The print-on-demand business is on the up. So it’s undoubtedly a business area worth digging into a little deeper. In fact, the global print-on-demand market is expected to reach $10,810m by 2027. That's a projected growth of almost 34% per year between now and then.
So if you’re reading this because that's something you already know, or you’re considering starting up an online print-on-demand business as a sideline, keep reading.
You may already know there are tons of print-on-demand software platforms you can partner with to get your venture up and running. However, with so many to choose from, how do you decide?
Today, we’ll walk you through one such platform called Gelato. More specifically, we're going to cover:
- A brief overview of Gelato
- Gelato's products
- Gelato's features
- Gelato's prices
- Gelato's pros and cons
- Gelato's customer support
- Our verdict on Gelato
There’s a lot of information to give you, so let’s make a start!
Gelato Review: About Gelato
Founded by former Tele2 Norway CEO Henrik Müller-Hansen, Gelato describes itself not as a print-on-demand business but as a software company. Gelato hit unicorn status in 2021, raising $240 million, thereby increasing its valuation to $1.05 billion. Its API customers include the likes of smaller Shopify and Etsy stores to more prominent named brands like Canva.com and Mapiful.
Compared to competitors like Printful, Gelato may be less well-known. Still, it offers production in 34 countries and works alongside over 100 print partners. In addition, thousands of eCommerce stores use Gelato to sell a range of customized items that are produced locally. Typically, these wares can be delivered in as little as 72 hours.
Gelato works with carefully selected print partners chosen for their professionalism and high print production standards. Gelato is geared towards the needs of entrepreneurs, creators, and enterprises looking to sell POD products closer to home. This removes the extra bureaucracy (VAT, tax, cross-border issues). The aim is to provide a greener solution with reduced shipping distances and carbon emissions.
Gelato Review: Gelato Products
It’s easy to see what products Gelato offers. From its homepage, simply click on ‘products' to populate Gelato's product catalog. This is split into the following product categories:
- Men’s clothing (including t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, and so on)
- Women’s clothing (as above)
- Kids and baby clothing (as above)
- Wall art
- Stationery and business
- Tote bags
As an example, let's say you want to sell a custom men's t-shirt. In this case, simply click on the specific item you wish to customize. For instance, for a ‘Classic Unisex Crew Neck T-Shirt,' select the color you want to design, and start creating your print.
At the time of writing, Gelato only offers front and back printing on garments.
When you select a product, Gelato shows which countries that product can be fulfilled in, its starting price, and its shipping cost (which, of course, depends on the country you’re shipping to).
In most cases, when you select a product you want to customize and sell, orders are fulfilled at the closest production center to where you're selling from.
Gelato Review: Gelato's Features
Now you have a broad overview of what Gelato is and what it offers, let’s take a deeper look at its features:
Gelato's process is split into four main categories:
- Account and setup
- Order management
- Payments and billing
Let’s take a look at each in turn:
Account and Setup
It’s free to set up your account. Plus, there's no minimum order or prepayment needed; you just create an account with an email address and password. You can do this via your Google, Facebook, Apple logins, or your email address.
Then you can integrate your Gelato account with your online store. Simply download the Gelato app and follow the instructions to connect. Gelato integrates with Shopify, Etsy, Wix, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and BigCommerce. Alternatively, you can integrate your online store with Gelato via Gelato's API if you have some coding know-how, or use Gelato/OrderDesk integration to connect to any other platform.
Gelato is big on high-quality products, emphasizing its goals surrounding sustainable production, excellent quality, and quick product turnarounds. Gelato also encourages creators to only produce what they sell to reduce waste and overproduction.
To this end, Gelato works in line with international standards, including its paper products certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council.
Once you’ve selected the product(s) you want to design, you can either upload an existing design of yours to place on the product or use Gelato's Design Editor to customize your products.
Let's say, for example, you want to customize a canvas print. Select this product. Then, you'll be prompted to choose your print size, canvas thickness, and whether you want a vertical or horizontal print. Then, using Gelato's Design Editor, you can upload images or use Getty and/or Shutterstock Images (more about this later).
You can preview your design before continuing to overview your shipping options. At this point, you'll be asked for the shipping address, and then the costs for the delivery will be calculated.
When you sign up for a Gelato account, you'll see a dropdown menu on the left side of your screen. From here you can manage all your orders.
More specifically, you can view your orders and billing and connect to more eCommerce stores like Amazon, eBay, etc. Also included are analytics on order numbers, the numbers of orders sold, your printing costs, orders by country (by day, week, and month), etc. It’s a simple, easy-to-view way of managing your print-on-demand orders. You can also see real-time information about the progress of your orders.
