If you’re like me, you’ve been interested in print-on-demand lately. Today, I would like to give you my feedback about Printful, one of those printing services.
Print on Demand is a bit like dropshipping, in the sense that you completely delegate stock management in order to reduce costs in the first place.
It’s very advantageous, but what’s more with print on demand is that you are free to create your own branding, your own brand.
Like dropshipping, a large part is delegated to the supplier. In the case of print-on-demand, it is a machine that takes care of printing the patterns.
The new trendy way of selling
We see it more and more, everything that simplifies the sale is put forward. The technologies are so developed that you can now fully manage an online store, without ever seeing the inside of a warehouse!
So you can imagine the possibilities of a business model that allows you to create a brand in a few clicks with a potentially very low initial investment.
Influencers, youtubers and other famous people on the net are all getting into it…
And if they do, why not you?
What do you need concretely? A store, an audience and products to sell, that’s all.
And that’s good because I’m interested in it too. So I tried to set up a POD store from A to Z using Printful. Want to know more about it? Read more!
Create your store in a few minutes
I will say without hesitation that creating an online store is very simple today. This field is widely developed to offer solutions that are easy to take in hand.
I would say that you basically have two choices to set up an ecommerce in a few minutes and start selling your POD products:
- Choose between a marketplace
- Or a hosted store
Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see it in detail.
A marketplace is simply a site where thousands, millions of products are referenced. Just like Amazon or eBay, except that there are only dedicated to printed products.
Here is the non-exhaustive list…
The first advantage that comes to mind: no need to set up a site, just create an account, export your designs and it’s ready to sell.
The disadvantage, however, is the lack of customization. Creating a brand in a marketplace is feasible, but not the best. Besides, there are a lot of products, you have to know how to differentiate yourself.
Thanks to all-in-one platforms, it is possible to build a fully customized and highly functional store in just a few minutes.
There are Shopify – very well known but with a monthly subscription – and WooCommerce which is more free, but also more complicated to handle.
The advantage of a hosted store compared to a marketplace is that you have your own store window, you are free to present the products in the way you want.
The only drawback I see is that you have to configure everything: the shop window, the payment system, the hosting… For some entrepreneurs it’s a daunting problem.
What is Printful?
If you want to know more about Printful, it’s good to know that this site can connect to both platforms. I won’t explain how in this article, because it’s really simple.
We’ll see how to integrate great designs, use the print tool and generate mockups. I will also show you a product I ordered with a 3D embroidery print so you can get an idea of the real result.
You will soon discover all the possibilities Printful has to offer!
The good thing about Printful’s interface is that it is user-friendly. There are a lot of menus, so I’m going to get to the basics of what you need to know as a salesperson.
You can see the pages on the left, a search bar and a button on the top. An interesting thing – that you don’t see on the screen – are the Printful Challenges.
It’s a succession of objectives to reach (create a store, create a product, make 10 sales, etc.) and by reaching them, you unlock points for promotional codes.
At the bottom you will find different marketing tips and guides more or less useful, depending on your knowledge in this field.
This page is important if you want to start a store and sell with Printful. It is where you will see the status of orders, price, shipping number for tracking, etc.
It’s very detailed and you can see the progress of the process almost in real time. For example, I ordered a hat with my logo on it:
Right after my order, there was a problem with the design, they offered me another one because the one I submitted was not correct.
I validated the modification and the printing process resumed automatically. For your compatibility, you even have access to invoices and delivery notes.
It’s very well done, nothing else to say about it!
One of the tabs that will interest you is the one about stock management. It’s similar to dropshipping, i.e. you don’t manage the storage.
On the other hand, if you have a flagship product you can reduce delivery times by stocking it through Printful’s warehouse service.
I confess that I didn’t use it, but the process seems rather simple. You just have to fill in a product and if it is validated, the stock will be made according to your needs.
One of the advantages to this is to store products in Europe and enjoy same day shipping. All of this, in an automated way!
It is very similar to the Fulfillment Center with standard commerical products that come from China most of the time.
How do I create a product with Printful?
There are many other things, but we’re getting to the point. I’m going to show you concretely how I created my design and how I validated it to make a cap.
It’s almost winter and I still don’t have any!
