As an artist or entrepreneur, choosing the right company to fulfill or dropship your on demand printouts plays a huge role in growing your sales or brand as a whole.
Some of the the top dropship or fulfillment companies in the POD industry include,
- Print Aura
- Scalable Press
What they’re and how they work
These are companies that manufacture, pack and ship a product to a customer on behalf of a POD designer, store owner or a marketplace. This is normally a paid service.
How POD Fulfilment Companies work
The customer places an order for a product, for instance a t-shirt, on a Print on demand marketplace or online store.
The marketplace or store owner automatically or manually forwards the order, customer details and shipment information to the fulfillment company or dropshipper.
The fulfillment company manufactures, packages and ships the order directly to the customer in the marketplace’s store owner’s name.
It is some form of dropshipping owing to the fact that the POD store owner or marketplace does not handle stock, manufacturing and shipping.
The store owner’s work is to showcase a virtual or intangible product which bears unique and eye-catching designs.
If customer likes and orders the product, this information is then sent to the fulfillment company for manufacturing and shipment.
In most cases these companies provide a means by which you can integrate their service directly into your store or marketplace
In a nutshell, these companies;
- Handle the stock or actual products, that is, the plain raw material/ medium on which your artwork will be printed and the final product.
- Expertise and machinery (printers and printing technologies) equired to come up with the finished POD item.
- Means to get the end product to the customer that is, shipping equipment.
Pros and Cons
They do really cut on some costs.
The main reason almost everyone loves the role of these companies is the idea of eliminating the need for a POD marketplace/store owner to possess a physical business location such as an office space or warehouse – instead, all that is required is internet access and a computer.
However, business model may come with disadvantages like;
- Reduced level of your brand control since there- will exist numerous aspects of the whole customer experience that you won’t be able to control.
- Low profit margins·
- High competition in niches and products.
Best Fulfillment/Dropship Company: What to Consider when Selecting
The number of POD fulfillment companies out there is quite huge and it is ever growing. Not all of them will fit your requirements and, unfortunately, not all offer quality services.
Following are some factors you should look into before deciding which to use or partner with. Note these factors focus on individuals who are
creating designs with an intention to sell them on POD products either via
marketplaces or their own stores.
Honesty and Openness.
Transparency is so far one of the most important factors to consider. Prioritize companies that are honest and open with general communication, company policy and any future company changes.
Consider companies that will send out notifications on multiple platforms (email, social media, website) to keep customers up to date.
Look at companies that will help you in the best way possible when things may go wrong with orders unexpectedly.
Companies that disclose any likely forthcoming issues such as major changes will allow to prepare early and make necessary adjustments that
will go along with the upcoming changes.
Understanding the pricing model of a fulfilment company is important as it will help you estimate the profit margin. Some companies charge a monthly fee while others are don’t.
Some may also charge other fees which make no sense in the long run. Of course, it is a good idea to go with those let you spend non or the least possible especially if you are a newbie.
As mentioned earlier, the main advantage of using a fulfillment company is that you will avoid upfront costs for inventory.
When choose to use a fulfillment company, your earnings come from difference between the charge on your customers and what it costs you to
get the order fulfilled.
What you have to pay refers to the charge by your Fulfillment Company. This is quite different from print on demand websites which pay designers royalties/commissions based on number of sales.
Your profits will vary depending on how much your customers are ready to pay for your products and what it costs you to fulfill their orders.
To maximize your profits, you should always choose a fulfillment company which charges low and flat costs. This is because, the lower the costs you incur the higher the resulting profits. Flat means that there will be no continuous additional charges.
One distinguishing element among-st fulfillment companies is the range of POD products they offer. Some offer unique products for different niches while others offer a single product.
In addition, it is important that some products like t-shirts are quite saturated meaning that the competition is stiff.
Choose companies that have a variety and are adding more to their list. It is important for your future brand growth or diversification.
