You may have been interested in dropshipping and came across print on demand dropshipping.

Wait, you may be wondering if there are other types of dropshipping? Is it possible to have both in a single store to add more choice for your customers?

These questions can be challenging because there is no correct answer, and it depends on how you want to go about your store.

Start with dropshipping before adding print on demand and finding out if you should combine them.

What is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is when customers create an order on an internet store. A supplier is a substitute for the shop to hold inventory and deliver it to the customer.

How does dropshipping work - Infographic

If you start a dropshipping business, you act as a storefront for customers to purchase your products.

While you order from your site, you place the order to your supplier, and they'll deal with the logistics and delivery.

A dropshipper makes a profit at the margin. After they place an order with the provider, they pay the wholesale price, which is a decreased price than what they will price on their website. The dropshipper then gains the difference from the money.

Now let's look at the print on demand dropshipping!

What is print on demand (POD) dropshipping?

Print on demand dropshipping is similar to traditional dropshipping, where you have a supplier that holds inventory and ships products for you. The result isn't made in bulk beforehand. Instead, the printing begins once an order is in.

Print on demand stores can also be used as outsourcing because they print the product after getting an order and then, at that point, ship it to the client.

The print on demand model - Infographic

One of the differences is the time it takes to send the order. The supplier needs to print the product before shipping it when an order comes in. This can take a few days, depending on the amount that needs printing.

Another difference is that you have more control of the product since you supply your graphics. This is huge in trying to be different in a competitive industry!

Can you combine POD and dropshipping?

Combining two different dropshipping fulfilments can be tricky because not every process of setting for dropshipping can be the same.

For example, POD needs graphic files set up on the supplier's website and fitting for every size of a product of your choice, and they can be out of stock at any given moment.

Dropshipping doesn't need to worry about that, but the consistency of the product quality can differ between suppliers depending on materials, etc. It's why testing is essential! (Which you can learn more about here)

In traditional methods, it's possible to set up your store to have both dropshipping and POD.

Can this be challenging? Maybe!

Let's look at the pros and cons to make sure it's the right decision for you:

The pros of combining POD and dropshipping

Easier to scale

The joy of having both fulfillment models is you have the widest variety of products to choose from. This variety means stability is far easier to grow with more sales and product choices.

Since there are no limits beyond your creativity and supplier choices, the ability to scale is far more accessible, with the only limitation being your creativity and business skills. 

More ways to add value to your brand

Value is a big deal for two reasons: competing with other types of businesses and the reason why you can set your prices for your products.

So when it comes down to why people care about your store that goes beyond your products, it is the value you give to make your customer feel like they're getting something more than the product.

More ways to generate sales

To say, when there are more product choices, there can be more sales as you can be appealing to more people or give an existing customer a reason to purchase from you again.

Considering the process, it's not difficult; it can be an easy effort to have more products and cycle through at a more rapid pace to find what sells best.

The cons of incorporating POD and dropshipping

Mixing up supplier settings & info

While the dropshipping process for both POD and dropshipping can be automated, there can still be issues to be aware of.

The most common will be dealing with returns. Every dropshipper has to deal with it at times, and the combination of at least two different suppliers can make the process more complicated.

Dropshipping with multiple suppliers infographic

You have to be more careful about tracking consistent quality and the right items to get returned. Fear not, with returned items because you can use them for other things as well!

Another issue that can be messy is the finances of multiple suppliers and possibly taxes. You must count your numbers to ensure your store is legal and profitable, like tracking returns.

For more information on dealing with multiple suppliers, check out this article here for some great tips!

Plus, if you don't have a print on demand supplier yet, then check out our in-depth article here with the best options!

Or, if you're looking for a POD supplier in the US, check out this article here.

No brand consistency with the products

It can be pretty overwhelming with so many products you can add to your store by combing POD and dropshipping!

Once you've taken a moment to find and design many products in your store, don't forget to reflect on who your store is for, and can they identify themselves shopping from you?

While it's super easy to have tons of products from the start, do research and testing with your products to know if they fit your audience's needs instead of assuming because they look 'cool.'

Brand consistency adds to professionalism and trustworthiness, so when a customer sees something odd they didn't expect from you, they're going to be cautious in the future. So Be consistent!

Forgetting what your niche is

Same with brand consistency, losing sight of what you're knowledgeable about in your chosen niche can make your store generic and forgettable. You have a profitable business when you focus on who you're selling to and can source the products they will use.

Forgetting your niche also allows the competition to secure the market. This means when people see your products, they'll think, 'why should I buy this over the other store they know.'

To learn more about niches, check out these articles:

Examples of dropshipping and POD stores

While these example stores may not be doing both POD and dropshipping, they are using products in a way that you can quickly learn from and apply as if they were.

Jelly Cases

jelly case home page

Jelly Cases sources stylish phone cases to add personality for their customers. They take pride in the creativity and functionality of their product that protects the phone from harm.

The popularity and success of phone cases are because we like to protect the things we value the most, and phones can be expensive. As well as we use them so much every day as our lives depend on them and often it does!

The takeaway from Jelly Cases

With a dropshipping supplier, you can source phone cases like Jelly Cases and other phone uses like battery chargers, holsters, microphones, etc.

In addition, with a POD supplier, you can design your phone cases so you can fit the existing designs on your other fulfillment. Your imagination is the only limitation!

Carla Miller Art

carla miller art home page

Carla Miller is a part-time artist as a hobby. Just like how many dropshipping stores start as a passion that eventually leads to something big.

Hand-drawing creative and fun designs that complement any dropshipping product with a similar style can work wonders!

The takeaway from Carla Miller Art

If there's one thing artists love about their work is the visual representation of emotions. It can be fun, quirky, and exciting. You can be inspired by her style, which feels welcoming and fun to show off.

Emotions are super powerful in the creative world. It's how we love and get attached to something that speaks to us.

While selling a unique art style can be difficult due to not appealing to everyone, there will be people. You have to find them!

Custom You Like

custom you like home page

Custom You Like is all about creating customized gifts for dog owners. The ability to source and make their graphic of customers' dogs is creative and inspiring!

Giving their customers complete ownership of the product is an excellent way to be noticed. It also creates a highly personalized experience that feels special and memorable.

The takeaway from Custom You Like

A big part of Custom You Like's success is going the extra mile for their customer. If you want to be remembered, this is a great way to do that!

A side note, returns can be problematic with these types of personalized gifts. Since it's challenging to resell someone else's dog graphic, you have to make do with using that product for marketing material or a free giveaway.

This is a reminder if no one wants to purchase something, you can always use it for some benefit!

For more information on how to sell personalized products, check out our complete beginner's guide here!

Related article: Interested in seeing more print on demand stores? Check out these 15 print on demand store examples here!


There we have it! The mystery of combining POD and dropshipping has been solved to find out that, yes, it is very much possible.

Now should you? Considering how easy and a bit of time to create accounts for these platforms, there's not much to lose and try out for yourself.

With the problems that can happen, like the necessary skills to design graphics, people would love to purchase or source the right products for your store, and you can choose which ones are better suited for you.

Finding your success with these types of dropshipping comes down to your ability to experiment and test. Who knows, maybe you'll surprise yourself!

Best of luck!

Want to learn more about POD?

Ready to move your print on demand store to the next level? Check out the articles below:

Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth how to start a print on demand business guide here!

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