Chances are, if you’ve ever heard of dropshipping, read articles on how to start a t-shirt business, or even ones about starting your own clothing line, then you’ve heard of Printful. With over 2 million t-shirts printed since 2013 and currently serving over 300,000 sellers, they’re a leading supplier of dropshipped goods and since they provide great products at a great price with great service, they’re an entrepreneur’s first choice when it comes to partnering with a dropshipper.
In this Printful review we’re going to discuss what Printful does, the products and services they offer and what makes them so good at what they do, so let’s jump into it.
What Printful Does
Printful is a dropship service provider of apparel, accessories and homeware goods such as t-shirts, hats, posters, throw pillows, mugs, tote bags, phone cases and much more. Their service is ideal for several reasons:
- They don’t require any minimum purchases, meaning you can order as little as one item at a time
- You don’t have to own or manage any inventory (no printing machines, no products, etc.), they handle all of it
- No monthly fees
- Items ship, on average, within 3 days
- They re-ship items in the event that they were lost or damaged in transit
- They offer personalized branding options such as adding logo stickers to packaging or custom packing slips
Printful provides the products, prints on the products, packages and fulfills the order and sends it directly to your customers, all you have to do is send orders to them and the order details and they’ll handle the rest. To learn more about how their process works, check out the Printful Print Order Lifecycle.
They’re in the business of helping you create products for your business, and they provide all the necessary tools and resources to help you easily integrate the dropshipping process into your ecommerce website so you can provide a seamless experience for your customers. They offer plenty of ecommerce platform integrations so you can use their service no matter which platform you choose to sell on, they’re transparent about their product and shipping pricing so you can easily understand their costs and apply it to your product markups, they provide design, photography and branding services so your products can look their best and they’re based in North America as well as Europe in order to easily reach the biggest consumer markets.
Who Printful is For
Printful is for ecommerce entrepreneurs who want the ease of selling dropshipped products without losing quality or their branding in the process. Whether you’re looking for a way to sell your own designs to your customers be it on custom t-shirts, canvases, phone cases, pillows and more, or if you’re interested in starting any kind of product-based business without the hassle of owning inventory or production materials, then Printful is for you.
They’re continually growing their services and product offerings, and because they’re so receptive to their customer’s needs and wants their amount of sellers continues to grow. Their efficiency, transparency, high-quality product offering and varied selection are part of the reason why they’re so successful, and their ability to work with businesses to help them provide the best service for their customers is what keeps them growing.
You don’t have to have any prior business experience when it comes to working with Printful. The services they offer are accessible to both seasoned entrepreneurs as well as new business owners, so if you’ve never started your own business or haven’t sourced products from a supplier before then give Printful a try! There’s no minimum order requirement, no monthly fees, you only pay for orders as your customers make them so it’s a low-risk way to start your own business.
If you’re interested in learning more about what dropshipping is check out our post, Dropshipping 101: What is Dropshipping? But if you already have a handle on what dropshipping is and you’re looking for the right supplier to work with, Printful could be your best choice.
Let’s learn more about Printful’s features and services.
You don’t have to have any prior business experience when it comes to working with Printful. The services they offer are accessible to both seasoned entrepreneurs as well as new business owners.
Printful’s Features & Services
What they provide sellers extends far beyond just their product offering and standard dropshipping services. Those are both a huge part of what makes their service so valuable but they also offer other tools and resources that enable sellers to set up their stores more easily, create more beautiful products or just generally help sellers use Printful’s service to its fullest extent.
Printful’s product offering falls mainly within the apparel, homeware and accessories categories and every product they offer can be printed on. Their product offering currently includes:
- Framed Posters
- Coffee Mugs
- Throw Pillows
- Tote Bags
- Phone Cases
- Beach Blankets
For more information about their products and product pricing, check out Printful’s Custom Products page. If you’re interested in dropshipping a product that you don’t see offered on Printful yet, check out their Upcoming Product & Features page to see if it’s coming soon. They listen to their sellers and they add new products regularly, so if there’s a product you want to see just let them know via their New Feature Requests page.
