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Print-on-Demand: The Ultimate Guide

Published in Ecommerce Tools

Print on demand (POD) is a business model where products are manufactured and printed only after a customer places an order, eliminating the need for large upfront inventory investments. The print-on-demand business model has emerged as a game-changer for entrepreneurs, artists, and content creators alike.

The print-on-demand business model has opened up a world of possibilities, allowing entrepreneurs to offer a vast array of personalized products without the risks associated with traditional manufacturing methods.

In this guide we’re delving into the intricacies of the print-on-demand business model. Curious about what are the benefits of using print-on-demand and how does print on-demand work? Keep reading to find out!

In the meantime, if you’re looking to get started with print-on-demand, you’ll want to get in touch with the experts at Print Bind Ship. We offer custom printing on all kinds of products, from t-shirts to books to tote bags and so much more! Plus, we’re one of the leaders in North America when it comes to order fulfillment, custom packaging, shipping, and more. We even handle customer return. Have a print-on-demand business model in mind? Get in touch for a free quote!

What is Print-on-Demand?

Print-on-demand (POD) is a revolutionary business model that allows individuals and businesses to print books, apparel, and other merchandise on an as-needed basis. Unlike traditional printing methods that require large orders of custom merchandise, print-on-demand allows for single or small-batch printing, reducing waste and saving costs on storage and shipping.

Print-on-demand is a convenient business model for e-commerce platforms and businesses. It’s no wonder that POD adoption is on the rise. It’s estimated that the global print-on-demand market size is expected to reach a whopping $45.6 billion by 2031.

The beauty with print-on-demand is how the business model enables a wide range of products to be offered, from books, apparel, home decor, accessories, skincare, and so much more.

In the book industry, print-on-demand enables authors and publishers to print books in smaller quantities, making it easy to market and sell their books without the need for a large upfront investment. This technology has reduced barriers to entry and allowed authors to self-publish their work in ways they may have been unable to before.

Print-on-demand has also revolutionized the apparel and merchandise industry. With print-on-demand, businesses can create custom-designed products for their customers without needing a physical inventory. 

Instead, many print-on-demand providers also act as fulfillment companies, helping organize the receiving and shipping of e-commerce products. Through these types of demand companies, technology allows e-commerce storefronts to offer a broader range of products and designs without the risk of overproduction and storage costs.

How Does a Print-on-Demand Business Work?

With print-on-demand, a customer places an order and their design or desired product specifications are sent directly to a printing facility equipped with high-quality digital printers and production equipment. The product is then printed, assembled, and shipped directly to the customer, often within a matter of days. This streamlined process not only reduces waste but also enables a wide range of products to be offered, from books and apparel to home decor and accessories.

With POD, products are only printed when an order is placed, significantly reducing the need for storage space and the risk of overproducing goods that may not sell.

POD technology has come a long way and now it is possible to print a wide range of products including books, stationery, clothing, and other merchandise. This makes the business model ideal for small independent creators and publishers who wish to produce and sell their products without the need for a large investment upfront.

Understanding the Print-on-Demand Process

We’ve broken down the print-on-demand process to make it easy to follow. Take a look!

Step 1: Order

Everything starts when a customer orders a product. The e-commerce storefront will then get in touch with its POD service to place the order. This process can be automated so that customer orders are automatically fulfilled with little input on your part.

Step 2: Printing

The next step in the process is the actual printing. The print-on-demand company will typically use digital printers to print the product. Other printing options may be used as well. For books or book covers, the process involves printing one copy of the book at a time as they are ordered. For merchandise such as apparel, activewear, drinkware, tote bags, posters, and other products, the design is printed onto the product and can be fulfilled within a matter of hours.

Step 3: Fulfillment and Shipping

Once the customer’s product has been printed, it’s packed and shipped directly to their door. Since the print-on-demand service provider handles everything from printing to shipping, businesses can focus on building their brand and promoting their products without the hassle of managing inventory and logistics.

With no upfront costs and the ability to print products on demand, an e-commerce business can save time and money while providing its customers with high-quality products. Whether you’re an author, artist, or entrepreneur, this can be an excellent way to create and sell products without worrying about inventory and logistics.

