Print-on-demand has become a top choice among passive income generating options. This business model spares investment costs as the item gets printed only after an order. One of the popular platforms widely used for print-on-demand is GearBubble.
This platform with a name that creates strong associations with bubble gum has been around since 2015 and won the hearts of many ecommerce business owners. It is an e-commerce website builder with print-on-demand functionality. The latter also allows integration to different e-commerce stores. GearBubble is a direct competitor with Printify and Printful as well as Merch by Amazon.
In this article, we will look into GearBubble, break it down and go over its key features. To make the guide easier, we will make a distinction between GearBubble Pro , an ecommerce website builder, and GearBubble print-on-demand with its set of integrations that connect to websites such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy stores via API.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- What does GearBubble Pro do?
- The print-on-demand functionality of GearBubble
- What are the key features of GearBubble?
- How to get started with GearBubble POD
- How is product and print quality on GearBubble?
- Design costs and earnings on GearBubble
- What happens when a customer needs a refund, return, or exchange?
- How long would my customer receive the order?
- What kind of integrations are available on GearBubble?
- How does Gearbubble compare with Printful and Printify?
- How does its user interface compare to its competitors?
- Can I talk to someone if I have issues?
What does GearBubble Pro do?
GearBubble was founded by Don Wilson, an internet entrepreneur who wanted to create a platform that’s focused on maximizing sales.
To get started with GearBubble Pro, you need to either select “Start Your Brand” from the menu or click “Get Started” on the landing page. Then you will need to:
- Choose a website name and purchase it.
- Add your company branding such as logo and support URL.
- Add products to your new storefront (GearBubble allows you to import stores from Shopify).
- Set-up your payment processor with one click and connect the store to your Paypal and/or Stripe.
- Drive traffic to your shop and generate sales.
GearBubble Pro offers a 14-day trial and after that you can opt for one of these packages:
Setting up a store via GearBubble Pro is fast and simple. You can get it done in under 24 hours. Additionally, GearBubble Pro offers Dropified Integration, which means you can research products (say on Aliexpress) and then add them to your store with 1-click. Other benefits of GearBubble Pro include:
- Zero additional fees,
- Automated customer tracking numbers and customer reviews,
- Automate receipts,
- Google autocomplete during checkout for addresses,
- Order management system,
- Related products boost,
- Social Media integrations,
- Fraud prevention,
- Foreign languages and international currency,
- Analytics integrations, and more.
One disadvantage that GearBubble has compared to other similar platforms is its design. The design of GearBubble stores is pretty basic but in their words:
“We prioritize selling ability over aesthetics. Our developers have designed our site to maintain fast page load times and optimal checkout processes. While some worry that a simple layout may hurt their brand, our stats tell a very different story. Thanks to our design, Gearbubble Pro has the HIGHEST conversion rates in the entire industry.”
Overall, GearBubble Pro is a good alternative to Shopify. It’s much simpler to use, doesn’t require additional installments and as many plugins as Shopify. However, unlike Shopify, GearBubble doesn’t offer integration of more advanced settings via apps such as Recart, Klaviyo, Product Reviews and most importantly, has challenges with implementing on site SEO. So, pick and choose based on what you want to see and achieve via your online store.
The print-on-demand functionality of GearBubble
Now, onto the next functionality of GearBubble - print-on-demand and its integrations. Before moving to the key features of GearBubble, let’s quickly recap what we know about print-on-demand. It’s a relatively new technology that allows you to print (for instance, a piece of clothing or a mug) after a client places an order, meaning you don’t print unless you’ve sold something. Print-on-demand is done via third party suppliers that give you the material to choose from, print and then ship the final product. Different POD platforms have different catalogues, functions, designs and generally speaking, approaches.
On GearBubble, you can design and sell your products both via GearBubble store and integrate it to other third party marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay. You can also use GearBubble’s dashboard to print and ship products that you sold on your website or from your Instagram page. This may seem like too much information but don’t worry, we will cover each of these options in detail.
What are the key features of GearBubble?
GearBubble certainly doesn’t lack competitors. Given the saturated market in the print-on-demand scene, companies need to add and offer features that make the process more convenient, profitable or flexible in order to stand out. So, let’s go over some things that make GearBubble score a point in its favor:
- Unlike other print-on-demand partners such as Printful, GearBubble is more lenient when it comes to designs. There are less back and forths and confirmation processes.
- When you have a holiday-themed campaign going on, for example, father’s day - GearBubble will let you know once it’s over and that your items won’t be shipped by that day to avoid late shipments and bad customer reviews.
- If you are just starting in print-on-demand and have no idea about pricing, GearBubble will help you out by indicating a recommended price and show how much you’ll profit from that price.
