Any senior or retiree marketer about to embark with e-commerce and create their own store will know that there are two highly popular ways one can go with these business models:
- Dropshipping or
- Print on Demand (POD)
There is often debate on which method is better with people lauding drop shipping while others say that print on demand is a more dependable long-term option.
The reality is that neither is better than the other. What matters is that you choose one that works for you. Both have their pluses and shortcomings.
Which model you choose will depend on your knowledge, likings, cost, and other variables. In this piece, we will examine the pros and cons of both drop shipping and POD so that you can make an educated choice.
Some Pros and Cons of Dropshipping
If you are a beginner in e-commerce, dropshipping will seem like the easier option; and it is.
The business model is simple. When someone orders a product and pays you, you will use a portion of that money to pay the drop shipper to deliver the product and you will earn the difference.
There is a phase of trial and error where you will advertise and promote various products until you find a winning one. (This trial-and-error period will also apply to print on demand products where you need to find a design that resonates with your audience and sells.)
If your ads convert well, you will be able to cover your publicity costs easily and generate an attractive profit.
With drop shipping, you will have a WIDE variety of products that you can promote. Very often, marketers use sites like AliExpress.com to find products that they can dropship.
Since the products are ready and waiting for delivery, dropshipping is faster than POD which will require you to create designs, graphics from scratch.
Dropshipping is also less expensive because you will not need to pay a designer. There is no cash outlay on your end when it comes to product creation.
You will frequently see that products sold with drop shipping tend to address peoples’ needs. For example posture correctors, support pillows, or sticky tape. These products are useful and help to resolve problems. That makes them a straightforward sell.
Nevertheless, drop shipping does have its downside.
The main problem that marketers will deal with is the delivery time. Shipping products from China to the US does take time.
Even if the package delivery times are fast, it is still not as fast as shipping from the US, like what most POD companies do.
While you could find drop shippers in the US, the profit margins will not be as appealing.
Another thing to note is that the quality of the products may be dubious. Substandard quality products are sold by crooked drop shippers to enhance their profits, and you will be in the dark unless you buy a product for yourself and verify the quality.
There is also a higher level of competition when it comes to dropshipping.
The small barriers to starting out can make this business model interesting to most people. As A Result, you will be contending with more marketers, and every so often even the product suppliers in China are advertising and competing with you.
Another thing that is not always mentioned is that drop shipping is not exactly a translucent process. The buyer usually does not know that the vendor is not the originator of the product and that it is produced and delivered by another company.
While the business model is legal, there is no refuting that many customers would shy away if they knew they could buy the product for incredibly low prices directly on AliExpress.
Many people may not even want to be buying products from China. This is one of the biggest downsides to dropshipping.
As with any business opportunity do your due diligence before embarking on it.
Some Pros and Cons of Print-On-Demand (also known as POD)
These designs can be printed on hats, t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, stickers, phone accessories, tote bags and so much more. POD companies offer many options which you will want to look at.
Notwithstanding the wide variety with POD, the product choices you have will pale in contrast to dropshipping products. Still, from a branding point of view, you will be much further ahead.
Because your designs will be trademarked and can only be used by you, competition will no longer be an issue. This is OUTSTANDING for branding. If somebody attempts to duplicate your product, you can always use legal means to get them to stop their dishonest tricks.
If you looked at many of the products sold with POD, you would recognize these products do not actually answer any problems. You will seldom if ever discover a neck collar or brace that eases neck pains that is sold with POD. Still, you would find loads of such products with drop shipping.
What does this imply?
It suggests that POD products appeal to peoples’ emotions. People buy t-shirts, hoodies, and so forth that have motifs that appeal to their desires. Beer drinkers will pay for shirts with cool beer quotations.
Some Republicans will purchase hats that have slogans such as ‘MAGA’ stitched on them. Christians will buy wall art that has bible verses printed on them. You get the idea.
These are interests and things that people are keen about. That is what propels sales with print on demand. So, you must be mindful of how you market to the various audiences. You cannot and should not take the same approach with all of them.
The POD model takes more time than drop shipping for it to work but is more stable and has greater longevity. You will also want to expend money employing graphic designers to produce appealing designs for you unless you are designing it all by hand.
One terrific benefit of POD is that shipping is much quicker since the most print on demand companies are based in the US.
But again, do your due diligence before starting on this business model.
So Which e-Commerce Method Should You Choose?
If you are a novice considering an e-commerce business model that is low cost, adaptable and quick then dropshipping is the way to go.
If you have familiarity with e-commerce and choose to concentrate on branding yourself from the start and have funds to spare, then POD is the model for you.
You can have a ‘flex store’ where you have both POD products and dropshipping products available. They are not mutually exclusive so you can sell both types of products just as well from the same place.
Thus, do not pigeonhole yourself too fast. Assess both models and find out which one you enjoy. Both methods work and can work well if you can work them.
Get started and plug into the billion-dollar e-commerce market today!
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[avatar user=”mike” size=”thumbnail” align=”” link=”file”]Mike Gaudreau is the owner of The Wealthy Boomers, a site devoted to helping seniors make money online. Mike resides in Montreal Canada.[/avatar]
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