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Shopify vs Printify: Which is Better for Your Ecommerce Business?

E-commerce has exploded in popularity over the last decade, with more and more people opting to shop online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, the number of e-commerce platforms available to entrepreneurs has also grown significantly. Two of the most popular options are Shopify and Printify. But which one is better for starting and scaling an online business?

This in-depth Shopify vs. Printify comparison examines the key features, strengths, and weaknesses of each platform across critical factors including:

  • Pricing and fees
  • Sales channels and marketing tools
  • Product customization and management
  • Order fulfillment
  • Ease of use
  • Customer support

By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of which platform is the better fit for your specific e-commerce needs and goals.

Shopify vs. Printify: An Overview

Before diving into the details, let’s briefly introduce both Shopify and Printify.

What is Shopify?

image of shopify screenshot

Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce platform that lets you create an online store to sell your products or services. The Shopify platform handles everything from building and hosting your storefront to accepting payments and tracking orders.

With Shopify, you can sell in multiple ways:

  • On your Shopify website
  • Through online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay
  • On social media channels like Facebook and Instagram
  • In brick-and-mortar retail locations with Shopify POS

Shopify currently powers over 1 million businesses across 175 countries. Some of their most notable clients include Tesla, Budweiser, Red Bull, and celebrities like Kylie Jenner.

What is Printify?

image of printify screenshot

Unlike Shopify, Printify is not a full e-commerce platform. Rather, it is a print-on-demand dropshipping service.

Printify connects you with printers and fulfillment centers around the world to produce custom products like t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and more on-demand.

When someone purchases a product from your online store, Printify handles printing and shipping it directly to the customer for you. This eliminates the need to deal with inventory, returns or manufacturing.

Printify integrates with e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, and others. So you build and manage your online store through those platforms, while Printify fulfills the orders in the background.

Now that you have an overview of both companies, let’s do a detailed comparison across major factors.

Table of Contents

Shopify vs. Printify: Pricing and Fees

Cost is often one of the top considerations when choosing an e-commerce platform. Here is how Shopify and Printify’s pricing models compare.

Shopify Pricing Plans

Shopify offers four pricing plans to meet the needs of different business sizes and stages:

  • Basic Shopify: $29/month
  • Shopify: $79/month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/month
  • Shopify Plus: Custom pricing

The lower-tier plans are great for new startups and smaller stores. As your business grows, you can upgrade to the higher Advanced and Plus plans to access more advanced features.

Here is an overview of what’s included with each plan:

FeaturesBasicStandardAdvanced
ProductsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Storage2 GB5 GB15 GB
Staff Accounts2515
Discount Codes2515
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Gift cards
Professional reports
Third-party calculated shipping

Shopify Transaction Fees

In addition to the monthly subscription fees, Shopify charges transaction fees when you make a sale:

  • Basic: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Standard: 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Advanced: 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction

However, you can eliminate transaction fees by using Shopify Payments as your payment gateway. Then you only pay the standard credit card processing rates:

  • Online transactions: 2.4% + 30¢
  • In-person transactions: 2.7% + 30¢

Printify Pricing Plans

Printify has three pricing options:

  • Free: 0$/month
  • Premium: $29/month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

The Free plan comes with basic features like 5 stores connected, Mockup generator access, and chat support.

For more stores, discounts on products, and priority support, you can upgrade to the paid Premium plan.

Printify also offers custom Enterprise plans for high-volume merchants processing over 10,000 orders daily.

Printify Fees

printify pricing plans

With Printify’s free plan, you only pay production and shipping fees per product when an order comes in. This allows you to test their service at zero upfront cost.

Pricing per product varies based on:

  • The type of product (t-shirt, mug, phone case etc)
  • Printing technique used
  • Shipping destination

On the Premium plan, you get up to 20% discounted rates on all products.

There are no monthly or transaction fees beyond the production costs. This helps you earn higher profit margins.

