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Print On Demand is Attracting New Entrepreneurs to Start a Business with Little Money

— October 27, 2021

Partnering with the right printing company is critical because they hold the key to satisfying customers with work quality and timely delivery. 

The use of personalized products in marketing has given new opportunities to budding entrepreneurs with limited resources to start the business of supplying products like printed mugs, T-shirts, hoodies, backpacks, bottles, etc., suitable for business promotion. Companies look upon personalized products as a highly cost effective means of business promotion that helps create strong and long-lasting bonds with customers. 

Although a personalized product for marketing is an old concept, it is still effective for companies of all sizes, from big corporations to small and medium businesses. The personalized approach in marketing has led to innovative marketing techniques and created new opportunities for suppliers of such personalized products who can start their businesses. 

Known as the print on demand business, anyone inclined to start a retail business can embark on the venture with almost no investment and infrastructure. You can even start the business from your home, provided you have a clear understanding of the way to operate the business. The business requires supplying custom printed products to customers. Most companies use them for marketing and distribute the products free to their customers. Another target group of customers are individuals who are keen to buy custom printed garments, apparel, and accessories to create their style and fashion that helps them stand out from the crowd. 

The print on demand (POD) business model

As you can understand from the discussions so far, printing the items plays a critical role in the POD business because customers would choose the product first, followed by selecting a design for printing on that product. Since each customer chooses some specific product for printing their chosen design, it is impossible to maintain stock of the products as you do not know what customers will ask for. However, you must have the capabilities of supplying the finished product chosen by customers duly printed with the selected design, which means that you must have the resource to arrange for the product, offer design options, print the design on it, and fulfill the delivery requirements. 

The role of suppliers and printers

Although suppliers must take complete responsibility for fulfilling the customer expectations right from selecting the products through design finalization, printing, and delivery, it does not mean that they must do all the work on their own. It is also not possible for them to do the entire work of producing the products because it involves printing. Suppliers must tie up with some printing company that specializes in printing all kinds of products.

Woman holding coffee mug with “Like a Boss” printed on it; image by Brooke Lark, via
Image by Brooke Lark, via

The role of the supplier will mainly revolve around displaying white label products on some online store or eCommerce platform and even display some designs suitable for printing on those products. Customers would choose the products and might or might not choose the design as they might prefer printing their designs which the supplier must comply with. On finalizing the order, the supplier hands over the order to the printing company that prepares to print the product, pack it and even arrange for dispatching it to the customer’s address. 

Light work for suppliers

From the business model described above, it is clear that the printing company does the bulk of the work as it prints the items and takes the responsibility of fulfilling the order. On the other hand, suppliers only need to sell the white label products and accept the order while depending heavily on the printing company to ensure timely delivery of the order. Since there is some time gap between choosing the white label products and delivering the printed products, suppliers need not maintain a large inventory of the white label items. Displaying only a few pieces of each product type is enough to allow customers to pick up what they need. Since suppliers receive the payment soon upon placement of orders, they can, in the meantime, arrange for the ordered quantity and hand it over to the printer for fulfilling the order. 

Low investment, low risk

Since no physical store or office is necessary to start the business, the investment to start the business is relatively low. All that print-on-demand companies must create a robust supply chain of white goods, designers, and printers and set up a shop on some eCommerce platform like Shopify, Etsy, or some other similar platform to display the white goods. They must also have access to a pool of designers who can create custom designs as instructed by customers. Some printing companies offer design services too. Since the retailers execute confirmed orders only and need not market their products, the business risks are also relatively low. As the print on Demand Company receives the payment upfront, there is no fear of losses unless the quality of work is poor and rejected by the customer.

Partnering with the right printing company is critical because they hold the key to satisfying customers with work quality and timely delivery. 

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