Since publishing my post about the success I had setting up an automated Etsy Store and making $2000 in 8 weeks, I have received many emails from readers asking for some additional details on how it all worked. Today I am going to give an overview of the two primary suppliers, Printify and Printful that I used for my print-on-demand and drop shipping set-up.
What is Print on Demand and Dropshipping?
Print on demand is a business model where products are printed at the time an order is received. My goal for using a print on demand supplier was to automate my shop as much as possible as turn it into a real side hustle. To do this, I required suppliers that provided the following services:
- Print on demand services
- Dropshipping services
- E-commerce integration
When you use a print on demand supplier who offers dropshipping and e-commerce integration, you can set up an automated store. For more detailed instructions on how this works, check out these posts: Set up an automated Etsy Store and Should you start a drop shipping business?.
How do you make money with Print on Demand and Dropshipping?
The way you make money with Print-on-demand is the same as with traditional retail. You buy the products at wholesale and sell the products at retail prices. The markup percentage that you can successfully charge will ultimately depend on the product you are selling. Most suppliers will provide you with a retailer price guidelines for each product.
Now that we have the basics covered, onto the main event. Here are my reviews of Printify and Printful.
Printify is an all-in-one print on demand platform. They do not produce the actual products but provide an online platform to allow you to designs products, syncs products and descriptions to your online stores, processes orders, and handles printing and ships directly to your customer.
Printify is Not a Printer
Printify provides a print on demand platform as opposed to being a manufacturer. This has both benefits and drawbacks. The advantage being that Printify enables you to design and purchase 100’s of different products from an international group of suppliers in a single location. Logistically this makes creating and tracking orders easy, and it can also simplify the book-keeping aspects of your shop. Specifically, you can place orders with 20 different suppliers and at the end of the month have a single invoice to track your costs. Printify is selling their platform to customers, not the physical products being ordered and produced. This focus on the platform has resulted in an extremely customer friendly software that makes designing and ordering products super easy.
Printify 3D Mockups
They have a fantastic 3D Mockup generator that allows you to get drag and drop designs onto products. No photoshop skills required. You are also provided with high definition 3D product images for your storefront to get an instant professional look. Printify also has their staff look at all designs before they are sent to print. This means you have an extra line of defence to check for errors. On more than one occasion these wonder humans fixed an issue on one of my products before it went to print!
Printify has also vetted all of their suppliers, so you can be sure that any product you order is coming from a professional supplier. This can save you valuable time and effort.
Printify E-Commerce Platform Integration
At the moment, Printify currently only over integration with a small number of e-commerce suppliers including Shopify, Etsy and WooCommerce. Hopefully, in the future, this will grow to include more platforms.
Printify Customer Service
The downside of working with a Printify is that they are the “middlemen”. If there is an issue with an order, they cannot resolve it on the spot but need to speak to the supplier to find a resolution. Printify does, however, provide 24/7 customer support and in my experience resolved issues very quickly. I presume this is because they offer lots of business to their supplier and as such, they can demand a high level of customer service from them. They probably get a little more attention than a single Etsy store placing an order for a couple of dollars.
There is no cost to use the Printify platform, but you can subscribe to a premium account for $29/month. With the Premium account, you receive up to 20% discount on all Printify products. I found that the Premium account allowed me to compete better on price with other Etsy suppliers.
- Hundreds of products available from an extensive supplier network
- Vetted group of suppliers
- Easy to use platform including drag and drop mockup generator
- Shopify, Etsy and WooCommerce integration
- Premium discounts available
- Human checking of all designs before they are sent to print
- 24/7 Customer Service
- Unable to provide instant resolution to some issues instantaneously
- Products shipping from multiple suppliers for a single order
Overall I was pleased with the Printify and service, and I would happily recommend their service to anyone looking for a print on demand solution.
Printful is another major player in the Print on Demand world. Unlike Printify, Printful is not just a software platform. Printful has fulfilment centres in the USA, Mexico, and Europe to manage and fulfil orders.
As Printful prints all of the items it is selling, the variety is not as large as some of its competitors. With that being said, there are still a vast array of products available to order. In my experience, the products from Printful have always been of the highest quality. Printful also provides options to add your branding to their products with the addition of custom labels.
Printful Customer Service
As a retailer, I also like that Printful can immediately resolve issues without involving a third party. In my experience questions were always followed up quickly and decided to my satisfaction.
Printful also provides some excellent add-on services including:
- Design services – If you want to start an e-commerce store but don’t have a product. Printful will design your customer products for you
- Warehousing and fulfilment – If you are already selling an item but don’t have a warehouse, they will provide you with a fulfilment service.
Printful 3D Mockups
Printful also has a 3D mockup generator that can be used to design your items. I found the Printify Mockup generator easier to use, but could still successfully develop products using the Printful System.
Printful E-Commerce Platform Integration
Integration is available for every major e-commerce platform and marketplace.
There are no costs associated with Printful and no subscription prices available. You can, however, Get 20% off and free shipping (USA and EU only) on two sample orders each month.
- We print and ship everything under your brand with custom labels, pack-ins, and other branding options
- Integration with a large number of e-commerce platforms
- Low shipping rates
- Products in a single order are all shipped today
- Design Services available
- No monthly fees
- A smaller number of products available than competitors
- Higher prices (on some items)
- 3D mockup generator not as user-friendly as Printify
I like the products produced by Printful. Everything I ordered was of the highest quality and always produced and shipped in an efficiently. Unfortunately, some of Printifuls items are more expensive then some of its competitors and that can decrease margins for retailers.
Printful vs Printify
I say both! No, it’s not because I cannot make up my mind, its because I find value in both services. Here is a real-world example for you. In my Etsy store, I sell backpacks. Most of my sales are through Printify for a backpack that is produced in overseas. Unfortunately, this bag takes three weeks to arrive from the time of purchase. I often get an email from USA customers asking if they can have a rush order on the bag. Rush orders are not possible with this supplier, but, I offer these customers the USA produced bag by Printful that they can have within a couple of days. Although the Printful bag is more expensive, they are often happy to spend the extra money if they can get it for a specific date.
Although they both stock similar items, they are not identical. You may prefer one time from Printify and another from Printful. You can set up more than one supplier to your e-commerce shop, so there is no reason you have to pick one of the other. Pick and choose the items that will work best for your customers.
Print on Demand and Dropshipping – Who else is there?
Printify and Printful are not the only companies that provide Print on Demand and Dropshipping services. Two other suppliers that I know of are Gooten and Print Aura. I have not used these services so have not provided detailed reviews of what they offer. I will update this post once I have tried their services. If you have any experienced with these suppliers or know of any other suppliers that provide Print on demand and drop shipping, please let me know in the comments. I am always on the lookout for new suppliers and would love to hear your comments.