There are several different printing methods but the ones that Printful sticks to are Direct-to-Garment (DTG) printing as it’s a cost and labor effective way to print single order items (and the reason why they don’t require minimum orders), but they also offer all-over sublimation printing for some clothing items, screen printing in some cases (for large orders only) and embroidery for hats and coming soon for apparel.
When it comes to printing, Printful makes it easy for you. You don’t have to worry about picking the best printing method for the item you’re printing on, every product offered on their website is printed in the way that best suits the product, so you don’t have to research different printing methods and their pros and cons, Printful’s got it covered.
Check out Printful’s Printing FAQ page for more information and answers to commonly asked questions.
Warehousing, Shipping & Fulfillment
As Printful provides a dropshipping service, there’s no need for you to ever handle or manage any of the product or inventory, and you don’t handle the packaging, shipping or fulfillment aspects either. Printful stores, prints, picks, packs, ships and fulfills every product, so you never have to.
This is why dropshipping is such an attractive business model for entrepreneurs who are starting their first store or don’t have a large budget to invest in product inventory or manufacturing tools. It provides a low-risk way for sellers to provide great products to their customers, and it allows sellers to focus on other aspects of their stores such as the designs, branding, customer service or marketing without having to worry about the technical side of things like printing products and shipping them.
This does, of course, mean that you’re paying for Printful’s services and for providing warehousing, shipping, and fulfillment in order to make it a low-risk business model for you. While you don’t pay for their service in monthly fees or minimum orders, your profit margins will be affected and will be smaller than if you were manufacturing products yourself. This disadvantage is not exclusive to Printful, it applies to the dropshipping business model as a whole. It is, however, an important aspect of dropshipping to keep in mind so you can prepare your margins accordingly.
Warehousing & Fulfillment for Ecommerce Stores
Printful also offers a warehousing and fulfillment service where they’re able to store, pick, pack, and ship products on behalf of merchants — they don’t even have to be Printful products! Printful has created a sophisticated network of shipping, fulfillment, and logistics solutions that they now hire out to merchants who need access to these resources.
With this service, you can store products sold at either your ecommerce store or their warehouse and they’ll fulfill your orders and ship your products directly to your customers under your own brand name. This is an ideal option for ecommerce merchants who don’t want to handle shipping and fulfillment themselves or don’t have the resources to operate a shipping warehouse, or even don’t have the expertise to create an efficient and cost-effective global shipping strategy. If this sounds like a service you need, learn more about Printful’s Warehousing and Fulfillment Services for Ecommerce Stores here.
As one of the many services Printful provides beyond just offering great products and a fulfillment service, they also offer design and branding services to help you take your business to the next level.
One of the biggest problems with dropshipping via another company is that your branding can come under compromise. Without being able to use branded packaging or adding small touches such as packing inserts or branded receipts, you’re losing out on a majorly important aspect of building your brand. Printful has recognized this hardship and offers a few branding options to help make it more personable between you and your customers. Their branding options include:
- Brand stickers to use on shipping boxes
- Inner shirt labels
- Outer shirt labels
- Customizable return address
- Packing inserts
These options help detract from the impersonal impression that dropshipping can give and helps to maintain your brand consistency from your website to the products your customers receive. To learn more about the branding services Printful offers, check out this page.
Printful’s experienced team can also help you with the design requirements you might need to get your ecommerce store off the ground. Not only can they help you prepare print files for Printful products, but they can also help you with any other design needs like redesigning logos, creating sublimation print files, color-matching print files, making minor adjustments to print files, creating new graphics, creating custom artwork and more. Even if you’re launching on other platforms like TeeSpring, Society6 or Kickstarter, the Printful design team can assist you with the creation of any designs, artwork or graphics you need.
This is an ideal service for the ecommerce merchant who has an idea of what designs they want to print on their products but aren’t sure how to bring it life or the store owner who wants to outsource the artwork creation so they can free up some time to handle other aspects of building their business. With Printful’s dedicated design team you’ll be in good hands, so if this is a service you might require, check out Printful’s Design Services page here for more information.
Ecommerce Platform Integrations
Printful integrates with the most commonly used ecommerce platforms, and installation for most of these platforms is easy and fast. Integrating Printful with your ecommerce store means that you don’t have to manually handle each customer’s order and submit them to Printful yourself. When you integrate Printful with your ecommerce platform each time your customers place an order it automatically gets sent to Printful so you don’t have to handle it at all. This means that orders get sent to Printful immediately and there’s no chance of losing the order or making a mistake on the order details throughout the transition.
