Print on demand dropshipping is one of the most popular ways to earn online.
And it doesn’t cost much to get started. All you need is the right print on demand platform that will handle product fulfillment, and you are set.
Image sources: CustomCat
CustomCat is a print on demand service that lets you select from a wide variety of products to put your brand and designs on.
The products range from T-shirts and hoodies to mugs and handbags.
In fact, CustomCat offers the widest variety of handbags of all the other print on demand platforms I have seen.
Interestingly, CustomCat seamlessly integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, and Etsy. And even if you are a WordPress person, you can still use CustomCat, as it lets you integrate with WooCommerce.
More than that, you can also sync CustomCat with custom-developed online stores to give your users the best buying experience.
This can be done via API configuration, but only if you are technically inclined or willing to pay a programmer, which will be worth it.
To get started with CustomCat, go to CustomCat’s homepage and sign up.
Once you are logged in, you will notice that your account status will be active or inactive in the dashboard.
Go to the settings page to fill out your account information.
The email is important to talk to CustomCat customer service.
Fill out your payment information with PayPal or a credit card, with any charges showing up on your statement as ‘my locker’.
Begin filling out the remainder of your information and save the new settings.
Once you have saved changes, you will notice that your account status is now active and at that point, you are ready to build your store.
CustomCat usually places announcements on its dashboard showing promotional pricing, discontinued products, out of stock products, and anything that you need to know.
From your dashboard, you can enter your settings if you want to change your payments.
There’s also a feature that lets you auto-process your order and turn off auto processing.
Just make sure to save your changes anytime you make any sort of edit.
The view order section is very important for customer service.
You can simply search by your order, shop by order ID, and date range shortcuts.
In the order view, you will see that there are a few filters.
For organization sake, you can filter by status.
If your customers wish to contact a customer service rep, the mail icon comes in handy.
There are also the pause and resume buttons.
The pause icon will pause an order before it enters the CustomCat production system so that you have time to request the size or color change.
You can see the corresponding status.
In the filters, there are several useful statuses.
The processing status means that the order has not entered CustomCat’s production system, which makes it eligible for a pause in the production.
The ‘in production’ option means that you can no longer pause the order.
‘Fulfilled’ means that CustomCat has shipped the product.
‘Paused’ means that the product is on hold waiting for a response and ‘refunded’ shows that CustomCat has submitted and re-credited your account.
And finally, the ‘replace’ status shows that CustomCat has put in a replacement for your order.
You have an export to CSV for accounting’s sake, which you can always use.
Next up is the transaction section, which is very similar to the order section, except that it will show you the total transaction for a date range.
If the orders are batched, you can have multiple orders per transaction so that you can view each order by the date and status that they are in.
Your CustomCat design library is where you can upload your designs to be printed on a physical product.
To get started, go to the design library page and click on the ‘Upload Image’ button.
Read through some of the materials that come up on the pop-up page and click the checkbox to move forward.
On the next page, select ‘Add designs’ to open up your browser.
If you want to add more than one design, just hold control on your keyboard, select multiple designs, and click ‘open’.
You will see a preview. You can tag all the products at the same time, or assign them to a specific product, and click the continue button.
Inside the design library, you can see all of the designs that you just recently uploaded.
By hovering over a particular design, you will see a red ‘X’, which is for deleting that particular design out of your library.
You can also download your designs to your computer by selecting the ‘download to desktop’ button.
You can also edit some of the details of your product by clicking on the pencil icon or clicking to edit.
It lets you edit your file name to whatever you like and add tags by typing them and hitting the enter or add button.
You can preview your changes in the background before you save the changes.
Once you are done, if you hover over the designs that you have edited, you will see the changes that you have made.
CustomCat has some organizational features that make your design page neater.
They have a separate view, a list view – flip between pages that let you see all your designs. It also lets you search through your design library for tags or file names.
You can also sort by date or alphabetically, and filter by the tags that you added in the past by clicking on the tags dropdown menu and selecting the tag.
To add products on CustomCat via the Shopify app store, go to the CustomCat app on Shopify.
Click on the ‘direct to garment’ button and select ‘front only’.
Next up, enter the product catalog to select products that you will be using.
CustomCat has tools that let you filter your choices.
You can choose by brand, cost of products, or simply search for the product based on the title.
When you select the product, it opens up the product details.
There, you can edit the product title and add a price.
