Across the board, the number one thing that I hear when discussing the unique benefits of using on-demand manufacturing is, ‘I can get it cheaper if I manufacture product in bulk’.
Every business wants an elastic supply chain therefore every business would benefit from on-demand manufacturing but some falter when it comes to what they perceive to be increased costs.
However, what most businesses fail to consider are the unseen advantages of using on-demand manufacturing and blending it into their existing store to create a hybrid model.
Ecommerce stores can support both types of product sales simultaneously so why not use them to the store’s advantage?
Key advantages of on-demand
- No upfront investment in stock
- No additional transportation costs
- No warehouse booking in fees
- No storage costs
- Increased product range
- Increased colourways
- No size extra small in pink to write off
The Hybrid Theory
No, not the Linkin Park album but the ability to complement existing ecommerce stores with on-demand products.
Breaking it down let’s start with some of the obvious advantages the hybrid model offers. The ability to test new products and designs without having to commit to stock. Switching product SKU’s mid-campaign to on-demand once all stock has run down. Or complementing bundle sales with on-demand items to simultaneously run alongside.
The Longtail Effect
And then there is the sheer breadth of the catalogue and products available. On-demand manufacturing allows you to quickly establish a large repertoire of items and put them on sale by using just a small number of designs which can be included across multiple products with near-endless sets of sizes and colours.
As an example take a look at Bleep. Within months the store has managed to quickly include 40+ additional designs across multiple products with no commitment to stock production.
“Using on-demand has allowed us to launch new product lines with less upfront financial commitment. It has allowed us to build better relationships with artists, labels and suppliers we work with as well as offer a wider range of products to our customers”.
-Sid Newman, Bleep
So the increase in the products available leads to what’s known as the ‘Longtail Effect’. Longtail sales become the bedrock of any store as once a product is set up there’s no restocking, no stock management, it’s always there, it’s always on sale and it never runs out.
Then let's consider on-demands Eco credentials.
Sustainability is an important factor and especially to fans of artists, so having the ability to swap out traditional products to eco-friendly lines with zero wastage even mid-campaign is a clear benefit.
An example of this would be Nova Twins making the decision that they wanted to include sustainable products as part of their range due to the demands of their fans. Part of their offering now includes using sustainably manufactured products, biodegradable packaging, and working with a merchandising company that contributes to offsetting their carbon footprint.
For the Nova Twins, this approach was really important. Their manager Rupert King explains:
“Being able to implement more environmentally friendly products within Nova Twins’ merchandise range was incredibly important to the band and a move well received by their fanbase. Having an on-demand solution allowed us to seamlessly make that change, thankfully without having to dispose of any garments.”
-Rupert King, Blue Raincoat
Other benefits include Brand Extension. When you consider ways to widen the reach of your brand, an on-demand approach offers the opportunity for established brands to extend their offering into a potentially new and untapped market.
This is achieved by sweating the existing assets to increase awareness and create a brand new revenue stream.
“[PIAS] launched their e-commerce store in 2020, selling a wide range of music products, primarily from Artists signed to the [PIAS] label group. [PIAS] have recently added branded print on demand merchandise to the range as part of the strategy to develop [PIAS] as a retail brand.”
-Russel Coultart, [PIAS]
So there you have it, next time you are about to repeat the line ‘I can get it cheaper if I….’, please consider the other factors involved and make sure you are comparing apples with apples and why would you not adopt a hybrid model?
Ian Shurmer is the Co-Founder of Push Entertainment Ltd.
Read More about adding manufacture on demand items to your Ochre store.