Print on Demand (POD) style services are definitely here to stay. As technology continues to advance, incomes increase globally, and the demand for customized clothing increases, this trend will continue to grow. Many entrepreneurs across the world are now looking to the best print-on-demand apps for Shopify to launch their online businesses.
There are a number of different ways to enter the online entrepreneurship arena. It all depends on what your personal interests are, the capital you have available to you, who your target audience is, and how involved you want to be in the production and delivery processes.
Monetizing an audience, creating a line of clothing, or creating a specific niche, can be a challenging business model.
With print-on-demand services, you are basically fulfilling the demands of your audience without having to design and create your own line of products. Personalized pod products can cut down on design costs as well as speed up the product delivery process.
Usually, Shopify is the go-to option for print-on-demand entrepreneurs and I understand why it’s a great software solution.
You can see my thoughts on the platform below.
However, choosing the best print on demand app as a Shopify retailer can be a tricky decision. Choosing the right app will ensure you can truly meet the needs of your customers.
There are many Shopify apps that you can work with to get your production line going. Before you make a decision, you will need to take each app’s products, functionality, and shipping capabilities into consideration.
We’re here to help speed up this process by providing you with our insights and top recommendations. Before you start I’ll assume you know the answer to How does Shopify Work? If you don’t have a read of my guide.
What to Look for in a Print on Demand App?
There are a few basic features that you should look for while searching for the best print on demand app for your Shopify store. Here are our recommendations for what you should keep in mind:
- Shipping: A proper POD Shopify app needs to take care of the production and shipping. Dropshipping store owners need to be mindful of how long production takes, where the company ships from, standard shipping times, and shipping costs. All of this will factor into your prices and your customer service.
- Printing Options: Ensure that you do proper research on the customization and printing techniques that the POD app offers. Do their capabilities match your requirements?
- Extra Features: Some companies offer extra incentives that can set them apart from the rest. Make a note of the extra features and compare them before you make a final decision.
- Recommendations: Printed product solutions are different in nature. Meaning, they are better suited to some business models than others. Some apps allow for full customization, while some only allow for limited personalization. Deciding on the extent of the customization you want to offer will help you decide on the right app for your online store.
- Product Catalogs: A lot of platforms offer a range of different of products that can be customized. You should go through the catalog properly before you work on your Shopify store. Take your target market into consideration to make it easier to choose products that would appeal to them. The products should also match your brand’s personality.
All of these factors will affect your store and determine what you can offer your customers. You will have to market and create a store based on the products you choose, which is why doing proper research is so crucial.
If you want to understand more about dropshipping I’d recommend reading my guide on How Shopify Dropshipping Works It’s a popular method for a reason.
The Best Print on Demand Apps for Shopify
If you are planning on opening an eCommerce store on Shopify, or even Etsy, research is essential. Here are some of the most popular and well-known POD apps that you can use to finally launch your own online business.
Printify has one of the most vast vendor networks. This means that they have partners across the globe that source materials and print products for them. For your online store, this means that the production times, packaging, location, shipping costs, and products will all depend on the vendor you choose.
Printify offers embroidery, sublimation, direct-to-the-garment, and cut and sew POD styles. If you choose the premium monthly plan, you will get a 20% discount on all orders. This can be great for eCommerce store owners who don’t have a huge budget to spend on production and want to streamline their profits. Printify offers more than 250 different products that can be customized according to your needs.
- A huge line of products to choose from
- Exclusive 20% off for premium users
- They handle the printing and shipping for all your customers
- Production vendors can be chosen by you, which gives you more control over your store, shipping times, and materials
- You control the final product prices
- Products will be shipped under your brand name
- Price has to be adjusted for each small variant
Printful is one of the most popular POD Shopify apps since it offers over 220 customizable products, including t-shirts, mugs, frames, and more. Sublimation, cut and sew, embroidery, and direct-to-the-garment options are available. They ship out products in 2 to 5 business days in Europe, Mexico, and the US, which can be great for beginners. On average, their standard shipping cost is about $3.99.
As a newbie, you can take advantage of their 20% discount on new sample orders. Printful integrates very smoothly with Shopify, as well as several other online marketplaces, so you shouldn’t experience any issues.
- Easily price products yourself
- The app takes care of the shipping for you
- Fast shipping can be an attractive selling point
- There are dozens of free designs that you can take advantage of to create your own product line for the store
- Discounts are available for sample orders
- You can offer customization options to your clients too
- A huge range of products to choose from
- Mock-up generator can help you get a better sense of how your designs will look
- No refunds if the product is damaged or lost during shipping
- Cannot mass-edit different variables for products
- Costs are slightly higher than some other apps
Teelaunch is known for its quick shipping. Orders tend to take 3-6 business days if shipping to Canada, the UK, and the US. Shipping costs are dependent on the destination and product, but Teelaunch have made it easy for you to set prices by providing a detailed breakdown of costs and shipping times.
