The Concept Of Print On Demand | Effective POD T-Shirt Selling Method with Shopify 2024

Print on demand
In 2024, print on demand (POD) has emerged as a revolutionary concept in the e-commerce landscape. It offers a seamless approach to selling custom-designed t-shirts, enabling businesses to thrive in the competitive market. With Shopify as a powerful platform, entrepreneurs can leverage POD to its fullest potential.
In this article, Bluefocus will provide you with the concept of Print on Demand and implement effective strategies, businesses can establish a thriving online presence and drive sustainable growth in the competitive e-commerce landscape.
Let’s dive in!

Print on Demand Concept

Print on Demand (POD) is an online money-making method where you sell products you’ve designed, such as t-shirts, mugs, hoodies, blankets, quilts, and more, through a printing platform and have them shipped directly to your customers.
Print on demand
Print on demand
Currently, Print on Demand (POD) is a highly popular online money-making method within the MMO community, reaching its peak between 2018 and 2022 with the dominance of Teespring and Sunfrog. Many individuals have been able to purchase homes and cars with stable incomes from selling these t-shirts. While it may not be as explosive as before, POD remains an attractive online income opportunity, alongside Dropshipping and Fulfillment by Amazon.

How Print on Demand WorksStep

  • Design your POD products and upload them to a platform or website.
  • Customers place orders through the website or platform.
  • The platform produces and prints the POD products according to the design file and ships them to your customers.
  • Finally, you receive profits after deducting production costs (base cost).

Who Participates in the POD Process?

  • Sellers: You, the individuals selling the products.
  • Platform: The service provider offering POD services.
  • Printing Facility: The facility responsible for manufacturing and printing the POD products (a partner of the POD Platform).
  • Online Store (Storefront): You need a website interface to sell products, with popular providers being Shopify and WooCommerce. In many cases, the POD Platform itself may offer storefront services.

The Platform, Printing Facility, and Online Store are three independent entities. Additionally, in some cases, a Platform may assume two or all three roles.

Popular Print on Demand Platforms Worldwide

Selecting a robust Print-on-Demand platform can significantly reduce various expenses such as production costs, shipping fees, payment processing fees, thus enhancing your overall profits. To assist sellers in making informed decisions and choosing the most suitable platform, Meowcart presents the top 5 most popular Print-on-Demand platforms below.

Using PrintBase

  • PrintBase entered the Print-on-Demand market in late 2023 and has quickly gained traction. In less than 10 months, PrintBase has attracted nearly 22,000 sellers and built a community of around 7,000 members.
  • Thanks to its late arrival, PrintBase has optimized features that its predecessors lacked, including competitive base costs, international payment gateways, and discounted fulfillment services. Currently, PrintBase has introduced a Personalization feature, catering to the trend of product customization in the POD market, which has been well-received and highly praised by the community.
Print on demand
Print on demand
When utilizing this feature, you can access various mock-ups in PrintBase’s Catalog, including Hawaiian shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, without being limited to just mugs, shirts, or tumblers like other platforms. Furthermore, both sellers and customers can preview images and actively place orders directly on the storefront.

In addition to providing a fully-designed online store, PrintBase also integrates effective up-sell and cross-sell apps.

  • Boost Convert maximizes conversion rates by applying social proof effects to display the activities of other customers on the store. Features include displaying recent activity pop-ups, displaying countdown timers on the checkout page, and product information page.
  • Boost Upsell automatically suggests products for up-sell and cross-sell before and after the customer’s payment. Boost Upsell provides product recommendations based on the customer’s behavior on the store, optimizing conversion rates at all stages of the purchase process.
Using PrintBase is suitable for sales teams looking to embrace the trending Personalized approach. For small teams lacking expertise in payment gateways, customer support, and fulfillment, PrintBase is highly favored for its all-in-one optimization from A to Z.
Consequently, PrintBase has introduced a built-in payment gateway called ShopBase Payment. This payment gateway is fully licensed, minimizing the risk of being blocked or suspended like many others. When using ShopBase Payment, sellers can expect to receive direct payment from customers within just a few days.

