Have you tried to sell your wares online, whether they’re works of art, clothing designs, or anything sellable for that matter?
If so, you understand the benefits and pain points of online business, having taken that brave yet smart decision to start your business in this vast marketplace.
One of the popular ways used today, especially by artists, designers, and manufacturers is using print on demand tools and/or sites.
Basically, these platforms allow you to upload and set up shop to sell your carefully designed and customized products, and watch the profits march in.
There are several different print on demand sites available today, but we’ll compare two: Zazzle and Redbubble, which are popular sites used by designers, artists, and manufacturers.
The great thing about these sites is you get to customize your pricing, the look and feel of your storefront, audiences, and more.
If you’re looking to get started with either Zazzle or Redbubble, check out our comparative reviews on each of these POD sites and pick your choice based on your business needs and preferences.
This print on demand online marketplace provides a great platform for consumers and designers to create custom products ranging from mugs, phone cases, clothing, stationery, and more.
Designed with millennials in mind, Zazzle, in partnership with various brands, amasses a huge collection of unique products, spanning millions of items listed on the platform.
Zazzle follows an on-demand business model since its inception in 1999, which has seen the business grow fast since its launch.
The great thing about Zazzle’s business model is that each product is made-to-order, which means nothing goes to waste; everything is purchased.
Unlike the retail model where stock or inventory is manufactured prior to shopping seasons and purchase, the on-demand model ensures manufacturers and consumers gain.
It eliminates the bulk order requirements, so you’re not left with unsold inventory.
Zazzle is loved by consumer enthusiasts who frequent the platform to create unique items, while sharing and celebrating their interests from art, to music, and more.
Initially, this POD company offered only t-shirts and posters, but today, it boasts a base of more than 300 million unique products. Its target audience is drawn to the site through great visuals, which Zazzle’s creative team develops by honing creative photography and assets to appeal to millennials.
Additionally, using real-time marketing based on top trends or hot topics, Zazzle team is able to feature trends on the website’s homepage, further attracting their target audience.
Perhaps the most unique and powerful tool for the platform’s marketing efforts is its customer online search. This tool serves up Zazzle among the first few results on product listing ads and search engines.
Zazzle also tests with social display ads on popular social media channels millennials love such as Facebook and Instagram. Here, they upload unique and appealing creative photography and images of their unique products.
Since its launch in 2005, Zazzle seems to have realized its mission over a decade later: giving anyone, anywhere the power to make anything imaginable.
If you’d like to create your own unique stuff like t-shirts, mugs, cards, or other fancy items, Zazzle offers this opportunity. You can upload digital images of your products or designs, and the corresponding descriptive text to create them.
The user interface is simple and can be used by anyone, which makes Zazzle a great choice for digital printing and embroidered decoration for retail items.
The platform also allows you to create your own online store and sell your wares, or sell through other Zazzle members.
The site’s unique selling proposition is the top brands it features including Disney, Coca-Cola, DC Comics, and others, who place their officially licensed merchandise on Zazzle. This has elevated the platform’s legitimacy and reputation for offering quality items.
A quick look at Zazzle’s website and you may be turned off by the many buttons and links to click on. Although the site looks cluttered, it’s still easy to navigate its simple interface as everything is carefully placed and labeled.
A “Sell on Zazzle” link is available at the top right side of the site that allows you to start creating your own store as a Maker, Designer, or Associate (Affiliate).
The process is simple, easy to do, self-explanatory, and stress-free.
For average users of the platform, however, the backend may be difficult to use, and they may also be confused by the interface.
Additionally, there are options for design creation or setting up new stores, but they seem to be hidden. The learning curve is quite steep before you actually use Zazzle and get your profits from the platform.
Sellers may also have to figure out the backend and its inner workings before they can be confident and comfortable using it.
As mentioned, Zazzle hosts millions of products from a wide range of categories on its site. You can find anything from clothing, to stationery, and smartphone cases on their catalog.
The main categories include products in the clothing, stationery, gifts, home and living, office, and electronic art, plus much more.
Each category also has variants from which you can pick as many products as you want, add your designs, and start selling.
Zazzle also offers a large selection of templates for all product categories, events, and holidays. You can create your own, but if you need an in-house designer to help you with this, Zazzle doesn’t have this option, unfortunately.
It also lacks print quality warnings, so if you upload the wrong sizes or resolutions for images and items, you may not know the exact dimensions before printing.