Teelaunch offers cut and sew, laser etching, and direct-to-the-garment techniques. They have over 120 products that can be customized, including clothing, dog bowls, journals, balloons, jewelry, and more. The product personalization tool allows you to upload pictures onto each product or add a name yourself. You can also auto-generate high-quality mock-ups for products, which can be a great selling tool for your store. These quality products can be the all-around solution you need to turn a profit.
- A great line of personalized products, including unique items such as Bluetooth speakers and phone chargers
- Generate high-quality mock-up images to make it easier to sell your products
- Easy integration with online marketplaces like Shopify
- Teelaunch takes care of printing and shipping
- Shipping and tax costs will be less since Teelaunch has a global presence
- No upfront costs
- There have been more than a few complaints about their customer service
- Integration capabilities are limited
- All fulfillment is outsourced, which limits control over the process
4. LuLu Express
Lulu Xpress ships to over 150 countries from the UK, Europe, Canada, and the US within 3-5 business days. Shipping prices start from as little as $3.99. Lulu Xpress specializes in print on paper, so their line includes greeting cards, magazines, journals, calendars, workbooks, and similar items. You will have control over the trim size, paper type, color, print quality, finish, and binding type. This gives you more room to create the perfect product each time.
Lulu also has its own marketplace where you can sell your books through popular bookstores. This app is the perfect option for creatives, illustrators, authors, animators, photographers, and teachers who want to monetize their talents.
- Best app for paper print on demand products
- A huge variety of paper-based printing options
- High control of different variables, ensuring you can control the end product and price
- Ships to many different countries, which can increase the potential market size
- Has its own marketplace where you can sell your designs and books
- Only does paper printing, which is a very specific niche
5. Custom Cat
Custom Cat usually takes 2-3 business days to produce orders – their production line is in the US. From there, local shipping takes around 1-7 days and 4-15 days internationally. This can be a problem for customers who want their products quickly. Shipping costs are also high since domestic shipping starts off at $4.99 – international shipping is $7.50 for the first item.
Custom Cat offers sublimation, embroidery, direct-to-the-garment, and 3D diffusion dye options. It also has a premium plan which can give you access to the lowest prices in the market. This can help you streamline your profits and offer competitive prices to your consumers. Custom Cat has a huge range of unique products, which can help your online store stand out. You can take advantage of the biggest catalog among POD apps, consisting of more than 550 products. This can set you apart from your competitors.
- Boasts the largest collection of products in terms of POD apps
- Offers some of the most unique products, which can give your store an edge over others
- Gives you access to the lowest prices through their premium plan
- Automated emails give you shipping tracking details, which can increase your ability to provide better customer service
- You can customize your own products as you see fit.
- Long shipping standards
- Shipping tends to take longer than other apps
T-Pop’s production line is based in France and products generally take 2-4 days to be ready for shipping. Orders can take around 2-3 working days to deliver locally and 3-7 days if shipped within Europe. Other international orders take 5-10 days. The standard shipping rates are based on weight, so you will have to check the shipping costs per product.
T-Pop offers sublimation for accessories and polyester, and direct-to-the-garment techniques for cotton apparel. They ship products under your brand names and boast eco-friendly packaging, printing, and products. This can be a great selling point for your store too, since many clients love green companies. This app is perfect for people who want to sell in Europe or want to work with an ethical supply chain. T-Pop’s product line includes hoodies, shirts, tote bags, baby bibs, cushions, and more.
- Ethical, eco-friendly production and shipping with a strong zero-waste policy
- Offers an impressive range of products
- Perfect for shipping in Europe
- Long production times, which can deter some customers who want their products quickly
Recommended Read: Shopify vs. Etsy – How to Choose the Right Platform
Well done for taking the time to read this article, if you’ve got this far you are probably someone that takes action so well done! Before i conclude this article i wanted to share a video with you that i think you might enjoy. I run through a number of powerful T-shirt ideas and i share my strategy for creating viral t-shirts (Let me know what you think).
Anyway let’s get back to concluding this article…
Shopify and other marketplaces such as Etsy and Woocommerce offer you the opportunity to design an eCommerce store with ease. My favorite thing about shopify is the ease in which you can connect to useful apps and services. The best print on demand apps for Shopify should make your life as an online entrepreneurship that much easier. They are key to reducing business costs, whilst increasing profits.
A lot of these Shopify apps are designed to give you room to have a large product range for consumers, whilst avoiding the headache of the logistical work. T-Pop is the best Shopify app for people who want to market their products in Europe. Other applications like Printify and Printful offer the chance to expand your products across the globe.
If you want a niche-specific store that focuses on paper printing, Lulu Xpress is the best application for you. If you want unique products that no one else may be offering, Teelaunch and Custom Cat are the apps you should be considering.
At the end of the day, the best print on demand app for Shopify is the one that best meets your specific business and market requirements – these needs will be different for all of us but hopefully this article has provided you with some useful information.
Another tool I want to mention is Teespring, now currently they don’t integrate with Shopify (They stopped this a year or so ago) but if you are interested in print on demand you might enjoy reading about some of the benefits.
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!