Print on Demand vs. Dropshipping: What Is the Difference?

by | Sep 8, 2021 | Marketing Tips

The rapid development of the Internet has given birth to many business models. Print-on-demand and dropshipping are two examples. If you want to make some money at home, then you should have heard of print on demand, and you may also know dropshipping business models. But do you know what exactly these two things involve? The two have a lot in common, but they are different.

What is dropshipping?

The dropshipping model can be understood simply, that is, when your customers place an order in your store and place an order with your supplier. Then your suppliers directly send the goods to your customers, and you don’t need to deal with any logistics or warehousing. All you need to do is find customers and let them buy your goods.  AliExpress and Alibaba are currently the most popular dropshipping platforms used by merchants worldwide.There are numerous companies that offer AliExpress dopshipping services, including Ali Orders AliExpress Dropship, DSM, and DSers.

What is Print on demand?

Print on demand (POD) is a fulfillment method and business model that allows you to incorporate your own designs on various product categories for sale, including custom T-shirts, shoes, posters, and mugs. This model eliminates the need for inventory and minimum order quantities.

When an order is placed on your e-commerce store, your POD supplier selects the product from their inventory, personalizes it according to your specifications, packages it, and then ships it directly to your customer.

A pair of graffiti style sneakers

Dropshipping and print-on-demand are both e-commerce business models with some similarities but also significant differences. Here are some parallels between dropshipping and print on demand:

1. Both involve dropshipping
In both models, products are sold without the need to stock or manage inventory. In each case, you only purchase the product from the supplier upon making a sale, and they handle the fulfillment process.

2. Low risk is a common factor
Both models entail no upfront costs, and there’s no need to worry about inventory backlog leading to losses. Payment for the product is only required when the customer places an order.

3. Integration with e-commerce stores is seamless
Both business models can be easily integrated with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or Etsy, facilitating the quick setup of an online store for prompt selling.

4. A wide range of product categories is available
Both print-on-demand and dropshipping models allow you to add products at will, offering flexibility across various product types, not limited to clothing or accessories. The ability to choose services from multiple providers is also present without concerns about confusion.

5. Rising search trends are evident
A quick search on Google Trends for the keywords “print on demand” and “dropshipping” reveals that both are gaining considerable attention.

Search trends for print on demand and dropshipping

Despite these similarities, differences must be noted. For instance, print-on-demand specifically focuses on customized products with designs or logos, while dropshipping encompasses a broader range of pre-manufactured products supplied by third-party providers.

Print on demand vs. Dropshipping

Sometimes you see that the print-on-demand business platform provides all-inclusive services covering materials and printing as well as transportation, which may cause confusion. In fact, these print-on-demand business platforms should be called print-on-demand and dropshipping, but print-on-demand is the focus, so they are called.

Print on Demand Process

Pros of print on demand (or Cons of dropshipping)

  • Custom branding. Print-on-demand companies do not interfere with the printing process, including the design, and they ensure the protection of your unique designs. Simultaneously, you have the flexibility to customize the packaging and labels of your products, enhancing their brand specificity.

  • Extremely competitive. Dropshipping gives you little control over the product, which makes it difficult to justify purchasing your product rather than someone else’s because there are so many people selling the same product as you. POD allows for greater creativity in the designs created. While they can compete for the same jewelry, mugs, shoes, and so on, they have more room to attract viewers than other PODs.
  • Higher profit margins. The product’s uniqueness frequently leads to higher profit margins. Dropshipping has no way of ensuring that the products you sell are one-of-a-kind. Furthermore, when compared to POD, the products produced by POD are unique. Because your thoughts are your own.

Cons of print on demand (or Pros of dropshipping)

  • It depends on your design. In a POD business, the key factor people seek is design, but not everyone possesses strong design skills. Dropshipping eliminates the need for design expertise or hiring a designer, as the vendor’s products are already prepared. No additional requirements are necessary.
  • Possibility of returning products for resale. You can resell the product to other customers as long as it is in good condition. You can’t usually do this with POD because the order is custom-made and unsuitable for another merchant, making resale impossible.

Dropshipping or Print on demand?

You can make money whether you use Dropshipping or Print on Demand, but if you want to make more money, you must ensure that the products you choose are of high quality and the service is reliable. I recommend using Print on Demand because most POD services are reliable. Dropshipping services are available from all merchants.

Building a brand is also a popular trend. We will always pay for products that do not belong to us if we do not create a brand. Most merchants design their stores to last a lifetime rather than just a few months.

Related articles: How to Brand Dropshipping

Custom Package

Where to get reliable print on demand dropshipping services

If you are designing and selling print-on-demand products through Shopify, WooCommerce, or other platform websites and are constantly looking for more dependable factories, supply chains, and service providers, we recommend that you use the best print on demand companies on the market, as their customized products are available with high-quality and high-resolution printing.

JetPrint currently supplies over 400 different types of print on demand products while providing low cost, advanced processes (sublimation, embroidery, screen printing, and dtg printing) in the market. JetPrint also offers some custom printing and AOP clothing, bags, and home decoration series.Dropshipping and Print on Demand are both profitable business models. I hope the information in this article can assist you in making a decision. Select the model that best suits your needs, and we will become your most dependable partner and service provider.

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