When should you switch from print on demand to stock ordering?

It may sometimes make sense to stock rather than print on demand, but for what reasons and at what point should we switch from one to the other?

2 years ago - 5 min reading

By Marie Boulogne
When should you switch from print on demand to stock ordering?
Table of contents

It's an established fact that Print on Demand is a great way (if not the best way) to build your clothing brand, as we explained in a previous article.

In just a few years, this fantastic sales technique has enabled an incredible number of entrepreneurs to start up an e-commerce business easily and quickly without having to worry about production and shipping.

No management costs, no logistics to manage, no need for a large budget to get started, no investment required.

However, as the products are printed on demand - i.e. at the time of order - they cannot by definition be printed in series.

This increases the price of the item for the e-tailer but also the production cost for the shop, which has to store many blank items and print them only when the order is placed.

This sales technique therefore requires perfectly tuned logistics for the workshop and automation of the order flow to avoid "tangling up" and thus offer a very short delivery time.

That's why we created our Shopify application, which connects our company to your shops: we receive orders automatically, print them and send them to the end customer without any action required on your part.

Stocking up

The solution then for an e-tailer wishing to lower the purchase price of his products is to place an order for items in large quantities.

In print on demand, the labour is expensive and the rates are non-negotiable: if you sell 1000 products per month, we will have to repeat the printing procedure 30 times a day, the packaging procedure 30 times, the shipping procedure 30 times...

On the other hand, if you order 1,000 products in one order, this will only represent one procedure for us, which means a more advantageous price.

This is what is more commonly known in our printing jargon as "making stock" (yes, it's super original).

What about the tariff?

If you decide to make stock you will find that the rates will be degressive according to the quantity of products printed.

Thus the most noticeable benefit of doing so is a better margin.

However, be careful with the quantity ordered, because it is not always easy to sell out: it is better to start with a small order (prices being degressive from 20 items), then to test the market and the clientele.

You should also know that these rates are really advantageous if you ask to reproduce only ONE visual per order.

Most of the time, screen printing is used to reduce production costs: this technique requires the making of one or more screen printing screens and this has a significant cost when launching a brand.

The more colors your design has, the higher the technical costs will be.

Compared to print on demand, you will need more cash to start your business.

When should you switch from print on demand to stock ordering?

In contrast to screen printing, digital printing allows you to order very few pieces and to print different visuals in one order.

Prices will be a little higher than screen printing but this printing technique allows for a mix of designs, there is no limit to colors and there is no minimum order size.

The expedition

Another important advantage when building up your stock is the delivery of your products.

Having the stock "in house" allows you to shorten the shipping time compared to a Print on Demand shop that has to manage the shipping of orders from many different shops.

Print on Demand delivery times are often between 6 and 10 days, unless of course you use our service: we send on average between 2 and 4 days after your customer has placed the order.

Packaging

When you build up your stock, you also manage the packaging.

Interesting when your supplier does not offer customised packaging. This gives you full control over your brand image.

You can then add a flyer, a sticker or even a little treat to the package.

However, if you use our service, you are in luck as we only use recycled cardboard (or kraft) envelopes without any plastic, which gives your brand a premium and environmentally friendly image.

We also put a free sticker with your brand logo on your parcel, we personalise the order form with your logo and for only 1€ more, we offer you the opportunity to add a sticker in your order.

What more could you ask for?

The addition of a flyer perhaps? That's an option we're working on... It's crazy yes, we know, but we love you guys so much.

So, what about the stock?

Stock of products.

As you can see, stocking up can be an interesting approach when you want to reduce manufacturing costs, but it is important to have been able to test the market beforehand and to have identified customer demands.

Chances are, you don't want to take the risk of ending up with a bulky stock of several hundred or even thousands of euros worth of unsold products...

Print-on-demand is still the most cost-effective way to launch a brand.

Once your business is well established and you have built up your customer base, you can decide to take care of some of the logistics of your shop and create new limited edition collections for example: creating a stock will then make sense.

You will be able to test new products, new colors with why not, different marking techniques such as embroidery or flex.

Anything is possible, but don't lose sight of the fact that you will have to sell the products stored on your premises and deliver them to the customer yourself.

Another solution may be to create a partnership with "physical" shops that will then resell your stock.

This will allow you to quickly gain visibility and notoriety.

There are many solutions available to you, you just need to use them at the right time.

If you decide to opt for the creation of a stock, do not hesitate to contact us, we will be pleased to answer you with a tailor-made estimate.

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