On-Demand vs. Holding Inventory

Print On-Demand vs. Holding Inventory (Pros & Cons)

As you’re getting ready to launch your own t-shirt business, you’ll need to make a very important decision on if you want to hold inventory on your own or work with Air Waves OnDemand to produce and ship your items. With every decision, there are pros and cons to both options. Hopefully after reading through this article, you’ll have a better idea which path is right for you!

Holding Inventory

What does holding your own inventory mean?

Holding your own inventory means you’ll need to find a wholesaler to outsource blank products as well as find a print shop to do the printing (unless you’re planning on printing on your own). You’ll also need to fulfill and ship out each order that comes in.

Pros of holding inventory

  • You are in full control of every part of the process. You can choose the exact products you want and choose the print shop you want to work with. You can also create your customer’s unboxing experience.
  • You can ship out items ASAP.

Cons of holding inventory

  • This can be very expensive—by pre-printing items in bulk and holding inventory, you are responsible for selling all of it if you want to make a profit.
  • Takes more time—This can be very time consuming, especially if orders skyrocket and you’re left to fulfill on your own! Additionally, if you take some time off, you’ll be left with orders not being shipped in a timely manner.

Print On-Demand

What is Print On-Demand?

Print On-Demand is where you are working with a third-party to print, fulfill, and ship orders as they come in. This service is linked to your store so orders can start the production process ASAP.

Pros of Print On-Demand

  • Low-cost—You only pay when a product is purchased.
  • Save time—Without having to manage inventory, you can focus that time on marketing your products.
  • Easy to try new products—Since there is no inventory management, you can test out new ideas on the fly without risk.

Cons of Print On-Demand

  • Less control—When working with third party vendors, you’ll have less control over each order that goes out since you will not be seeing it with your own eyes as it’s shipped.
  • Longer turnaround—Through Air Waves OnDemand, orders usually ship out within 3 days, which is slightly longer than if you had inventory on-hand to ship.

Both options can work great when aligned with your priorities and goals. If you are leaning towards holding your own inventory, it’s important to be confident that you have the resources to do so. Your business will be short-lived if your product isn’t selling or if you’re unable to keep up with demand. The safest way to get started is through Print On-Demand apps like Air Waves OnDemand. Utilizing this method will allow you to get your business up and running without any major investments. Over time, you can re-evaluate your business goals to see if you need to switch it up.