PRINT ON DEMAND: THE REFERENCE GUIDE
The emergence of tools such as Shopify, Oberlo, AliDropship,, and a host of ultra-practical apps have made it considerably easier to launch a new online store in a matter of hours.
This popularity is not without risk for beginners who lack experience and tend to follow the herd. Indeed, it is never good to follow a trend or a niche that has already been overexploited. This is why it is necessary to stand out, to create a real brand image,, and to be at least consistent.
A successful store should ideally target a specific niche or target. The more precise it is, the more it works. Not only can you work on your copywriting in line with your persona, but you also have an easier time getting your site to rank on Google.
To make it more meaningful here is an example of a very well thought-out Print On Demand-based store: Airport Tag, which mainly targets travelers. A successful store must have a guideline and must meet the needs/desires of a specific target.
Laddily, I would say that ~ 95% of drop shippers source from AliExpress, and we often find the same bestselling products in basic stores. You only have to browse the Facebook groups dedicated to dropshipping to discover behind the scenes.
Beginners copy without really understanding models that work, or rather that worked because everyone is doing the same thing, the competition increases and the margins decrease. Hence the importance of standing out and thinking carefully before launching a new store, in which we will invest time and money.
One solution to stand out and offer original articles is to do POD (Print On Demand) or print on demand. This consists of offering personalized items (from their own designs) which will be printed and shipped only once the product has been ordered by the customer. This fits perfectly into the dropshipping model where we do not manage the stock or the shipment.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, a designer, an artist, a webmaster, a copywriter… selling physical products online through Print On Demand can be a great way to monetize your creativity. From the sale of t-shirts to posters, including mugs or personalized socks, Print On Demand offers many opportunities to sell original and unique products to its customers.
When we do traditional commerce, we must have continuous stock and we always end up with certain items in our inventory that are not selling well. Likewise, it may apply to certain sizes which have a hard time starting. With Print On Demand, the product is created only at the customer’s order. Like the “Just in Time” business model, there is no waste and no need to invest in inventory!
The system is perfectly fine: the customer goes to your online store, he orders an item and you receive the money instantly. Automatically, the order is placed with your Print On Demand partner (for example Printful or Printify), your account is debited for the amount of the product and the platform takes care of everything: product creation, logistics, packaging,, and shipping until the customer’s home.
Unlike traditional commerce, Dropshipping and Print On Demand do not involve any investment in inventory. The only expenses to be expected related to orders from customers (who have already paid us). On each sale of a product, we thus generate an attractive margin; and the more you sell, the more you earn.
YOU CAN USE PRINT ON DEMAND SERVICES TO:
- test and validate a business idea or a new product line without having to invest in stock
- to monetize an audience that you have built (whether you are a blogger, YouTuber, influencer, cartoonist, designer …)
- create original products for a very specific target; the more nested, the better!
- create and print a custom product in one copy for yourself or as a gift
The advantages and disadvantages of Print On Demand Print
On-Demand, products can be easily integrated into an existing DropShipping store. It is one of the most accessible and fun ways to create products on your own and start an online business. As in every business, there are pluses and minuses, which we must know before starting.
THE ADVANTAGES OF PRINT ON DEMAND
- Create products quickly: Once you have designed the design, you can create the product in minutes
- Everything is managed by the service provider: From product design to shipping, everything is managed by the Print On Demand company; after the sale, you will just be responsible for after-sale service
- Fast shipping: Unlike the particularly long delivery times with AliExpress, the creation of the product and the delivery by the platform in Print On Demand is done very quickly (generally less than a week)
- No investment, no risk: Since you don’t have to manage inventory, it’s easier than ever to add or remove POD products from your store, conduct tests, change your approach, etc.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF PRINT ON DEMAND
- Lower Margins: As these are everyday clothing and accessories, the margins are not that large as can be the case with AliExpress dropshipping.
- Limited customization: Your ability to customize your products will depend on your Print On Demand partner and the type of product
Product examples in Print On Demand
Her clothes come in a multitude of choices and colors: unisex t-shirt, women’s t-shirt, round neck, V-neck, tank top, long-sleeved t-shirt, sweatshirt, etc.
