We all know that e-commerce is the best way to run an online business today.
You may ask yourself if it’s better to launch a dropshipping store or a Print On Demand one.
Both require similar steps: niche selection, product creation, and social media advertising.
There are some differences too, but what can really not be lacking is the right mindset to run a business like these, which is the only way to survive in the ocean of sellers.
We will talk about these aspects and much more in this article, and we hope it will help with your brainstorming.
We all know a lot about dropshipping as it has been pretty mainstream during recent years.
We can make different comparisons between Print On Demand and dropshipping, as their concepts and backend systems are quite similar together.
The main common point is that none of them need to physically handle the products.
In dropshipping, the first thing is to create a professional website through Shopify (mainly) and to choose a supplier (one or more) for your product. Then, connect it to your store with the Oberlo app (if it’s from Alibaba), and advertise your product through Facebook ads.
We summed a lot, but there are many more steps between these.
Similarly to print-on-demand, when the customer makes a purchase, the order will be transmitted to the supplier that will process it and deliver it, after having charged you a fee.
However, the customer service is upon you, not Shopify. It’s extremely important to be aware of this, as a bad customer experience will lower your store reputation.
Definitely, you go through more pressures and responsibilities than print-on-demand, where everything is basically handled by the provider.
On the other side, you are the owner of your store, which is highly satisfactory, especially if you want to run your brand and have an active role in your business.
From the point of view of marketing and promotion, there aren’t real differences as both require paid ads to bring traffic to the store.
Print On Demand
Print On Demand is a process that allows to customize white-label products and sell them through a supplier under a brand name on a per-order basis.
No fulfillment and no inventory are required. They’re upon the supplier.
Customizable product space from clothing to accessories, home decors, and anything else. You don’t need to pay upfront for the products as they will be directly discounted from your margins.
Print On Demand is characterized by the total absence of entry barriers, which means that everyone can launch the own dream store for low costs, and, at the same time, it’s a highly-saturated market, full of potential competitors.
Indeed, there could be variable costs, not-predictable when you start, that could raise further the difficulty.
We are talking about (mostly) the cost of hiring a freelance designer, which is crucial for giving your products a professional appearance among the hundreds of thousands of ones online. The price can vary depending on how much you are willing to invest in your brand.
You could even make designs by yourself, saving some money but spending a lot of time, on a lower quality result.
Be aware of that and make the right decision for you, according to your preferences and possibilities.
Furthermore, you may think about marketing expenses. Even this is totally up to you: you could go through free Google SEO traffic or running social campaigns through socials, which are definitely quicker and more targeted, but way more expensive.
As always, there isn’t a valid formula for everyone. There were sellers able to run a successful store with just organic traffic, but honestly, they are very few (especially today).
So, if you don’t want to wait several months to make your first sale, maybe the right solution would be to run paid Facebook Ads.
So to who is recommended Print On Demand?
We would definitely recommend it to talented creators like artists and designers.
As the main part of this business is creating high-quality designs these professionals may have more chances to emerge from common sellers with no skills.
There are marketplaces like Zazzle, TeeSpring, and RedBubble, which are perfect in providing complete freedom on product selection, with hundreds of different categories to be personalized.
However, margins are pretty low. It’s good as a starting point but definitely, you can’t live with them.
You can maybe start with Print On Demand and then move to dropshipping, once you have tested a good brand for your products.
This has been valid for many sellers in the past and should be for you as well.
So, who is the winner?
We have seen that both have advantages and disadvantages.
Definitely, we recommend Print On Demand for those who don’t want to spend money upfront and don’t have in mind a clear brand for their products.
If you have the right mindset and you can afford it, you could jump directly to Shopify and launch your own store.
In both businesses, there is a lot of work to do, and that’s the reason why many newcomers fail.
So, don’t get discouraged, make your choice, and let your journey begin!
BONUS – Great Printify Alternatives For Your Store
Teelaunch is currently used by over 40.000 stores on Shopify and has become very popular in recent years.
Its providers are located both in Europe and North America, and that’s important for geographical diversification.
They don’t ask you for any subscription fees or upfront costs as they take care of all the fulfillment processes by themselves.
Your order is completely tracked since the item is purchased until it’s finally delivered to the customer. Plus, they accept PayPal for payments, which is comfortable.
But what is outstanding about Teelaunch are profit margins: the more orders you receive the higher they will be. They’re tailored to the sales volume and can shift from a minimum of 50% to a maximum of 75%.
Which is higher than the market average for similar services.
Gooten is a fully-embedded Print On Demand service that claims to be the all-in-one solution for Print On Demand fulfillment.
With their catalog of over 100 items, it’s specifically indicated to niche stores.
Their 3D mockup generator is unique in its own genre and lets you create high-quality images.
It’s a perfect solution for small enterprises and we wouldn’t recommend it to bigger ones, as it doesn’t provide premium features like Printful.
However, what’s really valuable in Gooten is the possibility to set manually your margins and the transparency of the costs, clearly displayed on your dashboard.
Fees on your sales include fulfillment and shipping costs; monthly subscriptions aren’t charged.
Everything works automatically and you can easily track the order processing until it’s delivered.
SPOD claims to be the best partner for Shopify users as it offers amazing customized products and various printing solutions.
They will do everything for you; just send them your design and they will choose the most fitting product for you.
It’s incredible their efficiency as they have printed over 35 million products since their foundation (in 2002), and currently have 45 printing machines in their establishments, full-time working.
The production is centered on three key points: high-quality, short labor times (shipping within 48 hours), and low fees (0,5% of return rate).
If you are going to sell in bulk, you can get even higher margins on your sales.
SPOD has a transparent cost policy, which means you can see clearly from the website a list of all the commissions applied to your products.
You can ship your products in three ways (delivery time):
- Standard = 3-9 days
- Premium = 3-5 days
- Express = 2-3 days
Of course, the price can vary considering these options, the total order value, and the type of product sold.
However, every detail is shown clearly before, so you won’t have surprises!
With Order-Desk integration, SPOD can import the orders you receive to its fulfillment, so they can be processed and finally shipped to the customer.
Maybe this extra integration is a little bit tricky for newcomers compared to other Print On Demand services, but it works perfectly with Shopify and it’s efficient as well.
Society6 it’s the place where emerging artists can showcase their artworks and be in touch with other colleagues.
The platform put together both beginner and professional designers with their unique creations, from wall arts to clothes, from home decors to accessories.
Once you have subscribed, you can upload manually artworks to your storefront.
Society6 will take care of everything else including manufacturing and shipping to the final customer.
As a plus, they actually pay attention to support all the artists involved, lowering the fees, and dealing with all administrative procedures behind.
The role of the community is emphasized in Society6, as the users can interact between them, sharing ideas and thoughts with each other.
If you’re looking for this type of environment to develop your artworks, this is the place for you.