Why Print on Demand Is (Probably) the Quickest Path for Anyone Who Wants to Sell T-Shirts

Illustration of a person choosing a print on demand shirt from a logo printed on their t-shirt representing all the choices you have for manufacturing

T-shirts are one of the most common products for businesses fulfilling via print on demand. Shirts are versatile, popular among consumers, and make a great canvas for a number of designs. The custom t-shirt printing market itself is expected to hit $10 billion by 2025.

While the market potential is huge, the competition is stiff. That’s why it’s important to find the right print-on-demand companies to work with, create designs customers will love, and learn strategies to drive lots of conversions.

Selling shirts via print on demand

Printful

Printful has print-on-demand shirts as well as more than 270 other products to choose from. It’s an attractive option to use to start your online t-shirt business because it doesn’t require order minimums or charge upfront fees. Plus, you can integrate it with Shopify as well as third-party marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon. With Printful, you can create custom-branded packaging and take advantage of its warehousing and fulfillment services.

As far as t-shirt options go, you can browse men’s, women’s, and children’s styles, including the standard t-shirt and more creative options like polo shirts and tank tops.

  • Average fulfillment time: Shirts and other apparel orders are fulfilled in two to seven business days, while non-apparel products take two to five business days. Most orders are shipped within five business days, post-fulfillment.
  • Shipping location: Toronto, Canada; Los Angeles, CA; Charlotte, NC; Tijuana, Mexico; Dallas, TX
  • Cost of low-priced tee: $7.95
  • Mockup generator: Yes
  • Ecommerce integrations: Shopify; WooCommerce; Prestashop; Shipstation; Wix; Squarespace; Big Cartel; Magento; Gumroad; BigCommerce; Launch Cart; 3dcart; Ecwid; Webflow; Etsy; eBay; Amazon; Storenvy; Weebly; Square; Wish
  • Branding: Custom packaging; packaging inserts

Printify

Printify has more than 300 print-on-demand products, shirts being one of them. Choose from tees, tanks, and hoodies in a variety of colors. Integrations include Shopify, Etsy, eBay, Prestashop, and more, as well as an open API.

Order samples to make sure you’re happy with the design and quality before making a larger commitment to Printify. It’s especially ideal for international sellers, as Printify has more than 90 printers in countries across the globe. You can also see the average fulfillment time for each supplier.

  • Average fulfillment time: Most orders ship within two to seven business days.
  • Shipping location: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, United Kingdom
  • Cost of low-priced tee: $6.55
  • Mockup generator: Yes
  • Ecommerce integrations: Shopify, Etsy, eBay, PrestaShop, BigCommerce, Wix, WooCommerce, Printify API
  • Branding: Available from select sellers

AOP+ Easy Print on Demand

AOP+ Easy Print on Demand is an app for Shopify and Etsy with more than 200 print-on-demand products. What sets AOP+ apart is the fact that it’s also the manufacturer—so you can work with it directly to develop custom shirts. This option is especially great for white labeling.

AOP+ offers three different plans: $0/month, $11.99/month, and $19.99/month. Free users get unlimited product designs and all of AOP’s standard products, while paid subscribers get access to more product variety and additional branding options.

  • Average fulfillment time: Production takes three to five business days, and shipping time varies based on location. US orders take one to two weeks, orders to the UK take about a week, and other international destinations take anywhere from one to seven weeks.
  • Shipping location: London, United Kingdom; the Netherlands
  • Cost of low-priced tee: $8.99
  • Mockup generator: No
  • Ecommerce integrations: Shopify, Etsy, ShipStation, Stripe, Payoneer
  • Branding: Packing slips; packaging inserts; branded stickers; labels

Apliiq

Like many other print-on-demand services, Apliiq has a whole range of products—including several types of shirts. You can find standard t-shirts and tank tops, as well as flannels, polos, and tie-dye tops. There are as many as 30 colors to choose from, depending on the type of shirt you choose.

Other options include private labeling, woven tags, embroidery, and patches. There are no minimums for ordering samples, so you can try it out before making a bigger commitment. If you like Apliiq’s shirts, bulk orders get discounts of up to 55%.

  • Average fulfillment time: Most orders ship within a week.
  • Shipping location: Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA
  • Cost of low-priced tee: $3
  • Mockup generator: No
  • Ecommerce integrations: Shopify, WooCommerce
  • Branding: A variety of private label options are available

Teelaunch

Teelaunch has print-on-demand services for a range of products, including different types of shirts. You can choose from a variety of men’s, women’s, and unisex styles, including t-shirts, tank tops, long-sleeve tees, and sweatshirts. It also has youth, toddler, and baby shirts available. Size and color availability varies by shirt—many styles include S–5XL sizes and 20+ color options. Some styles also allow for double-sided printing.

You’ll need a Shopify account to use Teelaunch, but you can sell your products on Etsy, Facebook, Amazon, or eBay. There are no fees to use the app—and while it doesn’t offer samples, you’re entitled to a 25% discount every 30 days.