It is also possible for you to customize it for accessories: mugs, phone covers, bags, socks, pillows, posters, etc.
Does Print On Demand really work?
This is a legitimate question for someone who wants to get into Print On Demand.
My answer: when you give yourself the means, Print On Demand even works very well!
To be successful with Print On Demand, it is essential to put in place a solid strategy and stick to it.
Can Print On Demand allow you to roll on gold? Maybe not so soon, but nothing is impossible.
IS PRINT ON DEMAND PROFITABLE?
When we do Print On Demand, we have to assume that we are not going to do low cost. We cannot afford to compete with Kiabi.
If you sell your products inexpensively in Print On Demand, it will be very difficult to be profitable.
To be profitable and have a flourishing business, it will be necessary to plan for good margins. The same goes for dropshipping.
When a t-shirt costs you € 10 from your Print On Demand supplier (for production and shipping), plan to sell it for at least € 20 (excluding shipping costs). This allows you to recoup your costs for:
- your shop
- your marketing
- your imposition
- your remuneration
If you can triple your margins compared to the cost of your supplier, that’s great.
This is where your talent as a marketer/copywriter must come into play. To sell a more expensive than average product, you have to be particularly convincing.
It will therefore be necessary to combine:
- a rare and irresistible product for your target
- a store perfectly optimized for conversion
- hyper-targeted and attractive communication
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET STARTED IN PRINT ON DEMAND?
Getting started with Print On Demand doesn’t cost a lot. The great advantage of this business model is that it is based on “Just in time”. You only pay for the product when a customer orders it.
However, going blind is the best way to make a lot of mistakes! The positive side is that you learn from your mistakes and constantly improve. The downside is that you waste time… and money! If you want to avoid making all the beginner’s mistakes by training yourself from a pro, I highly recommend you to join the excellent training of Elliott Bobiet:
Discover the training: Generate income with Print On Demand You will also have to plan the cost of your Shopify subscription, the premium theme,, and its apps,, or the cost of the domain name, hosting, theme,, and premium plugins if you prefer to work with WordPress.
Then, you will need to budget for advertising / retargeting with Facebook Ads, Google Ads & co. If you have a long-term vision, you will also need a net linking budget to improve the natural referencing of your store. Personally, I have a big preference for this last strategy. It will allow you to generate real passive and recurring income over the long term.
Starting a Print On Demand store is not expensive in itself, what can cost a lot more is advertising and SEO, to ensure visibility for its products.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON ERRORS IN PRINT ON DEMAND?
As in dropshipping, the errors that I noticed on Print On Demand stores that did not take off can be multiple:
- Hobbyist / poorly optimized shop
- No well-defined target
- Very limited product promotion
- Ugly/amateur visuals
- Bad advertising strategy
- No retargeting
- No emailing strategy
- No SEO
Sometimes it only takes one or two things to be overlooked for poor results.
It is essential to be irreproachable in its strategy because we still sell products more expensive than the average, and we are neither Nike nor Adidas!
It suffices to have a store that is poorly optimized for conversions, slow to load, with an amateur rendering, basic visuals… for the user experience to be sealed off.
WHAT STRATEGY TO ADOPT TO ACQUIRE TRAFFIC?
Working seriously on your SEO is a big plus if you want to establish yourself at the top of Google results. Even if it takes time, you will be able to attract targeted, recurring and free traffic.
Advertising (SEA) also plays an important role in Print On Demand. This is the only way to attract highly targeted traffic to your store immediately. However, it is essential to properly configure and optimize your advertising campaigns, with perfect targeting and top advertising to maximize your conversions.
Having profitable advertising campaigns in 2021 is a daunting task. You have to assume that you will not be profitable at first and that until you find the right combinations. If you want to advertise, therefore plan a substantial budget.