Shopify vs Printify Pricing: The Verdict

Based on the pricing structure, Printify wins as the more affordable option:

  • No mandatory monthly fees or transaction fees
  • Free plan available to get started
  • Up to 20% discounts on production costs with Premium plan

The downside is that production costs per item are unpredictable and fluctuate frequently.

Shopify has more predictable pricing with fixed monthly and transaction fees. But the additional costs can eat into profit margins, especially for new businesses with lower sales volumes.

For high-volume merchants, Shopify’s discounted transaction rates on the Advanced plan can offer better value. But Printify’s custom Enterprise pricing aims to match that.

Overall, Printify has greater flexibility, while Shopify offers more pricing certainty.

Shopify vs. Printify: Sales Channels and Marketing Tools

Access to sales channels and marketing tools is crucial for online business growth. Here is how Shopify and Printify compare in these areas:

Shopify Sales Channels

shopify sales channel

Some key sales channels supported by Shopify include:

  • Your Shopify online store
  • Facebook and Instagram shops
  • Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and BuzzFeed marketplaces
  • Pop-up shops and retail locations with POS system
  • Buy buttons on blogs, emails, and social media

Shopify handles all the technical aspects of connecting to and managing these sales channels seamlessly from one dashboard.

Shopify Marketing Tools

Shopify comes equipped with a variety of built-in marketing features like:

  • SEO optimization: Custom meta tags, alt text, SEO preview tool
  • Email marketing: Pre-designed templates, automation, tracking
  • Shipping discounts: Offer free shipping above order thresholds
  • Cross-selling: Related product recommendations
  • Social media marketing: Share store products directly on social channels
  • Referral program: Create shareable referral links

There are also over 5,000 apps and integrations on the Shopify App Store to further extend marketing capabilities as your business grows.

Printify Sales Channels

Since Printify is not a standalone e-commerce platform, users need to connect their Printify account to external sales channels like:

  • Shopify, WooCommerce, or other online store builders
  • Etsy, eBay, Amazon Handmade, and other marketplaces
  • Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram

So Printify enables you to sell customized print-on-demand products through marketplaces and storefronts you already use. But it does not provide the channels themselves.

Printify Marketing Tools

In terms of marketing tools, Printify focuses solely on enabling users to create high-quality product mockups and descriptions to showcase items attractively across sales channels.

There are no built-in options for automated email marketing, discount codes, referrals or social media integration. Users need to leverage the platform connected to Printify for those marketing capabilities.

Shopify vs Printify Sales Channels and Marketing: The Verdict

Shopify is the clear winner when it comes to sales and marketing features.

The platform natively supports creating a full-featured online store as well as expanded selling on multiple popular channels.

And Shopify provides a suite of built-in marketing tools plus extensive app integrations to maximize sales.

Printify simply fulfills orders in the background once products are uploaded to compatible platforms. The sales, marketing, and broader e-commerce capabilities need to come from those platforms.

So Shopify is ideal for launching an independent online business from scratch. Printify is better suited as an order fulfillment add-on.

Shopify vs. Printify: Product Customization and Management

Another key consideration is how easy or challenging it is to create, customize, and manage products on each platform.

Adding Products on Shopify

Shopify makes it simple to add new products to your store with both manual and bulk import options.

To manually add a product, just go to the Products section, click Add Product and fill in details like:

  • Title, description, and images
  • Pricing and inventory tracking
  • Shipping and tax settings
  • Product tag and collections

For bulk product uploads, Shopify supports importing details from a CSV or Excel file. Apps like Oberlo also allow bulk product imports from supplier catalogs.

Customizing Products on Shopify

Shopify has powerful customization capabilities:

  • Use themes and templates to tailor product page layouts
  • Customize buttons, icons, fonts, colors and backgrounds
  • Add related products, recommendations, reviews etc.
  • Build product variants with different sizes, colors and prices
  • Create bundled or recurring payment products

Both manual product design and bulk editing tools are available.

