Buying and selling online, i.e. eCommerce, is booming like never before since the first eCommerce transaction was made in 1994.
Top online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are getting millions of customers daily and making millions as well. It is expected that eCommerce will account for about 22% of all retail sales by 2023. Hence, the future is very bright.
If you’re a designer, artist, or creator looking for an ideal eCommerce marketplace to sell your art, Redbubble and Etsy are viable options.
Here, we put Redbubble against Etsy, comparing their features and how they work. In the end, you’ll figure out the best platform to sell your art.
Also Read: Best Print On Demand Sites Like Printful
Redbubble was launched in 2006 and currently boasts of more than 700,000 users. It is an online marketplace that allows users to sell print on demand products on their marketplace.
Ideally, Redbubble was built for artists, designers, and entrepreneurs who want to make money with their art.
As an artist, designer, or online merchant, you can register and open your virtual store on their platform. You can then upload your designs and test them on available products.
Some available products on Redbubble include clothing, phone cases, tote bags, wall art, accessories, stickers, and stationery.
Launched in 2009, Etsy has evolved to become one of the most popular eCommerce websites in the world. The platform focuses on art, welcoming anyone who makes handcrafted items, vintage items, or any unique craft.
As a global platform, Etsy attracts buyers and sellers from different parts of the world. The platform provides powerful tools to help online merchants automate their business.
With Etsy, you can sell/shop for jewelry, clothing, shoes, toys, art, and more. You get to supply these products from your inventory, so the selling price, shipping price, shipping method, and other parameters are set by you.
Additionally, Etsy runs promotional ads that facilitate quick sales of items.
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To get started on Redbubble, you have to complete the registration process. Switch to the “Sell Your Art” section so that you can set up your online store.
There are three procedures for setting up your store. In the first step, you have to add designs – you can upload designs saved on your computer. This process can be skipped for later as well.
Next, you set up your shop by adding an avatar (your logo ideally), cover image, social link(s), and a description. The final step is confirming your email address, entering your user details, and setting up a payment method.
Once your store is live, your store will have an auto-generated Redbubble domain name which you can always change.
Opening your Etsy shop requires completing a five-step seller registration form. You first need to sign up on the platform and then select “Open Your Etsy Shop”.
You have to set your shop preferences by choosing your language, country, and currency. Next, you pick a name for your shop. After that, you can then add your product listings; in fact, you can add up to 10.
The fourth step is setting up how you’ll get paid; the two main options are Etsy payments and PayPal. Finally, you set up your billing details for the listing and transaction fees amongst other possible payments. This is via a credit card.
You can now open your shop and your Etsy domain will be created.
The setup process is easy on Redbubble and Etsy.
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With Redbubble, you always have to create your product designs offline and then upload. The platform recommends the usage of Adobe Photoshop. While designing, you should note the ideal dimensions, based on the product, and the format.
Your uploaded art should have a high resolution. JPG, PNG, and GIF are the acceptable file formats that you can upload. Also, designs should be made in CMYK format and then converted to sRGB before being uploaded.
With your uploaded designs, you can multi-edit on different products at a time.
With Etsy, you can sell readymade products, so you won’t be doing any designing online. All you have to do is to create product listings.
The first process of creating a product listing is adding the product photo which is at least 2000 pixels wide. From this image, the product thumbnail is created.
After that, you enter the listing details, description, inventory, and enter the product price. Finally, you should set your preferred shipping method and then publish the product listing.
Redbubble and Etsy work differently in this section, but both platforms require uploading readymade designs/images. However, Redbubble’s process is easier to complete.
Products on Redbubble all have a base price. Ideally, the base price differs from product to product. However, products in the same categories have similar prices.
You have to set your selling price before publishing these products to your store. Your selling price plus the Redbubble base price will result in the price that your customers will see/pay for.
Fortunately, you only have to pay the base price for these products when customers make payments. It will be auto-deducted once purchase is complete so literally, you pay nothing.
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With Etsy, the products are provided by the sellers and not the platform. Hence, there is no base price, the prices featured are prices set by the sellers.
As a seller, you can set any price you want and there’s a smart pricing tool to help you. When customers make a payment, the proceeds go to you.
Both Redbubble and Etsy give online sellers the flexibility to set any selling price for their products. So, it’s a draw for this round.
The production center closer to your customer’s location will be used for faster shipping. As a POD platform, production begins immediately an order purchase is confirmed.
Production materials are sourced ethically for quality while production is completed in a maximum of 3 days. Redbubble also works with third-party print providers.
