The rise of the digital age has seen plenty of talented and creative people expressing themselves through various mediums. Many of them go on to become popular in the respective fields, drawing in customers who want a piece of their art on products that they can carry around with them all day.
Recent years have also seen a growing demand for personalized gifts. People no longer want presents that are store-bought and “common.” Nowadays, many want items that are customized according to their taste and preferences, products that fit their specific need, and their specific want.
For instance, back when the iPhone first launched, customers were limited to the official phone cases released by Apple, which were usually simple, unadorned, and plain boring. Today, however, phone cases come in all sorts of colors and designs – from fruits to famous paintings, and even with prints of your beloved pets!
Print-on-demand services meet the need for such products, which is why they’re increasingly becoming popular. Over thousands of savvy business owners use products from print on demand platforms for their online storefronts, earning them millions of dollars each year. Even authors have gotten in on the hype, breaking down the barriers of the traditional publishing industry by using sites that allow them to publish, produce, and distribute their books without any hassle.
But there are tons of print-on-demand services out there, which makes it confusing for those who want to get in the game.
Here, we’ve broken down the niches, the competitive advantages, and the features of some of the world’s most popular print-on-demand platforms.
Niche: Kindle e-books and paperbacks
The best thing about Amazon KDP is that it allows you to self-publish your book on the platform in as little as 24 hours. The service is quick and easy for authors to use, and has a lot of other handy features, including file conversion, sales tracking, and tools for formatting textbooks, children’s books, and more.
With its low costs, straightforward interface, and significant royalty rates, Amazon KDP is the go-to self-publishing platform for many authors.
Niche: Print Provider feature
Many consider this all-in-one print-on-demand platform to be the best in the game due to their ability to print your custom designs and handle the logistics of it. Printify takes care of everything from the customization and design process to the fulfillment and billing of your orders. The platform also has a wide range of high-quality products, making it perfect for businesses aiming to offer their customers a large variety of items to choose from.
What makes Printify stand out from its competitors is its print provider feature, which gives users detailed information on the various suppliers that offer their services on the platform. Not only is each provider’s price range shown, but their average production times, available sizes and colors, and location are displayed, as well.
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, Printify is definitely for you.
Niche: Fine art prints, tapestries, and phone cases
Society6 is a bit different from other print-on-demand platforms since it focuses more on the design and creation process, rather than the “business side” of things. However, it’s a great service for artists as it allows them to upload their designs to a database that customers can choose from. With Society6, designers get to retain the rights to their work while earning money from people looking to get a new iPhone case or another wall art.
Whether you draw, paint, or digitally illustrate, Society6 gets your work on a physical product. Uploading art to the platform is a simple and straightforward process, and their pricing system is incredibly fair. For creators who want to earn passive income while exposing their art to a larger audience, Society6 is your new best friend.
Niche: Footwear and home goods
Pillow Profits is integrated with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, making it an important service for entrepreneurs and those looking to get into the dropshipping business. Users can either upload their own designs or choose from their large catalog of ready-made yet unique artwork.
This underrated yet innovative company takes on all the stress that comes with dropshipping. It prints, produces, and fulfills your orders so the only thing you’ll have to worry about is keeping track of all your sales! They also offer express shipping options so customers can get their orders in no time at all.
With a beginner-friendly interface, a wide range of products to choose from, and tons of tools and resources available to its users, Pillow Profits is unmatched and will undoubtedly disrupt the print-on-demand industry in years to come.
Niche: Comic books, magazines, calendars, in-bulk book discounts
This self-publishing platform allows authors to print and distribute their work, choosing from the site’s wide variety of sizes, binding types, and more. However, most use it for producing comic books, magazines, and even calendars to be given away during company parties and events.
Many indie publishers also swear by the platform due to their in-bulk discounts that are perfect for author signings, conferences, and book fairs. With Lulu xPress, publishers and authors alike get to save more money while still managing to publicize their work.
Their flexible formatting options, global fulfillment, and fast turnarounds make this platform one of the best print-on-demand services out there.
Niche: Drinkware and drinking accessories
Redbubble is one of the biggest print-on-demand services in the world, renowned for its high-quality printing services and a large variety of products to choose from. Based in Australia, the platform allows users to print user-submitted designs on items ranging from stationery to drinkware and to drinking accessories. Many entrepreneurs are drawn to the service’s pricing policies, which allows them to set flexible markup percentages to ensure that they receive optimal profit margins.
The platform’s payment options also prove to be appealing to business owners and those looking for a side hustle as it allows them to earn money quickly and easily. Plus, Redbubble takes on the manufacturing and shipping of all orders, which means that sellers are free to focus on creating and marketing their products.