Managing Products on Shopify

Key product management features include:

  • Dashboard to monitor inventory levels
  • Automatic inventory updates from sales and fulfillment
  • Reorder notifications when stock gets low
  • Track product performance with sales reports
  • Automate product publishing and expiration
  • Filter and search products for easy indexing

So Shopify provides complete solutions for efficiently managing large product catalogs.

Adding Products on Printify

To add a product on Printify, you:

  1. Select a printing partner from their directory
  2. Choose a product type like t-shirt, mug or phone case
  3. Customize it with your design using the built-in Mockup generator
  4. Add product descriptions and upload the finished mockup

This makes the process very fast and streamlined.

Customizing Products on Printify

Although customization capabilities are more limited compared to Shopify, you can:

  • Pick from hundreds of available products like apparel, home decor, accessories etc.
  • Select color, size and other variants
  • Add text, images and illustrations to design custom prints
  • Preview on realistic mockups before uploading
  • Purchase product samples for quality assurance

Bulk product uploads or editing is not supported though. You need to customize one product at a time.

Managing Products on Printify

Since Printify fulfills each order on demand, there is no need for inventory management.

The platform allows users to:

  • Monitor order status and locations
  • Track sales volumes and revenue
  • Review product analytics like impressions and conversions
  • Toggle products on/off for publishing control
  • Sort products and access them from connected stores

But there are no capabilities for bulk product editing, reporting, filtering etc.

Shopify vs Printify Product Customization & Management: The Verdict

Shopify offers far greater flexibility and control when it comes to managing product catalogs.

The platform is built to support sellers with large, diverse inventories and varying product complexity.

Printify simplifies product creation using mockup templates. But you have more limited control over bulk customization and organization.

So Shopify is better suited for product-heavy businesses, while Printify accommodates simpler print-on-demand items.

Shopify vs Printify: Order Fulfillment

Fulfilling orders quickly and accurately is an essential ecommerce requirement. Let’s explore how this works with Shopify and Printify.

Order Fulfillment on Shopify

Shopify enables users to fulfill orders in a few ways:

  • Manual fulfillment: You package and ship orders yourself
  • Warehouse fulfillment: Store inventory in warehouses that pack and ship for you
  • Local delivery: Enable in-person delivery through local couriers
  • Dropshipping: Directly ship orders from a supplier or manufacturer (You may like: How to start dropshipping on Shopify)

Common fulfillment apps you can integrate include:

  • Oberlo Dropshipping: Auto-import products from Oberlo suppliers
  • CustomCat: Auto-import products from any supplier website
  • Shippo: Get discounted shipping rates from multiple carriers
  • Deliverr: Access Fulfillment centers to store and ship inventory

So Shopify supports both DIY order fulfillment as well as outsourced options.

Order Tracking on Shopify

Shopify has native order tracking features that let you:

  • Automatically display carrier tracking info to customers
  • Import tracking details from shipping apps
  • Enter tracking codes manually for orders
  • Send customers email notifications with tracking info
  • View tracking history and current status

Printify Order Fulfillment

Printify’s model is:

  1. You get an order on your Shopify/Etsy/WooCommerce store
  2. Printify automatically routes it to your chosen printing partner
  3. The partner prints the product, packages, and ships it

You just upload the products and Printify handles the rest.

The printing partners are spread globally so customers get quick delivery times. Printify also provides warehouse storage in the US, UK, and AU.

Printify Order Tracking

Printify has an order dashboard that displays:

  • Current order status and tracking details
  • Expected production and shipping timelines
  • Note updates from printing partners

Customers can also track orders from the email confirmations received.

Shopify vs Printify Order Fulfillment: The Verdict

Printify wins when it comes to simpler and hands-off order fulfillment.

Shopify provides more control with customizable fulfillment methods. However the process is more complex to manage.

Printify completely automates production and shipping for each order. However, businesses have less visibility into the fulfillment process.

