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Print On Demand for Ecommerce: What It Is, How It Works, and the Top Platforms for Merchants

Print On Demand for Ecommerce: What It Is, How It Works, and the Top Platforms for Merchants

Are you a artistic one that needs to monetize your expertise? Or perhaps you’re an ecommerce website owner who’s wanting to add personalised products to your catalog. Regardless of the case, on-demand printing might be just the thing that will help you attain your artistic and business aims.

But how exactly ought to go concerning the process? How do you set up a print on demand ecommerce website? What instruments do you have to use?

This text solutions all these questions and more. We’ll make clear the ins and outs of print on demand, supply recommendations on find out how to get started, and provide information on the most effective providers out there. By the top of this guide, you’ll have a strong understanding of the concept and have more confidence to sell customizable goods on-line. 

Let’s dive in!

What is print on demand (POD)?

Print on demand (POD), typically known as “on-demand printing” is an ecommerce mannequin that lets you promote custom-made products which are printed solely after an order has been positioned. With on-demand printing, you don’t maintain on to any physical stock. As an alternative, you enroll with a POD platform that takes care of the printing and achievement process for you. 

Print on demand is a kind of dropshipping follow, through which the service provider doesn’t need to cope with inventory administration and delivery. All these elements handled by a 3rd get together, and the seller doesn’t incur inventory holding expenses because they’re not charged for the price of items till someone places an order. 

POD achievement providers versus POD marketplaces

Before we go any further, it’s necessary to make the distinction between POD achievement providers and POD marketplaces. 

The former consists of providers like Printful and Printify, which function your backend achievement companion. POD achievement providers enable you to attach your ecommerce website to their platform, and every time someone buys from your website, that order is shipped to your service provider for printing and achievement. 

Then again, POD marketplaces deal with both the front- and backend of the method. Somewhat than connecting your retailer to a POD marketplace, you simply upload your paintings to the location and the corporate will market and sell those gadgets for you. 

In different words, you license your designs to be positioned on bodily products quite than selling them yourself. Sites like Redbubble and Zazzle fall beneath the marketplace class. 

The suitable choice is determined by your small business mannequin and preferences. If you want to sell your designs beneath your personal brand and have extra management over how your gadgets are marketed, then a POD achievement service can be the perfect selection. Do word that this feature comes with extra work because it requires you to arrange a customer-facing shop.

On the flip aspect, for those who choose to let someone else do all of the selling, advertising, and printing, you then’re higher off with a POD market. With this mannequin, all it’s essential to do is upload your paintings and let the marketplace do the remaining. An enormous draw back, although, is you don’t have entry to shopper knowledge and you may’t talk immediately together with your clients. 

Observe: for probably the most half, this information will give attention to POD achievement providers.

How POD works

The precise steps for operating a print on demand enterprise will differ from one platform to the subsequent, however here’s a basic rundown of how the on-demand printing course of works.

1. Set up your store

Step one to getting your on-demand printing business up and operating is to arrange your retailer. Depending on your POD platform, you possibly can go about this in one in every of two ways:

  1. Integrate an present retailer to the service. Print on demand providers reminiscent of Printful and Printify can hook up with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Etsy. When you have an present on-line store, you possibly can integrate it together with your POD platform of selection and start promoting from there. 
  2. Use the POD website’s platform or marketplace. Don’t have an ecommerce website? Select a POD service that has an present market. Websites like Zazzle and Redbubble can help you create a profile on their platform, and they’ll sell and fulfill merchandise in your behalf.

2. Add your designs and select the kind of products to sell 

Once you’ve selected a POD service and have your store or profile up and operating, the subsequent step is to add totally different designs and products to your store. For those who’re utilizing a POD achievement service, the choices of which gadgets varieties to sell are utterly up to you. 

For instance, should you’re a painter who needs to stay to selling wall artwork, then you possibly can select to only add framed canvas gadgets to your store. Then again, for those who favor to sell merchandise like T-shirts and mugs, you’ll be able to go for that as nicely. 