Key Benefits of Print-on-Demand

POD is an increasingly popular method of printing books, clothing, and other goods that allows customers to order customized products with no minimum order quantity. It offers numerous benefits, including reduced production and storage costs, greater flexibility, and often faster turnaround times.

1. Cost Savings

Using POD for printing can provide significant cost savings for businesses. By eliminating the need to print large quantities of materials in advance, businesses can save money by only printing what they need and when they need it. This process is especially beneficial for businesses that are printing short-run products such as books, brochures, and other marketing materials.

By eliminating the need to purchase and store large quantities of inventory, businesses can save money on production costs, storage fees, and labor costs.

Because customers can order customized products, businesses don’t have to spend money on creating large batches of products that may not sell.

2. Increased Flexibility

You gain the ability to make changes, archive products, or create new products without financial risk. The flexibility of the print-on-demand model also allows businesses to react quickly to changes in demand as well as test new designs or products. Businesses can experiment with different options without having to commit to large quantities of any one item.

The flexibility of print-on-demand also means that businesses can offer a wide range of products without having to carry a large inventory. This benefit not only reduces costs but also allows businesses to offer customers a greater variety of products.

3. Low Inventory Risk

Print-on-demand eliminates the need for businesses to store large amounts of physical inventory, as the products are only printed when an order is placed. This process allows businesses to maintain a low overhead cost and focus their resources on other areas, such as marketing and customer service. 

Print-on-demand also reduces the amount of time businesses have to spend organizing and managing inventory, freeing up their time to focus on other areas of their operation.

4. Short Lead Times

Print-on-demand is a great way to get products printed quickly and with minimal effort. By using print-on-demand, customers can receive their products within just a few days. By reducing time-to-market, you can quickly respond to customer trends.

5. Unlimited Design Possibilities

Print-on-demand provides businesses with the ability to offer products with unlimited design possibilities in a cost-effective manner. A company can also offer a larger variety of products to customers without holding an inventory of physical products.

6. Improved Branding Opportunities

Adding your company logo to items is a great way to spread awareness and brand recognition. Print-on-demand allows customers to order items they would like ranging from a custom printed t-shirt to a custom notebook.

7. Personalization and Variations

POD allows users to personalize their products in a variety of ways. Users can upload their own designs, choose from a selection of templates, or use a combination of both. They can also alter the size, shape, and color of the products they are creating. Users can add custom text and images to the products, allowing for a more personalized experience. 

For businesses, this feature offers a unique opportunity to create products that are tailored to their brand and customer base.

8. Comprehensive Fulfillment Services

When you partner with a print-on-demand provider that also offers fulfillment, you can quickly scale your products and ensure your customers are getting their items in the fastest possible manner. A 3PL (like Print Bind Ship!) also handles the integration to your e-commerce software, picking, packing, warehousing, and returns.

How to Choose a Print-on-Demand Company

When choosing a print-on-demand provider, there are several factors to consider, some of these are listed below:

Costs and Quality

One important consideration is the cost and print quality. You want to ensure that your books or products are of high quality while also being affordable for both you and your customers. As you browse different providers, make sure to review their past projects to get a sense of the type of quality they typically provide.

Range of Services

You should consider the range of products and services offered by the provider. Some POD service companies specialize in certain product options over others, such as printing hardcover or softcover books, printing on other materials such as t-shirts or phone cases, and offering fulfillment services such as order processing and shipping.

Print Bind Ship is a fulfillment service and printing company that offers print-on-demand for all types of product options. Get in touch to learn about customized solutions for your e-commerce store or business!

Print-on-Demand Process

Not all print providers offer the same, seamless process. At Print Bind Ship, you upload your content and designs to our platform, and we will take care of the rest. We’ll also contact you for customized solutions. We’ll handle all the product printing and shipping directly to the customer. Sit back and focus on your revenue, profit margins, and more important business needs.

What Types of Items Can You Print-on-Demand?

The types of items that can be printed on demand are virtually limitless. From apparel to accessories, promotional items, books, posters, and mugs, POD services offer a wide variety of products that can be customized to meet individual needs. With the right design and material, almost anything can be printed on demand, allowing businesses to create unique, personalized items with ease.

1. Books

One of the most popular items we print are on-demand books. Authors can choose multiple types of binding or offer variations of their book or manual. For example, you could print your book in another language or change the binding to offer multiple price points for your book.

