Whether you want to create customized items or start your own online store, a print on demand business is the best place to get you started.
Not only does it help you save time and money by eliminating the need to hold inventory, fulfill orders, ship items, and deliver to your customers, but it also helps you get quality products out faster.
Zazzle offers a distinct product catalog, unique features, and shipping considerations that can help you with your own online business. However, it falls short in a few key areas, especially because it lacks professional design services among other things you’d find with its competitors.
Zazzle is a popular print-on-demand platform from which you can print logos, images, and slogans on a wide variety of items. Such items can range from mugs, phone cases, t-shirts, skateboards, and more.
Although Zazzle is known mostly for its business cards, the service also offers a whole slew of shapes, sizes, and paper stocks, while offering its customers a mix of traditional card stock and novel magnetic business cards too.
However, Zazzle is a bit pricier than some of its rivals, and it falls short in terms of some of the design features that its users and other people seeking such services may want.
To get started with Zazzle, you’re going to need an account, which you can create as a designer, artist, or an affiliate. Once you have an account, you can decide to create your own card or use premade templates from the platform based on shapes, styles, and/or your professions.
You can get lots of designs or make templates from your own custom designs and use them later. Plus, when you use its card designer, you can undo any actions you don’t like, which is really important if you’re prone to making errors during the design phase.
You also get to use more than 200 fonts in Zazzle, fine-tune colors, justification, and sizes. You can also edit your images by cropping, fitting, scaling, rotating, filling, and applying filters to them, or overlap and reposition them forward or backward.
One of the main drawbacks with Zazzle is that it lacks a QR code generator and professional design services that its competitors offer.
The quality of the prints is also unmatched as they’re excellently printed with fully-inked, and accurate colors. It is also a flexible card design tool, lots of prebuilt templates, and one of the most affordable rates at the moment.
If you’re looking for a different service to use that offers more design tools, better quality, and extra services that you won’t get with Zazzle, check out our roundup of the best Zazzle alternatives right now.
Also Read: Zazzle Review
Printful is one of the top print-on-demand service providers that fulfills and ships your items to your customers. It also offers warehousing services for products ranging from accessories, clothing, and home & living items for online stores, and produce only what is ordered.
You can set Printful up for free and enjoy the freedom of not paying any monthly fees or having to place minimum orders before getting paid.
Once you connect your online store with Printful, your customers can see what you’re selling, and when they buy items, Printful gets the order, fulfills and ships it right to their doorstep.
What makes Printful different from Zazzle and other alternatives listed here is that it offers global fulfillment, meaning products can be printed, fulfilled, and shipped all over the world. This is made possible thanks to the company’s in-house and partner facilities.
Printful helps you design and sell products online with ease. Try it today!
Plus, there are no order minimum requirements, so you can experiment with your products and store concept. You don’t have to struggle with expensive equipment or unsold inventory, which makes print-on-demand attractive.
Custom branding is available with Printful as you can fulfill and ship under your own brand with pack-ins, custom labels, and much more.
Printful applies the standard Direct to Garment printing process through Kornit and Brother printers, to create quality prints, without affecting the pricing.
The service is free to use and offers complete automation as it integrates with the top eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Etsy, Squarespace, Wix, WooCommerce, Ecwid, and more. It also uses its API to allow for automatic order import from your store. It also offers the best shipping rates for more affordable and reliable delivery to your customers.
The primary difference between Printful and Zazzle is that Zazzle has a native marketplace while Printful doesn’t. With Printful, you must connect to a third-party platform to sell products.
With this, you’ll find Zazzle relatively easier to setup but you get more flexibility with Printful in the long run.
Related: Printful Review
Printify is another good Zazzle alternative for your print-on-demand business. It offers more than 250 different items on which you can print your custom designs, including mugs, hoodies, decor, and more.
The company has a large network of more than 90 print provider locations and offers a simple setup with the popular eCommerce platforms for automatic syncing of your store and these platforms. These platforms include Shopify, eBay, Etsy, WooCommerce, Wix, BigCommerce, PrestaShop, and more.
Printify also handles fulfillment, printing, and shipping, all with your own custom label so that your customers know the items are coming straight from your store.
