Shopify vs Printful (2024): Which Solution Do You Need?

The Complete Guide to Shopify vs Printful

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Shopify vs Printful: Which platform should you be using as an ecommerce vendor?

At Ecommerce Platforms, we’ve helped countless companies build their businesses with both platforms, offering guidance, consultation, and specialist insights.

Today, we’re going to use this expertise to help you decide, once and for all, which platform is right for you.

We’ll be looking at everything from pricing, to ease of use, to ensure you can make the right decision for your budding ecommerce, or print on demand business.

In our opinion, there’s no need to make a choice. If you want to launch a print on demand business, you can use both Shopify and Printful together.

That being said, if you’re looking for a versatile ecommerce platform that allows you to sell anything, Shopify is the clear choice.

Printful really only allows you to access the tools and resources you need to create print-on-demand products, and sell them through existing channels (like your ecommerce store).

Key takeaways:

With Shopify, you can build just about any kind of online store or website, create comprehensive marketing campaigns, manage finances, and access in-depth analytics.

With Printful, you’ll be able to create custom designs for unique print-on-demand products, and work with fulfillment partners to produce and deliver each item.

Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.

What is Shopify? Pros and Cons

shopify homepage - shopify vs printful

Shopify is one of our favorite ecommerce tools, designed to help would-be entrepreneurs launch, grow, and manage a new business. The platform unifies everything you need to run your store into one easy-to-use platform.

Let’s start with the basics. Shopify is a comprehensive commerce platform, designed to help would-be entrepreneurs launch, grow, and manage a new business. The platform unifies everything you need to run your store into one easy-to-use platform.

With Shopify, you can build and customize your own online store, using simple templates and straightforward editing tools.

You can also leverage tools to sell both online and offline at the same time, connecting your store to a POS system, and retail hardware.

The cloud-hosted platform can be accessed on any device, and provides valuable back-end tools for monitoring your cash flow, managing your product listings, and even setting up shipping and delivery strategies.

You can manage products, inventory, and payments in one place, access data and reports to make intelligent decisions about your business, and more.

Plus, Shopify comes with a comprehensive marketplace, where you can find add-ons to enhance the functionality of your store, whether you’re looking for email marketing tools, social media solutions, SEO support, or even a print-on-demand system like Printful.

Shopify Pros 👍

  • Excellent omnichannel ecommerce: With Shopify you can sell any product, on virtually any channel, including social media and marketplaces. There are even POS tools for in-person selling, and options for subscriptions and international sales.
  • Extensive integrations: Thousands of apps and integrations on the Shopify app marketplace make it easy to extend and scale your store’s functionality. You can connect with payment gateways, analytical tools, marketing tools, and more.
  • Ease of use: Shopify is extremely easy to use, with plenty of step-by-step guidance available to beginners, and fantastic customization options. You don’t need any coding knowledge to get started.

Some missing features: Shopify doesn’t offer email hosting, like some other CMS systems, and it may rely more heavily on integrations for certain features. Plus, if you want to jump into code, you won’t be able to use standard programming languages.

What is Printful? Pros and Cons

printful homepage - printful vs shopify

Printful is a print-on-demand and fulfillment platform, and one of our top recommended platforms for POD sellers.

Originally launched in 2013, the solution specializes in providing business owners with the tools they need to design and create their own custom products, without having to manage logistics or production in-house.

With Printful, entrepreneurs and small business owners utilize handy design tools to add patterns, designs, logos, and other elements to white label products.

After you connect the Printful platform to your online store, every time a customer makes an order, their information will be automatically transferred to the Printful team, who produce your product “on demand”.

Printful also handles all the shipping requirements for your products, ensuring items get to customers as quickly and safely as possible.

While you can’t use Printful to build a store, you can connect the solution to various platforms and marketplaces, from Wix and WooCommerce, to Ebay, Amazon, and even Shopify.

