You want to get in to custom printing, you have your own designs or you plan on creating some, but don’t want to keep any in stock, or pay any upfront cost, that’s where Zazzle.com and Cafepress.com come in, read my Zazzle vs Cafepress to find out which website is right for your designs when it comes to custom printing.

Zazzle.com and Cafepress.com are both online retailers that allows their consumers/users to upload their own designs to print-on-demand for a wide range of products. These websites are both free to use and to create a storefront, however Cafepress does offer a premium option for higher volume sellers that can pay the $6.95 a month, $18.45 for 3 months, $34.95 for 6 months, or $59.95 a year to get more features and products.

How Much Can You Make Zazzle vs Cafepress

Zazzle allows you to set your own percentages on your royalties, on average most people will set their Zazzle royalties between 10%-35%. Minimum payment threshold for PayPal is $50, or $2.50 fee if payment is below this threshold. Minimum payment threshold by check is $100, or $5 fee if payment is below this threshold.

Cafepress pays out a flat 10% royalty on all your customized products. Minimum payment threshold is $25 by either check or PayPal. They also offer Shop Performance Bonuses, please see image below for more information on how this works:

 Zazzle vs Cafepress-CafePress Shop Performance Bonus

Zazzle vs Cafepress Affiliate Programs

Both Zazzle and Cafepress have affiliate programs where you can earn even more money for promoting other people’s products as well as yours.

Zazzle has a minimum referral commission of 15%, and now with their Volume Bonus Earning Program, you can earn up to 30% commissions, please see image below for more details. You can link to any product at all using your referral id.

Zazzles vs Cafepress Zazzle Volulme Bonus Program

Cafepress’ Affiliate Program pays you commissions when you refer people to purchase directly from their marketplace (the link needs to straight to here), but you will NOT make commissions on products purchased directly from Cafepress shops. So when it comes to linking any product, make sure you are getting that product’s link directly from their Marketplace, not from the actual Cafepress Shop. Also make sure you set your Store Settings preferences to display your products in their Marketplace, not private, so not only you but others can also find your products and promote them for affiliate commissions as well. The Cafepress’ Affiliate Program is not available to you if you are a resident in Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, or Rhode Island in the US, but they do offer the program in other countries.

Both Offer Bulk Discounting

Zazzle’s bulk discounting varies by products and quantities and offers anywhere from 10% all the way up to 70% off. You can see what items they offer bulk discounting to and how much on their website here.

CafePress offers bulk discounting up to a 45% discount on many of their products when customers buy amounts in 12, 36, or 72 quantities.

Product Quality Zazzle vs Cafepress

Zazzle products appear to be good quality for the price you pay, most of their items on average are highly rated on their website, plus most reviews I read all over the web were fairly decent.

Cafepress reviews are  about half and half, where some reviews I read said the quality is good, and the other half stating the products are not as good as Zazzle’s.

Zazzle vs Cafepress

Products Available

Between Zazzle and CafePress, both have close to the same products they offer to customize and sell from a large selection of different apparel items, to accessories, gifts/hobby items, to many items for the home, electronic cases/covers, and much more. There are a few items I know for sure awhile back Zazzle had that CafePress did not such as cake toppers, pacifiers, playing cards, etc. Then there were products CafePress had that Zazzle did not such as shower curtains, pillow cases, yoga mats, etc.

Zazzle vs Cafepress product pricing is very comparable to each other, fairly reasonable when it comes to online shopping, plus like I stated before, they offer pretty good sales and discounts here and there.

Ease of Use Zazzle vs Cafepress

After reading many reviews online, when it comes to Zazzle vs Cafepress, on average I would say 7 out of 10 people recommend Zazzle over Cafepress when it comes to how easy it is to set up your own shop. From personal experience, I can tell you when I set up my accounts on both websites, I found Zazzle to be easier than Cafepress. Although Zazzle is very customizable with color, text, graphic elements, and modules, Cafepress does have a great selection of different cliparts to choose from and lots of font selection. Both Zazzle and CafePress offers many tools to help promote the products you create as well.

Zazzle vs Cafepress

Promos

When it comes to Zazzle vs Cafepress, both are pretty good about promoting and marketing their user’s products, I would say both do a great job offering sales and discounts. Sign up for their newsletters and stay up to date for sales going on, this is just another great way to refer people to your stores and get them to buy more. Who likes to pay full price anyways right?