So Printify is ideal if you want to minimize operational effort. Shopify is better for higher customization and oversight.

Shopify vs Printify: Ease of Use

An intuitive user experience enables sellers to effectively focus on growing their business instead of tackling a difficult technology platform.

Shopify Ease of Use

Shopify is renowned for its user-friendly and easy-to-navigate interface.

  • Simplified dashboard: Key data and action buttons visible at a glance
  • Easy store setup: Edit themes, add products etc. in just a few steps
  • Responsive design: Manage your store on any device
  • Detailed guides and docs: Resources to help you learn as you go
  • Intuitive editor: Customize products and pages quickly
  • Premium themes: Professionally designed templates for modification

These capabilities make it fast and straightforward even for non-technical entrepreneurs to get started with Shopify.

Printify Ease of Use

Printify also offers a simple getting started process:

  • Minimal interface: Only options related to print-on-demand workflow
  • Step-by-step wizards: Walk you through store integration and product setup
  • Pre-designed templates: Built-in mockups for easy customization
  • Dedicated support: Quick answers to questions from chat or email
  • Knowledge base: Articles explain how Printify works and common issues

However, the product personalization and editing process is less flexible compared to Shopify.

Shopify vs Printify Ease of Use: The Verdict

Shopify wins for offering a more intuitive and customizable management experience overall.

Their dashboard is simpler to navigate while also providing more powerful and detailed controls once you want to scale up customization.

Printify makes onboarding easy but ongoing product editing and organization remains relatively rigid.

So Shopify allows both beginners and experts to effectively use the platform. With Printify, simplicity comes at the expense of greater long-term flexibility.

Shopify vs Printify: Customer Support

Getting timely support when issues arise is key to avoiding disruptions that slow business growth.

Shopify Customer Support

Shopify offers 24/7 customer support through:

  • Help Center: Extensive self-help articles, guides, and FAQs
  • Community forums: Get advice and discuss issues with other users
  • Email support: Typically responds within 24 hours
  • Phone and chat support: Available 24/7 with shorter wait times
  • Shopify experts: Dedicated account managers for larger stores

Paid plans get priority support over free Shopify Lite users. Support reps are knowledgeable regarding both common technical issues as well as broader ecommerce topics.

Printify Customer Support

Printify provides customer service through:

  • Help Center: Contains setup guides, product overviews, and order tracking instructions
  • Email & chat support: Available during business hours with response within a day
  • Response time guarantee: Print-providers must respond within 1 business day
  • Premium support: Higher-priority inquiries for paid subscribers
  • Knowledgeable team: Tech issues and order-related questions answered

While chat, email and self-service options are available, Printify does not currently offer 24/7 phone support. Support specialists mainly provide assistance with technical issues.

Shopify vs Printify Customer Support: The Verdict

Shopify is the winner for providing more robust and responsive customer support.

Their 24/7 live channels combined with an extensive Help Center provide quick fixes to both simple questions as well as complex issues at scale.

Printify chat support is only available during business hours. And educational resources focus mostly on the print-on-demand

Shopify vs. Printify: Security

Security is a critical priority when building an online business. You need to protect sensitive customer data as well as your own financial and sales information.

Here is how Shopify and Printify compare when it comes to e-commerce security.

Shopify Security Features

Shopify utilizes extensive security measures including:

  • SSL encryption: Protects checkout process and customer data transmission
  • PCI compliance: Meets payment security standards to securely handle purchases
  • Fraud analysis: Uses AI to detect fraudulent transactions and abuse
  • DDoS protection: Mitigates distributed denial-of-service attacks
  • Data backups: Regularly backs up store data to prevent loss
  • User permissions: Granular staff access controls to data and settings
  • GDPR compliance: Adheres to EU data privacy regulations

Shopify also undergoes regular audits and penetration testing to identify and resolve vulnerabilities proactively.