Printful Pros 👍

  • Excellent product range: Printful offers a huge range of different products to choose from, in virtually every category you can think of. The product quality is excellent, and you can even access eco-friendly and luxury items.
  • Expertise: Printful specializes in print-on-demand solutions, making it a great partner for anyone who wants to create and customize their own products. You can expect plenty of support with everything from design, to branding and order processing.
  • Few upfront costs: With Printful, you can start creating products for your online store for free. You don’t need to invest in any inventory upfront, and only pay for the items you sell when a customer places an order.

What Can You Do with Shopify?

Shopify stands as one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the market today. It allows companies to design and run just about any kind of store, or website, with endless customization options, themes, templates, and built-in tools.

What’s more, thanks to Shopify’s wide range of integrations, you can even use the tool to create an omnichannel store.

Shopify is an incredibly feature-rich platform, with a huge variety of features. Here’s just some of the things you can do with the website:

  • Build any kind of store or website: Shopify comes with a comprehensive website builder, complete with access to templates you can customize according to your specific needs. You can create SEO-friendly blogs, online stores with print on demand and dropshipping fulfillment centers, or omnichannel sales platforms. The solution also includes access to social media and other sales channels, such as Ebay and Etsy, so you can sell anywhere.
  • Sell online and offline: As well as selling products online, customers can leverage the POS solutions from Shopify to combine their online store with an offline presence. You can sync inventory and order information across all channels, and utilize an all-in-one POS system to manage staff, shopping experiences, and track store data.
  • Create a brand: With Shopify, you can create and use your own domain online, create a branded store experience, and leverage hosting all in the same place. There are even creator tools to help you design logos and other assets you might need to stand out online.
  • Transaction management: Shopify comes with its own customizable checkout solution, an integrated payment management system (Shopify Payments), and even Shopify Markets, which allows you to expand your reach and sell to customers around the world through the same store. There’s even the option to leverage B2B sales options. Plus, the Shopify “Shop App” supports mobile selling too.
  • Marketing: Shopify’s engagement and marketing tools provide access to SEO and blogging features, options for social media and email marketing, and a range of other tools. You can leverage automation features, audience segmentation, and even apps for creating pop-ups, landing pages, and limited time offers, discounts, and sales.
  • Fulfillment: Shopify has it’s own fulfillment network in the form of the Shopify Fulfillment Network and Partner Platform, so you can work with third-party logistics partners to manage your entire supply chain. You can set up printing labels, track orders, and handle everything from a central admin environment.
  • Automate: With Shopify Flow, you can create automations to ensure you connect with your audience at the right time wherever they are in their purchasing journey. You’ll find automation tools for everything from tracking inventory, to managing payments and instalment transactions. Plus, there are various tools for automated marketing

Shopify also has it’s own mobile app for managing your store on the move, plus, there are banking solutions available, such as Balance and Capital for managing cash flow. Shopify also has a range of merchandising tools to help you bundle, promote, and sell products however you choose.

If you opt for the “Plus” version of Shopify, you can take your site even further, leveraging headless commerce, advanced integrations, and unique templates for your store.

What Can You Do with Printful?

Printful is a slightly less versatile solution than Shopify, but that doesn’t make it any less appealing to online brands. While Shopify focuses on supporting all kinds of online stores and websites, Printful is focused entirely on the print-on-demand landscape.

The platform comes with access to a comprehensive fulfillment management solution, a mockup generator, and tons of branding options.

With Printful, you can:

  • Create custom products: Printful has more than 333 white label, high-quality POD products to choose from, ranging from t-shirts, to hoodies, stickers, leggings, and virtually any other merch you can think of. All products can be enhanced with your own designs, using DTG, embroidery, and a range of other printing methods. The mockup generator allows you to add your designs to any item quickly and easily.
  • Brand your packaging: Not only can you add your own branding to new products like phone cases and tote bags, but you can also brand packaging options. There are options for creating your own inside labels for apparel products, and adding custom branding to labels, package inserts, invoices, and pack-ins.
  • Work with fulfillment providers: Printful aims to keep shipping costs and shipping times low, with access to a range of global fulfillment centers. You can connect with print providers all over the world, to deliver products to customers wherever they are. Printful even offers help with warehousing your products, so you can keep items in the same place.
  • Sell across multiple channels: Thanks to Printful’s wide range of integration, you can sell your products on just about any platform, from Etsy to Shopify. There’s even API access available, so you can create custom automations for your print on demand business, with minimal monthly fees and very little effort.
  • Automate: With Printful, you can automate your product fulfillment process, accessing easy-to-use tools to minimize the effort you’ll need to implement to run your store. Once a customer places an order, Printful handles the rest, so you can focus on building your brand with new products and marketing.

