Backed by more than 200 million assets and best-in-class search, the Shutterstock API is making waves in the printing space. Here are the top 5 reasons print companies are integrating.

Custom printing is an industry born from technological innovation, business acumen, and responsiveness to consumer behavior. Thus, it’s unsurprising that many have started integrating the API that’s supplying high-quality visual assets for a number of leading print companies.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a technology that allows applications to exchange data quickly and securely. On par with blockchain technology, APIs are poised as a top technological trend to watch in 2018.

Below are five ways that the Shutterstock API can help your print company grow.

1. Source images from over 200 million assets

5 Reasons Print Companies are Integrating the Shutterstock API — Collage of fall photos from Shutterstock
Image by Galyna Andrushko

Quality and volume of designs available are essential for print businesses to offer their customers. However, generating enough designs to match consumer demands is hard, especially as you scale.

Instead of hiring more designers in-house, the Shutterstock API lets you to instantly tap into a global network of over 400,000 photographers, illustrators, and artists. Collectively, they have produced over 200 million, high-resolution photos, vectors, and illustrations.

Through the API, your existing creative team can ingest our library to curate collections that fill in content gaps, increase the number of SKUs where necessary, and better meet consumer needs.

2. Leverage best-in-class search to source designs quickly

5 Reasons Print Companies are Integrating the Shutterstock API — Best-in-Class Search
Image by 13_Phunkod

Shutterstock’s innovative search technology compliments the large collection, empowering customers to pinpoint the perfect asset for wall art, t-shirts, murals, hats, business cards, and other merchandise.

We know that you know your customers, niche, and products best. That’s why we encourage print companies to curate collections from our library.

To make life easy for your curation team, we provide best-in-class search based on 30 advanced search filters, accurate metadata on all assets, and pre-curated print collections.

Moreover, the Shutterstock search functionality is available through our API, so your end users can benefit from it as well.

3. Reverse image search to surface similar designs

5 Reasons Print Companies are Integrating the Shutterstock API — Search by image display on Shutterstock website
Image by Shutterstock.

Sometimes, designers don’t know what keywords to use to find the perfect image. An easy remedy for this is to give your visually oriented design team the option to search by image rather than words.

Let’s say someone on your design team found the perfect image on the internet, and he or she wants to find something similar that’s licensable.

Instead of searching by keyword and sifting through pages of results, they can simply use Shutterstock’s reverse image search and immediately find assets that are both high-quality and royalty-free.

In fact, the design team at TeeBlox uses reverse image search for an hour a day on average to find new designs. Learn more about reverse image search here.

4. Conduct cost-effective A/B testing

5 Reasons Print Companies are Integrating the Shutterstock API — Cost effective A/B testing
Image by Billion Photos.

A frequently asked question is why should print companies integrate the Shutterstock API when they can access the Shutterstock library without it?

The API is beneficial for two main reasons:

  • A standard license for an asset from the Shutterstock core site does not allow you to resell or distribute those assets and template licenses cost upwards of $300.
  • An API integration allows you to A/B test without spending a lot of money.

With the API, you can increase your design offerings quickly and have the flexibility to run A/B tests without paying until the design sells. Instead of making educated guesses, an API integration allows you to make informed decisions instead.

5. Increase revenue

5 Reasons Print Companies are Integrating the Shutterstock API — Increase Revenue
Image by William Potter.

An important metric related to revenue is average order value (AOV). To increase revenue, print businesses need to boost AOV by incentivizing customers to order more, purchase higher-end products, or (better yet) do both.

Research shows that customer experience will beat price to be the key brand differentiator by 2020. By differentiating your print company from the competition with a seamless customer experience, you can increase AOV because customers will be more likely to buy more from you, and you can charge higher prices per item.

The Shutterstock API boosts AOV in two ways:

  • Fresh, high-quality visual assets to help you command higher prices

Every image, video clip, and music track is vetted before being accepted into our library. Also, with more than 1 million images being uploaded every week, the freshest content is available to your customers. You can take a look at our Best of Wall Art photos, vectors, and backgrounds.

  • Deliver an optimal user experience by eliminating a major friction point in the purchasing process

The Shutterstock API allows us to bring our library to you for hyper-curation based on your customer needs. By eliminating the need for consumers to leave your site to search, download designs, and return to upload, you’re providing a frictionless user experience that makes purchasing easy and fast.


The Shutterstock API allows print companies to:

  1. Access a fully licensable library to fill in content gaps, curate collections, and expand offerings to better meet consumer needs
  2. Use best-in-class search to pinpoint appropriate designs from a large library
  3. Leverage Shutterstock reverse image search to source new designs
  4. A/B test in a cost-effective way
  5. Increase AOV with high-quality assets and improvements to the buying process

Our partnership approach reflects our commitment to the success of your company. We have a dedicated API team who can support companies during and after the integration. Additionally, preferred partners have a dedicated account manager who will conduct monthly calls to make sure you’re on track for growth.

Our print partners include, CafePress, D2, and more. Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow your print company.