Welcome to another one of our print-on-demand platform reviews. This time we are going to review SPOD, presumably one of the most promising Shopify print-on-demand apps. It has entered the market recently and has already generated a lot of buzz. With an overall rating of 4.4, SPOD has made nearly all lists of top Shopify print-on-demand companies for selling custom products. So, is it really the best Shopify print-on-demand app? What products does it have? Any key features that make SPOD stand out? If you’re pondering over these questions then keep reading, you’ll get all the answers in this SPOD print on demand review.
Table of Contents
What does SPOD print on do?
Let’s rewind a little and start from definitions. SPOD powered by Spreadshirt is a Shopify app that allows users or rather, merchants to print and sell custom designs on a number of different products. Since it’s an app, to use SPOD you need a working Shopify account.
All you need to do is upload the design and make the product go live, SPOD handles the rest - printing, packaging and shipping. It’s a great method of generating some passive income and at some point when you grow enough, even make it your full time job. SPOD spares you the trouble of stocking and storing products, keeping an inventory, handling production and shipping. Plus, it’s free to install. Each product on SPOD has a base price (includes product, production, printing and shipping) and the platform charges whenever you make a sale, so you don’t pay unless you make money.
SPOD has factories across America and Europe. Factories in the U.S. are located in Henderson, Nevada and Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and the ones in Europe are in Leipzig, Germany, Krupka Czech Republic and Legnica, Poland. Nearly all print-on-demand platforms offer international shipping but they all take a lot of time and cost more to deliver. Due to its European factories, SPOD offers faster and more reliable international shopping opening the doors to the international market for its users.
Depending on the product, SPOD uses a number of different printing options such as:
- Digital direct,
- Thermal sublimation,
- Digital transfer/laser transfer,
- Special flex.
Each of these methods has its own specificities and advantages depending on what you’re printing (e.g. a poster or a hoodie). So, when you’re creating your product, make sure you do your research regarding the printing method.
There are two primary things that SPOD takes pride in 1. fast delivery - the fastest in the whole industry, and 2. a customization tool. In the U.S., SPOD products are out of the factory and ready within 2 days and the estimated arrival is 3 to 8 business days, while on average the waiting time is about 2 weeks. Shipping fee starts at $3.57 for domestic shipping and increases depending on total order value rather than individual products or quantity. We will talk more about shipping later in the article.
The product customization tool lets customers personalize their purchase with their, the merchants or SPOD’s own images and designs. This is a pretty cool feature that merchants can use to market their products. To make it even more impressive and lure you in, SPOD offers 20% discount on sample orders.
SPOD Spreadshirt difference explained
As we already briefly mentioned, SPOD is powered by Spreadshirt. In their words, Spreadshirt is:
“A global platform for personalized clothing and accessories, we are the go-to-place for anyone looking to realize their creative ideas on quality fabrics. We value freedom of expression, whether it’s with your own designs or those made available by our community. T-shirts, sweaters, bags, aprons and a lot more can easily be personalized with images and custom text. Moreover, Spreadshirt is an ideal custom merchandise partner: Emerging YouTube stars and a large number of large companies and brands are among our esteemed customers. Our top-quality prints, custom t-shirts and services will make sure that your business hits it big.”
In simpler terms, it’s another print-on-demand platform. Spreadshirt not only prints but also showcases and sells printed products via its own online store. In addition to being a print-on-demand platform, it’s also a marketplace like Shopify or Amazon.
It’s safe to assume that Spreadshirt wanted to take advantage of the world’s largest ecommerce marketplace - Shopify, and created its own app - SPOD. Spreadshirt and SPOD use the same factories and infrastructure, the only difference is with SPOD you can sell on Shopify and with Spreadshirt you can sell only on their marketplace. So, if you’re not 100% set on selling on Shopify, Spreadshirt is a viable alternative to SPOD.
At the end of the day, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so Spreadshirt’s successes and failures can be attributed to SPOD. For a more comprehensive, SPOD print-on-demand review, in addition to researching it, you should also look into Spreadshirt and read its customer feedback.
How does SPOD work?
Now that we’ve gone over the definitions and discovered all secret connections, let’s understand how SPOD works. We will cover the whole process step-by-step. This is a good time to bookmark this article, so you can come back to it when you’re trying out SPOD.
