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

Alex Galindo

5 mins read

, Dropshipping vs. Print On Demand: What Is the Difference?, Awkward Styles Blog

The word is out! Or should we say words? Dropshipping and Print-On-Demand are two of today’s hottest business models in the world of e-commerce. However, with all their similarities and the puzzling ins & outs, how can you know which one’s for you?

What’s Print-on-demand, and how does it work?

Print-on-demand is a method that allows you to sell personalized or customized items without having to worry about the printing equipment, workforce, and space to store your products. With this model, you, the seller, get all the liberty to design your products while being free from the hassle of fulfilling the orders. 

Once you’ve set up your online store, all you have to do is sync it with your supplier or POD partner’s website to keep them in the loop with your transactions. Your POD partner will print the items and ship them directly to your client when an order is made.

Is this the one for you?

If you’re an artsy person or someone passionate about establishing their brand, then POD is for you! Without spending much time and money on logistics, you can transform your plans and sketches into tangible items with this business model.

If you don’t have much background in art or just really more into building your brand and business, you can purchase designs online or hire freelancers from platforms such as 99designs, Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal.

What products can you sell with POD?

With POD, you can sell any product you can print on! And because it’s 2021, you’re not anymore limited to shirts, mugs, and souvenirs. You can now try out accessories such as hats, bags, and face masks. You can also sell home decorations and essentials such as blankets, towels, tapestries, aprons, posters, and even products for your pets!

Pros of POD

Let me give you some of its advantages to help you better decide if POD’s really for you.

Your name, your design!

Print-on-demand gives you the freedom to personalize or customize your products for your customers. You can also experiment on different designs with ease and without additional capital by utilizing mockup generators.

Furthermore, POD products are white-label—they’re sold without the name and logo of your supplier. You can even ask your POD partner to put yours on the items as they print your designs on them. 

No minimums

Most POD companies do not require a minimum number of orders to print your product, just like Awkward Styles! Thus, if you want to know how your item would turn out before releasing it to the market, you may order and see it for yourself.

It saves you time and money!

, Dropshipping vs. Print On Demand: What Is the Difference?, Awkward Styles Blog

With POD, you won’t have to purchase printing equipment and hire people who would do the job for you. You won’t also have to go through the tedious process of looking for suppliers for each item you sell. All you need is to find a POD partner you can trust with the fulfillment of your orders.

Cons of POD

While POD seems so enticing, you might also want to check out these cons you’d have to watch out for if you’re using the model.

Less control over order fulfillment

Once finalized, your POD partner will be the one to fulfill all the processes up to the orders’ shipment. Thus, you have little to no control over how they’re manufactured and handled—this can make or break your brand’s reputation. 

Limited options for products

The variety of items you sell depends on what your POD partner offers. The non-availability of their stock or products could also cause delays in the fulfillment of your orders. On the bright side, many POD companies are used to getting a massive number of orders for specific items and are equipped to handle yours.

What’s dropshipping, and how is it different from POD?

, Dropshipping vs. Print On Demand: What Is the Difference?, Awkward Styles Blog

These two are like two peas in a pod. Dropshipping is part of POD’s processes. The critical difference between these two is that POD is more advisable for those who wish to sell products with their design, while dropshipping is for anyone who wants to just well.. sell.

And to help you better choose, let’s now dive into the ins and outs of dropshipping!

Similar to POD, dropshipping is a business method that allows you to sell items without tracking and keeping an inventory of your products. Instead, you purchase these items from a wholesaler or supplier who then delivers them straight to your customer.

Once you receive an order, you look for a third party that sells the product and secures it for your client. Your chosen wholesaler or manufacturer will then handle all the remaining steps, from the preparation or packaging to shipping the item to your customer’s doorstep.

Is dropshipping for you?

If you’re just planning to start a business and don’t have much time and resources, dropshipping may be worth a shot. This model allows you to sell and test various products without needing a huge capital to begin your operations. All you need to do is set up your online store and find a supplier or wholesaler that suits your niche.

What products can you sell?

‘Anything’ is an understatement. With dropshipping, you can sell all sorts of products as long as you find the right manufacturers or wholesalers for your business. Into beauty secrets and skincare? Try selling jade rollers, serums, and even acne patches! A sport and fitness enthusiast? Go for tracksuits, shoes, and yoga mats. You can also look around your house or even your work desk and find items you think your prospects would purchase.

Pros of Dropshipping

If you’re still not convinced, here are more benefits of using dropshipping.

Save time, space, and resources

With dropshipping, you won’t have to purchase the products in bulk to start your operations. Thus, you won’t need many funds and a storehouse because the products you’ll be selling will come directly from the supplier to your customers. It also spares you from the hassle of preparing the items and looking for couriers.

Stay ahead of the game… effortlessly 

This model allows you to add and experiment on new items without much effort and hassle. Let’s say a new trend comes up, and it perfectly fits your niche. Stay ahead of your competitors by adding related products to your shop right away! You can also test the potentials of different items and know what sells without spending on those that don’t.

No labels

Even though you’re not the one in-charge in manufacturing and shipping the products, your customers’ purchases can still seem as if they’re handled directly by you. Similar to POD, items sold by dropshipping companies do not show the manufacturer or supplier’s brand name and logo. And again, some dropshippers might agree to put your brand on their products—just don’t be afraid to ask!

Cons of dropshipping

Of course, there are also things you have to beware of in using dropshipping. Take these cons as our note of caution.

More potential competitors

If you’re familiar with SWOT analysis, you pretty much know by now that drop shipping also poses great chances of threats, aka new competitors. You shouldn’t be surprised that the products you’re selling are also offered by dozens or even hundreds of other shops, given that you only source them from a wholesaler. Moreover, with the ease of using the model, anyone can enter the market in an instant. Thus, you have to look for ways to make your brand stand out constantly.

You don’t have much say on the product and order fulfillment

, Dropshipping vs. Print On Demand: What Is the Difference?, Awkward Styles Blog

With dropshipping, you can’t customize or design the products yourself—you leave everything in the hands of your chosen wholesaler or supplier. You also get no control over how the orders are fulfilled and the time it’d take for them to be shipped.

Still can’t decide?

Perhaps you might want to try to reevaluate your business plans and narrow down your choices! What’s important is you find a partner you can trust to fulfill your customers’ orders and walk the talk for your brand. Now, if you still can’t choose between the two or you’re interested in trying both, check out Awkward Styles. Contrary to our name, we fulfill what you sell with quality and confidence.

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