Dropshipping vs Print on Demand (POD) Comparisons and Review

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Two types of entrepreneurs are most common: AliExpress dropshipping and print on demand. Print on demand allows you to sell custom designs on products such as mugs, tshirts, and phone cases. AliExpress dropshipping allows you to choose from millions of products to sell. Both cases allow the supplier to ship products directly to you. This article is based on my own experiences with both types of business. It will help you make better decisions for your entrepreneurial endeavors.

What is Print On Demand?

POD stands for “Print on Demand”. Print on Demand allows you to sell custom designs on a variety of products. Print on demand products can include t-shirts and hoodies as well as books and other items. Print on demand businesses, like all business models, have their own pros and cons. These are detailed below.

Print on demand clothing services offered by companies include printing, designing and editing. Other services that could be offered for print on demand book publishing include proofreading, distribution, and distribution. You can use most of these print on demand services directly through your Shopify store.

The Best Print on Demand Products

Print on demand products are popular for many different reasons. One product may be purchased by a customer for personal use. You may be able to entice customers into buying more than one product depending on the store. Profiling your customer’s personality correctly and creating designs that resonate with them can lead to customers purchasing many items from you over a period of time. These loyal customers will then act as influencers, helping to encourage others to buy from you in the future.

Print on Demand products are very popular:

  • T-Shirt
  • Mugs
  • Hoodies
  • Towels
  • Notebooks
  • Phone covers
  • Stickers
  • Stationery
  • Prints
  • Bags

Print on Demand Benefits

Young and old entrepreneurs can benefit from print on demand dropshipping. POD dropshipping has a few advantages.

You can create your own custom products

It can be quite a cool feeling to see someone purchase a product you created. Many print-on-demand suppliers let you design your clothing, including t-shirts, dresses, and leggings. You might also find products such as phone cases, tote bags and canvas that can be customized. Print on demand books are also available. Designing your own products is a great experience for creative people, whether you are a graphic designer or not.

You can create your own brand and clothing line

Not only can you create your own products, but you can also build a strong brand that people can identify with and that you can print on the back of your mug or t-shirt. This is a great way for you to express your values and make a difference in people’s lives. Once you have achieved a significant amount of sales in POD, you can create a clothing line that is unique and then look for manufacturers who will help increase your margins.

Shipping Times will be a perk

POD dropshipping offers you the opportunity to work with European and US suppliers, which is a significant advantage over regular dropshipping. These are the regions where you will find the best POD companies. These companies enable POD stores to increase conversions and loyalty by offering fast delivery and good communication.

It is easy to cross-sell and upsell products

Dropshipping by print on demand offers lower shipping costs if you purchase more products. What you could do is cross-sell and upsell items to keep costs low. You could sell a cap to customers who purchase a tee-shirt on your website. You can also bundle products to make it more attractive to customers. For example, you could offer three t-shirts at the price of two and include a gift. These types of items can increase your average sales and revenues.

You might be able to do custom packaging

While most print on demand suppliers don’t allow you to design your own boxes or add marketing inserts into your packages, some allow you to add your logo on a receipt or a sticker for your package. This is a great way to build your print on demand business.

You can make good margins and keep cash flowing

If you set your prices right and choose the right dropshipping suppliers offering POD services, you can sell products at a good margin. To generate cash flow, you will need to carefully calculate the product and shipping costs.

There are many channels where you can sell your products

Shopify allows you to create a POD store and sell your products on Amazon and eBay. It’s also possible to engage in social selling by listing your items on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have customers who regularly contact you via Facebook Messenger? Shopify Messenger sales channels allow you to sell directly through these conversations. You can sell across channels, get more eyes on your products, and make your first sale quicker.

Dropshipping Benefits

Dropshipping can be a great business model to start. Here are some dropshipping benefits.

It’s easier to predict what the best sellers are

Dropshipping makes it easy to find the best products by analyzing order volume, seller ratings and customer reviews. Print on demand services has proven to be an excellent way to find bestsellers. Always. AliExpress dropshipping allows you to add products that have higher orders and more customer reviews to your store.

Millions of Products Available

There is a huge variety of products. With AliExpress dropshipping, you can basically sell any type of popular item. You want to get on the fidget spinner bandwagon early? AliExpress can help you import it. You can find different styles and materials for dresses on AliExpress. Dropshipping is an AliExpress option. There are many options for selling leggings and graphic tees made from the same fabric. Your choice of design is not restricted. AliExpress dropshipping allows you to offer a variety of designs that appeal to a wider range of customers.

Can Scale Quickly

Dropshipping with AliExpress has proven to me that it generates much more profit than a print-on-demand business. Because of this, I was able re-invest my earnings into advertising. Our store’s sales soared over my print on demand shop. My store saw double the revenue in my first month of AliExpress dropshipping. This was compared to my print on demand shop’s 6 months. Our store saw rapid growth each month because we had enough profit to reinvest in ads.

Shipping costs are low

Dropshipping with AliExpress is extremely affordable. I always use ePacket, which means our shipping tends to either be free or under $5. This was the most impactful way to increase profit. I switched from print-on-demand to AliExpress dropshipping. My business was able to absorb the costs of shipping to offer customers free shipping. Print on demand meant that most of my top sellers were mugs with a higher shipping cost than the product’s value. This business was not sustainable as it sold mugs at a price of $8. My product was either more expensive or I had to charge shipping fees with print-on-demand. Dropshipping with AliExpress is a great option if you are looking to sell low-cost goods.

