Have you been thinking about starting your own business? The idea of a print-on-demand venture can be quite attractive. It seems that there are more and more POD online stores, and why would that not be the case?
People are looking to purchase a wacky face mask because they want to cheer themselves and others in the face of a pandemic. Companies are investing money in matching t-shirts. Custom merchandise could also work as a gift for occasions like birthdays.
When you consider that, it is understandable why POD is so popular. However, if you are planning to start a print-on-demand venture yourself, jumping right into it without prior research would not be the best approach.
Before you commit your resources, consider both advantages and disadvantages that you will encounter while developing the store.
1. Low starting cost
Low starting costs are certainly one of the biggest advantages. Printify explains how to start a clothing line without investing money on their website.
At the same time, there is an option to invest in printing equipment yourself, but that is not recommended since you have suppliers who can provide you with products. Besides, there are no guarantees that you will be successful, and spending money on printing equipment could be a waste.
Instead, you should stick to the dropshipping business model and work as a middleman that focuses on customer services. Around 27% of global online retailers have adopted dropshipping according to 2018 study, which is a good indication of how popular the business model is.
You will need a website, but a domain and a reliable hosting provider cost about 100 dollars a year, which is not a lot considering how much money you can make.
2. Scalability and no profit ceiling
Speaking of making money, you would be operating in a niche that has virtually no profit ceiling. The amount you can make depends on the effort you put into promoting the business, product quality, and interesting designs.
In case you struggle with creativity, hire a freelance graphic designer and let them handle the work for you. Doing so would free you up and let you focus more on promoting the store.
Of course, if you notice that the business continues to grow, and you need even more products and opportunities to advertise on more marketing channels, then do not hesitate and hire as many people as you need.
3. Few logistical worries
Like already mentioned, going with the dropshipping business model means that you do not have to worry about logistical problems. Warehousing, inventory, returns, shipping, and other logistics-related processes are some of the primary reasons why some people refrain from even bothering to start an online store.
However, if you can forget about these problems and shift your focus toward developing the business and promoting it, then the motivation to do your best should be there.
4. Creative Freedom
Creative freedom and a way to express yourself is also a plus, though it tends to be overlooked. People who are looking for a way to share their vision with others can do so by printing designs on t-shirts, caps, hoodies, face masks, and other POD products.
Sure, there are other ways to be creative, but you should remember that a successful print-on-demand store brings profits. Combine the two together, and you have a pretty great reason to pursue the idea of starting a POD business.
1. Reliance on suppliers
Despite its many advantages, print-on-demand also comes short in some areas. One of the things that stand out the most is the reliance on suppliers. If you dropship the merchandise, you will need to find a supplier that can ensure quality products and proper delivery time.
Even if you manage to work with someone who can be trusted, there will still be that feeling of uncertainty because you cannot control logistical processes yourself.
2. Difficulty finding graphic designers
Similar to finding reliable suppliers, you might struggle to get yourself a graphic designer. The demand for them is quite high, and if your aim is to release high-quality products with unique designs, a graphic designer may ask for ridiculous rates for their work.
Besides, even after establishing a seemingly great business relationship, the odds of them leaving after receiving a great offer are pretty high as well.
It is not an issue if you can come up with designs and run an entire operation (promotion, product ideas, relationships with suppliers, customer support), but there may come a day when you cannot take care of everything yourself.
3. Competitive market
Besides relying on others, entering print-on-demand means entering a competitive niche. Despite your efforts researching the market, you may still fail to fail a niche that is not too saturated.
The competition is fierce, and going up against already established brands is likely a waste of resources. Failing to sell products will lead to less motivation every day, and you will likely decide to stop.
That is not to say that newcomers cannot find their place in the world of print-on-demand. It is just that breaking through and running a profitable online store that sells custom merchandise is hard because of the competition.