As consumers grow more comfortable purchasing gifts and other products online, digital publishers are asking how they can get in on the e-commerce action. Being able to sell merchandise on-demand can be a lucrative source of recurring revenue, particularly for those publishers with dedicated subscribers.
From t-shirts and book bags, to stickers, water bottles, notepads, and more, publishers have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to deciding which types of merchandise to sell on their websites.
Using a print-on-demand platform means publishers don’t have to worry about managing inventory or stock levels when they launch an e-commerce store. They don’t even have to worry about order fulfillment or shipping. Popular platforms that allow publishers to sell merchandise on-demand handle all the heavy lifting, from the printing cycle to order and delivery.
With almost no barrier to entry, more digital publishers have started selling their own merchandise through their websites. If you’re interested in exploring e-commerce sales as a potential source of revenue, these are some of the most popular platforms being used to sell merchandise on-demand in 2021.
Best Print-on-Demand Platforms for Publishers
Printiful is one of the most well-known print-on-demand platforms. Digital publishers can use the platform to design the products they’re going to sell, and then print on-demand once customers purchase those items from their e-commerce stores. Printiful handles all aspects of the order fulfillment and delivery process. Orders are automatically imported from the publisher’s own online store into Printiful for fulfillment at the company’s in-house or partner facilities. Printiful charges publishers for order fulfillment, so the difference between Printiful’s cost and the retail price is what publishers keep as profit. For more specific pricing details, publishers can check out Printiful’s product catalog.
Publishers that want to focus primarily on selling custom t-shirts should look closely at Bonfire. The on-demand platform prints custom designs onto high-quality shirts, with free online tools that publishers can use to design the products they plan to sell. Although most digital publishers will sell through their own e-commerce sites, Bonfire does provide the option to create a merch store directly on its website. The company even offers customized themes that can be used to blend a Bonfire store into an existing website. Publishers can use the company’s t-shirt pricing calculator to estimate the cost of a custom order.
Gelato brings together the tools publishers need to sell, produce, and deliver physical goods, with a product catalog that includes an assortment of shirts, mugs, notebooks, and hoodies. Unlike some other print-on-demand platforms, Gelato can also work with individual suppliers to customize products with a publisher’s own logo and sell them on a per-order basis under the publisher’s own brand. The company works with more than 30 shipping companies and produces products in more than 100 locations worldwide, making it an especially popular option for publishers that sell outside the United States. Gelato offers integrated per-transaction pricing.
Gooten differentiates itself from competing print-on-demand platforms by not charging any monthly fees. Instead, publishers can determine the pricing for the products they sell and keep any profit after accounting for Gooten’s printing and shipping costs. All aspects of the publisher’s e-commerce business, including production, shipping, and customer support, are handled within the unified platform. Gooten’s proprietary order management system automatically routes orders to the closest manufacturing facility based on the online customer’s location, which reduces turnaround times and minimizes shipping costs. Publishers with existing online stores also have the option to fulfill certain items with Gooten, without having to use Gooten to produce everything they sell.
Vistaprint is known primarily for its paper products, like business cards and menus, but publishers who are willing to do a bit legwork can also use Vistaprint to produce the swag in their e-commerce shops. Vistaprint now prints logos, and other designs, on a huge variety of products, from tote bags and t-shirts to face masks and hats. Publishers can even get personalized assistance designing the products they’re planning to sell with Vistaprint’s live designer service. The company’s Pro Advantage program can help businesses save time by shipping orders directly to customers in unbranded packaging, with flat rate shipping on products that starts at $3.99.
Digital publishers looking for a fast way to sell merchandise on-demand should look at Printify. The on-demand printing platform simplifies the process of creating physical products with straightforward design tools that anyone can use. Publishers have more than 200 products to choose from in Printify’s catalog, including t-shirts, mugs, socks, and even home accessories. Those products can be customized with Printify’s Mockup Generator and quickly published in the publisher’s own e-commerce store. When an online sale comes through, Printify receives the order, prints the product, and ships the product directly to the customer. Monthly pricing plans are available depending on the size of the publisher’s e-commerce business and whether there’s a need for custom API integrations.
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