Several months ago, we rolled out some major updates to our Print-On-Demand service that are extremely unique and so we wanted to take a moment to explain the awesomeness.
Let’s first define what we mean by “Print-On-Demand.”
Print-On-Demand means that a designated company will print and ship your art print orders as they come in.
This is a very convenient service for artists and photographers who do not own their own printers and cannot make their own prints.
While a service like this is great, it also comes with some complications. How and when will the artist gets paid? What if an artist sells original paintings, or sells other items that have nothing to do with print-on-demand?
Art Storefronts partners with a select group of fine art printing companies and photo labs to perform this service, and we are constantly adding more to provide more choices and more options to our customers.
Our partner print studios are held to very demanding standards. They are required to:
- Be experts at processing orders through the ASF software
- Use archival-quality inks
- Use archival-quality media
- Have a proven record of handling and shipping high volume orders
- Offer excellent customer service
These requirements, among others, ensure that our selected partners are top notch, reliable choices for our artists and photographers to work with.
Don’t need a print studio for fulfillment?
No problem. For our customers who want to print and ship their own orders, we offer the “self-fulfillment” option.
This option also allows artists to maintain an existing relationship with a print studio that is not on our list of partners. While this option is working for many people, it does lack many of the benefits of the Print-On-Demand service.
Benefits such as…
1. You Get Paid Immediately
The big issue that typically comes up with Print-on-Demand is how everyone gets paid, and more specifically, when they get paid.
First, you have a printing company who needs to get paid for the actual hard costs they incur to print and ship an order.
Second, you have the artist or photographer who needs to get paid the remainder (i.e. the amount they “marked up” the print over their costs).
Every Print-On-Demand service we know of allows only the printing company to get paid immediately, forcing the artist to wait a period of time, which can range from 30-90 days. Many also require that the artist earn a minimum markup amount of say $50 before they can get paid.
This is one aspect where Art Storefronts’ Print-on-Demand service is differentiated.
Our artists and photographers get paid immediately. By immediately, we mean the second the order comes in.
You get to connect your own merchant account with your Art Storefronts account (our team will help you do this), and as payments come in from your customers, the full amount of every sale goes immediately into your account.
This also means you have a clean transaction between you and your customer, which is not only great from an accounting standpoint, but it also means that if you need to refund something (or provide a partial refund), you just can.
2. You Don’t Jump Through Any Hoops
Instead, you are in full control.
If the artist gets paid all of the funds, I bet you are now wondering, “how does the printing company get paid?”
This is where it gets even better. As soon as you receive an order, your credit card on file with Art Storefronts will get charged the cost of the print order. These funds will go directly to the print studio, immediately.
You will have a separate invoice detailing the costs of this order, all nicely organized in your account, linked to the original order from your customer.
So not only do you have a clean transaction between you and your customer (as mentioned previously), you also have a clean transaction between you and the printing company.
This ability for everyone to get paid immediately is special technology that Art Storefronts developed so that everyone can win.
3. You Can Sell and Ship Your Own Items
Another great aspect of our Print-on-Demand capabilities, is that we allow you to also sell your own items alongside your prints, and we allow you to ship these items yourself.
So, let’s say you’re an artist and you sell original paintings as well as prints. Or sculptures. Or jewelry. Or, let’s say you’re a photographer and you sell t-shirts or coasters. It doesn’t matter what you sell – you can sell anything.
Usually, the ability to “sell whatever you want” would not be possible with a print-on-demand service. You have to sell only what they offer.
The reason for this is because there are all sorts of complications that can occur if you were allowed to do this. Not only in terms of how everyone would get paid, but also how each party would charge for shipping and taxes.
For example, let’s say you’re an artist and you receive an order that includes an original painting for $2,000 as well as a print for $300. Can you imagine how upsetting it would be that the printing company received $2,300 and you received nothing and had to wait 30-90 days to receive your money? In addition, how would you charge the appropriate shipping and sales tax amounts for the original painting?
Ugh. This is a nasty situation and easy to understand why the majority of Print-on-Demand services only allow you to sell what they offer.
This is not the case with Art Storefronts. We already mentioned that we allow you to sell anything you want. But here’s where the magic happens.
We actually allow you to set up your own shipping methods, and your own taxes, so that you can charge exactly what you need to on a given order.
And, similar to how Amazon.com does it, we will split your shopping carts into separate “shipments” by vendor.
For each “shipment”, your customer will be able to choose the appropriate shipping method. The shipping methods offered by you will be visible on the shipment you are fulfilling.
The shipping methods offered by the printing company will be visible on the shipment they are fulfilling.
Even further, you, as well as the printing company, will be able to notify the customer on the progress of each shipment. This ensures that your customer receives the absolute best experience possible as they have multiple packages coming in.
Wrapping It All Up
At this point, it makes sense to circle back for a moment to the topic of how everyone gets paid and why the specific way we set it up is so important.
Because, regardless of whether the order contains items that you are shipping or not — nothing changes.
You still receive your money immediately, and the printing company receives their money immediately.
Each party has a clean order sheet so that everything regarding the transaction is crystal clear – a benefit to all parties involved from the buyer, to the artist/photographer, to the fulfillment company.
This robust technology is the future of selling art online, and it’s available today on Art Storefronts.