Print on Demand Dropshipping for Beginners
What is Print on Demand?
Print on demand is a form of dropshipping where you do not need to hold inventory. You only need to upload product designs to various websites, when someone purchases a product with your design, your chosen supplier will print the design on to a product e,g T-shirt and then send the product out to the customer. Hence the name 'print on demand' as the product is only printed on demand.
How does it compare to dropshipping?
Although print on demand (POD) is similar to dropshipping where you do not need to hold inventory, it is still it's own business model. When people think of dropshipping, traditionally they think of Shopify, Amazon or Ebay dropshipping. Instead of selling products, you really are selling the design on a product, the product itself will be handled by your chosen supplier
How can I start a POD business?
you can start a POD business on various platform. Either by uploading your designs to a Shopify store, then connecting your designs to a supplier like Printify who will then print your products for you. There are a few other alternatives, a few of them being sites like Redbubble and Teespring who operate like a marketplace so there will be other designers on the platform, you upload the designs, they manage everything else.
You can also check out our FREE Print On Demand Video Course to help you get started.
The video below will give you an idea of how Print on Demand compares to traditional dropshipping
What are the Pros and Cons of POD?
Easily list products: Once you have created a design, you can easily list the same design to various site and even sometimes use the same design on multiple products
No handling: Suppliers take care of the printing and shipping, you just focus on the designs
Low risk: As you are not handling the inventory, you don't need to purchase stock and hold it, most your work is done digitally online.
Low profits: Like most other dropshipping business models, the profits on any one single product will not be great, to make decent money, you will have to sell a good volume.
Lack of control: You only upload designs so you don't always see the final product, that is why it is always good to order some samples first
Limited options per supplier: The products that will be available will be based on the supplier to you use so when you are looking to really scale your business, you may need to work with multiple suppliers to offer a wider variety of products.
Which Print on Demand Supplier is best?
There are many print on demand suppliers out there and for me to say that one is the best then it will really be unfair to the others so below I will recommend three and briefly explain some of the benefits you get from each
Printify themselves do not actually print out the products as they are a website with integration to platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce and Etsy etc.
What they do is work with various POD suppliers based in US, UK, Australia and a few other countries so they let the specialists handle the POD work whilst they ensure that you get a smooth integration on to your store.
The great thing is, you are able to view reviews on each supplier so you can make an informed decision whether you want to list products from a specif supplier. Sometimes you may find that one supplier may be good for T-shirts but a different one is good for mugs and as everything is done through the one Printify platform, you will have it all in one place. The prices on Printify are very competitive as you are able to choose from various suppliers, if you use also use their paid subscription, you can get up to 20% off on products which really does help bring the prices down
Printful also have a similar integration like Printify however rather than working with third party suppliers, they print out their own products. Some of the prices on certain products are not as competitive as Printify however as they do everything in house, you can ensure everything is dealt with all in one place. They do also have a bigger product catalogue than Printify so I would highly recommend that you look into both and see which once suits you better
ThisNew are based in China so if you are dropshipping POD products to the US or UK etc so do pay close attention to the shipping times and adjust them accordingly. The reason I am adding ThisNew to the list is because their product range is quite large and very unique as well as having very good prices. I have found that many people choose to order in bulk from them to their own local country and once the products arrive, they then choose to list the items and sell locally so they can offer fast shipping
What should I sell?
The possibilities are endless, from t-shirts to mugs, from sneakers to stickers, there is such a wide range of products.
What I would recommend is start in the T-shirt area, then move on to mugs, take it from there.
How do I design products?
This is what puts so many people off and I can understand that because most of us do not have a history in graphic design so how can I start designing T-shirts right?
Well trust me, it is certainly not as hard as you think because there are so many softwares out there in this day and age that have been so simplified, with the right direction, you can certainly learn it within a few hours and then really improve on your skill. Just have a look at the video below where I give you a simple step by step tutorial on how to design t-shirts
For more details on how to start a Print on demand dropshipping business check out my