Zazzle also outsources print jobs, so you never know where yours may land, which means the print quality is dependent on the printer that gets your job. Additionally, there’s no mailing service available, but you can order personalized return-address labels and rubber stamps from Zazzle.
Several options exist for paper but not for envelopes. For some reason, you can only order white envelopes, but you cannot get decorative envelope lining options.
Always on the go? Zazzle’s got your back.
With its official app, Zazzle lets you create designs or choose from millions of pre-made templates or designs that can be added to different product types.
Zazzle also has some top and respected global brands on its list from Nike, to Disney, OtterBox, Zippo, and more, who avail artwork that can be accessed by customers.
This way, anything you can imagine can be created and sold on Zazzle.
Zazzle’s app allows you to:
● Design unique products
● Enjoy safe and secure shopping
● Sign up for notifications and keep abreast of promos and discounts
● View real-time status of your orders and track them
● Peek into your sales for Cyber Monday or Black Friday
With Zazzle, you get 100 percent order satisfaction if you’re not pleased with the customized items you got. They’ll take it back in 30 days once you initiate a contact request.
You can reach Zazzle reps on phone, chat, or email. An FAQ section, knowledge base and help center are all available for sellers, makers, and designers. Payments are via a US bank account if you use US Dollars as your currency or PayPal for other currencies.
Zazzle also lets you track your orders and shipments, with three options available depending on the type and quality of products:
● Standard, 4-7 days
● Premium, 2-3 days
● Express, 1 day
You can join Zazzle in three ways: as a Designer/Artist, Maker/Manufacturer/Producer, or Affiliate/Associate.
- Sign up or register for an account by selecting the account type, and keying in your personal details
- Once registered, create a store by going to your account profile and click Create a Store (follow the prompts)
- Enter the details of your Zazzle store
- Pick a banner image and unique URL for the store
Zazzle is free to use, but you pay the base prices of products when customers buy from you. Zazzle deducts the base price, while you keep the profit.
This is another popular print on-demand option that lets brands, artists, and other users create custom designs for clothing.
Founded in 2006, Redbubble has grown to include customized products like duvet covers, cushions, leggings, and more, besides the usual hoodies, framed prints, t-shirts, and other print items.
Artists get free membership if they hold copyrights to their designs, and Redbubble maintains their prices while deciding on the products they’ll display on the platform.
With hundreds of thousands of active artists on its platform, and tens of millions of site visits each month, Redbubble is clearly a successful company in its vertical.
If you’re an artist or designer and wish to make money from your art work, Redbubble can be one of your main income sources.
Although there are several other alternatives that work just like it, Redbubble is a great place to start if you’re unsure which one to use.
As a leading print on demand site, thousands of independent artists and designers prefer to upload their artwork on Redbubble, which ships the items to customers after purchase.
Designers get royalties of about 10 to 20 percent on the purchase price, with a level of control over the percentages, and Redbubble sends these out via PayPal.
It is free and open to join once you sign up for an account, and you can upload your stuff and start receiving your royalties.
The best part is you have a huge audience of potential buyers, plus the site is ranked well on search engines so you’re sure of getting an opportunity to make a sale or more.
And if your artwork is really great or your ideas are awesome, Redbubble does everything else for you, and in no time, you start seeing sales and royalties build up.
So if you want to make passive income, Redbubble exists for you to do so. Just sign up, upload your artwork and some descriptive text, and Redbubble does the rest.
As a designer or artist, you’ll also get to learn new skills and see things from the customers’ perspective, so you can design unique stuff.
You also get to learn what sells or doesn’t sell, what works or doesn’t work, and this market research will help inform your future designs. Redbubble lets you see the views on your designs, conversion rats, and more analytics.
Besides getting exposure and new paying clients, you can learn a lot about SEO for your items to rank highly on Google and other search results. This is done through titles, tags, and descriptions, which you can experiment with to know how your rankings and sales are affected.
Redbubble offers a vast and varied list of products of high quality and top-notch printing compared to its rivals.
You can find items in categories such as men/women/babies and kids, device cases, wall art, stickers, home décor, gifts, stationery, and bags, plus much more.
All categories have their product variants and subsets. For example, wall art can have posters, photo or canvas prints, and much more. So you get to create artwork on all these and sell them on Redbubble.
Redbubble’s customer support team of highly responsive professionals can be reached via chat, email, or their contact page on the site, and they usually respond within 4 hours.
