Shopping online can be a delightful experience. Did you know that In 2017, ecommerce was responsible for around $2.3 trillion in sales and is expected to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021 (according to a Statista report)?
These are amazing statistics as more and more people demand convenience, high-quality, and unique brands to make a strong impact on the person they are giving gifts to.
This trend is being driven more and more by the millennial generation as mentioned in this article by Disruptive Advertising that mentions the desire for instant access, round-the-clock accessibility, and fast turnaround will be the norm by 2026, driven in particular by millennials (born approximately 1980–95) and Generation Z consumers (born approximately 1996–2010)
If you’ve ever been searching around online for unique gifts to give to someone, I’m sure by now you’ve run into Etsy and Zazzle. They are among some of the most popular marketplaces for both shoppers and designers alike.
If you’re like me, I love to shop online and go to these large marketplaces to find unique and one-of-a-kind gifts for people. Therefore today, I wanted to talk a little more in depth about these two marketplace giants that I love to shop at so much.
So let’s go ahead and take a deeper look as we compare Zazzle vs Etsy. .
Zazzle is an amazing site that’s based in Redwood City, CA and it is set up to let you be creative as a designer so you can sell your products through Zazzle’s marketplace.
If you are a manufacturer, or a “maker,” as Zazzle describes it, you can make almost any product you want and sell it on Zazzle’s marketplace.
Another really nice feature is that Zazzle partners with other major brands such as Walt Disney, Marvel, Harry Potter, Sesame Street, and much more, so that you can use their collection of images to create any item you want.
It’s a very fun way to bring the characters you are passionate about alive!
When you land on Zazzle’s homepage, you will notice their site is broken out into a variety of categories including Invitations & Cards, Clothing & Accessories, Home, Electronics, Office, Baby & Kids, Art, Weddings, Gifts, and Ideas.
Once you click on one of the categories, it will break each category down for you even further. There is an endless supply of products to choose from.
For example, if you look under the Electronics category and click on “iPhone Cases” you will find an array of different designs that have been made by one of Zazzle’s designers.
You can also order something custom from one of the designers on the site such as a father’s day gift or mother’s day gift with customized artwork or their name engraved. Using a site like Zazzle allows you to get very creative with the gifts you give to people.
The examples above show you that any of the products can be customized with your own verbiage, photos, inspirations, sayings, etc. You only have to pay the base price.
The Zazzle print on demand company also features an eCommerce site.
In terms of the shopping and custom design experience, you can see in the example below, that this wine sleeve was designed by MHarperDesigns.
You can either buy the item “as is,” or you can customize the item with your own special message by clicking the blue “Customize” button underneath the designer’s name.
Zazzle holds nothing back. They have second-to-none software that helps to automate many of the processes for making the products. This helps the community of creators that they have.
Let’s meet the makers, as Zazzle would say. The makers are a unique group of individuals who manufacture the products that they showcase on their store. They do all of the hard work using manufacturing tools and hardware.
For example, Hattie is one of the featured makers at the time of this post, and they make jewelry and dog tags for people and pets who want unique, hand-crafted, and personalized products.
Just like the designers, the makers have their own unique profile pages to showcase their products. You can easily scroll through each thumbnail until something catches your eye.
If you click on the “Dog Tag Art” maker profile, you will land on their page that includes all of their products. You can easily shop from there and customize the products that you would like to buy.
Designers flock to online marketplaces like Zazzle in order to showcase their skills and hopefully earn a living doing what they love. In our wine sleeve example above, the sleeve was designed by MHarperDesigns.
When you click on her designer link, you will go directly to her profile where you can find all of the products that this designer has created.
You can follow this designer and find out all the new product updates that arrive and be one of the first to gain access to them.
Many of the designers also display their social media link, as seen on the bottom right. This way you can follow them and get to know them outside of Zazzle.
After clicking on the designer’s “Products” tab, you can see the wine tote that we have been using in our examples along with other products that this designer has made.
There are thousands of designers to choose from on Zazzle so when you find one that you like, make sure to follow them, so you don’t ever lose them!
