Print on demand: a new and interesting business form, it is also gradually developing, especially in the digital technology era. Why is it interesting? You can sell many products but you can't own any stock. You just sell and all remaining tasks will be done by print on demand providers. This is also the ideal business form that startups pursue. It allows you to start a business on a low budget.

Print on demand is more and more developing in the digital era. The model of successful print on demand businesses like Teespring, and Esty generated a new definition - print on demand marketplaces. It can connect sellers with their clients worldwide in seconds, providing everyone with enormous opportunities. Then in this article, we will give you define of it, its benefits, and more information. Let’s discover.

1. What Is Print On Demand?

Before we look at what print on demand marketplace is, let's have a full understanding of what print on demand is.

Print on demand (POD) is an eCommerce model that allows vendors to sell personalized print products like clothes, mugs, and bags according to specific designs. A special thing about this model is that the product will only be printed when an order is created. Therefore, sellers don’t have to store any stocks, being free of problems related to storage or inventory. All sellers need to do is select and subscribe to a platform that will help them through the entire process from print to fulfillment.

Get more information in: What Is Print On Demand?

2. What is Print on demand Marketplace

In general, there are two primary types of print-on-demand websites that you can turn to when you first step into the Print on demand market.

The first type of Print on demand website is Print on demand fulfillment service. These services allow you to sell products on your own website or a third-party marketplace like Etsy. Orders received from your store will be imported for fulfillment service to produce and they will take care of shipment under your brand name as well. All your work is to provide customized products, they will take care of the rest.

what is print on demand marketplace

The second type of Print on demand website is Print on demand marketplace. These marketplaces are Print on demand platforms, in which you can sell your designated products along with other sellers. 

Print on demand marketplace with multi-vendor is an e-Commerce platform where you invite different vendors to sell their products and services. Each of the vendors has a personalized storefront. The market owner will manage everything related to shipping and payment while the vendor will manage the products and packaging. Every vendor will have complete control over his store. 

As all sellers will compete in the same market, it is essential for your brand to stand out amongst other competitors. 

In this article, I will share with you the development process of your own Print on demand marketplace where you could invite vendors to join your website selling their products and designs. 

See more How To Start Your Own Print On Demand Business On ECommerce Website?

A Step-By-Step Guide To Starting A Print-On-Demand Business

3. Important Features For Your Print On Demand Marketplace

To effectively run a print on demand marketplace you need eCommerce software that is designed to have full control over the administration vendor relationship as it is the key to successful multishop project completion. 

Logistics and payments 

logistic and payment 

Shipping and Payment systems are core features of online print on demand marketplaces. Without them, no transactions between buyers and sellers would be possible. Print on demand marketplace needs to provide several following key functionalities in order to be effective.

  • Order management

  • Custom shipping management

  • Shipping calculations 

  • Product returns and refunds

  • Payment gateway implementation 

  • Credit card payments

  • Single-page checkout 

  • Guest checkout

Custom Search & Navigation

You can increase your customer experience by integrating custom search & navigation features into your website. The search tool includes search, filter by type, and product tags that allow customers to find what they want quickly and easily.

search and navigation

Admin Interface

admin interface

While your buyers and sellers define your print on demand marketplace, you are ultimately responsible for it. You will need a set of tools in the shape of an administrative interface that allows you to monitor and make the necessary adjustments to support your customers.

Your administrative interface can also be used to approve vendors and products, create outreach materials for customers, run competitions and change marketplace settings. It helps you keep track of your key metrics, including which vendors are doing well and which could use some help.

Reviews & Reputation

reviews and reputation

Allowing buyers to review products and leave comments has several advantages for your print on demand marketplace. First of all, reviews increase the trustworthiness of your marketplace in the eyes of new buyers. Secondly, sellers can analyze buyers’ reviews and understand which products people like and don’t like. Finally, as a marketplace owner, you can use reviews as a quality control indicator. 

Some must have features in this such as product ratings, likes, wishlist, products on sale…

Social Connect

Social media offers an easy way to spread the word about your sellers’ products and your print on demand marketplace in general. It helps to drive traffic to your platform and increases the likelihood of sales.

social connect

Customizable Notifications

Users expect a print on demand marketplace platform to at least have a basic notification system, and more advanced systems are appreciated by some users.

A system should at least tell vendors and admin in some situation about shipment, payment, order by customer…and inform the customer about cart, order, shipment,...

notification

Communication tools

Sellers and buyers should have a straightforward way to communicate inside the platform and discuss questions that might arise. There are different communication options depending on the needs of your print on demand marketplace users. 

Live chats: Live chats allow buyers to contact sellers whenever they have a question or an issue. 

