Blog / Beginner's handbook / The Printful 2015 year-end review
Having kicked off 2016, all of us are taking some time to reflect on the year that’s just passed. Last year we created our first year-end review, and this year we’re pleased to be in a position that we can still do that. So here it goes, the highlights of what’s gone on during 2015, what that’s meant for Printful and what that means for you, oh, and what to expect in 2016!
We ended 2015 with a record number of total users – 62,061. Every month ever more people register to join Printful. We ended 2014 with 14,000 users. So within this year, we’ve experienced over 4x growth.
What this means: every month even more people are registering to use Printful. The ecommerce industry is booming, and people are readier than ever to buy online. This puts you in a great place to access your market. At the same time, this also means that the industry is getting more crowded with every passing day. To make yourself stand out, you’ll have to think hard about how you differentiate yourself, and what your value proposition is, to bring people in and keep them coming back.
In one purchase, the average buyer will spend $31.20 at your store (including shipping). This means people are most likely buying one item at a time.
What this means: to earn a higher profit, you’ll need to get that customer coming back. That means that you should capture their email and engage them through email marketing (the #1 most efficient form of converting a prospect) as well as re-targeting them through different advertising channels, in order to bank on their loyalty.
That also means that their first impression of your product has to be good, so that you make sure to get that first purchase. You also have the opportunity to upsell them, and work on making it easier for your customer to add more compelling products to their cart.
On average, an order from the time of being placed to being sent of out of the Printful HQ is 2.7 business days. This is the same rate as last year when we wrote the review.
What does this mean? You can rest assured that despite growing, we’re still making a point of keeping up our small-business success metrics. Of course there are some times that the garment will be out of stock or there will be issues with your graphics which can take more time, but if everything goes smoothly, this is the speed at which you can expect an order to go out.
With an overwhelming majority, the USA is still easily the dominant market in ecommerce.
What this means: Think about where you’re sending to and who you’re marketing to. Marketing to a country outside the top 5 would have to be very specific, because as we see, that wouldn’t be a top-buying niche.
On the left, you have the American Apparel 2001 Fine Jersey Short Sleeve Men’s T-Shirt. It’s made in the USA, and due to it’s smoothness, produces superior printing results.
On the right you have the Anvil 980 Lightweight Fashion Short Sleeve T-Shirt with TearAway™ Label. Similar in cut to the AA2001, this t-shirt sets itself apart with the removable label, which can then be replaced with a custom, printed inside label.
The Enhanced Matte Paper Poster is our top non-apparel seller. It was also Printful’s very first product to be printed, and the reason Printful itself exists. Check out how they’re made:
Our second best selling non-apparel product is the mug. Ripe for all of your witty coffee banter. We especially like these from Oh, hello sugar. Mugs also saw a significant increase in sales around the holidays, which just goes to show, it’s still a popular gift idea (Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and other upcoming holiday ideas?).
What this means: While the American Apparel 2001 t-shirt remains our most popular, the Anvil with TearAway label is at a close second. This means that brands are taking the initiative to make their t-shirts even more customized with their own inside label, giving them additional brand visibility and the ability to market themselves as a serious brand name.
That averages out to more than 1 new product per week. We keep adding new products based on your suggestions and needs. We’ve also more than trippled the amount of stock we keep in the warehouse, improving fulfillment speed.
This year one of the biggest headlines in the printing industry was that American Apparel – one of the most popular manufacturers, filed for bankruptcy. As a result, they stopped producing many of the products that we had been carrying. This meant a scramble to find replacement garments, which likely also affected you.
Products discontinuation is a common event in the apparel manufacturing world and isn’t limited to American Apparel. Companies, including Alternative Apparel and other, will stop manufacturing a certain garment if they see that there isn’t enough demand for it.
Another reason for removing some products can be, for example, a high damage rate. If we can’t be sure that we’ll produce a great-quality garment for you, then we don’t want to risk it. Quality is important to us, and remains one of the biggest challenges of growing so quickly – keeping up the small startup-level quality while becoming ever-bigger.
In 2015 Printful has shipped out over 260,000 t-shirts around the world.
That’s over 6 acres.
Fraud is a real threat. We use additional fraud detection software like minFraud and Sift Science to help identify and catch fraud, both for ourselves and for Printful users. This is the amount that we were able to catch and retrieve, and the amount that we’ve been able to give back to Printful users who otherwise would’ve been cheated out of their hard-earned money.
Quality control is a new department that was introduced this year to make sure that products that go out are given a thorough look-over. Because since you can’t see the products, it’s up to us to make sure that it’s top notch. As a result, we’ve reprinted over 12 000 items this year that we deemed unfit for your customers. It has cost us $211,163, but we’re happy to do it for you.
There are a few conclusions we can make by taking a look at this graph comparing 2014’s cyber 5 sales statistics with 2015’s sales statistics.
A) Cyber Monday is easily the biggest sales day of the 5. Make sure you plan for it accordingly.
B) Online sales are only increasing. Keep it up and solidify your sales strategy.
Take a look at our review of 2015’s Cyber 5 results here.
Our support team has grown exponentially. We now have 9 people working on Customer Service alone, as well as different employees jumping on board, like programmers answering more technical questions, or new employees getting to know Printful.
We have 5 customer service reps in California, and 4 in Latvia (our HQ in Europe), which lets us cover 24hr service. Take a look at the stats for this year.
Email conversations: 41,960
Calls taken: 5,978
Total interactions: 63,150
These are our most appreciated support staff, those, who after having helped someone, have been left an “appreciation” note. So if your support query is answered by one of them, know that you’ll get great service! And if you appreciate someone’s reply, give them some appreciation, so that we can feature them next year, too!
We’ve been moving to bigger facilities on average of once per year. In May we moved to our latest office in Chatsworth, California, which is 5x bigger than our previous HQ in Burbank, at 35,000 square feet.
We started out the year with 8 Brother Printers, and we’re ending it with 16. And that’s only for t-shirts, not even mentioning our sublimation printers, embroidery machines, cut and sew machines, and more.
What are your goals for 2016? Share them in the comments!
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