Choosing the right ecommerce platform for your print on demand business can mean the difference between a booming enterprise and a struggle to keep up with competitors.
It's about finding the right blend of compatibility with print on demand services, cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and other criteria!
So, which platform will work best for you? Let's dive in and explore!
How do you pick the right ecommerce platform?
Choosing the right ecommerce platform can be daunting when it feels like another one is around the corner.
With a sea of options, how do you know which one will best suit your needs?
Well, the selection process gets much easier if you consider some key factors:
- Ease of use. Is the platform user-friendly? Can you easily manage your online store without a computer science degree? Shopify and Etsy are known for their intuitive interfaces.
- Customization. Can you tailor your store to your brand's aesthetic and functionality needs? WooCommerce offers excellent customization options.
- Pricing. What's your budget? Compare the costs of different platforms, including subscription fees, transaction fees, and any additional charges. Etsy and Sellfy have competitive pricing plans.
- Integrations. Does the platform seamlessly integrate with the tools and services you already use or plan to use, such as payment gateways, shipping providers, or marketing apps? Most platforms, like Shopify and WooCommerce, offer various integrations.
- Scalability. Can the platform grow with your business? As your store gains traction, you'll want a platform to handle increased traffic and sales volume. Shopify and BigCommerce are known for their scalability.
- Support. How reliable is the platform's customer support? You'll want a platform with responsive, helpful support when issues arise. Shopify and BigCommerce offer excellent customer service.
Are you still feeling overwhelmed?
If so, take our ecommerce platform quiz to get a personalized recommendation based on your needs:
Or read on to learn more about the best print on demand platform based on your needs!
What is the best POD ecommerce platform for me?
The answer is… that only you know the answer.
Ecommerce platforms all have something great about them, like your print on demand business.
And the reason it's so challenging to choose ‘the best' platform is that each of the eight ecommerce platforms covered today has its reasons why it could be the best.
Today, we will try to identify the best ecommerce platform for print on demand based on your needs:
- The best platform overall.
- The best SEO performance.
- The platform was built specifically for dropshippers.
- The cheapest option.
- The platform that offers the best resources.
- The most flexible and customizable platform.
- The platform with the most effortless setup for a dropshipping store.
If you are looking for a quick answer, here is a simple overview of the results:
|You need:||The best option(s) for you:|
|The best platform overall||Shopify|
|The best SEO performance||WooCommerce|
|The platform built specifically for POD||Sellfy|
|The cheapest option||Big Cartel|
|The platform that offers the best resources||BigCommerce|
|The most flexible and customizable platform||WooCommerce|
|The platform with the most straightforward setup for a POD store||Redbubble|
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Understanding your unique business requirements and constraints will help you make a great choice!
Consider checking out this comprehensive guide that includes popular dropshipping ecommerce platforms for a detailed comparison.
The best ecommerce platforms for print on demand
If you are looking for in-depth reviews about the best ecommerce platforms for print on demand, you will find them here!
These reviews will further explain why we have previously selected the ecommerce platforms in the way that we did.
In this section, we will cover each of the ecommerce platforms based on the following topics:
- Feature highlights. What are the eye-catching features of this platform?
- User experience and customer service. Is the platform beginner-friendly? And does it offer good customer service?
- SEO, marketing, and analytics. How well does the platform perform on the SEO and marketing part? Does it offer a good analytics dashboard?
- Pros and cons. Why should you use this platform, and what key challenges must you overcome?
- Pricing. How much does using the ecommerce platform and building a dropshipping store on its cost?
Here is a ranked overview of our top ecommerce platform recommendations:
1. Shopify Review
Shopify is renowned for its excellent balance between simplicity and powerful features.
The user interface is intuitive and well-designed, making navigation easy for beginners. A comprehensive dashboard provides insights into sales, orders, and traffic, enabling businesses to make informed decisions.
Although advanced report features are available only in higher pricing plans, and some themes might seem costly, the overall offering of Shopify positions it as an excellent choice for businesses of all sizes.
