If you are looking to open your own print-on-demand business but don't know where to start, you've come to the perfect place! In this short guide, we will explain which are the most used Print-On-Demand (POD) companies and help you choose the right one to launch your business.
Selling products with your own designs is easier than ever before 😊 thanks to Print-On-Demand services you can have your own e-commerce store up and running in no time!
So, before we get started: What do the companies that offer print-on-demand services do? Basically, what they do is store a wide range of white label products (for example t-shirts, mugs, pictures, bags, or any product that can be customized!) and then they will fulfill the orders that you sell, by printing your personalized designs on the corresponding products and delivering them to your customers.
Yes, you are reading right 😉 the only thing you have to do is build your eCommerce store and add your designs into the different products you want to sell, depending on your market and target audience (and of course, the range of products that the POD company has to offer).
Once you have your products published on your page, your job will be to attract customers to make the purchase and offer customer service. The printing of the product, packaging, and shipment to the client is done by the POD company. Amazing, right? 😎
But like everything in life, there are many options in the market and we must choose one.. but which one is the most appropriate for your business?
First of all, you should know there are 2 types of POD companies, which are POD services and POD marketplaces:
With POD services, you can have your own website and sell your products directly in your store.
With POD marketplaces, you sell your products on the POD marketplace, with your own designs, but alongside other sellers.
Let's see the pros and cons of the companies that today are the most competitive in the market.
PRINTFUL (POD Service)
One of the top POD companies today, you probably have seen their logo many times.
It integrates will all major platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, Etsy, eBay, and many more!
Fast delivery (shipping between 2-5 business days!)
Wide range of products (more than 200!)
Wide range of printing options.
Let you use your own branding.
Excellent customer support.
Not all products are available everywhere (check your country!)
PRINTIFY (POD Service)
Another top POD company. It also integrates with many platforms, not as many as Printful but you will find the bigger players: Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, eBay.
Wide range of products (more than 300!)
Largest global print network (over 90 locations!)
Competitive item pricing, they charge a small fee but businesses owners set their product prices.
Easy to use.
Their customer support is not top-notch.
Limited branding options.
CUSTOMCAT (POD Service)
CustomCat is a US company, recognized by its large merchandise catalog.
A great option if you’re looking for unique POD products.
Fast delivery in the US (2-3 business days!)
Warehouse only in the US, so the delivery times for other countries are long.
Few printings option.
Few integration options (Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Etsy).
TEECHIP (POD Marketplace)
TeeChip is a POD marketplace, which means that you don’t need to have your own website to send the orders to the POD service to fulfill them. Instead, you publish the products you want to sell directly into TeeChip’s platform. Like the Facebook Marketplace.
This means that your products will be displayed alongside your competitors' products and you’ll probably compete for original designs and pricing.
Good range of products, but mostly apparel.
Easy sign-up process.
You can set up your own prices.
Long shipping times.
Difficult to build a brand.
TEEZILY (POD Marketplace)
Another POD marketplace, very similar to TeeChip.
Easy sign-up process.
They launched “Teezly Plus” which is a POD service like Printful. It can only be integrated with Shopify for now.
Average range of products.
Difficult to build a brand.
TEESPRING (POD Marketplace)
Another POD marketplace, is very similar to TeeChip and Teezily.
Good range of products.
Easy sign-up process.
One of the few platforms that integrate with the YouTube Merch Shelf. It also integrates with Facebook and Google Shopping.
Customer support complaints.
Now that you know the pros and cons of the POD companies, let's finish by pointing out important things you need to consider at the time of making your decision:
This is one of the key points since it is useless to launch your business and strive to have the most beautiful designs in the world if the product has poor quality and will fall apart in a few days.
Pay attention, not only the quality of the product itself is important, but also the quality of the printing. Doing a little market research and being able to test the products by yourself first would be ideal.
Cost and profit:
Product costs and profit margins are undoubtedly important points to consider. You don’t want to build a business that is not profitable, or whose margin is simply too low to justify all the work. It is important that you verify the different plans offered by each company, how the prices are established if there are commissions or taxes to apply, and more. Plan your costs carefully in advance so you don't get any surprises halfway through it.
Delivery times also play an important role, as people today expect their products to arrive as soon as possible. Nobody wants to wait 15 days to receive their purchase. Although the quality of the products is still the priority (and probably people will wait longer if the product justifies it) a reasonable delivery time should not exceed one week.
This point seems easy; I simply have to choose a POD company that integrates with the eCommerce platform I use. Well, try to think ahead, what is your goal? Do you plan to expand your business? Maybe selling through different channels and platforms? Not only does where you are today matter, but also you may want to consider growth possibilities.
As we said before, with POD companies you can sell products with your own brand and designs. But why not go the extra mile? You can also add personalization to those designs. Not only you can differentiate from the competition by creating astonishing designs, but also by letting the customers personalize over them to create truly unique products! This will also help you have better margins because customized products are more valuable for customers!
The are many product personalization apps that integrate with POD companies and make personalization super easy to configure. One of them is Customily, a powerful product personalizer that lets your customers create their own products while seeing a live preview of them before buying. Not only that, once the purchase is done, a production file (ready to print, engrave, or laser cut) is sent directly to the POD service for them to fulfill the order.
And guess what? You can use Customily with any of the POD services listed today 😉 so go and choose the best fit for your store!
Are you working with a POD company already? Do you have any positive or negative points to add? Feel free to leave them in our comments below!