If you are thinking of getting into the print on demand industry you are likely wondering if you should go with a print on demand marketplace like RedBubble or to pick a supplier and jump on a marketplace like Etsy.
Is it better selling on Etsy or RedBubble?
Whether it is better to sell on RedBubble or Etsy really depends on what you are looking for. RedBubble is completely free and has a more “set it and forget it” approach, but the commissions are quite small. Whereas with Etsy you stand to make more profit, however, it costs money up front and you need to handle all of your own customer service. Both platforms require you to do your keyword research and choose keyword-rich titles and tags in order to generate consistent sales.
Let’s dive deeper below.
Selling on RedBubble
You might prefer to sell on RedBubble as it is 100% free. It costs nothing to make an account and upload designs. There’s no limit to how much you can upload, and one design can get places of dozen of products with just the click of a button.
RedBubble also offers the chance to be able to create fan art. But you need to apply for the program to do it legally.
You also don’t have to deal with any customer service issues when designing on RedBubble
However, with all of the good that RedBubble has to offer, there are a few negatives. Since RedBubble handles everything from providing the platform, the products, the customers, and delivery they take most of the profits. It’s a trade off, less work for you also means less profits.
Since RedBubble is free, it is also crazy saturated. There is no barrier to entry, which means that anyone can sign up and start uploading designs at the drop of a hat. This makes for a lot of clutter on the RedBubble marketplace and makes it harder for your own products to get found.
The competition is stiff on RedBubble, there are some amazing designers on the platform and every designer is competing against each other as there’s only a limited amount of products you can put your designs on. You will need to find an unsaturated niche and do your keyword research in order to compete with the other designers on this platform.
Selling on Etsy
There are lots of good things that come along with selling print on demand products on Etsy. The biggest of which is higher profit margins. Rather than making anywhere from 25 cents to $5 on RedBubble, you are more likely to be making anywhere from $5-20 per sale on Etsy, depending on what you set your prices to.
There is less saturation on Etsy, though still tons of competition. The 20 cent listing fee is enough to deter tons of people from every opening up an Etsy shop. However, you can get around that by getting your first 40 listings for FREE here.
Everyone on Etsy is selling something different. Sure there are millions of shops on Etsy, but tons of those are handcrafted and/or vintage products. Tons of those sellers are not your direct competition if you are selling print on demand products.
Just like with every print on demand business, you need to niche down and do your keyword research. If you want to be successful in this industry, this is something you can’t escape.
Etsy is much more hands-on and you will need to handle all of your own customer service. However, this opens you up to receiving design requests which you can charge more for.
You also need to select which print on demand supplier to go with wisely. (We recommend Printful or Printify.) They both have a wide selection of products and the quality is better than many of the other options out there.
You will also need to pay for your sales up front. So when you make a sale on Etsy that money goes into your account at the end of the month. And you will need to make the purchase from Printify, or whichever supplier you choose, right when the order comes in. So you may want a credit card to put the charge on while you wait for the funds from Etsy to hit your account.
Listings on Etsy last for 4 months without sales, if you go that long without a sale the listing will need to be renewed costing another 20 cents. When you do make a sale, Etsy will auto-renew your product for another 20 cents.
Etsy also takes a 5% commission of every sale made on the platform. Remember to factor that in when setting your prices!
TLDR: A Quick Breakdown of the Differences Between Selling on Etsy vs RedBubble
The two platforms are very different. RedBubble is an all in one print on demand platform where you upload your designs with your titles, tags, and descriptions, choose which products you want your designs on (you can upload to multiple designs at once,) and sell them right on the website. From there your job is done, unless you want to put effort into marketing your products and shop.
Whereas with Etsy, you will choose a print on demand suppliers, upload your designs to one product at a time, add your titles and description, then integrate it with your Etsy shop. From there, you need to go into your listing on Etsy, add your tags, verify the shipping profile, and publish the product for 20 US cents. Now you can either leave it or do your own marketing outside of Etsy. You will also need to respond to any messages from customers or potential customers.
Is it Better to Sell on RedBubble or Etsy?
If you don’t have the funds ready to go, you are better off selling on RedBubble. However, the potential profits in much higher on a platform like Etsy where you keep the majority of the money from sales. Both platforms have their pros and cons and it’s really just about what works best for you. Give them both a try and see which one works better!
One idea is to build up some sales and income from RedBubble and then transfer the designs that have sold well onto the Etsy platform.
To learn more about selling on the RedBubble platform, click here.
To learn more about selling on Etsy, click here.
To learn more about the print on demand industry, click here.
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