Gooten Vs Printful. Both big names in the print on demand industry and definitely two print on demand partners you should consider for your business. While they do offer a lot of similar products, I do not consider them to be direct competitors to each other.
Both Printful and Gooten are well established and you can rest assured that your customers will be in good hands. I say this a bit tongue-in-cheek because with print on demand you really do entrust YOUR customers to these companies.
Since you never handle the products yourself, you really do place a lot of trust in your print on demand partners to send out quality products to your customers.
This brings me to the first and probably most important question when you consider Printful or Gooten. Do you want to maximize profits or do you want to provide the best possible products and quality.
My guess is that you want both but like anything in business it will be a balancing act between the two.
Printful Vs Gooten – A Quick Comparison
Below is a quick comparison between the main features of the two platforms. I will discuss most of these points further later but this will give you a quick reference of the main features of the two.
|Free Shopify App||Free Shopify App|
|In-house Printing /Fulfilment||Outsource everything|
|High Base Costs||Very Attractive Base Costs|
|Offer Personalization (Native)||No Personalization|
|Limited Product Catalogue||Large Catalogue with Great Variety|
|Etsy Integration||Etsy Integration|
|Amazon Integration||No Amazon Integration (API)|
|Great Mockups||Terrible Mockups|
|Custom Packaging||No Custom Packaging|
|Offer Embroidery||No Embroidery|
|Strict (Trademarks & Quality)||Super easy to work with|
Printful vs Gooten: In-house vs Outsourced
The biggest difference between Printful and Gooten is the way they operate. Gooten is essentially only a “middleman” that act between you and the printhouse.
They do not have their own print facilities and they only pass your designs on to the printhouse who will print and ship it.
Printful on the other had do everything themselves. They have their own print facilities and they do everything in-house.
So, why should you care and what does it even matter?
Firstly, with Printful’s in-house setup you get consistent quality control. Since they are responsible for every stage of the production there is so much more control.
With outsourced printing and fulfillment, Gooten does not even see your products. They rely 100% on their print partner’s quality control. Since they use multiple print partners, this can get complicated. There’s a lot more room for mistakes.
This leads me to my biggest problem with outsourced printing. When a customer ordered multiple items – lets say a canvas and a T-shirt. Gooten will fulfill this order from 2 seperate fulfilment centers/print facilities.
This means you pay full shipping on both items AND your customer will receive 2 separate parcels at different times.
This is not a great customer experience and the amount of times I’ve received emails from customers asking about their second items is insane. Despite mentioning it in emails, on my Shipping policy and even in the FAQ – people still rage when they receive a parcel and one of the items is “missing”.
While this is a majour downside, the upside is price. Because Gooten can plug into huge print facilities they can get much better prices than what Printful can offer.
On many staple POD products, Gooten is cheaper by as much as 30%. That is huge and is probably you entire margin.
I briefly mentioned price already but lets look at the difference between Printful and Gooten in terms of price.
While the two offer a lot of different products, we will look at a few “staple” POD products so we can compare apples for apples.
The most basic T-shirt on Printful is the Gildan 6400 Unisex shirt. The cost is $7.95 with $3.99 shipping (USA). Total = $11.94
On Gooten, the most basic T-shirt is the Gildan 2000 Unisex shirt. The cost is $6.90 base PLUS $2 front only print with $4.59 shipping (USA). Total = $13.49
To be fair, most POD Shopify apps price their entry level T-shirts cheaply because they know it draws in shop owners. With a basic shirt Printful is the cheapest but for almost all the other shirts they are more expensive.
To make a more fair comparison in prices, lets look at Canvases.
On Printful a 18×24 full image wrap Canvas is $45.95 and shipping (USA) is $13.95. Total = $59.90
On Gooten a a 18×24 full image wrap Canvas is $24.90 and shipping is $10.99. Total = $35.89
Gooten offer a vast variety of canvas prints but I tried to match it as closely to what Printful offers as possible. The price difference is huge but it is still not really an apples for apples comparison.
The prices between Gooten and Printful vary quite a bit but for the most part this is the trend. Printful is more expensive.
Printful is known for their quality. Their T-shirt prints are second to none. I find that their prints are vibrant and I have only had one or two customer complaints regarding quality in many years of using them.
Part of the reason is that they have rigorous quality control and simply do not ship anything that’s not perfect. If your print files are not up to scratch they will let you know and will not print something that’s no perfect.
With Gooten I’ve had similar problems that I had with Printify. Because it gets printed by a third party there is a long chain between you and the printer.
Their processes are heavily automated and often times it does not even get checked by human eyes.
Customers can receive poor quality prints that have to be reprinted. To be fair, its not always their mistake but still the fact that it does not get picked up in the process makes this less than ideal.
