Are you looking forward to dipping your toe into eCommerce personalization but wondering whether the print-on-demand industry is dead or not? This is what I will help you figure out in this article!
The short answer is NO, print on demand is not dead and it can’t die! While other industries stumbled during the pandemic, print-on-demand was getting record-high interest and the industry grew by 12% from 2017 to 2020! Several factors have contributed to that but thanks to the COVID anyways!
So, if you’re a bit intimidated about starting your very own print-on-demand business, now might be the time to get motivated and see the full part of the glass!
In this article, I’m going to be talking about why the print-on-demand industry can’t be dead, share with you some inspiring stats about the business model, and also my personal print-on-demand case study website that makes $4843 a month!
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Print on Demand Vs. Dropshipping
Print-on-demand and dropshipping are two business models that allow you to reap the benefits of selling products that you don’t own and they are kinda similar in the fulfillment process! The print-on-demand model, however, allows you to customize your products by adding your own designs and branding while dropshipping does not!
So, is print-on-demand the same as dropshipping? Technically, yes, in terms of selling a product that you don’t personally own, shipped from a third-party supplier directly to your customer!
6 Reasons Why Print on Demand is Better Than The Classic Dropshipping Model
- Personalizations – In the last four years, the on-demand printing industry has grown by almost 12%. Today, around 36% of customers now expect the personalization option, and even Coca-Cola has leveraged personalization in their production!
- Higher profit margins – The world is going custom and consumers are willing to pay top dollar for customization. According to Forbes, 49% of Americans are interested in buying customized items, with 3% of these online buyers willing to spend more than $1,000 on “made-to-measure” products.
- Less Competitive – Print on demand allows more originality in the design created. While they can compete over the same tees, mugs, hats, etc., there’s still room to appeal to an audience over other PODs.
- Control over your designs – Your print-on-demand supplier will print your design on the product, which leaves you with a lot of control over the end results!
- Shipping periods do not matter – Since print-on-demand products are made to order with no minimum, (even an order of a single product with a specific design can be fulfilled) customers would even be ready to wait longer for customized products!
- Easier to build a Brand – Building a brand is one of the keys to the success of an eCommerce business. This allows you to build trust and set the price you feel deserves rather than what the market determines. POD is naturally easier to build a brand around due to more customizability since most dropshipping products are already made and can look too similar to other people’s products.
Is Print on Demand Dead?
No, print on demand is not dead and it can’t die! While other industries stumbled during the pandemic, print-on-demand was getting record-high interest and the industry grew by 12% from 2017 to 2020! Several factors have contributed to that, but thanks to COVID anyways!
Below are 11 stats that prove the print-on-demand business model is not dead yet:
- In the first 6 months of 2020, Printify’s monthly active users have grown by 69%, with registrations up 39% (Printify)
- In a survey conducted in July 2020 among 277 respondents, when asked about their use of Printify, almost 25% replied that right now it’s their primary source of income. (Printify)
- Search interest in print-on-demand rose dramatically at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It also spiked in January and April of 2021. In 2022, it still remains above the pre-pandemic level. (Ahrefs)
- In the same survey, 10% of the respondents said that they are using Printify because they started their own business after losing their job as a result of COVID-19. Another 6% stated that they are using Printify simply because they have too much time on their hands. (Printify)
- The digital printing industry started in 1993 and grew exponentially to be worth $187.7 billion in 2018, just 25 years later. (ComCap)
- 1 out of 5 customers is willing to pay up to 20% extra for personalized products and services. (ComCap)
- In a study carried out by Printify in 2020, as much as 45% of respondents replied that they do not plan to return to a “normal” 9-5 job post-COVID-19. (Printify)
- In June 2020 alone, the number of orders Printify stores received was more than 400,000, which is a growth of 311% compared to the same period last year. (Printify)
- The best-selling product group in September 2021 was apparel. It accounted for 62.38% of all items sold. (Printify)
- A lot of consumers (36%) are expecting some form of personalization by default and would even be ready to wait longer for customized products (48%). (Printful)
- Print-on-demand has become the sustainable alternative to fast fashion — products are made only once they’re ordered, meaning fewer items go unsold and end up as waste. (Printful)
My $4843/Month Print on Demand Case Study – Veveholic.com
Enough talking and stats! Let me show you real-life proof that print-on-demand still works and can make you a lot of money! Below is a detailed breakdown of my case study website that I started as an experiment to see what it actually takes to start a print-on-demand business, from scratch!
What is Veveholic?
Veveholic is an eCommerce website tailored toward the fans of a company called Veve. It’s a print-on-demand Shopify store that sells customized products with Veve-inspired designs.
On Veveholic, People can customize or upload their own NFT designs on different products and items. Some of the products that we sell are mugs, hats, keychains, posters, t-shirts, hoodies, and more!
The website has multiple business models! The first is print on demand, in which we sell printed and customized products. The second is drop servicing!
If you’re not familiar with the terminology “Drop servicing“, it is a business model whereby you hire a 3rd-party freelancer to do a service on your behalf, without the need to declare this to the customer. On Veveholic, there’s a product called “Go Yellow NFTs” in which we turn people’s portraits into customized yellow portrait NFTs with Veve backgrounds!