The strategy I would recommend is to focus primarily on SEO. You can combine this with retargeting: you display advertisements via the Google / Facebook / Taboola networks… only to people who have already visited your site and shown an interest in your products.
To this end, you can set up conversion pixels from the launch of your store to collect data as soon as possible.
On the other hand, you will be able to make partnerships with influencers in your niche. This strategy on social networks is perfectly complementary to SEO / SEA and will allow you to carry out great one-shot operations. For once, I advise you to orient yourself towards influencers who address the same target as you and who have excellent engagement (not necessarily a mega audience).
WHAT FUTURE FOR PRINT ON DEMAND?
With the democratization of Print On Demand platforms and growing consumer demand for personalized and unique products, print on demand still has a bright future ahead!
Where to sell its Print On Demand products?
The basis in Print On Demand is that you sell your products in your own store. Most of the time, dropshippers will move towards Shopify or WordPress CMS.
But be aware that two French Print On Demand specialists (DropshipPrint and Tunetoo) have developed their own integrated store solution. These have their own advantages and disadvantages. The major advantage is of course the simplicity! And the major downside is the lack of flexibility/control over your store.
To attract traffic to your store, you have three main levers:
- SEA (paid referencing): Facebook Ads (FB + Instagram), Google Ads, Taboola, OutBrain, Snapchat, TikTok …
- SEO (natural referencing)
- social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest …
It’s up to you to see which are the most interesting levers according to your strategy, your budget,, and especially your target. You must know where it is to better target it.
Then, what many e-merchants forget is that they can also add their products in Print On Demand on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy… This allows them to benefit from an additional, potentially enormous, visibility by more of his own shop.
How to choose the right service provider in Print On Demand?
To choose the right partner in Print On Demand, you will have to take all these factors into account:
- the types of products available
- high-end quality products
- possible customizations
- printing techniques
- available sizes
- the costs for the products
- the location of the partner
- shipping ways
- the delivery time
- user reviews
- ease of integration
TOP 5 PRINT ON-DEMAND APPS IN 2021
Suppliers offering this type of service have multiplied and it is now very easy to do Print On Demand with Shopify and WordPress.
Top 5 Best Shopify Apps:
- Printful : 3,400+ reviews (4.3 / 5)
- Spocket : 2,400+ reviews (4.6 / 5)
- Printify : 1600+ reviews (4.2 / 5)
- TeeLaunch : 500+ reviews (4.5 / 5)
- T-Pop: 150+ reviews (4.7 / 5)
Top 5 best WordPress plugins:
WHO IS THE BEST PRINT ON DEMAND PROVIDER?
From my own experience, I have only used two Print On Demand providers through Shopify: Printful and Teezily +. The latter solution is currently no longer publicly available on the App Store. Printful is the international market leader.
I was satisfied with these 2 solutions which do the job well. But if I had to take up Print On Demand today, I would go to a supplier like DropshipPrint or T-Pop .
It is difficult to define the best Print On Demand solution, as it greatly depends on our needs and the location of our target. Printful or Spocket, the two market leaders, who have large logistical resources.
To illustrate this to you, Printful processes over a million articles per month, they have a team of 1800+ employees, On the other hand, Printful goes a step further with apps compatible with many e-commerce CMS: Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, SquareSpace, BigCommerce, Wix eCommerce, ECWid, Magento, GumRoad …
In terms of marketplaces, Printful is also very well positioned: Amazon, Etsy, Wish, eBay and Storenvy (US market). This will allow you to sell tailor-made and on-demand products on the biggest e-shops, without having to create a store from A to Z.
On the WordPress repository, the highest rated Print On Demand plugin is Spocket with over 2,000 active installs and an average rating of 4.2 / 5. The most used POD plugin is Printful (50,000+ installs), but the average rating is pretty bad (2.9 / 5). These bad grades are mainly due to timing issues.
Placeit: aPlaceant solution for its illustrations
Print On Demand partners like Printful and Printify will allow you to create your own designs using an online tool. It is very practical and the time saving is enormous.
To go further in highlighting products in your stine, you could use models, for a more professional look, and of course better conversions.