Printful also promises reliable quality with amazing materials and inks, fantastic technology, and custom branding tools, as well as eco-friendly and sustainable products. Plus, there are tons of tools and resources on the platform to help you get started.

Shopify vs Printful: Pricing

Comparing Shopify and Printful pricing can be a little difficult. As we often remind the clients we work with, though Printful doesn’t necessarily have any “upfront costs” for creating products, you will still need to pay for a marketplace storefront or ecommerce platform to sell your products, which means you could end up spending more in the long-term.

Shopify Pricing

shopify pricing 2023

Since Shopify offers a lot more functionality than Printful overall, you can expect to pay a little more for the service. Shopify’s pricing options include:

  • Shopify Basic: $39 per month for up to 1,000 inventory locations, 2 staff accounts, 44.2% discounts on shipping, store building tools, abandoned cart recovery, discount codes, gift cards, and basic reports. You also get customer segmentation features, marketing automation, unlimited contacts, shipping labels, and fraud analysis tools.
  • Shopify: $105 per month for all the features of the Basic plan, with lower in-person and online transaction rates, 5 staff accounts, standard reports, international commerce, and ecommerce automations. Plus, there’s support for Shopify fulfillment.
  • Shopify Advanced: $399 per month for all the features of Shopify, plus 15 staff accounts, lower payment processing rates, advanced reports, and more order fulfillment options.

Shopify also offers Shopify “Plus”, starting at $2000 per month with custom pricing for a range of advanced features, headless commerce and more. There’s also Shopify Starter, for $5 per month, for selling through social and messaging apps, and Commerce Components for some regions.

Notably, Shopify charges transaction fees on all subscriptions, with rates ranging from 0.5% to 2% depending on your plan. You’ll also pay additional fees for using third-party payment processors, outside of Shopify Payments. On top of these costs, you may also need to pay for extra add-ons, themes, apps, and integrations, as well as services like Shopify fulfillment.

Printful pricing

printful pricing - printful review

You don’t necessarily have to pay anything to get started with Printful. Anyone can sign up and start creating products for free. However, you can subscribe to a Printful membership, which gives you access to additional benefits. Both “membership” options available on Printful are free to access if you make a certain amount of sales per year:

  • Printful Growth: Requires 12k in sales per year: 20% off DTG products, personalized product transfer support, unlimited stores, 7% product branding discounts, and up to 30% off other product categories.
  • Printful Business: Requires $60k in sales per year: All the features of Growth, plus up to 22% off DTG products, 33% off other products, 9% off branding, and sample order discounts of 25%. You also get free digitization for embroidered products, larger front prints for select products, and priority support.

Notably, if you don’t earn $12k a year from Printful (yet), you can also pay $24.99 per month to access all the features of Printful Growth.

On top of these “voluntary” fees, you’ll pay for the cost of your products produced by Printful, and the price of shipping them to customers. The cost for this will vary depending on the item you create, its customizations, shipping methods, and more.

For a single product, shipping rates start at around $2.99, with extra fees for every product you add. There are also potential “extra fees” for Printful merchants if you want to access design support, and extra services from the Printful team.

Sales Features and Inventory Management

Though Printful and Shopify are very different platforms, with specific target audiences, they both have overlapping sales features. Both tools can integrate with various third-party applications and tools to help you sell products across a variety of channels, such as social media and marketplaces.

However, Shopify is the only option with its own built-in ecommerce platform. You can’t design a store with Printful, you can only create products to sell.

Additionally, both Shopify and Printful allow users to customize their products, brand, and online experience to suit their audience.