Sellers on Etsy are tasked with the production of their products. However, Etsy provides several production partners that sellers can work with if they cannot manufacture themselves.
Working with these production partners is like print on demand. However, the production partners are not affiliated with Etsy so sellers are tasked with paying for product manufacturing.
Conversely, you can add a production partner via your account settings or while creating your listings.
Unlike Redbubble, Etsy provides you with the flexibility of handling production yourself or making use of production partners. This gives you the freedom of working with renowned production companies.
With Redbubble, you cannot add custom branding to your product packages. Redbubble produces and ships the printed products and also includes their branding. Mostly, it’s the Redbubble logo or text.
The ways products are packaged differ depending on the product type. Clothing and sticker items are packaged using a polybag while arts come in a box for big sizes and tubes for small sizes.
Since you handle production yourself on Etsy, you can brand your products as you wish. Also, you can package your product based on preference.
If you work with a production partner, all you have to do is to communicate your product branding and packaging preference with them.
Redbubble doesn’t support custom branding but with Etsy, you can completely brand your product packages.
Redbubble ships and delivers goods to all countries except for Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Cuba, Crimea, and Iran. The shipping cost is auto-generated as customers add products to their cart and it is based on the item and the customers’ location.
Shipping is carried out immediately after production and the duration varies, but local shipping arrives faster than international ones. DHL, FedEx, and UPS are some shipping companies used and there are two shipping methods – Standard and Express.
Express shipping attracts a little more fee but is delivered faster. Also, Redbubble features an order tracker.
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Since users are responsible for the shipping of their goods, it could be very expensive. So, Etsy offers shipping services to help users in shipping goods to their customers cheaper.
Tools like shipping labels, tracking, and shipping calculator are provided. You can purchase shipping labels from top shipping companies like USPS, Canada Post, and FedEx. This will attract up to a 30 percent shipping discount.
You can create different shipping profiles for different product listings. You just need to select one when creating product listings.
Though Etsy shipping services make shipping easy, Redbubble is easier as the platform handles the entire shipping and delivery process.
With Redbubble, you can make money without paying any amount. All you have to do is to create your product designs.
Your artist margin determines how much you make from each sale. The default margin is 20 percent of product base prices but this can be set at any percentage, even higher than 100.
Additionally, Redbubble attracts no subscription or transaction fees. When customers purchase products from your store, you get paid from your artist margin price while Redbubble deducts their base price.
As an online merchant, you have total control of your eCommerce business on Etsy. You are in charge of determining product prices and shipping prices. This implies that you can make as much profit from your handmade or vintage crafts as you want.
However, Etsy charges fees for listing products and also for every transaction. The listing fees are renewed every 4 months to keep your listings active.
Due to the absence of listing fees or extra payment, Redbubble is a more profitable platform than Etsy.
Redbubble features a built-in analytics tool that allows you to monitor your online store. It enables you to track your earnings. In fact, you can sort the insights per week, month, or per year although the default is by month.
Also, this analytics tool allows you to identify your traffic sources such as organic, direct, social, and Redbubble community. Traffic from other sources is also identified as well.
Though the insights are reliable, the Redbubble analytics tool might take up to 48 hours to update data.
Also Read: Redbubble vs Teespring
To get analytical insights on Etsy, you have to visit the Shop Stats section. The major metrics which are tracked and reported include shop visits, orders, revenue, conversion rate, and listing views.
These are divided into three sections: traffic, listing, and customers. The insights are delivered in graphs that are relatively easy to comprehend. You can sort the time frame to today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and all time.
Redbubble and Etsy deliver insightful analytics, but Etsy wins as its insights are updated faster.
There are no third-party integrations available on Redbubble. Users can carry out every print on demand activity on the platform without the need for other applications.
The only possible third-party platforms you can connect with include Google Maps and Google Analytics. Nevertheless, a Redbubble API is available on GitHub for displaying Redbubble products on web pages.
Etsy features a few third-party integrations which can be accessed from the Shop Manager. Some platforms that integrate with Etsy include Mailchimp, Hubspot, AWeber, Zendesk, Shopify, GetResponse, and WooCommerce. For developers, Etsy also features an API.
Etsy is the winner here as it has more integrations than Redbubble.
Redbubble users can get support by submitting a support request; no phone or direct email support is offered. Currently, it can take up to 5 business days to get a response for a support request.
You can also get support via the Redbubble Help Center or by reaching out to their Twitter handle. There are also user communities on Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook where you can get assistance from other users.