Using Printify

  • Printify was founded in 2015 and operates primarily with manufacturing and printing facilities in the USA, UK, and China. Therefore, Printify is considered a platform highly favorable for small and medium-sized sales teams, offering many attractive incentives.
  • This platform offers a free version specifically for small businesses and only charges fees for additional features. The pricing for the premium plan is also lower than other competitors, at just $30 per month, with no limit on the number of designed products.
  • The biggest advantage of Printify lies in its extensive network of suppliers worldwide, offering a diverse and unique product catalog. By leveraging local factors, products from Printify are competitively priced with shorter shipping times when selecting domestic suppliers. Additionally, the same product can be accompanied by various mock-ups from different suppliers.
Print on demand
Print on demand
Things to Note about Printify, One thing you need to know is that due to its intermediary nature with multiple suppliers, payment gateways, and fulfillment services, Printify may lack some important features. Personalization features are not included with Printify. Therefore, sellers must upload images and manually adjust them in Photoshop. Additionally, when sellers create a new account, they will have to design the UX/UI for their new store themselves as there are no basic template sets available to expedite the setup process.
Typically, with discounted monthly subscription fees and a strong supplier network, Printify is suitable for POD teams targeting niche markets with hard-to-find products. Many sellers who struggle to find mock-ups on other platforms find countless options on Printify. Moreover, for brands looking to gain a competitive edge with domestic production, quick manufacturing times, and low shipping fees, Printify is quite suitable.

Using Printful

Printful is one of the pioneering POD platforms with headquarters in various countries worldwide, such as the USA and Europe. The advantage of Printful lies in its comprehensive in-house processing, from printing to packaging and shipping. Therefore, sellers only need to create designs, and Printful will handle production, shipping, and payment processing. As it does not rely on third parties in the production process, products printed by Printful boast high quality and a diverse range of designs. Additionally, this platform offers a 20% discount on the first sample products.
Print on demand
Print on demand

Advantages of Using Printful, One of the advantages of using Printful is that it offers brand solution packages to help products stand out from competitors. These packages include adding logos to product packaging, design support, creating videos, mock-up images, and running SEO and Facebook ads. Printful can also integrate seamlessly with various e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and Shopify to increase brand visibility.

Therefore, Printful is suitable for small teams that have not yet found suitable suppliers or efficient operating systems. Additionally, it’s ideal for teams with strong financial resources, as Printful’s service fees are among the highest in the market. However, sellers will receive high-quality products, professional support teams, and a platform integrated with many new features.

Using TeeChip

TeeChip is another long-standing and reputable POD platform in the international market. In addition to allowing sellers to create their own stores, this platform also opens up an online shopping “marketplace” that brings in significant free traffic for sellers. In this scenario, sellers only need to list their products on the “marketplace” and receive a corresponding percentage of commission.
Thanks to its strong community of sellers, TeeChip stands out among competitors with big names in the industry. These communities share information, sales tips, and support newcomers entering the industry. Additionally, TeeChip is known for features such as custom domains and bulk duplication, which effectively support sellers.
Custom domains from TeeChip enhance brand value, encourage customer retention, and improve store upsell rates. The bulk duplication feature allows for the easy creation of large quantities of available campaigns.
Print on demand
Print on demand
However, due to its long existence, this platform still has many areas that are not as optimized as its younger counterparts. For example, the mock-up collection is not diverse, the support team may not respond promptly, and there may be issues with holding funds at the payment gateway.

Using RedBubble

RedBubble was founded in 2006 in Australia. It’s a global online marketplace for print on demand products based on uploaded artwork. RedBubble connects over 700,000 artists and designers from around the world with millions of fans.
This online shopping “marketplace” is known for its large and stable free traffic. Many sellers share that by uploading just 40 designs, they can consistently receive 8 – 10 sales per month even without running ads for several weeks. The advantage of no initial investment results in a relatively high profit margin from RedBubble. Therefore, sellers mainly use RedBubble as a channel to test market preferences and design appeal. Additionally, due to its SEO advantage, RedBubble can push product rankings to the top of Google search results. With zero advertising costs, sellers’ products can immediately reach potential customers.
When using RedBubble, it provides additional choices for sellers alongside the usual platforms supporting store creation, fulfillment, and payment gateways. However, selling POD on RedBubble also poses risks of account suspension. Accounts on RedBubble are often suspended without clear reasons and are challenging to appeal. Therefore, the first principle when using RedBubble is not to clone designs from others. Additionally, the platform has drawbacks such as longer design upload times and lower commission rates compared to competitors like Merch By Amazon and Teepublic.
Selling teams with strong design capabilities are suitable for using RedBubble, having many design ideas and seeking additional passive income.
Currently, there is a demand for creating multiple stores simultaneously, so sellers often experiment with various platforms to leverage the strengths of each. Large selling groups will customize their platform choices for each store based on specific selling purposes (trademarked or clean), product offerings (mugs, t-shirts, tumblers, quilt bags, etc.), and brand-building orientation.

