Print-on-Demand, or POD, means “print on demand”. It is a business model that was created to meet the individual needs of customers.
The differences between product customization and POD
The key point is that there are two fundamental differences between product customization and POD:
1. The target groups are different:
Product customization is more oriented to the store, that is, store owners; in dropshipping, while POD faces customers, that is, customers. Product customization is customized according to the requirements of the store, and POD is customized according to the requirements of customers.
Take the water cup as an example: The store may ask us to print the store LOGO around the cup, but the customer is different. Each customer will have different requirements. For example, customer A wants to print his name on the cup, customer B says he wants to customize a bear pattern on the cup, customer C says he wants to put some graffiti on the cup, and so on.
To put it in a nutshell: Product customization faces a “group” service, and POD faces an “individual” service.
2、Different production scale：
As mentioned above, because product customization and POD face different target groups, their production scale is also different: Product customization belongs to “group customization” and POD belongs to “private customization”.
Or use a simple product example: walk the dog noose. If the product is customized, the supplier is required to print the name of the store, or the store wants to make its brand, requiring the LOGO and name of the customized brand, and so on. In this case, the supplier will make mass customization of the target product according to the requirements of the store.
The supplier customizes individual products to meet the customer’s individual needs. For example, Customer A wants to customize his pet dog’s name on the noose and then customize a set of nooses according to his requirements; Customer B says he wants to print a meaningful number on the noose and the supplier will customize another product that will belong to Customer B. And so on, customized to each customer’s individual needs one by one.
Seeing this, I believe you have a general understanding of product customization and POD. Like any business model, POD has both advantages and disadvantages. Next, let me explain the advantages and disadvantages of POD:
Advantages of POD
1.Don’t worry about inventory：
The POD model is the same as the dropshipping model, so there is no need to worry about the biggest problem in e-commerce business storage costs. From order to production to delivery, you don’t need to consider any of these problems. It’s all the responsibility of the supplier.
2. Easy to get started, low cost of trial and error：
Today, most POD platforms are friendly to novice users and easy to use. Therefore, it is easy to start and operate the POD business by registering an account, creating a profile page on the platform, and uploading the product. What you need to do is to design pictures. You can try to upload different drawings to the product for testing. If you are customized by customers, you will need even less operation.
Weaknesses of POD
1. Lower profits:
We have also introduced above, POD products belong to “single product customization”, and the cost compared to mass-produced products must be relatively high. If you work directly with the service provider to distribute locally, the cost will be higher. The cost of transportation will vary from place to place and the price varies. For overseas transportation, if you send it on your own behalf, the freight is relatively high.
Correspondingly, the cost goes up, which means that your profits will be reduced.
2. Limited customized products and lack of diversity：
The ability to customize products depends on suppliers and products: The limited capabilities of POD suppliers lead to a lack of diversity in merchants’ products. If your choice of the POD service provider can only produce clothing, bags, and other clothing, fashion products, then you can not order printed phone cases, computer bags, and other products; this means that you may have to choose other POD service providers. Moreover, most of the categories of products that support customization are limited:
Clothing products: t-shirts, dresses, leggings, skirts, shorts, sweaters.
Accessories: carrying bags, socks, hats, masks, etc.
Household items: porcelain cups, pillows/pillowcases, blankets, towels， etc.
Technical accessories: mobile phone case, etc.
Thank you for reading. I hope this article will help you better understand the product POD.