Print on Demand has made it possible to start a full-fledged business without having to worry about product inventory, shipping and raising massive startup capital.
You get to focus on creating awesome designs and exciting products while someone else worries about the most difficult part of the business – the back end.
In this review, I look at Gooten which is a relatively new fulfillment-only POD service and see whether it is worth integrating into your business.
I'll look at the service from the aspects that make up a good POD service so that you can leave with all the information you need to decide whether or not to source your products from Gooten.
POD Fulfillment Services vs. POD Marketplaces
Print-on-demand is a diverse market and it is useful to differentiate between a fulfillment service and a POD marketplace for the sake of clarity in this review.
While both types of services print shirts and other products in the same way, the major difference is that POD fulfillment services only handle the backend of your business operation, i.e., production, shipping, and customer service. You still need to have your own store to sell products.
Print-on-demand marketplaces also handle the frontend of the business (in addition to the backend) including listing your products on a marketplace, directing traffic to your store, providing a point of sale, and hosting your store.
Gooten is a fulfillment-only POD service and you need an existing online store to sell products.
How Gooten Works Step-by-Step
One of the great things about Gooten is that you don’t have to be a tech wizard to make it work for you. These types of services are designed specifically to be user-friendly.
1. Create a Gooten Account
Creating a Gooten account is fast, easy, and best of all, 100% free. Go to the Gooten website and click Signup. Enter your name, email address, and password to set up your account.
2. Choose Your Products
Gooten has a wide range of products to choose from which we'll get into a little later. For now, choose the products that you wish to put your designs on from a variety of categories.
3. Create your designs
Just like with other POD services, you can upload your designs directly to Gooten and place these designs on the products that you have selected. The process is pretty simple and there are prompts along the way to ensure that you have the correct combinations, resolution, etc. You can also name your product, add a description, and get it store-ready.
4. Set the Price
Gooten has a very transparent pricing model and you will see the base price of every product that you select. Your profit will be the amount of money you make above the base price plus shipping.
5. Integrate Gooten Into Your Store
Once you are happy with your product, you can now integrate your store with Gooten. The products will be exported to your store and your clients won’t even know that you are affiliated with Gooten unless you want them to.
Why Signup for Gooten?
There are many factors that you will have to take into account before you decide that Gooten is for you. In this section of the review, I detail the various components that make a good POD service while relating these aspects specifically to Gooten. This should give you all the insight you need to make a final decision.
Just as with other POD services, there is no upfront cost to using Gooten. You don’t have to pay a monthly subscription or any other fee until you get an order on your store and need Gooten to fulfill it.
Gooten's pricing is completely transparent. You need to cover the cost of the printed product and shipping. Gooten has a handy calculator so you know how much everything is going to cost before you work out your store's pricing. You can view the full Gooten price list here.
Gooten prices are very comparable to Printify. That's because they both outsource work to third-party print facilities. While that comes with some downsides, the biggest upside is that the prices are the lowest around.
One of the best things about a fulfillment-only POD service is that you get to keep full control over the front-end of your business.
Gooten currently integrates with Shopify, Etsy, and WooCommerce (source). It's not an impressive list, but these three platforms are the most ubiquitous.
For the less technically inclined, Shopify is probably the best bet since the integration is as simple as entering your Shopify URL in your Gooten account and following the prompts.
Powerful Gooten API
The Gooten API is really worth mentioning in this review because it opens up a whole new world of integration possibilities for store owners who know their way around coding.
The powerful REST-based API gives you optimum control over your e-commerce experience and allows you to process your orders exactly to your liking. You will be hard-pressed to find this level of control and autonomy at most POD marketplaces.
The API is what you'll need in order to integrate Gooten with e-commerce platforms besides Shopify, Etsy, and WooCommerce.
Probably one of the most convincing reasons to try out Gooten is its shipping network.
If you're need access to a truly global market, Gooten has your back with over 40 different manufacturing locations including the United States, Europe, Canada, and Mexico. Most items are shipped from the manufacturer closest to the customer.
Gooten offers three shipping options for most items: Standard, Expedited and Overnight. All of them will provide a tracking URL.
Product Catalog and Print Quality
Gooten has over 140 products and continues to expand its catalog. There are also different variations of some of the products giving you more diversity and range in terms of your design options and product offerings.
The company's production partners are integrated into the Gooten API and receive standardized order information when an order is placed.
Additionally, the company conducts regular audits to ensure that only the best suppliers are retained in the Gooten network.
There is no such thing as a perfect print-on-demand service and a young company like Gooten is bound to be rough around the edges.
The first is the relatively hit-or-miss product quality. Since Gooten outsources its production, there is no real way to enforce consistent quality control. This leaves you at the mercy of multiple production sites depending on the order location, making it almost impossible to guarantee that the customer will receive a product that lives up to your standard 100% of the time.
Secondly, the shipping is expensive and slow compared to the competition. If you pick standard shipping, US shipping will take between 5-12 business days. Compare that with Printify (who also outsource production to third-party print facilities), who typically ship to US addresses within 2-7 business days for the same price.
Another disappointment is the bad mockup generator. Leading POD platforms offer decent mockups, where the overlaid design is adjusted to look natural on the base image. However, Gooten's mockup generator is super basic, and simply drops your graphic onto the item, resulting in unrealistic results like this:
Lastly, orders may arrive in separate packages. This is because unlike POD services that own and manage their print houses (e.g. Printful), Gooten might source individual products from different factories. If your customers often buy different things together like shirts and mugs, it's preferable that orders are shipped as one package.
Are There Any Good Gooten Alternatives?
Printful is arguably Gooten's biggest competitor and is yet another fulfillment only POD service that is worth checking out. Printful has a slightly larger product catalog of more than 200 different products compared to Gooten's ~140 products.
Also, Printful handles its production in-house with production facilities in the United States, Europe, and Mexico. The product quality is a little more consistent, but the pricing is higher.
Lastly, Printful offers more store integrations than Gooten and even lets you integrate with marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Gumroad, Inktale, Ecwid, Wish, Storenvy, BigCommerce, Squarespace, and more.
You can read our full review of Printful here.
Printify is very similar to Gooten in that it outsources production to its partner network.
The company is more mature than Gooten and as such has a lot more going for it. It has a vast 250+ item product catalog, cheaper and faster shipping and nice features like a free mockup generator.
You can read our Printify review here.
Bonus Tip: Don't Limit Yourself
The good news is that you don’t have to choose one over the other since your store can easily support multiple POD services at the same time.
Working with multiple POD suppliers makes things a little more complicated, but offers you greater product selection and lets you shop around for the best price.
Verdict: Should You Use Gooten?
The great thing about a fulfillment-only POD service is that you retain full control of the front end of your store while letting someone else deal with the headache of production, shipping, and customer service.
Gooten provides a solid platform that will get quality products to your customers and leave plenty of room for a decent profit margin.
That being said, Gooten would not be my go-to choice for new businesses looking to source printed merchandise. They are a young player in the market, and in its current form, the platform just isn't as well-developed as the likes of Printful and Printify.
The company itself has said they are not prioritizing newbies, and are more focused on delivering the best possible service for established companies. If you're already selling merchandise in volume, it's definitely worth getting in touch with their partner team and seeing what they could do for you.