Print on demand or POD is a form of the dropshipping model in which sellers work with suppliers to personalize white-label products and sell them under your brand name whenever the order is placed. That means sellers don’t need to deal with delivery or inventory management as a third-party company providing fulfillment service will handle every stage from printing to packaging and shipping.
Print on demand is a very efficient business model for many enterprises. However, in order to maximize your profit margins with this dropshipping method, you must choose the right fulfillment service provider.
To choose the most suitable print on demand partner; product availability, prices, quality of support, and all other things that matter should be weighted in certain ways. In this blog, Gearment will point out 8 main things that you should keep in mind when selecting a partner as later switching will force you into many complexities.
Let’s get started!
- Available profitable products with good base cost
Usually, choosing the right products is more important than anything else in the very competitive market as in fact, it has a bigger influence on your sales and your success in this POD industry than you think. Partnering with a third-party service provider is not only about your preference beyond them but also their availability of products that are profitable and suitable for your business.
Hold on! Before getting further, let’s step back and examine what it really is to be called profitable products. Generally, when it comes to profitable products, you may have thought of products with cheap prices, however, the word ‘profitable’ is not synonymous with ‘cheap’. Cheap products mean your customers will get the lower quality and that your effort of building your brands may collapse with products that you consider ‘cheap’ and ‘profitable’.
Gearment never recommends you to choose a cheap base cost. We, as the third-party POD service provider, recognize that quality comes with a price; the lower it is, the higher chance your customer will receive products with bad quality.
The point here is you should look for products with reasonable prices coming along with good quality! Even the higher price may still be profitable since it gives you opportunities to build your brand with product quality and unlock access to the infinite world of additional thriving technological tools.
- Affordable shipping rate
What runs most POD businesses is the profit margins sellers can get from the difference in price they pay to the third-party service providers and the price they cost the customers. In the POD industry, shipping rate is considerably on top of the list of factors that may affect profit margins. It is more indispensable than you think and make sure that you choose the right partner that offers good shipping rates!
Competitive shipping cost is one of things that directly matters to the number of sales you can get for your eCommerce stores. Basically, large POD service providers often have partnerships with top-world delivery companies such as DHL, USPS, UPS, and FedEx so they may get the special deal for delivering packages for sellers. This is only true in large POD corporations who are able to guarantee the huge volume to their delivery partners!
Cost of shipping is the No.1 reason named more than any other for cart abandonment. Shipping can be the difference between success and failure for eCommerce retailers. It actually matters. The solid evidence is that 56% of shoppers decided to pay for shipping when the total cost of their order was still a good bargain with shipping charges. This is more than an explanation why you should look for a partner offering good shipping cost!
- eCommerce platform integrations
Integration development is more like a robot helping you in communicating and transporting your products, your orders from one place to another. Basically, it is the process of connecting your print on demand partner’s application to multiple platforms such as Amazon, Shopify, eBay, etc. This process makes every experience selling POD products with a third party become much easier, and faster since you can manage everything all in one place.
But, not every POD service is able to offer the precious integrations as getting approval for integration with eCommerce platforms demands a lot of effort and technological requirements which creates a phenomenon of considering it as a pride to their company. Choosing a trusted POD partner offering good integrations with eCommerce platforms is also as important as choosing the profitable products. If you are willing to pay a little higher price, what you receive is not only simply a higher quality product but also the infinite access to the innovative technology that you rarely find somewhere else.
If you are a multi-channel seller, make sure that your print on demand partner has integrations with all the platforms you plan to sell on. The fastest way is to check the “Integration” section of their website as this information is supposed to be available there!
- High-quality customer support team
It is always true that communication is the key in this POD industry where sellers can’t control most things and fully relies on third-party service providers. The customer support team is actually bridging sellers to the current situation of their products so they directly matter to the health of your eCommerce businesses.
Sellers and POD service providers are closely connected to each other so the tiny issue from the service provider can hugely affect the businesses of sellers they partner with. Everyone makes mistakes, so do they. Even if they provide services, it is impossible to completely avoid all mistakes. It is more important in the way they are facing and dealing with problems for you! Are they enthusiastic and professional about tackling issues for you? Are they willing to apologize to you? Or are they keeping arguing and refusing to admit they were wrong?
In this 4.0 world where eCommerce thrives more than ever, customer support is turning into the art of communication. Your chosen POD company is responsible for your brand, your business so they should be open and honest about your product status so you can adjust your business plan accordingly and let your customers know what is going on to maintain the best customer experience possible. Make sure you read as many comments and reviews about the customer service before deciding the POD partner.
- Fast delivery
The special about print on demand is that the product only is customized after the customer has placed an order. It takes longer to the customer’s hands including fulfillment time and shipping time than it would if you already had available stock. So you have to let your customers know that each product is printed on demand and that this takes a bit longer than sending out an already made product.
Although customers are more willing to wait for personalized service, 85% of them search elsewhere for better options when delivery speeds are too slow. eCommerce shoppers, today, have pretty high expectations. eCommerce platform giants like Amazon, eBay or Etsy have spoiled them into thinking all shipping should be free and all products must arrive at lightning-fast speed.
If you want to keep your customers coming back, you need to surprise them every time by offering them even more than they expect. For this reason, it’s essential to consider the average fulfillment time and shipping time when choosing a print on demand company.
- Regularly thriving technological updates
When it comes to print on demand services, updating the printing techniques and technologies for the application is the foremost requirement as the industry is fully digitalized and running mostly online. If a print on demand provider regularly invests in cutting-edge printing technology and printing techniques that’s a good sign as your products will probably be produced to a higher quality.
With updated printing technique and digital printing presses, the print on demand company can provide vibrant, precise, and consistent printing quality, guaranteeing that your customers always get highly qualified final products. The printing quality can reflect the quality of your products or services as your business reputation will quickly crumble if the products are not well-made.
Beside regularly thriving technological updates, your POD partner is supposed to offer you the best printing technique fitting for each of your products since there are many different types of printing methods available. Make sure you research enough to know in-depth about plenty of printing options that may go along with products that you plan to sell.
- Large product range and good quality
We all know that it doesn’t matter how beautiful your designs are if the products disintegrate or the ink rubs off after a few washes. Just like with any dropshipping service, working with a print on demand service provider means you hand off responsibilities to the POD provider and have less control over the product quality, packaging, and overall customer experience.
77,84% of customers responded that the quality of product inspires their loyalty to a brand. Let’s do all research possible to choose a print on demand company that meets your expectations and needs. It’s better to shortlist a few of your favorite print on demand suppliers and then order a few test samples from them. Ordering samples is a practical tip to test product quality. Remember to pay attention to the material, texture, and printing quality. If the sample order fits your standard, it ensures that your customers receive the same quality.
Keep in mind that your design makes your brand special, but the quality makes your brand successful. The better the quality of a product, as perceived by consumers, the more likely it will be recommended to prospective consumers as well as the more likely the consumers will purchase the product again.
That’s why quality assurance is important for print on demand businesses to retain customers and acquire new customers. And don’t just review the products you want to sell now, but try to investigate the quality of all the products on offer. This is because you never know, you may wish to expand your product line in the future.
Print on demand can open several doors for your business and let you explore new ideas in a low-risk environment in case you pick a good provider. Depending on your business goals, the service of POD company is matching and supporting your achievements.
We hope these things mentioned above will help you choose your future partner. Now, it’s time for your turn and make your dream come true.