Interesting Facts Zazzle vs Cafepress

Zazzle, although founded in 1999, its actual website was launched in 2005. When googled it comes up with 25,000,000 results as of 1/27/2014. Cafepress, founded in 1999, comes up with 7,800,000 results when googled as of 1/27/2014. Zazzle has 95,340 Facebook likes and Cafepress has 523,295 Facebook likes.

Do your research and read the reviews yourself. My advice, try both Zazzle and Cafepress out. Put different products on each, see how they do, and see which one works best for you. There are many people out there getting their products discovered and making lots of money on both of these print-on-demand sites.

Other stores to look in to similar to Zazzle and Cafepress:
Spreadshirt.com
Society6.com
Customink.com
Blurb.com (photo books, ebooks, and other print books only)

One thing to think about, yes the royalties may not be as high as you would like them to be when it comes to using an online retailer to print-on-demand such as Zazzle and Cafepress, but at the same time you are not having to manage stock or pay any upfront cost to print your products. Ultimately if that’s the industry you are wanting to grow a career in, it may be worth looking in to working with local printers. More than most likely you would make more money by going that route. Please leave a comment and share your opinion when it comes to Zazzle vs Cafepress. Which do you prefer?

If you are just stopping by for help on picking the right online retailer that does printing-on-demand, best of luck to you in your choice.

Monogram Gifts & More

38 Responses

  1. Very nice, thank you. It’s exactly the information i was hoping to find and has me thinking of another possibility. I also get why people seem to do this on more than one platform. Seekers to buy something often have preferences where they buy from. Makes sense since i do too.

  2. Cafepress only pays pennies for commissions on items sold from the “marketplace”. Unless someone goes to your specific store, and buys the product there, you’re going to get .02 on every dollar, regardless of the mark up you choose.

    For example, I had a product that was $18 ($2 markup). I received .09 commission once, and .20 another time. Had those purchases been made thru my store front I would have received the full $2.

    When I complained, they told me if I didn’t like it, I could quit. So I did!

    1. I’ve heard similar, which is why personally I would go with Zazzle, but you have to keep in mind, with print on demand stores like Cafepress and Zazzle, you will not make near as much as if you were selling your own products in stock on your own store.

  3. Is there any reason why you cannot have the same ‘store’ on each site with the same products in each? I am thinking someone may come across a store on either by chance. This helps make a sale regardless.

    Just curious if there are restrictions on any of these sites where they have to be exclusive.

    1. Hey Ryan, from just a quick search on the web I found that it is ok to post your same products on both a Zazzle store and a Cafepress store. Personally I’ve seen outside online stores purchase products from Zazzle or Cafepress and turn around to sell them on their own online store, so makes sense right? However, if you choose to do this I recommend creating new content for the same product you want displayed in both stores such as product name and product description to help with SEO to avoid getting dinged for duplicate content.

  4. Thanks for this-very helpful. I’ve done some research on both Cafepress and Zazzle and have had a Zazzle shop for awhile. Your article has me thinking there may be an advantage to also going with Cafepress

  5. I was wondering if it would work to create a product on either Zazzle or Cafepress using my artwork on demand (as needed) and have them ship it directly to my customer when they purchase it from my own website… any thoughts on that? That way I wouldn’t need to sell my art through them, and wouldn’t need to create any ‘stock’… Whatever I sell it for above the price I pay would be my own profit… would that work?

  6. I was wondering if you want to develop your own site but want the benefit of low set up costs, can you incorporate either of these two into a custom site? If not – do you know of anyone that does? I want to do military lines of apparel and they are both licensed so that makes them very attractive.
    Thanks

  7. I have created a ‘series of 21 one angels. At this time I unable to duplicate them . So I’m looking for ways to market their images on products. I’m open a shop with cafepress in 2009 never launch it. Part of the problem is I can produce a lot of theses items myself.(on a small scale) . Would using either site give expose to the series and its’ purpose.
    Great article thank you.

    1. That is the great thing about print-on-demand sites, you can easily use your own art, in this case it sounds like you’d be taking a photo and placing it on the products offered on the print-on-demand site like a mug or t-shirt, greeting card, etc right? This is a great way to market your product, your brand, and draw people to your website with the real products plus it gives you another channel to make money with your creations.

  8. Just curious about a possibility here is combining the best of both worlds, viz. having your own store but supplying stock via POD like Zazzle. So you set up your store on Shopify, for example, and feature your products, taking advantage of their shopping cart optimization. You get an order for say 10 widgets at $5 each. So your order is worth $50. You price them on Zazzle for $3 at 20% royalty. So you order 10 widgets and have them shipped to your customer from Zazzle. It costs you $30 but you also get the $6 back in royalties so you make $26 on the $50 order. Why shouldn’t that work? You still don’t carry stock and Zazzle takes care of fulfillment while Shopify does the ecommerce. Of course, you could sell just via Shopify and take a greater percentage, but then you carry the risk of overstock.

