Print-on-demand companies are increasingly popular today, leading to a plethora of sites like Printful. There’s simply no better way for selling products with a flair. Whether you decide to go with a common meme or a unique design – these Print on Demand companies are there to take care of the “dirty work” from printing, packaging, and shipping.
How Printful Works
Printful works with a vast range of eCommerce stores and online marketplaces and offers many advantages for print on demand. Yet the service isn’t ideal, and some drawbacks can be a deal-breaker—for example, the few customization options. In addition, not all items ship worldwide, narrowing the potential sellable range even further.
In case you are looking for an alternative to Printful, here are the best places to get your printing done for a reasonable price.
Website: Printify.com . Price: Free
Printify Key Highlights
- Classic print-on-demand experience
- Wide range of store integrations
- Massive range of shipping options
Printify is perhaps the most formidable Printful competitor in the market. While printing times vary based on many factors, most will ship between 2 to 7 days. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to factor in shipping time as well.
Perhaps the most significant advantage that Printify offers over the competition is its broad spectrum of integrations. These include Shopify, Etsy, eBay, and many other popular platforms. Designed products can be displayed directly on your online store, thanks to this.
Printify works with many shipping partners as well, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best rates no matter where your customer resides. All of this starts free, but Premium accounts will enjoy 20% product discounts.
To ensure that the buying experience is smooth, Printfy also displays a list of fulfillment partners and their status. Information provided includes production capabilities, time estimates, and shipping information.
Website: https://www.zazzle.com/ . Price: Free
Zazzle Key Highlights
- Good product variety
- Free shipping is available on subscription
- Integration API for all online stores
Zazzle is a print-on-demand company based in the US. It offers a decent spread of customizable products, including business supplies, gifts, and creative products. While the term may seem a little cliche, the platform is indeed free to use.
While it’s similar to Printful and Printify, Zazzle doesn’t dazzle when it comes to shipping. Production times vary, as is normal, but there’s no choice in shipping partner. Standard shipping takes 9 to 18 days, while expedited cuts that to 5 to 9 days.
There’s a slight twist in shipping, though. You can get unlimited free standard shipping if you sign up for Zazzle Black at either $9.50/yr or $39.95/yr. The more expensive plan provides 2 to 3-day shipping for particular items.
While Zazzle doesn’t have specific platform integrations, it does provide an API that lets you place items created on Zazzle directly onto your online store. For sales made, you can track fulfillment status on your Zazzle dashboard.
Website: https://customcat.com/ . Price: Free
CustomCat Key Highlights
- Fast print turnaround
- Shipping rates start extremely low
- Custom designs can be uploaded in CSV
Another print-on-demand company based in the US is CustomCat. It offers a more limited spread of products that span a mere three categories; apparel, houseware, and accessories. However, they pair this with an impressive production turnaround time of fewer than three days.
CustomCat is a fantastic print-on-demand option if your target market is primarily in the US. Short production times paired with OSM and UPS mean relatively fast fulfillment. International order shipping times vary between one to four weeks, depending on location. Rates vary widely, though, between $1.50 to almost $200 in some cases.
For online stores, you can use CustomCat’s integration with platforms like Shopify for greater convenience. Anything that isn’t directly supported will need the CustomCat API or manual design uploads via CSV files.
CustomCat is free to use, except for those based on Shopify. If you’re using that, you need to subscribe for $30 per month.
Website: https://www.spod.com/ . Price: Free
SPOD Key Highlights
- Multiple locations in the US or Europe
- Ultra-fast product turnaround times
- No additional fees aside from shipping
SPOD comes with over 20 years of experience in the print-on-demand business. Online stores working with them shipped nearly ten million items in 2020, which is a staggering number for an individual print-on-demand brand.
Unlike many print-on-demand companies that cluster production facilities in one area, SPOD is well distributed. Items will be customized and shipped from five locations in the US and Europe, making international fulfillment much faster.
