POD services being reviewed:
Ok so first off… not all things are created equal.
This includes POD services. But before we get into that, let’s talk about what a POD service is and what it can do for you.
POD stands for print on demand. Most of these services started out as printing services for printing t-shirts. As more and more companies joined the POD service nitche, they started a veritable arms race of adding products to their printing offerings. Nowadays you can find just about anything that you can imagine on which to print your designs.
(Random smattering of products)
Many of the print on demand services will not only allow but will actually make it easy for you to link your “store” from their site to other stores like Etsy and Shopify. Of course this is not altruistic of them at all. They get their cut of the sale also so it is generally in their best interest to make it as easy as possible to sell your designs on as many platforms as possible.
Ok so on to the actual comparisons of the POD sites (and yes they ARE in order of my favorite to my least favorite)…
Printful is overall the easiest site to go from design/ idea to product ready to sell. It is a great POD platform for graphic designers and novice folks (like me!) alike. This platform has a ton of free programs for you to use to help you increase your sales and track all of your orders across multiple sales platforms.
Once you have signed up for Printful you will get access to your home page. On the Printful home page you will have everything available to you with super ease of access. The content that they produce to help their customers is what really sets them apart from their other competitors though. Everything from their tips & guides, to their videos (I actually had to use one of their videos to help me connect my products from one of their competitors sites to Etsy), to their keyword search tool and soooo much more.
Uploading your design files is done with just a few clicks. Once your design is uploaded the real fun begins! Printful has the most options for modifying your designs once it is in their system.
If, like me, you are not a graphic designer but you still have some fun ideas or are good at putting fun things together you can still take advantage of all of the great things that Printful has to offer. They offer a huge selection that you can utilize to make fun and interesting designs (like the “bite me” one pictured below.
Another thing that you can see in the picture above is a selection of Printiful’s great mockup options. This is one of the huge advantages that you will find on Printful’s design interface. For shirts and tops there are up to 7 options for mockups and various amounts for other items that are available.
One of the few downsides to Printful’s program is the fact that you are not able to choose your suppliers. That being said, they do at least tell you (as seen above) where your item is being shipped from (Super important info to both buyers and sellers nowadays.
When posting to your store (Etsy, shopify and such) the system prefills almost all of the details for you. This includes things like: the product description, size charts for the product (if its clothing obviously), you can choose to prefill your tags (see below for another amazing Prinful free tool) and sex (not yes or no)- unisex, male or female. If you want to display your product with “free” shipping, on Printful (or one of the other online shops), you can calculate it into your cost based off of their displayed shipping cost (they have an option to load it into your store as free shipping and tell you to make sure to calculate it into your posted price).
Linking to other stores/ selling sites- super easy! Three separate sections are available for connecting to exterior stores and sites. The first option is the one that is used by most people. It has pretty much all of the “normal” platforms (i.e. shopify, etsy, woo, wix, amazon, ebay, ect…). Second is through a 3rd party program called Shipstation. It is not free service though. It is an order management and fulfillment service. It has direct access to ship to major retailers like Walmart.com and others. Third is their manual order platform. This is where you can create the code needed to add the ordering directly to your website API.
Printful gives you, as the seller, access to free tools that are detailed below-
Etsy Listing Details- Prinful scans your Etsy store and quickly generates a graphics based report to help you ensure that your store offerings are completely optimized as seen below.
Platform compare- It allows you to compare the major platforms to help you decide where else you may want to diversify your product offering platforms. Which is better…. Etsy, shopify, woo, ect… Well this helps you to make an informed decision!
Keyword Scout- It is currently in Beta but it is fantastic! It is like some of the paid tools but it is currently another FREE tool offered by Printful. If, as in the example, you are planning on selling a graphic tee on your etsy store you can use this tool to see the competition, average price, average daily/ weekly total views, the most popular tags (think Ahrefs style) and various other parameters.
Billing portal- Super easy to navigate and find the subsection that you are looking for quickly and easily.
Account Stats- Again this is super easy to navigate around. If you want to know how you are doing this is the place to go! You can also export the stats to excel or google sheets to keep track of all of your orders and MONEY.
Warehousing- Unlike most of their tools this is not a “for free tool”. There are specific requirements for this tool that are easily explained and understood in their video.
Another great POD platform on which to sell your designs through. While Printify is not as easy of a platform to do design work on as compared to Printful (it seems to be more geared towards graphic designers than a wider audience) it still has a bunch of great features to assist with your product design and sales.