- Easy to set up with a user-friendly interface. It's a fantastic experience from the get-go.
- Excellent integration capabilities with various print on demand services. Almost every POD supplier works well with Shopify.
- Robust SEO features for better online visibility. Despite not being open source, it's generous in what you can do with SEO.
- Charges transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments. The plans are also pricier than the average ecommerce platform. (More info about Shopify Payments here)
- Some key features, like more thorough analytics, are only available with more expensive plans. Depending on your needs, a Shopify subscription can be pricey early on.
Plans range from $39/month for Basic Shopify, $105/month for Shopify, and $399/month for Advanced Shopify.
For more information about Shopify's pricing, check out our other guide here!
2. Etsy Review
Etsy is a distinctive marketplace catering to those who love handmade, vintage, and unique goods.
It's a platform that not only appreciates the odd and individualistic but actively encourages it, nurturing a community that values the craftsmanship and uniqueness of handmade goods.
What makes Etsy even more convenient is its easy integration with various print on demand services, making it a breeze for sellers to manage their businesses!
One of Etsy's best features is its built-in customer base. These customers are enthusiastic about supporting independent artists and small businesses.
They come to Etsy looking for unique items they can't find anywhere else and tend to appreciate handmade goods more.
But it's important to remember that Etsy's unique focus might not be for every print on demand owner.
The styles that feature more handmade design work generally fit in better and get more results because that's what the average visitor of Etsy is looking for!
- Access to a large, established audience. Etsy has a lot of on-site traffic, so you don't have to market as much from a standalone website.
- Supports a variety of product types, including print on demand. It allows easy integration for more than print on demand as well.
- Easy to set up and use. Your store can be running in a matter of minutes.
- Listing and transaction fees apply. It's not a free-to-use platform like other marketplace-style websites.
- Less control and customization than a standalone ecommerce platform. It can be challenging to stand out as a brand from the other Etsy shops.
Listing a product costs $0.20, and there's a 5% transaction fee on the sale price (including shipping).
For more information, you can view their Fees & Payment page.
3. WooCommerce Review
WooCommerce is a robust, open-source ecommerce platform tailored for WordPress, allowing businesses to turn their website into a fully functional online store.
With its seamless integration with various print on demand services, it simplifies the operations for businesses that rely on such services.
As an open-source platform, Woocommerce boasts an unmatched level of customization.
This flexibility allows businesses to design their online stores to align perfectly with their brand image.
From choosing a theme and adding product categories to fine-tuning every detail of the checkout process, WooCommerce places a high level of control in the hands of the user.
This level of customization may require a certain degree of technical understanding.
WooCommerce is a powerful ecommerce solution for businesses running on WordPress that provides both versatility and the ability to scale.
- Highly customizable. With access to numerous WordPress plugins and more released every week, you always have something to work with.
- Strong SEO capabilities. WordPress integration allows complete control so you can freely implement any SEO strategy.
- No restrictions. WordPress is open source, and you're limited to your imagination and hosting provider.
- Requires a level of technical knowledge. You're on your own, so setting up and maintaining the website can be challenging if you're unprepared for it.
- Some essential plugins may come at an extra cost. Something to keep in mind if you're on a budget.
The essential WooCommerce plugin is free, but expect costs for web hosting, premium themes, and some plugins. Some of these are also subscription fees.
4. BigCommerce Review
BigCommerce stands out as a Software as a Service (SaaS) eCommerce platform celebrated for its wide range of built-in features and scalability.
It is an excellent choice for POD businesses looking to grow, thanks to its robust integration with various print on demand services.
The platform supports growth and expansion, making it an appealing choice for businesses with ambitious scaling plans.
The extensive built-in features of BigCommerce mean businesses can operate effectively without adding numerous third-party integrations or apps.
This simplifies the operation and creates a more streamlined and efficient business setup.
It should be noted that BigCommerce might appear complex to those new to ecommerce due to its advanced features.
Yet, BigCommerce offers a comprehensive and scalable solution for businesses planning substantial growth that can adapt to evolving business needs.