Printful integrations are available with these ecommerce platforms:
- Big Cartel
- Shipstation (which acts as a 3rd party app to connect to platforms Printful can’t otherwise integrate with such as Squarespace, PrestaShop and more)
- Alternatively, you can connect your store to Printful via an API integration
For more information about the platforms Printful integrates with and comparisons of each one, check out Printful’s Ecommerce Drop Shipping Integrations page.
Helpful Tools & Resources
As we’ve mentioned before what makes Printful such a valuable service to use is that they’re committed to not only providing great service through their product offering and fulfillment responsibilities, but they go the extra mile to help sellers use Printful to its fullest extent.
The tools and resources Printful provides to help their sellers sell better include:
- Printing Tips: They provide plenty of articles that are easily accessible through their homepage to help sellers understand the different printing advantages and disadvantages such as DTG print file transparency, fabric facts, sublimation printing facts, garment printing facts, and information on how to create embroidery files.
- Mockup Generator: Use their mockup generator to apply your designs digitally to their products to either get a sense of what the finished product will look like or to create product images for your ecommerce store.
- Profit Calculator: As we’ve mentioned, the dropshipping business model inherently means you’ll be working with slim profit margins, so use their profit calculator to determine exactly what your margins will be for each product so you can budget your markup accordingly.
Samples: In order to sample items for yourself or test out their products, they provide discounted product and shipping prices to sellers.
- Checklist: Check out their checklist to help you set up your store with Printful in the quickest and most prepared way possible.
- Blog: Printful’s blog is a valuable resource to go to if you’re interested in learning more about their products, services, integrations or how to actually build your store the way you want it. They’re experts on their products and services, so if you need any more information about what they do, check out their blog posts.
- YouTube Channel: For video walkthroughs and demonstrations, check out their active YouTube channel to learn more about their products, how their products are created, new product or service offerings and more.
Pros & Cons
While Printful offers many different services, resources and tools that are valuable for their sellers, there are still some aspects of their services that they are working to improve. Let’s dive into the advantages and disadvantages of using Printful as a dropshipping service provider.
- USA & European based warehouses, therefore easily accessible to those major consumer markets
- Low-risk business model
- High-quality products
- High-quality printing capabilities
- No minimum orders
- No monthly fees to use their service
- Transparent shipping prices
- Ship out products to customers, on average, within 3 days
- Customizable branding options
- Re-shipments for lost or damaged products
- Plenty of online resources for guidance on their products and services
- Automate your business with their ecommerce platform integrations
- Their product selection is tailored to the apparel, accessories, and homeware good categories only
- Slim margins for dropshipped goods
- Although some branding options, they are limited (you can’t use your own boxes, poly-mailers, tissue paper or anything beyond what customizations they offer)
- Some products, such as the framed posters or canvases, may not ship everywhere
Ultimately, Printful offers the best dropshipping service when it comes to apparel, accessories and homeware printing and distributing. They may not have a massive product offering but what they do offer is high quality, and they strive to get it right every time. They also work with their sellers to continuously improve the products and services they offer whether that’s getting new types of products in or adding more selection to what they currently offer. Their drive to offer high-quality products and services and to constantly improve their products, tools, and resources is why so many sellers choose to work with them.
Printful’s pricing varies for each product they offer, so for all the information regarding their product’s pricing, refer to their Products & Pricing page. Printful also does not require any minimum orders or monthly fees, so you only pay for their products when your customers order them from you.
Printful provides the best apparel, homewares, and accessories dropshipping service in North America, and now that they’ve started working out of a base in Europe, they’re sure to rise to the top there as well. Their high-quality products coupled with their valuable printing, shipping and fulfillment service make them an easy choice for sellers who want to start their own business without the risk associated with purchasing large quantities of product or expensive equipment upfront. They go above and beyond simply offering a dropshipping service as they aim to improve seller’s experience with their services by offering useful tools and resources to help them provide a better experience for their own customers. If you’re interested in starting your own ecommerce store via a dropship business model, we highly recommend checking out Printful.