Red Bubble vs Etsy vs Merch by Amazon: Which Is the Best Print on Demand Platform for You?

Redbubble vs Etsy vs Merch by Amazon
In this article, we will be comparing three of the best print on demand platforms out there, -Among these are Merch by Amazon, Red Bubble and Etsy
In this article, we will be comparing three of the best print on demand platforms out there, -Among these are Merch by Amazon, Red Bubble and Etsy

Print-on-demand can’t get any more trailblazing, and with so many sites available to sell your merch or shirts out there, you can get a bit perplexed in choosing the best POD platform that can give you the maximum amount of benefits.

In this article, we will be comparing three of the best print on demand platforms out there, and among these are Merch by Amazon, Red Bubble and Etsy

First we will talk about what we should be looking for in looking for a good print on demand website.

Typically, these e-commerce websites should do fulfill its job to allow you to upload a design, make it available for sale, print the design, and ship to your customer.

For any sales made, it should be able to pay you a royalty, hence being a great passive income generating platform.

What makes a good print on demand website?

You will easily know you’re on the right track when you’re on a website that generates a good organic traffic reach.

This means that the best websites should have a lot of visitors.

Another thing is that a good POD website must make all features relatively easy and accessible for users.

That includes the process of uploading, using design tools, and making sales from these listings.

Now there are a few of these that are the cream of the crop.

But we’ll still try to find which among these are the best when it comes to their respective pro’s and con’s.

Red Bubble

Red Bubble is a big player in POD. Founded in Australia last 2006, it has maintained its status having the biggest standalone platform by total website traffic.

The website has generated so much traffic so far from its users.

screenshot of a desktop version of redbubble a print on demand with tee shirt and stickers on display

It specializes on selling unique, one-of-a-kind designs.

It literally has the tagline “Weirdly meaningful gifts.”

For anyone wanting to buy state-of-the-art weirdness, this could be the perfect site that they could visit to.

The Pros

  • Your designs will probably show up on Google

Because of its huge organic reach, it gets a lot of searches from the users.

If you are a new artist, entrepreneur, or designer and you’re worried that you haven’t established your brand name yet- this could be a great place to showcase your design.

Redbubble has a great way of showing up your designs right in front of people’s screens.

By using long tail keywords, your designs could make it to the top.

They could search “Rick and Morty Unique shirts” and Redbubble would probably pop up on the first few results.

  • You will be among the “trusted” ones

Customers are consistently pleased with Redbubble’s printing and shipping quality.

Thus, the website generally maintains a decent amount of good customer review.

They also score high on trust Pilot.

It’s clear that Redbubble has established its brand to be having few of the most unique and cure-for-boredom designs out there.

Thus, using Redbubble is a great way to increase your visitor numbers. More visitors means more chances of selling your designs.

  • It has flexible Artist Margins

This platform has flexible artist margins.

There are all sorts of prices that customers can choose from.

However, because of the proven track record of this site, most customers are willing to pay higher prices for great products as compared to other POD websites.

  • You will be Promoted as a Brand

What’s great about Redbubble is that it promotes its artist like no other.

There are like, follow and mail options for you to be able to stay connected with your customers. It’s also quite efficient for promoting your brand.

You have control and access to your social media links as well as your profile and header photo.

Not to mention, this website uses google shopping ads to be able to boost your publicity better.

The Cons

  • Its Upload Process is not the Best

Although this website is home to some of the best artists with one of the best designs, everyone can get a bit irked up at the upload process.

They deliver high quality photos and designs- but that also means you need to spend more time on the upload and configuration process.

  • You’re not copycat proof

There could be millions of copycats everywhere- just waiting for the right time when you’re vulnerable.

Sadly, Redbubble has some copyright and infringement issues.

This is because they do not have an automatic system to alert you of probable similar designs.

However, it’s no different from other websites who also suffer the same thing. You can get a plugin to ensure double safety for copyright issues.

Final thoughts:

Redbubble is a great contender.

It’s definitely a great place to be because of its good traffic reach- which ultimately is one of the most important things.

Once you get your designs on a high rank in Google, there are inevitably more chances of selling.

If you’re one who specializes on unique, artsy, and aesthetic designs (mostly related to pop culture), this place can be a great option for you.

Merch by Amazon

Merch by Amazon is probably the big brother of the POD websites- it’s no secret. 

Launched last 2015 by Amazon, the print on demand website has gained traction by so many users because of its well-rounded and accessible features and also because the POD was quite new back then.

In other words, it was revolutionary.

screenshot of a desktop version of merch by amazon a print on demand marketplace showing a banner with a customized shirt

It’s among the most well known-marketplace simply because it’s Amazon – a pretty big marketplace for almost all products.

The Pros

  • Amazon’s big Marketplace

No big deal, you’re just showcased by the world’s biggest online store.

I mean, need we say more about Amazon?

The primary advantage that you could have by signing up to this website is that Amazon has established its brand and image for so long.

It has gained so much customer loyalty for audiences of different age groups.

As the biggest e-commerce website, it’s also one of the most visited.

Because Amazon has its own search engine, you have an access to a huge audience for your merch listings.

  • Fast Shipping

When your designs are sold on Merch by Amazon, the platform ships your products “prime”.

This means that Amazon prioritizes shipping services for their sellers.

If there’s a way to order your shirt online that arrives within a short amount of time- it’s probably in Amazon.

  • Great deal of Royalties

The most important part is what you get from selling in these POD platforms.

