If you are looking into starting your own online business then you’ve likely taken a look at opening an Etsy shop. And if you are looking specifically into print on demand, you have probably hear a thing of two about Zazzle as well. But what it the difference between the two?
Etsy is an online marketplace for shop owners to sell their handmade or vintage goods. Handmade can mean a variety of things, from handmade crafts and jewelry to handmade art printed onto non handmade products. Zazzle is a print on demand marketplace where sellers can open a shop and put their designs on the products that Zazzle offers.
Here is a list of the main differences between Zazzle and Etsy:
- Zazzle is 100% Print on Demand
- Zazzle is More Hands Off
- Zazzle Handles Customer Service
- Zazzle Handles Shipping and Returns
- Zazzle Is Free
- Zazzle Has Easier Customization
- Etsy is all sorts of Businesses on One Platform
- You Handle All Your Shipments with Etsy
- You Will Have to Refund Customers in The Case of Returns
- You Handle All the Customer Service on Etsy
- You Can Opt-In to Etsy Ads
- You Need to Fill Out All of the Product Information on Etsy
- You Need to Source Your Products for Etsy
- Reviews Can Make or Break You on Etsy
- Etsy has a Bigger Customer Base
- Etsy Costs Money per Listing and per Sale
Let’s look closer at each of these points.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this post, at no extra cost to you.
Zazzle is 100% Print on Demand
Zazzle is a print on demand marketplace and all that it sells is print on demand products – with the exception of the new digital downloads trend that they are jumping on for greeting cards and posters and such.
With Zazzle, you are limited to selling the products that they offer in their marketplace and nothing more. But with over 1,000 products in their catalog, and new products regularly being released to the marketplace, it’s hard to get bored or run out of options for your shop.
Zazzle is More Hands Off
Zazzle is quite a bit more hands-off than running an Etsy shop. You can pretty much set up your shop and continue to add products without worrying about much more than that.
Zazzle Handles Customer Service
Zazzle handles all of the customer service for you so that you can stick to what you love, designing.
Customers still have the option to reach out to designers, which is meant to be for design requests and things like that. You will get the occasional question about shipping or a return, but there is an automated message that you can send in response to them to reach out to Zazzle customer support directly.
Zazzle Handles Shipping and Returns
Zazzle handles all of the product distribution and returns. So you don’t need to worry about getting the products to your customers on time or freight over managing return shipments.
– My Recommended Tools –
Below are my personal favorite tools that I use regularly in my POD business.
The below links are affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission for anything purchased through these links at no extra cost to you.
Creative Fabrica – My favorite place to get graphics with a straightforward commercial license for print on demand use.
- Get Creative Fabrica’s All Access Free Trial for one week here ($9.00 a month after that.)
- Get Creative Fabrica’s Yearly All Access Subscription for $59.88 here.
Adobe Illustrator – I use Adobe Illustrator for at least half of my design creations. It’s pricey but so worth it when you choose to take the business seriously. Get a free trial to Adobe Illustrator here.
Graphics Tablet – My partner got me this exact tablet as a Christmas gift when I was just starting out with creating my own designs. It has served me well now for several years and it was a very low cost investment that made a big impact in my POD business.
Ergonomic Mouse – If you spend long hours at the computer like me I highly recommend investing in a good ergonomic mouse. Over the years, I have caused an injury in my hand/wrist from being at the computer so much, but my pain has gotten significantly better since getting this ergonomic mouse on Amazon.
Zazzle Is Free
It is totally free to start a Zazzle shop and you never have to pay a dime to stay on the platform! The only money you might pay is to order samples if you so choose, but it’s not necessary.
Zazzle Has Easier Customization
If customers want to customize their products, they can do it directly with the Zazzle design tool. There’s no need to involve you at all!
Etsy is all sorts of Businesses on One Platform
Etsy isn’t just for print on demand businesses. There are thousands of other types of shops on the platform, from sewing to jewelry making, woodworking to sign making, and everything in between.
This can be a good thing, as not everyone on the platform is your direct competition. However, it also means that not all customers are going to be interested in the products that you have to offer.
You Handle All Your Shipments with Etsy
Etsy is much more hands-on than Zazzle, and you will need to make sure that all of your products get shipped on time and you will need to handle the payments for postage.
You Will Have to Refund Customers in The Case of Returns
Don’t spend that money you’ve made from Etsy too quickly! It’s common for customers to demand refunds on Etsy and there are a number of scams on the platforms to watch out for as well.
You are responsible for dealing with all of the returns for your Etsy shop.
You Handle All the Customer Service on Etsy
Customers can be pretty demanding at times and dealing with those customers is a big part of running an Etsy business. Your shop will depend on the reviews your shop gets, so you will want to always be courteous and helpful when handling your customer service.
You Can Opt-In to Etsy Ads
Etsy Ads is a great way to scale your Etsy business, once you’ve started to make consistent sales and know which products convert well. But they can also be expensive to run if you aren’t careful.
You Need to Fill Out All of the Product Information on Etsy
You need to fill out all of your product information when you post to Etsy. That means multiple product photos and ideally a video, a full detailed description of the product and design. Shipping and return policies and terms and conditions.
You Need to Source Your Products for Etsy
You’ll have to figure out where you are sourcing your products from on your own. If you are starting a print on demand shop, my personal recommendation is Printify. That’s the company I went with when I had my Etsy shop and I had a good experience with them.
Reviews Can Make or Break You on Etsy
Good reviews are crucial for running a successful Etsy shop. A few good reviews in your shop will help you to make more and more sales. So be sure to be good to your customers!
Customers know how important reviews are and will sometimes try to hold a bad review over your head to get free products. This is against Etsy’s terms of service, so don’t hesitate to report those people!
Etsy has a Bigger Customer Base
Etsy has a way bigger customer base than Zazzle, however, the customers are all looking for different things. So this doesn’t always work to your advantage. On Zazzle, the customers are all there for the products that Zazzle has to offer.
Etsy Costs Money per Listing and per Sale
Etsy costs about $ 0.20 USD per listing. It’s not a lot, but it needs to be factored in when pricing products. And keep in mind Etsy also charges a sales fee and shipping fees.
Which is Better?
If you are a beginner and want to test out print on demand, in my opinion, Zazzle is better. You can test the waters and see how you like the business without having to commit your own money.
If you already know a thing or two about print on demand and are looking to scale your business, Etsy is better as you can run Etsy ads to reach more people and Etsy has a bigger customer base and is more well-known and trusted.