First things first, you need a Shopify account. If you don’t have one already, you need to create it. SPOD is a Shopify app, so there is no way around this step. When you’re logged in to your Shopify account, go to the App Store and search for SPOD. In our case, it has already popped up on the homepage.
Install the app with just one click, select where you want your orders to be produced, agree to terms and conditions and voila, it’s ready to be used.
You can take the Welcome Tour, which will ask you to:
- Add your first product,
- Add payment data,
- Get Sample,
- Check shipping settings,
- Let your customers get creative.
Or you can start the creative process by clicking Add Product from the top right corner. It’ll take you to a page that looks like this:
The bar menu on the left allows you to switch products, check and use SPOD’s own designs, upload yours or add text. On the right corner, you can see the color tablet and the base price that SPOD will charge you when you sell that particular product. SPOD’s design tool is very easy to use, so no professional design skills required.
When your design is ready, click Create Product (bottom right corner) and you’ll see this window. If you’re not up for writing a product description, you can use SPOD’s default product description (isn’t it amazing?). SPOD will automatically enter general tags for your products, you can add your own if needed or leave it as it is.
Then you go to pricing, where you’ll see the production cost and enter your markup, and the retail price will be calculated for you. By the way, if you’re logging in from outside the U.S., it’ll automatically show the prices in your currency. And last but not least, you sync it to your store. This is when you get to select which colors and sizes your product is offered and publish it for sale.
To enable the Customizer tool, go to Dashboard then Settings and scroll a bit until you see it.
Choose the markup that will be added to the retail price of the product if your customers choose to add a personal touch to your designs, and if you want to activate any of these options, simply click on them:
- Show free SPOD designs to my customers,
- Show adult designs in the free designs to my customers,
- Enable customers to upload their own designs.
As you can see, it’s no rocket science. Everything is clearly laid out and the dashboard is fairly easy to navigate, so play around with it a little bit and you’ll fully grasp how it works.
Now that you know the general process of how SPOD works, let’s break it down further and review its different elements, so you can make an informed decision.
The first stop of our SPOD print on demand review is product options. Some people prefer designing and selling only one product, while others want diversity. SPOD’s product catalogue satisfies both sides. Here is what you can customize via the American factories of SPOD:
- Tank Tops
- Long Sleeve Shirts
- Hoodies & Sweatshirts
- Kids’ Shirts
- Baby & Toddler Shirts
- Baby Bodysuits
- Face Coverings
- Bags & Backpacks
The European factories offer:
- Tank Tops
- Long Sleeve Shirts
- Hoodies & Sweatshirts
- Kids’ Shirts
- Baby & Toddler Shirts
- Baby Bodysuits
- Face Coverings
- Bags & Backpacks
- Caps and hats
- Mugs & Drinkware
According to their websites, currently their bestsellers are:
- Men’s t-shirt
- Women’s t-shirt
- Full color mug
- Artisan apron
Product selection-wise, SPOD pretty much covers the basics both in clothing and accessories. SPOD recently added face masks to its collection, so you can join the trend and release your own version of a face mask. One of the big categories missing is jewelry, so if it’s in your plans to order print on demand jewelry for Shopify via SPOD, then you’re in bad luck. Jewelry designers need to look for other print-on-demand platforms or apps like Teelaunch, GearBubble that allow them to order print on demand jewelry for Shopify.
If you’re curious, here are some of the items offered via SPOD that Shopify highlighted in one of its recent blog posts and FYI, SPOD is ranked number 2 in that list:
- Classic t-shirts (as low as $6.39)
- Premium organic t-shirts
- Adjustable aprons
- Baseball caps
- Women’s longer-length fitted tank top
- Camper mugs
- 7-inch crew socks
If the giant itself has identified SPOD as one of the top Shopify print on demand platforms then it’s definitely worth a try.
Print and product quality
It’s great that they offer a variety of products but what about their quality? As a merchant, your key to success is quality - just one bad review will lead to doubt among the rest of your prospective clients. As a matter of fact, this is one of, if not the biggest risk of running a business on the POD model - you are not running an inventory, so you don’t get to see what’s being shipped to your customer. That is why when choosing a POD partner, you have to be 100% sure that it has good print and product quality.
