Redbubble vs Merch by Amazon 2024: Which is Best?

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If you’ve been looking for an easy way to start selling customized products online, print on demand could be the ideal solution. However, not all print on demand (POD) solutions are alike.

Some companies still require you to set up your own ecommerce store, and manage numerous parts of your business yourself. That’s why I often recommend considering print on demand “marketplaces” to creators who want the easiest possible startup experience.

While marketplaces like Redbubble and Merch by Amazon (Merch on Demand) don’t give you all of the freedom and scalability you need for a growing POD brand, they’re excellent for beginners. Two particularly popular options right now are Redbubble, and Merch by Amazon.

So, how do they stack up? I experimented with both platforms (on a free plan), to share my behind-the-scenes insights, and help you make the right choice for your business.

Quick Verdict

While I love the fact that Merch by Amazon gives sellers access to the incredible fast-paced delivery speeds of Amazon Prime, Redbubble is definitely a lot more versatile. With Amazon Merch on Demand, you only get a handful of products to choose from, although you do benefit from high-quality printing. Redbubble offers access to dozens of different products.

You can also upgrade to higher “tiers” with Redbubble, to benefit from fewer account fees, a range of marketing tools, and even access to advanced customer and marketplace insights.

Redbubble vs Merch by Amazon: How the Platforms Work

Redbubble and Merch by Amazon have a lot in common, they both don’t require creators to design their own ecommerce website to start selling custom products online. Instead, you simply create a “storefront”, and sell your products on an existing marketplace.

However, there are some core differences in how the platforms work.

How Redbubble Works

Redbubble is one of the “original” print on demand marketplaces, created in 2006. It gives creators access to a full marketplace platform, as well as a range of tools for creating, promoting, and selling products.

You can sign up for an account for free, and use the design tools to instantly add your art to over 70 unique products. Once you create your storefront, you’ll be able to list your items there, and customers from all over the world can place orders.

Redbubble offers global shipping and printing services, and gives you full control over the prices you set for your items (so you control your profit margins), and even offers anti-piracy and watermark features for your design.

After a customer places an order, Redbubble prints and ships the products they want directly, and even handles customer service for you.

Notably, Redbubble recently introduced “tiered” accounts to its platform. Rather than paying for a premium tier, you’ll be upgraded based on your profile and work.

The more advanced plans eliminate account fees, give you advanced notice of product launches, and provide access to marketing tools, advanced market insights, and account management support.

How Merch by Amazon Works

Merch by Amazon is one of the simplest print on demand solutions I’ve ever used. To get started, all you need to do is create an Amazon account (or log into your existing one), then sign up for a “Merch on Demand” profile.

From there, you can upload your artwork, choose a product type and color, and write a description for what you want to sell. Amazon then automatically generates a product page for you on the Amazon marketplace, where customers can find your items.

Like Redbubble, Amazon handles the core parts of running your business for you. They’ll create your products, ship them to customers (with Amazon Prime), and handle customer service.

There are no upfront costs to worry about. However, like with Redbubble, you also don’t earn the “full profits” of every sale. Instead, you just get a royalty for every product sold.

On the plus side, Amazon does give you some handy analytical tools you can use to track the success of your best-selling items, which can give you a chance to increase sales in the future.

The Pros and Cons for Both Platforms

Every print on demand platform has its own distinct pros and cons. With Amazon, you get some great shipping support, but not a lot of variety. With Redbubble, you get plenty of variety, but the product print quality can vary drastically. Here are the pros and cons I identified for each platform.

Redbubble Pros and Cons

Pros 👍
Cons 👎

Pros 👍

Easy to use platform for beginners
Access to a thriving marketplace, full of customers
Options to set your own prices and profit margins
Account tier system with extra benefits for top sellers
Marketing and sales resources to help you grow
Useful design and mock-up tools
Anti-piracy and watermark features
Global printing and shipping for dozens of products

Cons 👎

Product quality can vary drastically (depending on a range of factors)
Lots of competition on the platform
Slow payout rates for some vendors
Limited packaging and branding options
No integrations with ecommerce platforms

Merch by Amazon Pros and Cons

Pros 👍
Cons 👎

Pros 👍

Huge worldwide market of customers
Prime shipping for rapid delivery speeds
Excellent quality assurance standards
Easy to use environment for beginners
Analytics and reports on top-selling products
Fast payouts
Good customer support

Cons 👎

Very few product options
Royalties don’t add up to much profit
Limited integration options
Not many options for branding and packaging

Amazon Merch on Demand vs Redbubble: Pricing and Fees

I know pricing is a major concern for most print on demand vendors, which is why it’s one of the first things I focus on when reviewing any new platform. The good news is that you don’t need to pay anything to sign up with either Redbubble, or Merch by Amazon.

However, while Amazon is completely free to use for creators, Redbubble does charge an “account fee” to sellers. This is basically a flat fee that varies depending on the number of sales you make during a specific period.

The fee is deducted from your payments (commissions from Redbubble), so you don’t pay it directly, but it can eat into your profit margins.

