best-print-on-demand-sites-the-definitive-guide-featured-image

Best Print-on-Demand Websites: The Definitive 2017 Guide

print-on-demandmarketplacesexplained-1

The Best Print-On-Demand (POD) Sites To Sell Your Art Online This 2017

A List With The Top Marketplaces To Sell Tshirts

The on-demand production revolution is here to stay. Artists who are not yet part of this movement are missing out on a great opportunity to monetize by exhibiting their art online. Technology has now enabled creatives to make one of a kind products that can be personalized, printed or manufactured, and be delivered to your doorstep in just a few days.

Selling art online gains momentum as artists from every corner of the world go online, upload their designs, and make them available for everybody with no geographic limitations whatsoever. These websites empower savvy and not so savvy artists to make extra money and on the other hand, allow consumers to acquire unique designs and fully express themselves through them.

These Print-On-Demand marketplaces provide a low-cost entry to markets that used to be difficult to access. These websites ask for no up-front payments, provide secure financial transaction channels between artists and customers, and guidance for the artist to succeed in making a living out of their work. Artists and creatives need just a few minutes to set up their designs, upload them and make them available for sale, printed on a coffee mug, a t-shirt, a hoodie, or even on a duvet cover.

Day by day more and more users are opting to buy online over traditional shopping. Consumers are growing tired of making super rich companies richer, instead, choosing to acquire t-shirts, sweatshirts, iPhone cases, etc, from less industrialized providers, ideally independent artists. Add to this the ever growing need to express the self by owning original products that few or almost no one else has, no wonder why several companies have leveraged a profitable business model that is definitely here to stay.

Print on Demand platforms allow consumers to browse through virtual art galleries that feature original designs created by the most talented artists around the globe. These web-based artist communities foster artist to artist support which has been the propeller of top of the line art creations.

Creatives can stop worrying about finding material suppliers, distribution partners, and shipping companies; leaving this burden aside allows them to focus on what they do best, creating jaw-dropping art. With no apparent risks and no up-front payments to get in the game, these POD marketplaces are the place to be. Selling your graphic designs, your art, and making it available on physical products has never been easier.

Without further ado, I will now guide you through a curated selection of Print-on-Demand sites that stand out from the rest due to their long and respectful trajectory, a key differentiator, Social Media following, web traffic, or superb print quality.


Continue reading, or skip to a specific section of this guide:


redbubble-logo

About Redbubble

Redbubble is an online marketplace for print-on-demand products based on artwork submitted by a diverse community, this is one of the main players of the game. Redbubble’s domain receives quite heavy traffic according to Alexa’s Traffic Rank, the heaviest traffic from the print-on-demand marketplaces listed on this article.

Sellers/Artist here’s what to expect from Redbubble’s marketplace:

A wide variety of items are available via Redbubble. Graphic T-shirts, Hoodies, Scarves, Mini Skirts, Postcards, Notebooks, Stickers, Smartphone Cases, Duvet Covers, everything!

What about returns? Well, Redbubble has you covered. You can either get a replacement order or store credit, they will even give you your money back if you are not satisfied with the purchase. It’s important to know that due to the print-on-demand nature of Redbubble, orders are printed and shipped within 24-48 hours, not too bad right?

Redbubble starts paying artists for successful sales each 15th of the month and take up to 5 business days to pay every single seller, regardless if you sold one item or five hundred items, you will get your well earned money each month around those dates.

You can choose to be paid via direct deposit into a PayPal account, a bank account (Australian, US, and UK bank accounts only).

Redbubble Profit Margin Explained:

Redbubble items’ retail price is a combination of their base prices and the profit margin each artist decides to add on top. So for example: if you are in Canada and want to sell a Graphic T-shirt in Canadian Dollars the base price is $30 CAD and you set a 20% ($6 CAD) markup then the $30 base price plus your $6 markup make for $36 retail price.

Due to the print-on-demand nature of Redbubble, orders should be printed and shipped within 24-48 hours. Find out more about Redbubble shipping process here.

