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The Ultimate Printful Print On Demand Guide

This is our complete guide on how to get started with Printful print on demand.

If you want to learn how to get started with your own online store where you sell custom products (such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, framed prints, leggings, …) and start a real online business — you came to the right place.

I’ll explain exactly how Printful works, how to start a Printful store with Shopify and give you some practical print on demand tips to get you started.

So in this Printful print on demand tutorial I’ll show you exactly how to integrate a Printful account with Shopify, how to upload products, and spell out the beginner mistakes to avoid.

This article only covers Printful print on demand, we have another guide that covers print on demand in full.

What Is Printful

Printful is a print on demand drop shipping service with multiple printing and fulfillment centers worldwide. With over 1 million items shipped every month, and over 24 million products delivered since their founding in 2013, Printful is number one in print on demand.

But unlike competitors, they do so much more than just printing.

Hence their slogan “So much more than printing”.

The Different Services That Printful Provides

  • Print On Demand — Your designs are printed on demand and sent to your customers
  • Dropshipping fulfillment — Next to using them for your printing needs, Printful also lets you use their warehouses for items not printed by them. You can rent their warehouses for your dropshipping needs and let them handle fulfillment worldwide. 
  • White-label fulfillment — Printful leaves no trace of their own branding, your logo and address are placed on the box and you can even add custom labels to certain products and add branded slips inside the package (folders, coupons,..)
  • Design Services — Printful has their own designers that you can hire to make your ideas come to life
  • Photography Services — You can hire Printful photographers to create professional lifestyle photographs of your products
  • Video Services — Next to photographers, you can also hire Printful to produce your marketing videos for you
  • Store Setup — On request, the Printful team can setup your store for you
  • Print On Demand Guides — Printful has a built-in learning platform that you can use to learn all about print on demand dropshipping, for free

Printful Integrations

Next to Shopify, Printful integrates with many different eCommerce platforms such as:

You can also integrate Printful with popular e-commerce marketplaces such as:

And for a custom solution, you can utilize Printful’s API. 

Where Does Printful Ship From?

Printful has different locations worldwide where they offer both print on demand an warehousing services. 

These locations are: 

  • Los Angeles, US
  • Charlotte, US 
  • Tijuana, Mexico
  • Riga, Latvia
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Toronto Canada (coming soon)

They also have multiple partner facilities that they utilize to speed up shipping times to other parts of the world such as Asia and oceania. 

These partner facilities are located in:

  • Amakusa, Japan
  • Victoria, Australia
  • Brisbane, Australia

How Does Printful Work?

Here’s how Printful works from the sellers’ P-O-V:

  • You sign up for Printful and integrate it with Shopify or an alternative e-commerce platform
  • You upload your designs to the products you wish to list on your store through the Printful app. During this step you also add a title, description and the mockups you wish to use — once published, these products are automatically synced with and upload to your store
  • You handle custom service and answer questions and order information from your visitors and customers
  • You handle advertising, social media and other methods of driving traffic to your store

Here’s what happens once a customer orders from the store:

  • Printful will automatically receive the necessary details from the order — this includes address, design and the product they chose
  • Printful prints the purchased product and packages it in a box with your store logo and address 
  • Printful ships out the product and sends a confirmation email to the store owner — this includes tracking information that you can share with your customer

How To Start A Printful Store With Shopify

How To Integrate Printful With Shopify

Integrating Shopify with Printful is pretty straight forward and can be done in 3 simple steps:

  • Step 1: Head over to Printful and create a new account (it’s free!)
  • Step 2: Install the Printful app to Shopify — Once installed, log in with your newly registered Printful account
  • Step 3: Use the Printful app to add products

All products that you create through the Printful app will be automatically synced with your Shopify store. This means that when a customer buys from your store, Printful will get the details and handle everything from there on out. 

The Shopify – Printful integration is quick, simple and painless.

0:00 – 1:20 Cover how to integrate Printful with Shopify.

