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Ecommerce platforms comparison: The best for Print-On-Demand | Fuel POD

Paola
October 13, 2021

Ecommerce platforms comparison: The best for Print-On-Demand

Welcome to the next step into creating your print-on-demand (POD) business! Now that you know how to start your own clothing store, it’s time to make one of the most important decisions: finding the right platform to build your store. There are too many choices out there, so how to choose the right one for you? 

Picking the best ecommerce platform is like choosing a partner. If it all goes well, you will end up having a long-term relationship with this site, so take your time to think it through.

Here you'll find a handful of ecommerce platform alternatives you should check on before paying for a membership, and our pick on the top POD apps to help you in the decision-making process. Are you ready? 😎

Important factors to consider

Partnering with the right suppliers is key to get started and keep growing a business. We’ve decided to compare three of the most popular ecommerce platforms in 2021: Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce, to determine which is best to start a POD store based on pricing, features, and user-friendly interface.

Pricing

This is probably one of the most important factors when it comes to picking a platform. We know it’s important to make every penny count, so take a look at what these sites have to offer, considering your initial investment.

Shopify

This platform offers three different membership plans to suit your needs. All of them include unlimited product upload, the ability to add staff accounts, 24/7 support, abandoned cart recovery, among many other features we’ll review next. This is what the memberships cost:

  • Basic Shopify: $29 monthly
  • Shopify: $79 per month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 monthly

You have a 14-day free trial option, and you can save 10% with an annual payment, or up to 20% on a biennial subscription.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers three different plans. All of them allow you to sell on social media and Amazon, bulk upload products and set up coupons, and discount codes. You can request a 30-day free, and save 10% on Plus and Pro plans if paid annually:

  • Standard: $29.95 per month for up to $50,000 in sales.
  • Plus: $79.95 per month for up to $180,000 in sales.
  • Pro: $299.95 per month for up to $400,000 in sales.

An Important note here: You can select any plan, but once you reach the maximum sales volume over 12 months, it will upgrade your membership to the next program.

WooCommerce

Different from the other contenders, WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress. However, it’s important to point out that you might need to pay for more extensions, such as product bundles or order CSV exports.

The good news is, you can acquire add-on tools along the way to get only what you need for your store. But consider that these will make your maintenance costs go up, as they’re billed annually.

About hosting costs, these can go from $6.99 to $499 monthly, depending on the partner you choose to work with.

Features 

Now that you have an idea of what it costs to have an online store, let's break down what these platforms have to offer according to their prices. This is an overall review of their features for standard online stores:

Chart showing an ecommerce platform comparison based on different alternatives.
Consider what you’re getting with your platform membership and choose based on the features that work best for your business.

Although these might look similar at first glance, the magic is found in the details. Since not all online businesses are the same, consider the essential features a print-on-demand store needs when choosing the best ecommerce platform for you.

Let’s take Shopify for example, it allows you to integrate easily with more than 3,000 apps, like Fuel. It also fulfills and ships orders in a matter of clicks by calculating third-party shipping rates. And, if you’d like to go internationally, you can sell in multiple languages, and with 133 different currencies. Sounds exciting, right? 

💡 Fuel Tip: Check out these helpful apps you can add to your Shopify store to level up your business. 

User-friendly experience

Now onto the technicalities. Let’s imagine you’ve chosen to sign up for any of these platforms; how easy would it be to get started and build an online store from scratch? 

Shopify

With a nice signup process flow, getting started with Shopify is quick. After creating your account, the platform drives you into a step-by-step process where you answer questions to understand the purpose of your store. And that’s it! You’ll find yourself in your dashboard in a matter of seconds.

Very intuitive and with a drag-and-drop interface to build your store, you can find design templates of all kinds, both free and paid. They can be adjusted easily to customize according to your brand guidelines, from typography and footer settings to background colors, images, and presets. Great for beginners and non-programmers!

  • Paid themes price range: $160 - $180

BigCommerce

Similar to Shopify, it’s easy to sign up to BigCommerce. All you need is an email and password. A few steps later, you’re in.

Although this platform offers free and paid ecommerce templates too, it has less variety on the free options than Shopify. Customization is similar as well, as it allows you to personalize it as you need to. A good choice for newbies too!

  • Paid themes price average: $145 - $250

WooCommerce

If you already have a website with WordPress, getting started with WooCommerce is a piece of cake. Don’t forget that WooCommerce is a software rather than a service like BigCommerce and Shopify. 

Once you’ve installed WordPress on your hosting account, you only need to add and activate the WooCommerce plugin, and you’re good to go. 