On the other hand, if you’re a shopper, instead of beginning your search by product, why not begin your search by a designer instead? This allows you to find your unique flair and build products around that.
Zazzle sets it up so that you can easily browse through designers until something catches your eye. Each designer has a “thumbnail” that acts as a quick view of their design elements.
In this example, you can see the thumbnail art of Rebecca Jane Design, MontgomeryFest, Danielle Fernandez Designs, and NamiBear Art Studio.
Once a designer catches your eye, you can click on their designer page to view their products. From here, you can shop until you drop!
The shopping experience is amazing and allows you to find unique and special gifts for everyone on your list.
You can find many reviews on Zazzle by visiting Trust Pilot, where they have received a 4 out of 5-star rating. Zazzle is a completely legitimate company that you should feel safe and secure shopping with.
Overall, Zazzle is a fantastic online marketplace that I’m sure you will be happy with. And, if you aren’t, Zazzle has a 100% satisfaction guarantee for everything they sell or else you will get your money back.
Etsy is another marketplace that is a little more vintage and hand-crafted than Zazzle. Etsy’s tagline is “keeping commerce human” as they strive to bring unique buyers and sellers together.
They focus on helping to spread the word about sustainability and responsibility through all of the products that are made and purchased through their site.
If you are a designer and unique maker of hand-crafted items, Etsy is the place for you. Etsy is known for its arts, crafts, and paper goods.
You can sell handmade goods and craft supplies. They also have a beautiful vintage section, but the item has to be at least 20 years old in order to qualify for the vintage label.
The selling process is easy with Etsy, and setting up your shop is also very simple because you don’t have to go out and get a store yourself, you can set it all up through Etsy.
There’s no native mock-up generator to check your designs, but you can use any graphic design tool.
Etsy also tries to make it very easy for you to get started as a seller by giving you their “Seller’s Handbook” to answer any of your questions and get you started.
As a seller, it will cost you 20 cents per item that you list plus a 5% transaction fee, a 3%, plus .25 cent processing fee for each transaction. Each of your listings will be active for four months or until the product sells.
Etsy has a handy smartphone app to let you do all of your business from the palm of your hand. This isn’t common with most Etsy alternatives like CafePress and Threadless. You can edit listings, respond to buyers, and manage all of your orders from wherever you are.
When it comes to shipping, Etsy makes it easy and helps you out a bit with a small discount on shipping labels that you can print out when shipping your products.
Etsy also has a custom designed website you can build that is powered by your Etsy store. Once you get your website up, you can start marketing your business using one of Etsy’s powerful marketing tools.
To get started on Etsy, it’s a very simple process. You simply click on the button that says “Open Your Etsy Shop.” You will be asked to enter an email for your account and enter a password.
Once you have done this, you will come to a wizard that walks you through the setup process.
You will enter the language your shop will be displayed in, the country you are located in, as well as the currency you will be dealing with in your business.
You will also be asked for the intent of your business using the following choices:
- Selling is my full-time job
- I sell part-time but hope to sell full-time
- I sell part-time, and that’s how I like it
As mentioned before, there are many part-timers on Etsy, so don’t think that it can’t be done because many people enjoy being part-timers on Etsy. Once you’ve filled out this first section, you will click “Save and Continue” at the bottom right.
In the next step, you get to name your shop. This is the fun part. You simply type in the name in the search bar and Etsy will check the availability and see if the name is taken or not.
Once you find the right shop name, then you are going to start stocking your shop with your unique products. Etsy says that the more products you have, the better chance you will have for getting found.
Now, at this point, if you haven’t taken any pictures of your items, now would be a good time to do that. Because on the next step, you will have to start uploading listings to your shop by clicking the “add listings” button.
There are a couple of steps to adding your new listing. First, you are going to want to upload photos of your new item. If you’re not an expert photographer, Etsy gives you some helpful hints on how to use lighting and also what types of angle shots you can take.
Once you’ve added the photos you want to add, you can move on to creating the description of your item.
The listing details include the following:
- The title of your item
- About the listing – Who made it? What is it? When was it made?
