The Rise Of Print On Demand

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A Game Changer for the Merchandise Industry

In today’s fast-paced world of e-commerce and the need for multiple revenue sources, the print on demand business model is emerging as a way for a business to market themselves,  increase their brand awareness, at the same time as creating a passive income.  Easily distributing their custom created merchandise.

Using the Print On Demand method gives a business, an organisation, a charity or a sports club  the ability to produce their own unique, personalised items on an ‘as-needed’ basis.  Therefore, providing significant benefits to both businesses and consumers.

With advancements in printing technology and the increase in online shopping, print on demand has disrupted traditional manufacturing and distribution methods and paved the way for a more flexible and efficient approach to merchandise production.

We are going to explore here the advantages of print on demand merchandise and why it’s becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses of all sizes.  We’ll also look at some things that might be seen as disadvantages, so you can make the judgement for yourself 

A Pinterest Pin image outlining Print On Demand that people can use to save the blog to their Pinterest Boards

What Is Print On Demand?

First of all, and for clarity, let’s give a quick explanation of what Print On Demand is, and how it works.

Print on Demand (POD) is a digital printing technology that enables businesses to print products, such as t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and other merchandise, as and when they are ordered. This means that instead of producing items in bulk and storing them in a warehouse, the merchandise is printed only when it is ordered by a customer. 

Your Print On Demand supplier will print your unique product, according to the design that you have set up, and send the completed item direct to your customer for you.  This is why you will find POD being mentioned on any list of Passive Income ideas, because the work is being done for you, by your chosen Print On Demand supplier.  Any additional services that a Print On Demand supplier offers will vary, but each will provide the blank products, the printing and will ship the item to your customer, once completed.

So let’s look at why you might consider this option, versus the traditional method of buying a bulk quantity of products and holding a stock inventory.

It’s Cost Effective

One of the most significant benefits of print-on-demand is its cost-effectiveness. With the traditional method of printing, businesses would order a large quantity of products to hold in stock, and that can be expensive. However, with POD, the products are only printed as and when they are ordered, eliminating the impact on the business cashflow. The buyer has already paid for their item too, before it has even been created, so no upfront costs to the business.  Allowing them to invest their money in other areas, such as marketing or product development.

No Financial Risk

As mentioned earlier, traditional printing involves ordering a large quantity of products, which might lead to unsold inventory. That can be a significant risk to a small business, especially one with limited resources. That risk is completely removed by print on demand, because the item has already been sold, therefore there is never any risk of unsold stock.

Also, whilst there will never be any risk of unsold stock, you will also never sell out of stock either.  Imagine the frustration of having a popular selling product, only to sell out and find that you are missing out on sales, as you wait for your new stock order to arrive.

Customisable Products

Print on demand is the perfect way to be able to offer personalization to a product as well.  There is a growing demand for customers to be able to buy a product that is personalised, and unique to them.  It is also possible to ask a higher price for those types of items too.  Print On Demand gives you an ideal solution to be able to offer that option to your customers, as each product is already being printed just for them.  This can help your business to stand out from the competition and improve customer loyalty.


It is quick and easy to create a whole new product range with Print On Demand.  If a product isn’t selling well, remove it from your store.  If you want to experiment with a new style, design or colour, you can do that quickly and easily, without any risk.  You can offer a much wider range of products to your audience, with more colour options, and even size options too.   All of that can be done without having to wait for new stock to arrive and without worrying about it not selling.


Print on demand is also an eco-friendly option as it eliminates the need for large-scale production and reduces waste. Traditional printing methods can result in significant waste, such as excess inventory or products that are never sold. However, with POD, products are printed only when they are ordered, reducing waste and minimizing the environmental impact.

Easy To Use

The print on demand supplier websites and the tools they provide are intended to be user friendly.  So there may be some initial information needed to get started but they need the user to be able to create a product without needing any special expertise.  A marketing team or entrepreneur can easily place their order without needing any additional communication, so as a result, businesses can save on the cost of employing any specific staff to manage this part of the business

Quick and easy to get started

With Print On Demand itself there is no cost, or a low cost, depending on the POD supplier you choose.  (Some may have a small fee structure).  But it is entirely possible to start selling your products with zero costs.  Depending on how you choose to sell, there may be website charges, selling platform fees and other marketing and promotion costs.  But they are likely to be the costs you would have with whatever method you choose.

