On Demand Printing: Between Technological Advancement and E-Commerce Opportunities Part 2
What is a knowledge economy?
It is an information-driven market rather than a product-driven one. The Internet provides unprecedented connectivity. Anyone in the world can get any product. But information and knowledge remain limited and have become commodities.
The t-shirts are particularly well suited to a knowledge economy. The main development concerns the way t shirts reach Internet users. On demand printing promotes this more inclusive and open environment for t-shirts. It is an environment in which anyone with something to share and the will to create can do so.
Before the advent of this new way of selling, t-shirts were created as part of an industrial process, long and quite fixed.
Thanks to the web, a creator can make his designs known without going through a publishing company. These designers can work as freelancers worldwide, offering their services at reasonable costs. But an e-merchant could just as easily edit his own graphic creations!
Two crucial elements coincide here. The ability to find highly qualified people to perform specific design tasks and the ability to print and ship at an affordable price.
There have always been artists to propose their creations to resellers. The Web has just simplified connecting and even more importantly, finding qualified designers at good rates.
On demand printing and innovation
Twenty years ago, you could create a t-shirt, but you would still have to spend thousands of euros to order a whole series from an industrialist. This stock had to be financed until it had sold everything.
Now you can create dozens of designs and upload them, and then ask your on demand printing provider to print them on your products. With on demand printing, you only pay for printing when a customer orders your product. Because of this, you can have many designs that generate only a few sales a year, it does not require you to have stock.
And as self-publishing introduced on demand printing, it was rather in the business of e-commerce that on demand printing actually flourished.
Additionally, Web 3.0 with social networks enabled independent creators to quickly make themselves known and communicate with a specific audience.
Here are some examples of online business that work very well:
- Etsy for creators of all kinds
- Prestashop for electronic commerce
- WooCommerce as WordPress plugin
- Amazon allows you to create your own store
And these are just a few examples of new successes on the web.
However, all of these factors do not mean that starting an on demand printing e-commerce store will be an immediate success. In an increasingly competitive market, you will first need to attract customers and convince them to buy your t shirts among all the other options they have online.
On demand printing, the future of e-commerce?
Technology has fostered the emergence of on demand printing. And while this is not the only way to market textile products, it is clearly a great way to get started and offer a very wide range of designs, in order to better understand what appeals to your potential customers.