Here’s an excellent guide on how to add your designs to Redbubble and start selling ASAP. The easiest and fastest path to start selling your design on every product that Redbubble offers is to upload it at 13500×11462 pixels (king size duvet cover dimensions). If you need to know more about dimensions and formats you can check this guide.

Head over to Redbubble Blog to stay in the know with the latest seller tips for Redbubble.


About Teespring

Teespring allows you to either create and sell products by uploading your designs or you can also upload your design and get custom apparel for yourself or your company. Choose the sizing and quantity that you need and get your order sent to your doorstep with just a few clicks.

Artists/Sellers, here’s what to expect from Teespring’s marketplace:

Teespring campaigns last from 3 to 21 days. Teespring makes you set a sales goal (sell 50 tshirts for example) but that doesn’t mean that you have to sell all 50 of them to get your product printed, Teespring will print your campaign as long as you sell enough to make a profit. This is a great feature by the mere reason that setting goals in life always helps.

etting-sales-goal-teespring-placeit-blog

Teespring profit margins explained:

When you create a Teespring campaign, you can set the selling price of your products; when a product is sold the profit you get to keep is the difference of the selling price and the base cost of the item you are selling. So if the base cost of a long sleeve tee is $10 and your selling price is $19; when a long sleeve tee from your campaign is sold you will earn $9. The more items you sell from a campaign, the cheaper the base cost will be, so aim high to earn more!

Teespring categories are quite peculiar, in a good way. T-shirt designs can be browsed by Age, Family, Hobbies, Animals, Locations, Sports, Music, Occasions and alike. Is this one of its main differentiators from other shops? Maybe. Click here to learn how to create Teespring Facebook Ads and start boosting your designs!

US-bound orders take from 2-5 business days to arrive when selecting rush shipping, and 10-13 business days for standard shipping. International shipping can take 10-16 business days once production begins if you are in the US, Canada, or anywhere in Europe. Rush shipping is also available.

Get the full info on shipping times, shipping costs for the us, and shipping costs for Europe and the rest of world.


society6_logo_white

About Society 6:

Society6 allows artists from anywhere in the world to upload and sell their original works as 30+ premium consumer goods. It’s a very active community and marketplace where talent and quality can definitely be found. Art Prints is where they perform the best and one of the main reasons Society 6 is so unique. Another cool Society 6 feature is that artists can become curators and get a commission for recommending and helping fellow artists sell more. Learn more about becoming a Society6 art curator.

Artists/Sellers, here’s what to expect from Society 6’s marketplace:

Among this marketplace’s many benefits are: hassle free shopping and that once your order is placed, you can expect your products within 4-14 days if you are in the US or Australia, and within 2-4 weeks if you live anywhere else.

Society 6 Profit Margin Explained:

You can set your pricing only for art prints, framed art prints, and stretched canvases. The rest of the products have default royalties set for the artists and can’t be modified. The following image shows every product available through Society 6 and the set (or not set) royalties for each one of them:

society6-artist-margin

In order to provide the best quality to your customers on every printed item, Society 6 will let you know what’s the recommended file size and resolution for your designs.

Once an item is bought and shipped artists have to wait for a 30-day grace period for transactions to clear and expect to get the money on their accounts by the 1st of the following month. So if you sell a t-Shirt and it ships on March 25th. The 30-day grace period ends on April 25th and you will be paid for that sale on May 1st.


spreadshirt-logo

About Spreadshirt:

Spreadshirt has over 100 unique products for customers to make, buy, and sell their designs on at their marketplace. Spreadshirt claims to have sold over 20 million items already, pretty amazing isn’t it?

Artists/Sellers, here’s what to expect from Spreadshirt’s marketplace:

Spreadshirt allows you to make your designs available through one or two sales channels:

You can publish and sell your designs on Spreadshirt.com to +50,000 daily visitors. You earn your design price with each sale. Spreadshirt takes care of the marketing and traffic for you. It’s definitely the easy option, the “this will be my part-part time job option.”

