Print On Demand (POD) is becoming one of the most popular business models for entrepreneurs interested in starting a e-commerce business (such as dropshipping).
It is a fast-growing, innovative solution that is quickly becoming one of the most financially viable options for creative entrepreneurs as anyone can start to sell customised merchandise with very low startup capital.
With Print On Demand, you don’t need to print and ship your own products. You just have to create a design, use a mockup generator and POD will handle the products inventory, printing, fulfilment and shipping for you. If you’re intending to start an online t-shirt printing e-commerce site, POD is the most feasible, if not only, turnkey solution.
So the next important question is – which Print On Demand service provider(s) should you use?
If you google “best print on demand service providers”, you see results like these :
But a true fact is, at the end, you will be literally using only one (maybe 2) of them. So instead of listing a whole list of them here, let me save you hours of online research and crystal-ball the one you’ll end up with – Printful and/or Printify. One thing’s for sure, you won’t go wrong with either one of them. And here’s why :
- They are the top 2 players in the POD market
- They offer a wide variety of products (ie. t-shirts, hats, mugs, phone cases etc.) that you can print your design on
- Both offer premium printing quality
- Both provide good integration with your e-commerce platform such as Shopify, WordPress etc.
Printful has been around since 2013 and can proudly say that it has been one of the biggest and the fastest-growing print-on-demand companies in the world.
Printful currently has five warehouses all across the US, Latvia and Mexico. Other than these 5 fulfilment centers, the companies also enter partnerships with other companies that run fulfillment centers in different locations across the globe. These include both European countries like Spain, Poland and the UK and international partners like Japan and Australia. This global network of partner facilities around the world allows our company to deliver international shipping efficiently.
Print-on-demand is a low margin business, which is why the high service fee provided by Printful could have an adverse effect on your bottom line. The advantage though, is that it has somewhat better printing quality as compared to Printify since Printful take care of the entire process from printing to shipping.
Printify’s business model is different from that of Printful’s. Unlike with Printful, which handles both manufacturing and delivery, Printify only deals in the delivery. They work with printing partners who help them to print and ship the items. This model allows Printify to establish an extensive network of fulfilment centres globally, minimising shipping time and delivery cost. On the downside, Printify is not directly involved in product printing, hence, losing a slight edge to Printful on the print quality.
In short, if you main focus is on margin, go for Printify. If print quality is your main concern, Printful will be a good choice. Like I mentioned before, you won’t be wrong going with either one of them. Nevertheless, if you insists, I’d recommend to start with Printful (as I’m more concern about print quality and consistency).
There’s one noteworthy mention though – and that’s Redbubble.
Redbubble is an online marketplace that lets artists sell their artwork as printed products like t-shirts, phone cases, home decor and more. It can also be used to sell other types of creative goods such as posters and notebooks. It provides easy to use tools for artists to upload their artwork to the site and set a price on it. A great advantage with Redbubble is that you don’t need to have your own e-commerce site – ideal for those who prefer minimal web technical hassles.
Also check out https://www.g2.com/categories/print-on-demand for more print on demand alternative solutions.