SPOD and its parent organization, Spreadshirt have over 5,000,000 orders under their belt and less than 1% return rate, which speaks of excellent quality. For you that means very low risks of having to deal with unsatisfied customers.
SPOD does its best to deliver high-quality printed products but glitches are always possible. So, what happens if your client gets a misprinted or low-quality product? When your customer contacts you to report an issue with the quality of the product, you’ll need to contact SPOD. All you need to send SPOD is an image of the product and the order ID (can be found in the transactions section of the SPOD app). If the issue is confirmed, SPOD will either produce a replacement or refund you the money.
SPOD considers product-quality issues:
- Incorrect size, color, product type,
- Incorrect design,
- Misplaced design (incorrect position on print area, incorrect print area),
- Design not properly applied to the product.
And the following are NOT considered product-quality issues:
- Personal taste,
- Product doesn’t fit,
- Unhappiness with color or cut,
- Low design resolution.
With PODs, it’s always recommended to order a sample before the products go live for the clients. SPOD understands this and gives a 20% discount for samples, so take advantage of that!
On to the next crucial element of POD platforms. We’ve already covered this briefly, but let’s go into deeper details. One thing that you should know, which is the key selling point of SPOD is that 95% to 99% of SPOD orders ship out of the production facility within 48 hours or less after the order is placed. According to SPOD, nearly 52% of orders are ready to be delivered in 24 hours or less. This speed of production is unsurpassed in the industry, no other Shopify print on demand platform can compete with this.
Besides, thanks to its factories in Europe, SPOD organizes fast international delivery.
A note: If your primary market is in Europe, make sure you select Europe when installing the app.
SPOD offers three kinds of shipping methods that your buyers can choose from:
- Standard Shipping
- Premium Shipping
- Express Shipping
Standard Shipping is the default option and if you want to offer your clients Premium and Express shipping then you’ll need to activate it from your Shopify store.
The prices of SPOD’s shipping are rather affordable as well. It’s determined based on the total value of the goods delivered. You can learn more about their shipping costs by using their Shipping Calculator - pretty convenient, right?
Here is SPOD’s policy regarding missing packages:
If the product does not arrive at the proper destination, a claim may be filed no later than 30-days from the expected arrival date. Once a claim is filed, the following actions will take place:
- For untracked packages: merchants will need to confirm the address with the customer before we take any action.
- For accurate addresses: package will be resent unless the tracking indicates that the product has been delivered. If the package has been delivered, a new package will not be resent. Resent packages will incur a cost to the merchant.
- For inaccurate addresses: package will be returned-to-sender (RTS) [see “how do you handle returned orders?”] and merchants will need to manually place a new order via Shopify.
Being owned by an industry giant like Spreadshirt, gives SPOD a lot of competitive advantages including excellent customer service. SPOD has a professional and experienced customer service team. Unlike many other platforms, customer support at SPOD is handled by actual humans instead of chatbots, so all inquiries by merchants will be answered on time.
SPOD is a service provider for the merchants. It’s simply a tool that you use to print and deliver your products, so they are in touch directly with you and they remain invisible for your clients. So, on your end, you’ll need to handle the customer support on your own because for all your clients know, you’re printing their orders in your garage. If there are any issues, your customers contact you and you get in touch with SPOD’s customer service team.
Here is how you can contact SPOD:
United States: firstname.lastname@example.org +1-724-832-6290
Europe: email@example.com +800-10 200 300
And here comes the money talk. SPOD doesn’t have any installation fees. It’s completely free of charge to use and that means no hidden costs or paid features. SPOD makes money when you do because they spend resources only when there is a confirmed sale.
SPOD has a base price for each of its products, which you can see on the design page. That’s what the platform will charge you, so take it into account when you’re pricing your products. Compared to other POD platforms, SPOD has average prices - they are neither the lowest nor the highest in the market.
SPOD has a so-called batch authorization payment system. Basically, the platform has 2 thresholds - 30 orders or $300 order value, when one of them is met, SPOD will make a Batch Authorization Payment on your card. However, in case none are met in 6 hours, SPOD will make a Batch Authorization for the amount of orders you have received. You can read more about it here.
