With so many print on demand suppliers to choose from, picking the right print provider can be the difference between having a successful eCommerce business or coming up short.
In this article we compare two of the biggest print on demand companies there are, to help you choose the one that’s right for your eCommerce business.
What is Print-on-Demand?
Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which a print provider creates and stores digital files of a customer’s images and artwork, and prints them onto chosen products, only after the customer receives an order.
This differs from the traditional printing process, in which copies are printed and then stored regardless of whether there is an order or not.
Using POD in conjunction with an eCommerce platform like Launch Cart allows businesses to sell custom-printed merchandise without having to invest in inventory, maintain a print shop or handle shipping or fulfillment.
There are many POD companies to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Printful and Printify are two of the market’s biggest players, which is why we are comparing them in this article.
What are Printful and Printify?
Printify and Prinful are both print on demand companies that provide print and fulfillment services for online entrepreneurs, influencers, and custom merchandise.
The two suppliers being compared take different approaches to providing the print on demand services of printing, fulfillment, and shipping as explained in the following sections.
Printify is one of the largest print on demand suppliers and is used by many sellers across many different selling platforms.
- Founded in 2015 by James Berdigans and Artis Kehris
- Their mission: To help merchants make more money with less effort
- Used by over 2 million sellers
- 10,000+ products produced daily
- 100+ Print locations
Printify can be considered a software company as they do not do any printing themselves. Instead, they provide a print on demand platform that links sellers to a vast array of print partners all across the globe.
- Product catalog of over 500 products
- Competitive pricing
- Premium plan that reduces costs of products by 20%
- Easy to use platform
- Large choice of print on demand suppliers
- Lots of integrations – including Launch Cart
- Outsourced printing can lead to quality issues
- Quality varies between suppliers
- Poor order routing for out-of-stock or international orders can cause delays
- Slower customer service due to the involvement of third party fulfillment partners
- Expensive global shipping
Printful is the goliath of the print on demand industry and is more than three times the size of Printify (based on items fulfilled). They do their printing in-house and have fulfillment centers all across the globe.
- Founded in 2013 by Davis Siksnans and Lauris Liberts
- Their mission: To help our customers grow brands that make a lasting impression
- More than 1,700 people are employed in their teams across North America and Europe.
- £1.03bn sold by customers through Printful
- Over 1 million items are fulfilled each month
- High Print Quality
- Global Reach
- Volume based discounts
- Discounted product samples
- Easy to use platform
- Lots of integrations – including Launch Cart
- More expensive than Printify
- Smaller product catalog than Printify
- Some products a not availabe globally
Printify Vs Printful - Detailed Comparison
Both Printify and Printful offer easy to use print on demand software with the ability to drag and drop designs onto products and see a real-life representation of what the design looks like on the product before publishing it to your online store.
In the case of clothing, Printify offers only flat lay mockups whereas Printful offers model mockups as well. So, with Printful the photos you push to your store look more professional and stand a better chance of connecting with your audience, without the need of downloading other mockups from sites like placeit.net
Printful also gives you access to their mockup generator so that you can create additional mockups for a product and download them in JPG or PNG format for use in your online store.
As Printful does their printing in-house and owns the fulfillment centers used, they have end to end control of the production process. The outcome is better print quality and fewer issues than some of their competitors. Printful has built a reputation for high-quality printing, albeit at a slightly higher cost.
Printify on the other hand does not print or fulfill orders themselves, instead ,they use a network of print partners across the globe to complete orders and dropship them to your end customer. Print quality varies from one print partner to the next and it can take some time to find the right one.
As neither Printful nor Printify manufactures the actual base products, we have not compared the product quality in this article.
Both Printful (21) and Printify (8) integrate with eCommerce platforms and marketplaces to enable orders to flow automatically from your eCommerce platform of choice through to the print provider, with order updates flowing the other way.
Printful provides the ability to place a manual order, provides access to an API, and integrates with the following 21 platforms:
- Amazon Marketplace
- Launch Cart
Printify provides the ability to place a manual order, provides access to an API, and integrates with the following 8 platforms:
- Launch Cart
The great news is, that both print suppliers integrate with Launch Cart so you can use either, or both of them in your Launch Cart eCommerce store.
Product and Shipping Costs
To ship a Gildan 18000 sweatshirt to a US customer costs
- $18.50 plus $7.99 shipping with Printful
- Ranges from $15.15 to $20+ and $8 shipping with Printify.
Printify offers a cheaper product cost and the shipping rates are pretty much the same. So with the same retail price, you would make higher profit margins with Printify
However, that is not the end of the story. Printify offers a monthly subscription service called Printify Premium which reduces the base product cost by 20%, so in this example, the sweatshirt would cost $11.67 but the subscription costs $29.99 per month. So if you have regular sales coming then it could be worth investing in the subscription with a view to increasing overall profit margins.
Printful’s discount offering works differently and is solely based on the volumes of sales you make. There is no monthly payment, however if you sell over $1,000 a month, Printful will apply a 5% discount for the coming month and continue to do so whilst you stay above the $1,000 threshold.
Sell over $10,000 a month and Printful applies a 9% discount to product costs. Not quite as high as Printify, but there is no monthly fee involved.
Fulfillment and Shipping Time
Printful’s production time is 3 to 5 business days with 97.66% of their orders shipped within 5 business days. More than 50% of their orders are shipped within 3 business days or fewer.
Printify states that almost all orders are shipped within 2-7 business days from the order submission date.
Shipping times are similar 2-5 days for both providers for domestically produced items.
It’s worth keeping in mind that some of Printify’s products are printed in China so will take a lot longer to deliver.
If you are looking to sell products globally Printful has the upper hand here as they have fulfillment centers across the globe, they are able to produce the item at a location closer to the customer, reducing both the shipping cost and the time it takes to deliver the item.
Total Cost and Profit Margin
If you sell predominantly within the US and pay for Printify Premium then you can make significantly high-profit margins with Printify.
However, if you sell globally and do not want to manually reroute your orders to other print providers within the Printify partner network, then Printful could be the better option because a sweatshirt produced in the US and sent to the UK the shipping cost is $15.
Whereas Printful will only charge you $7 to ship the product to the UK as they will automatically route your order to their UK production facility.
So there isn’t a simple answer as to which of the print-on-demand companies will help you make more profit, it depends on what you sell, where you sell it, and whether you are happy with some manual intervention to reroute orders to cheaper print partners within the Printify network.
Conclusion - Which Supplier Should You Use For Your Print on Demand Business
As the companies take a different approaches to providing print and order fulfillment services an exact comparison is not straightforward.
There are also a lot of considerations when choosing a supplier, such as:
- Do they sell the products you want to sell on your online store?
- Do they ship to, or have a fulfillment center in your primary target market?
- How many sales are you getting / do you expect?
- Are you prepared to pay a monthly subscription for better prices?
The good news is that with Launch Cart, you can add both dropshipping companies to your store and test them both out.