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How To Choose Between Print-On-Demand vs Dropshipping To Sell Products Online

9 min read

Business is booming for people who want to build an online store to sell their products. The problem many entrepreneurs are facing now is: how do you get your products to your customers?

Costs can be high for anyone starting a new business; maintaining inventory, shipping costs, supply chain expenses, and packaging issues are all but a few of the costs you’ll face. Let’s learn about how print-on-demand and demand dropshipping products and services work, so you can figure out which is right for you.

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What is Dropshipping?

Products go straight from the warehouse to your customer without you touching the product. Your customer looks at your site and decides they like a product; after they click buy, you get an alert on your end telling you a customer has purchased your product.

Your next step is to send the order over to your supplier, and they ship the product directly to the customer. You can automate this process through third-party plugins and apps.

You can create beautiful and unique purchase experiences for your customer when creating your site for your products. But you will have to manage your store, website design, as well as the dropshipping company, receiving and sending your customer’s order.

What is Print On Demand?

This is when your customer selects the design or parameters for the product they want to buy, and then the product is made. Not before. This is a significant perk for people who would have to keep inventory in their basements and such.

Think of a blank coffee mug waiting on the shelf for your customer to choose your design for their cup. They click buy now, and a mug with your design is sent to the customer.

Print on demand will handle your customer’s order from click to package open in their living room. Great marketing can help bring your designs to the public and increase your sales. Learn about your target audience, understand how to connect and deliver your products to them.

Some print-on-demand platforms will even let you create a personal store on their site so customers can buy directly from the company and get it sent to them. This allows you to be able to sell your custom products right away. From t-shirts to journals, art, skateboards, and coffee cups, your design has endless potential for exposure.

Print on demand allows you to sign up, upload your designs, click through pricing, and set up with ease. Then you can finish with your bank account or PayPal account, and you’re managing your own e-commerce online store. Print on demand allows you to get your business going with very little setup time.

Dropshipping requires you to create a domain and website, set up a store with an e-commerce platform, set up plugins for shipping, payments, and contracts. While often easy to do, it can be very time-consuming, especially to the inexperienced.

After setting up your website and selling platforms, you can activate your plugins and post your products to market. Your final steps will include connecting your dropshipping provider to your site and ensuring everything operates smoothly.

How Do You Make Money?

Print-on-demand companies typically work within two main pricing structures. One is a custom profit margin per unit sold, and the other is a fixed profit margin per item sold.

Take some time to clearly understand how much the profit margin is and what you can expect to make. Consider using a print-on-demand platform if you have many designs for things like t-shirts you want to get out to the world quickly.

Dropshipping works a little differently because you host your own site and products, so customers can’t get distracted by other products. You can also choose your pricing options; we encourage you to do your research to find out how much people in your niche are willing to pay for similar products.

Dropshipping allows you to have a more in-depth customer experience, but you must always consider the other costs you will be facing. Some of those costs will include your domain, app subscriptions, plugins, and other expenses needed to manage your items sold.

Print on demand is more accessible for many small businesses because there are almost zero start-up costs involved. Print-on-demand services offer far lower start-up costs and will take care of all your shipping needs, all in one place. If you don’t already have designs or products, that will increase your start-up costs.

Many printing services charge a flat fee for the print, regardless of the number. So your income potential with the proper marketing can be pretty high. Print on demand also offers easy ways to scale your business. You can quickly see how customers react to your new products and test new ideas without significant financial investment.

Print On Demand vs Dropshipping: Which Is Right For You?

Dropshipping can seem intimidating, but for many people, it’s the way to go. Set up is similar to that of print-on-demand services, just with a few extra steps. As discussed above, website design is required; you must make decisions on the different products you are going to sell and what services you will use to ship those products.

However, after your research is done and your decisions are made, it becomes pretty effortless on your end. Dropshipping will give you a decent profit margin, and they make it easy to reach international shoppers.

As in all good things, we find a few more cons to our list of pros above. Some of the risks of print on demand beyond the low-profit margin include; other sellers’ designs listed alongside yours, the increasing cost of your products due to low-profit margins, and your funds are only deposited to your account at selected intervals, usually once or twice a month.

Dropshipping includes the added costs discussed above, like fees for hosting and payment platforms. If you’re not tech-savvy, the setup could require more knowledge you already possess. Dropshipping needs your funds to be in the bank before the order can be processed or fulfilled. This can make it difficult for businesses in their infancy to get off the ground.

Become an Ecommerce Entrepreneur Today!

While you may have already noticed, print on demand and dropshipping don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Although it offers lower margins, print on demand can make a cheap and effective way to test new products.

After products have demonstrated the ability to sell in large quantities, you can consider switching to dropshipping. This level of flexibility allows small businesses to gain experience, capital, and understanding of the customer base and increase sales in profit over time.

If you think you are ready to start selling online, consider Ecwid. We are a passionate group of e-commerce fanatics who are here, on this earth, to make it easier for you to sell to your people. You can add us to almost anywhere you already have an online presence.

Learn how we make it easy to sell and operate multiple online stores, from websites to social media to mobile. If you are ready, we are here to help. Let’s get selling!

Do you want to learn more about the print-on-demand business?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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