3. Sell your products

At this stage, your shop is open to the world and you’ve got products which might be ready for printing. In the event you’re using a achievement service, you can begin advertising your merchandise and driving visitors to your website. In the event you’re using a market, your provider will do a lot of the sales and advertising for you, though you possibly can nonetheless promote your work by sharing your profile or product hyperlinks to your clients. 

In any case, the top objective is to get individuals to seek out your gadgets and buy them. 

4. The POD platform fulfills the order

When someone places an order, your POD platform will print, package deal, and ship the merchandise to the client. As soon as the purchase has cleared, you’ll get paid. 

Execs and cons of on-demand printing

Identical to with any business mannequin, print on demand comes with advantages and drawbacks. In this part, we’ll go through the professionals and cons of POD. Undergo the gadgets under to figure out if this is the fitting mannequin on your ecommerce enterprise. 

Execs of POD

1. Straightforward to arrange. The vast majority of POD platforms are extremely straightforward to make use of. For probably the most half, getting up and operating includes signing up, creating a profile, and adding products. You possibly can upload your designs in minutes and gained’t have to fret concerning the techie bits.

2. Minimal stock complications. The on-demand printing mannequin removes the most important draw back of inventory-based commerce: stock costs. Since gadgets are only printed and created after the client makes a purchase, you don’t have to fret about getting stuck with merchandise that you simply’re unable to sell. 

Widespread issues like overstocks and stock-outs are nearly non-existent, and also you gained’t have to fret about minimum order quantities and lead occasions.

three. Arms-off achievement. Another massive headache in retail is order achievement. The process of packaging and delivery gadgets has loads of shifting elements and may be troublesome to handle, notably for small businesses and artists.

POD platforms can maintain this complete aspect of the enterprise, so you gained’t need to cope with getting the gadgets into the arms of your clients.

4. Freedom to give attention to what you’re good at. All the above leads to the most important professional of on-demand printing: you will have extra time and freedom to concentrate on the belongings you like doing in what you are promoting.

So, slightly than packing merchandise or worrying concerning the logistics of delivery, you’ll be able to spend more time on the tasks that you simply’re truly good at: creating art, building a group, and/or creating your small business technique. 

Cons of POD

1. Lower revenue margins. Whenever you work with an on-demand printing service, the cost of items can be greater compared to buying wholesale, which suggests your margins can be decrease. For instance, a white V-neck ladies’s shirt costs $24.95 on Printful. Meanwhile, you should purchase an analogous product on a wholesale website like Alibaba for as low as $6.23 — with a minimal order of 1,000 pieces.

Alibaba is undoubtedly cheaper, however it comes with greater danger and order amount necessities.

2. Limited control over the client experience. While having a hands-off achievement course of has its advantages, it provides you less control over how your gadgets are packaged and shipped. POD platforms have generic achievement processes, which suggests you’ll be able to’t create superb unboxing experiences or add a personal touch (like freebies and enterprise playing cards) to your orders.

As such, should you’re making an attempt to build a robust model that makes an impression at every touchpoint, then on-demand printing is probably not the best choice for you.

three. Restricted knowledge (in contrast with dropshipping non-customized gadgets). This point relates to POD platforms versus “conventional” dropshipping websites like Alibaba. In case you’re the type of seller who likes to make selections based mostly on market knowledge, then POD in all probability isn’t the most effective route.

Sites like Alibaba has extra knowledge on scores, evaluations, order volumes, and prime sellers, so you possibly can glean insights into which products to sell in your store. POD platforms don’t all the time supply these particulars, so you possibly can’t simply predict prime sellers and market winners.

4. Restricted product varieties. The kinds of merchandise you’ll be able to promote shall be restricted to the choices of your POD supplier. This gained’t be a problem should you’re promoting widespread gadgets like T-shirts and mugs. But POD doesn’t work properly for sellers who need to customize extremely particular or area of interest gadgets.

For example, if you wish to customize, say, window blinds, you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a print on demand platform that does that. Or for those who’d wish to sell custom-made attire that’s made out of special material, then you definitely may discover it troublesome to supply that by way of a POD provider. 

Widespread print on demand merchandise

Talking of products to sell, let’s take a look at the preferred gadgets that you simply’ll find in on-demand printing sites. 


