Ecommerce Encyclopedia

‟Ecommerce is a powerful means to connect the unconnected to global trade” - Arancha Gonzalez

Print on demand or dropship T-shirt

Many of you should be confused when digging into the Print-on-Demand and Dropship industries. Therefore, we will help you clarify some of the most common doubts on this topic. We will also show you how to make use of each business model in order to run a profitable online T-shirt dropshipping business.

How does POD differ from Dropshipping?

1. Process

  Print on demand

  • First, the seller creates their store on a Print-on-demand platform and applies their designs to the products. 
  • A customer sees your product display and makes an order.
  • The Print on Demand company will print your design on the selected product and deliver the item to your customer.
  • The customer receives the product, which now features your very own design on it. 


  • A buyer places an order on the seller’s website, which will most likely be powered by an eCommerce platform.
  • The seller will then forward the order details to their favourite dropshipping company whose product is on pre-made process and ready to be delivered to end consumers. (this task can be automated by using a virtual assistant or plugin)
  • The dropshipping supplier will carry out order fulfillment and deliver the package directly to end-users. 

2. Pros

Print on demand

  • Easy to start, low investment as stock fees are not needed.
  • Freely design your own products.
  • Storage space or inventory is not required for sellers.
  • Easy to track orders as they are most likely to be fulfilled domestically.
  • Scale-up quickly as it is effortless to test and add new products.
  • High potential to reach international markets.
  • High retention rate if your customers are loyal to your design style or your niche products
  • Wide range of products mostly in fashion, home and living, accessories and the design can be adapted on various objects with many options from colors to size and materials.


  • Fair profit margin.
  • Storage space or inventory is not required for sellers.
  • Wide range of pre-made products without any limit in industries, product categories.
  • Dropshipping products with your custom branding and packaging.
  • Easy to reach international markets.

3. Cons

Print on demand

  • Low-profit margin.
  • Competitive market if your ideas on product are not unique and easy to be copied
  • Non-instant delivery and payments. The POD platform has to ensure enough time for order processing, shipment or returns and chargebacks; therefore, payments are only issued once or twice a month. 
  • Your brand’s reputation depends heavily on the suppliers’ performance.
  • Estimated T-shirt fulfillment time varies from 5-9 business days.


  • A monthly fee might be required by some platforms.
  • Failure from the supplier could eventually lead to your business reputation being put in jeopardy.
  • Not having enough space for product changes and customization.
  • Minimum order quantity may be required.