To create a personalized product, just go to Product Templates:
You can see that I had fun, I made several products… t-shirt hats… with custom mockups.
When you want to create a product, you have the choice between several types: clothing, cap, accessory, decoration, it’s really the best!
Let’s start with the creation of a t-shirt with my logo. It’s classic and it sells all year round.
There are several qualities of t-shirt, a good twenty. The prices vary from simple to double:
I will choose the first one because it is 100% cotton with side seams (cleaner I find) and above all, it is unisex.
You will find yourself on the creation interface:
A lot of things to say. First we can choose two rendering techniques (not available on all tee shirts):
- Printing (DTG): This technique prints the design directly onto the fabric. The advantage is to have a good luminosity of the design with faithful colors.
- Embroidery: This technique offers a relief rendering only available on a small surface. A logo or a slogan is more suitable, but it is very nice.
Then, you choose the starting color of your t-shirt. With this cotton model, there is a lot of choice, but sometimes it is limited to black or white.
To choose the pattern to print, you can either import your own, add text or small icons. Premium images are paying, 0.85€ more to print on the t-shirt.
On the other hand, not sure it’s really beautiful…
… you know what I mean!
To use an example, I’m going to choose an embroidery print – in 3D therefore – with the logo of my site.
I only have the choice to position it on the left chest or the center, contrary to the DTG print which is much freer. I’m looking for something simple that suits me:
The choice of colors is not entirely free. I can choose between 14 colors, but that’s already enough to create nice patterns.
I decrease the size a little and validate. To add the product to the store it’s also very simple and Printful proposes the integration of mock-ups. That is to say real images where your logo appears.
This little trick that doesn’t cost anything at all with Printful allows you to enhance your product and increase conversion:
Usually you have to use mockup generators that are either paid for or not very convenient to use. Here it’s automatic and it looks very professional!
How to create a WooCommerce store?
A WooCommerce store allows you to have a hand on all aspects of your store from design to marketing choices.
You can always use marketplaces and sell your products on Amazon at the same time…
In a big afternoon of work, you can already start to create some products and integrate them on WooCommerce in an optimal and professional way.
This is the homepage of a POD store. It cost me almost nothing, just the purchase of the Metro theme for 29$.
Afterwards, thanks to ads on the Google Ads network, Facebook or even Pinterest, it is easy to make sales. The trick is to stay profitable. Working on your SEO is also a good opportunity.
All this is also valid for Shopify of course!
How to place a first test order?
One of the major rules for any e-commerce store you are going to set up is to test the products before selling them.
If only to get a total overview of the quality of the product and the conformity with what was displayed on the screen when the order was placed.
This simple step, very often neglected due to lack of budget or will, is essential. Selling products you have never seen before is risky for your reputation and customer service.
Printful allows you to place sample orders to receive your products and validate them before putting them on display.
Samples have a 20% discount, but this is limited to 3 products per month.
Testing a Printful order
I was telling you about it just before, I ordered a black hat for next winter. I created it with Printful and I took advantage of the sample order to get it at a reduced price.
The design is acrylic and hypoallergenic. This makes it a soft and supple cap. On the other hand it must be washed by hand, it is not machine washable.
On the left is the mock-up generated by Printful and on the right, the product I received and use:
What is immediately obvious:
- The fold is much larger on the model.
- The logo is less visible, it is slightly embedded in the fabric, so that the black hairs pass over it.
- The embroidery is of quality.
- The seams correspond to the model.
The fabric is of good quality and the hat is comfortable to wear. If I had to change something, I would make the logo thicker so that it would be more visible.
I would have liked a bigger fold, but that’s okay. In any case, the mock-up tries to embellish the product as much as possible. You just have to avoid that the difference is too big.
Printful, the ultimate print service?
There are many other products such as hoodies, caps, pants, accessories and even decorative items to customize.
Printful’s advantage over other print-on-demand providers lies in its ability to manage everything from creation and development to sales and shipping.
The model generator is a real plus, we don’t have to pay a subscription to Placeit.
Same for storage, we can store our products without going through an external service that requires a minimum of orders to be fully validated.
Try Printful now and build yourself a t-shirt empire. After all, it’s a business like any other, right? 🙂