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Dropshipping vs Print on Demand: Choosing Your Ecommerce Path

by Denis K. | | 12 min read
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The age of digital commerce has seen the rise of several business models that help entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. Two popular models – dropshipping vs print on demand – offer unique opportunities and benefits. Whether you’re working a full-time job, managing family obligations, or just starting your first business venture, these models can help streamline your operations. But which one is right for you?

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The Rising Popularity of Dropshipping and Print on Demand

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As ecommerce continues to flourish, both dropshipping and print on demand have gained considerable popularity. These models have become appealing choices for entrepreneurs worldwide, thanks to their accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and scalability.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global dropshipping market size was valued at $102.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to register a CAGR of 28.8% from 2019 to 2025. This impressive growth can be attributed to the surge in online shopping and the ease of starting a dropshipping business.

Similarly, print on demand has seen substantial growth in recent years. A report by Mordor Intelligence predicts that the global print on demand market will witness a CAGR of 9.09% between 2021 and 2026. This growth is driven by increasing consumer demand for personalized products and advancements in digital printing technologies.

In short, both dropshipping and print on demand have emerged as powerful business models in the ecommerce landscape. Their growth trends reflect their popularity among entrepreneurs and their acceptance by customers worldwide, making them viable options for anyone looking to venture into ecommerce.

Demystifying Dropshipping

Hey there, future entrepreneur! Let’s get you started on your ecommerce journey. First up, dropshipping. It’s a buzzword you’ve probably heard tossed around quite a bit. But what is it really?

Dropshipping is an ecommerce model where you—the store owner—don’t keep products in stock. Instead, when a customer places an order, you forward it to a third-party supplier who fulfills and ships the product directly to the customer. Sounds neat, right? You’re essentially the middleman, connecting customers with products they love without having to fuss over inventory management or shipping hassles.

Diving into Print on Demand

Next up is print on demand—a different, but equally exciting ecommerce model. Print on demand is all about customization and uniqueness. It lets you sell products—like t-shirts, mugs, posters, and more—with your own unique designs. When a customer orders a product, it gets printed with your design and shipped straight to them. This means you can show off your creativity and offer personalized products without having to worry about pre-printing and stocking up on merchandise.

Spotting the Similarities

At first glance, dropshipping and print on demand might seem like completely different beasts, but when you delve deeper, you’ll find they share more common ground than you might think. Here are some key similarities:

  • No Inventory Management

One of the biggest advantages that both dropshipping and print on demand offer is the absence of traditional inventory management. Neither business model requires you to stock products, meaning you don’t need a warehouse or garage full of stock. This can be a massive relief, especially for budding entrepreneurs who may not have the space or capital to hold a physical inventory.

  • Low Upfront Costs

Both models boast relatively low upfront costs, making them great options for those looking to start a business without breaking the bank. Since you don’t have to purchase inventory in advance or invest in warehousing and shipping logistics, the barriers to entry are significantly reduced. Essentially, all you need to get started is a computer, a decent internet connection, and a dash of entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Automation Capabilities

These models are also highly conducive to automation. Once you’ve established your online store and formed relationships with reliable suppliers or printers, the majority of the sales process—from order processing to fulfillment—can be automated. This is particularly attractive to individuals with full-time jobs or other obligations, who are looking for a side hustle that can essentially run itself with minimal supervision.

  • Flexibility

Dropshipping and print on demand both offer immense flexibility. With no need for a physical store or office, you can operate your business from virtually anywhere. This means you can run your online store whether you’re at home, on vacation, or on a lunch break at your day job.

  • Scalability

As your business grows, both models scale nicely. When you start receiving more orders, there’s no need to worry about increasing your inventory or shipping capabilities, as your supplier or print on demand company handles it. This makes these models highly adaptable to business growth, allowing you to focus more on marketing and customer service.

  • Variety

While dropshipping typically offers a broader product range, both models allow for a wide variety of products to be sold. From clothing and accessories to home decor and electronics in dropshipping, to t-shirts, mugs, posters, and more in print on demand—you have a world of options at your fingertips.

So, whether you’re looking to dip your toes into the world of ecommerce or planning to dive in headfirst, both dropshipping and print on demand offer easy, affordable, and convenient ways to get your online business up and running.

Unraveling the Differences

While dropshipping and print on demand share many similarities, they have distinct features that set them apart. Here are some of the key differences between the two:

  • Product Range

One of the most significant differences lies in the range of products you can sell. With dropshipping, the world is your oyster—you can sell a wide variety of products, from electronics and clothing to home decor and more. This wide range allows you to cater to different niches and customer needs. In contrast, print on demand is limited to items that can be printed on. However, within this domain, there’s still ample room for creativity and uniqueness in terms of the designs you offer.

  • Customization and Branding

Print on demand scores high when it comes to customization. It lets you showcase your creativity by selling products with unique designs that can’t be found elsewhere. This is a big plus for brand building, as your unique designs will set your products apart. On the other hand, dropshipping offers less opportunity for product customization, as you’re selling products that are likely available from other sellers too.

  • Profit Margins

The profitability of these business models differs, too. With dropshipping, profit margins are typically lower due to the costs incurred by the supplier. On the flip side, print on demand can offer higher profit margins, especially if you’re able to create designs that resonate with customers and they’re willing to pay a premium for.

  • Control Over Fulfillment

In a dropshipping model, you’re largely dependent on your supplier for product quality, fulfillment, and shipping times. Any issues on their end could directly impact your business and customer satisfaction. On the contrary, print on demand gives you more control over the product as you’re involved in the design process, but the printing and shipping are still managed by a third party.