Spreadshirt Profit Margin Explained:

spreadshirt-marketplace-artist-markup
Available Sales Channels

The second option is to sell on your own Shop which will make you a Shop Partner eligible to earn Affiliate Commissions. This kind of shop is fully customizable, sort of a Shopify kind of thing. These artist shops are not featured on the Spreadshirt homepage, their shops are hosted on Spreadshirt.com and artists/sellers are responsible for sharing their shop URL with their possible customers to further promote their e-commerce enabled websites. The Affiliate Commission amounts to 20% of the revenue consisting of product price plus print price, it’s definitely worth the shot.

reate-new-shop-spreadshirt-placeit-blog
Availability to Name Your Shop
spreadshirt-sales-channel-shop
Spreadshirt Shop Advantages

A seller can have both kind of shops, for example this user has both kind of sales channels enabled: Option 1 and Option 2. Which one would you use? Or, would you use both?

Shop Partners who sell at least 11 products within a two-week “campaign period” are rewarded with a bonus which known as Volume Commission. There are two campaign periods in a given month, from the 1st to the 15th and from the 16th until the end of the month. The following image shows the Volume Commission scale sellers can aspire to earn.

Volume Commission Scale Depending on Item Sales
Volume Commission Scale Depending on Item Sales

All Shop sales, Marketplace sales and Volume Commission earnings are balanced once a month. You will receive earnings from your December sales by the end of January. To receive a payout, you must’ve sold at least $10 USD, if you didn’t meet this amount, then you must wait until the next month and reach this minimum amount with the sales of the next month. Your money will be deposited to a US Bank account or to a Paypal account.

As a reward for reading this far, have a look at this checklist to make a living out of selling t-shirts online and you can also download this Spreadshirt’s success guide for shop owners with more tips and insight to succeed selling on Spreadshirt.


About TeePublic:

TeePublic is a Print-On-Demand platform that lets you upload your artwork and sell it to the world as apparel and many other products. You can also become an affiliate seller at TeePublic, which means you don’t have to come up with your own designs to make a profit, you can join Teepublic Partner Program and curate content from the entire TeePublic design catalogue and build your own branded storefront with existing designs on TeePublic.

Artists/Sellers, here’s what to expect from TeePublic’s marketplace:

TeePublic offers a wide variety of items in which you can print your designs like: Adult & Kids T-Shirts, Infant Onesies, Tank Tops, Hoodies, Crewnecks, Art Prints, Posters, Canvas Prints, Phone Cases, Mugs, Notebooks, Laptop Sleeves, and Stickers are available for all designers to print on. Many of these items offer different styles.

TeePublic likes to keep things standardized. All products will have two different prices, a sale price (when it’s discounted during the first 72 hours, a site wide sale, or when you’re featured!) and a regular price that it will remain during all other times.

Read more about how TeePublic works its magic to produce beautiful garments and products in their Design Guide.

TeePublic Profit Margin Explained:

Whenever you upload a new design, it’ll be featured on sale for the first 72 hours, after which time it stays on the site – still at a great price! TeePublic offers the best prices and highest commissions of any designer marketplace on the web.

For a full list of commissions, see the handy chart below:

For their affiliate program, TeePublic offers a 31% commission to their partners for sales of their own merch. For ex: For a $20 t-shirt you would earn $6.20 back. Earn 11% commission on sales you refer for existing TeePublic designs.


threadless-logo

About Threadless:

Independent artists made $1.5M through Threadless just last year, this is an on-going design competition. Everyone can submit designs, once an artist uploads their design, they come up for voting. Only if a design is voted highly by the Threadless community then it can be available for sale on the site. It takes 1-2 business days before the artwork is up for voting so plan accordingly. Want to vote? Vote here!

Artists/Sellers, here’s what to expect from Threadless’ marketplace:

Threadless now also provides Artist Shops for everyone. Really original designs are displayed on the marketplace and exquisite talent can be appreciated while browsing around Threadless’ marketplace. Artist shops are customizable, if enough time and effort are put in the website design it can end up looking super professional both on desktop and mobile. Text-art designs with cheesy phrases will never win one of Threadless competitions so don’t even bother trying.