Even though the store build-up isn’t as easy as the others, if you have the basic knowledge of WordPress as a platform, you’ll realize that managing a product is basically like managing a post or page.

  • Since you build the website on your own, pricing depends on what you decide to add. 

Time to choose the right platform

It all comes down to this moment, here’s the verdict! We’ve handed out all the perks and disadvantages of Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce, but remember that the decision is all yours. 

We’ve created this summary chart including an average score on the three aspects we reviewed today to help you decide which is the best ecommerce platform to start your online print-on-demand business:

Chart showing an ecommerce platform comparison of Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce, based on pricing, features, and interface.
Considering the previous factors, Shopify in one of  the best ecommerce platforms from POD stores.

We’re halfway there! At this point, you should’ve decided what’s the right platform to start your store, or at least have an idea.

It’s a matter of preferences, our advice is to check out all these platforms’ websites and maybe request a free trial to get a glimpse of what works best for you. But if you’re getting started on the realm, we definitely recommend going with Shopify

What is the best print-on-demand app?

The e-tailer world is growing rapidly. Buyers are looking for the cheapest, fastest, and most enchanting online shopping experience. If you want to stay competitive in the print-on-demand realm, you need to be able to deliver. Choosing the right supplier will help you achieve it!

Here are some characteristics you should check on before choosing a POD app to work with: 

Price tag with discount icon, referring to pricing for Shopify print-on-demand apps.

Pricing

When you start a business, you’ll have to go through several initial investment costs. Don’t let the membership of a print-on-demand service be one of these. There are many free options available on the Shopify App Store you can integrate with to take care of your fulfillment needs, just like Fuel does. 

Product catalog & profit margins

Ribbon with a star icon. Referring to top-quality print-on-demand products Fuel offers.

Not only product variety but also price and quality are essential when choosing a provider. Take a look at the apparel

brands POD companies work with, and check on their prices - you’ll see that some of these offer the same premium products but at a lower cost to sellers.

Having lower costs will allow you to set competitive prices and enjoy higher profit margins from day one!

It’s important to mention that Fuel offers a 30-day or first 50 orders intro period. It means you will receive introduction prices for your first store to try the service at low risk. After this time, you’ll benefit from standard rates, which still are lower than the competition. 

💡Fuel Tip: Take advantage of intro prices to order samples and check on product and printing quality before selling.

Printed t-shirt icon to indicate printing method variety offered by Fuel POD.

Printing methods

Not all products are printed the same, so make sure that the supplier you choose offers various methods to decorate your products correctly. For example, Fuel uses state-of-the-art machinery for the following techniques:

  • Direct-to-garment (DTG): Great for detailed graphics! This method is perfect for 100% cotton-made apparel with high-definition artwork.
  • Sublimation: Place durable and long-lasting graphics on mugs, posters, and phone cases, using heat and pressure.
  • Embroidery: Will allow you to stitch simple designs or texts with a sophisticated finish on your products.

Delivery truck icon: Refers to fast turnaround times on print-on-demand apps for Shopify.

Turnaround times

As we mentioned before, turnaround times have become one of the main factors clients consider when buying online, so you want to pick a service that will guarantee fast delivery

To get you a glimpse of what fast turnaround looks like, here are the standard delivery times Fuel has according to the printing methods used:

  • Direct-to-garment (DTG): 2 to 5 business day delivery. 
  • Sublimation: Delivered in less than two business days.
  • Embroidery: 2 to 5 business days to deliver. 

Seller support representative icon. 

Seller support

A lot of questions will be crossing your mind when getting started with a POD store, so you need to find a service that will answer them fast. Whether via live chat, social media, email, or all of these channels, seller support is a significant characteristic you should consider before making a choice. 

No matter how simple or technical the question or request is, Fuel’s customer service team is well-known for its ability to solve any inquiry in the short term. If you’re looking for a company that will support you through your ecommerce journey, this is the right team for you. 

Choose a reliable supplier

Have you made up your decision yet? Remember that each ecommerce platform and print-on-demand app has its unique appeal, so it is up to you to decide which one you’ll want to work with.

Image showing a man holding a laptop with a print-on-demand shirt, suggesting Fuel is the best POD app for Shopify.
New and ready to build your print-on-demand ecommerce store? Work with Fuel! 

From new seller to Power Seller, Fuel will help you scale your print-on-demand business smoothly.

It’s perfect for beginners, as it requires no upfront investment or technical expertise to start. But if you face any issues, the support team is by far remarkable! Fuel’s team is dedicated and fast when it comes to solving any inquiries or questions. 

Our journey together doesn’t end up here. See you on our next blog, where you’ll learn how to find and pick profitable POD niches.

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