Print On Demand Is an Eco-Friendly Business Model That Reduces Damaging Effect On The Environment - True or False?
8 mins 28 secs read
It is typical for young companies to have high levels of growth in the first few years and then stabilize. So that this does not become an unfortunate inevitability, you should settle conversions. This is possible by having a long-term conceptual plan that solves the fashion industry's problem in the context of the climate. We will tell you why eco is becoming important today and how profitable this direction is in this article.
The clothing industry thrives on the fast fashion model - it was perpetuated in the early 90s when prices became affordable to the commoner and consumption increased dramatically. At the same time, not much attention was paid to the environmentally friendly companies as everyone lived at the moment - people finally had the opportunity to buy anything they wanted without spending their entire salary and getting into loans. Yes, the price was an advantage then. Soon everything changed, and fashion transformed into something bright, different, and standing out in the crowd that became mainstream. As industry developed, natural resources were exhausted, the labor market changed, and political directions began to follow the trend of going green. According to the British Fashion Council, reducing the impact of fast fashion can reduce the production of new clothes. For example, about 4 billion physical units of clothing were purchased in the UK in 2019. It turns out that there are about 60 new things a year for every inhabitant of the country! That's a considerable number, especially considering that some of this stuff won't be recycled. So, we decided to explain why you should complement your business model with an environmental strategy by describing values in a company blog and on the online store pages.
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Demands of Gen Z make companies change rules
We remember how millennials once conquered the fashion podiums with fresh ideas and ultra-modern looks. But now that role has been taken over by members of Generation Z. Living in the avant-garde events, digital technology, and fast trends; these young people have established new business rules that make them an ideal target audience and, at the same time, a technically challenging barrier to entry for entrepreneurs.
And while millennials, from an early age, absorbed television advertising, seeing it as something artificially imposed and depressing, Gen Z saw all kinds of marketing campaigns from smartphones or computers as helpful and something to be questioned. The latter tendency is to look for more information, value transparency, and honesty. The main reason for such a pedantic attitude to shopping is the difficult time we have to live and develop - the global economic crisis, changes in the political system, several pandemics over twenty years, and climate change do not allow them to remain indifferent and frivolous. Hence, the shift from big businesses to supporting small and medium-sized ones, the emergence and widespread use of eCommerce, unconditional support for a green planet, changes in family structure, and gender diversity. Now, each Zoomer seeks a balance with the world and the Earth: they choose sustainability by reducing their carbon footprint, preventing hazardous substances from entering the groundwater, recycling, anti-slavery, banning child labor, etc. And that's how they do it.
To please today’s teens, you need to become at least one of the popular environmentally friendly brands and carry such values as community, authenticity, and transparency to the masses. These are the three pillars of Gen Z marketing.
So, diversity and scalability will be strategically correct in a world where every generation is guided by its moral compass. If you have expanded your audience to twenty-something boys and girls, remember one thing: the more personalized marketing you deliver, the more likely it will work.
One of the important features of POD businesses is that with most retail giants (such as Amazon or Etsy), it is difficult to compete, especially on prices, speed of delivery, technologies, and variety of goods. Instead, you can do things differently: create a value proposition that accommodates authenticity, attractiveness, and moral qualities. And while the first two aspects are achievable with a professional team, the integrity of principles is like a fragile crystal that can shatter into a thousand little pieces because of a slight misstep. If we talk about sustainability companies, it's more about the greenwashing trap: knowing that most Gen Z consumers appreciate sustainability more than any other generation before them, some entrepreneurs may choose the wrong way of doing business. They veiledly lie about their products being environmentally friendly. For instance, on the packages of shower gel, you can see the inscription that the product contains 90% natural compounds. But remembering the chemistry, it is easy to understand that this cosmetic is 90% water, and the remaining 10% is a storehouse of chemical elements. Greenwashing can take many forms, from makeup products labeled "clean" to a T-shirt tag having "conscious" written on it in a minimalist font. But remember: the truth will always be on the side of the honest consumer, and any lie will sooner or later be exposed.
The print on demand business allows you to minimize the environmental impact because it involves dropshipping. This business model does not need a warehouse or a workshop to make products. POD commercialization involves manufacturing and shipping by your partner - or rather supplier. And you can use white label products without worrying about copyright issues. With the abundance of designs, materials, fabrics, and styles, users can choose what they came for - unique things imbued with the spirit of the time, passion, novelty, and opportunities. Of course, how to create and manage such products is another matter.
We've talked about a software called PodZa, a platform that coordinates all the POD business processes, from communicating with the supplier and making things to marketing practices. It integrates easily into your Shopify store and leaves you more time for other work, taking the routine and monotonous activities.