Threadless Profit Margins Explained:

You are free to set the price of your products. Your profit will be your price minus the base cost of each sold item.

threadless profit margins
Threadless Profit Margins

Threadless ships everywhere in the world. All artists receive their earning payments via PayPal. Cleared earnings generated on the month of January will be paid on the first week of February and consequently. In Threadless’ search for customer’s happiness, a 30-day return policy is effective once a customer receives their t-shirt, so artists have to wait for 30 days to pass by in order to receive their well earned money. Want to read more about Threadless? Good news, we created this 5 step guide for promoting your Threadless Artist Shop.

 


zazzle-logo

About Zazzle:

Zazzle’s customization capacity is incredible and unique. At Zazzle, you have the option to create +1300 items and then further customize them to make a final product as personalized as possible. At Zazzle’s marketplace you can find designers that sell their art, makers that can customize products for you and templates for you to start from scratch and create a really unique item without sacrificing quality. They allegedly receive +30 million visitors each month, pretty big, huh?

Artists/Sellers, here’s what to expect from Zazzle’s Marketplace:

Zazzle has partnered with many brands and manufacturers, which has allowed them to make products ready for shipping usually in no more than 24 hours. If you are wondering how many products are available at Zazzle, I reckon there’s no easy answer for that, you can customize pretty much every item you interact with on any given day. Every product available at Zazzle has at least one customizable option which makes their products so unique and empower everyone to reflect their personal taste.

Find the full list of products available for creation at Zazzle on this list.

Zazzle Profit Margins Explained:

You can set your royalty from 5% to 99% on top of Zazzle’s base prices. If a buyer does further customization to one of your designs and ends up paying more for it, then you also earn more. Learn more about Zazzle royalties. Becoming an Associate lets you earn 15% per sale plus volume bonus by promoting Zazzle products on your spare time.

Some other cool benefits of Zazzle’s marketplace is the ability to interact with buyers and fans of your designs through a Store Comment Wall which works like a product review section which we all know the benefits of. Also, if a customer decides to sign up to your shop through Zazzle Fan Clubs then they will be notified when you upload a new design to your shop, this should definitely help increase sales.

Do you have what it takes to be the next successful Zazzle maker?


tee-fury-logo-placeit-blog

About Teefury:

Teefury is all about high-quality pop culture T-shirts, Hoodies and Posters. Teefury opted for keeping it simple and providing customers with just apparel items that really resonate with them. They provide the most affordable T-Shirts in the market without sacrificing quality, this is the reason why we all love Teefury.

Artists/Sellers, here’s what to expect from Society 6’s marketplace:

Garments with artist’s designs are available for 24 hours at just $11 USD! Constricting the availability of their t-shirts to just 24 hours at such affordable price is the reason why users keep coming back to Teefury’s website and it is also the reason why artists get to sell a lot, since customers know that they have to get the t-shirt NOW before it’s too late. Nevertheless, once 24 hours have gone by, a tee can be voted to be brought back to life, but it will be under a $20 USD price.

Teefury Profit Margins Explained:

Teefury pays artists $1 dollar via Paypal per T-Shirt sold. It usually takes 15 days after a T-Shirt is sold to get the money into your account.

For some strange reason, TeeFury is super strong on Google+ with an outstanding follower base of almost 2 million subscribers. They also have a very decent Facebook following, other Print on Demand platforms should learn from them and work hard on creative social media communities just like theirs.


designs-by-humans-logo

About Design By Humans:

Design by Humans (DBH) is a community of artists, gamers, designers, and YouTubers. DBH is the marketplace to find all-over and over sized prints. Design By Humans is home to some of the greatest pieces of art on the web, their web interface is easy to navigate and they are constantly offering special deals throughout their website.

