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One of the first questions you're going to be asking when starting out in ecommerce is which is better in the battle of Print on demand vs Dropshipping?
Print on Demand or POD for short is by far my favorite form of e-commerce (when the options are POD or Dropshipping). It is through POD that I have been lucky enough to have sold over $2,438,085 worth of apparel! If we're speaking strictly revenue than that number is closer to $15,000,000.
There is nothing to say that you cannot do both POD or drop shipping at the same time. While creating funny quotes for shirts you may find that you start focusing on particular niches.
Those niches will love to see other products from you… Once you have built the trust with your tribe.
With the knowledge of the niche, it's an easy fit to find extra dropshipped products for them. If you do have a focus on both make sure you are consistent in your branding.
As marketers, particularly with the front end traffic coming from Facebook we need to make sure our stores are as professional as possible. If you don't present a professional website you will end up with a lot of traffic and no sales.
Think big department store type professionalism. The more untidy and unprofessional it is the harder Facebook will inevitably clamp down on marketers…so behave.
In this article, you're going to learn the pros and cons of doing both.
Print on Demand Clothing vs Drop Shipping
Print on Demand Clothing or POD Clothing (as it is most commonly known) are products that get printed when purchased. It is an incredibly efficient way of doing business. Purely based on the fact the store owner does not need to have any money tied up in inventory.
I first dabbled with print on demand back at the end of 2013 when Teespring was dominating the market. The business model blew me away so much so that I wound up the previous business I'd been working on to focus on POD.
I wouldn't say I was an expert, however, for the most part, I (I, being we…as in my business partner Suhail and I) had a lot of success that paved the way into Shopify.
Source: Teespring Dashboard
Print on Demand clothing or products can be anything from iPhone cases to Shirts or Hoodies to Car Seat Covers, in essence, anything that can be printed…on demand.
In a nutshell, the store owner does not pay for stock up front, they order the product to be printed immediately after it has been purchased from the fulfillment agency, often automatically.
The low barrier to entry (not needing to carry stock) is a huge drawcard for the business model. You do, however, need to be aware of some hidden costs.
When considering POD or Dropshipping keep these considerations in mind;
- Designers (you can do a bit of designing yourself if you are creative and know the platforms. If you're “creative” and “resourceful” you may teach yourself to design… as I did).
The cost for designers varies HUGELY and you often get what you pay for. When finding your designer it is important that you can have an open dialogue with them.
It is incredibly frustrating to work with a designer that does not understand what you require.
- Marketing. Obviously, this cost is ongoing. The better you get at your systems and processes the better ROI you will inevitably get from your marketing efforts.
Well no shit Ronnie, I knew those costs. Great! You are a step ahead of the pack. But be aware, when you are first starting out you need to set aside some money (approximately $1000USD and that probably isn't even enough). Think of it as the price of education.
The trickiest thing to get your head around and to keep fresh is your ideas.
Coming up with the sayings for your designs is a hard slog. BUT, if you have the wit of Kevin Hart and the eye for detail of Tom Ford, knock yourself out.
There are ways to make it easier. Doing a course would be one of the best ways to understand what is involved.
Having your systems in place before you get started will allow your budget to work as hard as possible!
What is Dropshipping?
I've had all my success through Print on demand clothing so when it comes to Dropshipping my knowledge is not so extensive. However, there are several similarities between the two. Particularly the backend systems and processes that you will implement into your business.
Similarly to POD, drop shipping requires no handling of stock;
- You advertise the products.
- Your website sends the order to your fulfillment company.
- Fulfillment company takes care of the picking, packing, and shipping of stock and charges you a fee for doing so.
To ensure you are working with the best companies, filter your search results for 4+ Stars, Customer Reviews & Seller Rating. Also, installing a Chrome Extension like Factory Confirm will make your hunt for quality partners easier. See image below…
I must stress. DO NOT BURN YOUR CUSTOMERS. The art of ethical eCommerce has a few rules that you 100% need to abide by;
- Keep customer experience front of mind. If the wait times are too long, don't sell the product. If the seller (fulfillment agency) is not reputable, don't use them. We have to protect Facebook users and our customers/visitors otherwise a quick buck today will do nothing for anyone tomorrow.
- Aliexpress has a lot of dodgy operators and you need to sift the hay from the chaff. DO NOT WORK WITH A DODGY COMPANY! You need to do your research. Keep your customers in mind at all times.
- A poor customer experience is terrible for your business and anybody else that is on Shopify. All the work you put into nurturing your customers will go out the window if you do not manage the customer experience accordingly.
Don't keep them waiting, have the shortest delivery times as possible and respond to customer inquiries as soon as is possible.
So Which is Better in the battle of Print on Demand vs Dropshipping?
So the question stands? Which is better, in the battle of POD vs Dropshipping? My personal preference has always been POD, purely because I love unique, creative designs and the challenge.
Whilst it is difficult to continually come up with funny or passionate designs the pay off is huge and you are giving someone a product that means something to them.
While both Print on demand & Drop shipping is not without their negatives the choice will inevitably be up to you and your willingness to work.
Unfortunately, there are dodgy business owners on both sides from fulfillment agencies to store owners who blatantly infringe on copyright.
No matter which way you decide to go please be ethical in your business. Selling fake Nikes or Gucci Sunglasses is never ok. Just because you're doing it tough now does not excuse a poor decision.
Be ethical, your future self will thank you for it and you will be able to sell for years to come on Facebook, Instagram and any other platform that allows you to run advertising for your eCommerce business.