Get Started
Printful Blog logo

Blog / Marketing tips / How to Grow a Brand with Product Personalization

How to Grow Your Brand with Product Personalization

How to Grow Your Brand with Product Personalization
Cloe Ann Montoya

By Cloe Ann Montoya

11 min read

Once upon a time product customization was, in fact, the basis of production.

Apparel, shoes, and accessories all used to be tailor-made. This changed with the industrial revolution and mass production. But now that we’ve seen the flipside of mass production (everyone wearing the same thing), personalization is making a comeback.

According to Deloitte’s Made-to-Order research, more than 50% of consumers were interested in purchasing personalized products and services. Because of how desirable customers found customized-anything, half of them were happy to wait long periods of time just to get their items.

Do you want to miss out on the trend and risk losing sales? We didn’t think so. Read on to learn how you can take advantage of end-customer product personalization and grow your brand.

The time is now and here’s why

Nowadays people want to stand out.

Shoppers are veering away from cookie-cutter, store-bought items and enjoy the hunt for unique products. They want their purchases to come with a sense of exclusivity, uniqueness, and even luxury.

This is your perfect setup to offer product customization and give them what they want. 

Earn more while connecting with customers

In 2021 McKinsey did research on personalization value. It revealed that companies offering customizable products and services generate 40% more revenue from those activities than average businesses.

That means you can sell custom products at a higher price, and it’s one that your customers are willing to pay.

Going beyond dollars and cents, 71% of customers expect personalization through ads, products, services, or recommended readings.

McKinsey-research-personalization
Source: McKinsey

Overall, personalization enhances the customer experience and increases their loyalty and engagement. This ultimately leads to higher customer acquisition and retention.

Learn more: How to Start a Clothing Brand: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Build your brand marketing strategy

Another benefit of personalization is its shareability on social media. People have always been eager to show off their creativity, especially any custom, cool swag they might get their hands on.

Think of personalization not only in terms of sales but also as an opportunity for your customers to interact with your brand.

Inspiration for future products and brand image can be found in data customers submit from their personalization requests. Also, customers will create and share original content featuring your products, so make sure to incorporate it in your marketing strategy.

That could mean reposting customer photos, using them for promos (with permission), or creating custom hashtags for special events and campaigns.

Learn More: How to Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy

Making personalization work for you

While personalization is an exciting feature to offer your customers, it’s best to decide what purpose it’ll serve. Are you thinking of making it the focal point of your store, or do you see it as another way to build your brand and boost engagement?

Customers confronting a blank canvas can become overwhelmed and keen to leave. Make sure any customization features on your site are easy to use. A way you can simplify the designing experience is by offering a template customers can work with.

Let’s talk about the ways you can market products for personalization.

Personalized gifts

Personalized products are the perfect gift for special events and holidays because they can be both practical and thoughtful.

personalized-product-ideas-printful
Giftable bridal party phone cases and bachelorette party tote bags are popular custom-made products | Source: Printful totes and cases

Some of the most obvious occasions include: birthdays, graduations, back-to-school season, weddings, baby showers, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s/Father’s Day.

adidas-back-to-school-ideas
Customizable back-to-school products are popular among students and parents | Source: adidas

Part of a theme or campaign

You can offer personalized products as part of a theme or campaign—and you can combine them with a holiday or special event.

Your theme can be related to your existing designs or be something entirely new: quotes, jokes, symbols, catchphrases, and everything in between.

For example, during the holiday season, Printful offers fun ugly Christmas sweaters ready for customers to design and buy for friends and family.

Source: Printful’s ugly Christmas sweaters

From a marketing perspective, this holiday-themed campaign is a great chance for customers to make something truly unique and personal. At the same time, we get to offer our designs and products for sale—creating a win-win campaign for everyone.

Learn more: How to Run the Perfect Microinfluencer Campaign

Exclusive pop-up feature

A pop-up feature on your store offering a chance to make an exclusive, custom product helps incentivize customers to design and buy. This pop-up can also tie in with the idea of custom products as gifts, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. You can present it as a way to create a personalized special something for oneself.