You can submit a request for order payments, Taxes, Promotions & Vouchers, Order Tracking, Address and/or Order Changes Exchanges, Returns, or any other query.
It’s global shipping services network allows for products to be sent to any place in the world, depending on your customer’s location and where the product is shipped from.
There are some standard rules for Redbubble orders, but most take about three business days before shipping out.
Processing time isn’t included when shipping estimates are calculated. Customers can find time estimates through their shopping carts and the expected delivery dates for express or standard shipping.
The payout process is also easy as Redbubble makes sure you get your money in payment cycles from the 15th of the month to the 15th of the following month.
Payments are sent out via direct bank deposit (specific countries) or PayPal.
Customers with US bank cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express) or US bank accounts can use Amazon payments, while Apple Pay is only for registered users.
If there are customers with gift cards, the only acceptable ones are from approved credit companies (Visa, Mastercard, American Express).
Another option is Sofort, though it only serves countries such as Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and UK.
Ensure the customers input their billing addresses as they appear on their credit card details, as all transactions on Redbubble have to be linked to a billing address. If they use prepaid debit cards, the cards must be registered first prior to using them for online purchases.
Redbubble doesn’t accept multiple forms of payment for a single purchase.
If your customers aren’t happy with the product, they have 90 days to send it back upon receipt, for a refund or replacement to be processed.
It’s simple using the steps below:
● Set up a Redbubble account for free
● Click your profile icon and select Add New Work. Here you’ll choose to upload your design, logo, or artwork
● Select Upload and browse to find the design you want added
● Product options will be offered to you, so clicking Enable will make your prints available for the product you want
● Name your design, add descriptions and tags so they’re easy to find
● Click Save and your items are added to your Redbubble portfolio
Each product on Redbubble has a base price, from which you can set your markup per item. Redbubble also offers multiple options for price setting through percentage markup on each category, on a single category, or price-based markup.
If you feel your markup is too high or low, you can make adjustments so that your items get sold, which puts you in control of your store.
Redbubble also allows you to promote your work besides giving you an online presence, and useful contacts. You also get to meet new, supportive artists, tips on self-promotion of your products, plus link options to social media and sites like Flickr, Behance, and others.
Your visitors can share their work to their own social media like Pinterest boards, which further promotes your work, and tags for people to find what you’re selling.
Before we conclude the Zazzle vs Redbubble review, let’s answer some of their FAQs.
Yes, Zazzle is a legit company.
It is strenuous to talk about the print on demand industry without mentioning the long-standing companies in the industry like Zazzle.
Zazzle has evolved over the years into a big POD giant. This could only be possible by achieving a high customer satisfaction rate and delivering quality products.
Likewise, Zazzle has shown to be a legitimate business over the years, and it has never been out of line. We can confidently say that you will have no worries about doing business on Zazzle.
Redbubble is another major player among other print on demand marketplaces. It has been able to make its mark in the POD industry by giving its customers unique designs and well-customized products.
Conversely, Redbubble does not have a legitimacy issue. It no longer has to prove itself in this aspect. Its platform is notable for quality products, and it has helped many artists and designers connect to their buyers over the years.
Yes, you can sell the same design on Zazzle and Redbubble.
In fact, there is no standing rule against multi platform product display right now. Maybe such can come up in the future. But currently, it does not exist.
You can showcase your beautiful collections and designs on both Zazzle and Redbubble at the same time.
However, you will need to create two totally separate storefronts on Zazzle and Redbubble.
Redbubble does not support integration with other POD sites or eCommerce platforms.
So, if you want your designs on both POD platforms, you should be prepared to double your efforts so as to better manage your storefronts on both Zazzle and Redbubble.
Although Zazzle is an established company in the print on demand industry, that does not imply that it has a monopoly. In fact, new competitions keep arising by the day.
Here are some of the most competitive alternatives to Zazzle:
- Fine Art America
- Cafe Press
- Print Aura
Redbubble has several competitors in the print on demand industry.
Some of which includes:
Both Zazzle and Redbubble are solid online marketplaces and print on demand platforms with a variety of products and templates. If you’re new to the industry, Zazzle’s learning curve may be steep, and its backend needs more time to learn, before you’re comfortable using it.
With experience and over time, it’ll serve you well. Redbubble is easy to use, fills a unique niche, allowing you the freedom to sell your items to a global audience while keeping costs low. The choice depends on your actual needs.
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.