Printify makes it simple to choose what product on which you want to put your design. They have a huge selection of not just clothing but also a wide variety of other items.
There are two basic ways that Pritify makes it easy to load your designs and artwork onto their platform. The first is through My Files and the other is right in their product design program. One of the great features that Printify offers is that you can load your designs right from your computer, dropbox account or from your google drive.
One of the features that really sets Pritify apart from the other POD platforms is that you can choose your print supplier. This feature is extremely useful in the current COVID and post COVID world. On many of their most popular items you have 2-3 suppliers to choose from. You will be able to see where they are based, what the product base cost is, sizes available, how much shipping will cost, the average production time, the colors available and the printing areas available.
As stated above, there are not a ton of options for modifying your artwork once it is loaded onto the Printify platform but the few that they do have are very user friendly and “work as advertised”.
One of the biggest downsides to the Printify platform is that they don’t have many options for mockup once you have completed your product designs. Most of the products only have a basic one or two mockup variations with almost none of them having lifestyle options.
That being said, the rest of the process is fantastically user friendly. Printify will auto load the product description into your stores for you.
Their size chart option makes it easy to price your products based on sizes if you want the prices to be different between the various available sizes. Another metric that you can very clearly see is the profit $ and %.
As seen below, Printify offers a “one click” style store publishing to make it easy on you to publish your design directly to your linked stores.
The rest of the backend support is fairly “no frills” but still easily navigable.
Redbubble is a fun artist based POD program. Much like Printify, Redbubble is not as user friendly for non-graphic designers as Printful but it does have some pretty darn cool upsides that will be detailed below.
Redbubble makes it super easy to see what designs and products that you have in your Redbubble store. When you first log into your Redbubble dashboard you have quick and easy access to all of your products and designs.
Once you upload your work/ design you are asked to title, tag and describe it. Like Printify, you do not have a lot of options to modify your artwork once it is uploaded.
The next section is one of the big ways that Redbubble sets itself apart. Adding your artwork/ design to a multitude of products simply, easily and quickly. You have access to apply your artwork to 35 different products and their variations with just a few clicks. On many of the products you have the option to repeat the pattern if you choose to do so (as seen below).
Once you answered the last few questions seen above you are pretty much done uploading and designing your product.
Once you have decided what products that you want to have your design put onto you are then shown the mockups of your selected items with your designs on them. While there are not really any choices for your markups at least they do have your products stylized on “live” models.
On each design you are given the opportunity to share your designs/ items in various ways as seen above. The one biggest downside Redbubble doesn’t have an easy way to upload your products to your online stores. That being said, if you are planning on sharing your products via social media Redbubble makes it easier than almost any other POD platform. You are able to easily download the images and links so that you can post your products on your own sites or webpages.
So far each one of our reviewed programs has had something that has really set them apart and this next feature is what sets Redbubble apart from the other POD platforms.
Redbubble Partner Program- In short the program works as such…
Redbubble has worked out deals with the owners lots and lots of licensed designs from some of the most popular brands. When you sign up for this program you will get full access to their entire list of brands so that you can create cool, fun and amazing fan art.
So how does this program work?
Checkout the great little infographic below…
Gooten has pretty much the same feel and features as Printify. Gooten has most of the same features as Printify with a few cool additional tools that are detailed towards the end of this section.
Like most of the other POD services that have already been detailed, Gooten has a wide range of various products besides shirts available to print your designs and artwork onto. Talking about shirts, Gooten has some of the best prices as compared to most of the other POD services.
Another thing that sets Gooten apart from their counterparts is their wide range of options available for many of the products that they offer. There are lots and lots of colors and sizes available for you to choose from to easily put your designs onto more items and more quickly than other platforms (Redbubble is a close second on this metric).
You can save your product choices or publish them directly to your stores that you have linked to your Gooten account.
As was alluded to earlier…
Gooten’s cool features.
One of my favorite things that you can choose to add on to your designs is a “branded neck label”. If you are trying to build a brand or (like me) you are goofy and think it is cool to be able to put your own “mark” on clothing you will enjoy this feature. It does add a nominal cost to each item and it is not available on all products but it is still a pretty cool feature.
The second feature is, from a business standpoint, extremely helpful. Being able to automatically send order and shipping confirmation orders to your customers is great for customer service. In addition to this service being great for customer communication it can also be used as a great follow up to promote future sales.
Easy View POD Ranking Chart
My Favorite Tools to Make Graphic Designing Easier
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