Artists/Sellers, here’s what to expect from Design By Humans’ marketplace:

Shirt competitions take place every 24 hours with the possibility of earning $1000 USD and 6 free T-Shirts. T-shirt contests are usually themed but there can also be free competitions where every kind of design is accepted.

Winning designs get featured for 24 hours and are sold at a discounted price. The more t-shirts an artist sells, the more commissions an artist receives. Another great thing about the DBH community is that they have grown to be a very supportive community that works together towards one shared goal, which is empowering artists all around the globe to create and sell.

Design by Hümans Profit Margins Explained:

Designs by Hümans Profit Margins
Designs by Hümans Profit Margins

Their strongest social media account is Twitter where they constantly re-share user generated content, they feature a design of the day, and keep followers up to date about special deals going on on the website.These platforms have made it easy for individuals and companies to materialize their ideas and join a creative ecosystem that strives to be better than the other. For these platforms, the goal is to attract as many artists as they can, they must work harder on their differentiators and focus on providing specifics rather than generalities, and so far, they’ve succeeded.

 


SunFrog-Shirts-Logo

About SunFrog:

With +4 million available items in SunFrog and having the best Alexa Traffic Rank score among the sites on this list, it is definitely worth mentioning. At SunFrog you can design and/or sell t-shirts, mugs, hats, tanks, long sleeves, v-necks, sweatshirts, hoodies, leggings, canvas and posters online. T-shirts are printed in the USA and shipped internationally if desired.

To find items for purchase or selling, yo can choose from the different available categories or simply type one or two words in the search bar to find what you are looking for.

sunfrog categories

There’s good money waiting for you in SunFrog even if you are not an artist. You can choose any of the many available designs in the site and promote them yourself and get a good commission.

How much does SunFrog pays to artists and sellers?

SunFrog pays affiliates a staggering 40% sell commission. Artists get a 5.5% commission for each item sold. Of course, an artist can be the seller as well, so if the artist sells its own designs the artist then gets a 45.5% total payout over the sell.
sunfrog profit margins

At what price can t-shirts be sold in SunFrog?

Shirt prices are set by the artist who published a design. A guys’ tee, for example, can be sold at not less than $19 USD and at no more than $29 USD. You can see how commissions add up on this gif:
sunfrog artist seller commission gif

What else is in SunFrog for us artists?

Once you’ve started an account with SunFrog the first thing you will notice is your seller ID at the top right area of your screen. In order to receive your seller commission from SunFrog you need to add your seller ID code at the very end of the URL you shared, otherwise, their system will not recognize that you were the one responsible for sending customers to SunFrog.

Once you upload a design, SunFrog allows you to create promo images for free so that you can better promote your designs online.

In order to track your performance in SunFrog, you are able to add campaign tracking codes that will allow you to count visits, conversions, and allow you to create retargeting campaigns as well.
sunfrog conversion tracking pixell

And last but definitely not least, SunFrog’s Academy is the absolute best and it’s 100% free. Learn from top instructors at your own pace about:

  • Facebook Marketing
  • Google Analytics
  • Email Marketing
  • Pinterest Marketing
  • SunFrog Manager

 


The Ultimate Tshirt Profit Margin Calculator Tool by Placeit

Content Unlocked!

pod tshirt profit margin calculator spreadsheet by placeit
Tshirt Profit Margin Calculator Screenshot

To make things easier for everyone, I created the Ultimate Tshirt Profit Margin Calculator. It’s a simple spreadsheet where I gathered the t-shirt base costs and some other details so that you can figure out how much money you could possibly make if you sell “X” t-shirts on “Y” print on demand site. It’s not perfect, but it should definitely help you figure out on which website you should be selling t-shirts.

To get the spreadsheet you simply need to click on the link above and create yourself a copy.


Take the Quizz: “Which Print-on-Demand Website Am I?”

Here’s another handy and interactive tool that will help you figure things out. With so many Print-on-Demand marketplaces it gets difficult to know how to select one of them. By responding 5 questions I will narrow down your search to a few P.O.D. sites so that you can start selling t-shirts online as soon as possible. Go ahead take the quiz, make friends take the quiz too and share your results!


