The pros and cons of print on demand

When considering your company and your business model, you may find yourself considering your print options. Print on Demand (POD) printing is a business model where you purchase products from a third-party supplier as and when you require them; and they print and ship directly to customers for you.

Products are only printed and delivered as and when orders come in, meaning you don’t need to stock large quantities of products or worry about investing in production equipment.

But who is print on demand tailored to? And what are its pros and cons? Let’s take a look:

Who is print on demand for?

Print on demand is a lot cheaper in comparison to classic business models; you don’t have the initial start-up costs for purchasing multiple products; you don’t need to invest a lot of money into maintenance or possible expansions, and you have the freedom to experiment with your printed products; making it a cost-effective and low-risk choice.

It’s the perfect choice for small businesses starting out, especially e-commerce. And it’s great for designers and artists to showcase their designs on a number of different printed products, such as posters, canvases, t-shirts, and even mugs!

It’s even a good choice for established brands when considering custom merchandise as part of their print marketing.

The pros of print on demand

No need to bulk buy

The clue is in the name ‘on demand’. Printers only print what is ordered so you don’t have to worry about buying larger quantities and not be able to sell them.

No need for equipment

As you’re working with a third-party to print and ship products, you don’t need to worry about investing in expensive machinery, or learn how to use it!


Without the worry of the print and fulfilment side, you have more time to focus on marketing your brand and creating the designs – the fun stuff.

More freedom to experiment and customise

You can play around with your designs, and even create more customisable options for customers. And you can even experiment with your choice of products, as print on demand services are always adding more options to their repertoire.

Build your brand easily

Your customers will never know you have used a third-party print on demand service as your products will be tailored and customised to your brand every time.

Valuable resources

Especially for companies who are just starting up, print on demand services are invaluable. They are a font of knowledge when it comes to the technical side of print, providing you with help and advice on print materials, and the printing processes, providing you with relevant print samples; ensuring their services lead to your success.

The cons of print on demand

Loss of control

You don’t get to see the finished product before it reaches the customer so there is a great level of trust in the print management company. There’s also the danger that the product might not look like it should, or is potentially delivered faulty. And if they haven’t done their job right, your company will pay the price.

Of course, mistakes can happen, but you want to be sure your print on demand provider has some failsafe, and takes some responsibility, as you’re helpless to prevent it.

High dependency on product availability

Print on demand providers tend to work with a number of different companies themselves to source the products. So, sometimes there may be stock issues which you aren’t able to prevent or foresee.

Longer fulfilment

With each item being printed on demand, the orders will take longer to produce than if you had a bulk-order of items already pre-stocked in advance. You therefore have to be sure you are managing customers expectations so they are aware of the extended lead-times.

Returning items can be more difficult

There is a lot more to consider with a third-party service, so if you find a customer wants to return an item, you want to be sure you have a returns policy set up which goes alongside your print on demand provider.

Birch Print

So, there you have it. Print on demand is a great choice for a start-up business, especially an e-commerce business. With more and more people are buying products online, it provides a low-cost option, with minimal risk, and saves time on the technical side, allowing you to focus on building up your brand.

Print on demand is becoming increasingly popular and is always striving to produce the latest products and provide the most up-to-date customisation options. However, there is the down-side of being dependent on another service provider and putting a great level of trust in a third-party with your brand. You therefore want to be sure you have picked the right print on demand service provider.

That is where we, at Birch Print, can help! We are a print management company, specialising in fulfilment and delivery;. If it involves print, we’ll do it! And we will prepare, pick and pack your product ready for dispatch from Birch HQ too! Call us on 0115 951 2468 or email us at:  [email protected] and let us help with your print marketing today.



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