If you want to launch an online store without incurring high start-up fees printing on demand (POD) and dropshipping are often the best routes to go down.
There are dozens of POD and dropshipping solutions available that work hand in hand with your favorite eCommerce platforms.
The business model often gets a bad rep for low-quality items. Unfortunately, many dropshipping platforms often spread themselves too thin by offering thousands of items across various product categories. As a jack of all trades but masters of none, they often don’t meet the needs of niche online stores.
This is where NovaTomato comes in.
As a fashion-focused print-on-demand platform, NovaTomato provides quality apparel products in various modern styles. In addition, it offers sustainable materials, worldwide shipping, and an intuitive design editor.
As this tool only came out last year (2021), there are few reviews online to inform potential users about what NovaTomato offers. That’s why we’re here to provide more insight into this platform!
There's lots to cover, so grab a steaming cup of Joe and let's get started!
NovaTomato Review: What's NovaTomato?
As we've just hinted at in the intro, NovaTomato is one of the newest print-on-demand services on the market. It was launched in January 2021 and integrates with several major eCommerce platforms, including Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce.
The platform focuses on providing sustainable, premium fashion products, which you can design using their online portal. NovaTomato works much like other print-on-demand services.
If you're unfamiliar with the POD process, in short, here’s what to expect:
- You make a Nove Tomato account.
- Then, you can start designing products for your online store. You can choose from NovaTomato’s extensive product category, which features various apparel, including tops, bottoms, dresses, scarves, pillowcases, and tote bags.
- Next, thanks to its eCommerce platform integrations, you can publish the product(s) to your store in just a few clicks.
- Finally, when a shopper orders a product on your site, NovaTomato makes the product and ships it to them, which you can track via the NovaTomato dashboard.
NovaTomato Review: Product Catalog
Although NovaTomato’s product catalog might be a fashionista’s dream, it’s worth noting that they offer very few items beyond apparel. As such, if fashion isn’t your store’s focus, now's probably the time to tune out of this NovaTomato review and look for another print-on-demand service.
As we’ve already alluded to, NovaTomato offers the following product categories and subcategories:
The above products are further split into men's and women's apparel.
You can browse for casualwear, fashionwear, and activewear. Additionally, NovaTomato offers a range of accessories like scarves and tote bags.
When it comes to fashion apparel, NovaTomato offers a few more choices than competitors. For example, you’ll find more unique base products like cold shoulder t-shirts, seamless open-side tank tops, workout shorts, chiffon wraps, bomber jackets, and more.
Each category has two to six items, so the total item number isn’t hugely extensive.
When browsing NovaTomato's products, you'll see the following information listed:
- Material composition
- Fabric weight
- Sustainability info
- Care instructions
- A size guide
Needless to say, the above info gives sellers a good indication of what to include on their own product pages.
NovaTomato: Design and Customization
NovaTomato’s design editor is where the platform is perhaps most promising.
NovaTomato’s products are all-over-print (AOP) products. This means that when you choose a product, you can review the whole pattern. I.e., using the editor, you can map out exactly what's printed on the garment's collar, sides, back, and shoulders. At this point, it's also worth noting that a simple layering system allows you to arrange different design elements on top of one another.
You can also pick the color of your base product and upload images and text from your computer to print onto it. On top of that, NovaTomato provides a library of patterns and clip art to choose from.
Then, when a customer places an order, your design(s) is printed and/or sewn onto the fabric. The quality of the print/embroidery is one of the things that make NovaTomato stand out from its competitors. In contrast, many cheaper print-on-demand sites merely print your designs onto the front of your chosen base products.
We also love that you can use NovaTomato's AI engine to generate unlimited unique patterns. You can bookmark your favorites for easy access and apply them to product designs whenever you wish.
Then once you’re happy with your final design, you can preview the product on a mock-up photo of a model, which you can view from various angles.
If you use Shopify, you can leave customization placeholders on your designs so that your customers can add a personal touch, like their name, initials, or slogan. In the future, NovaTomato plans to roll out this feature to its other eCommerce platforms. Still, as of now, this functionality is exclusive to Shopify.
NovaTomato: Shipping and Production
NovaTomato transparently states the average production times for each product on its website.
As we've already said, unless you pre-order products, each order is manufactured when you make a sale. So remember, your customers will have to wait for production and shipping times before receiving their order.
On average, production takes 5-7 days. Regarding shipping, express shipping is only available in the US at 3-5 days and in Australia at 5-8 days. Shipping is available for North America, Europe, Oceania, Asia, and South America. The longest delivery time is to South America at an estimated 10-20 business days.
You can use the shipping calculator on NovaTomato’s website to generate shipping prices for each product.
NovaTomato Review: The Dashboard
NovaTomato's dashboard is simple and intuitive. You can track your orders, merchandise, and store integrations from here. It's also where you can add new merch, sync merch with your online stores, add merch to the cart to buy a sample for yourself, or edit merch using NovaTomato's Design lab.
There's also a branding section in your dashboard where you can upload your logo, which is then printed onto your product's tags, wash labels, and shipping slips.
Lastly, you can review your billing history and access a statistics page. From the latter, you can inspect your best-selling merchandise, total order amount, total merch units, and more.
