Print On Demand Vs. Traditional Merchandising: A Comparison

Artby Mony Shah10 January 2024

Print On Demand

In today’s era of online shopping and convenient services, businesses have a variety of options when it comes to selling their products. Merchandising is a popular way of promoting your products online, and so is print-on-demand. But what’s the difference between the two? 

One popular choice is to utilize print on demand services, which allow for the creation and shipment of merchandise as orders are received. However, traditional merchandising also has its advantages.

In this article, we will explore the differences between print-on-demand and traditional merchandising methods, examining the pros and cons of each approach. So, stay tuned till the end…

Print On Demand: An Overview

Print-on-demand (POD) provides businesses with an opportunity to sell merchandise without the need for inventory. With print on demand online, the process begins when a customer places an order for a product featuring their chosen design or artwork. The printing company then receives the order, manufactures the item on demand, and ships it directly to the customer.

Advantages Of Print On Demand

POD is a good alternative for industries with remote offices or satellite locations where location-specific content is needed in print materials. Alongside printing, the vendor is able to handle its shipping which ultimately saves the time, money, and energy of the consumer. Here are a few other benefits:

No Inventory Costs 

One significant benefit of using print-on-demand services is that there is no requirement to keep inventory in stock beforehand. This aspect makes it especially attractive for businesses or individuals who are just starting out.

Design Flexibility 

Print-on-demand platforms often offer a range of products that can be customized with designs. There are plenty of options to showcase your creativity, ranging from t-shirts and tote bags to phone cases and home decor items.

Minimal Risk 

Print-on-demand (POD) services provide businesses with the opportunity to test product ideas without making investments or taking on high risks. In case a design doesn’t resonate with customers or market demands change, there won’t be any inventory going to waste.

High Quality With Faster Turnaround

When you opt for only the necessary printing materials, you are likely to receive fast turnaround times. They are more cost-effective and come with modern digital technology. Additionally, the print quality is high enough can satisfy the needs of the print buyer.

Traditional Merchandising: The Basics

Traditional merchandising involves manufacturing products in large quantities before they are sold. These products are typically stored at a location until customers purchase them either in stores or through retail channels. It was quite popular when there was no internet, and offline shopping was the only option. 

This was the time when products were sold only in physical stores where merchandising played a crucial role. For years, store managers were assembling the products on shelves, demonstrating better product quality at the front, and hanging discount banners. Traditional merchandising has a lot of other benefits, too. Check them out here. 

Advantages Of Traditional Merchandising

Merchandising is a way of promoting products and boosting sales in physical settings. Promoting products in merchandise has a lot of benefits. Check out the below section to discover the other associated benefits of conventional merchandising:

Cost Efficiency at Scale 

Manufacturing goods in bulk often results in cost savings due to economies of scale. Ordering in quantities reduces the unit cost of each product, thereby increasing profit margins for businesses. With clear selling goals and strategies, merchandising can be the most lucrative investment.

Greater Control

With traditional merchandising, businesses have control over production processes. They can ensure quality control and promptly address any manufacturing issues before the products reach customers.

Faster Turnaround Time 

Once the inventory is manufactured and stored, transactions can occur quickly and efficiently. Products are readily available when customers need them, eliminating delays associated with production times.

Brings In More Customers

One of the best things about traditional merchandising is that it brings in more consumers. With higher traffic, both success and sales are guaranteed. Since merchandising is all about putting your brand in front of your potential consumers, make sure it starts outside. 

Comparison: Print On Demand vs Traditional Merchandising

Both POD and conventional merchandising have their own set of benefits and challenges. Based on your business needs, you might either need one or both. So, here’s a more detailed explanation of the two:

Pricing And Profitability

When it comes to print-on-demand, the profit margins might be lower compared to merchandising. This is because the per unit costs are higher due to producing volumes of products on demand.

On the other hand, traditional merchandising offers profit margins. This is because economies of scale come into play, reducing manufacturing costs per unit significantly when producing quantities of goods.

Product Range

Print-on-demand services usually provide a range of customization options compared to merchandising. The latter involves bulk manufacturing runs with fewer choices for customization.

Inventory Risk

In print-on-demand, there’s no need for investment in inventory. This reduces inventory risk as products are made and shipped according to customer orders.

With merchandising, businesses have to take calculated risks by investing in inventory based on market research and historical sales data. There’s always a chance of ending up with stock if customer demands unexpectedly change.

Fulfillment Process

The fulfillment process differs between these two methods. Print-on-demand companies handle manufacturing and ship directly to consumers.

For merchants, warehousing storage and the physical distribution process play roles as they store the inventory until orders are received.


Both print-on-demand services and traditional merchandising have their advantages depending on the specific needs and goals of a business.

Print-on-demand provides flexibility in terms of design options requiring investment. On the other hand, traditional merchandising offers dependability by allowing cost savings through economies of scale for bulk manufacturing.

By understanding these differences, businesses can make decisions when choosing the method that aligns best with their objectives and available resources. Regardless of the chosen approach, entrepreneurs now have options to establish a merchandise offering that’s ready for retail.

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Mony Shah

With an adept skill of curating content on multiple genres, Mony has harnessed success as a Content Writer quickly. Find her sharing profound thoughts and opinions on business, beauty, fashion, pets, and entertainment.

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