Print On Demand Or Private Label? Pros & Cons

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Selling products online is the trendiest business today.

Two great options that you could implement for this purpose are Print On Demand and private labels.

Both have advantages and disadvantages and, in this article, we will talk about them.

But first of all what’s the difference between Print On Demand and private label?

Print On Demand involves printing a design on a custom item as soon as orders arrive, while private label involves fulfilling products by a third-party provider that will sell them under another brand.

We will analyze these two methods in the following paragraphs.

Private Label

Private labeling is a process where a provider makes your product following given technical directives (like quality, size, product category, packaging, etc.), and delivers it as you can sell it by yourself, like a real retailer.

Labels could be of two types, white or private.

White labels are produced by Print On Demand services, and you don’t own the custom products, but only the design printed on them.

Private labels are produced by suppliers under your technical indications, and you are the sole retailer of them.

Main Benefits Of Using Private Label

The main advantages of using private labels and the differences with the previous method are:

  • Full Control

You have definitely more control over your products. You pay in advance for a completely tailored manufacture, and the supplier can’t dictate the rules or change materials without your permission.

It’s more convenient to create a labeled product under your directives instead of buying a finished one with a brand on it. The labeled product has a lower price and you can sell it back at higher margins.

  • Bulk Orders

You can prepare in advance a big stock of products if you expect massive orders from the customers.

With print-on-demand, you are dependent on provider labor times and delays are more common in the case of bulk orders.

With private labeling, you are in control of the situation and you can fulfill orders with ease.

  • Branding

It’s easier to launch promotional campaigns since you have better control of production times and pricing.

You can increase your brand awareness by adding complementary accessories and offering them to your customers.

Cons Of Private Label

It’s time now to talk about the main disadvantages related to this method:

  • Customer Perception

The general opinion of customers regarding private labeling is not so so positive.

Nowadays people are looking for branded items, mostly promoted by influencers. Your labeled products may not have the same impact and visibility as the Print On Demand ones.

Another limitation is that customers can’t purchase your products in any other store than yours, unlike print-on-demand ones, which are uploaded in the most famous marketplaces.

All logistic organization is upon you, including packaging and final shipping. It’s a huge responsibility you have to deal with.

  • Stocktaking

With private labeling, the inventory is needed to store your products before selling them.

A physical place is needed in case of unsold items. This is the worst scenario, as you have to deal with “dead” products that can’t be sold at ordinary prices.

Getting rid of them means lowering more the price, and this might cause you extra burn of money.

You won’t ever know the exact number of items you are going to sell, but you need to estimate them as it’s specifically required by private-label providers before starting the production.

This could be pretty risky and not accurate at all, and make you waste money in advance,  unlike print-on-demand.

Print On Demand

We have already said that Print On Demand involves a provider that prints your design on a white-labeled product once received the order.

The whole process is upon the provider which handles the whole fulfillment, from printing until direct shipping.

In this way, you can focus more on the core business, which is creating designs and advertise them through socials.

The list of products available for customizations is not only limited to clothing but can space even accessories, home decors, wall art, and much, much more.

Customization options are pretty unlimited, and Print On Demand services keep bringing today’s innovations to their customers.

This business model is tailored to small entrepreneurs who want to launch e-commerce online and build their brand identity, due to its integration with the most famous marketplaces in the world, like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and platforms like Shopify, WordPress, Wix.

The great versatility of Print On Demand makes it the perfect partner for your businesses, especially If you’re an influencer willing to monetize your exposure.

Pros Of Print On Demand

  • Easy-To-Use

It’s pretty simple to set up a Print On Demand store and not time-consuming at all.

These platforms are usually integrated with the main online marketplaces in the world, and in a short time, you can easily create your account.

Furthermore, they will manage all the supply chain from manufacturing to final shipment.

Your time will be devoted exclusively to designing and advertising, nothing else.

  • No Machinery

One of the mainstream techniques to print your items is called “directly to garments” and involves specific machinery for full-time printing.

This could be pretty expensive (and it is) but you don’t need to buy DTG machinery if you sell through these providers.

They already have on their own, and you won’t pay any costs associated with maintenance and utilities.

• No Stocktaking

You don’t need a physical inventory as the products will be bought in advance and stored by your provider.

There are no expenses related. It’s totally up to them.

  • Creativity

There is no limit to what you can upload.

 It’s rather better if you keep creating designs than not.

The whole process is completely free for you unless you won’t seek the help of paid professionals or paid software.

  • Branding

All the advantages mentioned before aren’t effective if you don’t use them for a purpose, create your brand identity.

It’s really important to build authority in your field and to create as many professional designs as possible, which could raise your brand awareness.

And print-on-demand is the perfect way to model your product in your image and likeness.

Cons Of Print On Demand

As we have seen the advantages of Print On Demand now it’s time to focus on its main disadvantages:

  • Provider Reliability

You should test different Print On Demand platforms before choosing the one for you.

This step is important especially in the long run, as your business starts to grow. The platform which looks perfect now, maybe won’t be effective the same as your sales volume starts to increase.

Imagine wasting all your effort (and money) spent to raise your visibility, with a provider that is not able to sustain a massive production in time and delay delivery times.

This will ruin the customer experience and your brand as well.

Furthermore, you don’t have control over the quality of materials used, neither of the production and shipping time.

It’s all a matter of trust in their service, so it’s crucial to screen in advance the right provider before running your store.

  • Return Policies

Return policy it’s another big issue related, as every provider has its own.

Make sure that your policies are the same as your providers, otherwise, there may be serious problems and further expenses upon you.

Consider that, usually, Print On Demand doesn’t contemplate product returns simply because printed items can’t be reutilized again.

In that case, be aware that you will be personally responsible for refunds.


In this article, we have seen the main advantages and disadvantages of both methods.

Wherever you choose Print On Demand or private labeling, you should know first which are your target audience, which are their preferences, and what kind of products they might appreciate.

Furthermore, you need to develop the right mindset to compete in this challenging environment, as it’s the main cause of both success and failure.

Be aware of this and don’t get discouraged by the first difficulties.

Are you ready to launch your store?

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Which Print On Demand Provider Would You Recommend?

Our choice goes to Printful.

Printful is the world’s largest and most commonly used Print On Demand service and provides wide embedded solutions for inventory, fulfillment, and shipping.

Their catalog offers you more than 200 products, among clothing items, accessories, home decors, and so on.

There are lots of advantages to choosing Printful as your main Print On Demand fulfillment and we will summarise as follows:

  • No expenses upfront, the all supply chain is upon Printful;
  • Full integration to Shopify, no manual processing of orders;
  • Automatic warehousing & fulfillment;
  • Full access to their catalog and their mockup generator;
  • Full access to their professionals’ network, which may help you in creating your designs;
  • Discounted fees if you order in bulk (up to 20% less);
  • High-quality materials for your products;

Some of these features may require a premium subscription or extra fees. However, you can get started with a free account and upgrade as your business becomes profitable.

Print On Demand World Staff

Hey Everyone! We hope you enjoyed reading the article and the information provided on it. If so, share it through your socials and keep visiting our blog, discovering the wonderful World of Print On Demand! Arrivederci! :)

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