Working with fulfillment companies involves multiple channels of communication. You will need to communicate with your print partner
and at the same time customer will need to communicate with you.
To make your customer experience superb, go for companies which have a quality 24/7 customer support system with multiple channels such as phone, email and chat
Reputation & Experience
Strong and trusted brand have years of practice and good reputation. A company with years of fulfillment or dropshipping experience is more sustainable and most likely has established concrete partnerships.
What previous customers say (either online or offline) about a company speaks a lot in regard to its reputation.
Bad reviews and low-star ratings online will obviously mean something not impressive about the company.
On the other hand, good reviews and high-star ratings will imply that customers are happy and satisfied with the services.
Check testimonials on the company’s website, check social media pages and Google Business for ratings, reviews and recommendations. Check out for endorsements from well-known people and brands.
This is yet another very important element to look into. Using a fulfillment/dropship company means that you will not handle manufacturing and shipping.
There are chances that some orders will be returned due to dissatisfaction,
error in manufacturing, issues with shipping etc.
So as to be fully prepared in case there are returns, it is extremely
important to know how the company you’ve chosen to partner with will handle these returns.
Check what the company says on
returns policy and ensure you
are going for policies that keep things fair for everyone involved.
Even in attempt to maximize profits and minimize costs, you must remember not to compromise on the quality of the materials and techniques that will be used to come up with the final product.
In a POD scenario, materials mean what the designs will be printed on and techniques refer to the methods that will be used to transfer the designs to the materials.
In addition, you will want to find out more about the printing equipment. Consider companies with modern equipment and techniques.
Be sure to physically inspect the materials so as you sure of the quality your customers will get. Your products must be good enough to earn you more revenue from the sales you make to your customers.
On services, also, ensure you’re picking companies that ship fast as stated in their terms/policies.
Customer Data Retention
Give priority to fulfilment companies that will let you access and keep your customers’ data. If you are intending to promote more products to your customers, via your own brand in the future, you should be able to retain their data.
Some fulfilment companies and marketplaces will allow you to promote your products but you cannot access your customer data.
If you’ve already found a company that allows collect customer data, here tips to make the process more effective;
- Ask your customers to submit both their email and physical address.
- Give your customers an incentive so that they submit their email address. An example of such an incentive is a discount coupon.
Your Marketing Budget
It is obvious that the number of sales you are likely to make will depend on the level of exposure your pod product gets. This means that, for people to buy your product, they need to have information about its existence.
You can either invest in advertisement or utilize existing marketplaces that already have audience.
If your POD company is a startup, you may not have enough capital to do heavy advertisements so as to drive traffic. In such a case, you should use a platform that already has wide customer coverage such as Amazon or Etsy. Such platforms give you ‘free’ and the greatest possible exposure.
POD Fulfilment Companies Reviews
This POD fulfillment company is located in Chatsworth, California .It was founded by Lauris Liberts and launched back in 2013 and there has been commendable growth of Printful over the years in the world of print on demand T-shirts. Printful offers platforms such as Shopify and Gumroad that make the P rint and shipment process more effective and reliable.
This company deals with all designs of t-shirts and hoodies. It also prints sweatshirts and Printful POD Fulfillment Company is expensive. For instance, their Black Next Level 3600T-shirt is at $19.50 that is, $14.5 plus $5 for shipping in US.
Printful has 3 fulfillment centers. Two of those centers are in the United States while the remaining one is in Europe. The fulfillment is done in-house, that is, Printful does the fulfillment all by themselves. The company uses the latest Kornit printers which result to fast printing with an average of fulfillment time of about 2 to 3 business days. Since they work with USPS, FedEx, and DHL, their shipping rates are considered to be among the best.
Their support is excellent and constitutes of 24/7 support, phone support, email support and even in person encounters. Branding services by Printful involve;
- White label where it’s all about you and your product and Printful will not have their branding anywhere.
- Custom logo where Printful puts it both in the packing slip and in the shipping label.
