Print on demand — being just one link instead of the whole chain

The thumbnail version:

  • Print on demand is a growing phenomenon
  • There are different roles to play

The full version:

If you scroll back to February you’ll find two posts on the print-on-demand phenomenon that seems to be growing in popularity. Those two earlier posts addressed the topic from the point of view of a shop setting up its own digital sales mechanism (say, a Shopify site) and then offering a small-order, rapid-turnaround service on imprinted garments.

Print-on-demand online orders growing in popularity

But there’s another role for print shop to play. A print-on-demand chain has a number of links and instead of providing all the links a print shop may consider the viability of being just the production and shipping link in the chain. This would be in response to the many websites that sell but do not produce and are therefore just the first link in the chain. They need to partner with print shops like yours.

Some print shops are apparently doing it successfully but I’d still conduct a very careful cost/benefit analysis before considering the concept seriously. That’s not to suggest that it may not be a viable alternative to contract printing (or an additional revenue stream) but, as with all potential ventures, it must be properly planned and analyzed.

Printing and shipping for print-on-demand sellers may be an alternative or additional way to put dollars on the shop’s bottom line. I guess you have homework to do.