Packing up a T-shirt.

Is Print On Demand Profitable Compared to Bulk Merch Orders?

Packaging a T-shirt merch order.

Print on demand or bulk ordering: which approach is the right decision for your business?

Are you a clothing brand that wants more marketing focus and less time wasted on logistics? A restaurant that continuously needs new uniforms? Or an aspiring musician who wants to sell fans merchandise through dropshipping? Whatever your business may be, in this article, we look at whether print on demand is profitable compared to bulk merch orders, so you can choose the method that is right for you.

First, what is the difference between print on demand and bulk ordering?

The main difference between the two options print on demand and bulk merch orders is the level of risk and initial investment.

Print on demand is a system where custom-designed products such as T-shirts, mugs, tote bags, and phone cases are printed and produced as you order, then shipped directly to the customer. This removes the need for inventory.

Bulk merch orders refer to a business model where your merch is manufactured in much larger quantities and stored somewhere, such as in a warehouse, until sold. 

With print on demand, there is little to no risk of overstocking and products becoming obsolete. This is great for businesses that want to test the market with new designs and products without investing too much money upfront. Bulk merch orders may require a more considerable investment upfront but can be far more profitable in the long run if the products sell well.

The positives and negatives of printing on demand

Colourful T-shirts.

The main advantage and initial draw to printing on demand is that it doesn’t require a significant, nerve-racking upfront investment, making it a more desirable option for businesses of all sizes.

It’s great if you want flexibility, as you can worry less about excess inventory and only print what and when you need it. Another advantage is that you can update your designs and products frequently without worrying about existing inventory going to waste. 

However, there are drawbacks to printing on demand. It is often more expensive per unit, especially for small print runs. Frustratingly, printing on demand can result in longer turnaround times, as orders are usually processed and fulfilled individually, which can negatively affect your business.

The positives and negatives of bulk ordering

Women organising a merch order.

If you’re looking to save money and increase your profit margins, bulk ordering is the way to go.

Not only can you take advantage of lower unit costs, but you can always negotiate better deals with suppliers. Ordering in bulk minimises the number of shipments, saving you both time and money. Plus, you can establish long-term relationships with suppliers, which can further benefit your business. 

Buying in bulk often requires a more considerable upfront cost. Additionally, bulk items can take up a lot of space, which isn’t ideal if you have limited storage space. Despite these potential drawbacks, the economies of scale associated with bulk ordering make it particularly well-suited for established businesses.

So, is print on demand profitable compared to bulk merch orders?

The answer to profitability is not straightforward; we wish it were! Whether POD or bulk merch orders are more profitable depends on various factors, such as the business model, the products being sold, the cost per unit, and the target market. 

A.M. Custom Clothing | How are our print on demand and fulfilment options different?

Dream big tote bag merch.

Our services are designed to make your experience as convenient as possible.

You can easily design custom-printed T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and other merchandise and have them shipped anywhere in the UK or the world.

Our fulfilment services are used by clients such as brands, bands, record labels, retailers, restaurants, events companies, marketing agencies, SMEs, and individuals.

Print on demand | For small volume or ad-hoc orders 

Small business packing and dropshipping.

We recommend using our Online Shop if you want to print on demand for your business because you only have ad-hoc orders or are just testing out products. 

You can quickly and easily access our product designer to place single-unit orders, from custom-printed Organic T-shirts to Ethical Tote Bags. This service is ideal if you are a small business trialling unique merch or just after a special gift for someone.

With our platform, you can create unique products while our print on demand factory handles printing, packing, and shipping. This feature is particularly beneficial for small businesses and emerging startups.

Dropshipping and fulfilment service | For larger volume/bulk ordering

Warehouse example.

This service covers picking, packing, and warehousing. It’s ideal if you want to benefit from economies of scale but do not want to invest in in-house storage and distribution. This option involves purchasing and printing stock wholesale rather than on demand, with a minimum order quantity of 25 units. We have a vast selection of over 17,000 product options, so we can most likely fulfil your requirements.

Our fulfilment service includes barcoding, storage, and distribution to customers worldwide. We also provide a pay as you go pick and pack service with more than 70,000 square feet of space. We are an excellent partner for your business, offering various shipping and courier options and complete automation.

Fulfilment vs print on demand with A.M. Custom Clothing

Many of our customers come to us for the first time looking for a print on demand service; however, the restrictions and setup can be overwhelming. 

We created our clothing dropshipping fulfilment service to offer flexibility, faster turnaround times, and the benefits of economies of scale.

When you buy products in bulk, you can quickly ship them to your customers when they hit the buy button. One of our favourite factors about buying in bulk is that you can customise your products more freely with different finishes, print options, and embroidery.

Who doesn’t want more creative freedom?

This sounds great! How can I get started with a fulfilment order today?

Warehouse example.
  • Step 1: Fill out the form, and we will send you our complete fulfilment price list. The more detail you can give us, the better!
  • Step 2: When ready, you can order through our online shop or request a quote.
  • Step 3: We’ll integrate into your online shop so that orders come through to us automatically (alternatively, you can email them to us).
  • Step 4: We’ll print your products in bulk and ship them to our fulfilment centre, where they will be ready for shipment to your customers.
  • Step 5: Start taking orders, and we’ll get the products to your customers!

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the difference between print on demand and bulk ordering merch and now you have an idea of the right method for your business.

Our clothing dropshipping and fulfilment service allows you to take a hands-off approach to selling products. Our system ensures you get the best value from the products you sell, and they are immediately available with no production delays. Do you have more questions? Fill out this form to learn more, and we will contact you with the most suitable advice and service for you.