Why Print-on-Demand is Replacing Traditional Retail
Traditional retail is experiencing a steep decline, with iconic brick & mortar retailers like Sears & Toys R Us filing for bankruptcy or closing-up shop completely. For retailers big & small, pivoting to an online retail model is a smart move but is still challenging when you’re tied down to physical inventory.
Instead of spending time & resources to manage products yourself, empower yourself to run your ecommerce business as efficiently & cost-effectively as possible. Gather some inspiration & learn more about why print-on-demand is replacing traditional retail.
Inventory Supply Chain is Rock Solid
Traditional retailers face ongoing inventory struggles. Keeping enough stock during holiday sale surges is challenging, as well as having too much inventory to manage. You’re also not at the mercy of manufacturers who may be dealing with their own inventory challenges. Instead, everything you need is printed-on-demand & shipped out exactly when you need it.
Financial Risks are Lower
Retailers often suffer the consequences of their finances tied-up in unused stock. According to the United States Census Bureau, retailers are sitting on approximately $1.36 of inventory for every $1 in sales. Store owners who miscalculated their inventory needs take on more financial risk than their print-on-demand counterparts. When you only print what you need, when you need it, you free up finances to grow your online business the way you want.
It’s Easy to Explore New Product Offerings
Retailers looking to explore new product offerings often need to wait until their current inventory is liquidated or showing signs of movement. Print-on-demand retailers can quickly act on a new brainstorm or customer feedback quickly and without risk. You’re also in a position to outpace your competition & roll out new products at a moment’s notice. Just upload your branding or design to a POD platform & introduce your new product line to your audience.
Customer Experience Improves
The experience you provide to customers is perhaps more important than the product you sell. Studies & insights show that 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. To improve the customer experience, try focusing on:
- A user-friendly, intuitive website & design
- Communication touch-points
- A robust FAQ guide to help customers with their issues
- Prompt response time
- Transparent return policy
- Free shipping
- Useful content
How you handle your inventory & offering reliable shipping times matters. Consider the fact that 34% of businesses have shipped out an order late because they accidentally sold an item that was not in stock. Even a simple mistake with inventory can cost valuable customers & their word-of-mouth referrals.
Pivot to New Trends Quickly
Trends frequently shift in retail every quarter, and you can pivot quickly when you use seller friendly print-on-demand services. Choose from over 300 uniquely customizable products, create new designs, upload, and your print-on-demand partner will do the rest. If you discover the trend isn’t resonating with your customers, you can simply remove the item & try something else. There’s no need to commit financial resources & manage inventory that doesn’t align with the trends.
Sale Spikes are Manageable
Selling too many items is an enviable problem to have, but only if you have the resources to deal with a sales surge. Holiday promotions, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday can all skyrocket your sales overnight. Or it could leave you with too much stock of one particular item that isn’t selling.
Whatever the issue, print-on-demand resolves it by producing & shipping out items as needed. You never need to touch the inventory, worry about running out of your most popular items, or getting stuck with seasonal products you can’t move off your storage shelves.
Create One-Off Products
One-off products are well within reach with print-on-demand, while retailers are typically tied down to mass-producing a line of items to hit a wholesale quota. Try designing seasonal items, products that align with current events, or special promotions for your VIP customers without a quota from your manufacturing. One-off items can also help generate buzz for your ecommerce store & create a sense of urgency to buy limited-run products.
Explore a New Business Idea
Traditional retailers are generally committed to one business idea with little room for flexibility. They don’t have as much room to pivot & explore new ideas. An ecommerce store owner can sell print-on-demand products or pivot to digital courses, printables, and online services. Instead of just focusing on a tangible product, you can explore the digital coaching business you wanted or try your hand at helping other shops.
Reduce Your Overhead
The costs related to carrying inventory adds up quickly & typically runs between 20% to 30% of the merchandise’s total price. Store owners are forced to compromise profit margins or sell more stock to make up the difference. Print-on-demand reduces the need for inventory warehouse & space and keeps your focus on running your business. You don’t need anything but a laptop & a smartphone when there’s no inventory to manage.
Ability to Adjust Quickly
COVID-19 accelerated ecommerce trends for the better. More people are turning to online shopping than ever before, and ecommerce retailers are working to stand-out with experiential marketing & a better customer experience to attract more demand. However, not every crisis or mishap will improve the ecommerce landscape.
Natural disasters can permanently close a business & wipe out entire inventory lines. Managing physical inventory also means it’s near impossible to tend to family emergencies & other issues without paying for extra help. Print-on-demand keeps your business fluid to interruptions where you can set your selling & shipping processes on autopilot and continue to generate revenue.
Keep Your Business Lean
In addition to not having a warehouse or storage costs, your business stays lean in other ways when you use print-on-demand services. You don’t need a team member, virtual assistant, or extra time to order, track, fulfill inventory. Use the additional resources to allocate in other parts of your business, like marketing or product market research, to generate more revenue & stay on top of the competition.
Traditional retail may be on the decline, but ecommerce is still evolving to its full potential. Pair online selling with print-on-demand for a successful combination of lightning fast fulfillment and flexibility to pivot your way to success.