There are around 73,000 working photographers in the UK, and around 45,500 working artists. For those creatives, making money without endless amounts of startup cash, or investment, can be almost impossible, and even with the funds, throwing it all at creating a physical inventory is a risk.
Savvy creatives are starting to catch on to Print On Demand, and its ability to bring in revenue without requiring giant cash injections.
If you’re not sure what Print On Demand is, or you’re not convinced it’s a great way to get your work out there, read the following about why Print On Demand is the future of printing:
What Is Print-On-Demand?
Print On Demand is also known as Print On Demand Dropshipping, or POD, and it’s likely a term you’ve heard or seen, and are likely to see much more of in the future. It works by enabling you as an artist, customer or business owner to have your images (illustrations, typography, photography etc) printed onto white label products via a third party manufacturer. The third party manufacturer then sends the item on to the customer in its finished form.
The products images can be printed onto are vast, and include options such as:
- Phone cases
For fine art printing the above products are not used, and instead you have a vast range of print papers and sizes to offer customers, including: A sizes, standard formats from 4” x 6” to 72” x 120” and panoramics starting at 4” x 30” to 72” x 180”. A range of framing options and certification options are also available, so that your customers get everything you would like them to get as an accurate and premium representation of your service.
Whether you want fine art dropshipping or product print on demand, there is no denying that It’s a very simple way to operate (in principle), because you don’t have to invest in stock to make money, and you don’t have to deal with fulfilling customer orders physically. As technology advances, print on demand fulfilment is quickly becoming the future of printing, offering a cost-effective and efficient way to produce high-quality prints that fit the unique needs of businesses and consumers.
Whether you use an eCommerce site, your own social media sales funnel, website, a standalone marketplace, or a third-party site, the idea is you don’t have to worry about storage, inventory, dispatching or postage, all whilst you make bank on your incredible images.
Even with web hosting costs, fees and other financial considerations, the process is still usually cheaper than various alternatives. Additionally, you get to test out your designs and ideas on current and new customers without a huge investment in stock that could fail.
Key Print On Demand Benefits At A Glance:
- No need for artists and designers to buy expensive printing equipment
- High-quality results that have improved greatly in the last ten years
- Additional services available for fine art dropshipping, such as framing and various print sizes
- No need for artists and designers to pay for bulk printing in advance of sales
- Chance for artists and designers to experiment with new designs risk free
- More time to focus on your art and creativity
- More ability to showcase a wider range of your art than with bulk one-image orders
- Shipping and handling taken care of (no lugging orders to the Post Office or courier drop-off locations)
Of course, as with any business process there is always a payoff and on demand printing is no different. It’s not all gravy and there are some downsides to consider…
Downsides To On Demand Printing And How To Work Around Them
In such a distinctly challenging economy where costs are rising and people are being much more careful with their money, businesses can’t afford to make any mistakes with new strategies, especially if they’re startups. We know that in Europe 50% of startups fail within three years of starting up, and 79% of startups fail because they don’t have enough money to actively get the business going.
With Print On Demand, it’s the perfect option because you don’t have to use all your startup money on inventory, and you have a better chance of avoiding being one of the 80% or more startups who fail because of cash flow problems.
However, that doesn’t mean Print On Demand is a dead cert, and it certainly does have its downsides, including:
- A lack of quality control and some questionable results that don’t reflect your designs well if the wrong company is used
- Some long turnaround times, potentially putting off customers, of which only 12% will wait 5-14 days for an order to be delivered
- No ability to sign limited edition prints to earn extra cash
- Creativity might take second place to customer demand, which could cause lack of work satisfaction long term
- Tricky to stand out from the competition
- Designs can be easily copied
- Distance from customer interaction can lead to miscommunications and dissatisfaction as and when orders go wrong
The above cons have to be considered, not only to ensure an informed decision when going into Print On Demand, but moreso, to ensure you manoeuvre your approach in a way that ensures your business doesn’t fall victim to these common problems. For example: choosing a trusted, experienced printing company who represents your work well with exceptional prints will maintain your brand reputation and customer satisfaction. You can also keep certain photographs/ illustrations specifically for an additional line of sales, such as signed copies printed using fine art printing processes, which can then fetch higher price tags.
Downsides to Print On Demand don’t have to be barriers to success, they’re just points to be aware of. The more you know, the more able you are to refine the way you set POD up, guaranteeing your work and brand are seen in the best possible light.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
With all of the above information, it’s clear to see why creatives are choosing Print On Demand to advance their businesses. However, if you’re still not sure about how it could work for your business, the best thing you can do is get more information from a trusted print company.
They can talk you through the finer details, and help to ensure that the options you choose will give your customers the best possible results, so they not only buy from you once, but time and time again, hopefully telling their friends and family about you too.
Print On Demand is the future of printing, and it could be the cost-effective, easy, convenient way that you future-proof your creative business in this ever-changing and endlessly challenging global economy.
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