Starting an eCommerce business is now easy because it does not require starting from scratch but instead subscribe to some eCommerce platform like Shopify that allows setting up shop in a few minutes at the least cost. But eCommerce is only a platform for carrying out business online. In contrast, to fulfill your entrepreneurial ambitions, you must clearly understand the kind of business you should start. As the advancement of technology has provided more low-cost options for starting businesses, you can create a print on demand (POD) business by setting up an online shop. As the name implies, printing is central to the business that sells customized products to individual or corporate customers.
Why is POD a low-cost business startup?
POD is a very flexible business model that can cater to all types of customers and execute orders of any size, from a single piece of customized or personalized item to several pieces of similar items. To understand why the startup cost is low, you must understand how the business works. Any retailer can adapt the business model that requires setting up an online shop on an eCommerce platform that gives access to the marketplace and allows commercial transactions. Retailers can sell their products and also collect payment by using the eCommerce infrastructure against a small monthly subscription.
The flexibility of the business model is another reason for keeping the investment low at startup. Since the POD business deals in customized products, it does not require maintaining inventory as all items are made to order. The retailer must only maintain moderate stock of various types of white label products like T-shirts, hoodies, bottles, bags, mugs, etc. So that every customer can choose what they need. In addition, the retailer might maintain a small stock of pre-printed items as it often helps customers pick one of the designs.
Create your brand
Besides catering to customized products according to the designs sought by customers, you can also start displaying some pre-printed products and use them for creating your brand that draws a lot of customers. For example, you can make unique designs printed on mugs or bottles and also display them in the online shop. The designs should be unique and carry the name or logo of your business that becomes the brand identity. Whenever customers pick a design that carries the brand identity, they can relate it to your business, and when some designs become popular, it helps to strengthen the brand identity. However, For these items, too, you need not maintain an extensive inventory but take orders and supply it within 2 days, which is the standard time it takes to print and dispatch any item.
The printing company plays a bigger role
The retailer partners with a printing company to run the business. It plays a significant role in running the business because a lot depends on the quality of printing and timely delivery to satisfy customers. Since customers build their expectations about the products by looking at some images only, the printing company must have the skills and expertise to produce the best quality print that meets customers' expectations. The task is far from easy, and the printing company must have all the resources and skills to produce the best product. However, the responsibility of the printing company is much more than just creating the best products. In the POD business model, the printing company fulfills the order by arranging for its safe and also timely delivery. While the retailer oversees the entire business process from order to delivery, the printing company undertakes the job of dispatch.
The printing company remains invisible
The business model is such that the retailer's name appears everywhere, from the orders to the invoices and dispatch documents. The retailer is responsible for executing the order despite the printing company doing all the heavy lifting. Although the retailer's scope of work is much less than the printing company, the retailer must coordinate all activities from start to end to ensure the smooth execution of orders. Depending on the logistical arrangement, the printing company packs the item, prints a shipping label, and either mail the order to the customer or sends it through a courier. Soon after dispatch, the order tracking number reaches the customer's email.
The retailers' focus should be on selling unique designs that help popularize their brand besides catering to the customized requirements. However, a lot depends on proper marketing of the business and also brand because the competition is intense, and it will be a mistake to wait for customers to find your business. Instead, optimizing the website and online shop by following the best SEO practices should help to boost organic traffic that increases sales.
The use of proper tools and software should help to maintain smooth operations that satisfy customers.