To get started with Printify, choose a product based on the price, location of the print provider, and order-fulfillment time.
When creating your products, you have a free mockup and print file generator tool to create print files and mockups for your store in one platform. This way, you can create products easily and publish all your mockups with your custom designs.
Give shape to your dropshipping dream. Printify gives you the liberty to create, design and sell your custom prints using 3000 plus products. What's more, it is absolutely free!
Once your product is created, order samples from the chosen print provider to ensure they look exactly what you want them to and then publish to your store automatically and wait for revenues. Printify also allows for manual submission of orders and they’ll print and ship to your customers.
If you have troubleshooting issues, Printify’s customer team is available 24/7 to help with your order-related questions, so you can go back and sell even more products and earn more money. A shipping calculator is also included that adds Printify’s flat rate shipping prices automatically to the customers’ shopping carts.
Printify is another alternative without a native marketplace. However, the platform’s major advantage over Zazzle is the product variety and print networks. Printify has over 600 product varieties with over 90 print providers – arguably the largest in the print on demand ecosystem.
Also Read: Printify Review
CafePress brings millions of designs on different products by working with designers across the globe. By inspiring others to express themselves through their designs, CafePress can create a human connection through the best assortment of engaging merchandise.
The idea behind CafePress is to create a more engaged and connected world that celebrates and supports everyone’s unique passions and identity.
CafePress has an ever-growing selection of designs on its online marketplace, which you can put on hundreds of products from trendy décor for the home to buttery soft t-shirts. All these designs are drawn from fan portals, shopkeepers, and licensed content.
You can make your own products by visiting the Design Your Own section of CafePress, pick the product you’d like personalized, and use the native designer to upload your designs. You can also make money by designing products to sell in your personal store or in the CafePress marketplace.
The platform accepts three main image formats for designs: JPG, PNG, and SVG. PNG is highly recommended though because of its transparency, but for large photos with lots of color variation or vector files, use JPG or SVG respectively.
CafePress also offers templates to help you design products easily, and ensure your artwork is of the right size, format, and resolution for the items in CafePress’ product catalog. You’ll get information about what product the template is meant for, the image sizes, bleed areas, and non-printable sections.
CafePress also has state-of-the-art technologies to print and produce the items sold on the platform, each with its pros and cons. The processes also have their own number of colors and color space for the best image quality possible.
Some of the printing processes used in CafePress include digital press printing, thermal wax resin printing, sublimation, digital inkjet, large format digital inkjet, large format digital solvent-based inkjet, direct printing, heat transfer, and InfiniStitch™ Embroidery.
Once sales are made, you can earn 5-10 percent of the sale price on all your sales, and receive royalty payments by PayPal or by check. The minimum amount is $100 for checks and $25 for PayPal payments.
CafePress also has an affiliate program where you can earn a commission from each sale made when someone comes to CafePress through your referral link and makes a purchase.
Both CafePress and Zazzle feature a marketplace. In addition, they both have similar inventory although Zazzle’s is a little wider. Most sellers rely on the affiliate program for more profits. With all these, both platforms are more similar than they’re different.
Teespring offers a free and easy way to create and bring your ideas to life. You can design different items, set your prices, add goals, and then start selling them to your customers.
You don’t have to handle anything else beyond sales, as Teespring will handle production, shipping, and customer service, while you enjoy your profits.
Teespring’s simple solution is ideal for people who want to create and sell their customized items.
For Creators, Teespring allows you to sell to your fans directly through its powerful integrations with YouTube, MerchShelf, and Google Shopping. These deep partnerships and exclusive relationships put Teespring ahead in Omnichannel distribution, so you can put your products in front of millions of shoppers in over 25 countries globally.
There are no listing fees, promotional or storefront costs, and no limits on the number of products you can use. Teespring is also highly rated by many of its customers, and this can give your products a lift in search engine or platform rankings, translating into consistent top-seller status.
Teespring also has established safety and trust processes, and brand gating in all their marketplaces.
For artists, Teespring allows you to transform your designs and share your creativity easily. You can use more than 50 print-on-demand products to create customized items, sell instantly, and ship to 180 countries in the world without worrying about inventory or upfront costs.
