform for selling POD products; it is easy to use its platform. However, the revenue is so low, and it is not more than $2 per sale. My experience with TeePublic is good, but their support team is not good at all, and it is difficult to deal with them when you have a problem.
If you want to have your own store or website and have the luxury to deal with customers, this list is meant for you!
- Shirtly is the best company in my experience until now. Shirtly is a new supplier and a promising one among the big platforms. What I loved the most is the customer support, sometimes I send to them 3-4 E-mail a day, and they answer each of my questions happily. The fantastic part is their speed in fulfillment and shipping compared to the others, and that makes Shirtly at the top of my list.
- Printful is, without a doubt, one of the best, and they offer so many products in this line of business. The problem with Printful that I found is their fulfillment and shipping time; they can take up to 14 days and sometimes more.
- Printify is on the top with Printful, and they offer the same services with the same products. There are some terrible reviews about low-quality prints and bad customer services, but Printify still at the top for a reason, and I want to try their service and have my own experience soon.
- Gooten shares the same concept as Printful and Printify, and they provide the standard POD services and products.
These mentioned above are not the only companies, and I will provide details about each one and update the list with the best companies in POD and state my experience with them.
These companies, however, have a different way to work with them than Merch by amazon or Redbubble. With Shirtly, for example, you can integrate them with your store or website as in Shopify or Etsy, and they act as your Production partner.
POD Business A Myth Or Reality?
Print-on-demand business is like any other business; it needs effort and hard work to achieve your goals. POD offers a fantastic opportunity and accessible source of inventory for new eCommerce sellers who want to test an idea before they invest in it or to earn extra cash besides your daily job.
There are so many things to learn in the print-on-demand business. But, remember investing in yourself and learning is the best investment in life. If you are searching for a way to earn extra cash or to start a real business, this is your gate to it.
What do you think about “What Is A Print On Demand Business”? Do you have more information about what is POD business? Or do you have another opinion about it? Or a question about it? Feel free to write your comment, advice, or question below!
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