Coupled with an impressive turnaround time of two days from order placement, SPOD is one of the fastest print on demand services with whom you can partner. There’s a small catch, though – shipping prices. On the lower end, prices start at around $4.50, stretching into the high $60s.
The lack of fees is the best part of SPOD (aside from their extraordinary turnaround and shipping times). Product costs are inclusive, so you only have to focus on that, plus shopping. That makes estimating your operational costs much more straightforward.
5. Lulu xPress
Website: https://xpress.lulu.com/ . Price: Free
Lulu xPress Key Highlights
- Niche products
- Express shipping is crazy fast
- Good variety of customization
Based in the UK, Lulu xPress focuses on specific paper products, including books, magazines, calendars, and comics. That’s unique and nicely fills a niche market segment. Imagine offering your store customers the chance to order a custom book or magazine.
Like most others, Lulu xPress will also ship products anywhere in the world. Naturally, their home ground of the UK is the fastest, but even the most prolonged mail delivery takes 12 days. If you opt for express shipping, delivery can range between one to four days.
Their system allows you to create and customize everything about the product directly on the website. Production turnaround is within five days. Having been in the print business before, I can tell you it’s fast, considering these are custom prints.
Lulu xPress doesn’t charge fees above what it costs to customize a product. For that, estimates are available by using their pricing calculator. It varies a lot due to the massive choice available in colors, paper types, and more.
Website: https://www.redbubble.com/ . Price: Free
Redbubble Key Highlights
- No online store is needed
- Huge product variety
- Better poised to serve the Asia region
Redbubble offers a massive spread of print-on-demand products. These range from clothing to stickers and wall art. Seriously, you can order almost anything from them. Part of the reason why is that Redbubble doesn’t integrate; it assimilates.
Sellers do so directly from the Redbubble platform. Once you’ve signed up for an account and linked your payment details, you can upload custom designs. Redbubble customers can pick from any designs available for their range of products. If that’s yours, you get credit for the sale!
Prints take around three days, while shipping times depend on location. Based in Australia, Redbubble can better serve some regions than the print-on-demand companies in the US. The overall experience suits designers more than existing online store owners.
Redbubble is free to sign up for and doesn’t charge listing fees. However, you don’t have much control over margins since prices and such are set by Redbubble only. That means you may earn a pittance if they decide to sell peanuts on certain products.
Website: https://teespring.com/ . Price: Free
TeeSpring Key Highlights
- Decent shipping rates
- Fast payouts
- Free custom online store
Like Redbubble, TeeSpring doesn’t require that you own an online store to start a business. You can sign up with them and use the platform as your online store. Even better, you don’t need to follow TeeSpring prices; you can set your own for better margins.
They encourage users to promote their merch on various social platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and such. Payouts are pretty fast, taking only between one to seven days to process. The rule of thumb is that the newer your account, the more time it’ll take to process payments (due to security verifications).
If there’s one problem with product shipping, it’s the lack of tracking, making international shipments especially frustrating given the 15-day average shipping time. I suggest you encourage rush shipping orders to ease concerns, especially since their shipping rates aren’t overly expensive.
In addition to print-on-demand products, you can also sell custom digital creations on TeeSpring. This option is unique since it isn’t limited to designs. For example, you can create custom Adobe Lightroom presets and sell those on TeeSpring.
How Print-on-Demand like Printful Works?
Print on Demand allows you to sell custom products using a business model that’s similar to drop shipping. However, instead of shipping out ready stock from fulfillment centers, you can create custom product templates for manufacture and shipping on order.
This business model ensures that you can offer customized products on your online store without paying for and holding product inventory. Even shipping is taken care of by the print-on-demand company you work with – all under your brand.
Print-on-demand takes dropshipping to the next level. Today’s customer is increasingly demanding, and massive stock of generic products will only get you so far. As print technology improves, most print-on-demand businesses will increase the range of products you can customize and offer through your store.
There’s no harm in looking at some of these options – they will supplement your existing portfolio perfectly well. Plus, most charge no fees, so no harm, no foul.