Niche: Loungewear and Kids Apparel
Creators looking to express themselves through customized apparel and other such products should head on over to CafePress, a popular print-on-demand platform that lets users run their own online store. Joining the site is simple and even the least tech-savvy of artists will have no problem setting up their storefront!
One of CafePress’s biggest selling points is its multiple shipping options that allow customers to choose from four different delivery times. The platform’s production process is also extremely quick and items can be designed, developed, and manufactured in less than three days. This is definitely a big advantage for those who aim to provide their customers with high-quality products that are delivered at once.
Niche: Integration with Shopify and Etsy, and low shipping prices
Teelaunch is one of the biggest names in the dropshipping industry and one of the oldest apps available on e-commerce software, Shopify. Similar to other print-on-demand services, Teelaunch lets users upload their own designs to be printed on various products, fulfilling and shipping every order that comes through. Not only is the app available on Shopify, but it can be integrated with your Etsy storefront, as well.
The best thing about Teelaunch is its pricing model that provides low shipping costs even for international orders. There are also no subscription fees or any hidden fees, making it a platform preferred by entrepreneurs who desire a straightforward dropshipping system without the headaches involved.
Since Teelaunch can be integrated with your Shopify storefront, it’s easy to track and update all your orders and sales. You can even send out automated shipping notifications, which is great for your customer service and ensures that your clients will come back for more.
Niche: Self-publishing editing and design services, and genre-specific packages
Authors looking to self-publish, print, and distribute their books at some of the biggest sellers in the world will love BookBaby, a publishing provider that provides a ton of useful services. The platform helps writers print their own books and even convert them into several digital formats, if needed. One of their biggest selling points is their genre-specific packages, which involves production and distribution services tailored to a particular genre.
But what really sets BookBaby apart from its competitors is the editing and design services that it offers authors. Writers won’t have to shell out extra money hiring someone to edit and proofread their manuscript. With BookBaby, they can simply write down their basic information and receive a custom editing quote within minutes. That’s definitely helpful for writers in a time crunch!
Additionally, BookBaby offers a number of design options that authors can use to get great cover designs and interior formattings for their books. This feature is extremely crucial for authors who aren’t tech-savvy or don’t know how to configure their manuscripts
Niche: Wide range of apparel sizes
This print-on-demand service offered by Amazon lets entrepreneurs, creators, and business owners sell their own product designs without having to pay a ton of money for overhead and upfront costs.
The best thing about this service is the variety of apparel sizes that they offer, allowing sellers to cater to their entire audience. The platform is also really easy to use and the entire process from creation to manufacturing takes only a few short hours. Plus, you don’t have to worry about fulfilling and shipping your orders as the e-commerce giant handles that for you.
One of the biggest drawbacks to Merch by Amazon, though, is that the service is an invitation-only platform. Interested users have to fill up an application form explaining their reasons for joining and what they plan to offer. Since there are plenty of sellers who want to get a piece of Amazon’s sprawling empire, getting approved for this platform can sometimes take as long as six months. However, this exclusivity means that you won’t have a lot of competitors on the platform so if you have a huge social media following then Merch by Amazon is perfect for you.
Niche: Eco-friendly and sustainable products
Inkthreadable is another big name in the world of dropshipping with its wide range of products, beginner-friendly interface, and stellar customer service. The platform’s biggest competitive advantage is its focus on using eco-friendly and sustainable materials in their inks, packaging, and products. If you and your business have similar focal points then working with Inkthreadable ensures that you won’t have won’t have to sacrifice your principles for sales.
This print-on-demand service can be integrated into Shopify, Etsy, and Woocommerce storefronts, as well as the cloud-based e-commerce software, EKM, making it easy for fledgling entrepreneurs to start their own business. Many who use Inkthreadable have also raved about the company’s excellent support with questions being answered and issues being resolved in a matter of hours.
Niche: Office and school supplies, and party supplies, affiliate marketing
Zazzle is one of the oldest and most trusted printing platforms, allowing artists and designers to upload their own designs onto an online marketplace, which thousands of customers can choose from to be printed on a wide range of office and party supplies. It’s a great way for artists to get their names out there and earn a percentage every time their designs are used.
The platform’s incredible interface makes setting up an online storefront quick and easy, which means that you have more time to focus on putting up unique eye-catching designs. Zazzle also has an affiliate marketing feature, letting designers make passive income without any strings attached!
Zazzle’s biggest competitive advantage is the quality of the products that it develops. A lot of customers have said that the prints are clear and crisp so artists don’t have to worry about their designs being compromised once printed out on a physical and tangible product.
Exploring the World of Print on Demand
There are a lot of print-on-demand platforms out there and each one offers a wide range of products and services to choose from. It’s important to know what their strengths and competitive advantages are because after all, you don’t want to spend a ton of money when you’re trying to make money!