Are you thinking of using print-on-demand?
Hi, my name is Mei and I help makers, artists and designers make a living selling their products online.
Why Choose Print-on-Demand?
As you know I use Shopify and with my husband’s new personalized art shop that we started in 2019, we use both Printful and Gooten – each for different reasons.
Printful and Gooten are both free to set up and don’t have a monthly fee or minimum order requirement.
That’s the beauty of print-on-demand!
Here’s where the integration does its magic.
You put your products on to your Shopify or Etsy site and when your customer buys the product it is automatically sent to your Printful or Gooten account where it’s fulfilled and sent directly to your customer!
You don’t have to do anything with making or shipping the order!
Printful integrates with a ton of platforms.
It’s easy to connect your Etsy or Shopify store and they’ve got great instructions for how to do that.
What You Can Get
This can be a little confusing because not all products are available in every countries.
You can get everything from:
- Phone Cases
- Household Items
- Wall Art
How it Works
Fulfillment to delivery means printing and making the product and shipping it will take 7 to 14 days – depending on where you’re sending it to.
That’s how long the customer has to wait from when they place their order.
Of course, that time is a lot longer if you’re shipping internationally.
One downside with Printful is their product line is quite bland.
A lot of t-shirts, for example, are only available in basic colors like black, white, and maybe grey.
My experience with them is that they’re affordable, relatively fast and the integration with our Shopify platform was seamless.
The quality and variety aren’t always what I need though.
In some ways, I think it depends on your business and what you need as to how suitable Printful’s product range is to you.
Customer service, however, does generally get a big thumbs up – and the good reviews are glowing.
The good things about Printful:
- Easy integration with lots of platforms
- Lots of fulfillment and distribution warehouses
- Extremely easy to use
- They have a tiered monthly discount system based on previous months sales
- Fast turnaround times
The not so good things about Printful:
- The frames that we use for our wall art can look cheaply made
- Starting prices can seem high in comparison to Gooten
- Some items are not shipped to all countries
- Not as many product options compared to other POD (print-on-demand) companies
Now let’s talk about Gooten.
Gooten doesn’t offer anywhere near as many integrations as Printful, although Shopify and Etsy are available (the important ones, in my opinion).
How it Works
The big appeal for us with Gooten is their product catalog is much larger.
You also have more options and variants for each product, like more sizing options and more color options.
If you’re looking for a unique product to sell, then Gooten is a great place to start.
They have more unusual items including things like:
- Dog Beds
- Baby Items
I’ve found the quality of Gooten’s products to be superior to Printful’s.
We don’t get the sense that their product is cheap when we have the product in our hands and can feel it in person.
With that being said, we have had issues with the Gooten user interface especially when we first started.
Which has meant that in the past, we made some silly mistakes.
One example of this is that the ‘cancel order’ button is too easy to accidentally click on!
Once you click it there’s not even a confirmation asking if I really want to cancel my customer’s order – it just cancels it!
So, we have gone through a bit of a learning curve with Gooten and now we are much more careful because we know how their interface works.
For shipping, Gooten tends to be a little faster except sometimes in the US.
There are no bulk pricing options with Gooten so what you see is what you get.
The good things about Gooten:
- Great product range with lots of options
- Great quality
- Base prices are competitive
- Great out of stock functionality especially on Shopify
- Relatively easy to use
The not so good things:
- Interface and integration is not the most seamless
- No bulk discounts
- Production times can be slower
- Postage costs are a killer
Let’s break down the pricing differences between Printful and Gooten.
If we do a direct comparison between a poster print like what my husband sells in his shop, we can see how much the difference in Gooten’s shipping prices make to our overall costs.
Say someone orders an 8 x 10 framed poster print.
With Printful the base price is $18.50 – for one of these the shipping is $9.99 and for each additional item, it’s $4.
This means if a customer buys one 8 x 10 framed print it will cost us $28.49 (we’re ignoring bulk discounts on sales here and just using base prices, by the way).
If I had 2 of these printed it would therefore cost us $50.99.
With Gooten the base price is similar at $19.90.
But, by the time you add the postage, we’re looking at $48.89 for one item and $82.79 for 2.
As you can see the postage with Gooten makes the costs go up a lot and this is obviously a big downside.
However, whenever we get complaints about our frames, it’s almost always a Printful product.
So, we tend to sell a lot more with Printful because the costs are lower and we pass those savings on to our customers, but the quality with Gooten is better.
For our customers that are willing to pay a little more, they get an overall, better quality product from Gooten.
We’ve integrated both with our Shopify store and this works great for us as it gives our customers the choice. I wouldn’t say that one is particularly better than the other.
They both have pros and cons that can weigh each other out and our business seems to work well having both options available.
If you’re just starting out, you might not want to juggle two POD platforms.
I hope this post will help you understand the differences between Gooten and Printful and help you make an informed decision that is best for you and your business.
If you enjoyed this post leave a comment below, or let me know what your experiences with POD have been.
Don’t forget to check out my YouTube Channel for more great handmade business tips!