The eCommerce market is growing exponentially. With each year more people are spending money online to buy various products ranging from electronics to car parts, clothes and even groceries. According to eCommerce statistics, global online retail sales will reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.
Now is the perfect time to open an online shop and start making money online. The first question most people ask while considering opening a store – what should I sell? There are many profitable niches out there, however, some niches have a much higher entry barrier compared to others.
Even though it has never been easier to start an online business then it is today, you should still carefully consider in which niche to start your business. Thanks to the advancements in printing technology, the apparel niche is one of those niches with a low entry barrier, and it is one of the most fast-growing eCommerce industries.
Online apparel merchandise with custom designs gained a lot of popularity during the last few years and has a lot of tools built around it. As a solo entrepreneur, you will need to outsource and streamline many of your tasks, and there are many tools to help you do that in print on demand niche. One of such tools is CustomCat.
What is CustomCat?
CustomCat is a brilliant print on demand service with an insanely wide product range of over 360 customizable products. They specialize in print on demand business model since 2006 and have a high level of expertise. At this point over 12 thousand active eCommerce brands outsource on-demand production fulfillment to CustomCat.
CustomCat production facilities are located in Detroit and they own the production plant and equipment. This allows for thorough quality control, which is proved through the less than a 1% replacement rate. Moreover, CustomCat has an impressive production capacity of over 100 thousand units per day. This is possible due to huge production facility with over 450 employees and a non-stop 24/7 production.
How does CustomCat work
When your customer makes an order and transfers money to your bank or PayPal account, CustomCat automatically starts the production of an item with your custom design on it within a 4hour period. As soon as production is completed, the product is shipped directly to your customer’s address.
This way you do not have to worry about the production process, storage or logistics. All orders are automatically sent for fulfillment and you do not have to track orders manually. All you should care about is product designs and marketing.
The product will be shipped to your customer with your label and your client won’t know that production was outsourced to CustomCat. This feature pushes your shop to the next level as it creates your brand presence. Even though labeling features should be considered a standard in the POD market today, some CustomCat competitors still do not have it.
CustomCat is fully integrated with Shopify and WooCommerce as well as a robust order by CSV option. They also have a custom API designed to be integrated with any other website or CMS platform. However, unless you use Shopify or WooCommerce, you would have to hire a software developer to handle the integration process.
The CustomCat Shopify integration is done through the Shopify app store and the App has a free CustomCat Lite subscription plan. Also, the CustomCat app has a 4.5 rating on Shopify with many positive reviews. Integration is super easy and straightforward. You just press the “Add app” button and you will have CustomCat added to the Shopify dashboard.
Now you are able to add products with your designs to your store and CustomCat will automatically fulfill any orders that you will have. Also, we recommend using multiple POD services simultaneously and exploit them to their full potential through appointing different products to POD service that has the best quality-price combination for that particular product.
Even though there is nothing wrong with using multiple POD companies within one store, you should be careful as some POD apps out there will try to reassign product fulfillment to themselves after you assign it to some particular fulfillment service. This is not the case with the CustomCat app, which can be easily used with other apps without software conflicts.
CustomCat vs Printful
One of the main CustomCat competitors is Printful. Both CustomCat and Printful have several printing methods including sublimation, embroidery, and direct to garment. Having multiple printing options empowers you to choose the best printing method for each of your products and gives you a real advantage over the competition.
Also, CustomCat’s product range variety beats Printful since CustomCat offers over 360 different products compared to Printful’s 220 products. While their products do have a similar quality, you get lower production price with CustomCat (with $30 subscription) and additional costs of using Printful rarely justify paying more.
CustomCat’s product range includes such merchandise as scarves, blankets, towels, shoes, pet accessories and even laptop sleeves. Of course, all of these may be fully customized, which gives you countless possibilities to create really unique and wide product range.
CustomCat has one of the longest holiday order deadlines among the competitors. Printful stops accepting Christmas orders on December 3rd for economy deliveries within the United States and on the 23rd of November for the rest of the world. Whereas CustomCat accepts Christmas orders until mid-December.
And since Christmas season is the major money making season for most online shops, with CustomCat you will be able to extract maximum profits during this period.
CustomCat has a free subscription with a possibility to upgrade to a $30 paid version. Both versions provide you with full access to all CustomCat features and products, however, the paid version allows you to buy all products at lower prices.
With a $30 subscription, you’ll be able to get the highest margins in the market. Also, you can upgrade from free to a paid plan at any time and we recommend doing so as soon as you surpass 7 monthly sales. At this point, the additional margin gains you get from sales with a paid subscription plan will surpass the $30, that you have to pay to get better margins in the first place.
Also, CustomCat with subscription has the lowest product prices and shipment cost among the competitors. For example, Bella Canvas 3001 together with shipment will cost you just $13.99 which is much cheaper compared to Printful ($17.95) and TeeLaunch ($16.00).
Even if you sell this t-shirt for just $20 in your shop, with CustomCat you get triple profit compared to Printful. If you plan on scaling your business in the future, which you should, CustomCat just blows competition under the water in terms of product pricing.
CustomCat product quality
In order to achieve the best possible print quality, you should follow CustomCat print guidelines on print file preparation. Also, CustomCat is the only POD company that offers a 1200 dpi (dots per inch) printing.
There are many CustomCat reviews available in the Shopify app store. Carefully read negative reviews and try to figure out the cause of a problem and learn from it. It is always better to learn from others’ mistakes.
CustomCat ships products as soon as the item is produced. The production process usually takes 2-3 days and delivery may vary from 1-7 days for North America and up to 4-15 days for international deliveries to other parts of the world.
Customcat shipping price is $4.99 for domestic shipments within the United States of America and $7.50 for international shipments to other parts of the world.
Customcat customer service
Even though CustomCat is a great tool that empowers you to start your own apparel or merch shop, the toughest print on demand business hurdle has little to do with production, logistics or delivery time. The hardest part is driving traffic to your store and getting conversions.
It might be really frustrating to finally find a customer and get a sale, just to find out that the client requested a refund because of print quality issues. So remember to follow all the instructions and guidelines carefully.
Also, such problems usually appear only if the provided print file does not comply with CustomCat print file guidelines. For situations like this CustomCat has a built-in to the app CustomCat customer service.
The customer support will assist you with any issues and help you understand the cause of a problem. Moreover, CustomCat will take responsibility and refund you all costs if it is their fault, however, you should know that you are responsible for print file preparation and failure to follow the guidelines will be considered your fault.
This is why you should always order test samples of your products for yourself to check if there is a problem before you make products accessible to customers through your shop.
CustomCat stands out in front of the competition with a wide product range, low production prices allowing you to have higher profit margins, and good print quality. You should definitely consider using CustomCat services or at least expanding your current product range with some products that are not offered by CustomCat competitors.
Definitely use CustomCat for USA based deliveries due to low product cost, shipment price, and product quality combination. Consider other POD services if client is located far from North America and quick delivery is important.