Sellers also get benefits from Teespring. For instance, you can sell everywhere thanks to the exclusive partnerships and integrations that Teespring has with Google Shopping and YouTube Merch.
Teespring also offers dedicated support for all buyers and sellers transacting on the platform and gives insights to sellers on their best-performing products.
You should consider Teespring as an alternative to Zazzle if you want to sell clothing items. Zazzle does feature clothing items but their catalog isn’t as extensive as that of Teespring. Teespring’s other advantage is that you can easily sell on social media; the platform was revamped for creators.
Explore: Teespring vs Printful
Threadless started as a t-shirt company and has since grown into a full-blown print-on-demand service that offers a lineup of home décor, apparel, accessories, and footwear canvases.
The idea behind this service is to give artists more ways to display and feature their work and allow their fans to select the best designs from beautiful to geeky and weird art.
Each time people buy from Threadless, they support great artists and their artwork. It pays artists through a commission-based reward system, and promotes them through interviews, tweeting their names, and using the Artist Shops to support them to start their own independent stores.
Threadless touts itself as the easiest way to sell art online. Through the Artist Shops, you get to create hundreds of print on demand products, customize your shop with your branding, set your own pricing using the pricing tool, and save money on your products by ordering your samples.
You can also access customer contact details, add them to your mailing lists, and have your shop and artwork featured on the Threadless Discover for even more exposure.
Once you upload your designs on the platform, create products and add them to the store, and then promote them to start earning. Threadless will manage the inventory, production, and handle shipping, deliveries, and customer care.
Threadless is completely free to use and sign up with no minimums. You can control your prices or allow Threadless to do it for you. There aren’t any shipping costs as well, and you don’t have to worry about customer service as Threadless handles that too.
Threadless may not be as popular as Zazzle but it’s almost as reliable. Notably, Threadless is a highly customizable platform; more customizable than Zazzle. High customization allows you to create a more unique store to stand out from the crowd.
Spreadshirt is another good Zazzle alternative that is committed to providing beautifully-printed accessories and apparel created with eco-friendly production practices, and at fair prices.
The company started in 2002 and has since become one of the leading print on demand ventures with locations across the world.
As a global platform, Spreadshirt is designed for anyone who wants to realize their creative designs for personalized clothing and accessories on quality fabrics. You’re free to design using your own creative expressions or use those made by the Spreadshirt community.
The product catalog has items ranging from aprons to bags, sweaters, t-shirts, and much more, which can be personalized with custom text and images.
Spreadshirt partners with emerging YouTube stars and a host of big brands and companies, who patronize them for their top-quality prints, custom t-shirts, and great service that ensures your business is a success.
Selling online requires extensive marketing and Spreadshirt makes light work of it. This is one primary reason why it’s a favorite for independent artists and designers. Away from that, a reason why you might want to opt for Spreadshirt instead of Zazzle is the high discount for multiple-item orders.
Check Out: Spreadshirt vs Printful
Since 2006, Redbubble has been giving independent artists a meaningful way for them to create and sell their customized products. Today, the platform connects more than 700,000 designers and artists across the globe with millions of fans.
You’ll find a slew of uncommon designs on different products including phone cases, shirts, tote bags, and anything else that tickles your fancy.
If you’re creative and want to earn money off of your own store, you can open your own shop for free in Redbubble, upload your art and designs, and they’ll do everything else. Redbubble handles printing on more than 70 quality products and ships to almost any location worldwide.
Each purchase made goes to pay artists, and you can rest assured that the products are made through socially responsible production as the company invests in programs that offset carbon emissions.
Payments are 100 percent secured with 256-bit SSL encryption, and worldwide shipping is available as Standard or Express delivery. If you want to return an item owing to issues like damage or others, you can contact their dedicated support team for a free return or exchange as there’s a money-back guarantee on all orders.
Redbubble is another platform that’s more similar to Zazzle than it’s different. However, Redbubble takes the upper hand over Zazzle as it features more product varieties. In addition, you’ll find it easier to get paid with Redbubble; the money goes directly from the customer to your account.
Also Read: Redbubble Review
TeeChip is another print-on-demand platform that goes beyond clothing and accommodates more products that you can sell such as accessories, jewelry, and much more.