1:20 – 4:00 Cover how to add and sync products from Printful to Shopify

How To Add And Sync Products From Printful To Shopify

  1. Pick a product
  2. Upload your design
  3. Add a title and description — you can skip this step as you can edit the title and description in Shopify afterward
  4. Pick a mockup
  5. Publish to store

How To Setup Shipping

Printful charges different shipping rates for different products and regions. This can be confusing for first-time shop owners but it doesn’t have to be.

With Shopify integrations (and Etsy, Wish, eBay,..) Printful automatically pushes these shipping rates to your storefront, so you don’t have to worry about them. 

Check out the video below if you’d rather choose to charge a flat-rate or weight-based shipping model.

Tips On How To Be Successful With Printful Print On Demand

Tip #1 — Don’t focus on T-shirts 

I get it, T-shirts are an easy product to sell. Everyone wears them and they are cheap to manufacture. But this also means everyone is thinking the same exact thing.

T-shirts are so popular, many print on demand providers have named themselves after them: Teespring, Teelaunch, Teepublic, Shirtly, …

Original, right?

And when you google anything about print on demand what do you find? Articles and videos about how to sell T-shirts online.

Yes T-shirts are easy to sell. But when you’re selling t-shirts, you are competing with thousands of other sellers.

There are so many other print on demand products you can sell, all of which will have less competition than t-shirts! 

Explore the different products and be a little more creative than becoming just another Shopify store that sells T-shirts with a cool print. 

You’ll thank me later.

Tip #2 — Use your own mock-ups

Printful lets you pick between a bunch of different mockups when uploading products to your store. 

While these are fine, it doesn’t exactly make your store look very branded, or professional. 

The limited selection of lifestyle photos quickly gets bland and you don’t want to have two products with the same exact “lifestyle” photograph as it will look photoshopped and fake.

Instead, be a little more creative and create your own mockups. 

You can do so in a number of ways. For example, you can buy samples and take your own photographs using friends and family members as models. 

Or you can hire Printful’s photography service to do this for you.

Or if you have photoshop you can download product mockups from websites like freepik, mockupworld & smartmockups.

And last but not least you can pay a monthly fee to get access to the thousands of different lifestyle mockups that placeit.net has to offer. 

Place-it lets you upload your designs to lifestyle and product mockups directly on their site, no photoshop required. 

There are plenty of options for every budget to create original mock-ups that fit your branding.

Tip #3 — Write creative titles and descriptions

A common mistake amongst Printful and print on demand sellers is that they leave the title and description almost exactly the way it came.

Here’s an example:

Please don’t use the provided description from Printful. The provided description is meant as a place-holder and just contains technical information about the product.

A good product description describes the product, creates an emotion in the reader and sells the product. 

Just having good product images is often not enough to get the customer to purchase. They often need an “extra” push in the right direction.

A good product description will do that.

For example look at this product description from..:

Another common mistake amongst Printful and print on demand sellers is that they try to sell items that are copyrighted or trademarked.

This is not just a mistake, this is illegal and can result into legal action against you and your store.

If you want to stay safe, here’s a general rule of thumb: never profit from someone else’s creation.

If you’re selling Mickey Mouse products you are playing into an existing audience of Disney fans and thus piggybacking of their fans, this is illegal. 

Even creating your own version of Mickey Mouse and selling that on a t-shirt is considered fan art and illegal unless you have written permission to do so. 

Don’t do it. It’s very simple. Don’t sell anything that doesn’t belong to you and you will never run into legal trouble.

Tip #5 — Find A Good Niche

The final tip I want to give to you today is to find a good niche and not just settle for the first thing that comes to mind.

Finding niches with little competition is hard but well worth the sweat. 

You’ll benefit way more from doing one month of research and starting in a non-competitive market than doing one day of research and end up starting to sell t-shirts to people who love football.

Final Thoughts

This Printful print on demand guide should give you a good idea of how Printful works and help you set up your printful store.

If you want a more in-depth print on demand guide, check out our other article here.

Questions or feel like some info is missing here? Let me know below and I’ll get back to you.

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