However, recruiting several models and a photographer to take pretty photos of your products is very expensive. It’s profitable for established brands, but not necessarily for a new Print On Demand store.
The solution? Use the Placeit app ! Placeit is a great design solution for doing a multitude of things, including mockups. A mockup consists of pasting its design on a photo, for example, a model wearing a personalized t-shirt.
With place it, you can customize everything:
- Clothing customization
- Customization of the background color
- Addition of texts …
Just on the category of t-shirts, we have nearly 4,000 customizable photos, classified by category:
- Gender: Man, Woman, Boy, Girl
- Age: Senior, Adult, Young, Teen, Child, Baby
- Ethnicity: White, Hispanic, Indian, Asian, Black
- And many more specific tags
These mockups are also available for all types of clothing.
But also for accessories!
1) Print on demand vs dropshipping: what’s the difference?
2) Why print on demand?
3) The different print-on-demand platforms
d) Spring (formerly Teespring)
1) Print on demand vs dropshipping: what’s the difference?
Very often, we confuse print on demand with dropshipping. However, there are differences between these two terms.
According to Definition-Marketing , dropshipping is “is a form of e-commerce whereby the seller site does not have stock and has the end customer delivered directly by its supplier.
” On the one hand, contrary to what most think, dropshipping is not defined by influencers who sell Aliexpress products through their community (but that is another debate).
On the other hand, by definition, dropshipping is a much more common practice than you might think. Dropshipping allows intermediaries to sell services and products that are not necessarily accessible to customers for various reasons: language barrier to import a product, limited parts, lack of knowledge, etc. In itself, a “dropshipper” is comparable to a business provider capable of doing business with the service of a supplier.
Print on demand is a form of dropshipping . Print on demand consists of personalizing a prefabricated object (t-shirt, sweatshirt, tote bag, etc.) with a personalized design at the time of purchase. Basically, the manufacture of the personalized product begins when the customer has made the purchase from the site.
So, with print-on-demand, there is no need to stockpile. Thanks to printing on demand, and therefore dropshipping, you can easily customize designs on all types of accessories. This is ideal for launching a brand of personalized t-shirts .
Print on demand is therefore a category of dropshipping, but dropshipping is not digital printing.
2) Why print on demand?
Print on demand allows you to:
- Create online merch ;
- Create free personalized t-shirts, clothes or goodies for your brand of clothing;
- Defend associative projects through textiles ;
- Fund projects (crowdfunding) with profit;
- Put artistic projects on textiles.
This is what we offer for personalized t-shirts on LAETUS by sending a link that can be easily shared on the various social networks.
In addition, printing on demand has several advantages :
- It’s (often) free;
- No stock: the t-shirt is produced once ordered;
- No money to advance: the customer pays for his production;
- Delivery is made directly to the customer by the supplier.
Print on demand also has these drawbacks :
- Delivery times are longer (2 weeks minimum);
- Personalization of products may be limited;
- You have no control over the quality of the product.
3) The different print-on-demand platforms
Some platforms only offer the print-on-demand service, others create your own online store at the same time.
The principle of these sites is to produce the merch of its customers then to make a margin on the sales. At the same time that the company makes a sale, of a t-shirt for example, the designer of the product will be paid and will receive a commission.
Here is the list of print-on-demand platforms:
Printful is a tech platform that allows you to offer print on demand / dropshipping directly on your e-commerce sites. It integrates with the different website creation platforms such as Shopify, Woocommerce, Prestashop, Webflow …
If you already have your own website, Printful may be a solution. In addition, Printful has a very large catalog: t-shirts and other clothing, accessories, decorations….
Redbubble is also a platform that offers print on demand. With more than 5 million visitors per month, the main strength of this platform is being able to reach its large community of buyers to trigger sales outside its circle. Their product range is also very wide, with obviously t-shirts.
Redbubble are offering student discounts on purchase! It is therefore understandable that their site is aimed at a rather young and generalist target.
If you are a young designer looking to make simple merch, Redbubble will do the trick.