- Powerful out-of-the-box features. The step-up time to get your website ready will take minutes!
- Excellent scalability for growing businesses. Many great tools can help you scale as you grow your POD store.
- No transaction fees. You only pay a subscription fee to use BigCommerce.
- BigCommerce website themes are limited. They lack the amount of customization as the competition.
- Less intuitive than other platforms. While there are great features, it's not as robust in the number of plugins as other ecommerce platforms.
BigCommerce offers a Standard plan at $39/month, Plus at $105/month, and Pro at $399/month.
5. Big Cartel Review
Big Cartel stands out in ecommerce as a platform specifically designed for artists and makers, positioning it as an ideal choice for small-scale print on demand businesses.
Its user-friendly interface and simplified features make it an excellent starting point for individuals or businesses new to online sales.
Although it may lack some of the advanced features of its competitors, it effectively covers the essentials, allowing new businesses to hit the ground running.
By focusing on the needs of artists and makers, Big Cartel has carved out a unique niche for itself. The platform offers the tools to quickly set up an online store, manage inventory, and process orders.
For those beginning their ecommerce journey and needing a simple platform to showcase products, Big Cartel offers an uncomplicated solution. Although, advanced or large-scale operations may require a platform with more features.
- Affordable pricing for small businesses. Big Cartel's pricing is based on the product range, with a generous free tier.
- Straightforward setup process. It will only take minutes to begin selling.
- Focus on artists and makers. While other dropshipping businesses may struggle with this target market, it's great for print on demand designers.
- Limited features compared to other platforms. Themes and plugins are pretty small and not as easily customizable.
- Not ideal for large or rapidly growing businesses. As you continue to scale, their highest offerings may be too limiting for what you're looking for compared to the competition.
Big Cartel has a free plan for up to five products; paid plans start at $9.99/month.
6. Squarespace Review
Squarespace is well-regarded for its visually stunning and professional-looking templates, making it an excellent platform for businesses where aesthetic appeal is paramount.
This feature mainly benefits smaller print on demand businesses that want to effectively showcase their unique designs and create a strong brand image.
Squarespace ensures your online store looks fantastic and offers the essential features to run an ecommerce business effectively. Its user-friendly interface makes setting up a store, managing inventory, and processing orders easy.
However, it may not offer as many advanced ecommerce features as some competitors. Still, its focus on design and user experience makes it a solid choice for businesses prioritizing aesthetics and usability.
Squarespace is worth considering if you aim to create a visually stunning online presence to showcase your print on demand designs.
- High-quality, customizable templates. A lot of variety, and all are free to use.
- Built-in features are comprehensive. They are well-integrated and require minimal setup.
- Offers good inventory management and analytics tools. Most other platforms require a high price for the quality of their analytical tools.
- No app store to extend functionality. Everything is made from Squarespace and partners.
- Ecommerce requires the highest payment tier. Squarespace is well-rounded, but other platforms focus more on the ecommerce experience.
- Print on demand integration is possible but not as seamless as some competitors. Other platforms have a higher priority in integrating POD into their platforms.
Squarespace offers a Business plan at $16/month, Basic Commerce at $27/month, and Advanced Commerce at $49/month.
7. Sellfy Review
Sellfy is a complete ecommerce platform designed for creators to sell digital products, physical goods, and subscriptions all from one place.
For POD businesses, Sellfy provides the simplicity of launching a store in minutes without technical knowledge.
The platform makes it effortless to manage products, track sales, and interact with customers, focusing on delivering a streamlined, user-friendly experience.
It's essential to know while Sellfy covers the basics of ecommerce well, it may lack some of the advanced features offered by larger, more established platforms.
- Easy to use interface. Simplifies the process of setting up a store and selling products.
- Sell digital and physical products. Allows for a diverse range of product offerings.
- Built-in marketing tools. These help to increase customer engagement and sales.
- Limited customization options. The design capabilities aren't as extensive as some other platforms.