  • Market Competition

In terms of competition, dropshipping can be more competitive due to the wider product range and the fact that many retailers may source from the same suppliers. Print on demand, by offering unique, personalized designs, allows you to carve out a unique space in the market and face less direct competition.

  • Customer Interaction

Print on demand often requires more customer interaction, particularly if you offer customizable products. Customers may have specific requests or need assistance with design tools. With dropshipping, the customer interaction mainly revolves around order updates and customer service.

  • Business Operations

Operationally, dropshipping can be more complex due to dealing with suppliers, particularly if they’re international. This can involve managing different time zones, language barriers, and customs regulations. Print on demand services usually provide a more streamlined, user-friendly platform that simplifies operations.

Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about which model aligns best with your personal goals, skills, and resources.

Getting Started with Dropshipping and Print on Demand

So, you’re interested in starting your ecommerce journey, but you’re not sure what products to sell? We’ve got you covered.

Popular Dropshipping Products:

  • Fitness equipment
  • Beauty and skincare products
  • Electronics and gadgets
  • Home decor
  • Clothing and accessories

Popular Print on Demand Products:

  • Personalized t-shirts and hoodies
  • Custom mugs and drinkware
  • Posters and wall art with unique designs
  • Customized phone
  • Personalized tote bags and backpacks

These are just a few examples; the options are vast and varied! The key to choosing the right product is finding something that aligns with your interests and the demand of your target audience.

Launch Your Online Venture with Sellvia: Dropshipping and Print on Demand Made Easy

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, the world of ecommerce offers a myriad of opportunities. With Sellvia, you can embark on your ecommerce journey with ease, choosing between two lucrative business models: dropshipping and print on demand.

  • Dropshipping with Sellvia

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Starting an online business has never been easier with Sellvia’s dropshipping solutions. Sellvia’s custom store offering is the perfect launchpad for your dropshipping venture. Their unique service includes a fully built, custom online store stocked with an array of top-selling products from their expansive catalog.

The best part? Your store operates on autopilot, requiring minimal supervision from you while continuing to churn out profits.

Hassle-Free Start

With Sellvia, the process of setting up your online business is seamless. All you have to do is share your preferences, and their expert team will handle the rest. They take care of everything from A to Z, allowing you to focus on other commitments.

Beginner-Friendly

Sellvia’s dropshipping solution requires no prior ecommerce experience. Their intuitive platform and supportive team make it easy to manage and profit from your store, even if you are an ecommerce newbie.

Financial Independence

A Sellvia custom store isn’t just another source of income—it’s a game-changing opportunity. The potential for high profits and the ability to run alongside your full-time job or other responsibilities could unlock new levels of financial freedom for you.

Free 14-Day Trial

To get a feel of the platform and see its potential, Sellvia offers a free 14-day trial of their custom online store. This risk-free opportunity allows you to test the waters before fully committing to the venture.

  • Print on Demand with Sellvia’s Premium Products

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Alongside its dropshipping solutions, Sellvia offers an excellent opportunity to start a print on demand business with its Premium Products service.

Unique Products

With Sellvia’s Premium Products, you have the opportunity to sell unique, high-quality products that cater to your target market’s needs. All you need to do is share your interests and preferences with Sellvia’s team of professionals. They will take care of the rest, creating products tailored to your customers’ needs.

High-Quality Services

With the help of Premium Products, you will be selling unique, top-quality items created using modern printing technology. The best part? These products aren’t available anywhere else, meaning you won’t have to worry about direct competition.

Sell Everywhere

Sellvia’s team of experts will assist you in introducing your brand of products to millions of potential buyers. Whether it’s on a marketplace like Amazon, your online store, or even through social media, the choice is yours!

Starting a print on demand business might require significant time and financial investment typically. However, Sellvia’s Premium Products provide a unique opportunity to bypass these hurdles, with their team of experts handling the hard parts.

Whether you choose dropshipping or print on demand, Sellvia is committed to making your ecommerce venture a success. Get started with Sellvia today and take your first step towards a rewarding ecommerce journey.

Dropshipping vs Print on Demand – Which one is for you?

Okay, we’ve explored dropshipping and print on demand — what they are, how they’re similar, and how they differ. Now comes the million-dollar question: So, Dropshipping or Print On Demand? Which one should you choose for your side hustle?

If you’re attracted to a wide array of products and love the idea of not worrying about inventory or shipping, dropshipping might be your calling. It’s a model that can run effectively on autopilot once you’ve found reliable suppliers and set up a functional ecommerce store.

On the flip side, if you’re creatively inclined and love the idea of selling personalized products, print on demand is a fantastic choice. It allows you to express your creativity and build a brand around unique, customized merchandise.

But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. It all depends on your individual goals, interests, and resources. Consider factors like startup costs, potential profit margins, and how much time you can devote to running your ecommerce business.

Final Thoughts

Embarking on an ecommerce journey is an exciting endeavor. Whether you choose dropshipping or print on demand, remember that both models provide opportunities to start a successful online business that can run largely on autopilot.

At Sellvia, we’re here to support you in this journey. With our easy, affordable, and automated ecommerce solutions, we strive to make online entrepreneurship accessible to everyone, regardless of their business experience or time commitments. You can easily choose Dropshipping or Print On Demand, so why wait? Book a call with our business advisors and they will let you in on what you need to know to succeed in the ecommerce space! Dive into the world of ecommerce with Sellvia, and start building your dream side hustle today!

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by Denis K.
Denis is a copywriter at Sellvia. Having graduated from the Faculty of International Business as a specialist in advertising, he explores the rapidly changing and evolving digital marketing industry and feels committed to sharing his findings with a wider reader’ audience.
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