What is print on demand (POD) in dropshipping?
The print on demand, called POD is the fact of being able to produce products like tshirts, mugs or posters on demand with a particular pattern or design. There is no stock, it’s customization of accessories or clothes that is done as soon as the customer makes an order. It’s a bit of custom dropshipping and several service providers in France or in Europe allow you to print what you want and to automate all this with a Shopify store. By definition, POD is printing on demand.
What are the possible products in print on demand and the interesting niches?
By definition, the print on demand or POD is to be able to print a product on demand. Everything is possible and imaginable. Of course, you can imagine that you need specific material to realize some products. It is therefore possible to decline some existing shoes, t-shirts or mugs by changing the colors or the images present on the design, but not to recreate the whole product, by imagining for example another shape of mug. Indeed, it would then be necessary to create another different mold or another product creation process.
So, by dropshipping POD on Shopify or even Woocommerce, you can create custom tshirts, have stylish shoes without changing the shape or customize a whole slew of accessories of all kinds. To give you an idea, here are the products you can make with print on demand:
- Almost all the clothes and of course the Tshirts.
- Mugs and other cups.
- Skateboard boards!
- Personalized phone covers.
- Posters or paintings.
- Accessories and toys for animals, dogs or cats…
- Laptop covers.
- Blankets, ears or pillows.
- Pens of course!
In short, you have a wide choice. The key is to make a very attractive visual that sells as I teach you in my dropshipping training in the POD (print on demand) module. The margins are not particularly high but a well thought-out T-shirt whose design you have made is protected by your copyright. You might as well say that your competitors will not have the same product and that you offer something unique! You can very well propose variations of sizes or colors. For my part, the most profitable niche in this respect remains the tshirts on very specific domains like… the guitar! You can imagine, but I’ve sold tshirts in this area 🙂
So the POD revolves around the prints you’re going to be able to make, which are different depending on the applications you’re going to use to print. We often tend to think of textile printers, to do t-shirts, shirt, screen printing. But we can produce other products than to make marking on a garment. For example, there is often a printing service that continues to improve and offer a different type of printing with another product.
- We can talk about the engraving on bracelets, whether they are steel, silver, gold and other.
- There is the printing of books on demand as it allows to do amazon KDP which is nothing else than you print on demand of books. Each book is printed as soon as it is ordered. There are no small pre-printed runs.
- Printing on CD’s and vinyl, or even music CD’s or flash drives for bands!
- The wall stockers, the advertising banners and of course the flocking on various supports with adhesive or not label.
So there is a whole range of products that will make you stand out on the marketplaces and on your website. Here is how it works.
What is the process for making print on demand?
We will talk about POD applications with Shopify, but also wordpress and other media below. First, here is the process to make print on demand.
- You need to create an online store with your favorite CMS. It will of course contain an application of your choice to do digital printing.
- You will have to find the products you like. Is it better in your niche to offer stickers as wall coverings? Flyers? Maybe work on canvas art prints? Are you going to propose the design in photoshop like spreadshirt, or let people upload their own designs?
- If you work with a designer, it is normal that he/she will sell you the artwork or get royalties on each sale.
- You then upload the photoshop, pdf or rtf file that contains the exact variable data and coordinates of the documents to work on the visual, its dimensions and get the right impression. (Indeed, inkjet printing uses four-color process, that is to say 4 colors like CMYK with toner cartridges, while our screens are in 3 colors like RGB, so there is a difference if you send the wrong file format). Respect the size of the image so as not to have bad surprises. Don’t panic, everything is indicated. If you don’t have the soul of a graphic designer, there are free templates like on freepik that you can use if the copyright stipulates it.
- Once the visual is made, you can test the quality of your products by ordering a proof (a good to print), a test product to check if the printing or lamination is good!
- You then fill in the product sheet, put in nice pictures, talk about the washing method of the product and create an interesting marketing offer.
You’re ready to launch into Print on Demand! Be careful to test your product. If there is a defect with the file you sent and the printing technique requested, don’t worry, the POD team will point it out to you.
In case you start to make stocks, for example of a flyer, a sticker that is ordered very often or a T-shirt that you like, you will then switch to bulk order and you will no longer be in the print on demand. The process of printing in high resolution will then be done in mass with an order at the same supplier or on alibaba for example.
To improve your pod, you can very well offer a graphic design service, benefits such as binding options on books, gifts such as caps. In any case, you have to distinguish yourself and bring an interesting product.
What POD applications with Shopify?
You can very well propose an e-commerce shop in dropshipping with only products in print on demand. Only Tshirts for example on a given theme, or products related to your niche! Of course, you can fully automate your sales and production with an application integrated in Shopify. As soon as a customer orders from you, it will automatically place the order to your supplier who will produce the product in a few working days and deliver it directly to your customer. Practical, isn’t it? So, here are some print on demand applications to integrate and test on your Shopify store:
- Printify which produces in Europe and also in the USA, allowing to reduce the delivery time.
- Pixels in POD for Tshirts and other products.
- Printful is a must, offering a wide range of choices and numerous printing and production locations.
You can also go to the Shopify app store and simply type in “POD” or “Print on demand” to find all the apps that will allow you to customize your own products. Each has its pros and cons but the margins are very similar. The best strategy to adopt in POD in my opinion is to target an audience already receptive to other non-POD products via your email database or by creating an effective SEO strategy.
Print on demand companies are based in Europe or in the USA, so you don’t have to worry about import fees like vat and customs. These companies are concerned with the quality of their digital transfer and have an impressive fleet of machines. The printing and order processing process usually takes 2 to 3 days. The reactivity is good. After that, shipping will take around 5 business days, whether it is for customizable stickers, advertising objects or clothing with a logo. Indeed, each printing solution uses special techniques and formats such as hot stamping, reprography… The textile printing machine on bag for example does not offer stencil printing or packaging, it is logical. The prints are made on demand, and be aware that it is necessary to plan a little delay during the holiday periods!