From sports teams to events to corporate branding, customers love products with their name on it. By placing the complete design process in the hands of the shoppers you let them create a personalized experience. For years, the ability to display a customer’s design overprinted on a product was an expensive undertaking and only large websites were able to offer this ability. But not anymore.
Imagine that you are marketing to families having a reunion, a bachelor party, college graduation, swim team, baseball team, or even small businesses – the possibilities are endless. You might offer t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other apparel, luggage, mugs, pens, caps, backpacks, director chairs, bags, Covid masks, Christmas ornaments, ceramic tiles, keychains, clocks, coasters, mouse pads, umbrellas, box and packaging – almost anything can be overprinted these days. Let’s dig into how you too can offer this capability on your site and start playing with the pros.
Once you have the Zakeke plugin installed, you’ll need to integrate it with your ecommerce platform and start your free trial. Now you can configure your first product (step 3 – select Next)
Let’s start by selecting a product that we have already created in our store.
Simply pick on the product from your store that you want to provide customization for.
Now edit the print area to align it on your product.
If you have product variations, choose the variations you are going to use for customization. In this example, shirt colors. Product variations must be set up ahead of time following these guidelines:
If your store is built on WooCommerce platform, Zakeke can only recognize attributes that are present under Products > Attributes menu in the WP admin.
Attributes created “inline” at the product page level are not supported yet. This could be the reason why you don’t see the Variations step in Zakeke. Our advice is to add attributes that you need in Products > Attributes and then add variations to the product using those attributes.
You have to create a SKU on BigCommerce for each variation that you want to see in Zakeke.
For each variation, change the image as appropriate.
When you are satisfied, click on the Publish button.
That’s it! Your product is now live in your store.
Let’s look at how this appears to your customer.
Instead of “Add to Cart” we see a “Customize” button, which brings up the product customizer. From here the customer can uload their image.
The customer then selects the image and places it on the product.
When they are happy with the image placement, they can now “Add to Cart.”
The customized product appears in the cart exactly the way they designed it.
If you are offering a product that only allows text input (not an image), you will need to set up a “Printing Method” inside of Zakeke.
Now assign the print method to one or more specific products.
When the customer goes into the product customizer, only the text editor is presented.
Multiple print areas and fonts are supported. This makes it so that you could easily create certificates, plaques, name badges, etc.
Pretty sweet, huh? Even a small shop can now offer personalized / custom products to their customers to expand their brand and drive more sales. But how do you go about actually creating the custom product to ship to your customers?
Printing the Final Product
Now that you are allowing your customers to create personalized products on your website, how do you actually go about making the physical product to ship to them? For many businesses, I would recommend that you don’t – outsource this step instead. After all, if you are a donut shop and you simply want to provide an extra service to your customers, it might not make sense to buy a $3,500 dye sublimation printer and get into the custom printing business when there are numerous suppliers who can do this for you. For example, PrintFul can print just about any kind of product you want to offer to your customers. With Zakeke, you have access to Printful services, which means you can add hundreds of products for personalization from their catalog to your eCommerce store, and have the orders fulfilled and drop-shipped to your customers automatically.
To make use of the Zakeke and Printful integration, you’ll need to:
If you already have a Printful account, just follow the steps in this article.
Once a customer has placed an order on your site for a customized product, Zakeke adds a link to the order detail page on your administrative dashboard with access to all the files needed. You can download these files and send them to your supplier or printer as needed.
If you are ready to take the plunge into making your own products, there are several technologies to consider, depending upon the kinds of products you are selling. There include:
- Dye Sublimation Printing
- Screen Printing
- Digitial Printing
- Offset Printing
- 3D Printing
- Hand crafting / Hand lettering
This article explains the differences between some of these methods.
I realize this all may look complicated, but once you start creating custom products, you’ll see it really is not that difficult and it provides a great revenue stream for your business.
Note: The links provided in this article may contain affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you follow the links and subsequently purchase the product or service being offered.