A few years ago, it seemed like every small town was home to at least one brick-and-mortar company offering print products. Now there are just a handful of companies that advertise retail printing services. While other companies provide traditional services like prototyping and printing plastics, the market for prototyping has become saturated. Many of the top Print-on-Demand companies have established themselves in some niche.
You'll need to determine the right product(s) for your print-on-demand needs. While there are thousands of print-on-demand companies in existence, they're not all created equal. Each has different strengths, weaknesses, community connections — and opportunities. Are you willing to take on the risk of locating your distribution network instead of relying on a company? Are you comfortable launching a print-on-demand clothing line in 2021 versus starting in 2018?
These days, it can take months for a print-on-demand business to gain traction. Thousands of small businesses, side hustles, bloggers, and DIY enthusiasts are eager to give the Print-on-Demand (POD) industry a try - a risky proposition for some. But how do you know which one is right for you? Here's our quick guide for those eager to get started and take their first steps toward creating their e-commerce shop — or even start one they're already running.
Before you start using any of these services, you need a print-on-demand company account. With this, you can order your printer & start printing, whether it's for small or large orders. You can also use this service to create new products. Once you create your account and order your printer, search for print-on-demand companies in your local area. Most of them will be listed on one of the websites we've listed above. Let's jump in!
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What Are Print-on-Demand Companies?
Print-on-demand is a dropshipping. All you need to do is create eye-catching designs, configure your products, and sell them online. Unlike traditional dropshipping, where you source products from multiple manufacturers and then assemble your order from there, Print-on-demand companies source the items directly from manufacturers and create the order from there — meaning you don't have to worry about sourcing orders (which can be time-consuming) or dealing with logistics such as moving warehouses from point A to point B regardless of whether you have product available in stock at any given point. You can also rest assured knowing that instead of an order that may take weeks to fill up with 5-10 different products (1 at a time).
How does Print-on-Demand Work?
With print-on-demand, your customers order your products from your online store and then receive them in the mail. Since there is no physical store, there is no packaging, and you're free to design the products however you wish, you can be as creative as you want. You don't need to worry about someone pulling down their trousers as they try on your new t-shirt or finding out who your logistics partner is since print-on-demand doesn't provide fulfillment services — you are instead responsible for everything being done through your website and your stores.
Picking the right name for your print-on-demand (POD) supplier can be difficult. Depending on the type of business, having a unique name could give your company an edge in marketing and branding. However, choosing the wrong word could also spell trouble for your business. There are many names out there—and not all of them are good options. It would help if you considered your needs, what you want to get out of your suppliers, and whether you're willing to accept any risk involved in doing so.
Print-on-Demand Products You can Create
Here are some items that most services offer a variety of print-on-demand products, such as:
- T-shirts (American Apparel, Champion Bella + Canvas, Gildan, etc.)
- Sweatpants, leggings, and joggers
- Backpacks/Tote bags
- Phone cases
- And over 200+ more
Types of Print-on-Demand Companies
There are two main types of print-on-demand companies: print-on-demand services, where you can have print-on-demand products printed at the time you need them (within specific guidelines set by the manufacturer), and print-on-demand marketplaces, where sellers upload designs that have been manufactured by a third-party printing company and then sell them for a price set by that printing company.
- Print-on-demand services
- Print-on-demand marketplaces
8 Things to Look for in Every Print-On-Demand Company
With so much uncertainty surrounding the future of manufacturing, you want to make sure your suppliers are reliable. For a supplier to be trustworthy and dependable, they must consistently deliver goods on time and with guaranteed quality. You may not even realize that the quality of a print-on-demand company is dependent on its employees — their work is only as good as the interactions between suppliers and their customers.
- Product range
- Pricing model
- Social proof
- Returns handling
- Customer service
As a clothing brand, we have been focused on expanding beyond just t-shirts to include items for babies and accessories. The most critical thing to do here is to find products that appeal to a large, broad audience: people regardless of age or gender. For example, when we first started selling swimwear, we created an item specifically designed for people going to the beach. These days, we sell different swimwear designs for other activities and climates.