Also Read: Printify vs Redbubble
From the Etsy Help Center, you get access to support articles on both shopping and selling on the platform.
Etsy also features an online forum where sellers can interact with one another. Direct support can also be gotten via phone, email, and live chat but only accessible when logged in.
Conversely, Etsy is active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Etsy support is more reliable than Redbubble because they have different support channels and their response is faster.
No pricing plans are available on Redbubble. The platform uses a ‘base price + seller price = retail price’ pricing system. Redbubble makes money only via the base price they set for their products.
As an online merchant, you only pay for the base price which varies from product to product. No transaction fees or listing fees are charged and shipping fees are paid by the customers.
Etsy doesn’t feature any direct payment/subscription plans. Merchants will however be required to pay different fees. The first is the listing fee which costs $0.20 per listing; this is charged anytime you create a new product list and is to be renewed every 4 months.
Afterward, you then pay the transaction fees. Etsy charges 5 percent for every sale you make, which is auto-deducted once payment is confirmed. If you use a pattern website on Etsy, you’ll have to pay $15.00 per month and this would eliminate listing fees.
- Easy to set up
- Both Etsy and Redbubble attract no sign-up subscription
- They both report analytics
- Both Redbubble and Etsy feature mobile apps
- Both features an API
- Redbubble charges no fees while Etsy charges listing and transaction fees.
- Redbubble focuses on print on demand while Etsy focuses on eCommerce in general.
- Redbubble handles production while Etsy sellers can handle production themselves or work with a partner.
- Redbubble offers no custom branding while you can brand your products on Etsy.
- Etsy supports more integrations than Redbubble.
- Redbubble support is only via support request via Etsy supports phone, email, and live chat.
- Easy to set up
- Analytics tool
- No transaction fees
- Handles shipping
- Mobile app
- No custom product branding
- Analytics might take up to 48 hours to update
- Less third-party integrations
- Slow support
- Easy to set up
- Custom branding
- Reliable shipping services
- Shop statistics report
- Third-party integrations
- Mobile app
- Reliable support
- Transaction fees
- Listing fees
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Yes, you can sell the same design on Etsy and Redbubble. There are no standing rules against that currently. As long as the product or art is unique to you, you can upload your design on both platforms.
The only form of restriction you can have is if either Etsy or RedBubble clearly have a policy against having a product or listing on its platform simultaneously on other platforms.
Ultimately, Etsy allows you to make more money as a designer or artist compared to Redbubble. The reasons for this are clear.
Firstly, there is no such thing as a base fee on Etsy, though you still have to pay for each product listing. However, you can flexibly set your product price. This gives you total control over your profit margins.
Also, you can decide where you want production and art print to be done. You also have the leverage to determine how products get shipped to customers.
It is not possible for you to link Redbubble to Etsy. Redbubble operates as an online marketplace of its own.
So, if you hope to run stores on both Redbubble and Etsy, then you should be prepared to dedicate more time to run both stores effectively.
Etsy is a suitable website to showcase your unique artworks as an independent artist. Ideally, Etsy generally promotes branded arts and supports unique creativity.
So, if you are confident in your artworks and art designs, go right on to signup on Etsy. Apart from the initial Etsy payment for product listing, you should enjoy running your art business on Etsy.
Redbubble is definitely a major player in the print on demand online marketplace. Its large pool of customer base attests to this.
This does not imply that it is by far above its competitors. The competition that Redbubble faces in the print on demand industry is very stiff.
In the area of integration where Redbubble greatly lacks, some of its competitors have been able to create an avenue for artists to link up with major eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Big Cartel, BigCommerce, Shopify, etc.
Below are some of the Redbubble competitors in the POD industry:
- Canvas Prints
Unlike Redbubble, Etsy is not a native print on demand platform but it is an online marketplace suitable for selling customized products.
Nevertheless, here are some Etsy alternatives that you can consider:
- Amazon Merch
- Ruby Lane
From the way both POD platforms work and their features, you can see that they are very different. While Redbubble is targeted at people who wish to sell print on demand products, Etsy is open to people who want to sell products they make and own.
Nonetheless, Etsy is the best platform to sell your art. You can sell any item that depends on creativity and not just digital designs.
Although Etsy requires the payment of some fees, their listing fee is relatively low at less than $0.50 for 4 months and they charge low transaction fees as well.
Also, you can use Etsy even if you don’t make the arts yourself. That way, you can focus on making more profits from your art selling business.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.