What is the best print-on-demand supplier for Etsy?4 min read
Etsy is a marketplace for vintage items and creatives to sell to customers looking to buy something straight from the creator. The marketplace has a higher perceived value compared to other marketplaces such as eBay. Therefore selling premium-priced products on Etsy is the right choice.
The best print-on-demand service for Etsy depends on your needs and what you happen to be selling. Many people forget that you can use more than one print-on-demand supplier, mixing and matching them to suit your needs. However, you should take into factor several considerations when choosing a print-on-demand provider:
- What location do they ship to?
- Where are they based? or how does their operation work?
- The quality of the products and print
- What brands they offer (For instance, there are many different t-shirt brands of varying quality)
- Customer service
Is Etsy an excellent choice to start a print-on-demand business?
Etsy is the perfect choice for many print-on-demand businesses, especially if you are starting up. I started my first print-on-demand store on Etsy. I continue to generate sales on it every day without attending to it. I now own three Etsy stores, all doing well, using print-on-demand services.
The advantage of having an Etsy store is that it’s cheap to run, and when you’re making money, it costs nothing at all. They take a small fee for each sale, and it cost 20 cents to post a listing to the marketplace.
Etsy also integrates with many print-on-demand suppliers, including Printful, the print-on-demand supplier of my choice.
It’s a fabulous marketplace to add your product to:
- Increase brand awareness.
- Generate more sales.
- Gain customer trust to eventually lead them to your online store, which isn’t attached to Etsy.
The disadvantage of Etsy is that you are competing against other sellers in the same marketplace.
Your product will appear against many others, selling something similar. You really need to stand out with your designs, price, or both.
You do not own any of your customers. Therefore email marketing is out of the question.
Marketing your Etsy store is pointless because Etsy is a shared marketplace and doesn’t belong only to your business. However, Etsy does allow sellers to create a separate store using your Etsy account on your own domain on a monthly subscription.
How do I make sales using Etsy?
First of all, ensure that there is a demand for your products or designs. You don’t want your designs to be the same as your competitors. Firstly, that is plagiarism, and secondly, your customer would have plenty to choose from. You do want your designs, however, to be unique and resonate with your ideal customer.
Etsy titles are significant. Fill your Etsy product title with the name of your product and keywords related to your products. The essential keywords you want to rank for should go first in your title. Etsy often uses it when running a search, bringing your product to the top of the search results.
Make sure that you have sufficient images of your product from all different angles. Etsy is more likely to boost your product to the top of the search results if you have more product pictures.
Your description is just as important. If your product is a t-shirt, for example, be sure to include measurements for different sizes. Try to be engaging in your product descriptions. Use related tags on every product you upload.
Have a minimum of at least 10 products when you launch to increase Etsy customers’ likeliness of being seen.
If you have done everything above you and have good designs, you should see sales organically. Optionally, you can boost your products in the search results for as little as $1 a day with Etsy ads.
What to consider when choosing a POD supplier for Etsy
When picking a print-on-demand supplier always consider shipping times, customer service, print and product quality.
Fulfillment and shipping locations
Some print-on-demand stores use local print suppliers to fulfill orders. Every time an order comes in from a customer, the POD supplier would connect the nearest print company to complete the order and ship it to your customer. POD suppliers using this system can offer fast shipping to your customers. Still, the quality and packaging are often subject to the printers themselves.
Other print-on-demand suppliers may have their own fulfillment warehouses where they print and fulfill every order themselves. For example, Printful has many locations, including the United States and Europe. Since they ship boatloads of parcels daily, it means that they can fulfill orders from warehouses closest to your customer, send it to them for cheap.
Also, when the POD supplier is printing it from their warehouse, it goes through quality checks. They can offer other services such as white-labeling, adding your logo to receipts, and dealing with customer questions swiftly.
Print and product quality
Perhaps the most crucial thing about print-on-demand is choosing a supplier you can trust when it comes to delivering quality. You should look for quality in the print, the physical product, and the packaging.
The quality of the print
What methods of print is the POD supplier using? Ensure that it is the highest quality possible for on-demand printing. It would be UV printing for phone cases, and for print-on-demand t-shirts, it would be direct to garment. If your POD supplier offers other printing methods, it is always a good idea to order samples. Always ensure that you are happy with what you will be sending to your customers.
The physical product
Print-on-demand means printing something directly onto a blank product such as a phone case, bottle, or t-shirt.
Does the POD supplier offer to print on the products you plan to sell? You may find yourself finding a POD supplier with the best phone case quality and price, but they don’t offer greeting card prints. You can always mix and match the POD suppliers and use both in your store.
A right POD supplier would print on high-quality products that would last longer and would not fall apart before the customer receives it. I sell phone cases with Printful, and some of my customers have had their phone cases for over 2 years because the print and matter quality are both excellent.
Always test the products you plan to sell by ordering samples.
Product brands and material
Some POD suppliers offer a range of variations and brands to choose from when printing. For example, if you are printing on t-shirts, some brands you can expect are Gildan, Bella+Canvas and Champion. You should also choose a range of different materials such as polyester, cotton, or a blend of both.
Different brands and materials also affect print quality. Always make sure to order a sample before deciding which one to go with, as some brands and materials may not print the outcome you expect.
The customer service must be responsive each time you contact them. You don’t want to fall into a pickle when your customer has an issue, and you cannot resolve it with the POD supplier.
The right POD supplier will offer free replacements for any errors on their side and speedily respond to you.
Perhaps the biggest plus to having a store on Etsy using print-on-demand has seamless integration. Check if the POD service you use integrates with Etsy.
Printful does integrate with Etsy. That means when a customer makes a purchase on Etsy, the order details are sent to Printful. They take care of all the printing, quality checks, packaging, and shipping. Each customer receives a tracking code and can see where their parcels are. Meanwhile, you don’t have to lift a finger.