- GearBubble has excellent handling and shipping services, so fragile products won’t be broken during delivery.
- GearBubble has a Dropship service (we will cover this as well), which means you can sell on other marketplaces but print with GearBubble. The marketplaces can be other ecommerce stores or even your Instagram page.
- The basic features of GearBubble are free, only integrations with secondary marketplaces (e.g eBay, Etsy, Amazon, etc.) require payments.
Customer experience with GearBubble can vary but these are tested benefits that the platform offers everyone.
How to get started with GearBubble POD
To sell a product with GearBubble’s POD function, click on “Launch Product” from the top menu and fill out the brief sign up form.
Once you’ve confirmed your email address, you’ll be taken to your Dashboard that looks like this:
Select “Launch Campaign” choose “Traditional” from the dropdown menu (the other options become available when you have a running store) and you can get started with your design. On GearBubble, when you create even one design, it’s called a campaign. It’s a bit misleading considering a campaign usually comprises more than one item but that’s how GearBubble works.
GearBubble has 16 different types of products that you can design/customize to sell (listed in the screenshot) and within these 16 products, you have some variations.
Let’s say, you want to sell a poster, when you click on it, you’ll be taken to the design section where you can choose other sizes (e.g. 10x10, 16x16, etc.) besides the Default one. In case of clothing like shirts, you can choose the style for example, v-neck tee, long sleeve, women’s, unisex, etc.
When you select your product, you can move to its design. Read the design requirements of each product carefully to make sure you comply with the format, size, adjust it properly and avoid copyrighted material. Next, you set a base cost and GearBubble tells you how much profit you will get if you sell your product at that particular price.
For the last step, you need to add a Campaign title like “Christmas Tshirts,” write product description, choose a relevant category and tags, indicate campaign length, customize the URL, confirm the price, adjust the call to action text and launch the campaign.
When you have three products launched on GearBubble, you qualify for creating a store.
Once your campaign is live for customers, your job is done, GearBubble will handle the rest of the work. You can edit and follow the performance of your campaign from the dashboard. All these steps are free of charge.
How is product and print quality on GearBubble?
Unlike Printify’s products, on GearBubble you can only choose the style or type of the product and not the brand that produces it. So, you have to trust GearBubble to select and print on quality materials/products. Based on our experience and reviews from customers, GearBubble has excellent jewelry and crockery (mugs, shot glasses, wine glasses, etc.). The clothing, namely shirts and hoodies have good quality too. According to Sitejabber, it actually ranks 7th among t-shirt sites. All in all, our experience and general customer feedback indicate that the product and print quality of GearBubble is good.
Design costs and earnings on GearBubble
GearBubble makes profit from the base prices of products, which means using it to design and sell products is absolutely free of charge. What about hidden costs? No hidden costs either! The only payment that you need to do is for integrations (selling on other marketplaces) and even then the amount is rather affordable. You can find out more about pricing below.
GearBubble makes money when you do, so it’s in their best interest to help you succeed. They have an in-house team of designers, who are ready to step in and assist you with your design. They won’t create it from scratch for you but they will help you tweak your design or co-create one. In addition, GearBubble will share with you some of its design techniques and tips on how to maintain the originality of your products. And again, all these for free.
GearBubble is very transparent with its users when it comes to earnings. You don’t have to have a degree in economics or accounting to understand how your profit was calculated. When you’re designing a product for a campaign, GearBubble will ask you to indicate the price and it’ll show you the profit from sale and also give you an option to see a Profit Preview. GearBubble earns a flat fee from the items that you sell and this fee is included in the base price, so no surprises there. This flat fee includes customer support, production, and distribution.
You can withdraw your earnings once your campaign is over by going to the Get Paid tab from your dashboard. It may take a few hours after the campaign is over for the fund to show up and when it does, request the payout from accounting. You can expect to receive the payment in up to 14 days (although usually it takes much less time).
When you earn more than $600 in profits, GearBubble will send you a 1099 form to fill out for taxes. If you are a non-profit, then reach out to GearBubble customer support and they will help you navigate the taxes.
What happens when a customer needs a refund, return, or exchange?
Any ecommerce shop owner is bound to encounter refunds, returns and exchanges. So when choosing a print-on-demand partner, you need to clarify how these are handled by the company.
Refunds, returns and exchanges are part of customer support, so they are handled by GearBubble’s designated team. Every order from GearBubble comes with a 30 day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If your customers are not satisfied with the product, they can reach out about the order via emailing firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days of receiving it and GearBubble will issue a full refund.
Exchanges are done on a case to case basis. For instance, if a client ordered the wrong size they can change it easily before it’s been printed but after it’s made and shipped, they need to contact support and the team will consider the case.
