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There are so many ways these days to get custom printed items to sell as merchandise for your brand. Whether you are selling branded items for your company, creating an entire clothing line, or just doing some one off items for an event, Printful makes it easy and painless to get up and going and start selling right away. In this blog, we will help walk you through the steps to getting your first online store off the ground.
Step 1: Create your Printful account
The very first step to getting started with Printful is to make your account. All you have to do is sign up with your name and email. It’s easy to do, and it’s completely free!
Step 2: Choose your market
Before you think about setting up a store straight away, you need to think about who you want to sell to.
Pick a niche
When you’re asked “who would be interested in/would buy your product,” if the answer is “everyone,” no one will really love your product. By trying to target so many people, you end up being meaningful to no one.
If you really want to create a successful ecommerce store, you need to pick a niche, a very specific sub-section of the market which you plan to sell to. In fact, when you get more and more specific, you will get better and better results. For example, rather than targeting “Programmers,” you can target “Freelance Programmers” or “Python Programmers,” or even “Freelance Python Programmers.”
Step 3: Make a design
Now it’s time to get creative and decide what designs you want to sell. You can print almost anything, but always remember to be original.
Think about a product for your design
When choosing a design, you have to think about which products you plan on selling with it. Some designs look much better on one type of product compared to another. For example, patterns look very nice as all-all over prints and photographs work well as posters.
Making sure that your product and design are suited to each other is key. If you’re still unsure, you can always use their Mockup Generator to see how your designs looks on a product.
Try different tools
There are many tools you can use to make your life easier when creating a design. Photoshop is a fantastic tool, but if you are on a tighter budget, there are a bunch of cheaper options.
The first thing to check out is their own Design Maker. There you’ll find sample graphics, shapes, line drawings, and many emojis that you can use to create unique designs. If you have a simple text-based design, you can quickly see how it looks on a shirt for free as well.
Another fantastic tool for creating designs is Gimp. It is a free, open-source image editor, which is very similar to Photoshop.
Make a sample order
While this is not a necessary step, we definitely recommend that you create a sample order for your product. The Mockup Generator creates just that, a digital image. What you see on-screen doesn’t exactly show what the design looks printed. To properly see how your products look and feel, you need to have them in person, before selling them to others. This can also help you write your product descriptions, and you can take your own product photos for your store. Once you’re happy with your sample order, you’re ready to create your store.
Step 4: Choose an ecommerce platform
Once you’ve made your account and got a product you want to sell, it’s time to choose which platform you want to start your online business on. But with so many different ecommerce options out there, which one is the best for you?
Currently, Printful can connect 22 different ecommerce platforms. Having all these integrations means that you have a wide range of different options to create your store with so you can find a storefront which best suits your needs.
Decide on your chosen platform and make your account there.
Step 5: Link your Printful account and ecommerce platform
The process is a little different for every platform. You can find them all on the Printful YouTube channel. Or, you can go to your Printful dashboard, click Stores, choose your platform, and follow the tutorial laid out for you there.
For our recent merchandise store setup Cup O Code integrated a Printful store with Woocommerce and WordPress to deliver a fast and easy setup to begin selling quickly. To setup a store this way, you will need to have a current website or purchase a domain and hosting plan. Once this step is complete, the next step is to install WordPress, pick a shop theme or have one created for you by our awesome developers, and install Woocommerce. You will then proceed to install the Printful plugin and follow the steps given to connect your website to your Printful store.
If you are unsure of this step, we highly recommend having a professional developer help you with this step as it can get tricky.
Step 6: Create a product
Push your products to your store
To make it as easy as possible for you to start, Printful has created a product generator. It works with most integrations and pushes new products straight to your store from Printful. This way, you can log in to your Printful account and create products that are automatically added to your store, super easily.
Unfortunately, not all integrations have this push generator, so if you are using Gumroad, Big Cartel or Squarespace, you’ll have to add products manually. It takes a little bit more time, but it’s still pretty easy. First, you create a new product on your ecommerce platform. After that, go to your Printful dashboard, and under your store’s sync page click “Refresh data” to re-sync products from your store. You should find your newly added product there. Click “Edit” and you can configure the product for each variant (category, model, color, size) and upload the print file/s and mockup.
Set the price for your products
Once you have a product with an awesome description and photos ready to go, it is time to look at how pricing works. There are two different prices to think about. The Printful price, which is what they charge you, and the retail price, which is what you sell it for. So, if a Printful t-shirt is $15 and your retail price is set at $25, the profit you make is $10. You also have to keep in mind extra costs when choosing your prices, such as taxes.
How much you charge for your product can make or break a sale. If you set your retail price too high, then you will lose sales from people not willing to pay that much for your product. On the other hand, if you charge too little, you won’t be able to make a profit from your products at all.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t sell expensive products, it just means you have to show customers why they are worth paying more for. You need to create a value proposition, and show what makes your product different and stand out from the rest of the crowded market.
Generally, a 30% profit margin is a good place to start, but it’s entirely up to you. Ideally, you should aim to cover your business expenses and still offer room for growth.
Calculate the shipping costs
Finally, you will also need to charge your customer shipping. Printful offers two different types of shipping: flat rates and live rates.
The first option is live rates. This is when Printful’s algorithm calculates shipping rates in real-time during check-out, meaning your customer is automatically given the best rate available for shipping, without you having to configure anything. It’s only available for customers using Shopify, Woocommerce or Ecwid. If your integration supports live shipping rates, we highly recommend you use them.
If your integration doesn’t support live shipping rates, your other option is to use our flat rates. These are fixed prices charged for shipping that you should charge on your store. Then, when the order goes to Printful, their algorithm will choose the most efficient shipping method. If it turns out that shipping costs less than the flat rate, then they will charge you the reduced cost, but they will never charge you more than the stated flat rate.
Implementing shipping rates is slightly different depending on which platform you’re using and whether you want to implement flat rates or live rates. You can have a look at their Integration FAQs to find how to add shipping rates to your platform.
Step 7: Create your online payment processor
With a product and a store, you now need to find a way for customers to pay you. There are a bunch of different payment processors out there you can use, such as Paypal, Stripe, and Braintree. Whichever one you choose, you have to add it to your store so that your customers can pay you for your products!
They can only fulfill your orders once they have been paid for on Printful. So make sure you add your PayPal account or Credit Card to your Printful Wallet so that when customers start ordering your products, they can get paid and send them as quickly as possible.
If this all still seems a bit overwhelming, we can help. Contact our development team and let us get to work for you! If you want to check out our own Printful store, head over to cupocode.com/shop.