Print-on-demand. Is it profitable, and how?

Print-on-demand (POD) is taking the book and gifting market by storm. Publishers, writers and creators recognise it as the perfect route to bring their work to market swiftly and smoothly. Plus, done well, its fewer touchpoints and less friction make for greater control and increased profit in their own hands, rather than spread across a long, complex supply chain. But that relies on satisfying four key factors to keep the sales, and more importantly the profits, rolling in.

1. The right product choice
Choosing to sell what people are happy to buy is an obvious first step. Get that right and you’re on your way, get it wrong and the whole prospect is a non-starter. To ensure your offering is going to hit the mark consider the following:-

  • Are you working on gut-reaction, or do you know there’s a demand for what you offer?

Do your research, test the market, don’t over-invest just on a hunch.

  • Are you on-trend or leading the way?

Look at the marketplaces and the ecommerce stores of others to ensure you’re not behind the curve.

  • Is there a customer “pain-point” you’re easing, or a defined need for your POD products?

Check out what’s being said in online reviews and where there might be gaps.

  • Who and where are your buyers and how will they find you?

Identifying potential buyers and groups or niches will help you to promote to them.

  • Are you passionate enough, and believe enough, in what you’re selling?

Without that passion and commitment you may find it hard to stay motivated if things get tough.


2. Maximising the sale
When you’ve enticed customers to your site or store and they love what you do enough to buy from you, it’s vitally important to squeeze as much revenue as possible from every transaction.

So it pays to think, is there a related product that they might be interested in? What about gift-wrapping or boxing? Perhaps a card to go with that gift, or at the very least a sign-up to your newsletter to hear about future offers and promotions? Not everyone will take you up on your offer but imagine that one in twenty of your customers does. Bingo! That’s additional profit, right there.


3. Choosing the right partner
There’s a saying that you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Your passion, commitment and skill can all be wiped out by working with a supply chain where even one element of it is shaky.

If you want your POD offering to be profitable forget working with a supplier, concentrate on finding partners (or better still a partner, singular!) who acts like they’re on your team. And, if they can support you end-to-end, from helping build your store through ordering, production, fulfilment and even returns management, you’ll maximise your profitability and minimise your headaches.


4. Future proofing your offering
Customers are always looking for the newer, cooler and better value option. Which means resting on your laurels is just not an option if you want to keep turning a profit. An experienced partner can help with that too. They’ll know how the market works, how you can develop your products and expand your range to keep you at the forefront. A really excellent one might even share the risk too…fancy that!


Prime is the largest Print on Demand provider in the UK and, after 30 years in this sector, there’s not much that we don’t know. If you’re looking to partner with an organisation with its finger on the pulse and the ability to bring your products to market simply, quickly and profitably, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to help.

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