Dropshipping is a form of ecommerce that continues to rise in popularity.
With dropshipping, you act as a middleman between the customer and the manufacturer.
Instead of storing inventory, you just forward orders to the manufacturer, who takes care of the shipping and handling.
Retailers who use drop shipping instead of conventional ecommerce methods have the potential to be up to 50 percent more profitable, as they don’t have to make any upfront investments or spend money on inventory storage space.
Print on demand is a type of dropshipping that allows you to sell your own unique, branded t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and other products without investing anything upfront.
All you have to do is provide the design and do the selling. The manufacturer will take care of printing the design on products and shipping them out.
There are a number of print on demand platforms that make this process seamless. Today, we’ll take a look at two of them – Gooten and Zazzle – and see how they compare.
The Signup Process
Gooten has a pretty simple signup process. You don’t need to enter any payment details to sign up.
Instead, all you have to do is enter your basic personal information, choose a name for your store, choose a URL, and select the channel you will be selling on.
You will then be taken to your dashboard, where you can start designing products and setting up your store.
Keep in mind that this signup process applies to designers only. For manufacturers who take care of the printing and shipping of the products, a different process applies.
Zazzle’s signup process for designers is simple as well. You can start by signing up with your Facebook or Google account, or you can use your email address.
You’ll have a verification link sent to your email address. After clicking on that link, you’ll be taken to your store dashboard and your store settings menu.
The User Interface
Gooten has a modern user interface for your backend office.
On the left-hand side, you’ll have your menu options where you can go to your orders, the product hub, the product catalog, the shipping calculator, your reports, and more.
When you first sign up, your dashboard will have useful links and information for you that will help you create your first product, set up your store information, and start selling.
Zazzle’s user interface is a bit more simplistic. On the top, you have a few menu options, such as products, collections, news, reviews, followers, and store settings.
Creating a Product and the Mockup Generator
Go to the product catalog or click the link in your dashboard to start creating a product. Choose the product you want to sell and select a brand and model.
Next, select where on the item you want to print your design (such as on the back or front of a t-shirt). Pick the colors and sizes you want to sell your product in.
You’ll then be taken to the digital designer or mockup generator which you can use to render a digital version of the product you will sell.
Upload your artwork (you can do this by uploading a file from your computer or uploading it from a URL) and it will be applied to the item.
You can then apply simple edits, such as making the uploaded design bigger or smaller, changing its location on the item, and cropping it.
Once you finish that step, you will be shown a digital mockup of the product. This is what is going to appear in your store’s catalog, so go back to edit it if it is not what you expected.
If you are satisfied with the result, you can go on to creating a title and description for the product.
Zazzle’s digital designer has a few more options than Gooten’s. Once you choose a specific product and color that you want, you will be taken to the digital designer.
After you upload an image, you can resize it, crop it, choose a filter and shade (such as black and white or sepia), align the image to the right, left, or center, apply gridlines to help you position the image correctly, choose whether the image should fill the entire surface or not, and more.
You can even apply layers with two designs on top of each other. You can also choose where on the product you want the image applied, such as on the front, on the back, on the front pocket, etc.
There are icons that you can add, which are free to use. You can also add text and shapes, such as rectangles and lines.
All this is a lot more advanced than Gooten’s designer. With Gooten, you have to do all of the design editing prior to uploading it and the designer is for fitting the design with the item.
While with Zazzle, you can edit certain aspects (such as text) by using their own tool.
Zazzle also has a quick upload feature. This can potentially save you a lot of time and allow you to sell more products.
When using this feature, your uploaded design or image will be applied to up to 100 items at a time.
You will see a list of those items after you upload your design, along with a digital mockup for each item.
You then have the option to customize specific items further. For example, you can change the color and style by clicking on “edit options.”
You can also access the digital designer by clicking on the “customize” button next to an item. This will bring up most of the editing options that were mentioned above.
You can also delete items from the list if you do not wish them to be added to your store.
Gooten has a number of products you can sell. Here are some of the products in the Gooten catalog:
- Phone cases
- Compact mirrors
- Yoga mats
- Tote bags
- Travel bags
- Cosmetic bags
- Laundry bags
- Cuttings boards
- Bottle openers
- Shower curtains
- Duvet covers
- Phone cases
- Mouse pads
- Business cards
- Wall calendars
- Canvas posters
- Long sleeved shirts
- Tank tops
- Children and baby apparel
- Dog beds
Zazzle also has a large selection of products. Here are some of them:
- Invitation cards
- Greeting cards
- Personal stationery
- Phone cases
- Business cards
- School supplies
- Office supplies
- Baby bibs
- Wall decor
- Wedding decor
- Party supplies
Selling Your Products Online and Integrations
You can use Gooten in a number of ways:
- Shopify: Gooten’s Shopify app makes integrating Gooten with Shopify simple and easy.
- Amazon: Once you have the Shopify app installed, you can integrate your Shopify store with Amazon.
- Etsy: Gooten has an Etsy integration.
- API: Gooten’s API lets you integrate Gooten with a custom application or your own ecommerce store.
- Custom order form: If you want to place a single order, you can use the custom order form. For businesses that don’t get a lot of sales or who get a lot of custom orders, this is a good option.
- CSV upload: Upload a CSV list to place multiple orders at once. This and the previous option work for those selling on Etsy as well.
- Mobile app: Gooten has SDKs for Android and iOS that you can download and use for your mobile app.