These options are just the basics. Remember that you can get as creative as you want. You can start by offering simple design customization for everlasting trends such as monogramming. Chances are, everyone has something in their home with their name or initials on it.

How to set up product personalization with Printful

There are two ways to go about creating personalized products at Printful. You can manually personalize each order or use Printful’s Product Personalization Tool.

To get you started, check out our step-by-step video guide:

preview play-button

The design possibilities depend on your product specs and which of these you’d like to make customizable.

For example, customers can decide on the shirt color and design for the Unisex V-Neck Tee | Bella+Canvas 3005. For the All-Over Print Tote, only the handle color and design can be personalized. For both cases, you could also simply allow people to personalize only the designs.

1. Manual orders

One of the ways you can offer product personalization is by designing each order manually. This allows personalizing any Printful product on any marketplace.
However, you’ll still have to set up your store so that customers can:

  • See their product options
  • Know which design elements are customizable
  • Submit their shipping details

After this process, you can create custom orders based on customer submissions. Make sure you provide clear instructions on how to request personalizations on the product page, order checkout, or other areas.

[blue notice box] To use this method, you must disable automatic fulfillment through your Printful account settings or unsync the personalized products in the Stores section in your Printful Dashboard. This is so you can edit the design before the order is fulfilled.

2. Printful + Shopify

The Product Personalization Tool for Printful + Shopify users is popular and well-established. More details and a video tutorial are available here, but these are the basic steps on how to get started:

  1. Make sure your Printful + Shopify integration is set up
  2. In the Printful Dashboard, go to Stores, then click on your Shopify store
  3. Head to Orders
  4. Scroll down and under the Sync as you go section check the Import personalized orders as drafts box
  5. Enable the Personalization Tool when adding new products to your store (available for DTG and embroidery products, and wall art)
  6. Choose text or image personalization for embroidery, DTG products, and wall art
  7. Push the product to your store (be mindful of the digitization fee that would apply to each unique embroidery design)

In the end, your customer personalizes your design and buys the product while Printful fulfills the order and ships it to your customer.

Printful’s Personalization Tool + WooCommerce

The Product Personalization Tool is also available for Printful + WooCommerce.

Here’s the basic overview, but make sure to read our detailed guide if you need more information. The steps are:

  1. Update your Printful WooCommerce plugin to at least version 2.1
  2. Create a new product for personalization (available for DTG and embroidery products, as well as wall art)
  3. Create the section of the design you wish to keep fixed
  4. Add the text (for embroidery), images, or both (for DTG products and wall art) you want your customer to be able to personalize (making sure to check the personalization button)
  5. Push the product to your WooCommerce store (be mindful of the digitization fee that would apply to each unique embroidery design)

That’s it. Now your customers can personalize their products!

Disclaimer: If the customer doesn’t apply their personalized design to the product, the product will be automatically printed with your placeholder design.

Printful Logo
Customer with received custom jacket
Printful Logo
Get started with Printful
Lets go

3. Printful + Etsy

Printful product personalization is available for Printful + Etsy users, and this video tutorial will show you how to set it up:

preview play-button

With Etsy, customers let you know what designs they want by using the personalized message box before they add items to cart. Personalized Etsy orders are imported into Printful as a draft so you can edit the order with the options your customer requested.

Here’s how it works:

  1. In the Printful Dashboard, go to Stores, then click on your Etsy store
  2. Head to Orders
  3. Scroll down and under the Sync as you go section check the Import personalized orders as drafts box
  4. On your Etsy store, go to Shop Manager then Listing
  5. Pick the listing you want to personalize
  6. Click on the Personalization tab and enter guidelines for your customers
  7. Whenever you receive an order with a personalized product, it’ll appear on your Printful Dashboard with a blue icon
  8. Open the order, and hover over the icon to see the personalization request left by your customer
  9. Click Complete order then Edit to and adjust the product to your customer’s wishes
  10. After you’re done editing, click Complete > Continue to Shipping > Continue to review
  11. Review the order details and finish it

Learn more:

4. Printful + Zakeke

Zakeke is a cloud service that lets your customers personalize products on your Shopify store.