- Fewer advanced features. Compared to some competitors, Sellfy's features can be basic.
- POD integration isn't as robust. While possible, it isn't as seamless as with other platforms.
Sellfy offers a Starter plan at $19/month, Business at $49/month, and Premium at $99/month.
For more information, check out their pricing plans page here!
8. Redbubble Review
Redbubble is a global online marketplace offering print on demand products based on user-submitted artwork.
Artists can sell their artwork as decoration on various products without worrying about production, shipping, or customer service, which Redbubble handles.
Redbubble's strength lies in its massive community of artists and customers, which can be a boon for new artists trying to reach an audience.
But, given that it's a marketplace, sellers have limited control over branding and customer experience.
Tip: Interested in learning how to sell on Redbubble but unsure where to start? Check out our how to sell on Redbubble guide here!
- Easy to use. Artists upload their artwork and select the products they want to sell.
- Redbubble handles production and shipping. Artists can focus on their designs and marketing.
- Access to a large, built-in audience. Redbubble's community of artists and customers can boost visibility.
- Limited control over branding and customer experience. Redbubble's marketplace format gives less power to sellers.
- Competition is high. With so many artists on the platform, standing out can be challenging.
- Profit margins are generally lower. Redbubble sets the base price for products, and artists only set their margin.
There's no cost to open a shop on Redbubble. Artists set their profit margin above Redbubble's base price for each product.
What is an ecommerce platform?
An ecommerce platform is software technology that helps you set up a website to sell products or services online. Many are SaaS (Software-as-a-service), software hosted by a third party and delivered to customers over the Internet.
Your ecommerce platform will be the backbone of your online store, providing you with every tool you need to seamlessly build, market, manage, and showcase your print on demand store.
It will help you create both the forefront of your business and the “brains” of your back office, integrating parts like order, product, and customer management into a comprehensible whole. (There are a lot of benefits)
If you consider your ecommerce platform your “business partner,” you will understand the importance of choosing the best one for your store.
For more information about an ecommerce platform, check out our other article here!
Reading and absorbing information and knowledge is excellent (definitely if it's free!), but do you know what's even better?
So, to help you with taking action with what you have learned in this article, take a look at the bullet points:
- Consider the ecommerce platform's compatibility with print on demand services, including easy upload of designs, forwarding orders, and updating order status.
- Remember your budget and growth objectives while looking into the pricing models.
- The platform should be easy to use and set up, with drag-and-drop builders, easy product management, and simple order collection and payment setup processes.
- Customization options are crucial. Look for theme and template offerings, custom coding, and customizable features like banners or promotional bars.
- Ensure the platform can integrate with essential software tools like email marketing, SEO tools, analytics, CRMs, and payment gateways.
- Good customer support is vital – it should be 24/7, available through various channels, and highly rated by users.
Ultimately, we can conclude that it is essential to consider your specific needs before selecting your ecommerce platform.
That's because the best ecommerce platform for you might not be the best platform for someone else.
So, what is our final verdict?
What is the best ecommerce platform for print on demand in 2023?
If we had to choose a single ecommerce platform to recommend to everyone, Shopify would be the best ecommerce platform for print on demand in 2023.
Shopify is straightforward for beginners, offers tons of features (especially when adding all available third-party apps), and offers excellent free support in case of any issues.
Are you interested in Shopify now? Sign up by clicking this link to get a free 3-day trial + pay $1/month for the first 3 months!
However, the other seven ecommerce platforms are also excellent choices and may even be the best choice for you if you want something specific!
Choose wisely, keep your customer at the forefront of your decisions, and you'll be well on your way to a thriving print on demand business.
Thank you for reading, and best of luck!
Want to learn more about POD?
Ready to move your print on demand store to the next level? Check out the articles below:
- 8 Best Unlimited Design Services for Print on Demand (2023)
- 6 Advertising Examples for Ecommerce: Sorted by Objective
- 6 Ecommerce Business Model Types: Explained and Compared
Plus, don't forget to check out our in-depth how-to start a print on demand business guide here!