Comparing Printful vs Gooten is not really an apples for apples comparison. They both offer similar staple products but each have vastly different catalogues.
T-shirts, mugs and canvases is almost universal now between all the POD providers. It is their unique products that sets them apart.
Offering products that you could not find anywhere else is why you should really decide to use one instead of the other.
Printful offers personalization that is native to their Shopify app. The ability to offer your customers personalization without you having to figure it out with your own 3rd party apps is huge.
With personalization you can turn even old boring products into something unique and exciting.
While Gooten does not offer a native personalization feature with their app, there are ways for you to do it but it is not automated and will need some tech skills to implement on your Shopify store..
Because Printful does everything in-house, they are much slower at introducing new products.
Gooten on the other hand is very nimble. Because they just plug into other print providers they can quickly expand to new products and expand their catalogue.
When it comes to both variety and unique products, Gooten wins hands down. They have a massive catalogue with some truly unique print on demand products that you can not find anywhere else.
Selling on Etsy?
One of the main reasons why people weigh up Gooten vs Printful is because they both offer Etsy integration.
They are both good options but in the end it comes down to the same two factors.
Price and quality.
Its quite simple. If you want to make more money, use Gooten. If you want to focus on quality then use Printful.
This is not saying that Gooten’s quality is bad. Its too broad a statement given the variety of print providers they use. This issue however is that on Etsy you have to be super aware of customer feedback and reviews.
Stacking up bad reviews for poor quality prints can kill your Etsy store.
Printful certainly is the most hands-free option and I prefer just how seamless everything happens.
Gooten on the other hand has some really great products that have not yet flooded the Etsy marketplace. The days of selling T-shirts on Etsy has come and gone.
You need unique products and you can find many of them on Gooten with ample space to profit.
What I like About Gooten
Gooten is fast becoming one of the top POD providers. They are constantly updating their app, expanding their products and making things better.
I love Gooten’s products. They really do have unique products that is outside of the same-old POD app sphere. They have puzzles, calendars, crib sheets and even lunch bags just to name a few.
On top of this, their products are reasonably priced. It allows you to offer your customers great products at reasonable prices with enough margin to food your own family.
What I Dislike About Gooten
One of my biggest gripes with Gooten is their mockups. The mockups are really poor and for some products its non-existent. They’ve been promising an overhaul of their mockups and while there are some of them drip feeding in it really slows down your workflow.
If you need to create your own custom mockups for every product it can quickly become a major time drain.
The Gooten apps is also not great. The product creation screen is really slow and it can be hard to do anything with a measure of precision.
On some products it can be hard to work out exactly what your cost will be because they use different print partners to ship to different parts of the world.
What I like About Printful
I absolutely love the entire fulfilment process with Printful. On both Shopify and Etsy it is really seamless and I rarely even have to look at this. I just know it runs itself with very little input from me.
Their quality is second to none and if my Etsy customers buy a mug, a shirt and a canvas they will receive the entire order in one neat parcel.
On top of that, Printful allows me to add my own branding which makes it look super professional.
Another thing to love about Printful is their embroidery. While Customcat also offers embroidery, the quality is not even close to what Printful offers. If you want to sell caps, Printful is pretty much the only POD app that can do this well.
What I Dislike About Printful
One of my biggest gripes with Printful is their prices. I suppose it comes with the territory. Running their own print facility from California is not exactly cheap. They also have the highest standard of printers in the industry which all adds to the overall costs.
While they have expanded their product line-up the last few years it is still pretty limited compared to Gooten.
While I love Printful’s embroidery, I do not love their digitization costs. I realize that this is an expense to them, I do not see why it gets passed on to us they way it is.
They charge a $6 fee for the first order of every embroidery product. If you have a catalogue of 30 caps then this will potentially cost you $180!
With Printful your margins will be thin. In fact, if you run a Shopify store and rely on ads for traffic then you probably won’t have anything left ito profit.
Printful vs Gooten – Conclusion
To me the question is not really whether you should use Printful or Gooten but rather what’s your goal?
I would start by looking at what products you want to sell and then decide what’s better for your needs.
Having as many of your products fulfilled by the same POD supplier is the goal as it greatly simplifies your business.
If you are selling on Shopify then Gooten is probably a better option simply because of the lower base costs and the bigger variety of products. You can make Printful work but you will need to position yourself with much higher product prices.
If you sell on Etsy then Printful is an easy hand-free option. Gooten is more work and you will most likely have to make your own mockups for every product.
If you want to sell on Amazon (FBM) then Etsy offers the same hand-free option that it does for integrating with Etsy.
Gooten has an option for doing this through their API but it will take some doing to get this set up and working seamlessly.