Many don't know that some print on demand (POD) suppliers offer bulk orders alongside their services.
But should you engage in bulk ordering with your POD store?
This article will cover what you need to know about how ordering in bulk works and when you should consider it. We will also recommend solutions to any challenges you may encounter before ordering!
So if you're ready to take the plunge to learn about ordering in bulk with print on demand, let's get started!
What is bulk ordering?
Bulk ordering refers to placing a large order for a specific product with a POD supplier.
POD is a business model in which products are only printed and shipped to customers as ordered, rather than producing many products upfront and keeping them in inventory.
Bulk ordering allows suppliers to produce more products simultaneously rather than fulfilling smaller, recurring orders.
This can lead to significant time and cost savings for the supplier and the customer. (It also carries some risks and challenges that we'll cover later.)
What are the benefits of making bulk orders?
There are several benefits to bulk ordering print on demand products:
Bulk ordering uses a different printing method called screenprinting, allowing more cost-effective production of multiple orders.
You can often take advantage of bulk pricing discounts when you order in larger quantities, saving you money in the long run.
Our favorite POD supplier, Printful, has an article about their discount savings on bulk orders.
Rather than placing multiple smaller orders over time, you can place a single bulk order and have all your products delivered at once.
Bulk orders will also remove the fulfillment time, so when a customer orders, you will be ready to ship their product to them without the wait of the supplier. This can speed up the delivery process by 1-3 days!
Be able to sell to more demographics
Sports teams, clubs, and other group events often use similar or the exact kind of print apparel. With bulk ordering, you can provide an excellent solution that will fit their budget.
Also, delivering the products in one order instead of separately can make your delivery experience less wasteful for the environment!
Can accept returns easily
A massive problem with the traditional POD method is dealing with returns.
Thankfully with always having inventory space with bulk orders, you can place the item back into inventory (as long as it is still in good condition).
There are plenty of other ways to use returned products for your benefit, like using them in your marketing strategy or a reward in a fun contest for your audience!
What are the problems and solutions for bulk ordering?
There are also several disadvantages to bulk ordering for a print on demand supplier:
Bulk orders may limit your creative designs
The print process for bulk ordering is usually through the screenprinting method. The screenprinting method differs from the Direct Garment (DTG) process because the supplier has to print every color separately instead of simultaneously.
The supplier has to manually print every color with the screenprinting method, which can be costly when they use three or more colors per product.
A solution to this is to be mindful of the number of colors you use in your designs. Some people like less color, too, so it can be a positive change.
For more information on the difference between DTG and screenprinting, Printful has made a handy guide to help you.
With usual POD, you only spend what you're selling, so you'll always make a profit. With bulk ordering, you have to purchase in advance, so there's always a financial risk in not being able to sell everything you have.
While there's no fantastic solution to dealing with a potential loss in profits, there is a strategy you can use to minimize the risk:
Try only bulk ordering the designs you know will sell well. Leave the ones you're unsure about for the traditional POD method. This way, you'll have a higher chance of selling your inventory and learning which other designs don't sell.
Dealing with inventory space
Depending on the size of your bulk order, you will need the space to store them all, which can strain your business.
Storage is the biggest problem with bulk ordering because there isn't one good solution.
You may have to get creative to make room, such as placing things neatly within other storage. Also, you may need to consider renting a storage space if you're still struggling with your location.
You may need more flexibility to quickly adapt to changing market trends or customer demand when only offering from your inventory.
A solution to this is like the upfront payment problems; you do bulk orders for the designs you know will sell well, and you keep personal and experimental designs as the traditional POD method.
How to order in bulk with print on demand
Many POD suppliers offer bulk ordering. Our favorites that provide it are Printful and Printify. (Check out our comparison guide here)
However, if you need more inspiration on what kind of print on demand suppliers are out there, check out our lists here:
- 14 Best US Print on Demand Suppliers
- 14 Best Print on Demand Suppliers in Europe
- 12 Best Eco-Friendly Print on Demand Suppliers
- 15 Best Print on Demand Companies and Suppliers
For this example, how to order in bulk will be through Printful. The process begins with the following steps:
1. Choose your products
Select the products you want to order, such as t-shirts, hats, or mugs. You can choose from a range of options in terms of size, color, and style.
To speed up the process with many different product variants, Printful has a helpful page on creating a template file to import and order from.
2. Upload your design
Create your design or choose from a range of templates provided by Printful. You'll need to upload your design as a high-quality image file.
If it's not of a suitable quality for Printful, they'll alert you, and you cannot proceed until you use one to ensure you'll have a great-looking product!
3. Review and confirm your order
Check that everything is correct, including your products' quantity, size, and color.
You'll also need to verify your shipping address and payment method.
4. Place your order
Once you've reviewed and confirmed, you can place it. Printful will process your order and send it to their production facility for printing.
5. Wait for your order to be shipped
Printful will take care of the printing and shipping process, so you can sit back and wait for your bulk order to arrive.
You'll receive updates on the status of your order and a tracking number once it's shipped.
Some POD suppliers have a shipping tracker on their website, so you know the shipping time and rates from the supplier and yourself! Here's Printful for an example.
6. Enjoy your custom bulk order
Once you receive your order, you can start using it or selling it to your customers.
You'll have a professional-looking product without the hassle of managing inventory or production yourself!
Before we go to the conclusion, we created a quick summary of this article for you, so you can easily remember it:
- Bulk ordering in print on demand refers to placing a large order for a specific product or product with a POD supplier.
- Bulk ordering uses a different printing method called screenprinting, allowing more cost-effective production of multiple orders.
- Rather than placing multiple smaller orders over time, you can place a single bulk order and have all your products delivered at once. The savings can simplify the ordering process.
- With bulk ordering, you have to purchase in advance, so there's always a financial risk in not being able to sell everything you have.
- You may have to get creative in dealing with inventory space problems.
- You can still combine bulk orders with the traditional POD to order what you need when you need it without minimum order quantities or inventory management.
Ordering bulk from a print on demand supplier can be an excellent solution for your print on demand store!
You are reducing fulfillment time for your products while saving costs from the product order is a vast benefit and a welcome choice.
You can still combine bulk orders with the traditional POD to order what you need when you need it without minimum order quantities or inventory management.
There are no additional fees in bulk ordering, so if you have designs you know will sell, it could be your best choice.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a great day!
Want to learn more about print on demand?
Ready to move your print on demand store to the next level? Check out the articles below:
- 27 Best Print on Demand Niche Ideas for Your Store
- The 5 Best Free Print on Demand Courses | Learn for Free!
- Print On Demand Basics: 5 Things Every Beginner Should Know
Plus, don't forget to check out our in-depth how to start a print on demand business guide here!