  9. I have been selling my designs on CafePress and Zazzle for some time but if I were starting out now, I would go with Zazzle rather than CafePress. The main reason for this is the very low marketplace commission rate at CafePress.

  10. Hi Jessica, thank you for highlighting the edge of using zazzle and cafepress. I am a comics designer thinking what to use to sell stuff on my comic site. Thanks for the review.

  11. I was checking out Zazzle and would like to use them, but I have had issues with my products (designs) not posting anywhere after going through the entire process of “creating” my products. I wrote Zazzle about it and no response, submitted the designs numerous times and nothing. I was reading your article to find alternatives but Cafepress doesn’t seem like something I would like either – what to do?

    1. Hi Bruce, are you sure are creating products right? On Zazzle it took me a moment to figure out how to do that, it can be confusing, but once you select “Post for Sale” located right under the Add to Cart area, you should get a message about Zazzle needing to review it, then Zazzle will send an email letting you know when it posts if they approve it.

  12. Just recently opened a Zazzle store. Really like Zazzle. Already selling stuff and not expected either.
    My store sold lots of stuff for almost 10 years on CP, enough to have a named account manager. Closed the store in 2014. CP is a shell of a company from what it was. Sales were significant and growing for many years with CP. But their business model devolved to the point it was not worth keeping a store open. Towards the end, CP commissions were tied to crazy stuff like social media likes. CP was dysfunctional at the time of closing my store.

    Hope to run with Zazzle 10 years or more. Stick with what you got, it works.

  13. Hi. Thank you for your blog. Very informative .
    What are the pros and cons of using “Shopify”? Especially for someone who is just starting out with no experience selling products online.

    1. Hi Doug, thanks for stopping by! I do not have experience with Shopify. I am a WordPress user so that’s all I use for any and all websites I do. I see people who use Shopify seem pretty happy with it. It appears to be an easy platform to use for your e-commerce and other sites without having very much website experience.

    2. I used shopify for a few months this year and would not recommend it to anyone. Between 2011-2015 I made over $100,000 selling on Etsy, so clearly the problem wasn’t with me or my merch. With Shopify, I actually LOST money attempting to drive traffic to the site. Their packages are high priced and offer very little in return other than a checkout platform – there’s no built in traffic drive and you are forced to compete with sites like Etsy, Redbubble, Zazzle, etc who pay for Google Shopping results for their sellers as well as already having existing traffic.

      If you are not an established brand – and even for some people like me who are – don’t waste your time and money with Shopify.

  14. I’ve checked out both Cafe Press and Zazzle for some corporate gifts. We are interested in a design that wraps around a stainless water bottle. From a purely creative perspective, Zazzle is the clear winner. Cafe Press limits us to a small area up front, where Zazzle allows our design to wrap around the bottle.

    Thanks for this posting! Very helpful.

  15. What about Shop customization? It appears that you can make a CafePress store look more like your own store than with Zazzle. But, I don’t have experience with either. What is your opinion about which company enables you to make the store look like your own?

    1. Mmm, good question, I don’t think there is a while lot of customization within shops on each, BUT you can put your products on your own website. There you can customize to look how you want.

  16. hi jess, great article. very well written.
    i’m thinking of setting up a store on zazzle. looking at their user agreement, under proprietary rights, it says the following:
    “You retain all ownership rights to your Content submitted to the Site. By submitting Content to Zazzle, you grant Zazzle a nonexclusive, worldwide, transferable license to use, copy, reproduce, modify, publicly display, and distribute your Content.”
    it says i retain the rights, and right after that it says zazzle can use, copy, reproduce etc. my content. how is that retaining my rights if they have the right to use it?
    what are your thoughts on this? thanks.

    1. I would definitely reach out to the Zazzle team for any questions pertaining to their user agreement. Every time I have reached out to them they do a pretty good job at responding. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Thank you so very much Jess Jess! this was just what i was looking for to make my decision on who to go with. Really great comparison my sister!

  18. As an aspiring graphic designer, I’m surprised I didn’t get into this sooner when I saw YouTube stars start to sell their brand on sites like this. I’m working on a graphic brand that might start a growing movement in relation to nostalgia experiences… thanks for this informative article!

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