- Printful also adds custom branding items when sending your order, for example, stickers and cards.
The advantages of this Company in relation to other companies include the following;
- There are no costs that are set up, that is, costs such as monthly charges.
- Printful offers variety of products and brands.
- This company also makes the best choice of platform integrations through their apps.
- Printful Company also offers Application Programming Interface (API) for custom solutions.
- Sublimation for Tanks and T-shirts is available
- For easy creation of Mock-up images and the products in question, Printful Company has Mockup generators.
- There is also the option of direct manual ordering in this Company.
- Printful has systems that are easy to use and it also offer very useful tutorials.
- Printful Company has a good reputation and that gives you the confidence to work with them.
There are also some negatives associated with Printful as highlighted below;
- Their products are quite expensive and so are their shipping services.
- If your company is a startup, you may find it challenging to work with Printful since there is no direct integration with market places such as Amazon and Etsy where such startups can meet potential clients.
Printify allows you to create custom products with the design you choose and sell on your Shopify store. This Fulfillment Company manages automated POD order production. It also manages shipping directly to the buyers.
To use Printify, you will need to first install the app. You should first create an account at Printify. If you already have an account, all you will need is to sign in. Once you are signed in, you then select a product and then a print provider.
When your design profile is ready, you then should upload it in the Mockup Generator. You can then publish your product after which it will sync with your Shopify store. Printify providers are based in the United States and the UK.
- The products are fully labeled with your own brand.
- Printify handles most of the shipping and any necessary returns
- A wide range of products re offered.
- There are no minimum orders required.
- They have 24/7 customer care
- Although the services are free, there are factors that will make you incur some costs in the end.
- You must have the app installed for you to use this Fulfillment order service.
Print Aura POD Fulfillment Company is the main competitor of the Printful Company. It is based in New York. The major items that Print Aura Company deals with are t-shirts and garments. This company ensures that shipping of these items is done in separate packages.
There are exceptions when it comes to sweatshirts. You can ship sweatshirts say with any other items like t-shirts. In such a case, sweatshirts bear the initial item price then there is an additional charge for other items shipped together with sweatshirts.
- Print Aura services are relatively cheaper as compared to Printful.
- It offers Etsy Integration which makes operations easy even for the startups. Some clients who use Print Aura app state that Etsy is responsible for a great portion of their monthly sales. They also explain that, for you to use the Print Aura Etsy App, you may need technical know-how to ensure the setup is correct. Nevertheless, that is nothing to worry about since there are guidelines offered by Print Aura.
- There are no setup costs or charges per month.
- Through their apps, print aura offers a great platform for integration
- Just like Printful, Application Programming Interface is used for custom solutions.
- Creation of products and Mock-up images is made easy by the Mock-up generator.
- You can do direct manual ordering in Print aura since they make it possible for their clients.
- Print Aura’s interface is easy to use.
- This company offers great tutorials as well as a support system.
- Sublimation products are not out yet.
- If you want to sell at the lower end of the market, you may find Print aura to be quite expensive.
- Compared to Printful Company, the interface and ordering process is relatively complicated.
Your own customized products can be made using teelaunch app. As soon as a customer makes an order in your store, teelaunch will automatically create a fulfillment order in its system. There is a tracking system which ensures those orders are updated in your Shopify store immediately.
Tracking numbers appear on your orders dashboard leaving the shipping status updated. Shopify has an automated system which will ensures shipping updates are delivered directly to the customers.
Some of the products you can create using this app include; apparel, mugs, tote bags, phone cases, posters, pillow cases and jewelry.
- There are no upfront costs and that allows you to save money for growth of your business
- Everything is automatic hence the process is very fast.
- A wide range of products are offered
- Incorporates white label shipping and hence your name is usually put on the shipping label.
- Completely integrated with Shopify and hence does not allow for manual orders.
Scalable press through API usually offers a full range of printing services and fulfillment services as well.