- Category – This is a very important point. Make sure you put your item in the correct category because it can really hurt your efforts to be seen if it’s not in the correct category.
- Renewal options – With renewal options, you can either set it to “Manual” or “Automatic.” What this means is as soon as the item expires after four months, it will automatically be renewed, or you could manually renew it yourself.
- Type – Do you have a physical or a digital product?
- Description – In this section you have enough space to write beautifully-crafted descriptions to describe your unique product. This is extremely important because this is where you have the chance to sell to your audience.
- Sections – If you have a variety of different items that can be grouped into different sections, this is the place you would do it. By doing this, it makes it easier for the shoppers on your store to organize and search through your product offerings.
- Tags – Tags are another very important tool to use so that shoppers can find your products easily.
- Materials – Materials is an optional place where you can enter the materials that were used to create your product.
The next portion of your listing will obviously be your price. In this section, you will enter the price of your item, the quantity you have in stock, and the SKU number if applicable.
The next part to fill in will be in regards to any variations that you may have in your product such as size, color, and weight, for example. You also now have the new option to collect personalized information for the listing.
And finally, you are going to be entering the shipping information for your product. This will allow customers to see the options they have for buying and shipping your product.
Once you get through setting up your first listing, you can either set up your entire store or move on to the next steps. This is where you enter your bank account information so that you can get paid when someone purchases an item. You can also set up your billing information at this time.
Etsy makes it quite nice and simple to set up your store, which is something that can be done in an afternoon if you have all of your pictures done for your items done already.
Now if you’re a buyer, you come to Etsy to experience the unique designs and one-of-a-kind authentic pieces that can be found nowhere else online it seems. You can read the reviews from SiteJabber about Etsy.
For buyers, it’s a very straightforward process where you can either browse by category, or you can simply type anything you are interested in into the search bar and begin your search.
Etsy has many categories to choose from such as jewelry & accessories, clothing & shoes, wedding & party, and many more.
It’s a fun experience to see all of the unique products that are offered by various designers. This is why Etsy has become a very popular site to shop for gifts for friends and family.
I would highly encourage you, the next time you are looking for something unique, to browse around on Etsy for a while. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
- Both Etsy and Zazzle offer designers avenue to sell custom print products.
- Both platforms allow designers to build and customize their online space.
- Both marketplaces offer mobile applications that simplify processes for designers and buyers alike.
- While Zazzle is widely known for its print on demand products, Etsy is renowned for vintage collections along with handcraft and other hand-made products.
- You get to pay for product listing on Etsy, unlike with Zazzle.
The simple answer is ‘Yes’. You can sell Zazzle’s products on Etsy. Although you cannot directly integrate both parties through their APIs, you have to do the listing manually.
To do that, you need to manually input Zazzle as your production partner on Etsy. Once you have done this successfully, you can then proceed to make your unique designs on Zazzle, and place the order for printing, to be delivered to your customers from Etsy.
It is highly recommended that you make use of a partnership partner (print on demand company) when you do not have the technical means to make custom prints productions and run deliveries for your customers.
Therefore, you should consider using Zazzle or other Zazzle alternatives like Printful or Printify to start your POD business on Etsy.
In the print on demand industry, Zazzle definitely ranks as one of the big POD services. Still, it has a whole lot of competitors that offer similar products, and yet devise other means to perform better and gain traction.
Some of the biggest Zazzle competitors include:
- Fine Art America
For Etsy, its competitors that offer similar self-hosted platforms include the following:
- Big Cartel
- Handmade at Amazon
From this Zazzle vs Etsy review, both platforms offer good print on demand services. Both Etsy and Zazzle are wonderful websites to gather inspiration and create that perfect gift for someone.
Believe it or not, there are tons of people who use Zazzle’s platform to sell their products on Etsy. So you can see there is a lot you can do to combine the two.
As you’ve also learned, you can also use it if you are a designer or you manufacture products. Whatever your creative talent is, you have an outlet to expand your business and explore your talents through these two online platforms.
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.