Printify Security

Printify also employs security best practices like:

  • SSL encryption: Encrypts all data communication
  • PCI compliance: Complies with payment card industry requirements
  • User authentication: Login credentials needed to access your account
  • GDPR compliance: Meets all European Union privacy regulations
  • No credit card storage: User payment details are not stored on Printify
  • Partner security reviews: Vets production partners to ensure security compliance

However, Printify does not provide the same degree of transparency in its internal security protocols as Shopify.

Shopify vs Printify Security: The Verdict

Shopify is the safer choice for merchants dealing with highly sensitive data.

Their security infrastructure is extremely robust with advanced protection against various threats and fraud. Extensive transparency into security practices provides added peace of mind.

Printify’s compliance with baseline security requirements is adequate for most use cases. But Shopify goes above and beyond, especially for high-risk businesses.

Shopify vs Printify: Additional Factors to Consider

Beyond the major categories above, there are a few additional considerations when choosing between Shopify and Printify.

Shopify Plus for Large Enterprises

While Printify offers custom Enterprise pricing, Shopify Plus delivers more robust enterprise support including:

  • Dedicated launch manager for implementation
  • Custom workflows and developer support
  • High-level financial and inventory management
  • Wholesale purchasing tools and negotiated rates
  • Advanced analytics with custom reports
  • Account-based marketing tools

So for substantial e-commerce businesses, Shopify Plus provides more specialized capabilities. Printify Enterprise pricing is not as fully featured.

Shopify App Ecosystem

Shopify also provides access to a vast app store with over 5,000 apps for added functionalities. This enables deep customization and scalability.

Printify has a much smaller app ecosystem, mostly consisting of store integrators and design mockup tools.

Shopify Theme Store

Shopify offers a Theme Store with over 100 free and paid themes for modifying the look and feel of your online store.

Printify relies on the themes from the connected e-commerce platform used to design the look of your store.

Printify Processor Network

A unique advantage of Printify is access to their global fulfillment network with over 100 printing and shipping partners. This enables wide product selection and speedy delivery worldwide.

Shopify requires piecing together your own group of suppliers and shipping providers. But this offers more oversight compared to Printify’s black box approach.

Shopify vs. Printify: Final Verdict

So which platform comes out on top in this detailed Shopify vs. Printify comparison?

For most online merchants, Shopify is the better overall platform thanks to its combination of robust core e-commerce capabilities, integrated sales channels, and a strong ecosystem of support.

Printify shines when it comes to simplified order fulfillment and a diverse range of print-on-demand products. But Shopify still edges it out for ease of use and flexibility.

Here is a quick rundown of the key strengths of each platform:

Shopify’s Strengths

  • All-in-one e-commerce solution
  • Built-in sales channels
  • Advanced marketing tools
  • Easier product customization
  • More payment and shipping options
  • Superior support resources
  • Greater security protections

Printify’s Strengths

  • Easy automated order fulfillment
  • Large product selection
  • Low monthly costs
  • Global printing partner network
  • High profit margins
  • Quick setup and onboarding

In summary:

New online stores are better off starting with Shopify to access the complete set of features for building and marketing your business effectively online.

Existing merchants selling on other platforms can use Printify as a production and fulfillment add-on to expand into customized merchandise.

Hopefully, this detailed Shopify vs Printify comparison has provided clarity on which platform aligns best with your specific e-commerce goals and needs. Leveraging the strengths of both is an option as well.

To recap, Shopify builds the foundation for establishing a thriving online business across channels while Printify enhances marketplaces and stores with hassle-free print-on-demand. Implemented together, they enable merchants to grow a customized product catalog while optimizing operations./he

Video Guide: Sell Your Product on Shopify With Printify

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Janak Uparkoti

Janak Uparkoti is Shopify expert and writing articles on ecombuilderinsider.com, a site that helps you build and grow your e-commerce business. He also expert on about Shopify design, development, marketing, optimization, and more. He is also Book author at Amazon.

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