Online Printer vs Local Print Shops

Online Printer vs Local Print Shops

Read Time: 4 Minutes


07 Feb 2023

Online printing services have become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to the convenience and cost savings they offer. But what exactly are the pros of using an online printing service compared to a local print shop? In this blog post, we'll take a look at both options and weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of each and when you might choose one method over another depending on your business’s needs.


Pros of Local Print Shops:

  1. Personalised service

Local print shops typically have a knowledgeable staff who can help you with your printing needs. They can offer recommendations and answer any questions you may have about your project. If you’re looking for a more personalised print service catered towards your business online, you may wish to set up a free business account with an online printer. Account managers can then provide you with tailored advice for printed products as well as offer more bespoke printing options,

  1. Faster turnaround times

Local print shops are typically able to complete your project faster than an online printing service, as they don't have to worry about shipping times. However, for larger jobs, they may need to outsource their work to a larger manufacturer which can add time to your order. For small, quick print jobs, local print shops are a great option – especially as you can pick your order up directly from the shop!

  1. Better quality control

Local print shops are able to closely monitor the printing process, which can help ensure that your project comes out looking great. Here at instantprint, we’ve emulated this process by including a manual artwork check for every order as standard. When you send your artwork to us to print, our Studio team checks it for these 10 key things to make sure you get the perfect print finish every time.

  1. Customisation options

Local print shops often offer a wider range of customization options, such as special paper stocks or unique finishes. Many online printers (like us) do offer a specialist range of stocks, but if there’s something you need that you can’t find online, be sure to give our account managers a call and we’ll be happy to look in to ordering something in especially for you.


Pros of Online Printing Services:

  1. Lower prices

Print marketing is often hailed as one of the most cost-effective marketing tactics, and online printing services are typically less expensive than local print shops. Commercial printers are usually better equipped to handle large quantities and complex items, and the investments into big commercial machinery are passed on to the customer in time and final print price.

  1. Wider selection

Online printing services typically offer a wider range of products than local print shops. This is because they normally have the capacity to store a wide range of stocks and finishes in their factory. They also have more capacity to launch new products if there’s a particular demand from customers.

  1. Convenience

Online printing services can be accessed from anywhere at any time, making it easy to place your order. You can also place your order while there’s a deal or discount available, then upload your artwork later if you haven’t created it yet, meaning you can save money on your print. Setting up an online account also means you can track orders and reorder anything that’s stored in your purchase history at the touch of the button. Many online printers also offer a design online tool where you can customise templates online for a variety of products, which can make all the difference for novice designers.

  1. More options for shipping or delivery

Online printing means you can get your print orders delivered to any address. You can even use a multi-address delivery order service to split an order between addresses. As with most ecommerce retailers, you’ll also have more delivery options – including weekend delivery that’s normally charged at an additional fee. This can make it more convenient for larger businesses as well as freelancers who need their print order to arrive on a specific day.



In conclusion, while local print shops offer personalized service and faster turnaround times, online printing services are generally more cost-effective and offer more convenience, wider selection, and shipping options. Additionally, the online printing service is a better option for those who are looking to print a large number of items, as it can be more cost-effective. In the end, the decision between a local print shop and an online printing service will come down to what's most important to you and your business’s needs.


About the Author

Hi, I’m Ally and I’m instantprint’s PR Lead. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.