If the product you’re selling is fragile, like a mug and it gets broken in transit, the customers can send a photo with the broken mug and order details to email@example.com and receive a replacement. So, the magic word is email. The support team of GearBubble is very responsive and all issues your clients are facing will be handled as quickly as possible.
How long will it take for the order to get delivered?
Amazon Prime and its same day shipping has made customer expectations go higher. Clients are impatient to receive their purchases and some leave gift shopping until the last minute, so fast shipping has become a “make it or break it.” Given their nature, it’s extremely challenging for print-on-demand platforms to do same day delivery. However, the shipping period did get shorter.
Delivery on GearBubble in the United States varies anywhere from 3 to 11 business days and up to 14-20 business days for orders placed outside of the U.S. after the campaign they ordered from has ended. I’d like to bring your attention to this last part - the item will be shipped after the campaign has ended. The duration and the shipping price depend on what the clients ordered, where they live, and which of GearBubble’s fulfillment centers they are ordering from.
What kind of integrations are available on GearBubble?
We’ve already mentioned GearBubble integrations a number of times in this article, so now let’s cover them in detail. First things first, integrations are not free. The fee is different depending on the marketplace. For example, to sell your GearBubble products on Amazon, you can choose one of these two plans:
- Essential Plan $27/mo - 1 store, up to 300 products and 1000 orders per month.
- Pro Plan $97/mo - up to 5 stores, unlimited products and orders.
To sell on Etsy, you have three plans to choose from:
- Essential Plan $97/mo - up to 3 stores, 100 products and 1000 orders per month.
- Pro Plan $197/mo - up to 5 stores, 500 products and 2500 orders per month.
- Unlimited plan $297/mo - up to 10 stores, unlimited products and orders.
For Shopify integrations, GearBubble offers:
- Free Plan $0/mo - +1$ per item ordered, can move up to 25 products to your GearBubble store and up to 100 sales.
- Essential Plan $27/mo - 1 store and no order fees, 2000 units per month allowed.
- Pro Plan $97/mo - unlimited units and dropship program available on 5 stores.
And lastly, for eBay+GearBubble integrations:
- Essential Plan $17/mo - push up to 20 products and 5000 orders per month.
- Pro Plan $27/mo - push unlimited products and auto fulfill unlimited orders.
Before moving on to discussing each store - Amazon, Etsy, eBay and Shopify - individually, I want to share with you some general notes and helpful tips on GearBubble integrations.
The idea behind integrations is that the sales on those platforms is handled by GearBubble like it would if the sales was done via your GearBubble store. In other words, when a client places an order on Amazon (integrated by GB), GearBubble will complete the order for you. So, with minimum effort, you can sell your designed products on GearBubble, Amazon, Etsy, eBay and Shopify - all you need to do is set up the integration and pay the subscription fee.
GearBubble checks your orders in integrated marketplaces daily and fulfills them automatically. If you don’t want to pay the subscription fee, you can still sell on these marketplaces but in that case, you will have to fulfill the order manually. In this case, GearBubble simply becomes a tool that creates and ships the product. You can use this manual order fulfillment functionality to produce and ship products that you sold via your social media accounts. Simply click New Order from the menu and follow the steps:
The integration with stores usually takes between 15 minutes to maximum an hour to complete. Don’t integrate too many products at a time, wait until it says configured, otherwise the integration might go through.
Enabling Dropship integrations on GearBubble
To start selling your products on third party marketplaces, you need to go to your dashboard, select the Active Campaigns tab and on the top right corner you’ll see an info icon that reads Join The Dropship Program Today: Amazon / eBay / Shopify.
When you click on the store that you’d like to integrate, you’ll be redirected to its page. Choose the subscription plan you want, fill in the payment information and you’re ready to configure the integration, which is done from the Dropship dashboard.
To make money in ecommerce, you need to make the richest person in the world even richer. If you’re not taking advantage of Amazon, you’re missing out on a lot, so invest some of your money or time and start selling your GearBubble products there as well. Amazon and GearBubble can be linked to each other by an API, which allows automated downloading of all info including tracking records and fulfilling orders by Gearbubble.
To get started with Amazon integration, go to Gearbubble Dropship stores page and click the + New store button. You will be presented by four options - Shopify, Amazon, eBay and Etsy, select Amazon and fill out the form. You will need to have an existing Amazon Seller’s account.
Depending on the subscription plan you have, you can link more than one store to GearBubble. The integrated stores will be available in your Dropship dashboard under the Stores tab.
From there you can choose whether you want auto fulfill or manual, access advanced settings and of course, add new products from your GearBubble collection. It takes 15-30 minutes to upload a product on Amazon and once it’s done, the Upload button will change into Configured.
