Besides turning the world into a virtual village, the Internet continues to eliminate the limitations associated with selling diverse products, making online selling easier and affordable.
The traditional product printing business is rooted in the hassles of designing unique creative arts, setting up a factory/warehouse, and marketing, among others.
Further, there are more costs, stress, and limitations associated with the process.
On the other hand, custom printed products are usually imprinted with custom images or designs based on the preference of the seller or the customer.
This is because of the emergence of print on demand services that allow you to sell your custom printed products online while they fulfill the order on your behalf.
Hence, you don’t have to see the items or deal with product manufacturing, design, and order fulfillment.
Similarly, you can run your custom printed products business from home or any location in the world without any hassles.
Printful is a reliable print on demand service with more than 14 million items delivered worldwide.
If you’re looking to sell your custom printed products on Printful, this guide will show you how to get started.
What is Printful?
Printful is a portmanteau of Print Product and Fulfilment, which implies an order fulfillment service for selling custom printed products.
Established in 2013, the company has evolved over the years into a premier print-on-demand service across the globe.
Additionally, it facilitates custom printing orders for products such as clothing, accessories, homewares, and much more, for online businesses and dropshippers alike.
It also has its order and fulfillment services spread out across its four major locations:
California, North Carolina, Latvia, and Mexico, so you’re assured that they can ship to your location too.
It might please you to know that Printful seamlessly integrates with several eCommerce platforms such as WooCommerce, Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and more, to facilitate custom print order fulfillment.
Unlike other print-on-demand services, Printful doesn’t incorporate minimum order requirements, monthly fees, or even a startup fee – it’s free.
This means you can go ahead and start selling custom prints right now, for free.
With this brief background about the company, let’s dive in and see how Printful works.
How does Printful work?
If you run a traditional product printing business, you have to deal with issues related to printing and packaging, as well as shipping, not to mention the costs associated with the aforementioned processes.
However, you can automate your custom printed products business simply by dropshipping with Printful.
With the dropshipping model, all you have to do is to set up an online shop and then connect Printful with your store.
This will enable Printful to automate the stressful processes associated with fulfilling your customers’ orders.
For a better illustration, here’s the six-step method of how Printful works:
1. Sign up on Printful
Sign up on Printful to create a free account, and then connect your online store with Printful.
2. Create custom print products
Create high-quality images for products based on your preference using the Printful online mockup generator.
3. Fill your online store
Populate your online store with unlimited product types facilitated by Printful, without worrying about excesses.
4. Promote & sell your products
Use effective marketing strategies to build your online store’s brand by watching Printful tutorials and reading their content for inspiration.
This will help you to promote your online store.
5. Monitor orders in real-time
Whenever customers make purchases, the orders will go directly and automatically to Printful.
The company will charge for fulfilment, and the remaining amount is your profit!
6. Printful factory fulfills the orders
Upon receiving purchasing orders from your customers, Printful will print the design, pack the printed product, and then ship the goods to the customer.
Meanwhile, you will be provided with a notification and the tracking number whenever the order is shipped.
Also, your customer receives their ordered package under your brand name.
On the other hand, Printful also runs a warehousing & fulfillment service where you can store your products at Printful’s warehouse while they fulfill your orders.
However, they won’t print your designs on products you send directly to them.
Benefits of selling with Printful
Here are some benefits of selling custom printed products with Printful:
- Easy to use, start, and print: If you want to start a custom product printing business, you should settle for Printful. Besides, they make product design and order fulfillment a cakewalk for drop shippers.
- Free signup: One of the perks of using Printful is that you can start selling custom printed products without paying any signup or monthly fees.
- You only pay for orders fulfilled while you keep the retail profit.
- More profits: Printful incorporates a profit calculator that allows you to set product prices based on your penchant.
- Hence, you can set profits for products sold via your online store.
- Also, Printful eliminates the limitations associated with running a traditional custom printing business thereby allowing you to save costs, time, and effort.
- Strategic fulfillment locations: Printful is located in strategic locations such as North Carolina & Mexico in North America, as well as Latvia in Europe.
- This makes it easier for you to penetrate the global market with your custom printing business.
- Custom branding: Orders fulfilled by Printful are branded using your brand’s custom labels and pack-ins.
- Hence, your customers can experience your brand culture upon order fulfillment.
- Reliable partnerships: Through the strategic partnership with global carriers such as DHL, FedEx, USPC.com, etc., orders are shipped at a faster pace.
- This ensures your client orders are fulfilled within 1-3 days across the world.
- Additional services: Printful provides additional services such as branding and white label printing, design service, photography service, video service, and store setup service.
- Reliable support team: Printful has a friendly support team that is ready to assist its customers with any issues connected to using its platform. You can reach their support team via Live Chat, Email, Phone, Contact Form, or even on Social Media.
Key Features of Printful
Printful incorporates a myriad of features, some of which include:
Printful comes with a user-friendly interface that ensures that even first-time users can sell custom printed products within few minutes after signing up.
With the visually-appealing menu and tools, users can intuitively automate their dropshipping process without technical knowledge.
