The Truth About Print On Demand in 2023

The Truth About Print On Demand in 2023

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Print on Demand?
  3. Pros and Cons of Print on Demand
    • Pros
    • Cons
  4. Quality Control Issues
  5. Limited Creative Ability
  6. Easy to Start, But Eats into Profit Margin
  7. Leveraging Print on Demand for Sales
  8. Product Availability and Testing
  9. Going Global with Print on Demand
  10. How to Use Print on Demand for Your Business
  11. Conclusion

Should You Use Print on Demand for Your E-commerce Business?

In the world of e-commerce, there are various fulfillment methods available to business owners. One popular option is Print on Demand (POD), where companies allow you to white-label their products, such as t-shirts or canvases, and print and ship them to your customers. However, the decision of whether or not to use print on demand can be a daunting one. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of print on demand and provide guidance on how to effectively use this fulfillment method for your business.

What is Print on Demand?

Print on Demand (POD) is a fulfillment method that allows you to sell custom-designed products without carrying inventory. Instead, you partner with a print provider who handles the production and shipping of your products on a per-order basis. This eliminates the need for upfront investment in inventory and streamlines the fulfillment process.

Pros and Cons of Print on Demand


One of the main advantages of print on demand is the ease of getting started. Integrating print on demand platforms with your online store is relatively simple, and these platforms often offer integration with popular e-commerce platforms. This automation allows for automatic printing and shipping of products, saving time and effort for the business owner.

Additionally, print on demand provides the opportunity to test different products and designs without the need for a large initial investment. By offering a wide range of products, such as t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and more, you can gauge customer demand for different items and adjust your offerings accordingly.

Moreover, print on demand allows for easy scalability. As your business grows and you receive more orders, the print provider takes care of fulfilling those orders, leaving you more time to focus on sales and marketing strategies. This scalability is particularly beneficial for small teams or solo entrepreneurs.


Despite its advantages, print on demand does have some drawbacks. One significant concern is quality control. Since you are relying on a print provider to fulfill orders, you have less control over the printing and packaging process. While many print on demand companies maintain high-quality standards, there is always the possibility of receiving a product that does not meet your expectations or your customers' standards.

Limited creative ability is another limitation of print on demand. While you have the freedom to upload designs and choose from a variety of products, there may be certain customization options that are not available through print on demand. Complex printing techniques like screen printed puff or custom printed pockets may not be feasible with some providers.

Another disadvantage of print on demand is its impact on profit margins. While the ease of starting and scaling a print on demand business is attractive, the cost of production and shipping is typically higher compared to handling production and fulfillment in-house. It's important to carefully consider the pricing and profitability of your products when using print on demand.

Quality Control Issues

One common concern among business owners considering print on demand is quality control. As mentioned earlier, the lack of direct control over the production process can lead to variations in product quality. However, it's important to separate the myths from the realities when it comes to print on demand quality.

Quality-related complaints tend to be more prominent and vocal compared to positive experiences. Consumers are more likely to leave a review when they have a negative experience, while satisfied customers may not feel the need to leave a review. Therefore, it's essential to consider the overall customer feedback and not solely rely on negative reviews.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that you can order samples from print on demand providers to ensure the quality meets your standards. While it is not necessary to sample every product, placing a sample order can give you confidence in the quality and help address any concerns you may have.

Limited Creative Ability

Print on demand offers a wide range of customizable products, but there may be limitations on certain customization options. Complex printing techniques like screen printed puff or custom printed pockets are not easily achievable through most print on demand providers. If you require intricate designs or specific customization options, you may need to explore alternative fulfillment methods or consider producing those products in-house.

However, it's important to note that print on demand still provides ample room for creativity. Full-size prints, all-over prints, and embroidery are available options that allow for creative and unique designs. Additionally, many businesses successfully leverage print on demand alongside in-house production to offer a variety of products to their customers.