At this point, it's also worth noting that Gelato works with multiple shipping partners, including DHL, FedEx, Parcelforce, RoyalMail, UPS, etc. However, Gelato doesn't offer custom branded packaging on shipped items. This may be possible in the future, but at the moment, all packaging is standardized. Unfortunately, this also means you can’t add business cards or thank you notes inside your orders.
Payment and Billing
You can pay for Gelato's products using VISA, Maestro, Mastercard, and other major credit cards. You can also pay by invoice. In addition, the platform supports a wide range of currencies, including EUR, British Pounds, and US Dollars.
You can also add a prepaid amount to your account and use that money to pay your balance. You can also set automated top-ups when your balance gets too low. This comes in handy if you're looking to speed up the payment process.
Gelato Review: Gelato Prices
Signing up is free. On top of that, once you've created an account, you have 72 hours to benefit from a 50% discount on your first order. This offer is limited to one use per customer.
However, a paid plan is available, which comes with a 30-day trial. This costs $7.99 a month (based on annual billing) and is called Gelato+.
That said, let’s look at the difference between Gelato Free and Gelato+:
With the Free plan, you get:
- Access to local production across 34 countries
- You can sell hundreds of products
- You can trade on Shopify, Etsy, WooCommerce, Order Desk, or connect your website via API
- You can create designs with Gelato's design editor
- You can register two users
- You can connect up to two online stores
In contrast, with Gelato+, you get:
- Premium apparel mockups: This includes over 750 professional images of more than 20 different models for all apparel products
- Product personalization tool: This enables your customers to personalize their products with images, text, and graphics
- Access to ready-to-use graphics: Here, you have unlimited access to over 200 graphics to help you quickly design new products
- Image filters: Turn any of your designs into art with easy to use image filters
- Shutterstock Essentials package: This unlocks access to over one million free premium images from Shutterstock
- Automatic file uploads for personalized orders
- One-click product expansion: You can quickly increase the size of your product catalog by adding new product versions for existing products. This is possible with just the click of a button.
- You can set profit margins.
- You can offer express shipping.
- You can register up to five users.
- You can connect up to five stores.
Of course, once you decide which plan you want, don't forget to factor in the base costs of the products you want to sell and ship.
Gelato Review: Gelato's Pros and Cons
We've covered lots of information here, so let's condense the headlines into a quick pro-cons list:
- It’s free and quick to sign up for a Gelato account
- Gelato's Design Editor is super easy to use
- It uses locally sourced print solutions to limit your carbon footprint
- You benefit from a generous 30-day free Gelato+ trial
- You can sign up and start ordering custom products without an online store
- If you want access to good-quality stock images, you have to sign up for Gelato+.
- While Gelato offers volume-based discounts, these only apply after you’ve ordered a minimum of $5,000 in accumulated monthly sales.
- There's no phone support
Gelato Review: Gelato's Customer Support
There's a handy online help center that you can access via Gelato's website. Here you'll find plenty of self-help resources on topics like ‘Getting started,' ‘Products & design,' ‘Integrations,' etc. Interesting guides include 6 Steps to start with a print-on-demand business and 3 ways to grow your print-on-demand business.
If you need something more specific, contact Gelato's customer support team 24/7 via email or live chat. There are also blog posts on various topics, including Getting Started with Shopify, Getting Started with Etsy, etc.
Gelato Review: FAQs
We've covered lots of information here, so you might still have some questions. That said, let's answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about Gelato:
What about delivery times?
That depends on what you’re creating and where you’re shipping it; for example, Gelato says it takes 1-4 days to create your designs and orders for posters, canvas, and frames. It then takes 1-4 business days for products to be shipped, and delivery times depend on the carrier you use. In addition, Gelato’s website says that delivery times may vary because of the continued global pandemic.
Does Gelato run an affiliate program?
The good news is if you want to apply to be a Gelato affiliate, you can. Gelato is looking for creators, entrepreneurs, print-on-demand experts, bloggers, and vloggers who can help promote its software. Commissions go up to 15%, and applicants must have an active website with an established audience to whom they can deliver original content.
What's Print On Demand?
In short, print on demand is an order fulfillment method that's ideal for printing wares on a per-order basis. In addition, these goods are only produced once one of your customers has made a purchase. So you don’t have to pay for items until after you’ve sold them. Consequently, you don't need to spend money on stock upfront or warehousing.
When a customer purchases a POD product from your eCommerce store, the order is sent to your printing partner. They then take it from here. They manage the entire supply chain from order fulfillment to deliver the goods directly to your customer.
Gelato Review: Our Final Verdict
So there you have it, that's our take on Gelato. We love that it has a free option. So, you have nothing to lose by giving it a go and seeing whether it meets your needs. If that's what you decide to do, please tell us all about it in the comments box below!