They also both offer support with order fulfillment. As a POD vendor, Printful handles packaging, shipping, and order production on your behalf. With Shopify, you can access Shopify shipping partnerships and discounts, or use the Shopify Fulfillment network.

Notably, Shopify does have a lot of extra sales features you won’t get from Printful, such as:

  • Inventory and order management tools for tracking stock levels, monitoring low inventory, and managing your SKUs.
  • Integrations with promotional platforms and tools, like Shopify Inbox for email marketing, and social media connections.
  • Gift cards, voucher codes, and special offer creation tools to help increase your sales across multiple channels.
  • Payment processing powered by Shopify Payments, so you don’t need to use a third-party payment solution.

The Verdict:

While we love the sales tools you do get with Printful, they’re pretty limited. If you want a comprehensive ecommerce solution, we recommend sticking with Shopify.

Apps, Integrations, and Scalability

Whether you’re launching a standard ecommerce store, dropshipping business, or print on demand brand, scalability is important. Fortunately, both Printful and Shopify give companies various ways to scale their operations, starting with a host of apps and integrations.


The Shopify app marketplace is home to thousands of apps and integrations for various different purposes. You can find apps that allow you to create custom products, like Printful or Printify, as well as dropshipping and fulfilment apps.

shopify available apps

There are endless marketing and sales tools to help boost your email, social media, and content marketing campaigns, and you can even integrate Shopify with your accounting and business management tools.

Plus, for companies in search of comprehensive scalability, Shopify also offers a range of flexible plans to suit different business sizes, and a robust server infrastructure.

It can handle countless visitors during periods of high traffic. Plus, it gives you the freedom to expand your store through different sales channels and avenues. You can even use Shopify to invest in headless commerce. Here’s our guide to getting started with Shopify Headless.


Printful has fewer integration options available, but it’s still one of the most flexible platforms out there. In fact, one of the reasons we often recommend Printful to POD vendors is that it can integrate with all of the top ecommerce platforms (Shopify, WooCommerce, etc), and marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy. You can even integrate Printful with social media channels.

Printful also supports scale with flexible production capabilities. The company operates multiple production facilities worldwide, which can handle high order volumes as your business grows. Even as your company expands, the product quality should remain consistent, thanks to Printful’s careful approach to quality management.

Plus, Printful offers API access to developers, so you can design custom integrations and workflows that streamline your print on demand operations.

The Verdict

Although Printful is a scalable solution for print on demand, it doesn’t offer comprehensive scalability for all kinds of ecommerce companies. If you want a wider range of apps, integrations, and scalable solutions, Shopify is the better choice.

Shopify vs Printful: Ease of Use and Development Time

We should start by saying we love the use-friendliness of both Printful and Shopify. They’re both extremely convenient platforms. But let’s dive a little deeper into the setup process, development times, and other factors that may influence your experience.


Shopify is well-known for its user-friendly and intuitive backend. You don’t need any development knowledge to get started, even if you’re not on a “premium plan”.

Although we will recommend working with a Shopify expert if you want to make changes to the code of Shopify themes. Shopify uses the “Liquid” code language, which can be tricky to master.

That being said, Shopify makes it easy to set up and run your online store, with a straightforward onboarding experience, and clean backend dashboard.

You can quickly choose a theme and configure it to suit your brand without coding skills. Plus, adding product pages, blogs, and other features to your store couldn’t be easier.

Shopify even has built-in SEO features that help your store to rank a little better on the search engines, so you can potentially increase your profit margins.

Still, if you’re new to ecommerce, then the development time for a Shopify store might take a little longer than expected. You’ll need to learn how to use all the features and set up every aspect of your store, which can take a while.


Printful also offers users a seamless experience. Anyone can sign up with the platform and start creating unique products in minutes, using the solutions back-end mockup generator and design tools.

Plus, adding your product designs to your existing ecommerce platform or marketplace is very easy. You can set up a connection in just a few clicks, with no expert support.

We think Printful stands out as the best print on demand company for integrations, giving beginners access to a huge range of potential sales channels. Plus, it’s worth noting that Printful makes running your store a little easier too.