Source: Zakeke

The Zakeke tool is flexible. It allows you to upload your own fonts, clipart, or images. You can also define the format and the quality of the print, and disable certain customization options.

How to integrate Printful and Zakeke

1. Make sure to connect your Printful account to your Shopify store by going to Stores > Choose Platform, and click on your Shopify store

2. Connect the Zakeke app to your Shopify store

3. In the Printful dashboard, go to Settings > API > Enable API access, then click Copy (see screenshot below)

Source: Zakeke

4. If you have more than one store on Printful, make sure you select the store with Zakeke installed

5. Grab your API keys from Printful

6. Go back to Zakeke’s back-office, select Print-on-demand services, then click on Printful

7. Paste the API keys from Printful that you’ve copied and save your changes (see screenshot below)

Source: Zakeke

8. Go to Printful Dashboard > Settings > Orders > Sync, and make sure that the options “Import existing products” and “Import unsynced orders” are checked (see screenshot below):

Printful-API-access
Source: Printful

9. Go back to the Printful Dashboard. Head to Billing > Billing methods and make sure your currency is the same as your Shopify store

Now that you’re done setting up Printful + Zakeke, you’ll want to add personalized products to your store. Follow the section below to do it.

Please note that if you activate the automatic fulfillment option in Zakeke, you won’t be able to edit the designs before printing as they’ll be sent directly to Printful from Zakeke.

 
How to add personalizable products from Printful
  1. In Zakeke’s back-office, go to Customizable Products > Add a Customizable Product > Print-on-demand services, and select Printful
  2. When you click on a product, you’ll need to adjust your personalization and selling options:
  3. Change the default name and product description
  4. Choose sizes and color options (if available, or add a blank product for customers to design)
  5. Select personalizable design placements (if available)
  6. Set your retail price and determine your profit
  7. Save your product

Now you have a new customizable product! It usually takes a few minutes for the product to appear on your store, so don’t process any orders until the syncing is complete.

All personalization tools (elements such as uploading ability, gallery options, text) are by default available for customers. If you want to limit personalization options, create pre-designed templates instead.

Note: Orders won’t be automatically sent to Printful if:

  • Payment Capture in Zakeke is set to Manually capture payment for orders
  • You allow manual payment methods (Cash on Delivery or Bank Deposit)

Learn more in Zakeke’s Fulfillment settings.

In conclusion

Still unsure whether product personalization is something you want to offer to your customers?

Let’s go over the main reasons why this option has become so popular and why it’s worth adding to your store:

  • It boosts sales. People are willing to pay a premium price for tailor-made products.
  • It attracts valuable customers and keeps them satisfied. A store with personalization options has more added value than a regular store.
  • It increases customer loyalty. Shoppers who have customized a product engage with a brand more.
  • It builds brand awareness. Personalization is a good way to stay ahead of the competition.
  • It allows you to learn about your customers. The more you know about your customers’ needs, the more you can give them exactly what they’re looking for.

Can’t see why you shouldn’t give it a go!

If you’ve already tried your hand at offering product personalization, we’d love to hear more about your experience—leave us a comment below.

Printful Logo
Customer with received custom jacket
Printful Logo
Create and sell custom products online
Lets go
author

By Cloe Ann Montoya on Sep 14, 2022

Cloe Ann Montoya

Cloe is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful. Her educational background includes a Bachelors of Science in Management and Economics and a Masters of Science in International Governance and Diplomacy. Besides her work, she loves reading fantasy books and going for long hikes with her dog, a rambunctious jackadoodle.

Cloe is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful. Her educational background includes a Bachelors of Science in Management and Economics and a Masters of Science in International Governance and Diplomacy. Besides her work, she loves reading fantasy books and going for long hikes with her dog, a rambunctious jackadoodle.