Buyer support: In case buyers can’t get appropriate assistance from sellers or want to learn general information about the marketplace, marketplace administrators should be able to help. 

communication tool

Loyalty programs

loyalty program

Marketplace loyalty programs are taking loyalty rewards to a new level because they offer multiple benefits. It allows a brand to grow across categories faster and expand its online presence swiftly by leveraging the existing profiles of the brands they sell. 

The types of loyalty programs you could consider integrating into your print on demand marketplace. 

  • Rebate/Cash Back Program

  • Discount Program

  • Points Program

Language & Currency

language and currency

This feature allows you to expand your customer base. You can reach the potential customer in the other country, your customer will place an order easily in multi-languages. 

The exchange rates between the currency of two locals will take buyer and seller feel complicated. Buyers want prices indicated in their preferred denomination, while sellers want to be paid in their home currency. So this feature can help you resolve this problem.

SEO optimization

Search engine optimization can be a great source of traffic for your print on demand marketplace. Making sure that your marketplace, its sellers, products, and services rank high in search results will have more potential customers clicking through to your platform.

SEO optimization

Security features

 

security

 

 

 

 

You definitely should take care of your print on demand marketplace security to ensure peace of mind for sellers, buyers, and yourself. Let’s have a look at the features that will improve security in your print on demand marketplace.

Database backups: By doing regular backups, you can be sure information on your print on demand marketplace doesn’t get lost even if external factors interrupt your platform’s operation. With backups, recent data can always be restored.

Secure User Authorization: A print on demand marketplace platform must, of course, have a way of authenticating its users. This may seem like an overly basic step, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Mobile Support

mobile support

A platform that’s able to incorporate all of these features into both a desktop and mobile design will let users access listings and information when they need to, and the platform will be well poised for success.

These are the absolute minimum features your marketplace app needs to start attracting customers. Later on, you’ll add more sophisticated features to improve the user experience and increase your revenue. Moreover, customer interaction will give you ideas for new functionality as well!

4. Top benefits of marketplace businesses

Marketplace businesses have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a number of benefits to entrepreneurs and consumers alike. In this article, we will discuss the top benefits of marketplace businesses and why they have become such a popular business model.

Efficiency

One of the biggest benefits of marketplace businesses is efficiency. By connecting buyers and sellers through a centralized platform, marketplace businesses eliminate the need for middlemen and streamline the buying and selling process. This results in a more efficient market, with faster transactions and lower costs for both buyers and sellers.

Revenue

Another benefit of marketplace businesses is revenue. By connecting buyers and sellers, marketplace businesses create a new revenue stream for themselves through transaction fees and other revenue sources. This can be a significant source of income, particularly for larger marketplace businesses with a high volume of transactions.

Automation

Marketplace businesses also benefit from automation. Through the use of sophisticated algorithms and data analysis, marketplace businesses can automate many of the processes involved in buying and selling, such as pricing, product matching, and order fulfillment. This not only saves time and effort, but also results in more accurate and consistent outcomes.

A Scalable Business Model

Marketplace businesses also have a scalable business model, meaning they can grow and expand easily as their customer base grows. This is because they do not have to physically produce or store products, allowing them to expand their offerings without incurring significant costs. Additionally, marketplace businesses can reach a wider audience through their online platform, increasing their potential for growth.

Value Proposition

Marketplace businesses also offer a strong value proposition to both buyers and sellers. For buyers, marketplace businesses offer a one-stop-shop for all their purchasing needs, providing access to a wide range of products and services from a single platform. For sellers, marketplace businesses offer a convenient and cost-effective way to reach a large audience and sell their products or services.

Customer Interest

Finally, marketplace businesses benefit from high customer interest. As consumers become more and more comfortable shopping online, they are increasingly turning to marketplace businesses for their purchasing needs. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle, as increased customer interest drives further growth and expansion for the marketplace business.

Marketplace businesses offer a number of benefits, including efficiency, revenue, automation, a scalable business model, a strong value proposition, and high customer interest. These benefits have contributed to the growing popularity of marketplace businesses and make them an attractive option for entrepreneurs and consumers alike. With the right strategy and execution, marketplace businesses have the potential to become highly successful and drive significant growth for their owners.

5. A Print On Demand Marketplace Website Development

Of course, the most perfect way to have your own Print on demand marketplace is to hire a professional team to build it for you from scratch.  However, it will cost you a lot of money. 

These are the main stages in print on demand marketplace development and their approximate duration:

Research and analysis (40-100 hours)

Analyze the current market, research the demand, and study competitor services. You can do this on your own or together with an experienced business analyst. Involving a professional will get you detailed project requirements, which will be a solid starting point for your development process.