  • Males’s tops 
  • Ladies’s tops 
  • Clothes 
  • Leggings 
  • Skirts 
  • Shorts 
  • Hoodies


  • Luggage 
  • Jewelry 
  • Socks 
  • Hats 
  • Caps 
  • Visors 

Wall art

  • Posters 
  • Wall decals 
  • Canvas prints 
  • Framed art
  • Wall tapestries


  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases 
  • Mugs 
  • Blankets 
  • Towels

Tech Accessories

  • Smartphone instances
  • Popsockets

Now that you’ve a strong understanding of on-demand printing, let’s talk about how you can efficiently rise up and operating with print on demand. Listed here are some pointers to remember when beginning and operating your POD enterprise.

Select the suitable provider

Look into the following elements when weighing totally different suppliers:

Integration together with your present methods 

This is a vital factor when you’re promoting by way of your personal ecommerce web site. You want your print on demand platform to play good together with your buying cart.

Look into solutions that combine together with your ecommerce platform. Whether or not you’re utilizing Shopify, Bigcommerce, Woocommerce, or some other on-line purchasing cart, set your sights on POD providers which have an present integration. Doing so won’t solely make it simpler to rise up and operating, nevertheless it’ll also create a seamless expertise for you and your clients. 

Merchant insurance policies

Evaluation the seller insurance policies of the POD solutions that you simply’re considering. What’s their turnaround time? When do you get paid? How much is their minimize? This stuff have a big influence on your corporation, so select a platform with policies you will get on board with. 

Achievement strategies 

You’ll also need to look into how products are created, packaged and fulfilled. Some POD websites have in-house amenities that handle the creation, packaging, and delivery of the merchandise. Others rely on third-party networks. One isn’t necessarily better than the opposite. It all will depend on your preferences and varieties of products you’re selling. 


You’ll need to look into the prices of utilizing the POD service. Along with the per-item costs, you also needs to contemplate subscription fees. Some on-demand printing providers include month-to-month expenses for using their platform, and this is something you’ll need to think about when choosing a supplier. 

Product choices 

Think about the varieties of merchandise you need to customise and promote, then be certain that your POD platform has these gadgets. Again, this shouldn’t be a problem for widespread merch like mugs and T-shirts, since nearly all major on-demand printing solutions supply these things. 

But for those who’re selling area of interest gadgets, you might need to look somewhat more durable. 

Order samples firsts

At this stage, you need to’ve narrowed down your decisions for an on-demand printing provider. Earlier than signing up for a solution, it’s a good suggestion to order item samples first. This can will let you get a first-hand take a look at the gadgets so you’ll be able to consider the quality of prints and caliber of materials.

The product sampling course of varies from one supplier to the subsequent. Some options might supply reductions for those who’re shopping for samples, while others will take full worth. 

This can be a essential step, so don’t skip it. The merchandise you sell instantly impacts your popularity amongst your clients, so that you need to be sure that they’re up to snuff. Low-quality prints and gadgets additionally lead to greater return and refund rates — which you obviously need to reduce. 

Provide you with nice mockups

Ready to start out promoting? Remember to create high-quality mockups on your products. Mockups permit you and your clients to visualize how a design would look when positioned on a product. Completed proper, mockups can prod individuals to make a purchase, so be sure to choose high-quality ones on your retailer. 

The excellent news is that the majority print on demand sites supply mock-up turbines that you need to use in your website. That stated, you’ll be able to go a step additional and use specialised mock-up software like PlaceIt to create your belongings. PlaceIt provides a wider assortment of fashions and environments and helps you generate mockups that stand out. 

Be sensible about pricing

In order for your enterprise to be profitable, it’s essential worth your products properly. Your profit margins are totally up to you, however a healthy margin would sit at round 40% or greater, relying in your costs. 

Which means in case your POD answer costs $10 for an item, it is best to sell it for no less than $16.67 to hit a 40% profit margin. 

Use a profit margin calculator and enter your costing and revenue information to determine the proper worth. Some print on demand sites supply this software totally free. Printful, for instance, has a Profit Calculator page for its numerous gadgets. The page lists the price of each product, and you may enter the worth at which you propose to promote it. Printful will routinely calculate your income based mostly in your input.

