10 Features Every Print on Demand Provider Company Must Have
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Print on Demand or PoD services, in essence, allow printing the required number of copies based on custom order volumes.
The company doesn’t need to buy a large batch of printed products at once, like when you order from the studio and print publishers, allowing you to order the exact quantity to be sold and distributed.
Everything related to the order of printed goods – from printing to delivery – is often processed directly by print on demand service providers. With an up-to-date provider at hand, you can order the required printed products in a few clicks, easily and rapidly implementing such business processes as:
- testing a new product line – the launch of the production, without risks associated with the purchase from new providers with their specifics in the configuration of equipment;
- testing a new business idea – there is no need to purchase a bulk order, neglecting the risks that the goods can potentially go out of demand;
- the convenient, cost-efficient creation of specific products of small circulation – a perfect option for monetizing the audience of a YouTube channel devoted to a specific topic (games, investments, facts, etc.);
- souvenir printing;
- attracting customers who do not support large brands, striving for uniqueness.
Print on Demand Tips for Clients
Among the huge number of print service providers, an inexperienced user will find it quite easy to get confused and the first seemingly best option they come across. Settling the following key questions beforehand, however, can help with the most proper placement of an order from a POD partner for your particular business case:
- type(s) of the related product,
- assortment matrix;
- target audience;
- shipment region;
- competitor pricing policies & strengths.
These are only the most basic points to figure out, but it can already help you efficiently settle with your general requirements to issue for new print on demand partners. As for further details, make sure to pay attention to the following.
Most companies in the PoD niche start their business with the production of clothing or accessories. The logo of your business printed on the apparel will give your brand uniqueness, recognition, allowing the buyer to feel like part of the company.
Striving for further development, the following aspects should be taken into account:
- the possibility of expanding the product range, the release of new souvenirs, related products that can ensure the expansion of the enterprise (mugs, cups, watches, puzzles, etc.);
- technical implementation-to-price ratio – emphasizing design, it is important to consider the likelihood of further product improvement. Embroidery is the most complex element, which is a multi-threaded projection with a 3D effect. In addition, an extra logo on the sleeve is likely to increase the base cost of the product.
It’s not all exclusively about the quality of basic materials: fabric, threads, knurling, ink. In all fairness, you should examine the supplier’s equipment, which can affect not only speed, ability to complete an order, its characteristics but also the percentage of rejects, which means a possible increase in the cost of the finished product. Take an interest in how often the partner buys new and updates the existing units.
At the same time, the best opinion is your own – order a prototype to really assess the quality of each component and make out the real cost of the final product in order to avoid hidden payments.
One of the most important moments – what’s the point of expanding the range, looking for the best prices and designs, if the end consumer has to wait several weeks until their order is shipped? It is important to choose a PoD company based as close as possible to the target audience, sales region.
A pleasant bonus is the packaging of goods in the corporate paper, packages or using customer packaging. This gives the end consumer the illusion that the products are shipped from the warehouse of the company itself. At the same time, it is desirable to indicate the PoD partner with the return address, avoiding excessive return procedures.
Most companies in the niche have contracts with carriers on special conditions, which not only expands the geography of shipments but also significantly reduces their cost, making your pricing policy more attractive. At the same time, it is desirable to be able to have several options for sending: standard, express.
There are frequent cases of customers refusing the ordered goods. The reasons can be very diverse: from an erroneous purchase to defects in production. It is necessary to thoroughly study all related procedures – the processing of return submissions, selection of a warehouse where the return shipment will be sent, and underlying expenses.
Having clarified these points, the contractor will thoroughly know the process of solving this issue, while your business is completely ready to receive the goods back, minimizing the end user’s negative attitude.
Depending on the company scale, sales volumes, a client can choose a POD partner, based on the following “traits”:
- compensation for a clearly fixed lot – only for the manufactured product, which will be useful for starting-out projects;
- extra discounts (up to 20%) for fulfilling the order plan – it is considered with systematic scalability, increasing sales growth;
- compensation for the total cost of the ordered service, not for the number of goods – a bonus for companies with increased turnover.
Every other client wants to clearly understand what they pay money for and what they receive in return. What will be the cost of the basic version of the product, and for what will you have to pay extra? Are there hidden charges, subscriptions, premium accounts?
All these points are crucial and negotiated at the conclusion of the agreement. Otherwise, the cost of production may be much higher than declared and not even cover the projected profit.
90% of clients carefully study reviews and opinions about the company with which they intend to cooperate. Key points to consider are:
- adherence to production terms;
- compliance of quality, design, & other points (size, model, etc.) with the initially declared points.
It’s important to read the numbers correctly: a slightly lower satisfaction rating of 1,000 customers is often much more reliable than a high rating received from 10 people. Friends, acquaintances, relatives can write the first reviews about the company, which, however, will have nothing to do with reality and requires additional verification, on other resources as well.
High-quality, constantly available support is the key to increasing customer loyalty in the eyes of its customers. The ability to quickly, efficiently solve issues related to delivery and quality is one of the main criteria when choosing any contractor.
On top of that, it is desirable to have several communication channels (chat, mail, instant messengers, etc.) for a quick response, helping to solve relevant issues at any time of the day.
Time spent on the market often indicates the high quality of the services provided. In addition, such companies are able to offer non-trivial ways to solve technical issues, apply the necessary technology, achieving the desired result while also optimizing and reducing costs.
Often, established companies practice a variety of loyalty programs for their regular customers (in production, delivery, etc.), which positively affects the profitability of the business in the long run.
A necessary element for a company looking to scale. The ability to produce new products, fresh design ideas helps the client company not only successfully implement their ideas but also be in the trend of new products and strive to develop new projects.
The most attractive advantage of a PoD company is the ability to implement new ideas or businesses with minimal risks since there is no need for large-scale procurement. At the same time, choosing a reliable partner seems rather complicated, and the partners themselves are interchangeable.
But as soon as the understanding of the brand expectations, its technical characteristics, and further development prospects comes – prices, catalogs, production capabilities, functionality, geographical location will be crucial points to consider, greatly facilitating your choice.