Printful Review: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough Of Setting Up Your Printful Print-on-demand Store
With the dropshipping craze at an all-time high, new entrepreneurs have begun to recognize the impressive benefits of outsourcing certain aspects of their business. New apps are constantly making their way to the market, and business owners now have their pick of services to choose from when it comes to selling, distribution, marketing and more. Those who are ‘in the know’ have started to combine the best of each service, creating powerful online retail brands in the process. One of the household dropshipping companies is Printful – who has been creating a buzz within the Print-on-Demand community for quite some time. Without further ado, let dive into our Printful Review – and how it can help your Print-on-Demand a dream comes true!
What is Printful?
Printful is a big player in the rapidly expanding print-on-demand industry, and as such, offers personalized printing of user-created designs on everything from clothing to posters. According to their site, they’ve added their magic touch to 4.2 million printed shirts since 2013. Now, those impressive numbers will just keep booming as more small business owners catch wind of the lucrative potential of print-on-demand businesses. If you’re not caught up on this exciting new business model, then click here to learn more.
Printful provides print-for-yourself services, as well as large-batch production for integrated selling on eCommerce platforms such as Shopify. Printful also advertises no minimum order amounts, white label shipping, and branding options. With these extra privileges, business owners can fully customize a Printful product according to their own brand. This is incredibly valuable for brand notoriety and is not always available with other online retail business models, such as traditional dropshipping.
How Does Printful Work?
Essentially, the production and distribution of Printful products are completely out of the seller’s hands. Printful automatically receives orders from a seller’s online store through their API, which is then forwarded to one of their factories in the US or EU. The product is then printed according to its unique specifications and placed in branded packaging. Last but not least, Printful handles the shipment of the product to its final destination – the customer!
Of course, before all of this can take place, the seller has to select the specific products and designs they would like to feature on their retail site. There is a huge range of different items to choose from, and the Printful mockup generator is a pretty comprehensive tool that streamlines the design process.
For those who aren’t so tech-savvy, Printful’s mockup generator is an excellent tool. During your initial development stage, it’s a good idea to mess around with different styles and types of products before choosing your final collection. You can use these mockups later on in your Shopify store so customers can have a clear visualization of your offerings.
You can use the mockup generator even if you don’t have a design already made, as they offer their own sample designs and customization tools. Otherwise, you can simply upload an optimized file of your design and drag it around the design platform.
Are you ready to get started? Here’s a simple 6-step guide to using Printful’s mockup generator:
1. Head over to Printful’s Mockup Generator
Printful Review: Mockup Generator
2. Select your preferred product from the extensive list on the left
3. Choose your style and model
4. Select your base color
5. Upload your own custom design file OR select a sample design, add text and clipart
6. Continue to customize your design on the back, sleeves and label using the selectors at the top
Besides the image-based mockup generator, Printful customers can also order physical sample products to review the quality of their designs. However, you cannot order a ‘blank’ product sample to check the fabric of the shirt, for instance.
Each sample order must have a design on it due to the strict regulations of the original shirt manufacturers. Embroidery samples are also available, and customers can choose from a discounted hat with their custom design, or a general embroidery sample that showcases Printful’s techniques.
Printful doesn’t just offer printing services to budding entrepreneurs- they also offer several other services including custom branding, warehouse and fulfillment for outside products, and professional design work.
This newly added service at Printful allows business owners to store (pre-approved) merchandise at their warehouses in the US and EU. They can sync your products with your online store and function as a dropshipping service for the other items listed on your Shopify site. This is a great option for those who sell a range of items and want to consolidate their products all under one roof. Hassle-free shipping options are perfect for those who want to focus on other aspects of their business, such as marketing.
As a white label dropshipper, Printful handles all the extra flourishes that encourage brand recognition and loyalty amongst your customers. They offer branding stickers for packages, custom inside and outside shirt labels, personalized company return addresses, and custom pack-ins (ie. flyers, business cards).
So, you want to sell custom products but have no artistic ability… That’s not a problem with Printful! They staff professional designers who offer custom design work (at a fee, of course) that will take your creative vision to the next level. They can adjust your files so they’re print ready, redesign existing logos, and create new graphics or custom art that can be digitized.
Printful’s most inspiring success stories
For our Printful review, we’ve broken down our favorite Printful print-on-demand retail business success stories into bite-sized chunks. Check out how these top two unique brands catapulted themselves from idea to creation, with a few manageable road bumps in between.
What: Mixed apparel with inspiring messages
Who: Dionna Dorsey, a graphic designer and creative director
Where: Washington DC, USA
Biggest challenge: Dionna balanced a full-time job while starting her online business. Finding time to get everything up and running was difficult, but she made it work by keeping a tight schedule.
Big break: Influencer marketing was the key to Dionna’s initial success. She passed out shirts to her friends and coworkers in the influencer/blogger sphere, which led to her being invited to sell at a marketplace for female business owners in DC.
Best advice: “Storytelling is the best marketing tactic”. Dionna primarily uses Instagram as her marketing channel, and shares pictures of real customers wearing her brand. This gives her audience a feeling of authenticity that translates well with consumers. She also re-markets items on Instagram that have a high cart-abandonment rate so they’re always in her buyers’ minds.
Original interview can be found here.
#2: Love MPLS Parks
What: T-shirts that represent the beauty of Minneapolis city parks and lakes. 50% of all profits are donated to People for Parks.
Who: Dan Woychick, a designer and creative strategist
Where: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Biggest challenge: Generating traffic and interest online was difficult for Dan. Most customers don’t immediately realize that they want to buy your products or support your cause, and themed merchandise is often an impulse buy. Dan overcame this by helping to organize an event in partnership with other local businesses that supported the community and introduced them to his brand. They made $20,000 in just one night, and had hundreds register for his mailing list.
Big break: In 2016, local TV stations picked up his story. Dan was invited for a morning interview on a news program, which later led to $1,000 worth of merchandise being sold in one hour. The ball kept rolling when other local news companies, such as a newspaper and a magazine, promoted his business. Dan pitched them with the idea that his merchandise is “feel good” as it helps support the local community through its non-profit initiative.
Best advice: Online stores don’t simply exist on the web- you need to find ways to raise awareness out in the real world and through traditional media. Dan participates in local events and keeps an active social profile. 2-3 months before an event, Dan starts promotion on channels such as Facebook, email, Reddit, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Original interview can be found here.
Start Your Own Shopify + Printful Business
Feeling a bit inspired? Well, there’s never been a better time to get your new print-on-demand business up and running! Here’s our fail-proof 3 step plan for beginner print-on-demand entrepreneurs:
Step One: First thing’s first- you’ll need to register your online store with Shopify. Lucky for us, they’re offering a 14 day free trial for ALL new Shopify customers.
Step Two: Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to download and add the Printful app to your Shopify interface.
Ready for Step Three? Check out our next article in PageFly’s Ultimate Guide to Print-on-Demand. Good luck and happy printing!