CustomCat gives you suggested retail, but you can always edit that.
Then select your colors. You can change the sizes if you’d like, edit your description – which you can also do at a later time in Shopify, add tags, assign to a collection, and count your variants when you are done.
CustomCat sets a 99 variant limit on the Shopify product listing.
Once you are done, you can select your designs and tag them with the CustomCat tag, and they will appear as separate products.
You can use the export settings to publish your designs to your store without hiding anything, including the description, and the product title that you want to be shown.
Then you can check on your products again to edit the details just in case you missed something.
If you want to change the position of your device, you can click the customize button to change the size or positioning of the design.
You can click the corner of the design to make it smaller, make it larger, move it side to side, snap to center, or turn the snap to center feature off.
With the arrow keys on the page, you can preview your products in different colors, and if you are happy with it, go ahead and click the ‘save positioning’ button.
You can go ahead and export more products when you are ready.
Now that you know how to upload a product through your Shopify store, next is to know how to do a front and back design for direct to garment printing.
First off, click the direct to garment option and select your product.
You can select the left chest and back product or the front and back option.
Once you have chosen, you will go ahead and edit whatever details you need to.
If you move on to the next step, you will see that this one is a little bit different from the front only.
When you are doing a front and back design, it forces you to do one part and you will have to assign them immediately, so you can do another front and another back, and you can have an unlimited amount of front/back designs if you’d like to.
Again, you can upload as many designs to CustomCat during one export as you wish.
Once you have uploaded your designs, the product is pretty simple.
The only difference is assigning the front and assigning the back, and knowing that you can do more than one set of designs at a time.
it will take a bit longer to export front and back products, just because you are exporting more mockups than if you were just doing a single side, so keep that in mind.
You have different methods with CustomCat decoration method, presets, and design positioning.
When you are selecting your design placement, you will have the opportunity to customize the positioning during the review and export stage.
You have seen the front and back methods.
To do just the front design, select your design position.
You will see CustomCat default preset.
The default preset is full-front, so it is the maximum dimensions available.
CustomCat also has a left chest preset and a customize preset where you can click on the design and reset it to put it in your desired placement.
Make sure to save it in order to lock it in its place.
But before you do that, you can preview it in different colors. Use your keyboard arrows to move it around.
It also has the snap to center feature that you can turn off so that you can have an even more precise placement, and then you can save your position.
You can always go under the product details and you will see where it is saved. You can remove colors and other variants you don’t want.
Next up is the dye sublimation decoration method, and there are a couple of things you can do with it.
For dye sublimation, CustomCat has an assigned product column, and when you assign a specific product to an art guideline, it dictates all of the design positionings for you so you won’t have to do any custom positioning.
When you are ready, and you have created a file with the exact specs that you want, you will go in and select them.
Assign your files to the specific dye sublimation product, and then continue with your designing.
You will see that it will now show under the assigned products, otherwise, you will keep it as ‘all’ and it will be available for all products.
There is a difference when assigning products for the dye sublimation methods, and when you preset a file that is specified for any of CustomCat’s products.
So you will go in and choose dye sublimation and select the product.
Back in the design library, you will see a tile view that shows you that it is an assigned file.
The ones without the blue will work for any preset products.
You will see that there is no design positioning option for the assigned file.
When you open it up for a different product, it will look weird, unless you open it up on the product it was assigned for.
Once you have saved it as your assigned product, move on to the design positioning.
Usually, the default preset looks perfect.
The diced up default is the full front for full wrap designs, and there is also a dye-sub design.
The dye-sub default prints on the front and back of the product, and there’s a customize option that lets you move and resize designs on both sides of the product because it isn’t diced up.
Lastly, there’s the embroidery feature which is pretty simple.
There is no design position available for embroidery at all.
You can always check out the preview, but it is always going to be the same preset area for embroidery.
You can set up personalized text designs for your CustomCat designs in the design library, and then launch the designs to your Shopify store.
To get started, go to the design library and select the design that you want to add the personalization text to.
You have your click and drag options to move the customizable text fields.
The text you enter in your display text field is what will display to your customer. Select your color or type in the exact color value that you need if you have something specific in mind.
Adjust your font sizes, text field area, and then save it.
While you are saving your product, save it with a different name so as not to confuse it with the original design template.
Once you have created that personalized file, you can open it to see how it is displayed.