NovaTomato Review: Additional Services
You're in luck if you want a little VIP help from NovaTomato. You can access extra help designing your products, making the best product choices, and setting up products using NovaTomato's dashboard.
Other pay-extra services include:
- Capsule collection development: Work with the platform’s in-house designers to create a unique capsule collection with exact specifications.
- Get access to the technical API: If you have the coding smarts, you can customize NovaTomato to work more seamlessly with the backend of your eCommerce store.
- Access exclusive products: You can cash in on this if you’re a more significant customer with a higher order volume.
- Access a one-stop service for end-to-end design: NovaTomato can help you build the right fashion products for your brand.
No pricing is advertised for these services, but you can contact the team to inquire about the details.
NovaTomato Review: Pricing
Signing up for NovaTomato is free. The platform makes money when your customers purchase NovaTomato products. At this point, you pay the base product fee, which covers the item's manufacturing and shipping.
This means your earnings hinge on the profit margin you set on top of the product's base price. However, at this point, it’s worth noting that NovaTomato’s products are far from the cheapest. For example, a T-shirt can cost $22.50, dresses start at $48.50, and jackets start at $55.95. As a result, you’ll need to charge a premium price to cover the base costs and generate a profit.
The high price tag suggests what customers have confirmed in reviews: NovaTomato offers premium, high-quality fashion products, and as such, a higher price is to be expected.
That said, you can get up to 20% off when you bulk order products. In addition, the platform offers monthly incentives. Here you might be eligible for discounts when you hit a specified sales volume on a particular product and/or sample coupons for next month's orders.
NovaTomato Review: Customer Support
The NovaTomato team is available via live chat from 9 AM to 6 PM EST, Monday to Saturday. Otherwise, you can send a support ticket or email, and the team will message you as soon as possible.
There's also an online help center with helpful FAQs and a tutorial video on how to use the Design Lab.
NovaTomato Review: Pros and Cons
We've covered a fair amount of ground here, so let's condense some of what we've learned into a quick pro-cons list:
- NovaTomato provides lots of information on its products, including transparent shipping prices and times, materials, and a size guide.
- Customers have said that products feel like they're made from high-quality materials.
- The make-to-order model NovaTomato employs ensures zero-waste production.
- Most materials are sustainable, which is excellent news for eco-friendly brands.
- A wide variety of stylish and modern cuts are available across different apparel categories. You’re not stuck with simple t-shirts.
- The design editor is more advanced than some of its competitors. You can design with the entire piece’s pattern in mind, so you know exactly where each element will be printed and can customize it freely. Every product is all-over-print (AOP).
- You can add your logo to clothing tags and shipping slips for extra brand awareness.
- Currently, NovaTomato only integrates with Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce, so if you use another service, NovaTomato isn't for you.
- NovaTomato only offers apparel. Few other accessories and/or products are available, so the platform only works for brands focused explicitly on fashion.
- The vast majority of items in NovaTomato's product catalog come with quite a high price tag – even without added shipping costs. While this reflects the product quality, the site isn’t suited to brands that want to offer more affordable clothing to their customers.
- There are no product sample discounts.
Lastly, before we wrap up this NovaTomato review, we'll try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions concerning this POD platform:
How Do I Integrate NovaTomato with Shopify?
Integrating NovaTomato with your Shopify store is simple.
First, create a NovaTomato account. Next, find NovaTomato in the Shopify App Directory, click “Add App,” and follow the instructions. Once you've done this, you should be able to design and manage NovaTomato products from your dashboard.
The process for Wix and Woocommerce is very similar! Just add the NovaTomato app from the respective plugin directories or app stores, and follow the instructions.
Where Are NovaTomato Products Manufactured?
NovaTomato only works with certified suppliers with excellent ethics, sustainability, and compliance standards. The products are primarily crafted in South East Asia and shipped from the nearest fulfillment center.
Do I Need an Existing Store to Sell with NovaTomato?
You can still sell products from NovaTomato if you don’t have an online store.
However, only integrated online stores come with automatic product releases and ordering. So if you don’t have an existing store, you’ll have to process orders manually within the NovaTomato dashboard whenever a customer requests a product.
Can I Order Sample Products?
Yes! You can order products to see exactly what your design will look like and what the material looks and feels like. However, NovaTomato doesn’t offer any discounts on sample products. As such, ordering multiple samples is quite an investment.
NovaTomato Review: Our Final Verdict
All in all, NovaTomato is a premium print-on-demand service for fashion brands. All of its products are all-over-print, so you have lots of freedom in creating patterns and designs that stand apart from the crowd. However, as NovaTomato works with certified suppliers and makes each product to order, the product prices are higher than those of many other dropshipping suppliers. As such, although NovaTomato might be a good fit for premium fashion brands, it might exceed the price range of those wanting to offer more budget-friendly products.
NovaTomato might not have lots of online reviews yet, but what we've seen so far is hugely positive. Its products are of a high standard; they offer sustainable materials and complete creative freedom. Their apparel is also more varied and offers more premium cuts and shapes than many other, more generalized print-on-demand services.
All in all, we recommend NovaTomato to brands that want to establish a more bougie business!
Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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