Mockup and print file generator
Another interesting Printful feature is its mockup and file generator, which allows you to design images and/or visual arts which are then printed on products for sale on your online shop.
With this tool, you can upload your design, create a text-based design, or use any of Printful’s clipart, which is then added to your chosen product(s) for your online store without charge.
Unlike other print-on-demand services, Printful’s mockup generator is free to use. Therefore, users can create an unlimited number of designs for diverse products on Printful’s platform.
Apps (iOS & Android)
To facilitate dropshipping business even while on-the-go, Printful provides users with Android and iOS apps.
With any of these mobile apps, you can confirm incoming orders, hold orders, track order fulfillment progress, report order issues with images in real-time, and lots more.
Also, Printful frequently updates the mobile applications to add more features tailored to the needs of Printful users.
Printful seamlessly integrates with several eCommerce platforms thereby allowing online shop owners to streamline their order fulfillment process.
Some of the Printful eCommerce integrations include WooCommerce (from WordPress), Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify, ShipStation, Prestashop, Magento, Launch Cart, Gumroad, Ecwid, BigCommerce, and others.
Also, Printful integrates with popular online marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Storeenvy, Inktale, etc.
Nevertheless, custom-built online shops can also integrate with the Printful platform via the Printful API which is notable for its plug-and-play options.
However, if you do not want to connect Printful with your online shop, you can make manual orders as well – no qualms.
Selling custom printed products without profit-centric goals can make the entire process a daunting experience. However, Printful includes a profit calculator tool in its arsenal.
With the profit calculator tool, you can calculate the cost price for printed products (including Printful’s fulfillment charges).
Hence, you can set the retail price to make reasonable profits for each custom printed product you sell on your online shop.
This ensures that users have the best experience when it comes to selling their printed products with Printful.
Printful Pricing – How much does selling with Printful cost?
As earlier indicated, Printful is FREE. Also, you won’t have to pay monthly or sign up fees.
However, Printful only charges you for ordered products and the order fulfillment fee (which is $2).
If you want to make more profits, you simply sell at a higher price.
Besides, you do not have to go through the process of product manufacturing or cost associated with purchasing printing equipment, warehousing, and shipping.
With Printful, you can set up an online shop and automate order fulfillment without stress.
On the other hand, if you are using an online marketplace such as Shopify, eBay, Amazon, etc. you should take your time to figure out their commission structure, such as membership fees, transaction fees, warehousing monthly storage fees (e.g. Amazon), referral fees, signup fees, and more.
However, if you are running your online shop via a self-hosted eCommerce platform such as Magento, Prestashop, WooCommerce, etc. you will have to bear the cost for domain name registration as well as web-hosting, which might cost around a hundred bucks.
Nevertheless, the profits you can make selling your custom printed products via Printful will drown the startup costs.
Typical custom printed products you can sell with Printful
Although setting up a Printful store is an essential task, it’s also necessary to disseminate the kinds of products you can sell with Printful.
On the other hand, there’s a wide range of custom printed products you can sell with Printful, which are categorized below:
- Men’s clothing: All kinds of shirts (T-shirts, All-over shirts, Polo shirts, Tank tops, 3/4 sleeve shirts, Long sleeve shirts, Embroidered shirts), Jackets, Hoodies, Sweatshirts, Sweatpants & Joggers, Leggings, and Shorts.
- Women’s clothing: All shirts (T-shirts, All-over shirts, Tank tops, Crop tops, Embroidered shirts, 3/4 sleeve shirts, Long sleeve shirts), Hoodies & Sweatshirts, Jackets, Sweatpants & Joggers, Leggings, Skirts, Shorts, Dresses, Swimwear, and Sports Bras.
- Kids & youth clothing: T-shirts, All-over shirts, Hoodies, Baby Bibs, Leggings, Baby Bodysuits, and Swimwear.
- Hats: All kinds of embroidered hats (Dad Hats / Baseball Caps, Snapbacks, Trucker Hats, 5-Panel Hats, Mesh Hats, Beanies, Bucket Hats, Visors).
- Accessories: Bags (Tote Bags, Laptop Cases, Drawstring Bags, Fanny Packs, Backpacks), Phone Cases (iPhone & Samsung), Jewelry (Bracelets and Necklaces), Flip Flops, and Socks.
- Homewares: Coffee mugs, Stickers, Pillows (Throw Pillows and Pillow Cases), Wall Art (Posters, Framed Posters, Canvas Prints), Beach Towels, Bean Bags, and Embroidered Aprons.
- Special Collections: Sportswear, Workwear, Streetwear, Beachwear, Eco-friendly, and Gifts.
Now, that you are overloaded with several product ideas for your online store, let’s see how to go about creating your Printful store.
How to Create Your Custom Printed Products Online Store
Setting up an online store with Printful is an easy process. It’s easy to do it in just three simple steps.
To set up your custom printed products online store with Printful, follow this procedure:
1. Identify your Niche
A niche is a target market where you intend to sell your relevant products.
