Printify Review: The Lowest Prices, But at What Cost?
Printify is one of the most prominent players in the Print on Demand game. With over 250 products in their catalogue and years of e-commerce under their belt, they offer fun, creative and varied options for any online store that integrates with them.
When you're building your first products for your Print on Demand store, it's essential to know where you're going to source them from. In this review, I'm going to be discussing Printify based on my two years of running a store that was integrated with them, as well as my two years as a Shopify guru, where I helped hundreds of Print on Demand stores.
1. Product Selection
Printify does a fantastic job offering exciting and off-the-wall products that you wouldn’t normally expect to see from a Print on Demand service. Every PoD integration offers shirts and hoodies, but Printify offers so much more than that, with tumblers, flip flops, fanny packs, pet beds, Christmas stockings, area rugs and so on.
This is possible because Printify is a conglomerate of multiple Print on Demand warehouses as opposed to a single service. This force of print houses allows Printify to offer any item that ONE of its warehouses can print.
Additionally, Printify occasionally features some limited products or adds a special item collection such as the ‘Eco Friendly’ range. It’s a great way to discover new options for your store.
Printify’s product selection is one of its biggest strengths, and I think any store trying Print on Demand could use Printify for at least some of its products, as there are options you’re just not going to find anywhere else.
2. The Product Editor
Thank you, Printify, for giving me all the data about the image I’m working on within the editor.
It makes life so much easier to see the exact measurements of a design. Making small adjustments to a product is infinitely more accessible than the common alternative—dragging things around and praying it snaps into the correct position. I love the fact that I have access to the numbers so much.
Additionally, if you’re a photoshop person, Printify has a cute little download button so you can directly download the design template PSD into your computer, and then upload it to Printify once you’ve worked on it within a more serious graphics editor.
That being said, there are still some imperfections with the system. 3D designs always leave some guesswork about the seams, and I do wish that they had Printful’s ‘pattern’ feature for uploading a single small design to be repeated across a product. Overall, these are minor complaints compared to the quality of life that the Printify designer offers.
I don't know how some of Printify's print houses make money on the products they offer. A lot of the time, the prices you are offered for products are impressively low, and must reflect a thin margin for the printers.
That said, I'm not worried about how they make money, I'm more concerned about my business's bottom line, and Printify is excellent for that.
For an example, look at the Bella Canvas 3001 (one of the most popular shirts on the market.) You can pick it up from Printify for $12.47, shipping included. The same product on Printify’s biggest competitor, Printful, costs $16.94.
For the products, I'm sure there is occasionally a touch of 'you get what you pay for' when it comes to different warehouses offering different prices, but historically I haven't noticed much of a connection between the price at a warehouse and the quality they have.
It’s also worth noting that you can choose from each of Printify’s 90+ print suppliers on a per-product basis, meaning you can always shop for the best deal. Keep in mind that the shipping cost varies by supplier, so it's not always obvious which printer offers the best value.
4. Printify Premium
No one is a fan of monthly subscriptions, but hear me out.
The standard (free) tier of Printify isn’t a watered-down version, it has everything you need to source print on demand products. There are no limits placed on things like image resolution, product availability or product designer features.
Printify Premium is a monthly subscription that saves you up to 20% on printing costs for $29.00 a month. If you’re a high volume seller, this is a very big deal. To get a similar discount off Printful's prices via bulk discounts, you would need to be making orders valued around $25,000.
You can get an idea of how much you could potentially save by checking out Printify's product catalog. They display the discount amount on all items.
Printify has direct integration with 6 platforms, which is more than what most PoD companies offer. The options they do integrate with are some of the biggest names in e-commerce, like Shopify and Wix, but there are some pretty substantial misses, like Squarespace.
This is partially salvaged by the fact that Printful does offer API integration, where you can plug it into pretty much any platform, so long as you have the technical know-how.
I say partially, because the reality is anyone running a shop on Squarespace (a novice-friendly website builder) is unlikely to bother getting their hands dirty with the API. The public API is really meant for self-managed online stores or third-party plugin developers, but in any case a first-party solution is always preferred.
Of course, if you're using one of the six they integrate with, the integration is quick and easy and no glaring issues are to be found.
2. Order Management
Printify is relatively hands-off once an order has been placed, which is essential for keeping your business running smoothly. Production starts on your customer’s order right after they purchase them.
The only thing that holds Printify’s order management back slightly is the lack of a mobile app.
Competitor Printful has a mobile app, and it makes my life a whole lot easier as an entrepreneur. I wish Printify had an app to simplify those moments where I need to edit an order while on the go.
It’s worth noting that Printify doesn’t offer storefronts as part of its system, so the store management is really just for handling the products once they’ve been ordered. For order details that aren’t related to the printing side of things, you’ll normally be using your store’s management system (e.g. Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix etc.)
The Printify mockups are high quality, and most of the time, the product you see in the mockup is identical to the one you order, but...
There's just not enough variety.
Like most mockup generators that come as a part of Print on Demand platforms, the mockups tend to look bland and generic.
They will be fine for product pages, but probably won't cut it for marketing purposes. Stick with premium mockup generators, PSD T-Shirt/Item templates or, better still, order samples and hire a photographer.
We need to talk about print quality.
More specifically, we need to acknowledge that not all of Printify’s 90+ partnered print warehouses are made equal.
When I first ordered samples from the service, we got several products. Two of them, the tote bag and the skirt were made of excellent material, and the prints have aged well after two years. The other two products we ordered were T-shirts from a Warehouse that is no longer part of Printify.
Both of the shirt designs cracked after a few washes. They were thrown out. Printify’s different warehouses can’t offer a consistent metric of quality. You need to be careful with your ordering, which can be rough as someone just starting out in Print on Demand. I’d highly recommend buying and testing a sample from the specific warehouse before selling at volume.
The same product ordered from the same warehouse tends to have consistent quality, but the fact there’s always a gamble is a pretty big negative.
Printify is a solid choice for stores that want a varied offering. Many of their ‘off the wall’ items are way more appealing to show in advertisements than a plain T-shirt. Even if you’re already integrated with a different Print on Demand service, I’d highly suggest you add Printify to your e-commerce store just to have access to those extra options.
Additionally, Printify has the lowest prices around and comes with a stellar product editor. There are many more positives to the service than there are negatives.
As I said above, the print consistency issue means you should really order a product sample before offering it in your store. This really raises the buy-in cost for Printify, and beyond that, I’m personally more comfortable working with a service that I know is going to be high quality 100% of the time.
So, who should use Printify?
Printify is excellent, and I, among many others, use it in my stores for a reason. The low product cost makes it one of the most profitable platforms. At high sales volumes, this is truly invaluable, and as long as you test samples in advance, there won’t be any quality issues.
However, for those just starting out, you’re not going to be worried about making a couple of extra dollars on each order. You want to be confident your customers are getting good quality without having to order samples on designs up front. In the early stages, customer loyalty and establishing a positive reputation is paramount. Printful caters to newbies better, and you can learn why in this comparison article.
Printify is a winner, but needs to be handled with extra care.