Notably though, if you get upgraded to a Pro or Premium account (based on the quality of your work and level of engagement), you’ll be able to sidestep those fees. You’ll also get access to a range of other bonus features, like a newsletter, potential account manager, marketing tools, and insights.

With both Redbubble and Merch by Amazon, there are also no “upfront” fees to pay for shipping or the base price of your products. That’s because you don’t buy items, ship them, and keep the profits, you just earn a commission or royalty on each sale.

This does mean it’s easy to get started with a POD account, but you might find it’s tough to maintain high profit margins. Keep in mind, there may be other fees to pay for certain things like marketing campaigns, product photos, and product samples too.

Core Features and Functionality

Amazon Merch on Demand and Redbubble do have some overlapping features. First, they’re both POD solutions, which means both options allow you to outsource the production and fulfillment of custom items to a professional third-party.

Although it’s worth noting that with Redbubble, you’ll be able to create a wider variety of products, whereas with Amazon, you can rest assured your products will be delivered to customers as quickly as possible.

Redbubble can take anywhere from 7 days to a few weeks to deliver an item, depending on where the customer is. With Amazon Prime, customers get their orders in a day or two.

Additionally, both platforms give you access to analytical tools. However, while you get those as standard with Amazon, you’ll need to be upgraded to a higher tier to access them with Redbubble.

Standout Features of Redbubble

Larger selection of customizable products.

Piracy and watermark protections for designs

Complete control over price customization

Global shipping and multiple currencies

Analytics on some tiers

Access to marketing tools on some tiers

Standout Features of Merch by Amazon

Comprehensive seller dashboard with analytics

Amazon prime shipping

Useful resources for beginners

Excellent customer service

Good commitment to quality assurance

Easy to use platform

Product Designs and Quality

Ordering samples is generally the best way to test the design and print quality of any print on demand solution you’re considering. Although reviews from other customers are helpful, it’s worth remembering that there are numerous factors that can affect just how well your prints turn out.

The good news is that Redbubble and Amazon both have quality assurance methods in place to help ensure your products meet customer expectations.

However, from what I’ve found, Amazon’s strategy seems to be a lot more effective. There are definitely fewer negative reviews from customers linked to Amazon’s products than you’ll see for Redbubble.

Redbubble does give you a lot more products to choose from, however, and more customization options, so you can really make your products stand out.

However, you will need to be extremely cautious (on both sites), to ensure that you follow the design guidelines set by the vendors. Uploading higher-quality images will hopefully ensure your prints don’t lose their impact.

One particularly useful thing to note about Amazon, is that they do handle customer service for you, so if your customers aren’t happy with the quality of a design (for any reason), Amazon can make sure they get a refund, or replacement, without you having to step in.

Redbubble vs Merch by Amazon: Integrations

If you’re looking for an opportunity to sell your products across multiple channels, or access tools to help you run your business (such as marketing or accounting apps), you may have an issue with both Redbubble and Merch by Amazon.

Redbubble doesn’t support any integrations with any other marketplaces or ecommerce platforms. You can include a link to your Redbubble storefront in your emails and social media messages, but that’s about it. This obviously limits your ability to scale your business.

As far as I can tell, there are no direct integrations available for Amazon Merch on Demand either. However, there are some platforms that integrate with Amazon, like Shopify, which may allow you to connect your Amazon seller account to another platform to a certain level.

Customer Support and Service

Finally, let’s take a closer look at the customer support options offered by Amazon, and Redbubble. The good news is that both companies do provide guidance to beginners. You can find resources created by Amazon and Redbubble online that should answer most basic questions you have.

There are FAQs, videos, guides, tutorials, and blogs available online, as well as various forums and social media pages where you can connect with a wider community of sellers.

If you need direct support from Redbubble, you can connect with the company through email, but I couldn’t find any chat or phone services. However, if you do upgrade to a higher tier on Redbubble, there’s the option to access an account manager for extra support.

With Amazon, if you’re looking for extra support, you can contact the team via phone, email, or instant chat, for general support. However, merch vendors are only directly supported through email, so even if you reach out on a different channel, you might be asked to send a message instead.

Redbubble vs Amazon Merch on Demand: The Verdict

Both Redbubble and Merch by Amazon have appealing factors. I like the fact that Redbubble gives you a lot of products to choose from, and rewards high-performing sellers with higher “tiers”, giving them access to various unique benefits.

However, Amazon has a better reputation for product quality, and can deliver products to your customers a lot faster – even if there are fewer options to choose from.

Of course, you could always consider using both platforms simultaneously, if you want to expand your reach, as neither platform has any upfront costs to worry about.

Further reading

Printful vs Redbubble (2023): Which Is Better?

Printify vs Redbubble (2023): Which Is Better?

Is Redbubble Legit? How Safe and Legit is Redbubble in 2024?

8 Best Redbubble Alternatives to Consider in 2024

Shopify vs Redbubble (2023): Which Platform is Right for You?

The post Redbubble vs Merch by Amazon 2024: Which is Best? appeared first on Ecommerce Platforms.

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