You can target the general market or a specific industry.
For instance, you can decide to set up an online store targeting sports enthusiasts by selling custom-printed sportswear with Printful.
Once you identify the niche you are more familiar with, make a list of the relevant products within the niche which you will sell on your online store.
Consider doing research on the latest trends regarding your preferred online store niche.
2. Decide your online store platform
One of the perks of using Printful for your custom printing business is that it gives you multiple options for setting up your online store.
Some of the options include:
- Online Marketplace: You can sell Printful products via notable online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and others.All you have to do is to sign up with any of the online marketplaces and then connect your Printful store to it.
- ECommerce integrations: If you have any existing online store built with any of the supported Printful eCommerce integrations, simply connect with Printful, and start selling without hassles.WooCommerce, Weebly, Shopify, Gumroad, Ecwid, Magento, and Squarespace are some of the few examples of the Printful eCommerce integrations.
- Custom website: If you prefer a custom-built online store, you can integrate with Printful via its plug-and-play API tool.Meanwhile, you may have to worry about development costs and other technical aspects. However, Printful offers a store setup service which is ideal for the non-tech-savvy customers.
- Manual Method: If you want to sell custom printed products offline, Printful also facilitates this via its manual order service.With this method, you simply contact Printful to make an order while fulfillment is handled simultaneously.
After deciding the technology platform for your online store, you may now proceed to create your Printful account.
3. Create your Printful Store
Follow these steps to create your Printful store:
- On the Printful official website, sign up to create your Printful account.
- Enter your name, email address, and a strong password.
- Meanwhile, confirm your email address to complete registration.
- Now, the next step is creating a product template. You can simply create designs that will be printed on the products you sell via your online store.
- Under Product Template, select your chosen product(s), design custom prints, and then review.
- The design options feature gives you myriads of options depending on the product type. For instance, while designing Women’s Fashion Fit T-Shirt | Anvil 880, you can customize with these metrics:
- Printing Technique: Printing (DTG) or Embroidery
- Preferred colors
- Design position: Front, Back, and Outside label
- To add your design to the product(s), you can upload your design, add a text-based design, or use Printful’s clipart.
- In the same vein, you can also combine different design elements. For instance, you can combine Printful’s clipart with text-based design as illustrated below.
- Now, repeat the same process for other design positions (this depends on the product). As in this case, you can design the back although the outside label is not supported.
- You can add sizes for the product (if clothing)
- Give the product template a unique name for subsequent printings and then save the product template.
- Afterward, you can view the created product template.
- The product template should display the pre-selected design parameters as illustrated below.
- Now, create more product templates based on your preference and/or selected niche.
- Afterward, you can either push your product templates to an (existing) online store or make an order for the custom printed product you just designed.
- To order custom products directly, click on the “Make an order” option
- To add the custom products to your online store, click on the “Add to stores” option
- When you click on the “Add to stores” option, you will be prompted for the following options:
- Connect Printful with your eCommerce platform
- Connect Printful with an online marketplace
- Integrate your Custom online store with Printful API
- Once you can connect Printful with your existing online store, you should be able to sell your custom printed products without hassles. Besides, you can order samples of your design to ensure quality.
In the same vein, create high-quality designs for your custom printed products as product templates and connect with your existing online stores while Printful fulfills your orders.
But that’s not all.
After connecting your online store, you still need to familiarize yourself with the varieties of Printful resources to ensure your success in the dropshipping business.
Effective marketing strategies for custom printed products
As much as you should prioritize creating unique designs for your products, you must emphasize marketing.
To promote your online store, we have highlighted some of the most effective marketing strategies you can apply, which include:
Encourage Reviews: To build trust for your online brand, you need to add reviews, ratings, or testimonials to your online store.
This will inspire your website visitors to make purchases for your custom printed products.
Use SEO to plan your product name and descriptions: SEO keywords are words or phrases that people search for using search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the like.
You can make use of Google Keyword Planner, Amazon Autosuggest, or even Ahrefs to find keyword phrases related to your brand.
Implement Video Marketing: Video marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies to connect with potential customers.
You can create high-quality videos for your products by using online services such as Voicebunny, Fiverr, Demoduck, etc. Then upload the videos on YouTube.
Dabble in Social Media Marketing: Popular social media such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even YouTube, should be considered for promoting your online store.
Remember to create visually appealing images of your designs and share them across your social media.
Run a blog for your online store: Behind news sites and social networks, blogs are one of the most trustworthy sources for information.
By creating a blog for your online store, you can provide information (or CTA) geared towards making purchases of your custom printed products.
This will not only increase sales but also increase customer retention rates.
Takeaway: Starting Line
Printful is the best print-on-demand service for anyone who intends to start a custom product printing business.
Besides, you can imprint unique designs on a limitless number of products available on the Printful platform.
Besides, you can save time, cost, and energy, and eliminate redundancies associated with running a traditional custom printing business.
Also, you do not have to worry about monthly or startup fees because the entire service is free.
So, go ahead and start selling your custom printed products with Printful today!THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.