2. Apparel

Custom apparel is always a hot item, but print-on-demand offers more than just t-shirts and sweatshirts. While these are both sought-after items, you can also branch out into other custom clothing, such as custom leggings, white-label shorts, and more.

3. Accessories

The accessory category offers tons of options for creative, custom products. There are many lovable standbys like hats, sunglasses, and backpacks.

4. Posters

Whether you need to print posters for an event or art, printing on demand allows you to offer as many variations as you can think of.

5. Tech Accessories

Phones are something we’re rarely, if ever, without. That’s why phone and tech accessories such as chargers, selfie sticks, phone cases, laptop sleeves, and more – are all popular options for on-demand printing services.

6. Just About Anything Else

Print-on-demand is an incredibly versatile model that works with virtually any type of product. From home goods like pillows and blankets to office essentials such as notebooks and mousepads, print-on-demand is a dynamic solution for bringing customized merchandise to the market without the need for large upfront investments or inventory management.

Who Can Benefit From a Starting a Print-on-Demand Business

The low barrier to entry, scalability, and flexibility of print-on-demand makes it an attractive option for anyone seeking to transform their ideas, designs, or creative works into tangible products without the limitations of traditional manufacturing methods. Now that we went over how a print-on-demand business works, let’s go over who may be particularly poised to benefit from this business model.

Artists and Designers: Print-on-demand opens up a world of opportunities for artists and designers to monetize their creative works. They can offer their designs on a wide range of products, from t-shirts and phone cases to canvas prints and home decor items, without the hassle and financial risk of carrying inventory.

Writers and Self-Publishers: Print-on-demand has revolutionized the publishing industry, allowing writers and self-publishers to produce high-quality books without the need for large print runs. They can efficiently publish and distribute their works, catering to niche audiences and retaining a higher percentage of the profits.

Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses: Print-on-demand enables entrepreneurs and small businesses to test new product ideas and quickly bring them to market without significant upfront investments. They can offer a diverse range of customized products, experiment with different designs, and adapt to market trends with agility.

Influencers: Social media influencers, bloggers, and content creators can leverage print-on-demand to create branded merchandise for their followers. By offering unique, personalized products, they can monetize their audience and foster a stronger connection with their fanbase.

Non-Profit Organizations and Fundraising Campaigns: Print-on-demand provides a cost-effective way for non-profit organizations and fundraising campaigns to create custom merchandise, such as t-shirts, tote bags, or mugs, without the risks associated with traditional inventory management.

Print-on-Demand with Print Bind Ship

Print-on-demand is a great way to produce a variety of custom-printed items such as books, t-shirts, mugs, posters, and other items. It allows for a low-cost, low-risk way to produce and market custom products without having to worry about stocking inventory. 

With print-on-demand, you can create a custom design, order the desired number of products, and have them directly shipped to you or your customers. This factor makes it ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to get their products out into the world without investing in large amounts of inventory.

Ready to get started with print-on-demand? Tell us about your project here!


What is a print-on-demand business?

A print on demand business is a manufacturing model where products are printed or produced only after an order is placed, avoiding the need for large inventories. Products like books, apparel, accessories, and home decor are customized, printed, and shipped directly to the customer upon demand.

How does a print-on-demand business work?

The print-on-demand business model involves a few steps. The creator or business owner designs or commissions products, then uploads them to a POD service provider. Customers order products, and the service provider prints and ships the product directly to the customer.

What are the benefits of using print-on-demand for my business?

Print-on-demand provides several benefits for your business, such as reduced overhead costs, no inventory management, personalized products, faster production times and reduced risk of wasted inventory.

Can I use print-on-demand for any type of product?

Print-on-demand is suitable for many types of products, such as books, T-shirts, phone cases and mugs. However, it’s important to consider whether the products you want to sell are profitable enough to offset the printing and shipping costs.

How do I get started with a print-on-demand company?

To get started, you need to choose a POD service provider that caters to your needs. Print Bind Ship is a printing partner, fulfillment company and an all-around e-commerce solution. We handle the entire process for you, including printing, inventory management, fulfillment, ecommerce analytics and customer returns. It’s never been easier to optimize your e-commerce storefront when you partner with Print Bind Ship. Learn more about our customized solutions here.

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