Offering a quicker start

Dropshipping with AliExpress is a great way to manage your business. Add products, edit descriptions, make some photos, market your products and manage customer support. This is your daily routine. Print on demand adds another layer. You are the product designer. You will need to create great icons and texts that sell. Once the design is complete, you will need to make mockups or take product photos. Dropshipping with AliExpress is easy and quick. You can.

Models that are less risky for business

Dropshipping AliExpress products is safer than print on demand. There are more data behind AliExpress so you can make great products. You can only do the best with design and hope that customers will love your products in print on demand. It can be difficult to determine which products will have an impact. AliExpress is a better business model than I expected. Based on customer reviews, seller ratings, order volume and seller ratings, I can see which products are worth import.

Print on Demand Cons

The print on demand business model has some issues. Here are some examples:

Shipping costs are prohibitive

Print on demand has the highest shipping rates. With 90% of customers wanting free shipping as an incentive more than anything else, it’s fair to say you should probably be offering it on your store. Absorbing the cost of US shipping (most print on demand suppliers are US based) can quickly eat up your profit margin. You won’t be able to sustain your business long-term if you sell internationally.

Product costs are high

Print on demand products are not expensive for the quality of what you get. It’s not too expensive for a single piece of custom-designed product. Print on demand is expensive for businesses. On Printful, the starting price for a mug is $7.95. You’ll pay $25.90 USD for the mug if you add $16.95 worldwide shipping. This is not the cost to customers. You need to set a retail price in order to make a profit. You need to have a profit that is high enough to cover marketing costs, business expenses, and salaries.

All mockup generator models look the same

Many print-on-demand services offer a mockup generator which allows you to add a product image to your website. This is a great tool for store owners who are just starting out. All mockups will look identical. All your product photos, if you sell only leggings and phone cases, will look the same. From a user experience perspective, your store can end up looking really repetitive making it hard for a customer to differentiate which product they should buy. Online shopping can be made easier by having models who are wearing the product and different settings for product photos.

This article contains templates for creating mockups of t-shirts.

You need to have a knack for creativity

A print on demand business may be the best option for you if your creativity is high. Problem is, many people aren’t creative enough to come up with great slogans and fonts. Your products won’t sell well. Outsourcing design is one way to overcome this problem. On sites such as Fiverr or Upwork, you can find POD designers. To ensure that you pick the best designs for your shirts when choosing your design, get opinions from friends and acquaintances on social media.

Profit margins can be low

To get bulk printing at a low price, you may be tempted to order many products from your supplier without knowing if they will sell them all. You may not be able to sell all the products and you will have to warehouse or dispose of them. Companies that use Print on Demand need to be cautious not to exaggerate their success at the beginning to ensure they don’t spend too much on stock.

Dropshipping Cons

AliExpress dropshipping isn’t for everyone. Here is an example of an AliExpress dropshipping problem:

High Quality Product

People avoid AliExpress dropshipping because they believe there is a quality problem. Some people say they don’t want to sell Chinese products. Most of the merchandise printed on demand is also made in China. China is the largest manufacturing country in the globe. There are a lot of quality suppliers, but there are some bad ones. AliExpress was the place where I bought my best jewelry. And, for a case study, I even have picture proof of an AliExpress unboxing. You can reduce your chances of having an issue by sticking to proven sellers who have high order volumes and high reviews. My AliExpress dropshipping store has a refund rate of around 1-2%, which is quite average.

Longer Shipping Times

Shipping times can be longer because AliExpress suppliers are mostly located in China. Many suppliers have set up fulfillment centers and warehouses in Canada and the US. These dropshippers can be found by selecting the category you require and setting the country you wish to ship from the AliExpress homepage. It’s so simple, right? It’s even easier when you use Oberlo for AliExpress to source products. You can view where the item “ships from” on the product listing page.


Print on demand and AliExpress dropshipping share many similarities. Here are some examples:

  • They both involve dropshipping. There is no bulk inventory to keep. Your supplier will package and ship the products directly to you.
  • Most order processing can be automated. All you have to do to send the customer’s product details to your supplier is to click a button when they place an order.
  • AliExpress dropshipping and print on demand are both low-risk options. You don’t have to purchase inventory upfront. Customers place orders on your store and you only pay for it once.
  • Both require the same skill set to get great results. Print on demand businesses require more creativity. Both require advertising, customer service and marketing skills.

You can mix AliExpress products with print on demand merchandise if you are a creative person who is entrepreneurial. Combining both of these options will give you a competitive edge. Your customers will have a wider range of products and can expect you to be more profitable.

Which is more profitable?

Dropshipping can be more lucrative in the short-term, but POD can be very profitable long-term. You can make more sales if you put your efforts into creating a great brand identity, design production and placing your creations on various marketplaces.

Both dropshipping as well as print on demand can be profitable business models. Dropshipping is more lucrative in the short-term because shipping costs are less. This allows you to offer free shipping to your customers without reducing your profit margins. The product prices are lower too, which allows you to charge market value to ensure a profit. It also makes it easier for customers to buy the product at a great price.

POD can be very lucrative in the long-term if you put in the effort and have great design ideas. You can also sell your creations to other marketplaces later on.

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