In terms of foreign currencies, SPOD currently has three currency clusters:
- The actively supported currencies - USD ($) only,
- The passively supported currencies - ones that are provided in the backend and for the Customizer in the frontend (e.g. CAD, EUR, GBP, DKK, PLN, CHF, SEK, AUD),
- The unsupported currencies - ones that are don’t have exchange rates or localized prices.
Another thing that goes hand in hand with payment are taxes. This is SPOD’s note on taxes:
According to US sales tax laws, SPOD needs to charge sales tax in all states where SPOD is registered, on the goods delivered to the merchant’s customer in the merchant’s name. Sales tax varies by state, city or even district and the tax is always added on top of the product cost. Sales tax will only be visible on the invoice from SPOD to the merchant. The merchant needs to check whether they are able to charge their customers sales tax when they invoice. In some states, the merchant can provide SPOD with a sales tax exemption form so that SPOD need not charge the customer sales tax.
Laws and regulations vary from state to state and from country to country, so you’ll need to look into this very carefully. You can find more information on their FAQ page.
User experience of the platform
And last but not least, user experience. You don’t want to spend your precious time figuring out which tool is where or which button does what. If SPOD is going to become your long-term Shopify print on demand partner then you need to make sure that it’s user-friendly for you and you’re comfortable using it.
Our thorough SPOD print on demand review has shown that it has a very intuitive back-end design and it’s very simple to navigate. All buttons and tools are clearly highlighted, the loading speed of the design tools is excellent and there are no glitches while adjusting the design.
The rest of the dashboard - Products, Orders and Settings is easy to use too. SPOD has done a great job at its UI/UX even its website is extremely user-friendly and you can find any piece of information you want within seconds. No unnecessary effects, icons or images.
10/10 for user experience.
How does SPOD compare to its competitors?
As you may have guessed, SPOD is not the only Shopify print-on-demand platform. It has some serious competitors like Printify, Printful, GearBubble, Print Aura or Teelaunch. Up until now, the unique selling point of SPOD has been the fastest turnover in the industry. They also stack against competitors by highlighting their connection to the industry giant Spreadshirt.
To make your research easier, we have identified some of the key advantages and disadvantages of SPOD compared to the other Shopify print-on-demand apps in the market:
- Fast production and shipping locally and internationally,
- Extremely high print and product quality,
- Customization tool available to buyers to add their own personal touch,
- Easy-to-use design tools,
- Over 50,000 free designs available to merchants,
- Printing options that allow you to add your own branded label, clothing tags, or embroidered patches that correspond to your brand.
- Digital print, screen print (for bulk orders), cut and sew, appliqué and embroidery options.
- 20% discount on samples,
- Fast and efficient customer support.
- Limited variety of products,
- Above average pricing,
- No integrations with third-party marketplace like Etsy, Amazon or eBay,
- No dropshipping features.
If you’re serious about getting into the print-on-demand market then you need to research all your options including SPOD’s competitors. It’s undeniable that SPOD has some unbeatable advantages but it all comes down to your needs and wants.
Print on demand stickers for Shopify with SPOD
Let’s say you do want to give SPOD and print-on-demand in general a try but you’re new to it and not sure where to begin. The best starting point is print on demand stickers for Shopify with SPOD. Stickers are and in the near future will remain one of the most popular customizable products, so have your own take at it with SPOD. Make your own print on demand stickers for Shopify with SPOD and see how it goes. It’ll teach you both about the business model and how to use this particular platform. Plus, stickers are easy to store, so if you want to print them via SPOD but sell on other marketplaces besides Shopify, you can order a bulk and keep them at home until they’re all sold.
Remember the 20% sample discount and when you try the stickers and want to expand your collection, do order a sample and make further decisions based on that.
Final thoughts of the SPOD print on demand review
The ultimate question is whether SPOD is the best Shopify print-on-demand app. While it seems a bit bold and hasty to say, yes it is, we can for sure say that it’s one of the best ones. After all, Shopify itself considers it to be in the top 10.
It’s an excellent option for beginners and merchants who are particularly focused on fashion and want to start their own clothing line with premium apparel. You get high print and product quality, fast shipping, discounted samples and most importantly, excellent user experience.
Thumbs up for SPOD. It is one of the best Shopify print-on-demand apps currently available.