All of us are familiar with drop shipping but have you heard of print-on-demand dropshipping? This system lets you sell customized merchandise online without having to carry any inventory. It’s an interesting eCommerce model that can be adopted by newbies as well as established businesses. If you like to explore a new niche market, stick around while I show you how to make money with Printful.
How Does Printful Work?
Printful is a printing and order-fulfilling service that creates personalized merchandise across various categories such as clothing, accessories and home decors. These are all white label products meaning that you can apply whatever designs you fancy and market it as your own.
When orders are made, they are delivered directly to Printful and they will handle the printing and delivery of the products to the customers, on your behalf. Any business that is interested to sell their own merchandise online under a unique branding, can use this program. This includes;
- Anyone who wants to start an eCommerce site in a specific niche.
- Sellers who want to add personalized options to their existing online store.
- Project startups like Patreon creators who want to sell merchandise to their fans or followers.
- Local businesses that want to order custom-made products for their employees or clients.
- Affiliate marketers who are interested in promoting Printful as an eCommerce tool. This is a good option if you want to show how people can start a low budget online business in the print-on-demand niche. This can be done through blogging or social media sharing.
Printful also provides warehouse and fulfillment service for sellers who carry their own products. You can learn more about that from this page here.
What Do You Need to Sell With Printful?
Before selling anything online, it’s important to have a marketing plan in place. That means knowing who you’re selling to and what platform to use.
(1) What kind of audience are you targeting? Even though Printful has a heap of products, it doesn’t mean you should be selling every single one of them. It pays to target a specific niche – baby products, leggings for women or home decor for example – so that you can attract the right kind of buyers and improve on sales conversions.
(2) Where to source for designs? When it comes to selling print-on-demand products, the quality of your designs is crucial because it can either make or break your sales. Printful has got its own clipart library but they are just basic stuff. Unless you’ve got a creative stroke, coming up with a good artwork can be challenging for some people.
Luckily, this task can be outsourced to someone else as long as you’re willing to pay. Over at the Fiverr marketplace, you can hire many freelance designers at relatively low rates. However, for professional results, it’s better to use Upwork or 99Designs. Remember, you get what you pay for.
(3) Which eCommerce platform to use? Printful can be easily integrated with many platforms to allow for flexible selling.
For example, you can choose to sell on Etsy or through your own storefront. I personally prefer the latter method as it gives more control over your marketing direction.
Setting up a Shopify store is an option for local businesses. But if you’re willing to learn some technical stuff, creating a WordPress store can yield a lot of benefits. What you’d need is to install the (free) WooCommerce plugin and a Printful plugin. Both of these can be synced so that whenever products are being updated on your Printful listing, it will automatically display on your WooCommerce store as well.
The following video provides a quick tutorial on how the process works.
If you like to do a test run, use this builder tool to create a free WordPress site and see what those two plugins can do for your business.
How Much Can You Make With Printful?
Making a profit from the merchandise is pretty straightforward. Printful takes a sum from the orders they received to cover the product cost and printing (not inclusive of shipping and taxes). What is left will be your earnings. Simply put;
Retail price – Cost per item (fixed price) = Earnings
It all depends on the price you’re selling. For example, if you want to make $10 profit from unisex T-shirts, you would sell at the following prices.
Some pricing adjustments are needed after you factor in shipping costs and taxes. You can either choose to pay these fees yourself, split it into half or pass the entire costs to the customers. The choice is yours.
If you’re a Printful affiliate, your earnings are calculated based on sales commission. So for every new customer, you refer to the platform, you’ll earn a 10% from every order they make for the next 9 months. This percentage is based on the product price minus any applied discount. You need to have a PayPal account and a minimum of $25 in your balance to initiate a payout.
The Advantages of Using Printful
(1) Good quality merchandise – Besides designs, product quality is equally as important and Printful doesn’t seem to fall short in this aspect. American Apparel and Hanes are among their manufacturing partners so one can expect durability, comfort plus great printing work by the printers.
As a result of these positive experiences, people are likely to recommend or return to your business for more purchases in the future. If you want to feel the product quality yourself, you can always order a sample before listing for sale on your storefront.
(2) Zero platform fee and scalable profit – As far as platform service is concerned, you only pay when orders are received. Even so, you get to decide on the selling price (the recommended minimum is 30% profit margin) and thus your profit. In fact, the more you sell, the more discounts you can get for higher volume orders.
(3) No inventories, no technicalities – That’s the beauty of dropshipping – you never have to touch the products, handle printings or deliveries as they are all managed by Printful. This allows you more time to focus on creating good designs for different merchandise and marketing your brand to appeal to larger audience size.
(4) Wide affiliate marketing opportunities – If you look closely, Printful’s merchandise and print-on-demand features are suitable for a variety of niches. You can talk about fitness, food or jewelry and still find something relevant to offer the audience. Before joining the program, however, make sure you’ve already got a blog (WordPress preferably) up and running using a custom domain name. The team will want to review this before accepting you into their program. If you’re new to affiliate marketing, visit this comprehensive training to learn everything from website building to online traffic generation. It’s free to join!
(5) Vast knowledge base – Dropshipping, eCommerce, and taxes – these are all unfamiliar terms for many people who are new to the business. Luckily, Printful has got a huge knowledge base, equipped with elaborated articles and video tutorials to walk you through the process step-by-step.
The Downsides of Using Printful
(1) Limited mock-up images – When selling online, you want the products to look attractive but if you’re relying on the images provided by Printful, it’s going to look rather flat or dry. Some people have resorted to ordering samples and taking their own photographs, so this is an extra step you may want to consider when setting up your store.
(2) No control over printing and fulfillment process – As with most drop shipping models, you have no control over stock supplies, shipping time or defective items. The first person to discover all these are usually the customers and if I were them, I wouldn’t be too happy about it.
Ultimately, this could result in more product returns leading to negative effects on your business sales.
Overall, Printful is a good platform to start a dropshipping business with an interesting segways into the print-on-demand niche. Although the merchandise is common stuff, personalization makes it appealing to certain groups of people and that’s the key point to selling these products.
The low entry barrier makes it easy for aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the eCommerce market and allow businesses to focus more on marketing than having to worry about costs because you only pay after you earn. If you’re not all that into designing or dropshipping, promoting the platform as an affiliate is still a viable way to make money with Printful.
For me, the entire platform setup has seemed to find its way to the heart of every business, startups, and organizations that want to grow their brand online as well as offline. It’s definitely worth trying if you have some creative ideas brewing in your mind right now. Meanwhile, check out my recommended training platform for more guided coaching on how to start an online business with your passion.