Print-on-Demand: Business idea to Sell Custom Merchandise

. 6 min read
Print-on-Demand: Business idea to Sell Custom Merchandise

Do you want to earn and be creative at the same time? Whether you are a designer, artist, writer, or entrepreneur, physical products are considered to be a perfect way to monetise your creativity. You can easily put your creativity on t-shirts to posters or from books to backpacks and easily sell them online. However, if you choose to go the traditional way, then you might find a lot of backlogs of products. There are ways to avoid that, one of them being: print-on-demand services.

In print-on-demand, you work directly with the supplier to customise and design the white label products with your idea. There is the flexibility of selling the products when the demand is generated. This gives a choice to customers to choose their custom design for their product. The best thing about this business model is everything is handled by your supplier from printing to shipping of goods. Further, it simplifies the complete order cycle and enhances efficiency in the business.

How to Start Print-on-Demand Business?

It is easy to start print-on-demand services. We have listed down some tips to consider before beginning the print-on-demand service:

Niche Market

Before starting the print-on-demand, service makes sure that there is a profitable set of customers that you are going to market too. You don’t have to target everybody, just serving the defined audience would ensure you make the maximum out of the sale.


After choosing the niche audience, it’s time to decide the products. Are you going to sell customised t-shirts, books, mobile covers or customised accessories? You can do some research before deciding on your line of product to know what is in demand. Also, you can check out what is trending on the best selling section of e-commerce websites.

Test Run in Market

To know that people like your business idea, you can do a test run of it. There are ways in which you can ensure that people by validating your idea.

  • Share your designs on online forums and your personal network.
  • You can also post designs on various social media platforms. The internet is the best way to get a reality check.
  • You can also create mockups that will give you a rough idea about how the product looks like.


Once you have decided your target audience and the product, now is the time to launch. When you set up a marketplace online, then you need to ensure a strong platform online. For that, the design of the website is very important because the website is the first look of your product. The website should have all the important information like return page, shipping information, payment information, contact details, and more.

Strategise the Shipping

The product must reach timely customers. Shipping could be a matter of concern when you’re not handling it. Thus, to avoid angry customers, ensure to be clear with shipping timelines. For that, be available for your customers and keep the right kind of shipping expectations.

Website Promotion

Website promotion is key to make your business visible, here are some ways to go about it:

  • Create business accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Ensure the website is SEO friendly.
  • Make sure the website has user-generated content.
  • Customer testimonials and peer reviews could prove to be an advantage for you.

Pros and Cons of Print-on-Demand Business

You can base the print-on-demand business services on the drop-shipping model, where a third party handles all the shipping and products. Also, it is one of the accessible ways to start a business online. However, before you dive in check out the perks and limitations of it.


There are various perks of starting the print-on-demand business, apart from designing white label products. Let’s have a look:

Less investment

The print-on-demand business requires minimal capital investment, as there is no physical holding of the stock. Also, you don’t have any unsold t-shirts, books, or mugs lying in a warehouse. This ensures the right planning of your business strategy and freedom to be creative. Plus, low investment ensures low risk.

Zero logistic cost

In print-on-demand services, you don’t have to worry about hiring staff, administration, procurement, warehousing and more as all the things come in ready to use stage. Plus, there is nothing to worry about the logistic cost.

Minimum turnaround time

The biggest perk of starting print-on-demand service is the quick sale cycle. Your packaging, shipping, printing, and post-sale services are taken care of by the third party. Thus, you are simply the point of contact between the customer and shipping & printing service.

Do what you’re good at

In print-on-demand business, you can do what you like. Thus, you don’t have to worry about packaging or logistics. All you have to focus on is creating art or developing a business community because the rest of the work is taken care of by the third party.


Everything has pros and cons, let’s have a look at some of the cons of Print on demand business.

Less margin

Since you are buying standalone products instead of buying them in bulk, you cannot enjoy the lesser margins that come with bulk buying.

Low logistics control

A third party controls the shipping and the logistics; there could be some complications. When the customer doesn’t like the product they purchased or the services, then you might have to pay the price. Plus, you might not be able to give an amazing unboxing experience to your customers because you don’t control packaging.

Limited customisation

The idea of customisation depends upon the vendor and the product. Thus, before deciding to customise the product, you have to check out the printing techniques, customisation options, and size availability.

Less control over customer experience

You might miss out your control over the packaging and shipping of products. The third-party handling would not be able to give a personal touch to the orders. Thus, you might miss out on leaving an impression for your customers.

Print-on-demand services give the flexibility to test ideas. Plus, it ensures a better scope of development in the marketplace. Undoubtedly, the success of print-on-demand services depends on the external partners that you choose. Thus, it is important to do a proper search before figuring out the best business solution. Moreover, your success also depends on the relationship you maintain with your external partners. If you have a good relationship, you can even convert the cons into pros.

We hope our article turned out to be useful for you. For more such informative content, you can visit these linked articles as well:
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Q. How is print-on-demand different from drop shipping services?

Ans: Print-on-demand services and drop shipping services are indeed based on the same model. However, the difference is:

  • In print-on-demand, you are selling your own created products. Whereas, in drop shipping, you are selling existing products.
  • You have freedom to design your products in print-on-demand businesses. Whereas, dropshipping does not give you this freedom.
  • You can easily test the products without much risk in print-on-demand. However, there is a high risk of testing products in dropshipping.

Q. What is the cost of starting the print-on-demand business?

Ans: There is a cost that an entrepreneur has to incur before starting a business. However, the cost of beginning print-on-demand services is quite low because there is no inventory to maintain. The budget is only required for domain hosting, sample orders, app fees, and local business taxes.

Q. Can we start a print-on-demand service anywhere?

Ans. Yes, the best thing about online business is you could reach everywhere and anywhere. The internet ensures that every community and customers have ease of connecting with your business. Thus, with proper business strategies and plan, you can become part of the e-commerce craze. After all, you need an idea to start a business.