POD has simplified the fulfillment process of any apparel or even just a t-shirt. Before POD, most retailers would send an exclusive t-shirt to you in 3-5 days. This involved having you physically pick out each shirt one at a time and then shipping it to you after you paid a flat rate of $30-$40 USD. With POD, you don't have to worry about paying an upfront cost for inventory--you order the shirt, and it magically comes in 3-5 days. The only money you pay upfront is for printing costs. These are typically much cheaper because they're purchased directly by the company that will manufacture the t-shirts (and pass them onto you at a profit).
One of the best ways to make your brand out from among the competition is to add personalization to your products. The World Bank states that over 46% of consumers say they would pay more if they got a product that had been specially designed for them. If you're using POD (and another 12% or so who are using just e-commerce templates), then there's even more opportunity to add personalization to your products.
If you are a new shop owner, quality products are vital to capture your customers' attention. Design and shipping costs are essential to survival, too — you can't afford to make mistakes in price or delivery time and expect to be accepted. But picking just one supplier, then building your brand around that product is a daunting task.
Once you have decided on which type of test product to order, begin the process of sourcing the required quantities from suppliers. While there is nothing wrong with collecting samples, there are some things you should bear in mind when sourcing them. Firstly, there's the fact that when you source smaller quantities, you run the risk of getting lower quality goods.
I know what you're thinking. "How can I ensure quality if I don't ever get a chance to test products on a real customer?" Well, there's a solution (or two) for you. In this post, I'll cover two of the best ways to avoid customer dissatisfaction and finally, offer some tips for getting the most out of your print-on-demand projects with a few examples of what you should expect from your chosen suppliers.
One of the first places you should look for online reviews of printing service is Google, searching for a company name and checking for reviews. This will allow you to view many of the same resources used by potential customers, and these will help you make an educated decision on whether this printing company is worth choosing for your needs. Online reviews give people a voice, and knowing how to use them is easy. Simply put, you will read some customers' reviews and take them at face value. Online reviews are powerful, and they can help you make a better buying decision. Visit your local town hall and ask people to write a review about their experience with a company. You'll see things like 10-20% of responses will be positive, and 90% of responses will be from people saying they were satisfied or thrilled with the results they got. That implies that 90% of people who saw that overall satisfaction rating didn't do business with that company in the long run.
When printing, sometimes mistakes or mistakes can happen. Over the years, we have witnessed a steady stream of positive feedback and increased volume because of these errors that we cannot control. Some of these errors are very trivial and can be overlooked, while others can impact sales and lead to large numbers of orders being returned or products that don't come out as promised. The following article will highlight the most common mistakes made by printers and how to handle them. Many inks have been spilled over company policy and procedures, but if we have learned anything through it all, nothing can substitute for customer service…especially when they're upset!
Getting into print-on-Demand means lots of intermediary channels of communication, and if you're not careful, you could end up with significant communication delays. Your customers may not be able to get access to your products or services as fast as you wanted them. Your printer might not have the recipes they need, and you need to ensure everyone is communicating with one another as efficiently as possible to keep costs down.
POD is a way for us to communicate with our customers. If you stumble upon a problem with your order, it's quicker to get in touch than if you call us. Also, with another company, you have all the channels of communication open.
Most of them don't need to be shipped by sea for most goods. That's why e-commerce stores view using POD (Point of Distribution) boxes as the most cost-effective way to distribute goods around the world—especially if you're selling goods in countries with high shipping costs. For example, if you sell $100 worth of products in Australia, it would take you three days to distribute them through this method; however, if you sell the same products in Canada. And sell them faster through a traditional shipping method. It could take five days—since time is money in shipping rates.
5 Print-on-Demand Companies (Services)
Printful is one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of custom play tees, printed t-shirts, custom hoodies, tanks, stickers, and more. They specialize in custom printing for a wide range of demand areas, including sports, music, art, politics, and more. The wholesale pricing is quite attractive, and Printful offers low flat rates per print based on weight and size. Printful offers 20% off for customers that spend $75 or more, which is excellent for people on tight budgets or any entrepreneur that wants to get your product into as many hands as possible.
Printify is a website that allows you to design and print your own t-shirts, stickers, greeting cards, invitations, stationery, and much more on-demand. What exactly does this have to do with a website about t-shirt printing? Everything! Printify is the leading provider of custom t-shirt printing services on the internet today. Depending on what you need printing on your shirt, we're able to work with your deadline in mind.