Now Let’s Focus On Tshirt Marketing

Even now that you know more about the best Print-On-Demand websites than the average artist does, you still need one more tool to make it big. If an artist’s designs are not being successful it’s most likely not because of the selling platform, but because artists are not using marketing techniques to their full potential; luckily, Placeit is here to the rescue.

Introducing:
placeit-logo

Placeit is the marketing tool to use if you are a designer or artist looking forward to selling your work online. The average artist wrongly assumes that customers will visit and browse through their websites’ galleries and miraculously decide to make a purchase, WRONG! When selling products online, visuals are key elements to convince potential clients into making up their mind to perform their purchase. Here’s a quick example of a realistic purchase funnel that makes sense based on real user actions.

Any given day your customer is scrolling through Social Media when they stumble upon an ad featuring a design (maybe yours?) being worn by a gorgeous model.

iPhone Mockup Made with Placeit
iPhone Mockup Made with Placeit

Here’s a closer look of the ad!

iPhone Mockup Made With Placeit
iPhone Mockup Made With Placeit

So you might be wondering, how can you have beautiful people wearing your designs!!?

It’s so easy it hurts. There’s no need at all to arrange a photo shoot, hire a model, or spend endless hours searching for the right photo on graphic design forums, it can all be done with Placeit.

Quick guide on how to create your own t-shirt mockup:

Step 1: Find the image file of your design in your messy hard drive.

sloth
Step 2: Head to Placeit tshirt mockup section and pick a template using our search bar:

Step 3: Drag and drop your design over the selected mockup.

t-shirt mockup placing

Step 4: Hit the download button, you’re done!

gorgeous-model-mockup-made-with-placeit
T-Shirt Mockup Made with Placeit Apparel

Need more tips on T-shirt marketing? You got it:

Sharing high-quality images is a must in marketing. Attractive images make users stop scrolling down and stop to find more about something that their eyes found interesting at first glance. This is the reason why we in Placeit decided to create Facebook Ad Image Templates that you can customize with your design and persuasive copy! Best of all, it’s all done from your browser, simply type in some sexy text, upload your design, hit download, and start using this images to promote your t-shirt business with Facebook Ads.

facebook ad image templates placeit
Customize a Facebook Ad Template now

 

Top Digital Marketing Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Designs:

  • What’s best known to work is to create designs for a specific niche. Why is this effective? Because then it’s easier to target potential customers when the time to promote your designs comes. On the other side, my thoughts are that the art creation process is unexpected and even if an artist has a design in mind it can morph into something totally different, original, and way cooler!
  • Starting a blog and doing keyword research and SEO for it is very important. The best way to drive organic traffic to a site is by writing content aimed to attract users from your target niche and direct them to your print on demand marketplace, this way you have more chances of these users translating into conversions.
  • Social media is probably the place where your audience spends most of their time. A combination of Placeit’s mockups and Social Media ads is the ultimate one-two punch combination that will make you win in this game. Learn how to make great Facebook Ads to sell more t-shirts and become an expert in Facebook Advertising. Don’t forget to target your ads only to the users that you want to show your Facebook ads to in order to spend just the money that needs to be spent.
  • The best way to communicate effectively with your customers is to have a real conversation, a two-way dialogue. Commenting and sharing User-Generated-Content (UGC) is one of the best ways to create a loyal following and a community of people that truly appreciate what you do, make sure you listen to what they have to say!

I hope you’ve found this guide useful and that you succeed selling your art online, be it printed on t-shirts, hoodies, kids apparel, all sorts of merch or art prints. I will continuously update this guide to keep it relevant and will gladly add more tips and tricks for you as I continue with my research. If you would rather sell t-shirts offline and keep all the profit for yourself, check this article to discover where to buy blank wholesale t-shirts

What are your thoughts? Any insight you’d like to share on what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past? Leave a comment and let’s start a conversation!