UX and UI design of a print on demand marketplace (100-300 hours)

Don’t neglect the work of an experienced UX. Their job is to ensure that the users have the best experience when working on your website. A good UX is a competitive advantage, just like a catchy and stylish interface.

Frontend and backend development (300-1000 hours)

The time required to build a print on demand marketplace is much harder to estimate since the time and cost of the development process completely depends on the application’s functionality, the chosen technology stack, the size of the team, and more. However, the approximate numbers mentioned above are real.

The most important applications of a print on demand marketplace are online product personalization software and print on demand marketplace software. 

The online product personalization software needs to be capable of customizing all kinds of products that you wish to include on your website. It also should have a huge variety of design options available for your customers. Also, make sure that your software is mobile optimized. Your customers should be able to make customizations from their mobile phones as well.

Selecting the right multi-vendor print on demand marketplace software starts with determining the key features your business model requires from the marketplace script. Though there can be a ton of different business needs and platform functionality to serve them, one thing to remember is the script features should be able to accommodate the various scenarios of an admin-vendor and vendor-customer relationship system. So, in the next parts we are listing non-negotiable features to look for while developing a print on demand marketplace.

Quality assurance and bug fixing (150-350 hours)

To achieve exclusive software quality, development and QA processes should run simultaneously. Some business owners see software testing as a piece of the cake that they can do by themselves. However, a test engineer can implement various techniques to cover most of the possible usage scenarios, ensuring that your customers don’t face an unexpected problem during website usage.

The price of the project is calculated based on software company rates, which vary by country.

global outsourcing development hour rate

In our article on offshore software development, we analyzed different rates and regions. Asia countries such as India or Vietnam generally offer the most attractive prices. That’s why many businesses now choose these two countries as partners for their outsourcing projects.

However, the price starts at US$30,000 for a simple print on demand marketplace and can reach up to US$100,000 for a full-featured application with complex architecture.

So, the marketplace website cost is a significant factor.

In a previous article, we mentioned that instead of searching for a full-service development company, try to search for a web to print solution provider who can develop a Print on demand marketplace website as well as will ensure seamless integration and optimized development of your online product personalization software for Print on demand platform.

That is why we recommend our clients to consider the CMSMART Web to print solution which allows store owners to sell their own printing products with online product personalization software NBDesigner. 

With the help of the CMSMART Web to print solution, the vendors can create a web to print personalized products for their customers. It will allow the customers to design the products from the storefront. 

This solution is useful for those merchants who are selling personalized products such as printed t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, photo gifts, and business cards…

However, every business is unique. So, we take advantage of all the existing functionalities and develop specific features or fix the workflow to be fit with different business models. 

With more than 9 years of experience in software and eCommerce website development, we have worked with many clients’ projects. This is the basic workflow of a Pint on demand marketplace that we often offer to our clients. 

User Roles

There will be 3 types of user on the website : Admin , User, Vendors.

user roles

Admin: Add product, Price, and variations for products, templates, approve vendors, set commission for vendors.

Vendors: Register as vendors on the site and wait for admin approval. After admin approval, vendors can add products and then design from products that were added by admin. After the products are published to sell on the site, the admin will be the person who prints and ships to users. The vendors will get a commission for each successful order. 

Sellers: Choose a product from categories, design the product online and make the payment. 

Keeping the Signup process easy for both vendors and customers is one important issue. 

sign up form

Nowadays, people are too busy and have so many options in their hands. If it requires multiple steps or too much information to complete then users may get discouraged to enroll on your site. And switch the tab immediately.

Therefore, keep the signup and onboarding process transparent, short, and straightforward. Ask only for relevant information and let users sign-up via social channels like Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. Also, allow users to retrieve their name/password.

There will be 2 types of products on the website:

product page

Products that are added by admin: Users will have 4 ways to make an order

  • Choose variations, add to cart, and place an order

  • Upload design and then place an order

  • Design online and place an order

  • Pick a template and then design and place an order

Products that are added by vendors: Users will have 3 ways to make order 

  • Choose variations and add to cart (order a product that has vendor’s design)

  • Pick a vendor’s design then modify and place an order

  • Upload design and then place an order

design page

The admin and vendors can upload fonts for the text editor, add images for adding images to the product template, and clipart for adding images to the product template. 

The admin and vendors can create multiple templates for a single product with different design areas such as front design, back design, etc.

The customer can use the default design of the product template or edit the template as per the choice.

The customer can use different editors for customizing the design like an image editor, text editor, shape editor. It also lets customers upload their own images or choose an image from a pre-built library.

