Print On Demand: Why To Avoid It In 2023


Posted by AllDayShirts on to Printing Business Tips

Print On Demand: Why To Avoid It In 2023


As we continue to navigate the fast-paced digital landscape, new technologies and trends constantly emerge, shaping the future of various industries. Print on demand (POD) is one such technology that has gained significant traction over the past few years. However, as we enter 2023, there are several reasons to reconsider this business model. In this article, we will delve into the limitations of print on demand and discuss why entrepreneurs and businesses should avoid it in 2023.

Table of Contents:

  1. The Rise of Print on Demand

  2. Drawbacks of Print on Demand

    1. Low Profit Margins

    2. Limited Customization Options

    3. Lack of Quality Control

    4. Slow Shipping Times

  3. The Future of E-commerce: A Shift Towards Sustainability

  4. Alternatives to Print on Demand

    1. Wholesale

    2. White Labeling/Private Label

    3. Subscription Boxes

  5. Conclusion

The Rise of Print on Demand

Over the past decade, print on demand has become a popular choice for online entrepreneurs, particularly in the e-commerce sector. This business model allows store owners to print and ship products only when customers place orders, eliminating the need for inventory and upfront costs. Additionally, POD services often integrate seamlessly with online stores, simplifying the process of order fulfillment.

While the appeal of print on demand is undeniable, several drawbacks have emerged that are now driving entrepreneurs to seek alternative business models.

Drawbacks of Print on Demand

Low Profit Margins

One of the most significant drawbacks of print on demand is the low profit margins. As POD providers handle the printing, shipping, and fulfillment, they charge higher fees for their services. This often results in store owners having to increase product prices to maintain profitability, which can make it difficult to compete with other online retailers.

Limited Customization Options

While some print on demand services offer a variety of products and designs, the customization options are often limited. This can make it challenging for businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors, as they are unable to create truly unique and innovative products. Additionally, the quality of the printing may vary across different POD providers, resulting in inconsistent branding and customer dissatisfaction.

Lack of Quality Control

With print on demand, store owners have little control over the quality of the products they sell. Since the POD provider is responsible for printing and shipping, it can be challenging for businesses to ensure that the products meet their quality standards. This can lead to customer complaints, returns, and negative reviews, all of which can damage a brand's reputation.

Slow Shipping Times

POD providers often take longer to print and ship products than traditional fulfillment methods. This is because each order must be printed individually, leading to slower production times. As a result, customers may experience lengthy shipping times, which can be a significant drawback in today's fast-paced e-commerce environment where consumers expect rapid delivery.

The Future of E-commerce: A Shift Towards Sustainability

As we move into 2023, there is a growing emphasis on sustainability within the e-commerce industry. Consumers are increasingly seeking out eco-friendly products and brands that prioritize ethical and sustainable practices. Unfortunately, print on demand often falls short in this regard, as the process of printing and shipping individual items can be resource-intensive and generate more waste than traditional fulfillment methods.

In light of this trend, businesses that rely on POD may struggle to attract environmentally conscious consumers and face challenges in adapting to the changing landscape of e-commerce.

Alternatives to Print on Demand

Given the limitations of print on demand, it's worth considering alternative business models that can offer higher profit margins, more customization options, and greater control over product quality. Some of these alternatives include:


Purchasing products in bulk from manufacturers or suppliers and selling them at a markup allows for higher profit margins, more control over product quality, and the ability to create a unique brand identity. By investing in inventory upfront, businesses can negotiate better pricing and develop stronger relationships with suppliers, ultimately resulting in a more profitable and scalable business model. Additionally, through the process you will learn how to best apply designs and logos to the items yourself. Finding a trusted wholesale shirts or hard goods supplier can set you up for success!

White Labeling/Private Labeling

This business model involves purchasing generic products from a manufacturer and branding them as your own. By creating a unique brand identity and marketing strategy, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and build customer loyalty. White labeling or private labeling can also offer more control over product quality, as businesses can work directly with manufacturers to ensure products meet their standards. Decorating these items yourself provides you with valuable learning experience and helps you feel that much closer to your products!

Subscription Boxes

Subscription box services have become increasingly popular in recent years. This business model involves curating and sending out a selection of products to subscribers on a regular basis, often monthly or quarterly. By carefully selecting high-quality products and focusing on a specific niche or theme, businesses can cater to the growing demand for sustainable and unique products.


While print on demand has its advantages, the limitations of this business model have become more apparent as we move into 2023. With low profit margins, limited customization options, lack of quality control, and slow shipping times, businesses relying on POD face significant challenges in remaining competitive in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape.

As the demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products grows, businesses must adapt and consider alternative models that provide better profitability, customization, and quality control. By exploring options like wholesale, dropshipping, white labeling, and subscription boxes, entrepreneurs can build more successful and future-proof businesses.

In conclusion, as we navigate the dynamic world of e-commerce in 2023, it's essential for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and make strategic decisions that prioritize sustainability, customer satisfaction, and long-term growth. By avoiding print on demand and exploring alternative business models, entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success in the coming years.

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