The fact is that there is no upfront cost to using Print On Demand itself, which means you can set your products up and start selling them, very, very quickly.

When you also take into account the fact that you don’t need to have any storage space for print on demand products and therefore, you don’t have to have premises or even staff, you can start to see the significant cost savings. You don’t have to handle the packing and shipping either, so no need to purchase packaging materials, another saving. 

I think you will agree then, that print-on-demand is a game-changer for merchandise business owners. It offers a cost-effective, time-saving, and eco-friendly alternative to traditional printing methods, reducing the risk of overstocking or understocking products.  Merchandise business owners can streamline their operations, save costs, and grow their businesses.  With print on demand it would be easy to run a whole separate merchandise business, alongside your existing business.

However, there are some other things to consider too, some possible disadvantages, depending on how you look at it.

T Shirts for Bands
Mugs & Drinkware
Branded Tote Bags

Costs and Profit Margins

 Product costs are typically higher per item, when using Print In Demand.  Whereas it is one of POD’s main advantages, that each item is being individually created, that does have an impact on the final production costs, because there is no quantity of scale, no  quantity discounts that can be applied due to the multiples in the manufacturing.  So it is possible that the cost per item will be higher than if you had purchased a bulk quantity and that can have an impact on your profit margins, per product.  However, a lot can depend on who you are marketing these products to.  If you have found the right niche, and your products are just what they have been waiting for, then you will find less competition.  So when you take that into account, along with all the other significant cost savings, you will decide for yourself, if it’s still cost effective for your business.

Processing Time

By definition, these items are not waiting on a shelf to be picked, they have to be made, therefore it may not be possible to offer Same Day or even Next Day shipping to the end buyer.  You need to make sure that your customer is aware of the estimated delivery time frames given by your supplier.

No Control

Obviously with Print On Demand, you are not printing the item yourself or distributing to your buyer, so may never see the finished item.  You are completely dependent on your supplier’s fulfilment times and quality control procedures.   First of all make sure that you research the supplier you use and are happy with the service they offer.  Then make test orders at various intervals too.  That’s a good way  to test their processing time and product quality.

Sales & Marketing

As the items that you sell don’t exist until you sell them, and then the finished item is sent direct to your customer, that can make your marketing and promotion a little tricky – but still very important to do.  Nobody is going to be able to buy your products, if you aren’t showing them to people.

So you can order samples to use for advertising and photography, or photoshop if you have the skills.  But mock ups are possibly the easiest, quickest and cheapest option for most print on demand sellers.  So again, not impossible to overcome and I am a big fan of using mock up sites.

Limited Product Range

It is not viable for every type of product to be branded and printed individually.  So  POD companies may limit the selection of products they offer, to ensure that it is possible to generate a decent profit margin from the sales of that product. That could mean that you might not be able to find the exact product you’re looking for.  You may choose to work with a another, maybe more specialist POD supplier.  Or for that one product it might be worth considering the option of buying the stock and holding the inventory. That’s still a lot kinder to your cashflow.  Talk to your supplier, many will also offer to supply a product in a bulk quantity too.

What Next?

Hopefully this has shown you that Print On Demand as a business idea is not just for planners and diaries. There are many different products and types of merchandise being used to create entirely new income opportunities for businesses and organisations, from the many suppliers that offer a Print On Demand service. 

And you don’t even need to have design skills either, just have some fun, get creative, get started and you could generate a whole new revenue stream for yourself.  The good thing about Print On Demand is that you can’t lose.  There’s no risk, no stress, it’s easy and quick to get going, simple to make changes, and all the work is being done for you by your print on demand supplier.  It’s a no brainer

If you have any questions or would like more information on anything mentioned in our article – Contact Us Here If you’d like to check out the website for some inspiration on merch you can do that here too :-

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