  • Average fulfillment time: Orders are processed and ready for shipping in three to six business days, though this is longer during peak seasonal periods when order processing takes nine to 12 business days.
  • Shipping location: US, Canada, UK
  • Cost of low-priced tee: $5
  • Mockup generator: No
  • Ecommerce integrations: Shopify, Etsy
  • Branding: No

SPOD

SPOD is a Shopify print-on-demand app that offers over 100 different types of products, with a wide range of shirt styles for men, women, kids, and babies. You can filter your search by color and size to easily see which products are available in a certain color or size.

SPOD has a customizer tool that allows your customers to easily personalize products right from your Shopify store. If you don’t have the time or interest to create your own design, the app includes over 50k free designs to choose from.

  • Average fulfillment time: 48 hours
  • Shipping location: Europe and North America
  • Cost of low-priced tee: $6.71
  • Mockup generator: Yes
  • Ecommerce integrations: Shopify
  • Branding: Packaging

CustomCat

CustomCat’s print-on-demand services offer a huge selection of apparel options—you can choose from 70 t-shirt styles, as well as polos, button-ups, tank tops, sweatshirts, and hoodies. Size and color availability vary by style of shirt. Some styles have more than 20 color options and XS–3XL sizing.

CustomCat can integrate with your Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, and BigCommerce stores. You can also send orders directly using its custom API or by uploading a CSV spreadsheet. It’s free to create an account with CustomCat, but Shopify users will have to either pay $30 per month to use the app or use CustomCat Lite, which is free to use but charges $2 per item.

  • Average fulfillment time: Shipping typically takes two to six business days.
  • Shipping location: Detroit, MI
  • Cost of low price tee: $7
  • Mockup generator: No
  • Ecommerce integrations: Shopify, Etsy, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, CustomCat API
  • Branding: No

T-Pop

T-Pop is an ecologically conscious print-on-demand service based in France. It has a selection of shirts available in men’s, women’s, unisex, and kid’s sizes—and most products are made from organic cotton. As part of T-Pop’s commitment to the environment, shipping is plastic-free and designs are printed with vegan eco-certified inks.

With T-Pop, you can include your logo on packages for free, along with fully customizable packing slips. You can also send T-Pop any pack-ins you want included in your packages, like flyers, promo items, or stickers. Orders can be made directly through T-Pop or integrated with your WooCommerce, Etsy, or Shopify store.

  • Average fulfillment time: Production takes two to four business days while shipping time varies depending on location. Shipping is two to three business days in France, three to 10 business days in the EU, and five to 14 business days for orders to the US.
  • Shipping location: France
  • Cost of low price tee: €12,20
  • Mockup generator: No
  • Ecommerce integrations: Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy
  • Branding: Packaging inserts; packing slips

Designing your print-on-demand shirts

When it comes to creating the actual visual design for your shirts, there are a few avenues you can take. Each option has its own level of difficulty—and there are even options if you don’t consider yourself artistic or design-savvy.

Create it yourself

For the creative type, designing your own shirt graphics is a great way to go. You might already be an artist or graphic designer with a particular design in mind. Or you might want to create print-on-demand products featuring your brand’s logo and other visual identity. You can use print-on-demand services to choose which types of shirts you want to print your designs on, and how you’d like them printed.

Buy design templates

If you want to do it yourself but need some guidance, you can use online t-shirt templates and mockups to walk you through the design process. Check places like Designious, Tshirt Factory, and Creative Market for templates and design elements you can incorporate into your products.

Hire someone

For those who don’t want to or can’t create their own print-on-demand shirt designs, outsourcing is an excellent option. You can find talented designers with the skills to create a unique design for you to put on your shirts. Ask around for referrals or browse Shopify Experts for top designers who can bring your vision to life.

How to sell print-on-demand t-shirts

The first step to take when you want to sell print-on-demand shirts is identifying your niche. When you choose a niche market, you know who your target customers are and you can appeal to their specific wants and needs. Find shirts and printers who have the quality of products you need to please your customers—you might choose one of the shirt printers from the list above.

Once you have your niche, your design, and your printer, you’ll want to validate your ideas to make sure there’s demand and opportunity in the market. Build an online store and start running some low-budget ad campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t. One of the greatest advantages of a print-on-demand shirt business is its flexibility. You can launch and test new designs at any time without making a massive investment in new inventory.

After you’ve identified your top-selling shirt designs, you can expand your print-on-demand business to include other types of products (like print-on-demand books) as well. The sky’s the limit!


Ready to create your business? Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.

Print-on-demand shirts FAQ

What is the best print-on-demand site?

The best print-on-demand site depends on your unique needs. Some of the best print-on-demand sites are listed in this post, including Printful, Printify, Apliiq, Teelaunch, SPOD, and more.

Is print on demand profitable?

Yes, print on demand is profitable if you strategically price and promote your products. Print on demand is unique because you don’t need to make a large inventory investment, so there’s less risk than with other ecommerce business models.

What is the cheapest print-on-demand site?

The cheapest print-on-demand site is Apliiq, when it comes to shirts.
Topics: