What is Print on Demand

Over the years, printing has progressed and more convenient solutions are available. One such business solution is print-on-demand (POD), which is expected to grow by 26.1% by 2030. Print-on-demand creates printed goods on order without the need to print them in bulk.

In this article, we’ll talk about print-on-demand and its advantages. We’ll also compare POD to traditional printing methods to learn why it’s better. Read along and find out all the print-on-demand essentials to get started.

Print on Demand

Definition of Print-on-Demand

Print-on-demand works by printing the designs as per the customer’s order. The printed goods are not created beforehand and only made when ordered. It can work on apparel and other home decor items and accessories. The cost of printing on demand is low in comparison to keeping an inventory of already printed goods.

Since the designs are custom printed, the orders are processed individually with no need to have bulk on them. Once a supplier for printing on demand business is set up, fulfilling orders is convenient, and profits can be generated without investing in expensive equipment or hiring labor. This business model offers freedom to the organization as well as the buyer.

Advantages Print-on-Demand

Advantages of Using Print-on-Demand

Print-on-demand has several advantages, such as low investment in the business, expanded reach and customization. We’ll discuss more advantages in detail.

Low business set-up cost

Print-on-demand businesses can be set up in a few easy steps. POD platforms only need the users to sign up and create an account. You may add your designs and products. Some platforms also offer help in suggesting trending products with customization. The low business setup cost ensures there’s a very low risk of losing money even when a certain product may not work.

Minimal storage needs

A print-on-demand supplier handles everything from order processing to delivering the goods to the destination. You do not need to have storage units for equipment or printed goods.

Product customization

POD allows the personalization of goods catering to unique customer needs. Without even having a large inventory, custom design services attract buyers to order such items.

Building POD brand

Building brand name

Print-on-demand is easy to set up with modern platforms such as Printify, Gelato, and Shopify. You get to create a brand name that has a unique identity. Moreover, there’s no third-party involvement in the brand’s decision, giving you the full decision-making ability. You just need unique printing design ideas to attract customers and offer quality goods.

Business flexibility

After setting up the business, you’ll get to know which products have more sales. You may remove the less popular items and replace them with better designs. POD business also offers the freedom to introduce new items and designs whenever you wish to. Since there’s no cost involved other than designing, it will always be in the favor of profits.

Reduced waste

All the orders are made when customers order, choosing from a selection of designs. So you do not have to create printed goods beforehand. As a result, there is less waste and environmental pollution. You won’t have to discard unsold goods if they run out of fashion.

Focus on business

POD removes the hassle of managing machines and labor. You can rely on the third-party supplier and sit back. It will give you ample time to come up with new designs or focus on promoting the business.


Comparison with Traditional Printing Methods

Here’s how print-on-demand is different from traditional printing:

Production process

The production process in print-on-demand starts after the buyer places the order. The selected design is printed using methods such as DTG, DTF, embroidery, and sublimation, to name a few. A single design can be printed as per the requirement. On the flip side, traditional printing is done in bulk with a single print design.

Overall cost consideration

The traditional printing methods involve setting up equipment and hiring skilled people to work. It adds to the production cost. On the other hand, POD does not require setting up a printing warehouse and hiring people to operate the machinery.

Inventory management

Traditional printing requires a large inventory of printed goods and maintaining its catalog online for the buyers. It takes a lot of labor and time. There are no such storage needs in print-on-demand as only required printed goods are created.


POD makes it easier to customize designs before they are printed. Traditionally printed goods are already manufactured; hence, they lack this customization flexibility.

Marketing cost

Considering the additional preparation time and running bulk orders, printing and marketing take longer than traditional methods. Marketing can only be started once the products are dry and ready to be shipped after manufacturing.

Print-on-demand products can be marketed using online apps, websites, and social media pages to receive more leads even before manufacturing. POD is quicker as the products can be produced in less time and shipped on the same day.

Environmental impact

POD has less impact on the environment in comparison to traditional methods, as no bulk items are printed without prior orders.

Print-on-Demand Process

Here are the specifications of the POD process:

Creating and Submitting designs

The first step is to create designs using tools like InVision, Canva, Adobe, and Sketch. These designs may be simple graphic patterns or custom intricate ones. Various formats like JPEG, TIFF, PDF, PNG, and SVG are acceptable and can be submitted to the POD supplier for printing. Include different sizes for further customization.

Order processing and printing

The order processing starts as soon as the customer selects a design and places the order. They may add more specific details to the designs as per their needs. A direct-to-film digital printer is used to fulfill the orders quickly.

Packaging and shipping

The sellers may provide various shipping options to the buyers, such as a basic free plan, standard delivery, and express premium delivery at an extra charge. It is ensured the protective packaging is done once the design is dry and the printed items reach a good state to the buyers.


Types of POD Products

Here are popular POD products

  • Arts and prints: Can be printed on canvas, t-shirts, and posters.
  • Apparel: T-shirts, hats, hoodies, scarves, tank tops and printing socks.
  • Books: Custom books like cookbooks, poetry, novels, and short stories.
  • Home decor: Printed posters, coasters, towels, sheets, and mugs.
  • Pet products: Custom printed tags, scarves, and leashes.
  • Stationery items: Cards, custom notepads, and postcards.
  • Accessories: Phone covers, laptop covers, tote bags, and canvas bags.

How to Start a POD Business?

Here is the breakdown of how to start a POD business

Pick a niche

Select a niche that is high in demand. You may use trending hashtags/topics on social media or free tools such as Google Trends to get market insight. For instance, you may pick personalized goods for sporty apparel.

Another idea can be catering to pet lovers by designing custom dog apparel and accessories. There are several ideas to delve into as per the current trends as well as the design scope.

Select products

You may choose from several products, such as caps, t-shirts, socks, bags, banners, books, and stationery, to name a few. The options are endless; therefore, you may need to see the current trends and experiment with different products. Study the popular marketplaces for further inspiration.

Work on designs

The design of the POD goods can be as simple as printed text to a complex design. You may choose to create these designs using Canva, Adobe, or Inkscape. If you don’t feel confident with your designs, you may hire freelancer designers online for some input.

Find the supplier

Finding the right supplier is important to ensure print quality, timely shipping, and protected packaging. The supplier will deliver the end product to the users. So, you need to narrow down on a few reliable sellers and look for a profitable quote per order.

Create a website or seller account

You may create a website to sell the items or choose a platform like Printify, Etsy or Amazon to sell your products. Creating your website will be a bit complex. You may hire a professional to build an e-commerce website.

On the other hand, creating an account on already established platforms will be less time-consuming and easier. Once you have picked the right one, set up shop with details such as product catalog, payment methods, and shipping options.

Product testing

The quality of products is important for building a brand name and satisfying the customer base. Once you have loyal customers, they will leave feedback, attracting more customers. Make sure you test the designs and product quality before launching the shop. You can share feedback with the supplier for any improvements or changes.

Focus on product marketing

Once the product shop and designs are set up, it’s time to reach out to the targeted customers. You can do so by keyword optimizing the website or seller listing on the platform. Moreover, use social media accounts such as Instagram, Threads, X, and Facebook to promote the products. You may consider email marketing and influencer schemes to further market the products.

Study the data

See which products are performing better and the ones that may need a design update. Use buyer information to update the shop.

Wrapping Up

There you have all the details on print-on-demand and how it is a better printing method than time-consuming traditional printing. The seller can easily create designs, set up shop and sell POD items without too much investment into equipment or labor. Besides, it offers more flexibility to the buyers.


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