User’s revue. First contact.
First, as usual with summer holidays and the difficult online come-back that follows, here’s my yearly “Sorry for this lack of activty !” 😉
After these few weeks without news, here is a post that breaks a bit with my favorite themes. I would like to talk about a recently discovered French POD company and my user’s experience with them.
It’s about dropshipprint.fr
As the name suggests, it is positioned in the fields of dropshipping and print-on-demand. The company would therefore act as a relay for its customers, from the storage of blank products, through the printing of designs on these products, to shipment to the final buyer.
There’s a specificity that sets it apart from other market players: everything is based on the national territory (French), in order to ensure the fastest and most reliable service possible from start to finish.
The approach is interesting, since it addresses one of the most problematic points in the sector: the time between ordering and receipt of the product by the buyer.
At first, I’ve been reluctant about posting this in English and on Steemit, as I wasn’t sure it would be of any interest for people living outside France. But it came to my mind that any artist or designer could be interested by having a quite simple access to a whole foreign print and distribution channel, avoiding heavy international shipping costs and delays from his/her usual country.
So, here we are, small thinking bias fixed and blog post translated and shared on steemit (after having checked that dropshipprint had an English translation of their web platform) 🙂
For some time now I’ve been trying out different approaches to setting up an online store, the objective being to propose variations around creations that you can usually see evolving in my blog articles.
I quickly abandoned the idea of selling my original work in this way: not only are my paintings often in constant evolution and rarely completed, not ideal for a sale, but above all: the necessary logistics are far beyond my means.
Packaging, protection, storage, shipping tariffs and constraints are not elements to be taken lightly in terms of organization and budget.
So here comes the idea of selling said paintings’s derived products, reproductions on paper or canvas, way easier to ship than an original work on wooden support.
While we are taking this path, we might as well chose not to have any stock to manage, and therefore opt for print-on-demand. And then, let’s be crazy: why bother with shipping and packaging? Let’s use a dropshipping approach, with products directly shipped from the printer to the customer.
The idea is not innovative, tenors of the kind are already in place…. But…
While opening a shop at Printify, Printful, or Threadless did not pose any major problem, it quickly became difficult for me to get the level of control I wanted. The lack of visibility, especially on shipments, quickly bothered me: Geographical source of the expedition? Deadline? Transporter?
I came across dropshippprint.fr while looking for a more local answer to these questions.
Let’s sum this up:
- The company is based in France
- Its service is based on a marriage between print-on-demand and dropshipping (the service can be used from anywhere)
- All production operations are processed on the national territory (good for anyone who’d want to sell here even from outside of the country)
- It relies on the reputation of our good old-fashioned postal service for deliveries (‘Colissimo’ / La Poste, which is pretty reliable, even more compared to unknown shady transporters).
- The service is accessible, without subscription, from an external shop, such as a woocommerce shop.
- It is also possible to host one or more shops on their platform (with a subscription)
The first contact may seem unsettling when you get used to what the big competition has to offer.
In its basic package, free of charge: no fuss, the approach is not completely beginner-oriented. We put our hands directly in the sludge and to get what we want we need a minimum of work.
That’s fine with me.
It should be noted that the platform offers the creation and hosting of shops (with a subscription) which seems to make the work quite easy. The price seems reasonable to me, you have one month free of charge that can be cancelled in case of non satisfaction.
Since I haven’t tested it, so I won’t dwell on this part.
The team has put a lot of videos and tutorials online on the subject. Moreover, their YouTube channel (French speaking) contains quite a few guides and support on topics ranging from setting up a shop to SEO management, including good-selling-product selection techniques.
All interesting topics for a beginner like me.
There are several methods of placing orders.
- In manual mode, by entering on the site the data of each product in the order (type of support, quantity, design, etc…)
- but it is also possible to provide a .csv file containing all the information for batch processing,
- or to configure API calls in order to automate the process.
For this first test, I was only interested in the manual method: no need to pull out the big guns for a unique product. I think that below ten products per order, this way stays quite comfortable.