Like most print on demand companies, the brand handles everything from product development, to fulfillment on your behalf. This means you don’t have to worry about packaging and shipping goods to customers yourself. Just remember, your delivery times can vary depending on your customer’s location and other factors.

Plus, you’ll still be responsible for delivering customer support to your audience, and handling returns and refunds – Printful won’t do all that for you.

Winner: Printful

Getting started with Printful is a little simpler (and faster) than creating a Shopify store. But if you’re going to be selling print on demand products through an ecommerce platform anyway, then you’re going to need to deal with all the development aspects of this after you create your Printful account.

Design, Themes, and Marketing Features

Here’s where comparing Shopify and Printful gets a bit trickier. As mentioned above, Printful isn’t an ecommerce platform, but a POD partner, so you won’t have access to any tools for building your own website. You’ll need to create your online presence separately.

However, both Shopify and Printful have a collection of design and marketing tools that can help you grow your business.


As a comprehensive ecommerce platform, Shopify makes designing an impressive store easy. You can choose from a range of free and premium themes to choose different industries and aesthetics, and customize them to suit your brand.

shopify themes section

You can adjust the layout, colors, fonts, and other visual elements of your theme, and even tap into coding features if necessary.

To help you stand out in the ecommerce market, Shopify also makes it easy to create various pages and solutions to support your marketing efforts. You can create email campaigns with your customer’s contact details, and even create customer segments in the Shopify backend.

You’ll also be able to create a blog for content marketing, host videos on your website, and show off podcasts and other marketing materials. Plus, you can use free Shopify tools to elevate your brand. For instance, Shopify has its own logo design tool for beginners.


Printful might not have its own website builder and themes, but it integrates seamlessly with a range of great ecommerce tools and platforms. The number of “website design” tools you can access will depend on which integration you choose.

On the plus side, Printful does help with designing your POD products. You can access templates and design tools that walk you through the process of creating high-quality items in a range of categories.

Plus, Printful promises excellent print quality, with a range of production options to choose from, including DTG printing and embroidery.

With Printful, you can create product mock-ups to showcase on your store, and purchase samples of products (great for taking website photos). You’ll also be able to integrate Printful with design tools like Canva, which can give you more graphics and design elements to work with.

Printful also helps to boost your marketing and branding potential by allowing you to customize your packaging, add unique order slips to your deliveries, and more.

Winner: Shopify

Overall, Shopify wins simply because it offers a wider range of design, and marketing tools. Since you don’t get a full online ecommerce platform with Printful, you miss out on all the themes and templates you might need to create a compelling online presence.

Customer Support

Both Printful and Shopify are pretty impressive in terms of customer support. They can both act as your fulfillment company, handling orders and inventory on your behalf. They also both offer access to a huge range of self-help resources, such as guides, FAQs, videos, and blog posts.

shopify help center question how to add printful to shopify

Printful and Shopify both have active online communities, where you can connect with other like-minded business owners for additional support. Plus, they feature some great step-by-step tooltips and guidance components on their platforms.

The biggest difference is that Shopify offers 24/7 support via chat, email, and phone. Alternatively, Printful only offers 24/7 live chat and email. Despite this, we still found Printful to be a highly responsive company that quickly addresses customer concerns.

printful support live chat
Live chat support reply from Printful was instant.

Winner: It's a tie

Shopify just edges ahead of Printful with the option to contact the team via phone. However, it’s worth noting phone support may not be available to all businesses, depending on where you’re located. Make sure you check this in advance.

How to Sell with Printful on Shopify

If you’re struggling to choose between Printful vs Shopify, the good news is you don’t have to choose one or the other. Printful and Shopify can both work together, allowing you to run your own online store with print-on-demand products from Printful.

All you need to do is sign up for a Shopify account, then go to the Shopify marketplace to integrate the “Printful” app. You can then sign up for a Printful account, and click on “Add App” to link Printful to Shopify.

Once you’ve installed the app, you’ll be taken to the Printful dashboard, where you can choose the products, you want to customize.

printful customize products

You’ll be able to use the mockup generator to add your unique designs to each item, then load your products onto your store.