 PlaceIt additionally a useful revenue calculator for on-demand T-shirt printing providers. It’s a Google Sheet that lists the widespread POD websites, together with the base value of each product and the revenue you stand to realize. It’s an awesome software for evaluating a number of POD suppliers on the similar time. 

Do observe that the software is made for POD marketplaces (e.g., Teespring, Redbubble and so forth.) and solely consists of knowledge for T-Shirts. 

Prime print on demand platforms for ecommerce

Need help deciding on a print on demand answer supplier for your corporation? Listed here are a few of the POD platforms to look into:


Printful is among the hottest on-demand printing providers on the internet. A extremely established and respected company, Printful has places in Los Angeles, CA, Charlotte, NC, Riga, Latvia, Tijuana, Mexico, and Barcelona, Spain. 

Printful has a wide array of product offerings, from apparel and accessories to homeware and artwork. The solution additionally integrates with a wide range of ecommerce platforms and on-line marketplaces, making it an ideal selection for on-line sellers.

Another notable thing about Printful is it doesn’t outsource any a part of the achievement course of. The company handles the whole lot in-house — from printing and packaging to delivery. Printful also provides custom branding options so you’ll be able to add your emblem to packing slip and packaging. 

Pricing: No subscription fees. Click right here to see Printful’s per-item prices. 


  • Shopfiy 
  • BigCommerce 
  • Woocommerce 
  • Amazon 
  • Ecwid 
  • Inktale 
  • Weebly 
  • Squarespace 
  • eBay 
  • PrestaShop 
  • 3dcart
  • Magento 
  • Want 
  • Launch Cart
  • Storenvy 
  • Massive Cartel


Launched in 2015, Printify is a transparent POD answer that leverages a network of printing amenities primarily in the USA, the United Kingdom, and China. Because the manufacturing of goods is farmed out to third parties (as an alternative of being handled in-house like Printful), the price is relatively lower. 

Printify is free to use for smaller merchants, although it costs a subscription for extra features and perks. The corporate additionally has a wide catalog of products on which to print, including attire for males, ladies, and youngsters, as well as equipment and homeware. 

Pricing: Printify has a free tier that gives limitless product designs and 5 shops per 30 days. The subscription also comes with a Mockup generator, integrations with buying carts, guide order creation, and 24/7 service provider help. 

You’ll be able to opt for a Premium subscription for $29 per 30 days. It comes with all the above options plus buyer order enter and up to 20% discount on all merchandise. You’ll be able to have up to 10 stores underneath the account.

Retailers that course of over 10,000 orders per day can go for an Enterprise account which comes with limitless stores per account, and extra perks like early access to new features, customized API integration, branded customer help, and a devoted account manager. Pricing info for Printify’s Enterprise choice is on the market upon request. 

To study extra about Printify’s per-item pricing, click right here. 


  • Shopify 
  • Etsy 
  • eBay 
  • WooCommerce 
  • Printify API


Another fashionable ecommerce POD service, Gooten handles the printing, packing, and delivery of products so merchants don’t have to worry about achievement. Just like Printify, Gooten makes use of “a network of experienced, hand-vetted producers and suppliers” to deal with orders. The corporate makes use of its personal API to dynamically route orders to one of the best vendor to ensure that orders are fulfilled effectively. 

Gooten prints on 140+ product varieties, overlaying classes like attire, homeware, equipment, and more. It also integrates with various ecommerce platforms, has an API, and supports custom order types. 

Pricing: Gooten is free to use. You possibly can view the platform’s worth record for numerous gadgets here. It’s also possible to obtain a gated worth record for select product on this web page.


  • Shopify 
  • Etsy 
  • Amazon 
  • Cellular App 
  • Customized order type 
  • API

Ultimate words

Whether or not you’re an artist who needs to promote your work or you’re an ecommerce merchant wanting so as to add customization to your choices, on-demand printing could possibly be a viable choice for you. Simply keep in mind that the success of your POD enterprise hinges closely on your printing and achievement companion. That’s why it’s important to do your research and work out the perfect answer for your enterprise. 


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