With all the different print-on-demand (POD) companies competing for your business in 2022, you may feel buried under an avalanche of information and graphic tees. Sorting through and comparing the wide range of print-on-demand services found on Shopify or any eCommerce platform is daunting.
Whether you hope to make a business out of print-on-demand, want to sell merchandise to spread brand awareness, or think it’d be cool to sell your self-designed “Pfizer Gang” shirts, you must pick the print-on-demand company that’s right for you. In this article, we’ll explain print-on-demand and identify the top five print-on-demand services as of 2022.
What is Print-on-Demand?
Print-on-demand is a type of eCommerce where a third party provides printing services for white-label products like T-shirts, tote bags and art prints for you to sell online.
Most print-on-demand companies charge on a per-order basis, which means you don’t have an upfront cost. This model allows eCommerce platform users to set up an online clothing store with minimal inventory and overhead.
When integrated with online marketplaces, the POD fulfillment company receives order information and shipping addresses to handle the order fulfillment, so you can run the entire clothing operation without touching the physical product yourself.
Print-on-demand services give you extra flexibility to create any kind of merchandise you want, so it has a lot of uses. Here are some example use cases for print-on-demand stores:
- Test new products and business ideas: You can use print-on-demand to test a new business idea or product line without spending a lot of money buying inventory.
- Create merchandise for an established audience: Content creators or independent artists can create print-on-demand products and ship them easily without spending too much time on order fulfillment.
- Launch niche products: You can use the small-scale nature of print-on-demand services to make custom-designed products for niche hobbies like scale modeling or competitive duck herding.
Pros and Cons of Print-on-Demand Fulfillment Services
Working with print-on-demand companies lets you build an online business where a third party handles production and delivery. These partnerships are a popular way to start online businesses because you don’t need to create or store print-on-demand products.
It pays to understand the pros and cons of working with print-on-demand services before starting your business. Here are the benefits of partnering up with print-on-demand companies:
- Fast production times: As long as you have a custom design, you can have products put on sale and shipped out within several business days.
- Third-party shipping and deliveries: The print provider handles all shipping and deliveries, so you don’t have to handle print-on-demand products.
- Low barrier to entry: You don’t have to spend as much money to start the business because you don’t have to buy supplies and printing machines.
You also need to watch out for these risks when working with print-on-demand stores:
- Lower profit margins: Your upfront cost per item with print-on-demand companies tends to be higher because you’re purchasing individual products, not bulk.
- Less control of shipping: The printing company has complete control over order fulfillment, which makes offering benefits like free shipping difficult.
- Limited selection of products: Some print-on-demand vendors may have a limited selection of white-label products to customize.
How to Find the Best Print-on-Demand Companies
Finding the right company helps your print-on-demand business thrive, but how do you find them? Here are three considerations when choosing a print-on-demand business to partner with:
Finding print-on-demand businesses with the best product prices is essential. In this context, “the best” doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. In most cases, it pays to spend a little extra on production to get high-quality products.
You also need to choose the right pricing model for print-on-demand services. Print companies either charge a monthly subscription fee or take a cut of your final sale price. Don’t ignore this cost because it influences your profits.
Shipping and Order Fulfillment Costs
Depending on your client base, you may need to offer worldwide shipping. Choose a printing partner that offers reliable shipping and delivery options so you can fulfill orders on time. People expect their orders to arrive as soon as possible, so check whether your prospective partner has fast delivery options like two-day shipping.
Product Offerings and Print Quality
Choose a print-on-demand store that offers a wide range of products that fulfill needs. Some online stores may be fine with offering T-shirts, art prints and mugs, but others need to sell custom-printed notebooks and hats.
A broad range of products is nothing without high-quality results. Before settling on a POD site, order some samples so you can physically examine the quality of your POD products.
List of Top 5 Best Print-on-Demand Sites in 2022
Now that you know what to look for in the best print-on-demand companies, it’s time to choose one. Here are five of the best print-on-demand sites on the market today:
Gooten is one of the industry’s most popular print-on-demand services. This white-label printing specialist offers all types and styles of products for your online store and brick-and-mortar locations.
Gooten also makes it easy to design products and add them directly to an already-existing online store. This POD provider’s interface is now more straightforward and much easier to use regardless of your level of tech expertise. So when a customer places an order on the web, it will move through Gooten for printing and packing, then ship directly to the customer without any work on your behalf.
Part of what makes Gooten unique is that it provides global shipping for all products. Gooten partners with numerous print businesses, so there is no cap on the total number of orders. In terms of print quality and additional cost, Gooten’s offers high product quality yet is not as affordable as Printify.
Gooten directly connects to many eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce and Etsy.
Printful is one of the major players in the print-on-demand industry. While it’s not quite at the top, Printful is slowly progressing to take that spot from Printify.
Printful acts as the backend of your online marketplace, which handles the entire printing, packaging and shipping process. You can submit orders to Printful manually via its website or use an integrated order form from your online storefront.
This print-on-demand site boasts excellent printing results and a large selection of high-quality products like clothing, mugs, art prints and dinnerware. However, this high quality and wide range of options come with a higher base price tag than most companies.
While somewhat pricier than other companies, Printful boasts order integrations with major eCommerce platforms like Squarespace, Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, eBay and WooCommerce, with more platforms to be added in the future.
CustomCat is a popular print-on-demand business that ships within a couple of business days. It offers a broad range of printing methods for your merchandise, like direct-to-garment, three-dimensional dye infusion and sublimation.
CustomCat boasts a large catalog of print-on-demand products for businesses and individuals. It also offers quick integrations with major eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce.
CustomCat offers a more reasonable price tag than other POD sites like Printful. However, CustomCat doesn’t offer worldwide shipping, and it also doesn’t provide customizable product packaging.
Teelaunch is a Shopify partner that lets you take print-on-demand orders through your online store. It also boasts many unique items other POD services don’t offer, like basketballs and Apple Watch bands.
Teelaunch offers multiple options for your customizable products like direct-to-garment printing, laser etching and cut-and-sew. This print provider delivers within four to five business days and provides a manual order tool if you want to sell printed products in person.
While Teelaunch’s prices aren’t the cheapest, it’s still more affordable than Printful and some of its competitors. In addition to native Shopify support, it also offers integrations with your Etsy store.
Printify is a POD service vendor network, which means it provides digital printing through its many global partners. Depending on Printify’s POD provider selection, your shipping costs and production time may vary.
In terms of printing options, Printify provides cut-and-sew, sublimation, direct-to-garment printing and any option you can think of through their network. With Printify’s monthly premium plan, you also get an additional 20% off your order.
Printify especially excels in its flexibility and speed. Its wide network of vendors and suppliers means you can deliver a broad range of products anywhere in the world.
Print-on-Demand Companies FAQs
Which print-on-demand company is best?
The best print-on-demand company depends on your needs and budget. Review what you need from a print-on-demand store and choose one that can fulfill those requirements.
Is Printful free to use?
Printful offers free setup without additional costs. You’ll only be charged when you start producing and shipping merchandise.
Which is better, dropshipping or print-on-demand?
Both dropshipping and print-on-demand are profitable businesses if you know what you’re doing. POD businesses are better if you want to sell custom products, but dropshipping lets you reach a larger market because you can sell any kind of product.
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