Every time someone makes an order for your product on Shopify, the information will be passed through to Printful, and the team will create your orders for you, before shipping them to your customers.

You can track your orders and other information directly within your Shopify site, and make changes to your product listings whenever you like. There’s also the option to order samples if you want to test the quality of your products before selling them to customers.

There’s a 20% discount available for all sample orders. You can find a full guide to connecting Shopify and Printful here.

Check out our complete guide to using Shopify and Printful here, and also our video below:

Who Should Use Shopify?

We recommend Shopify to:

  • Ecommerce businesses: If you’re launching an ecommerce business selling digital, or physical products, Shopify is a versatile choice. It can even integrate with POD and dropshipping tools, and has its own fulfillment network.
  • Online entrepreneurs: If you want a comprehensive platform for building your online presence and your brand, Shopify is a top pick. It offers access to SEO and content marketing tools, sales features, and blogging capabilities.
  • Omnichannel sellers: For companies selling products through a range of different channels, Shopify is an amazing pick. It integrates with marketplaces and social media channels, plus it supports in-person sales through Shopify POS.

Who should use Printful?

We recommend Printful to:

  • Creators: If you’re a member of the creator economy such as an artist or influencer, Printful can help you to create branded merchandise that you can sell to increase your profits.
  • POD companies: Business owners looking to sell customized products without handling production or fulfillment themselves will love Printful. It promises an excellent range of products, with great print quality, and fantastic worldwide fulfillment.
  • Expanding brands: If you want to branch into new markets but keep your initial investment costs low, Printful can be a great tool. It can help you to experiment with new products and collections with virtually no risk, as you only pay for the products you sell.

Shopify vs Printful: Final Verdict

Shopify and Printful are both very different tools. Printful offers a way to create custom products and ship them to customers throughout Europe, Canada, the USA, Mexico, and Australia, with easy-to-use fulfillment services and design support.

It’s one of the most popular print-on-demand services around, with an excellent product catalog to choose from.

Shopify allows you to create any kind of online business, sell quality products, and manage an offline or ecommerce store all within the same environment. With your Shopify store, you can sell to customers wherever you like, choosing from a range of products and sales options.

Ultimately, there’s no need to choose between the two. You can connect Printful to Shopify to sell your own custom products wherever you like. If you’re thinking of starting a POD business, we recommend using the two solutions together.


What’s the difference between Printful and Shopify?

Shopify is a comprehensive commerce platform where users can build their own store, collect payments, and promote their business. Printful is a POD vendor where you can design products, and outsource their creation and fulfillment to a third-party. 

Does Printful have a monthly fee?

You can get started with Printful with no setup costs, minimums, monthly fees, or transaction costs. You only pay for the base price of a product when it sells. However, there are paid “memberships” available for Printful which can offer unique benefits. 

Do people make money from Printful?

Absolutely. If you choose the right products and customize them with compelling designs, then advertise your business correctly, Printful can help you make a profit. However, you will need to invest in actively growing your own brand and business. 

Do you need Shopify if you have Printful?

Not necessarily. You can sell Printful products on a range of different platforms, social media channels, and through marketplaces. However, you will need at least one platform you can use for selling, as Printful isn’t a marketplace or ecommerce platform itself.

Is print on demand profitable on Shopify?

Print on demand can be a profitable business model for Shopify companies. The platform even supports integrations with solutions like Printful and Printify. However, you will need to invest in creating unique products, optimizing product listings, advertising, and delivering great service. 

Which is better, Printful or Shopify?

It all depends on your business model and needs. Shopify is better for companies that need an all-round ecommerce platform and website building tools. Printful is ideal if you already have an online presence and just need help creating custom products and shipping them to customers. 

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter is an experienced content creator, news reporter, and blogger specializing in marketing, business development, and technology. Her expertise covers everything from artificial intelligence to email marketing software and extended reality devices. When she’s not writing, Rebekah spends most of her time reading, exploring the great outdoors, and gaming.

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