It’s a pretty straightforward process that might take a bit more time considering GearBubble needs 15 minutes to an hour to confirm a store integration but you only have to do it once.
Keep in mind that selling on Amazon is not free but considering the popularity of this marketplace, you will have more profit on the account of more sales.
To get started with Etsy integration, go to the Dropship store dashboard and select Etsy from the menu. The process is similar to that of Amazon but there are a few distinctions:
- You have some work to do from your Etsy account too - namely, to publish the listings of GearBubble products, go into your Etsy Shop Manager, Click Listings, and click Draft under listing status on the right-hand side.
- Etsy can be a bit skeptical of integrations, so add GearBubble as a production partner for your listings (Shop Manager - Settings - Production Partners - Add New production partner).
- For a better user experience, publish your items with categories, for example, holiday wine glasses, make T-Shirts, etc.
And one last word of advice, Etsy is pretty strict when it comes to its image and if you post products that don’t fit that image, they will shut down your shop.
Compared to Amazon, Etsy + GearBubble integration is a bit tricky but it’s more because of Etsy’s policies than GearBubble. So, think some more whether it’s worth investing your time and energy to sell GB items on Etsy.
We already had a chance to talk about Shopify and GearBubble integration. It’s not only done by selling GB’s print on demand products on Shopify but also by importing listings from Shopify to ecommerce stores built by GearBubble Pro. But in this section, we will focus on selling GB print-on-demand items via your Shopify store. Here is how it works:
- Go to your product list or launch a new one on GearBubble
- Click Move To Shopify from your Dashboard
- Your customer places an order on your Shopify store
- GearBubble makes the product, ships it and gives the customer a tracking number
Similar to Amazon and Etsy, go to the Dropship store dashboard and select eBay to add your stores. Follow the same steps as for Amazon to add GearBubble products to your eBay store. Just like Etsy, eBay+GearBubble integration has unique features:
- eBay has seller fees, which they will charge on a monthly basis.
- There are limits to the number of listings you can post on eBay even if you upload them in bulk. A set of 10 mugs is considered 10 units and hoodies with 10 of black, 5 of red and 5 of brown will count as 30.
Again, these complications and unique features are set by eBay rather than GearBubble, so do your research and make an informed decision about selling on eBay. When you launch a product on GearBubble, you can move it to Shopify from your dashboard. If a client purchases an item from your Shopify store, GearBubble gets the order information, makes and ships the item. The customer will get an automatically updated tracking number to be able to follow their order.
How does GearBubble compare with Printful and Printify?
Currently GearBubble, Printful and Printify are the three main competitors in the print-on-demand industry. There are, of course, other platforms but these are the three names that pop out the most as they have more products, integration features and have bigger customer bases.
Unlike GearBubble, Printful offers a larger variety of products and more ways of customizing them based on colors, sizes, material, etc. Some products that you can find on Printful and not on GearBubble include shorts, leggings, socks, phone cases, beach blankets and more. Plus, it has more integration opportunities - WooCommerce, BigCommerce, BigCartel, Magento, etc. You can learn more about Printful here.
GearBubble, in its turn, has a number of advantages over Printful. Namely, you can’t sell on Printful directly, you need to choose a platform on which you can create a store (e.g. Shopify). The shipping destinations of certain products (like posters) on Printful is limited.
Printify’s approach to print-on-demand is a bit different - instead of printing, it connects sellers with their network of print providers from different countries. This is a big difference between Printify and GearBubble that you need to take into account when choosing your POD platform. Due to its large number of partners, compared to GearBubble, Printify offers diverse products of different qualities, sizes and colors. Similar to Printful, Printify doesn’t offer a storefront either, so GearBubble scores a point in this regard. Besides, Printify doesn’t support returns, exchanges or refunds, whereas GearBubble does.
It’s hard to say which one out of these three you should choose. Make sure you visit the web pages of all three for some hands on experience before making a final decision.
How does GearBubble’s user interface compare to its competitors?
In terms of design, GearBubble is definitely behind both Printify and Printful. GearBubble’s design is very old-looking and reminds of websites from early to mid 2000s but this is not to say that the user experience is bad. The user interface of GearBubble is quite intuitive and easy to navigate. The four main features are clearly presented on the homepage and are therefore easy to access. The rest of the functions are easy to find too. Most importantly, the dashboard is comprehensive and well-structured.
GearBubble could improve its loading speed, especially that of the design page. It takes a while for the design to upload and be visible, so you have to be patient.
All in all, I’d say 7 out of 10 for UI/UX design.
Print-on-demand could be your entrance point from your 9 to 5 job to an entrepreneurial life and GearBubble could help you with that. It’s an excellent starting point, so go ahead and bookmark this article, and get your GearBubble store running. And if it doesn’t work for you, there are alternatives.