Unlike Gooten, Zazzle isn’t meant for those who want to sell print on demand products on their own website or on a third-party platform.
Instead, Zazzle has its own ecommerce platform, hosted on the Zazzle website.
Your products will be sold by Zazzle. This is a crucial difference that is important to understand before you choose either one of the two platforms.
There are both pros and cons of using this business model vs selling on your own store with Gooten, and we’ll go through them in a later section.
If you are using Gooten on Shopify or another platform and using the custom order form or CSV upload feature to place orders, making money is a simple process.
You accept payments from your customers directly. When an order is placed with Gooten, Gooten will charge your own credit card for the retail price of the item.
The key to making money is charging your customers a higher price than what Gooten charges you.
For example, if the retail base price of an item is $10, you can charge customers $15 to make a $5 profit per sale.
This will all depend on how much you value your work, how established your store is, and how popular your designs are.
If you are using Gooten’s widget or SDK options, then it will work a little differently.
Gooten will charge your customers for the price that you set (using the above example, $15), and will deposit your profit ($5) into your bank or PayPal account.
All items sold on the Zazzle marketplace have a base price. However, you can raise the price, depending on how much royalties you want to get from your work.
You can choose a royalty percentage as low as five percent and as high as 99 percent. The price of the product on the Zazzle marketplace will be raised accordingly.
According to Zazzle, all prices are set so that setting your royalty by 15 percent will keep the price in the normal market range.
However, you are free to raise it higher and see how it affects your overall profits.
With Gooten, you will usually be accepting payments and charging customers yourself. However, when you use their SDKs, Gooten will charge customers and will accept all major credit cards and PayPal.
Zazzle accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and PayPal.
Production and Shipping Times
Gooten says that production time is generally three to four business days.
Shipping times depend on the vendor and where the customer is located, though they work with vendors in different locations to make shipping faster.
Gooten also offers expedited and overnight shipping options if your customers want.
Zazzle offers three shipping options: Standard, Premium, and Express.
If you want an estimate of how long it will take to ship a particular product, simply go to their shipping deadlines page and look up the product.
Gooten currently works with vendors in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
You can become a vendor on Gooten – meaning that you can sign up to work on the manufacturing side, printing logos on products and shipping them out to consumers.
If you want to apply to be a vendor, then you have to send them a message via their contact page.
To become a manufacturer or “maker” on Zazzle, go to this page.
As mentioned, Zazzle takes care of selling to consumers directly. One of their options, as we will see, is for consumers to order custom products.
As a “maker,” you will be accepting custom orders and fulfilling them.
Gooten doesn’t have an affiliate program, simply because it doesn’t sell directly to consumers.
As an ecommerce business owner, you can set up your own affiliate program so that affiliates refer customers to your store.
Zazzle’s Associates Program allows you to make money from Zazzle without designing products. Find your unique affiliate link and share it online to earn 15 percent of each sale you bring in.
You’ll get access to banners and a guide on how to build links to Zazzle products, product pages, category pages, search pages, and more. You’ll also be able to use their API to promote products.
Minimum payout is $50, and you can get paid via check or PayPal.
As mentioned, Gooten does not deal with consumers directly. It does not have its own marketplace where you can purchase items.
Zazzle, on the other hand, does have its own marketplace. One of the great things about Zazzle is that you can order a custom product.
You can choose a product, such as a t-shirt, and upload your own image or design. You can then use the digital designer tool to edit and customize the product before placing your order.
It will then be sent to one of the “makers” that Zazzle works with, who will process and fulfill your order.
Gooten has an extensive help section with many articles about different questions and problems sellers face. They also have some getting started guides and videos.
You can contact their support team by sending them an email or chatting with them live during business hours.
For those who work with Gooten and want to outsource their customer support needs, they can use Gooten’s white-label customer support option.
Gooten will set up FAQ pages, answer questions, set customer policies, reply to tickets, and more.
They will even reply to customer emails from an address associated with your own domain.
This service is available to Gooten Enterprise partners and plans start at $1,500 a month.
Zazzle also has a customer help center, though it is not as extensive as Gooten’s.
However, Zazzle has more options when it comes to contacting their support team. You can send them an email by filling out their online form.
Live chat is also available on Mon-Fri from 3 AM to 8 PM EST.
Unlike Gooten, you can also call their customer support team. There are four numbers – two for inside the United States and two for outside the United States.
Click here for the numbers and for the hours each phone number can be called.
Both Gooten and Zazzle are free to use. However, if you use Gooten with Shopify, you will have to pay for a Shopify plan.
Pros and Cons
Both Zazzle and Gooten have their pros and cons. Here are a few things to think about when choosing between the two:
Pros and cons of working with Zazzle:
- Pro: They will do some marketing and promoting for you, as everything is being sold on their own site.
- Pro: Their digital designer tool has more options.
- Con: You have less control (over what you sell, where you sell it, the price, etc).
Here are some pros and cons of working with Gooten:
- Pro: You get to sell products on your own preferred platform, or even on your own website.
- Pro: Has a more modern and sleek dashboard.
- Con: You are all on your own when it comes to marketing your products.
At the end of the day, a lot will depend on the type of business model you are more comfortable using.
Wrapping It Up
Both Gooten and Zazzle are good options for those who want to get into print on demand dropshipping.
Print on demand isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but regardless of which of the options you choose, you can set up a nice income stream if you dedicate yourself.THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.