To place an order, two files are required, one for the final design, which must stick to the template (to be downloaded from the platform), and a second one that gives an idea of what is expected on the object.
Here again, it seems to me that people opting for a paid shop have a tool at their disposal to generate these files. As I’m not one of them, I have to pull out the graphics tools (a good old GIMP does the trick, and let’s face it: it’s not an insurmountable task).
The required image resolution is 150DPI, which is very reasonable and avoids having to manage monstrous heavy files as I may have encountered on Threadless.
Uploading files can be started from your hard drive, but also from other sources such as DropBox and Google Drive, but also from Instagram and Facebook. Rather appreciable, especially to avoid the slowness of an asthmatic DSL like mine.
Here we go ! Let’s place an order…
I decided to do a test this summer with the realization of a mug design for a birthday, so with a deadline, to have a bit of pressure.
The period was also interesting, because it confronted our order with this typically French delivery sickness commonly called “Summer holidays”. There we go whit a little more pressure.
As a precaution, I still preferred to act a little ahead of time: on August 20th for hand delivery of the package on August 31st.
- Order sent
- Validated quickly (good!)
- Evolution of its status visible on the platform the next day (good again!)
- Stagnation (…)
Noooo! Our good-old-national-summer-logistical lethargy had just struck again!
…And we call for help!
Support at DropShipPrint is currently provided by this Discord Server.
It’s direct and even pretty friendly, even on Saturday mornings when nothing is possible before the next Monday…
Because yes: we needed to add a weekend to our problem soup, didn’t we ?
Oh! And then, as I had switched by mistake two files before the upload (promised! not done on purpose!) I still tried to ask for a little correction, just in case.
The print having already been made, the situation couldn’t be fixed, but I appreciate the fact that Elliott Bobiet still tried to do it despite the circumstances mentioned above.
All my respect for this.
Great availability and involvement, good reactivity, especially towards a customer who has not subscribed to any paid offer on the platform. I had already noticed this, a few weeks earlier, when I asked questions about image formats and patterns: Alexandre (if I recall right) on the discord server had accompanied me with his live advice.
First Class Service! 🙂
Finally: delivery of the product.
Finally, our mug will have started its journey, as attested by the Colissimo tracking code that appeared on the platform, to finally reach its destination, two days before the deadline.
Conclusion: The content is well protected in its good quality, neutral packaging (white label)
(the text, with personal mentions, has been deliberately blurred for the photo)
- The mug itself seems to me to be of good quality
- the printing is clean
- respects the original design
- and above all: it doesn’t look like being cheap or fragile.
In short: that’s professional 🙂
Who is the service for?
As mentioned above, the approach is mainlyl professional. The intention is to provide a structure for online shops, whether hosted on dropshipprint, or external (woocommerce, for example).
But it is also rather flexible for single orders, as can be seen in the case mentioned above.
I also see an interest for e-merchants based outside France who would like a production and distribution point on French territory. The platform would provide them with an ideal entry point to manage their french customer orders without international shipping costs.
On the other hand, I admit that I would like to find the equivalent of a DropshipPrint outside France for the same reasons. Because if Colissimo is a reliable and fast shipping service in France, it is also rather expansive as soon as you cross borders.
Moreover, if the Dropshipprint team were to create partnerships in other countries, I think that this could build a very interesting cloud-printing-styled structure, free of cross-border shipping constraints.
After this reliable first contact, despite deliberately difficult conditions, I will soon test it again with a poster order, which will be more in line with my usual field of activity.
I’ll start with a special sample, compiling on one large sheet (80/120cm) the first pieces that I’ll put on sale.
I deeply hope that the quality of the paper and printing will be at least at the same level of our mug’s, which would make Dropshipprint.fr a solid foundation for my own e-shop project 🙂
In any case, the order should follow closely the conclusion of this article, and I’ll post the result in something shorter than this article.
There we go!
Thank you for your time, ladies and gentlemen, you, my favorite readers! 😀
Hoping to have opened up some new areas of experimentation, and ideas for your possible on-demand printing, I wish you the best in the future.
Take care, and see you next time!