Printy6 is a Print-on-Demand (POD) site designed for Shopify stores. It offers convenient ordering procedures for products ranging in price from free for orders under $100 to $500, with discounts and offers for customers who buy multiple items. You can create custom text for your brand and offer your promos for affiliate marketers and clients with a specific need. For example, being a leading e-commerce apparel platform, Printy6 can print high-quality images on any piece of apparel.
Gelato is a global print-on-demand company with more than 100 print partners in 30 countries, delivering products to over 200 countries and territories. It also integrates with all the top online sales channels, including Shopify. Gelato also provides an extensive library of products, such as apparel, wall art, and stationery. Customers can buy directly on the platform or download an app to their smartphone to view their order at any time.
T-Pop is a print-on-demand company in Europe, with orders printed in France. This print-on-demand company focuses primarily on apparel and accessories and allows users to customize and sell 36 different products. T-Pop offers a complete white-label print-on-demand service, offering customizable packing slips and packaging. This includes t-shirts, sweaters, tanks, hats…you name it! They offer great pricing: customization prices start at 15% off, and retail prices are in the double digits.
6 Print-on-Demand Companies (Marketplace)
Redbubble is arguably as large as it gets when it comes to the design niche, and what makes it stand out from the rest is that it fabricates all of these products and sells them. You might think, "why would someone not want to sell their stuff on Redbubble" but the truth is that not everyone has the budget for printing high-quality designs and creating an online presence. Some might say that they want a chance to showcase their work, but they don't have the resources or budget for hiring a designer.
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Zazzle marketplace offers a creative outlet, opening the doors of imagination to people worldwide. This marketplace is just a few clicks away, allowing brands to reach consumers without traditional advertising channels. With Zazzle marketplace, you can quickly and easily build your brand or business name through unique products. Zazzle offers a marketplace filled with millions of unique products. This marketplace caters to the individual who wants to express themselves through their favorite brands without dealing with the hassle and effort involved in getting product samples, sourcing raw materials or ordering from a manufacturer. If you have limited resources and require top-quality products at an affordable price, then Zazzle could become your best bet. With the range of customization options available, this platform is never lacking something unique for your business.
TeeSpring is the first online store to offer customized iPhone cases with graphic designs printed on them. iPhone cases are expensive, and they don't look good if the designs aren't correct or the printing isn't crisp. TeeSpring offers a design for any iPhone case and is available in the App Store for free. Start creating as many as you want. Upload the graphic, customize the colors and sizes and price them as you wish. They'll ship your order as soon as your payment is confirmed.
TeePublic is a chic online marketplace for trendy customized home goods in creating custom products for individuals or small businesses. TeePublic artists and designers have an instinct for coming up with trendy, dramatic, and statement designs that are perfect for creating a pop-out effect in your life. It is a place where you can make an impression by being in the right place at the right time with the hottest products on the market. TeePublic takes suggestions from its customers and delivers handmade products in a customized manner that has been designed to optimize sales.
Society6 design is known worldwide for its high-quality customized products. The market leader in unique art deco posters, mugs, coffee mugs, cell phone cases, and home decor is a store that only mixes art with its products. Society6 Online Store offers a great selection of products to suit every taste in both coffee and art.
Spreadshirt is a never-ending stream of original designs, new items, and stuff you may love. Shop online for authentic handmade products, exclusive designs, cool merch, exclusive prints, unique items, apparel, printed t-shirts, stickers, mugs, iPhone cases, and much more...your taste is our taste. No matter how big or small this shop grows, we strive to make new things for you to enjoy every time you visit. Whether you are shopping for a specific product or looking for something unique, we can customize almost anything.
In my opinion, one of the hardest parts of picking a print-on-demand service is choosing the exemplary print-on-demand service. After all, many benefits claim they can bring your desired designs to life. But how do those services measure up when it comes to quality, reliability, shipping rates, and customization options? Could this company be just as good or even better than the print rental services you've grown accustomed to using? It's up to you to analyze these pricing quotes and decide based on your needs. By keeping these factors in mind when choosing a print-on-demand service, you'll be supporting local creators and cutting down on your carbon footprint while also getting the best user experience available.
LET'S GET SH*T DONE, TOGETHER!
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