Print on Demand refers to a process where apparel and merchandise is printed once an order is placed by a customer . This method is in contrast to printing items in bulk, storing them, receiving orders and fulfilling them as the order is received.
Print on Demand is more expensive per item, but many customers are seeing substantial cost savings in reduction of unused items and lower storage costs (Page 36). In cases of large volume merchants, the cost of inventory management planning and data is greatly reduced.
There are a wide range of print on demand products. Apparel tends to be the most popular with wall decorations (canvas, posters, prints) becoming just as popular . Tote bags, drinkware, towels, curtains and many other product categories are growing in availability and popularity.
Another great benefit is the ability to personalize apparel and merchandise to the end-user. Consumers are willing to pay up to 20% more for items that are personalized (Deloitte). That is a huge benefit for individuals giving gifts to families, small businesses attracting new customers and large organizations engaging employees. Personalization has a huge market that is quickly gaining on mass production items.
There may also be great benefits for the environmental footprint of merchandise and fashion business. Large amounts of items produced in bulk are never used and end up in landfills. Print on demand may help in managing production cycles and reducing the waste created in a bulk production model.