Easy to Start, But Eats into Profit Margin

One of the key advantages of print on demand is its simplicity and ease of getting started. Integrating a print on demand platform with your online store requires minimal technical knowledge, and the automation provided by these platforms simplifies the order fulfillment process.

However, it's important to consider the impact of print on demand on your profit margins. While the convenience of not having to handle production and fulfillment allows you to focus on sales and marketing, it does come at a cost. Print on demand providers charge a per-product fee, reducing the profit margin compared to producing and shipping products in-house.

Business owners should carefully evaluate their pricing strategy and ensure that the profit margins are sustainable when utilizing print on demand. As the business grows and gains more sales, it becomes crucial to analyze the cost-benefit of using print on demand versus investing in in-house production and fulfillment capabilities.

Leveraging Print on Demand for Sales

One powerful aspect of print on demand is its ability to remove the burden of production and fulfillment, allowing business owners to focus on sales and marketing. By leveraging print on demand, entrepreneurs can allocate more time and resources to promoting their brand and driving sales.

Rather than being overly concerned about profit margins in the initial stages, it is advisable to prioritize generating sales and creating brand awareness. Print on demand serves as a launchpad for your business, enabling you to test different products and designs without committing to large order quantities.

Once you have established a customer base and gained valuable insights into customer preferences, you can strategically identify high-demand products and consider producing them in-house. This approach allows you to gradually regain control over production and fulfillment while optimizing your profit margins.

Product Availability and Testing

Print on demand platforms offer a vast array of products that can be customized with your designs. This eliminates the need to carry inventory and allows you to test various products with minimal risk. You can gauge customer interest and demand for different items without committing to large minimum order quantities.

This flexibility is particularly beneficial for small businesses and new entrepreneurs who are still exploring their target market. By using print on demand, you can launch multiple products and observe which ones resonate with your audience. You can then refine your product offerings based on customer feedback and sales performance.

Furthermore, print on demand makes it easier to go global with your business. Many print on demand providers have multiple print houses worldwide, allowing you to fulfill orders from different regions efficiently. This global accessibility expands your customer base and enables you to cater to international markets without the complexities of international shipping and inventory management.

Going Global with Print on Demand

Expanding your business globally can be a challenging endeavor, but print on demand simplifies the process. By partnering with print on demand providers with international print houses, you can effectively serve customers from different countries.

Whether you are an international seller looking to enter the U.S. market or a U.S. seller seeking to tap into other markets, print on demand offers the infrastructure to fulfill orders from various regions. This eliminates the need for extensive international shipping logistics and allows your business to operate seamlessly on a global scale.

How to Use Print on Demand for Your Business

To effectively utilize print on demand for your business, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your overall business model. Consider whether you are building a clothing brand or simply selling apparel as a reseller. This distinction will determine how print on demand fits into your overall strategy.

For those solely focused on selling apparel with generic designs, print on demand can serve as an efficient and cost-effective fulfillment method. You can leverage the vast product selection and automation capabilities of print on demand platforms to streamline your operations and focus on generating sales.

On the other hand, if you are building a unique brand with a specific aesthetic, you can use print on demand to test and validate your product ideas. By offering customized products through print on demand, you can gauge customer interest and demand while simultaneously building your brand identity.

Ultimately, print on demand should be seen as a tool to leverage, rather than a limitation. It provides the flexibility to test new products, reach customers globally, and streamline fulfillment processes. As your business grows, you can strategically transition to in-house production or outsourcing to regain control over production and maximize profit margins.


When considering print on demand for your e-commerce business, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons and align them with your specific goals and business model. While print on demand offers ease of use, scalability, and testing capabilities, it's important to address concerns related to quality control and profit margins.

By leveraging print on demand strategically, you can focus on sales and marketing, expand your product offerings, and reach a global customer base. Remember, print on demand is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but when used intelligently, it can be a valuable tool to propel your e-commerce business forward.

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