Drop shipping is an order fulfillment practice where a printer ships a printed product to a customer on behalf of the retailer. This allows retailer to take order from customer, pass that order to an associate printer, who will print and deliver it directly to the customer, giving retailer a good margin in between. This gives retailer an ability to increase his product portfolio that is many times larger than what he actually prints. Advantages are even more, if you have a good Web-to-Print system that gives you a wider reach and more tools to manage customers, orders, and dropshippers effectively.
Let’s have a look at 7 advantages of dropshipping in printing industry for you as a retailer (specifically through a Web-to-Print store):
1. No Inventory – Less Cost
For a normal supply chain, if you want to sell any item, you need to maintain a large inventory. For dropshipping, you don’t need to maintain any inventory at all. What you need is just the images of all the variants of products. Post them on your Web-to-Print store and start receiving orders. You don’t need to spend large amounts on managing those inventories anymore.
2. Have a Large Product Portfolio
With a good dropshipping network, you can sell anything. Custom printed marketing products, like brochures, flyers, bookmarks; or custom printed office stationary, like envelopes and letterheads; or apparels, like t-shirts, aprons, caps; or gift items, like mugs, keychains, keepsake boxes, piggy banks; or wall decors, like stretched canvas, sticky-back posters or photo enlargements, you can sell them ALL. You just need to have a good Web-to-Print store where customers can design products and order, and a dropshipping network to fulfill those orders to customers’ satisfaction.
If you are a printer already printing 10 items, you can add 20 more to your portfolio by collaborating with other printers that sell those 20 products. Even if you are not a printer at all, but can create good customer base and can manage a few dropshippers – you have an opportunity to invest in a Web-to-Print store and maintain a great product portfolio through dropshipping.
3. Minimize Your Risk of Entry
Entering a new business is risky, and that applies to printing industry too. With high competition, even higher customer expectations, pressure on margins, and reducing order quantities, entering in this business is getting riskier every day. Risk is not only of investment in terms of inventory, printers, presses, real estate, but also in terms of creating a brand name through perfect order fulfillment.
Dropshipping reduces your risk of investment by allowing you to keep the investment very low and the returns at an optimal level. You don’t need to invest in inventory, machinery, big office space. It reduces your risk of creating a brand name through order fulfillment as you are tying up with someone already having experience in this industry and tested.
4. His Expertise = Your Brand Name
Your dropshipper is generally into printing business for quite some time, building an expertise over the years. When you sell items that he prints, and your customers receive a perfect product, they are in praise of your Web-to-Print store. You build a brand name on expertise of your dropshipper.
5. If You Want to Print Yourself in Future
While you can build your brand name on the expertise of your dropshipper, some day you may feel starting your own printing unit. And wow, you already have a brand name before you actually start printing yourself. Your customers know you as a high quality printer and supplier even before you actually start doing it.
6. Save Your Time (of Packing and Shipping)
Dropshipper prints the order, packs it, pastes your shipping labels on package, and ships it to your customer. This way, all the packing and shipping work is taken care by the dropshipper, saving you a lot of time for something that you do best – manage customer relationships and generate business.
7. Save Your Time (of Transit)
When you dropship, the vendor directly ships the products to your customers. This saves a lot of shipping costs and time, especially when the customer is nearer to vendor than you. It is always better to have dropshippers in different geographical locations (with a proper control mechanism), so that you always have a vendor that is near to customer. Just see the customer delighted when you have office in California and deliver to Virginia in just 1 day (and you know the secret).
Overall, dropship is here to stay in Printing Industry. You can utilize its full potential by investing in a good Web-to-Print system. You just need to manage more and more relationships, keep on searching for prompt vendors offering better quality prints at lower prices. This way you can delight your customers with high quality custom-printed products, delivered in time, at a competitive price… (and enjoy a good margin for yourself too…)!