Dropshipping vs Print on Demand3 min read
Dropshipping vs print on demand, which is better when it comes to creating a phone case, apparel or even a poster business? Here’s why I would never go back to dropshipping phone cases and why I use print-on-demand.
First of all, let me clarify the difference between dropshipping and print-on-demand. With drop shipping, you are usually the middleman, who markets a product. When a sale comes through, you forward the customer details to the supplier or manufacturer, and they send the product directly to your customer. Essentially you are holding no stock but are marketing and selling.
Print, order, and fulfilment, on the other hand, also referred to as print-on-demand has the same concept as drop shipping. However, everything sent by the supplier is a design you provided which they print onto products and send to your customers. Hence the name print-on-demand. There are many services which websites which offers print-on-demand services which you can find. You can find a list of print-on-demand services over at the resources page, including the one that I use.
Why I prefer to print on demand
Dropshipping is a quick way to get a business up and running. When it comes to phone cases using print-on-demand can be more beneficial, profitable and better in the long run. When you dropship, it’s most likely going to be coming from China using AliExpress. There’s nothing wrong with that; however, shipping times can take up to three months, and often this can lead to bad feedback from customers.
Long shipping times will lead your customers to believe that either their products are missing, were never sent, or just make them outright angry. Thinking that they had been sent the item or worse scammed. Although, this isn’t always the case with drop shipping. As it has been proven to work as you can see from my example phone case drop ship website, I created, which generated me over $350 in revenue.
I find print-on-demand has better control over your designs, as you can provide top-notch customer service and faster shipping times.
Dropship vs Print-on-demand shipping time
Depending on your supplier and where you ship from, shipping times can immensely vary. For example, AliExpress is a marketplace based in China, where suppliers are willing to dropship worldwide. Depending on the country your customer orders from, some may receive it up to 3 months later. Another downside is the apparent packaging indicating that your products have been sent to your customer directly from China. You also have no control over the contents and packaging of the product.
In the long run, if you wish to build a name for your brand, dropshipping may not be the status you want for your brand to hold. Though, it’s not to say you can’t start with dropshipping and later move onto different methods.
Print order and fulfilment, on the other hand, provide faster shipping times, personalized branding and better communication. Let’s talk about each individual points separately:
Faster Shipping Times: Print-on-demand is excellent for shipping times, especially if customers and printers are domestic. I use print suppliers from the United States, which is a benefit to my business because 90% of my customers are within the states. Customers receive high-quality, unique design, with my branding within a matter of days. That’s what I love about print-on-demand. You can see what print-on-demand service I use on the resources page.
Personalized Branding: In addition to shipping times, you can brand your products to make it appear it is coming from your company. The print-on-demand service, I use, will print your logo on your packaging, leave no traces of themselves (white-label) and at no extra cost. Additionally, you can choose to send them additional objects such as promotional leaflets or stickers to add to your packaging every time you get an order—something which is not possible with drop shipping from China.
Better Communication Between the Printer and Customer: With the print-on-demand provider I use, on every platform, I sell on, they automate it, which means most, if not all, the time, I do not need to be there because everything is automated. Printful picks up orders automatically. They then fulfill the order and send it out to my customer. If I ever need to step in, Printful will promptly send me an email with the details of any issues, which I can then proceed to sort out.
Freedom of control over designs
With drop shipping, you can choose over thousands of designs, already made, in addition to different types of products. In my case, we are talking about dropshipping phone cases. Dropshipping takes the win for a variety of products. Although, I find the random mix and match can go a bit wrong if not done correctly. I believe in choosing niches and discover that they work well when creating a store. Finding products, within a niche, to drop ship isn’t tricky.
Although you may have to source different products from different suppliers, it means having products sent out to customers at different times, and if a customer ordered more than one product, the possibility of receiving items days if not months apart.
Print-on-demand may not have as many product options. However, each design will be your own. From branding and to whatever niche you choose it to be within. Also, if a customer orders multiple items, they will receive it together in one package and with fast shipping times. Also, if ever something is needed to change with your designs, it’s easy as 1-2-3.
Personalizing products for influencers
One of the sweetest tricks to generate sales is to connect with influencers. You may see many drop shippers put ads up with influencers to create sales. However, vs print on demand, drop shipping cannot do a few things, such as approaching an influencer with a product customized for them and their audience. An example of a personalized product could be a mix of your design collaborating with a slogan from the influencer.
Using this method can make your influencer feel special. Almost as if the influencers got a brand deal. Besides, the influencer fanbase also feels as if they’re supporting the influencer when purchasing the product.
There is money for you in both print-on-demand and dropshipping. I made $350+ with dropshipping phone cases within three days of launching. However, I have always found print-on-demand was the better way to go for branding, scaling, and growing your brand into the future.
For more information on how to start your print-on-demand phone case business, check out the resources page.