Affiliate Marketing Vs Print On Demand: Which Is For You?

Last Updated on November 16, 2022

Are you confused about the distinction between affiliate marketing vs print on demand, and which is the best one you should pursue?

The primary distinction between affiliate marketing and print on demand is that affiliate marketing involves selling other people’s products, while print on demand requires you only to send traffic. Print on demand is the sale of your own custom-designed products on an as-needed basis.

Everything will be elaborated more on:

  • The primary distinctions between affiliate marketing and print on demand
  • The benefits and drawbacks of affiliate marketing and print on demand
  • Integration of both
  • Which should you choose?

It’s now time to dive in and get started.

What To Choose: Affiliate Marketing Vs Print On Demand?

In general, any online business can be successful if you invest your time and resources into it. As a result, I believe that neither is superior to the other. If I have to pick one, affiliate marketing is better for long-term success because it eliminates the need to deal with customer service and production in the long run. A single bad reputation can bring down an entire print-on-demand company.

Affiliate marketing

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is recommending and selling products you do not own in exchange for a commission on the sale. The primary task is to drive traffic to the affiliate offers you promote and master conversion rate optimization.

One of the great things about affiliate marketing is that all you have to focus on is driving traffic. Driving traffic to promote affiliate offers, on the other hand, can appear to many people to be a daunting and difficult task. However, driving traffic does not have to be difficult.

One of the most important things you can do to drive traffic successfully is to concentrate your efforts on a single platform for promotion and content creation. The more you focus on one thing, the less likely you are to be distracted and spread yourself thin.

Affiliate Marketing Pros and Cons


  • No product storage
  • No shipping logistics are necessary
  • No customer service
  • No inventory issues with products
  • Low cost of starting.
  • It’s relatively easy to apply and find affiliate programs.
  • Unlimited income potential.
  • There are a lot of free resources about affiliate marketing.
  • Can recommend and sell both digital and physical products
  • You don’t have to worry about product inventory, or customer service, as it directly goes to the vendor/product owner.
  • Monthly recurring commissions could provide you with a stable income.
  • You only need to drive traffic
  • Get started simply by getting an affiliate link in a matter of minutes


  • Affiliate commissions can be cut at any time
  • You’re promoting another company
  • Smaller profits since you’re not the product owner
  • Difficult to manage multiple affiliate programs for bookkeeping
  • There are much false information and oversimplified statement about affiliate marketing.
  • If you’d like to take it seriously, affiliate marketing requires you to invest in proper education and guidance.
  • For several affiliate programs, the waiting time to receive your payment can take up to 60 days.
  • Driving traffic is a big challenge for an affiliate marketer.

💁Beginner? You might also read » How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Audience?

What is Print On Demand?

Print on demand is a business model in which a product typically a t-shirt is sold and an order is submitted at the purchase time to manufacture the product on demand.

The primary distinction between affiliate marketing and print on demand is that print on demand will make you to sell your product. Because your company doesn’t make the product you’re selling, the logistical side of things doesn’t have to be handled for storage and inventory.

The cool thing about print on demand is that you can make physical products with your company logo or a catchy phrase that your target audience might be interested in.

Selling physical products can help you build trust in your brand, mainly if you primarily sell digital products that aren’t tangible.

Print On Demand Pros and Cons


  • Relatively low cost of starting
  • Sell your own physical products with your own company logo and design
  • Sell your own digital products with your company logo and design
  • Sell physical products without having to manage inventory
  • No storage logistics are necessary
  • Print-on-demand has a more focused business model compared to affiliate marketing.
  • Creating a product is easy for beginners.
  • You can sell multiple products with only one design.
  • Direct payment straight to your account.
  • You don’t have to worry about warehouse, inventory, and production costs. Everything is produced based on request.


  • Shipping issues can arise
  • Customer service required
  • More time-consuming to get started than affiliate marketing
  • More upfront capital is required than affiliate marketing
  • You have no access to check your own product quality unless you order it yourself.
  • You also act as customer service for your print-on-demand business.
  • Production defects will impact your business.
  • You might need to hire a graphic designer if you don’t have design skills.
  • Promoting your product could be the next challenge.

Affiliate Marketing vs Print On Demand: Which Has A Higher Success Rate?

