What is Print on Demand and how does it work

You are currently viewing What is Print on Demand and how does it work

The Great scientist Albert Einstein had once quoted, “Creativity is contagious, pass it on”. Yes contagious, so creative people out there, let us just pass the contagious artworks and designs and cash it. This cashing can be made possible through various platforms of print on demand. Print on demand is an e-commerce model used to sell customized products. One just needs to sign up on the platform and upload their designs.


The customers can place orders for printing the design on products like a cap, bottle, T-shirts, Tote Bags etc. And the platform will accomplish this task including packaging, shipping and delivery. The businesses will be paid after the product has been delivered at the customer’s end. So let us walk through the entire concept of “Print on demand”. To gain profound knowledge about this business and making money, read the article carefully.


How does Print on demand work?

Majority of the creative people like artists and designers are participating in the print on demand business. They are finding this business an easy way to sell their artwork and earn an attractive profit. It is also helping e-commerce site owners to sell more personalized products from print-on-demand sites. Similarly, many small enterprises are on print on demand platforms to attract their customers and sell merchandise to promote their products.


The business of print on demand is increasing drastically mainly because of the marketing strategies adopted by the businesses. The businesses of all scales have observed that printing on products is an effective way to reach out to the masses. The market size of the printing business is increasing, and print on demand business is an integral part of it. A few examples to look at the growth of this business are the t-shirt printing business and the custom mugs. 


According to a survey, the custom t-shirt printing market is expected to reach a value of 3.1 billion U.S. dollars by 2025 from 1.6 billion dollars in 2016. There are a lot of platforms (printful, Spod, paintshop, to name a few) that provide the facility of print on demand business. Some steps of starting a print on demand business are platform-specific, but a general overview of the steps will be discussed here. Let us start with step one;


Register on pod site’s platform

To start an on-demand printing business, one needs to set up his online store, which is done by signing-up on one of the many platforms available for pod business. Many of these platforms provide the service of combining the existing business. So if one already has an existing business or store, they can combine it with their just sign-in pod. But there is no problem in case of absence of any existing store.


One can start with a brand new store with the platform of a pod. These platforms, on the user’s behalf, will then sell and deliver their artwork or designs printed products to their customers. 




Upload the designs

Once the registration process is complete, the next step is uploading on the platform, the unique artworks and designs of the users. Some facilities are platform-specific, some of the platforms give users the freedom of selecting the products on which they want to print their art, for example, the user may like his designs to be printed on a mug, a T-shirt or bottle to name a few. 

However, if the user does not want to give their wishlist of products, they can always choose the products list available on the platform. After the products are finalized, users can ask the platform to print them. 



Once the designs have been ordered for printing, the user/business owner can start planning for marketing strategies. Marketing is essential to let people know about the products that the business is offering. It is needed to attract the target customers to make them notice one’s work and designs. Correct marketing will bring the work under notice. And as more people will observe the product, visits to the store will increase. The business will flourish, and that is what a business owner wants.



Finally, when the customers start ordering the products they like, the platform will print it. There are some platforms like ‘Printshop’ that even take the responsibility of packaging and shipping the final product to the customer end. Some of the platforms complete the delivery process through a third party. Whatever be the case, at least this is not for the user to worry about. Once the customer receives his product payment will be done to the business owner. 


Thus print on demand is a hassle-free business for the creative people. They can focus on developing attractive designs, and artwork and the rest are taken care of by the platform. 


A few pros for using print on demand

The print on demand business has many advantages. Now we have learned the steps to set up a print on demand business. Let us look into the benefits that this business offers: 


  • Consistent earning source: It is the stable source of earning for creative people like artists and designers, and they just have to work on their designs and artwork without worrying for anything else. The platform provides the services of printing, packaging and delivering the product to customers. The platform does not require any involvement from the owner side. Once the customers start ordering, earning begins for the business owner.


  • Easy set up of online store: As already discussed, one can easily set up the online shop for his designs and products following the steps discussed under “How does print on demand work (Steps)”The process of registration is simple, just sign up then upload the designs. Then select the products on which the design should be printed. 


