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Teespring vs Shopify: A (Brutally) Honest Review (Pros and Cons)

Teespring vs Shopify: A (Brutally) Honest Review (Pros and Cons)

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I. What Are Teespring and Shopify?

If you're testing the water before diving with full force into POD industry - you probably heard about Teespring before. 

Teespring is a free platform that lets you create and sell over 50 kinds of products with no upfront cost or risk. You just need to upload your designs onto Teespring (or sometimes you can even choose from their free designs).

After that, they will handle everything, from printing to shipping to customer service.


Shopify, on the other hand, is an ecommerce platform that offers users to create a website and use their shopping cart solution to sell, ship, and manage your products.

Related article: Making money with Shopify: A Complete Guide

Whatever your products are, you can still use Shopify, though for the purpose of this blog, let’s just focus on the POD stores built up by Shopify.

Related article: 14+ Ways To Make Money On Shopify

Now we see the first and biggest difference of the two platforms.

The former is actually a marketplace where millions of shop owners sell their designs on different materials, the later is an e-commerce platform which helps to build businesses and brands of all types.

II. Teespring vs Shopify: How Can You Build A POD Business? 

Here is a general idea of how each platform helps you build a Print on Demand Business. 

01. Teespring

After you have done your homework and singled out the chosen niched product to start your POD business, you can hop on Teespring and see why it's one of the most talked-about platforms in the community. 

First, you should have an ideal design in order to print on products that people would want to buy. 

Teespring allows you to effortlessly create a POD products with intuitive design tools. 

Once you've done with the design, You can simply upload your products onto Teespring or other ecommerce platform and start selling. 

Two steps - simple as that. 

Once your product is available, people in the Teespring community start to shop it, and you need to boost your sale by marketing it on Facebook, forums or offline events.

Just make sure not to violate the Teespring’s regulations.When customers place orders, Teespring would take over from here. They will print out the design and ship the final product to customers.In a nutshell, you have to do two things: design and marketing.

02. Shopify

With Shopify, things get a bit more complicated.

Same as other POD businesses, you'll need to research about which niche and products you're going to sell in. There are lots of research tools to help you at this stage - our favorites are Google Trends and Sell The Trend

Check out: Top POD Niches and Products for POD business

Design and build your Shopify Store using Shopify Themes and Page Builder apps. This will decide how customers look and feel about your product.

As you can already noticed, Shopify does not have a built-in design tool like Teespring. 

However, Shopify partners with tons of apps to help you get everything you need for your POD business.

  • Design POD products: You get apps for that
  • Choose your printing and shipping providers: You get apps for that
  • Promote your POD products: Guess what, you can also get apps for that
Promote your store by setting up several major social media accounts, optimize your site through SEO, etc.

    III. Teespring vs Shopify: How Much Does It Cost?

    Teespring is 100% free. You set the selling price and keep 100% of the profit.

    However, what needs to be focused on is the base price of the “base products”.

    Let’s take an example, the base price of a T-shirt is $10, and if you choose to sell it for $24, you would keep $10 in profit. Product prices are not impacted by the number of colors in your design or the number of items sold per listing and you might get a pricing discount.

    On the other hand, after a 14 day-trial, you have to pay Shopify a subscription fee of $29 to $229. Let’s say you want to start an online T-shirt business using Shopify. Your basic costs could be estimated at:

    • Shopify Basic Plan: $29/month
    • Domain Registration: $14
    • G-Suite Account: $3/month
    • Page Builder apps: ~ $15/month
    • Sample T-shirt product: ~$13 + shipping
    • Total upfront costs: ~$80
    • Total monthly costs: ~$47

    I know - that sounds complicated. However, we do have a Shopify pricing calculator to save you the headache. Check it out here! 

    Open Shopify Cost Calculator

    IV. Teespring vs Shopify: Feature Reviews

    01. Usability

    Teespring app’s design is simple, intuitive. You can find all basic functionalities there. Thus, it feels effortless for non-tech users to get themself familiar with the design, the features and quickly create a POD storefront on Print on Demand. 

     

    Conversely, Shopify looks more complicated - which is understandable as Shopify supports you to build a full-fledged ecommerce store from scratch. This is why users can easily feel overwhelmed with Shopify's variety of features. 

    So regarding the ease to use, Teespring might be easier to start with. But as time goes on, you will certainly be familiar with both of them.

    02. Product and Store options

    Teespring 

    Products: Teespring provides a list of products to be printed on such as: T-shirts, Sweatshirts, tank tops, accessories, home decor, pillow, canvas, etc - basically everything that can be a Print-on-demand products. And the great thing is the good guys at Teespring regularly update their product catalogue to give users more selling options. 

    Basic Storefront Design Tool: Similar to many other marketplace platform, Teespring allow you to build a basic storefront with core features including, but not limited to:

    • Adding Header and Promotion Banner
    • Adding Products to your Storefront
    • Create an About Us Page to Increase Credibility 

    Moreover, as you pay no cost for establishing your store at Teespring, and you don’t have to worry about producing and shipping cost of the final product, you can keep the marginal profit. 

