Saturday, October 06, 2018

Selling Art Using Print on Demand Sites - Zazzle Review

Make Money Selling Your Photography, Paintings and Drawings on Products

I have been a Zazzle seller for nearly 10 years, and really enjoy the various Bells and Whistles available on this print on demand (POD) platform. Even though there are many recent entries into the the POD space, Zazzle has a strong foothold in this market, and continues to add new products and user improvements. [If you are looking at CafePress as an alternative, think twice and research them carefully. Many sellers gave up on CP years ago after multiple royalty reductions. Read my blog post about selling on CafePress here.]

Setting Up a Store

Sample Store Front
A Zazzle “Store” is the online “Gallery” into which you load your products. It is free and simple: open an account and start a store. You can even have multiple free stores to create targeted branding for different markets. You can set up categories, sub-categories, and customize the look/feel of the store through your own custom banner. Once your store is setup, you then upload images and start creating products. There is a healthy set of SEO (search engine optimization) options available for both the store and individual products. These include meta titles, descriptions, and key tags.

Getting Paid: Select Your Own Royalty

Set a Default Royalty
One of my favorite parts of Zazzle is the ability to set my own royalty on products. A royalty is the percentage dollar amount, over the base selling price, that you will make on the sale. You set a default royalty percentage for all products, and can still edit the royalty setting on individual products as necessary. Zazzle recommends that royalties be set between 10% and 15%. Higher than that and the product prices may discourage buyers. However, the ultimate royalty percentage is still up to the seller.

Getting Paid Even More

Zazzle pays an extra 15% for sales made by buyers that you send to them. Once you have a Zazzle account, you will also have a unique referral number (associate ID) in the Zazzle Associate Program. Add your associate ID to any links, share the links out to your friends, on social media sites, blogs, websites etc. and when a sale is made through your link, you earn money. You can also promote products other than your own to earn the extra referral money.

Image Control

Upload and Arrange Your Artwork
The Zazzle user interface has seen vast improvements over the years. Gone are the days when uploading and sizing an image was about all one could do when adding artwork to a product. Now, it is possible to rotate/move images and add multiple images. There is also now a feature which allows you to show white as transparent - which is great for those jpg images with white backgrounds. Applying this feature, you can then add a color to the background of your products. Many products also allow for “tiling” of designs (repeating the artwork so that it is used as a pattern.)

Add Basic Shapes

Too busy to add that circle or rectangle frame/border around your image? You can now add that right in Zazzle. The interface has an Add Shape function for basic shapes. Border lines and fill colors are yours to select. This feature, along with adding text, allows you to create simple designs within the Zazzle workspace itself.

Text, with Many Font Selections

Zazzle offers over 65 fonts. They are categorized to make selection easier:  Sans Serif, Serif, Symbols, Script, Handwriting/Calligraphy, Distressed, and Decorative. In addition there are 25 International fonts. Text size and color are fully editable, and you can add multiple instances of text in different sizes and colors.

Buyer Customization 

One of the really great features of Zazzle is that you can set your products to be customizable by buyers. A buyer may want to use your image for a party invitation - adding their own text greeting to the card. Or, a parent may want to add a child's name to a shirt. The possibilities are endless. Some artists and designers may recoil at this concept, though allowing customization of products can be a great incentive to buyers.

Design Transfer

This feature allows customers to transfer the design on a product you created to another product that is available in the extensive Zazzle lineup. The royalty percentage will be based on your default royalty rate. You can disable this feature in the Store Settings if you like.

A Few Closing Points

Brand Your Images:  Add your name and/or website *somewhere* in the image that you upload to Zazzle. This branding will help other buyers find you. When people see a product with your image on it, they will be able to track it down and perhaps purchase for themselves.

Check Out Zazzle News: [] for new product announcements and other important seller news.

Plan Your Marketing: While your products will appear in the Zazzle Marketplace, you will have much more selling success if you help drive buyers to your Zazzle Store. There are easy social media links on every product to help you share the information and links. You might also blog about your products, and add links to your Store from your website.

Benefits of Wide Visibility: Zazzle's audience is huge, and attracts more than just individual buyers. Some businesses purchase in bulk on Zazzle, and people looking for unique artwork may find you through Zazzle. For instance, I was once contacted by a movie studio that wanted to license some of my images for stage props in a movie. That contact came through Zazzle.

Cons: I have found this platform to be a great vehicle for selling my artwork on products, though sales have dipped in recent years, largely due to the growing number of new sellers (i.e. competition). Thanks to the ever-increasing number of products being posted, Zazzle will start hiding from their Marketplace any products that do not receive enough page views over a given period of time. In such a case, buyers can still find and buy a hidden product via your store, but it won't show up in a Zazzle Marketplace search. Though you can unhide these products, no notification is sent when the products become hidden, so you have to keep close tabs on your Store(s). Another downside is the payment lag. Royalties are paid monthly, on or just before the 15th of the month. Those same royalties leave a seller account shortly after the 1st of the month. While other royalty-based businesses operate in a similar fashion, it begs the question: If the money left my seller account on the 1st, and didn't show up in my PayPal account until the 15th, where did it go for 2 weeks?

I hope you enjoyed this Zazzle review. Happy Selling!

Kelli Swan Zazzle Store
Black and White Notecards Store
Sunny Sense Dog Lover Designs Store