When you’re setting up an ecommerce store, one of the business models you might be considering is print on demand.
It’s a fairly easy way to get started in ecommerce, with fewer upfront costs than other models. Plus, if you’re thinking of using Shopify, there are plenty of print on demand apps that can streamline the whole process from ordering to fulfilment.
In this article, we take a look at the best print on demand apps to use with Shopify and weigh up their pros and cons so that you can find the right fit for your business.
Print on demand (or POD) is a business model that allows an ecommerce store to sell products on a per-order basis, so you don’t have to buy stock in advance of making a sale. You use a third-party supplier who offers white-label products such as t-shirts, hats, and phone cases, and then customises them with your own design.
Print on demand is similar to dropshipping — when someone purchases an item, you place an order with your supplier, who will print the design on the product and ship the order directly to your customer.
Print on demand offers a number of benefits that make it the perfect business model for new stores and entrepreneurs.
To set up a print on demand business you don’t need to invest a lot of money into buying your stock upfront. You pay for the products as and when someone places an order.
With print on demand, you don’t need to have the space to store the stock and you also don’t have to deal with the packaging and shipping of products to customers. All of the logistics of fulfilling orders are handled by the printing business.
You can offer a wide range of products using print on demands apps and it’s easy to try out new products and react to customer demand.
It’s really simple to get started with a print on demand business. These are the key steps:
If you want to kickstart an ecommerce business without too much hassle, then starting a print on demand business is a quick and easy option.
If you’re looking to run a print on demand business using Shopify, these apps will make it straightforward and cost-effective. A number of these print on demand apps will also integrate with other platforms.
Printify is one of the most popular print on demand apps to use with Shopify. It offers a wide range of products at affordable prices and will connect you to printing partners around the world. Using Printify you can create your own designs, which means it’s good if you have your own unique designs to sell or you want to create personalised designs. The app also has a mock-up generator so that you can preview the design before you order.
It’s easy to set up and start using Printify for print on demand and it also integrates with other ecommerce platforms such as Etsy and WooCommerce.
There are two Printify plans:
Printful is a print on demand company that specialises in offering custom embroidered products, alongside printed and engraved designs. There are no set up costs and it’s free to use Printful. You just need to list the products on your Shopify store — then when someone places an order for an item on your Shopify store, it is automatically sent through to Printful for fulfilment. They’ll then print, pack and ship the order using your store’s branding on the packaging.
It has the option to create product mockups to see what a design will look like and you can order samples of products at a discounted rate. If you don’t have your own design that you want to be printed, then Printful offers a number of templates that you can edit and customise with your customer’s request.
They operate and ship to a number of countries around the world including Europe and the USA.
Printful is free to use with no set up costs — you just pay for the products you order and shipping.
Pixel is a well-established print on demand Shopify app that offers a huge range of products and works with a number of large brands. You can use them to sell anything from canvas prints to coffee mugs or tote bags.
The app offers an automatic ordering, inventory, and tracking system that can save you a lot of time as a retailer if you’ve got a large online store.
It’s free to set up Pixels and you only pay for the products and shipping costs.
TeeLaunch is another popular print on demand app that sells a varied range of products. It’s free to set up and use, and you only pay when you order the products. The ordering process is completely automated so that it goes through to fulfilment as soon as your customer makes a purchase.
However, the app doesn’t offer a mockup generator or any templates, so you can’t preview what the product will look like. This also means you’ll have to create your own mockups for designs to use as product photos on your store.
TeeLaunch is a fairly basic option, but it has all the functionality that a small ecommerce business would need.
TeeLaunch is free to set up and use, you just have to pay for the products and shipping.
CustomCat offers one of the largest catalogues of print on demand products. This means if you’re looking to sell slightly different products that other apps don’t offer, then this might be the best choice for you.
It also offers all the key features that other print on demand Shopify apps have such as automatic ordering, a fairly short 2-3 day fulfilment time scale, and white label shipping. While some retailers have experienced issues with the quality, delivery time, and customer support, it’s a good choice if you want a wider product range.
CustomCat is free to install and offers a completely free plan with no monthly fees. However, it does have a paid plan for $30 per month, which offers you savings on each product. If you’re expecting to sell a lot, it might be worthwhile choosing this paid plan so that you pay the discounted price for the products you order.
Printy6 is a really simple print on demand app that’s easy to get set up through Shopify. It allows you to customize different types of products and then add them to your online store.
Printy6 offers free shipping worldwide, however, it can take up to seven days for the orders to be printed and then another 5-17 days for products to be delivered. Once an order has been shopped, Printy6 will send you a notification with tracking details so that you can keep your customers up to date.
There’s no set up cost for Printy6 and it’s free to use — the only thing you have to pay for is the products.
JetPrint is another great print on demand Shopify app that’s popular because of its wide product range and easy to use interface. Their products are all extremely high quality and they promise a quick turnaround to get products printed and dispatched within four days.
JetPrint offers worldwide shipping, free of charge, and there’s no setup costs or monthly fee. The only part you pay for is the product that you’ve ordered.
The best print on demand Shopify app for your business will depend on your business’s requirements and priorities.
If you’re looking to offer a wide range of products in your store or you want to sell something different from other print on demand businesses, then CustomCat is probably the best option.
Overall though, the two best all-round print on demand apps are Printful and Printify. They’re both free and easy to use, with a mockup generator so you can preview designs, and the order and fulfilment process is automated.
Printful is known for high-quality products, with accurate production and shipping times — which means for larger businesses it’s often the more reliable choice. However, Printify specialises in embroidered products and can often handle more complex designs. If you’re deciding between Printful or Printify, then it will probably come down to the type of products and designs you want to sell, the cost and shipping times.
Print on demand is a good business model if you’re starting a new ecommerce store, and there’s a huge number of apps that can help with producing and fulfilling your orders. The key things to consider are the product range they offer, their prices, and the delivery time scale.