It is usually auto-tagged with personalized, so whenever you want to use it on any product, you can just pull up the personalized tag.
Then move on to actually adding the product to your live Shopify store.
If you are setting up a product to be personalized, you can choose the dye sublimation, and if you are happy with all the data that you have selected, put it in your collection.
Always check your export settings just to see how it’s actually going to export before clicking the export button, then click ‘export’.
At the frontend, your customers will see a nice image and they will know easily where to enter text.
When they click on the customize button, they can add whatever they wish to put in there.
The possibilities are endless, and when they are ready, they just have to add the product to cart.
Custom personalized cart codes make your personalization show up nicely in your cart.
To set it up, go to your online store themes and find ‘cart.liquid’ in your template.
Make sure you navigate to CustomCat’s personalization page and you will find the steps to add the cart codes.
It’s a simple step by step guide.
You will want to make sure to find the exact piece of code in your ‘cart.liquid’ file.
Once you find it, copy and paste the snippet in the file area.
Go back to the personalization homepage to copy another code, at the bottom of your ‘cart.liquid’, you will paste it as well.
Make sure to save your changes to activate, then go to any of the designs that you have previously launched for personalization, and then when you add to cart, you will notice the differences.
You will notice first that the personalization is actually showing up on the product image, and that there is no nasty cart text underneath the product line.
CustomCat offers five different shipping methods: economy shipping (default), ground shipping, 2-day shipping, overnight shipping, and international shipping for all of its products.
The standard time for economy shipping is 2 to 6 business days, while international shipping can take between 1 to 4 weeks.
If you order a product on CustomCat, the shipping rate will be determined by the category that your order falls into. The category can either be super lightweight, lightweight, heavyweight, lightweight drinkware, or heavyweight drinkware.
Also, the total shipping rate drops when you order more than one product in the same category.
CustomCat seamlessly integrates with popular eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Etsy.
For custom integration, you can utilize the CustomCat API to integrate with your custom online store.
On the other hand, CustomCat supports manual order processing via CSV file upload.
CustomCat is probably the most affordable print on demand tool in the industry. It has a free plan, but this plan places the product prices higher than the paid plan.
In essence, CustomCat does not charge for its integration with WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Etsy, and manual product order. However, it charges for its Shopify app usage at the cost of $30 per month.
There are no subscription fees attached to CustomCat users on BigCommerce, Etsy, WooCommerce, and API integration. However, Shopify users are expected to pay $30 every month.
Nevertheless, CustomCat also offers a free trial for first-time Shopify users. The trial period is for 30 days.
Additionally, CustomCat offers a free plan known as the CustomCat Lite. Lite version users typically have to pay $2 more on each of the products in their catalog.
We will rate CustomCat on the following criteria:
CustomCat allows users to sell high-quality products such as apparel, accessories, and kitchenware.
Not to mention, CustomCat supports printing methods such as dye sublimation, direct-to-garment (DTG), and embroidery.
Unlike other CustomCat alternatives like Redbubble, it supports about five different shipping methods which provide merchants with flexibility for product shipping.
Based on these, we will give CustomCat a rating of 4.5 out of 5
CustomCat has a user-friendly dashboard that is relatively easy to understand. Besides, CustomCat is ideal for non-tech-savvy users; therefore, users can effortlessly run their custom print business without technical assistance.
For ease of use, we give CustomCat a 5 over 5 rating.
There are a few customer support options on CustomCat. Customers can fill their contact form or send an email for order-related inquiries.
Alternatively, CustomCat provides users with a knowledge base and a blog page known as a Go-Getter blog to resolve their issues.
There are no options for live chat or telephone support. Based on this, we rate CustomCat 3.5 out of 5.
Unlike other print on demand services, CustomCat has affordable products which make it ideal for newbies to make huge profits.
We rate its pricing 4.5 out of 5.
Yes, CustomCat is a legitimate company that was established in the year 2015 and it is located in Detroit, USA.
CustomCat Reddit reviews show that customers were satisfied with its quality products and dropshipping services. Not to mention, it also has a customer satisfaction rating of 4.1 on the Shopify app store.
CustomCat offers you an affordable print on demand option that is straightforward and easy to use.
When compared to some of the best print on demand platforms in the industry, CustomCat remains among the top in terms of features, quality of products, and prints.
So, if you want to get started with POD, you can create a CustomCat account today.