There are countless opportunities to sell custom products online. Whether it’s a funny t-shirt, a magazine, or a phone case sporting your original artwork, the demand can be consistently high for anything remotely original. You can have a third party apply your own original designs to a wide range of products, but it will mean holding a lot of inventory and you might get stuck with items that don’t sell.
Print-on-demand products are exactly what the name implies. The beauty of POD is many suppliers offer to ‘drop ship’ your customized products direct to the buyer on behalf of your brand. Sell within Canada or in other countries with equal ease. You don’t have to invest in inventory or deal with shipping headaches. Without inventory, you can easily start a POD business from home.
Most POD drop shippers integrate easily with multiple ecommerce platforms. You can sell direct from your online store, on social media, or through online marketplaces like Amazon.ca.
If nothing else, POD is a safer way to test the market for customized products. Once you know which products are selling, you can choose to bring it in-house if you want to, or continue using drop ship fulfillment indefinitely.
Drop Shipped Product Fulfillment
When a customer orders your product, you pay the supplier the discounted price to ship it directly to the customer. There should be no indication that the product came from another company, and many offer branding options to further create the illusion that the product came from your business.
Customer Price – (Wholesale Cost + Expenses) = Your Profit
Drop shipping has become increasingly popular and it’s much more reliable than it used to be. Due diligence is still required and I recommend at least a few test orders before you settle on a supplier.
For more information about drop shipping products online, check out Wholesale Drop Shipping for Canadian Online Sellers.
Print-on-Demand (POD) Drop Shippers for Canadian Merchants
Before selecting a POD drop shipper, think about:
- How easy it is to design and order products
- The cost and speed of shipping
- Quality of the merchandise
- Customer support
Naturally, you won’t receive the same wholesale price as someone who is buying by the thousands. Consequently, you have to be hyper-aware of everything that will eat into your profit margin and keep a close eye on your numbers.
POD suppliers in other countries will often work with Canadians, but you have to keep an eye on the total cost with currency exchange and shipping. Some of them have fulfillment centres in Canada to make shipping faster, less expensive and more reliable. Or you may opt to sell in the country of the supplier and skip expensive Canadian shipping altogether.
1. Sellfy POD – Creators have a wonderful selection of merchandise categories to choose from, including clothing, hats, bags, home décor, phone cases and eco-friendly products. Sellfy POD boasts a simple store setup, design tools and built-in marketing functionality that will have you making tons of sales in no time! Drop ship products to customers in Canada or anywhere in the world through their fulfillment partners. Canadian orders can be shipped through a POD warehouse and fulfillment partner in Toronto, Ontario.
2. Printful – Order custom design products to drop ship or sell direct online under your own brand. Customize over 250 products, including T-shirts and other clothing, décor, pet products, posters, phone cases and more. One of the most complete services available, with branding options like tear-away tags, stickers and inserts. They recently opened a distribution hub in Ontario! Canada is their second-largest market after the US. Sell from your website, including all major ecommerce platforms.
3. Tee Hatch – Print-on-demand t-shirts in Vancouver, BC. Drop shipping across Canada. They can be integrated with most e-commerce platforms.
4. Art of Where – Offers on-demand printing of your artwork on their products. Drop ships from Montreal, Quebec or New York. Add products automatically to Shopify, Etsy, WooCommerce and BigCommerce.
5. Ottawa Custom Clothing – Drop shipping options are available for their custom-print t-shirts.
6. Print Geek – Produces and fulfills orders for customized apparel, stickers, posters and mugs. They drop ship from Toronto and can work with most websites.
7. Printify – A different fulfillment process sets Printify apart from the rest. You can order from over 90 POD suppliers in Canada, China or the US, depending on where your customer is. The finished product is then shipped directly to your customer as usual, with your custom branding. Choose from over 250 different items, including T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bags, décor, stickers, and more. Connect to Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, eBay, Prestashop, Wix and Etsy or order manually.
You’ll also find numerous apps on Shopify Canada that make it easy to sell print-on-demand products in your online store, or other drop-shipped products if you want to expand.
Are you going to start a print-on-demand online business in Canada? Please ask any questions you may have in the comments below, or discuss this and other online business topics in the Online Business Canada Facebook group!
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.