Using Dreamship

Dreamship, a POD platform launched around 2019, is becoming a rising star for sellers aiming to build a systematic and long-term brand.
Print on demand
Print on demand
The advantage of Dreamship lies in its webinar programs, onboarding processes, and partnerships with major players like Shopify, Google, and PayPal, aimed at supporting sellers in growing and scaling their businesses.
Whitelist programs between Shopify and Dreamship, along with collaborations with Google, PayPal, and Facebook, facilitate easier scaling.

Latest Personalized Trends in POD

Once you’ve become accustomed to customizing t-shirts by uploading images or entering text for printing, that’s now a thing of the past.
In 2023, we witnessed the rise of POD websites with advanced personalized features, allowing for customization to meet the demands of any customer.
Print on demand
Print on demand
Therefore, customers can fully choose icons, images, and designs based on their preferences from the available library.

Using Shopify as the Website Solution for POD

When it comes to the POD business model, the role of the selling website is pivotal and cannot be underestimated; it requires a systematic investment.
While there are platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Wix Commerce, etc., available for POD, this article focuses solely on Shopify, the most popular and effective platform for those venturing into POD.
You can sign up for a 15-day free trial to explore more about Shopify.
Founded in 2009, Shopify gained prominence within the POD community around 2018, and by 2024, it has become the top choice for POD sellers. But why is that?

The advantage of Shopify lies in its User-Friendly Interface

Shopify boasts a user-friendly interface that allows you to navigate with ease. Tasks such as product listing, management, and interface customization are accomplished through drag-and-drop features, requiring no programming knowledge whatsoever.
Utilizing a neatly arranged admin interface and an onboarding mode, Shopify ensures that new users can easily understand the tasks they need to complete to prepare for branding and website promotion.
According to Bluefocus surveys, Shopify is over 25% easier to use than BigCommerce and over 10% easier than Wix Commerce.

Connecting and synchronizing products with POD platforms

As the world’s leading ecommerce website platform, Shopify is the top choice for connecting with POD platforms.
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You can easily connect and synchronize products and orders between Shopify and platforms like Printful, Printify, CustomCat, Dreamship, Teezily, GearLaunch, and more.
Print on demand
Print on demand

The process of connecting and syncing:

  • Connect your Shopify store with Oberlo.
  • In Oberlo, select the products you want to import from Aliexpress to Shopify.
  • When you receive orders from Shopify, go to Oberlo to place orders from the supplier and ship them to the customers.
  • Advantages: Oberlo and Shopify allow you to utilize the vast supplier ecosystem of Aliexpress and automatically place orders from suppliers when orders occur.

Fulfillment request from the warehouse when orders occur

If you’re using a third-party warehouse and orders occur on a website using Shopify, you have 2 options:

  • Fulfill via API: Connect to the warehouse’s API (if available) and send order information for the warehouse to process the order.
  • Fulfill via email: Send an email to the warehouse with order information for them to process and ship to your customers.

Setting up PayPal/Stripe Payment Gateway

  • Shopify allows you to connect with the world’s most popular payment gateway, PayPal, with just 1 click, enabling you to receive payments from all around the globe.
  • Additionally, you can register for credit card accepting payment gateways such as Stripe, 2CheckOut, etc.

Utilizing Facebook Ads, Google Shopping automation

One of the advantages of Shopify is that it allows you to connect with Facebook Ads and Google Ads accounts to automatically create ads on these platforms.
Conclusion, Bluefocus emphasizes the significance of Print on Demand as a revolutionary concept in the ecommerce landscape. With the potential for seamless customization and robust platforms like Shopify, POD offers entrepreneurs a lucrative avenue for online revenue. As demonstrated, the diverse array of POD platforms provides sellers with ample opportunities to thrive in the competitive ecommerce market.

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