But there is another unique framework used for the dropshipping model called DropZa. By structuring tasks, you can simplify the management of direct deliveries, and the need to control order data automatically disappears. Interestingly, DropZa expands dropshipping product imports and exports, adjusts the discount system, and generates invoices and owner location-based VAT charges. If you are not good at accounting, you will like this tool: it has unique functionality for calculating profits. However, you can decide which unique integration your framework requires (of course, it will largely depend on the niche of your business), and a professional team of Multi-Programming Solutions developers will create them.
How to detect the POD company that follows eco-friendly rules?
In our articles, we have repeatedly mentioned ESG approaches, fundamentally changing the strategy of selling and attracting customers. They are based on environmental, social, and corporate governance and constitute an assessment of the company's integrity and a criterion for determining the investment potential.
Several essential features characterize an eco brand that follows the principles of ESG. So, they are accredited - for example, Certified B Corporation, UNSDG, UNPRI, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Stonewall, and Investors in People that meet high transparency, accountability, and performance standards. In addition, sustainable companies pay attention to slavery, child labor, below subsistence poverty, living conditions in environmental disaster areas, etc. Many entrepreneurs often create charitable organizations to create unity around a good cause. Today, a few names are on everyone's lips: Fashion Revolution, Textile Exchange, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Environmental Justice Foundation. They all aim to introduce more sustainable and ethical values into fashion.
Print on demand companies that are environmentally friendly must also have significant social interaction, performance, and commitment to the environment, employees, and consumers. Glassdoor or LinkedIn will only confirm ESG implementation and warn greenwashing.
An entrepreneur must set a more global goal to become a role model for the industry and show that sustainability is essential. Its internal disposition is best illustrated by its desire for transparency - that is, to disclose all information about materials and production, create an open type of corporate culture, and show the financial viability of the products being promoted.
A company's mission and purpose also indicate how dedicated it is to sustainability: understanding the whys and hows behind a company demonstrates its dedication to sustainability. So the user interested in these products will always pay attention to the About Us page. While sowing the seed of truth without embellishment, the brand will be able to gain loyalty and trust in the eyes of consumers.
Fairtrade has also become a fundamental ESG: this status must comply with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards. For example, it is common practice to pay employees extra money from the budget for making decisions democratically.
Other aspects that define eco print on demand are ethics and safety. We've talked about them before, but we won't deny ourselves the pleasure of repeating it: conduct your exhaustive study of company values. For example, if you want to know if a brand tests its products on animals or buys them through unethical suppliers - according to Cruelty-Free Kitty, you have every right to find out.
How print on demand helps the environment?
Looking through the feeds on Quora and social networks, we found that many customers and entrepreneurs refer to print on demand as one of the sustainable business ideas. The dropshipping model involves less need for recycling than, say, the same Karl Lagerfeld merchandise. And here's why: POD clothing is usually made to order, which eliminates the downtime of unclaimed items, frees up storage space, and reduces the need to build new facilities. In addition, the excess goods produced by retail giants are typically thrown away or incinerated, which is incredibly damaging to the environment. In POD, on the other hand, we are dealing with eCommerce, where the product goes hand in hand with the purchase in the digital store while avoiding textile waste.
The dropshipping model itself and the fashion industry today are tied to the trend of environmental friendliness: consumers produce more companies helping the environment. An excellent example of such a brand is Bella + Canvas - they use solar energy, limit water use, and recycle to create eco-friendly clothing.
Much depends on production capacity - printers and biodegradable inks produce little wastewater, have no toxic substances, are safe and energy-efficient, and significantly reduce planet Earth's carbon footprint. In addition, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing is more sustainable than older apparel printing methods - by the way, we wrote a long article about this, where we explain why such equipment is environmentally friendly.
It is impossible not to remember the production location - in a place of environmental disasters and without proper protection, anyone can become terminally ill. Why would you risk your own life and condemn it to torment? What about decent wages for workers or working conditions?
Eco-friendliness also means recycling - paper, plastic, batteries, and fabric can all get a second life if you apply modern recycling technologies. Of course, they may seem expensive, but this strategy saves many times more money than working on the traditional model.
Pay special attention to retail - it's a top alternative to mass production. Old collections can bring in as much money as new ones - the main thing is to apply the right sales strategy.
While there are still problems that need to be solved, print on demand is gradually becoming a less wasteful and more sustainable alternative to the traditional mass production and sales model. Eco-conscious consumers are hungry for new ESG approaches - we described in this article what they are and why a company should reaffirm its views on sustainability.
If reading this article does not convince you that the world needs sustainability - describe your thoughts in the comments. Meanwhile, we are creating better dropshipping solutions by making this process more environmentally friendly.