Way back when the mall was the only place to get a range of options – when all shopping sprees took place in ‘meatspace’ – consumers were slaves to whatever-the-heck stores had in stock. But eCommerce changed all that; bringing the exact items we wanted directly to our doorsteps.
However, fast forward to 2021 and things look different again. Thanks to Print On Demand services we’re now able to personalize and customize our purchases before they reach us.
But it’s not just one-off items for solo shoppers we’re dealing with here. Thanks to services like Shopify; hobbyists, mompreneurs, and second jobbers are able to build online businesses selling their own custom merchandise – without holding any stock or doing any of the fulfillment themselves.
With niche businesses leading the way, the Print On Demand revolution is in full swing. But with so many competing services available, which should they choose?
Let’s consider how this all works and take a look at some of the best Print On Demand apps for Shopify.
The Power Of Print On Demand
Personalization remains one of eCommerce’s most popular trends. It’s not hard to see why. After all, in an age where anyone can buy, well, pretty much anything online, why shouldn’t consumers be able to purchase *exactly* what they want – something totally unique to themselves, their tastes, and identity – ?
Back in the pre-Internet days, if shoppers wanted something bespoke, they either customized their items at home or took them to a commercial printer/designer – which often came with a hefty price tag.
But now that budding entrepreneurs now have access to the digital infrastructure needed to offer these services, for many shoppers personalization is almost an expected option.
However, POD offers other advantages too. For example, they give larger businesses the opportunity to batch test a new print or design – without committing to a heavy consignment. Not only that, but POD also gives creative types – designers, writers, photographers etc – as well as tastemakers a way of showcasing their ideas and monetizing them.
Thanks to the rise of easy to use eCommerce platforms like Shopify (among many others – such as Etsy, Spreadshirt, WooCommerce, Weebly, and BigCommerce) anyone can easily get everything they need to sell their creations.
In fact, because so many services offer an end-to-end dropshipping service – incorporating print, warehousing fulfillment, and packaging services – a lot of the hard work is taken care of: leaving store owners essentially responsible for driving sales and marketing their business.
While this in itself requires an entirely different skill set, for those with already sizeable online followings – such as social media influencers – and others with marketing savvy, POD could present an ideal branding opportunity.
Top Print On Demand Apps For Shopify
We all know that friend who designs crazy t-shirts, hoodies, and baseball caps, right? Well, they will no doubt have used a POD service to create them.
However, there are many different, credible, and well–regarded POD apps that can be installed on both Shopify and a whole host of other platforms. Here are some of the best we’ve found.
Billing itself as ‘the world’s largest art marketplace and print-on-demand technology company’ Pixels champions independent artists; giving them multiple opportunities to make money from customized products.
However, as a POD service, Pixels also allows users to create designs, add them to products, and start selling them in next to no time at all.
- A full suite of popular items – from wall art to phone cases, as well as apparel, luggage, and even bed linen
- Artist websites
- An end-to-end eCommerce dropshipping service
- Sales and marketing support
- A range of custom APIs
- An easy-to-use Shopify fulfilment app
Formerly known as ‘Snaprinting’, Printy6 is a solid mid-range, medium priced service among the many Print On Demand apps available for Shopify.
It’s exactly what you’d expect – a complete end-to-end POD solution that allows you to publish custom items on your Shopify store.
Other pluses include:
- Simple and easy integration with Shopify platform.
- Catalog of over 200 products available for customization
- Good quality
- Shipping costs included in the final product price.
- Global dropshipping service.
- Free to use
3) Two Fifteen
British POD and dropshipping firm, Two Fifteen, makes its commitment to ethical and sustainable practices something of a feather in its cap. It’s also very easy to use and offers fast turnaround and postage on all items.
Benefits also include:
- No fees, no subscriptions, no hidden charges
- Easy on-demand dropshipping
- No stock – pay nothing until orders start rolling in
- White label service available
A longstanding Shopify app, used by over 40,000 eCommerce stores, Teelaunch’s reputation precedes it to some extent. A full end-to-end service, which while basic in its overall functionality, is wholly reliable – even if it does lack the visual wizardry of its competitors.
You’ll love the fact it…
- Accepts PayPal
- Has no upfront costs
- Offers 100% automated ordering service
- Allows buyers to easily track deliveries
- Provides excellent sales margins – between 50% and 75%
Printful is a full-service Print On Demand dropshipping app. These guys handle everything. If you’re looking for a one off, bulk buy, or white label service – then see what they have to offer.
Key benefits include:
- From t-shirts to phone cases – over 200 products are available
- No capital layout – the charge can be passed on to the buyer
- Easy Shopify integration – includes on-screen mock up of final printed product
- Automatic fulfillment
- Shipping – they send items to customers on your behalf
- Quality control – they source and use their own merchandise
- Access to professional services – eg designers and photographers
A veteran with 18 years’ experience, Custom Cat’s main selling point as a POD service is perhaps its massive product catalog. Offering over 500 products and a complete fulfillment service through Shopify and WooCommerce, CustomCat positions itself as offering ‘hyper on-demand’ services — shipping in just 2 to 3 days.
Other positives include:
- Low prices compared to competitors
- Automatic ordering
- White label shipping
- A range of custom APIs
- Free for two weeks ($30 per month thereafter)
However, concerns over customer service and print quality abound. Proceed with some caution.
Self-described as an ‘all-in-one POD fulfillment solution’. Gooten specializes in working with niche eStores. It’s also praised for its flexibility in pricing, meaning you can charge customers what you want (just don’t go too high!)
- Significant cost savings on inventory, printing, and delivery
- A user-friendly dashboard to track orders
- An automated system makes delivery faster
- Upload new and existing product designs
- No setup or monthly fees – just product manufacturing and shipping costs to cover.
Like it’s similar-sounding competitor mentioned above, Printify is a complete 360-degree dropship service. However, it also enables store owners to customize pretty much everything – including the brand name used in deliveries. Quality and flexibility are its two strong suits, as well as:
- A network of print providers in the UK and US
- Services large and small operators – flexible pricing options
- A visual mock-up generator
- Over 200 products – including skirts and linens as well as the usual suspects
While there is a free option for those starting out (with 5 or fewer accounts), there’s also a $29 per month ‘Premium’ option, as well as a custom option for Enterprise customers receiving over 10,000 orders each day.
There’s no denying that personalization will continue to remain popular for some time yet. While some Print On Demand services for Shopify offer a mock up generator – a plugin that allows customers to see exactly what they’re designing and how the end result will look – many still do not.
Luckily, Zakeke does just that: in a real-time 3D view. As well as advanced pricing control – allowing site owners to set their own price – Zakeke also gives them access to multiple Print On Demand services. Essentially this mean store owners can import products from their favorite catalogs and have them personalized by your customers.
As Print On Demand gets more sophisticated, and we rely even more on digital services and eCommerce to meet our shopping needs, what’s needed is greater transparency. Knowing what something will look like helps us to build a greater degree of trust – which ultimately translates into more sales.
Ready to see how Zakeke could improve your ecommerce? Check out our product demo to see for yourself.