Becoming a seller on Zazzle
The other Print-On-Demand (POD) site that I've been trying out is Zazzle. Like Redbubble (see my May 18th post for more about Redbubble), you upload your own design and use it to create products on their site. Their partners do the fulfillment and you make a commission (which you set) on each item you sell. Unlike Redbubble where you upload your design and it's automatically applied to all the products they have for sale and enabled on those that the image fits, on Zazzle you select a product that you want to create and add an image. So you create your products 1 at a time. It may sound more difficult, and in some ways it is, but I prefer this method to the Redbubble method. Also, Zazzle has way more products that are available for design!
Becoming a designer on Zazzle is free. Just go to the zazzle.com site, find the 'Sell on Zazzle' hyperlink in the upper right of the page and click on it to start setting up your account. A window will pop up with 3 choices; Designer, Maker and Associate. I have only looked into the Designer option so far. Click on the 'Become a Designer' option. Take a few moments to read the information on the next page then click 'Get started' when ready. You will have to create a Zazzle account using your email address or a Facebook account or a Google account (I registered using my email address).
Since I've already created an account I can't go any further in the process of creating a new account. I know that at some point, maybe next, you will need to enter a name that you want to use for your store. Take some time to think about this. You want your store name to reflect what you are selling but you may also want it to match up with other social media accounts or your own website for consistency. For example, a couple of years ago I set up my own website with the domain name 'kpcaptures.com' to display my photos; the 'kp' is my initials and 'captures' was what I came up with after trying many other words that were already taken which I thought were photography related. Initially, the website was just a way to share my photos with family and friends. Then I created a Twitter account, and Facebook page and Instagram Business account... All with 'kpcaptures' in the name - All having to do with my photography. So, when I opened my Zazzle store, I used the same name.
Continue entering all the information requested to create your account and open your store. Once you have all your information entered and your store created you're ready to start designing. As I mentioned earlier, Zazzle is different from Redbubble in that you create one product at a time. Find the 'Create a Product' on your profile page, click the link and you'll be taken to a page that lets you choose what type of product you'd like to create. Another difference with Zazzle is that, while you could upload a completed design image, you also have some design tools that you can use after you've uploaded your image. After uploading your image to the product you've selected, it can be cropped, resized and/or rotated. There are patterns that can be applied to automatically repeat the image. Let's say you want to create a bunch of daisies on a background of green. You upload your daisy image, select one of the repeat pattern options, change the spacing between images, etc to create a display of multiple daisies. You can change the background color or have no background color at all. Choose from one of their filters to be applied to the image. Add a shape (square, circle or line) and indicate if the shape should have an outline, the size and color of the outline and whether the shape should be solid and, if so, what color. You can also add text to your design with the ability to change the font, point size and color, curve the text or make it go vertical instead of horizontal, and/or rotate the text box. I really like having these design options!
Another thing I like about Zazzle is that there are several options that are available for each layer like Lock Object, which locks that layer so that a customer can't remove or change the layer when ordering. Also, Make Permanent and Always Visible, which allows you to make the layer a permanent layer so it can't be removed, but still allows the customer to make some changes like repositioning, resizing, adding/removing a filter, etc. Basically, it protects your design while still allowing the customer to do some customization. There is an option later on to completely turn off customization as well. But, if you're designing something with an image and text for example, this gives you the ability to make sure the image isn't removed but the text can be changed.
There is a Preview option that lets you see what your design will look like on the product you selected. The one thing I wish the Preview option had is a zoom feature. I've gotten around that by clicking 'Done' to go back to the actual product page, then using the magnifying glass on this page to zoom on the design. If you see something you need to change you still have the ability to Edit your design. Right next to the Edit button you'll see a Sell It button. When you're finished designing your product, click the Sell It button which will take you to another page where you can give your design a Title and Description as well as provide additional information about selling your item. Don't forget to provide some tags that will make finding your design easier. This is also where you have an opportunity to change the Royalty percentage you will receive for each sale of this item. Just remember, the Royalty percentage you designate will change the price of your product.
When you've filled in all the information, check the box indicating you acknowledge the terms and save your design. Congratulations, you've created your first product! Your product will be available in your account but will not be immediately available for sale in your store. Products must first be reviewed. You will receive an email when your item has been published for sale.
So that's an overview of setting up a store and selling on Zazzle. I know it was a lot of information, but, even so, there's a lot I didn't cover that you'll need to figure out as you go. Check out the Help and FAQ pages for more information about selling on Zazzle.
What I like: There's a lot I like about Zazzle; 1) The volume of products that they have, many more than Redbubble, 2) Design tools for added design flexibility, 3) The ability to choose to allow customers to Customize their purchase, 4) The ability to apply categories to your products, 5) The ability to add Tags to your products for searchability, 6) The ability to create Collections (which Redbubble also has), 7) The ability to Edit some of the information after you've created your item (like Title, Description, Tags, Royalty %, etc), 7) Certain products allow you to add a design to both the front and back of the product. This is something I really like when it comes to designing T-shirts and something I wish Redbubble had. I'm sure there are several more things I could add to this list but this post is already getting pretty long so I'll stop here.
What I don't like: There's not much I don't like but I'll try; 1) I don't especially like the delay between saving your design and when it gets published for sale. I understand the reason but it makes designing, or rather selling, a little more challenging. Sometimes I create a new design based on a promotion that Zazzle is running but then it's a waiting game to see if the design gets published before the promotion ends. 2) Hmmm, when I think of something else I'll let you know.