This is how drop servicing simply works on Veveholic.com:
- Someone creates an order on our site, pays, and uploads their image.
- We transfer the files and requirements to the designer and pay for the service.
- The freelancer delivers the work to us.
- We will deliver the final to the customer.
And in case the customer has any issues with the final product, we keep playing the “middle-man” role until they are satisfied! Now regarding the profit, it’s the difference between what we charge in the store and what we pay for the service! (Drop servicing case study for inspiration!)
On What Platform is Veveholic Hosted?
Veveholic is hosted on an eCommerce service provider called Shopify. Shopify allows you to create your eCommerce store with no hassle and it literally has everything you need to start selling online, anywhere!
What Print on Demand Provider Does Veveholic Use?
The print-on-demand (POD) service that I leverage on my store is called Printify! I tried many print-on-demand suppliers in the past but found out that Printify’s products have relatively good quality and it’s cheaper!
Also, they offer a premium subscription for an extra fee of $29 a month, but it will reduce the cost of your items! This is a great option to consider when you start receiving a lot of orders and want to scale as it will allow you to save some extra money on the cost of goods!
What Apps Does Veveholic Use?
Shopify comes with basic functionalities and features, especially the basic plan of $29/month! For Shopify users who are looking forward to increasing their stores’ functionalities, Shopify has its own app marketplace with easy setup and integration!
The apps differ from one store to another, depending on what you’re looking forward to achieving. The apps that I personally use on veveholic.com are:
- Loox – Looks allows you to collect image-based reviews from your satisfied customers through automated email requests and also offers them a one-time discount on their next order to entice them to take action and leave a review!
- Original Wheelio Spin Pop-Ups – Original Wheelio allows you to create customized spin-the-wheel pop-ups that allow you to build your email list by offering unique discounts and prizes!
- Pricing Table App by Elfsight – This app allows you to create a customized pricing table with different packages and features.
- Printify: Print on demand – This is our actual print-on-demand service provider that allows us to upload our designs and they will handle printing, packing, shipping, and delivering orders directly to our customers!
- Pushowl web push notification – This app allows you to capture push notifications subscribers so you can reach them out with customized msgs on their mobile phones or desktop!
- Shopify Email – Shopify email allows you to send sales emails based on your segmentation, and it offers you 10,000 free emails a month.
- Variant option products option – Since I’m selling customized t-shirts and products, I need to allow customers to upload their own designs or write some notes upon ordering. This app allows you to customize your product pages and add features like text, dropdown, file upload, and a lot more!
Who is Veveholic’s Target Audience?
Veveholic was tailored toward the fans of a company called Veve. Veve is a premium licensed digital collectibles marketplace that has partnerships with big companies like Marvel, DC, Coca-Cola, and 100+ others!
Before starting your business, experts see that it’s important to identify your target audience first and see where you can find them!
In my case, finding my “Dream Customers” is easy as the community is mainly located on Twitter!
What does $16,000 in sales sound like? Cool, isn’t it? The coolest part? No single penny was put into paid advertising! These sales were all generated ONLY from Twitter organic traffic and email!
In a matter of months, I was able to grow my business Twitter account to over 4000 followers (organically) and my email list to 1,000+ subscribers!
Sales peaked in January to hit $4843 that month… FROM ORGANIC TRAFFIC… WITH NO ADS!
Since there’s no advertising cost, there would still be room for discounts, gift cards, or even giving away free products in exchange for likes, retweets, and follows!
Veveholic’s monthly costs are as follows:
- Shopify Subscription – $26/month because paid annually $312/year (normally $29/month)
- Shopify Apps – $40/month
- Shopify Transaction Fees – Shopify charges 2% on all orders processed through PayPal or Shopify payments. These fees depend on the number of orders you receive!
- Cost of Fulfillment – The cost of goods with shipping is something around 30-40%!
- GetResponse Autoresponder – I use an external autoresponder called GetResponse to send automated emails and build my lists. The cost of this software is $15/month, but I’m using it for all of my businesses; not just Veveholic!
How to Start a Shopify Print on Demand Store?
To start a print-on-demand store, all you’ve got to do is to sign up for a Shopify account and get familiar with the platform. Luckily, Shopify offers a 14-day FREE trial that allows you to use the entire platform without the need to pay anything yet!
If you see that this is for you, you can pay for a monthly or annual subscription plan. Otherwise, your account will be automatically canceled if you don’t pick a plan.
This is a great option for beginners who are looking forward to dipping their toes into eCommerce but are still afraid of losing money on things that don’t work or simply don’t fit their capabilities!
So, is the print-on-demand business model still profitable? YES, it is, and my Shopify store is great proof that print-on-demand dropshipping still works like a charm.
However, if you are a complete beginner who wants to start an online venture but is not sure where to start, print on demand might not be the easiest business model for you, and there’s an alternative business model that allows you to generate an income passively. It’s called affiliate marketing.
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If you find this post useful, share it with your friends, please! (Virtual high fives and hugs to all my sharers out there)