  • An Inventory? I don’t require it! The print on demand business is an on demand business. When the customer orders the product, it is printed, packed and delivered. So, the owner has to simply focus on his creative side and on refining his skill. The owner need not take any tension of where to keep the stock or of any issue related to inventory. It is the responsibility of the platform to take care of that problem. Moreover, overstocks and stockouts are generally non-existent in this business.


  • Timely delivery of orders: The platform also undertakes the responsibility of packaging and shipment of the products ordered by the customers. Hence, small businesses can ensure timely delivery of the customer’s order.


  • Just focus on the artwork and let the website handle the rest: Small businesses can continue creating unique designs and artworks. They need not bother with the packaging, selling and shipping of their products. The platform on which the business has registered will take care of all this.


The print on demand business facilitates a different opinion. With the understanding of the steps to start this business and the knowledge of its benefits, let’s move further. It’s time to learn about the specific points that should be kept in mind while starting with a print-on-demand business. These crucial points must be sincerely remembered before registering on any platform offering the print on demand business.


Things to keep in mind while using POD

The pod business can be started with little or no investment. However, one hundred percent hard work is necessary to make it a big success.


Choose the correct Print on Demand platform

There are numerous platforms available online that are offering print on demand services, but one should always choose that platform which meets his business requirements. Checklist following points to verify it:


  • Compare and choose the perfect platform: Compare various print on demand platforms carefully in terms of their services, special features, facilities, and terms and conditions, only after identifying the desired platform that perfectly fits in the business frame set by the owner, register on it.


  • The facility of a merger with the existing businesses: What if someone with an existing store or related business is trying to register on these platforms? They should look for those platforms which provide the feature of integrating their existing business with the online store. These platforms should also make sure that the customers buying the custom merchandise should have a smooth and undisturbed experience.


  • Policies of the contract offered by the platform: One must read the merchant policies of the platform that he has selected to get a clear understanding of its offers. Note down about its payment policies. Also find out the time it will take for printing, shipping and everything that just pops a question in mind.


  • Process of shipping: Investigate techniques adopted by the platform for printing the designs on the products. Know if the packaging is done so that the print is not damaged. Find out if the platform is registering on-time deliveries of the products to the customers. Some platforms accomplish the whole task by themselves. At the same time, others outsource this work to a third party. Know of what the platform, that is being chosen, is following.


  • Fee payment: Compare the cost structure of the print on demand platforms in terms of per item charge, subscription fees, monthly fees etc.


  • Products that should have one’s design: Individuals should make sure that the platform is offering the products that the business wants to sell. Generally, most of these platforms sell products like mugs and custom T-shirts as these are more on demand.


Check Samples

Businesses should get the sample of the product that they want to sell from the platform. Businesses need to sift through the sample for its quality. The success rate of business entirely depends on the standard of product delivered to the customer. A little inferior quality can take the customers away from their business, so assess and scrutinize the sample.



Businesses should try to come up with high-quality mockups for their products when they are ready to sell them. Through these mockups, one can envision the perspective of the customers. These mockups are helpful for customers to try the designs virtually. A good quality mock can prompt the customer to buy the product instantly. Some platforms offer this facility. However, if one wants to try his mockups, he can use dedicated software, software designed only for this purpose.


  • Pricing

The businesses are on the platform to earn money. They should set the price of a product such that there is a definite amount of profit on each selling. While setting the price of the product, make sure that the product does not become too expensive to buy. So set a price that attracts the customers and still brings the profit for the business. Some platforms like ‘Printshop’ allow the businesses to decide the profit margin. 


  • The platform sets the base value of a product which includes their service charges and operational cost. It then allows the business to add its profit margin to this base value. The total will be called the selling price of the article at which the business wishes to sell their product. 


An overview of the matter


After starting a print on demand business while taking care of all the crucial points, begin marketing. Marketing will also be the duty of the business, along with creating designs and artworks. These businesses must promote themselves as much as they can and wherever possible. It is also recommended to promote the online store on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This will drive a considerable number of customers to the store and will make the business a big success.


So it is a call for all the creative people to stop thinking and start making money using print on demand platforms. Select the perfect platform for the business, and market the product as much and everywhere as possible. Thoroughly read the terms and conditions of the platform. Moreover, you should set reasonable prices of the items, not too high, not too low. Let people appreciate creativity so that the business achieves more considerable heights. 






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