You can select from more than 26 products to sell with the bestsellers being t-shirts and hoodies. TeeChip also offers affordable services and full payment methods and shipping tools among other services.
It’s easy and free to get started on TeeChip, and you can create your own store and host it using a custom domain offering. All you do is add your domain name to your store to brand and market your products, though TeeChip has to approve the domain you want to use.
TeeChip is easy to navigate through, and you can access customizable items on a large scale. You can also theme your storefront, and there are lots of upselling features you can use to get more sales and support for Facebook Pixel too.
Once you create a TeeChip account, upload your designs, pick the products you want to customize, and scrutinize them before setting your pricing and selling the products. TeeChip will deduct their base price from each sale you make and you get to keep the profits.
Some of the tools you get with TeeChip include email leads capture, email marketing campaigns, coupons, two-factor authentication for security, shopper accounts, and default product order among others. You also get to use the mockup generator to show your clients how the products will appear after production.
You won’t incur any costs such as subscription or starting fees, so you’re getting into TeeChip risk-free. Pricing for products is also on a flat-rate basis, and there are no hidden charges. Once a sale goes through, TeeChip will pay you either via wire transfer, PayPal, or Payoneer.
While TeeChip mainly advertises t-shirts and apparel, there are far more product varieties on the platform. This alone makes it a worthy alternative to Zazzle. Furthermore, TeeChip is relatively easier to use thanks to it’s AI-powered automation.
Represent is another powerful platform for selling merchandise online.
Its features include embedding codes to drive traffic to your site, campaign stories to explain what makes your product special, advanced analytics, promotions to boost your marketing strategy, and fair pricing.
The products are top quality and made from durable materials with long-lasting colors, all made in facilities that comply with the highest standards demanded by top brands and industry leaders.
The durable printing technology applies special color preparation methods that ensure the print looks better than average, and you also get the best prices on the market.
Other features include a shopping cart for a smooth experience, product page, upsells, and cross-sells to support your product and marketing efforts, campaign widgets, and payment buttons. You can create an unlimited number of stores and let customers browse through your products to learn more about your offers.
Represent processes orders, and then the profits are transferred to your bank account. You also get 24/7 support from the customer care team to resolve any troubleshooting issues.
The company also offers international shipping to 99 percent of countries using local delivery services and tracks the packages along the delivery process. All products are properly labeled in durable rough cardboard bags that ensure they’re not lost.
Represent boasts of globally renowned users and more than 330 products. From integrations to product varieties, shipping capacity, and pricing, the platform has everything to replace Zazzle.
10. Custom Ink
Custom Ink is more than just a t-shirt printing business. It enables you to design and order custom gear for different occasions and groups such as family reunions, companies, charities, clubs, and more.
Every order is valued at Custom Ink and as a seller, you can bring your idea to life easily using the exclusive Design Lab. If you’re not an artist, you can access the library of fonts and more than 68,000 pieces of art so you have all you need to create a great product.
If you don’t want to start from scratch with your designs, Custom Ink’s Custom Creations team is available to help you. The team reviews each order and design for contrast, size, and layering issues, and they can enhance and recreate items to your liking for the best printing quality.
Custom Ink also sends samples out especially for extra complicated designs to ensure it matches what you had in mind. If you have any problems, their service reps are available 7 days a week to hear you out and give you the help you need.
The company also offers free standard ground shipping within Canada and the continental U.S. that guarantees your order will arrive at your doorstep within 2 weeks or less. Rush Delivery is also offered if you order at the last minute and want urgent delivery, and this is guaranteed in 1 week, while Super Rush gets the order to you in 3 days.
Custom Ink isn’t like Zazzle that features a marketplace. The platform is solely for designing products which they print and ship to your location. It’s an ideal Zazzle alternative if you intend to sell clothing and apparel. Creating products with Custom Ink is fairly easy thanks to the Design Lab.
Interesting Comparison: Printful vs Zazzle
Starting a print-on-demand business may seem like a daunting task. The best platforms offer product diversity, pricing, quality, and scalable fulfillment locations.
All the 10 services listed above have unique features and affordable pricing that are far better than Zazzle, so any of them would be an ideal place to kick off your online store.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.