The products offered by scalable press include; screen printing (garments), direct-to-garment (garments), sublimation (phone cases and mugs). It is integrated with both Shopify and WooCommerce. The average fulfillment time is two to three days.
The fulfillment services include the following;
The API of Scalable Press supports bulk orders and quotes. Volume discounts apply when products having a similar design are sent to multiple addresses as a multiple order.
Apart from that, when shipping orders for multiple items to the same address, they are automatically put together as a single shipping package. With split shipping, a fee of $ 1 per address is incurred.
With scalable press, there are several options that are available. The three major options are; firstly, packaging. During fulfillment, scalable press stocks and uses your packaging. Secondly is packaging slips. Scalable press prints customized packaging slips which are used to ship every package. Thirdly is ‘from address’. This address is usually customized to have the identity of your company.
Third party shipping
Scalable press through UPS, USPS, and DHL Global Mail 3rd party billing accounts supports custom shipping. Third party billing account makes it possible to select the exact shipping service which will be used for shipping. There is a chance to contact scalable press in the case of customers who have specialized fulfillment needs.
With scalable press shipping of orders is done in countries internationally. At a quote time, the shipping costs are calculated. Compared to domestic shipping, transit times are found to take longer by five business days.
If you intend to make more than 100 shipments internationally in a day, you are advised by scalable press to opt for DHL account third party pickup.
CustomCat is based in Detroit. Although it is identified as a campaign site, it offers Shopify POD app. At the moment, Shopify is the only means by which you can use CustomCat POD T-shirt Fulfillment. Usually, CustomCat advertises two to three shipping times. It offers $6 as the budget for each shirt.
- CustomCat offers their products at relatively low prices. The products are cheaper than those offered by Printful and Print Aura.
- Shipping is very fast as mentioned above since it takes between 2 to 3 days.
- This POD Fulfillment Company exposes customers to a wide range of products. The products include hats, jackets, pet accessories, and bags among others.
- CustomCat has an active Facebook which makes it easy for potential customers to get any information they need from the company.
- CustomCat offers an option of Bulk import option. It has a feature which makes it possible to import variety of products at the same time.
- CustomCat Shopify App has a requirement that users pay a monthly subscription of $30. When using this App, therefore, you must ensure that your sales cover that monthly cost.
- It only gives you an option of Shopify. With CustomCat, therefore, you cannot do manual order. Worse still, there is no option for you to check out your orders. This is a way of ensuring that you pay the $30 monthly subscription if at all you want to access the services offered by CustomCat. You will still have to pay $14 Shopify cost. This means that, not unless you are already a user of Shopify, you should try the other Fulfillment companies which are free.
- Although there are rumors on the face book App that there is sublimation T-shirt printing, it is actually not there.
- The interface and ordering process is not only more complicated than that of the other Fulfillment companies but it is also found to be buggy.
This is a T-shirt Fulfillment and POD Drop-shipping facility. Once you sell a t-shirt or any other product on your online shop, All-Over-Print connects your ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Magento, Opencart, and Woo Commerce among many others.
All you will need is to make your order which is automatically sent to Alloverprint.it where the printing is done. After printing, the product is packed then shipped.
The average time take from printing to the time you get your ready order is about 3 days. Once the order is shipped, All-over-print notifies you and sent you information like tracking number.
All-over-print reports to have happy customers all over the world. You are assured that your customer receives the shipped product with your branding all over it.
This is a POD fulfillment app for Shopify which allows the users of the app to come up with high quality custom designs. You can print a wide range of products using this app such as; t-shirts, canvas, and mugs. The benefits that arise from using this app include the following;
- It is simple to come up with a design and publish customized products straight away from your Shopify store.
- There is no inventory required. Everything will be provided by the company doing the shipping.
- You have a chance to customize watches and set high prices hence making high profits.
- There are neither shipping costs nor other hidden fees. All costs are accounted for in the product price.
- You can easily integrate with the Shopify platform.
- There is a great catalog of products which are availed for customization.