    However, despite the fact that it sounds too easy to make money with Teespring, you'd have to take into your account the level competition in Print On Demand industry - which is insanely high. You either find a great niched product that you can sell with higher price (hence, higher profit), or you sell a great volume of popular products (which might get saturated quickly). 

    Shopify 

    You can sell literally everything on Shopify - from Digital Products to Physical products, from Fashion Industry to Supplement Industry.

    The real question is, what we do we talk about Shopify when we talk about Print on Demand? 

    "How Do I Print On Demand on Shopify?" 

    1. Sign up with Shopify to open a Shopify store

    2. Design your store, breathe your singularity into it, make it different from (dare I say), thousands of lookalike POD store out there. 

    3. Install Free Print on Demand apps on Shopify that can provide you Printing, Fulfillment and Shipping service. 

    4. Design your products and upload it onto Shopify. Promote and market your products

    5. Once you get sales, your store automatically sends the order to your print-on-demand service. 

    Store design tool: With Shopify, you can create any page you want - from landing page, homepage to product page. Building an online store on Shopify - despite its myriad features and tools, does not feel burdening thanks to its drag-n-drop feature. To design a Shopify store, you just need to:

    • Get a Free Theme from Shopify Theme Store. A theme is a template that determines the way that your online store looks and feels. Different themes have different styles and layouts, and offer a different experience for your customers
    • Customize your pages. You can easily customize any page you want using Page Builder Apps on Shopify App Store - again, you have apps for anything you need. 

    The mechanics behind Shopify and Teespring are basically the same - you create a design, you sell it, you keep the profit and a third-party handles the printing and shipping. 

    The only difference is that with Shopify, you build your own online POD store, whether with Teespring, you sell from a Storefront on a marketplace. 

    03. Sale and marketing tool

    Where can you find customers who want to buy your products?

     Teespring

    • As Teespring is a marketplace for everyone to sell POD products, customers can easily find other alternatives. You may have to own hundreds of designs to get a single order. 
    • You still have to do your marketing activities yourself. You can sell on multiple platforms including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, etc.

    Teepsring-marketing

    • Teespring also comes with a simple Analytics dashboard to let you know how your storefront is performing. 

    Shopify

    With Shopify, there are many ways to optimize your traffic and conversion rate. 

    • If you are on a tight budget, you can still get free apps that help you with Conversion Rate optimization, Email Marketing, Social Media and SEO.
    • Similar to Teespring, you can integrate Shopify with a wide variety of sales channels, including but not limited to: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest.
    • Shopify offers a wide variety of built-in marketing tools to help you acquire users, you can easily create Discount, Gift Cards or run Marketing campaign. 

    Shopify marketing

    • Shopify Analytics is way more powerful than that of Teespring, you have more than 12 different reports to help you track your traffic, visitor, conversion rates. 
    Related article: Everything You Need To Know About Conversion Tracking

      Shopify Dashboard

      04. Customer Database

      Here is an interesting point. If you sell t-shirts on Teespring, you do not own the database. What does that mean? 

      • As Teespring will take over right after your customers place the orders, you have little access to customers’ email and their personal information. That means you will not be able to convert them to loyal customers
      • You always have to look for new customers whereas research showed that existing customers account for higher revenue than new customers do. 
      • Consequently, you are likely to pay a nonstop cost for advertising and marketing your products for life.

      How about Shopify?

      • With Shopify, when you have a customer, you have the right to keep their records. This allows you to create campaigns, send customers promotional emails, or ask for feedback. 
      • When you take care of the whole process, you will know what their personas are, from that you can improve your products to fit customers’ interest. 
      • Shopfiy has a “Customer” tab where you can manage your customers’ information and their purchase history. Moreover, there are “Analytics” tools which generate multiple detailed reports for your store to keep track of such as: Returning customer rate, Online store sessions by location/ device type/ traffic source, Top landing pages by sessions, Sales attributed to marketing, etc. 

      05. Customer support

      Lastly, as an entrepreneur, you shall have tons of questions needed to be answered. So you might want to know that:

      • Teespring’s customer service agents are active during the business hours, if you need help while Shopify will provide you with a 24/7 support team. 
      • Other than that, Shopify has developed an extensive support system including Shopify Community - where you can ask anything and folks using Shopify will jump in to help and Shopify Compass - series of online courses to help you grow your business. 
      Shopify community

      Conclusion: Teespring vs Shopify: Which one is for you? 

      Most of people will tell you that there is no definitive answer to this question, but we tell you right away:

      Teespring is your go-to - if you're on a tight budget and want to build a small POD business.

      Shopify if also your go-to, if you want to have your own branded Print-on-Demand store that can be scaled up in the future. 

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