How not to mention our platform in this list?
Laetus is the platform that allows independent creatives to launch their brand of quality t-shirts as simply as possible. More than a piece of clothing, we share stories, identities and visions.
LAETUS allows you to create free graphic t-shirts as a pre-order campaign . We specialize in creating clothing brands, which is why our product range is limited, but of high quality! Indeed, LAETUS offers a selection of quality tees and sweatshirts to launch your first brand in the best conditions. The delivery time is approximately 2 weeks after the end of the campaign.
d) Spring (formerly Teespring)
Teespring allows, like LAETUS, to launch clothing campaigns. The fact that it also works in this form gives a real marketing advantage to artists who exhibit their products. For those with the best results, Teespring offers integration on different social networks and platforms like Youtube, Tiktok, Discord, Google Shopping, etc.
Teespring also offers a wide selection of products, ranging from t-shirts to mugs and other accessories. Like LAETUS, delivery can take 15 days or more.
Teezily offers a complete print-on-demand service that allows you to create products with your designs, import your designs and descriptions into your online stores.
Spreadshirt is one of the best known companies in the European market. In terms of products, they are also very diversified, their range exceeds 100 products.
What is different about them from other dropshipping companies is the fact that customers can create multiple stores within the site. This service allows customers to share not just one category of visual but several universes that they share. Spreadshirt, will orient its offer around the multitude of designs they have.
From our point of view, Spreadshirt is more suitable for advertising impressions for business or association. For artistic works, printing problems occur more often at home.
Waaflow is a French company specializing in the personalization of dropshipping clothing. A strong point of their production is that 90% of the textiles offered are from organic farming. In terms of production, all clothing is printed in France and represents a real time saver in terms of delivery.
Tunetoo stands out by offering to personalize clothes thanks to a unique marking system. Indeed, the brand offers the possibility of personalizing the same product, in embroidery and in printing.
Like most of its competitors, Tunetoo provides various products to personalize, such as clothes, mugs, decorative items… Like Waaflow, it turns to organic textiles. Respect for the environment is increasingly recognized by consumers, this current issue allows them to acquire a good brand image
T-pop is similar to Tunetoo and Waaflow on the principle of respecting the environment. He dedicates an entire page to their client in order to inform them about the materials used, they want total visibility in order to be clear and understandable for all.
In addition their site is very well written, for informational purposes on the CMS, on the production processes, the materials and on the use of the site. T-pop will guide you fully in the clothing customization you aspire to do.
Teelaunch is a leading company in the field of print on demand. You just have to export your visuals and Teelaunch will run the production from start to finish. When someone orders from your website, they’ll print the product, ship it, and act as a customer liaison if there’s a problem.
At Teelaunch, there is a wide variety of products that you can print on demand, mugs, mouse pads, clothing… They aim to diversify their offer by adding a new product each month.
Small flat, to sell your creative ideas, you will have to go through Shopify.
Dropshipprint is a dropshipping based service that wants to sell customizable accessories t-shirts without managing inventory. Classic like its competitors, it wants to take control of the entire production process for the designs of its customers. This company emphasizes that its prints are 100% made in France. Their catalog offers a selection of over 100 clothing models, they only specialize in clothing prints.
Compared to other platforms, Dropshipprint does not offer the possibility for its customers to share their creations and sell them on their site.
Printify is a big dropshipping company, they own over 200 products like t-shirts, mugs and home accessories. It provides a mockup on its platform. More precisely, the mockup is a user interface that allows you to design creations that will serve as visuals for clothes.
Similar to its competitors, customers who purchase products, Printify will automatically handle the automated production and shipment of print-on-demand orders directly to customers – with the seller’s branding. In order to give visibility to clothing brands they offer brands to create a site on Shopify, Etsy, …
Concretely, these different print-on-demand sites all have different advantages and functionalities. Some will devote themselves to responding to a service by offering a multitude of products, others will target a specific clientele, as LAETUS does with quality t-shirts in order to facilitate success in fashion and the creation of brands.