How vendors add products on Print on demand marketplace

In a Print on demand marketplace, catalog management should be available for administrators and sellers. Both admins and sellers should be able to work with catalogs to ensure products are appropriately represented in the marketplace.

Marketplace admins should be able to set a catalog structure to ensure consistency in their marketplace. Once admins create catalog categories and subcategories, sellers can continue working with them on their own.

On the other hand, sellers need to manage their products and designs. It should be easy for them to create new products and provide product descriptions, images, options, option values, variants, dimensions, properties, and prices.

To add a new product from the vendor dashboard

  • Step 1: Log in to the vendor dashboard and click on add new product at product tab. 

  • Step 2: Put on product name, selling price and category for the added product and wait for admin approval. 

Admins need to give approval for products added by sellers to ensure that all products on their marketplace are of high quality. 

In the Vendor store, there will be the product that has been designed with variable colors (vendor set up) and size options (admin set up). 

Users can place an order with vendor design or modify vendor design then place an order. 

Admin will do the printing, ship the product to customers and pay agreed commission to vendors. 

To add design for a product added by admin

  • Step 1: Click on "Start Designing" to design the products from the product that admin had added.

my  store design page

  • Step 2: Choose a product that was added by admin and pick the color to design to make sure it is suited for all colors.

choose your product

  • Step 3: Design or Upload image to all shirt colors and the process to publish the product

choose to design online or upload design

choose to upload a solid design or create an editable design

upload design

upload design file

choose product

choose additional products to apply the design

When shoppers choose a product to purchase, they could choose among: make a purchase without editing; just choose a design from template library and add to cart; choose a design to modify and then place an order, design your own product with online design feature or upload design then place an order. 

Once consumers decide to make a purchase, the process should be seamless and efficient for both parties involved. For consumers, this means quickly entering delivery and payment details (and copying the shipping and payment address if they’re the same). Vendors and especially the admin want a fast way to view what listings have been purchased and where those listings need to be sent, so the admin can manage order fulfillment in a timely fashion.

Vendors are the core contributors to your print on demand marketplace. The more sellers you can get for your site, the more you can grow fast. A good number of sellers mean a lot of product variety on your site. So, you should provide enough facilities for them to sell their products on your site.

You should provide a detailed and individual dashboard for each vendor of your site. From where they can manage their shop including upload and edit products, shipping process, customer communication, and others. Keep all the processes simple and effective. That they can easily understand and handle everything seamlessly.

Also, they should get all the updates and report right on their dashboard. So that they can overview everything at a glance.

6. CMSMART Web to Print Solution - The Perfect Print On Demand Marketplace Platform For Business Owners

CMSMART web to print solution

Print-on-demand is promised to keep on growing in the near future, especially when the internet opens the door for online shopping all over the world. Modern print on demand marketplaces connect sellers with their clients worldwide in seconds, providing everyone with enormous possibilities and opportunities.

CMSMART provides fully functional WordPress and Magento print on demand marketplace solutions that can be customized as per your requirement. You can now start your own Print-on-Demand marketplace like Redbubble, Teespring, Society 6, Spreadshirt, and allow anyone to list and sell their custom design products to customers. You can let your customers design and personalize products in your store as they buy them. 

This solution is useful for those merchants who are selling personalized products such as printed t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, photo gifts, and business cards…

However, every business is unique. So, we take advantage of all the existing functionalities and develop specific features or fix the workflow to fit with different business models. 

Conclusion

So, if you wish to build a successful print on demand marketplace, CMSMART web-to-print solution is a wise choice. 

With more than 9 years of experience in software and eCommerce website development, we have worked with many clients’ projects. We are confident that will give the best solution for you, then contact us now to get a free consultation. 

 

Lynn Jones

Shop Owner
Lynn Jone, Digital Marketer, copywriter, and avid fan of Technology!

One of my favorite quotes is: "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value" - Albert Einstein.

I graduated from foreign trade university majoring in Economics. However, it took me 5 years to find my passion for Digital Marketing. With over 5-years research and over 3-years practical work experience, I am confident that I can easily what problems your website is facing and suggest the best solution for your business.

I used to be an accountant, a salesperson, a banker even a receptionist. However, I just feel to be myself when I choose to be a Marketer, especially an SEOer. I have spent a lot of time studying and learning about marketing tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Ahref, Alexa, Similar Web, ... In order to understand customer behavior as well as to make a website to be on the top rank on the search tool.

"Content is king". Where advertising is about the sale, content marketing is about establishing a connection. The best content marketing will lure people to your brand and keep them coming back for more.

So let’s explore the wide world of ever-increasing content, and investigate how you ensure your message is well delivered to your target customers.