In Merch by Amazon, you can set the royalty that you want to get for every sale that you make.

In addition, Merch by Amazon also gives you a number of bonuses for every product that you sell.

Unlike other platforms with fixed royalties, you can be flexible in selling at Merch by Amazon.

The Cons

  • You can’t sit with us

Since Merch by Amazon has gained so much popularity after its launch, it has received too many applications from different sellers.

As a result, it compromised the quality of products being sold in the Merch by Amazon Market.

Amazon’s way of fixing this is by doing an Invite-only application system.

This means that you can’t sign in and sell your designs right away.

Basically, you need to “sell” yourself first, as a legitimate and competent seller to be approved and accepted by the Amazon team.

There’s no clear time frame on how long it takes them to approve their applicants.

Unlike other platforms that welcome you with open arms, you kind of have to earn your spot in this platform.

You can’t sign up for Merch By Amazon and start selling right away – you have to request an invitation and be approved first. 

  • Also not Copycat Proof

This isn’t a new problem, and is actually a common issue for most POD sites.

Most of the time, the players who tend to perform well and make it to Amazon’s high Best Seller Rank (BSR) are more prone to copycats.

Some could even copy your design and tend to just tweak it a bit.

Also because of Amazon’s size, it’s pretty hard to identify the cheaters.

There’s really no bulletproof guard against copycats and Merch by Amazon is not an exemption.

Nevertheless, when you spot a possible infringement to your design, you can always report the copyright infringement issue to Amazon.

  • It’s less about your brand and more about Amazon

Unlike Redbubble that has a great way of boosting their sellers, Amazon does not have a public profile system.

There are no links to your social media or profile and header images.

This means that may not be a good way to make yourself known as a brand.

People who benefit the most from Merch by Amazon are those that have already built a strong online presence and branding.

Nevertheless, you can always produce a separate website if you want to launch your own brand.

Final thoughts:

It’s not news anymore but Merch by Amazon may still be the undefeated party among POD websites.

If you’re looking for a potentially legitimate and long-term partner, then Merch by Amazon may be a great choice for you.

Its high royalties and consistently steady organic traffic can assure you of its great benefits without the potential risks.

Because of Amazon’s size and generally large reach, there are definitely high chances of selling your designs in this platform compared to others.


Established since 2005, Etsy has been an e-commerce platform that focuses on selling vintage (at least 20 years old), and handmade supplies and crafts.

screenshot of a desktop version of etsy a print on demand marketplace showing their main categories

The site gives sellers personal storefronts, also called as an open craft fair in order to list their goods.

The Pros

  • It’s a well-Established community

Given that it’s been around for a pretty good amount of time, it can offer you a stable and secure membership in a well-established community.

Even only as of 2018, Etsy already had about 60 million items listed, and continues to grow in number to date.

It doesn’t generate much traffic unlike Amazon and Redbubble, but since it has built its name over the years, it still constantly ranks well in search engines.

  • They waste none of your time

If you need a POD platform where you can sign up and sell your designs ASAP, then Etsy could be a great place for you.

Unlike Amazon that has an extensive application process, Etsy has a relatively fast sign up process which you can even do using your existing Facebook account.

If you have your product photos, long-tail keyword descriptions and prices ready- that’s it. You’re ready to sell your products.

This is especially helpful when you want to sell your products at specific seasons where e-commerce sales are at its peak e.g. Christmas or valentines.

  • It helps you Level up your Customer Loyalty Game

Its option to help you post discount codes and shipping discounts for your loyal customers can help you make a good loyal customer base.

For other POD platforms, this option can be hard to control.

On the other hand, Etsy gives you access to this marketing tool to help you attract and retain more customers.

The Cons

  • There are More Sellers than Buyers

This could really be an instant red flag for any sellers who want to sign up on a POD platform.

This issue in Etsy can be alarming since there is an oversaturation of sellers as compared to buyers.

That being said, there is far too much competition on the platform.

Merch by Amazon is also very saturated with sellers.

However, they also have a huge reach and good traffic to lead more sellers than there are buyers.

Although this does not cancel out all positive benefits that you can get from Etsy, it would be best to invest your time on finding the best marketing tactic to help you stand out among the other buyers.

  • Not your best customization Partner

Just like in Amazon, Etsy does not have the features that make your brand speak for itself.

It does not offer extensive customization options to really showcase “own” brand.

Although they have customization tools, it’s not as good as Redbubble.

If you want to establish your own brand name, to which you have not done beforehand, you may need a separate website designed for you.

  • They can be a control freak- sometimes

Another thing that may be discouraging is that the website has complete autonomy for some of their actions that can potentially affect you and your business completely.

If you read Etsy’s Terms of Use, they have the right to change fees or potentially shut down your store if they find alarming issues.

Amazon also has this policy-but coupled with other disadvantages, this can be really unnerving.

That being said, Merch by Amazon still makes it to the top.

Each of these POD platforms has their own similarities and differences when it comes to their pros and cons.

For obvious reasons, Merch by Amazon still offers you the most stable and long-lasting partnership for your Merch business.

The big caveat here is that being on the best POD site does not guarantee your business’ success.

“The mind has a powerful way of attracting things that are in harmony with it, good and bad.”

Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability

You still have to put a lot of effort and time on learning the best sales and marketing practices for your business to thrive.

Having the right mindset coupled with the right POD platform is the formula for your success.

Which platform worked best for you and why? Let’s discuss! Follow us on Twitter and share us your insights.

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