How Does Print-On-Demand Work – Your Ultimate Guide

In today’s digital economy, eCommerce constantly evolves, offering innovative business models to entrepreneurs eager to tap into new opportunities and discover their niche. So, how does print-on-demand work?

Print on Demand, abbreviated as POD, has gained massive popularity among entrepreneurs due to low investment entry and lower risk.

If you’ve been wondering how to get into this business, you must ponder how print-on-demand works and how to start.

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This guide will explore the printing-on-demand business model in depth, explaining the whole process and highlighting the first step and how to get started as a beginner.

Understanding the Print-on-Demand Business Model

There are other technical e-commerce business opportunities, but the Print-Demand Business model is a straightforward and easy-to-adapt concept for beginners.

Print-on-demand business models allow sellers to design and sell unique and custom designs using third-party apps or partners like Printify, which help create and sell custom products.

The seller designs the product, either logo or slogan and prints it on t-shirts, pillows, etc.

The third-party app then prints and ships the product to the customer on behalf of the seller without handling inventory, shipping, or packaging.

Print-on-demand allows sellers to white label products (t-shirts, books, mugs, pillows, or sneakers) based on the printing partner catalog.

How does print-on-demand works

For example, if store x sells t-shirts with custom logos printed on them, the product is listed on the X store for $39.

When the store X owner gets an order, the third-party app installed on the store and linked to the specific product will be shipped to the customer without the store owner’s involvement.

The store owner ends up paying the third-party app between $9-14$ and keeps the profit. 

The print-on-demand model reduces the barrier to business entry for online entrepreneurs, making it one of the most attractive options for many. 

But how exactly does the print-on-demand business process work? 

The Print on Demand Business Model Explained

The Print-on-demand business model is built around three main pillars: The seller(store owner), the POD Service provider, and the end target, the customers.

The Print on demand business is easy and works seamlessly if mastered well:

1. The store owner (You) creates a design that you intend to have printed on the products.

2. You upload the design on specific products based on the Print-on-demand provider installed in your shopify store.

3. Run paid marketing to drive targeted sales to the product page and convert customers.

4. Once a customer places an order, the third-party app you use picks up the customer details; the POD service provider sends the product to the customers without your involvement.

5. The POD provider prints the design based on your customer offer, packs the product, and ships it directly to your customers using their shipping details.

The print-on-demand business process is so appealing because of its simplicity and efficiency, allowing startups, designers, and creators to focus more on their businesses’ creative and marketing aspects.

Incorporating POD with eCommerce Platforms

How Does Print on Demand Work with Etsy?

The Etsy platform, famous for handmade and custom items, is excellent for selling Print-on-demand products. 

Integrating a POD app with an Etsy shop is accessible. 

how does print-on-demand work

It automates adding your product designs and fulfilling orders, which makes it easier to scale your POD business without compromising product quality or customer service.

Without compromising the quality of your products or customer service,

Shopify Print-on-Demand

Shopify is one powerful ecommerce platform that hosts thousands of Print-on-demand stores and features the best Print-on-demand apps, making Print-on-demand businesses work efficiently.

how does print-on-demand work

Shopify has an advanced ecosystem of premium and free apps and offers integrations. A seller can connect with some of the best print-on-demand apps or providers and automate the whole print-on-demand business, sale, and order fulfillment under one roof.

Product Design Creation

Your first step as a POD entrepreneur is creating unique designs to be printed on your selected products. 

It includes catchy logos, quotes, phrases, artwork, and custom branding on your products or assets. Your imagination is your only limitation.

You can design your logos or hire a professional print-on-demand graphic designer to create your product’s unique designs.

Partnering with a POD Service

The Next step is to choose a reliable print-on-demand app provider—this is crucial. 

The POD service provider you select prints and ships your POD designs and offers a detailed dashboard to showcase your product catalog.

How does print-on-demand work

More companies provide high-quality products for T-shirts and other products; if you are looking for a high-quality and reliable print-on-demand app, try Printify.

Listing Products for Sale

Once you’ve created your unique designs and partnered with a POD App, you will list your products on shopify or WordPress for sale on your store. 

You can either list your products on Etsy or shopify depending on your budget and the goals you want to achieve.

You can upload your designs to your desired print-on-demand apps. Your design will be printed on your selected product, such as T-shirts, hoodies, or key chains.

Marketing Your Products

Marketing is vital. You’ll leverage social media, content marketing, email marketing, and possibly paid advertising to drive traffic to your store.


When a customer purchases, the print-on-demand service takes care of the rest. They print your design onto the product, package it, and ship it directly to the customer. 


You earn a profit on each sale, which is the difference between the sale price and the cost charged by the print-on-demand service.

The Benefits of the Print-on-Demand Business Model

  • Low Startup Costs: Buying inventory upfront is unnecessary, significantly lowering the cost of starting your business.
  • Reduced Risk: Since you don’t hold inventory, you’re not at risk of being stuck with unsold products.
  • Flexibility: Updated designs and products can be added to your range without additional cost, allowing you to be flexible and adaptable in your product offerings.
  • Ease of Use: The POD service handles the entire process from design to shipment, making this business model user-friendly.

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Conclusion on How Does Print-On-Demand Work

Understanding how print-on-demand works is the first step toward launching a successful online business with minimal risk and investment. 

The print-on-demand business model offers an accessible path for entrepreneurs and creators to sell custom products, from apparel to home goods. 

By focusing on unique designs and effective marketing strategies, you can build a thriving POD business that stands out in e-commerce. 

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Whether you’re an artist, writer, or entrepreneur, the print-on-demand model offers an incredible opportunity to monetize your creativity and reach customers worldwide.

Remember, the success of your print-on-demand business model relies not just on the print-on-demand process or choosing the exemplary print-on-demand service but also on your dedication, creativity, and marketing efforts.


Who Should Start a Print-on-Demand Business?

Anyone looking to start an online business without the significant upfront investment required for inventory could benefit from creating a POD business. It’s also ideal for artists and creators who want to monetize their designs.

Can I Use My Website for Print on Demand?

Many POD services integrate with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, allowing you to sell through your website.

How Do I Choose the Right Print on Demand Service?

Consider factors such as product quality, production and shipping times, integration capabilities with your e-commerce platform, and overall costs. Research and read reviews to understand other users’ experiences.

How Profitable Is a Print-on-Demand Business?

Profitability varies based on your niche, product pricing, and marketing efforts. With the right strategy, print-on-demand can be highly profitable.

What Are the Drawbacks of Print on Demand?

While print-on-demand has many benefits, drawbacks include less control over product quality and shipping times. Also, since POD products are typically more expensive, your margins may be lower than buying in bulk.

Q: What does Print-on-demand mean?

A: Print on Demand means creating and selling your custom designs on products, but only printing and shipping the product once a sale has been made. This model significantly reduces the risk and costs associated with inventory.

Q: What are some examples of successful Print on Demand businesses?

A: Examples range from niche t-shirt stores to custom bookshops, with many entrepreneurs finding success by catering to specific interests or leveraging trends.

Q: Is it profitable to run a Print on Demand business?

A: Yes, if managed well. Like any business, success depends on the quality of your designs, your marketing efforts, and the efficiency of your supply chain.

In conclusion, Print-on-demand offers a flexible and low-risk way for entrepreneurs to explore their creativity and enter eCommerce.

Whether you’re an artist, a writer, or simply looking to start your own business, understanding how print-on-demand works is the first step towards creating a profitable online store. The possibilities are endless with the right strategy and a bit of creativity.

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