This completely depends on your commitment. If you can do both, why not? They will come if you build it! Both can generate long-term passive income and should be considered investments. I would start with affiliate marketing and develop your business with recurring affiliate programs so you can start with a predictable income. I’d then begin my print-on-demand businesses.

Custom Products Can Be Created Using Print On Demand services.

While many print-on-demand services may appear to be similar at first glance, you’ll need to carefully consider which ones you use based on the products you want to create, where you’ll ship them, and the retail prices you want to offer, among other things.

For instance, a low base cost for one product may seem like an obvious choice until you realize that your most affordable shipping option would take 21 days to reach customers.

When deciding on the best platform for you, exercise caution. To assist you, here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular services that cover a wide range of scenarios.

Lulu Xpress

Lulu is a self-publishing platform that allows you to print and distribute your own books and ebooks.

Lulu Xpress (Shopify app) is its print-on-demand offering, and it allows you to build your own book product by selecting from a variety of book sizes, binding types, and page/print quality.

While no built-in editor is available to design your book, Lulu Xpress does provide downloadable templates to get you started. It even has a clear pricing calculator to help you estimate the cost of your project’s cost and various shipping options.

If you want to order in bulk, there are also discounts available.


Gooten provides a diverse range of products that you can personalize, including calendars and dog beds that are unique to its catalog.

However, because Gooten prints its products through an international network of vendors, there is a lot more variation in terms of quality and shipping between its items. However, you can expect lower product and shipping prices as well.

Gooten also includes an easy-to-use image editor that gives you a good idea of how your final product will look.


Printify is another print-on-demand service that offers the standard t-shirt and hoodie selection.

Printify’s international vendor network enables a variety of unique white-label products you won’t find anywhere else, such as shoes, jewelry, clocks, and water bottles. In fact, the platform offers over 200 products for printing.

While Printify is free, a premium subscription is available for $29 per month, which gives you 20% off all products, which is a good option if you want to scale up later and improve your profit margins.

What About Affiliate Marketing On Print On Demand?

Affiliate marketing for print-on-demand allows businesses to efficiently promote a product while spending little money, doing little work, and taking low risks.

find the best affiliate programs to promote

Why should we do affiliate marketing for print-on-demand products?

Low Costing

Print on demand affiliate marketing does not necessitate creating ad graphics or purchasing ad space. Instead, you’ll have to rely on your affiliates to supply you with marketing materials. Apart from the initial work of selecting and verifying affiliates, promoting your items requires little effort from you, which is why it has become such a popular marketing method.

Once a company is comfortable dealing with an affiliate and has formed a strong bond with them, they may delegate the promotion of your service or product to them.

Long-term costs

Because affiliates handle most of your marketing, they will share a portion of the cost. You’ll also only pay affiliates based on the sales they generate because it’s a commission-based scheme.

Unlike other marketing methods, such as pay-per-click advertising, which requires you to pay for each click that leads to your website, this marketing strategy is simple to implement and does not interfere with your cash flow. In contrast, affiliate marketing for print on demand ensures that you only pay when sales are made.

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Low risk

Low risk equals low cost. Payments are only made when there is a genuine conversion, so there is little risk of loss, ideal for small businesses with limited resources.

Focused Traffic

Because you handpick your affiliates, you can ensure that the traffic to your site comes from people who are interested in your product or service. This is because affiliates who connect with your brand will certainly have others in their sphere of influence who will benefit from it.


You can increase or decrease your affiliate marketing for print on demand at little or no cost. It also allows you to grow your company without breaking the bank.

💁You might also read » find the best affiliate programs to promote


Final Thoughts

When we speak of affiliate marketing vs print on demand, they both are business models that can be successful with a relatively low initial investment.

I recommend beginning with affiliate marketing if you want to get started with no or very little initial investment. Furthermore, suppose you already have an audience through social media or another channel. In that case, affiliate marketing is a must-do to recommend products and earn money the day you join affiliate programs.

If you want to sell your own products, especially physical products, I recommend starting with print-on-demand. It’s still a very small investment to get started because physical product order fulfillment is on-demand and storage and inventory issues are non-existent.


I joined Wealthy Affiliate back in 2015 with no marketing experience whatsoever. In a couple of months, I got my own website running, driving traffic, and sales daily.

I am now self-employed and run my online affiliate business from the comfort of my home or wherever I want to.

Join now, and if you ever need help with anything, feel free to send me a message I’ll be there to guide you! So see you inside…  

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