Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cafepress vs Zazzle: Features & Benefits for Artists & Consumers

In this post, I'm comparing the features and benefits I've noted in Cafepress and Zazzle for both artists and consumers.

My Cafepress list is very short: Cafepress has better (more clear) organization in the artists' shops and Cafepress has a larger product selection.

Now here's where Zazzle excels as opposed to Cafepress:

Features & Benefits for Artists

Better income - on Zazzle, you as an artist set your own markup versus Cafepress only pays you 10% of a retail price they set.

Ease of getting your art on products: Zazzle is amazing at this, and I didn't realize it until I began moving all of my art over there. At Cafepress, to make your art "fit" a product, you often have to use their templates and design and upload several different images with the same art to fit the different products. At Zazzle, it's all done onscreen. You can upload one image which you can alter (right onscreen!) to fit most of their products. And at Zazzle, it's faster. I can place my image on all the products in less than 1/2 the time it takes me at Cafepress.

Design choices: At Cafepress you must upload your image exactly as you want it to appear. For instance, if you have a painting and you decide you want to place a red border around the edge, you have to design it that way *before* you upload it. At Zazzle, you can do this on-the-fly - all onscreen! You upload ONE image, and can choose borders and background colors when making the product.

Zazzle has a much better design editor than Cafepress. Here's an example - let's say you upload an image for a card to Cafepress and it's not quite reaching the edge of the card. Too bad - you have to re-do the image and re-upload. Of course, if you use their templates, you can get it right the first time. But at Zazzle, you don't have to worry about it! If your image doesn't reach the edge of the card, simply hit the + button in their editor to make it extend to the edge. Viola! You're done. No need to re-design and re-upload another image.

Zazzle offers onscreen, on-the-fly CUSTOMIZATION. This is a biggie! Let's say you upload a photo and think of a good quote to put on the photo as you're looking at it on the product. At Cafepress...too bad! You have to re-design the image with the quote and re-upload. Not at Zazzle! Right then and there as you stare at your photo on the product, you can choose to ADD TEXT and put your quote in whatever font and whatever color you choose onto the product with your photo. No need to re-design and re-upload an image.

Card printing options: Cards are important to me - I love them! At Cafepress, you can only print on the front and one inside panel of a card. At Zazzle, you can print on ALL FOUR AREAS of the card (front, 2 inside panels, and back). This is amazing!

Search engine results: Very often, search results which show up for Cafepress take you to their *marketplace*. (where you make less money, and you're competing with hundreds of other designs) I've noticed many of my Zazzle items which show up in searches take the customer *direct to my item in my shop*, rather than to page with tons of competition. Here's an example: I ran a search for the words exhausted bulldog painting in Google. Click here to see the results. Notice the 3rd link takes you DIRECT to this item in my shop on Zazzle. A few results below that, you'll see this

#16 Exhausted (Bulldog) Framed Tile - CafePress

This link is pointing here:

Which was a link NOT to my direct item - but to the item in the Cafepress marketplace. Of course, since I've closed my shop, it doesn't take you anywhere now. But it did take you to the CP marketplace (where my income was drastically reduced) and where it showed the work of other artists alongside mine. Zazzle is clearly trying to help artists get traffic to the artist's own works, rather than put you in competition with many other artists.

Zazzle has much better marketing plans and other gems in the place which benefit the ARTIST. For instance, people may leave comments on your work at Zazzle. As an artist, it's always nice to get feedback and pats on the back! It's also a way to network with others on the site. Cafepress has nothing of the sort. Zazzle has "fan clubs". When people like your work and join your fan club, they are notified (if they choose to be) when you list new work! Great, fabulous, terrific marketing idea! Another cool gem on Zazzle is this - let's say a customer puts your product in their cart, but then they get called away or their computer crashes. After about a week of that item still being in their cart without a purchase being finalized, Zazzle will send the customer an email, which briefly says something like "You still have this item in your cart - would you like to purchase it now?" Another FABULOUS way of helping to make a sale!

Zazzle offers other fun ways to recognize artists - for instance they have what's called a "Today's Best Award". Every day, they choose around 30 new designs listed that day to feature, and they put an award icon on your item page showing you have won. All of the Today's Best Award winners are featured for 24 hours on the front page of Zazzle - helping you to get exposure! Since June 10, I have been award 4 Today's Best Awards, and been on their front page on 4 different days. In 7 years on Cafepress, my work was NEVER showcased on their front page.

Features and Benefits for Customers

Customization is at the top of my list here. Zazzle has it - Cafepress does not. In my next blog post, I'll show you an example of just how easy it is for a customer to make a product their own - to fit their needs - on Zazzle. As a customer, I like the ability to add a favorite quote or personal message in a greeting card, for instance. Also, if I'm ordering products for my business use, Zazzle's customization makes this a BREEZE! You can see exactly what your product looks like before it's produced. Zazzle offers business/calling cards - which are super for customization. Cafepress doesn't offer business cards.

Product options: Here I'm specifically thinking of the prints. As an artist, I create and sell a lot of prints. Cafepress has few options here, and each has to be set up as separate products. On Zazzle, when the artist sets up a print, all the options, such as sizing and type of paper, appear right on the screen for the consumer to choose from. Zazzle has more selection in paper types (from basic poster paper to fine art prints to canvas) and they also offer matting and framing options - where YOU, the customer, choose exactly how you want this print to look. You can create a total, custom, finished product in a matter of minutes with your specific options to suit you and your budget. LOVE THIS!

Ordering quantity: As a customer, sometimes I see a card I like, but I only want to order one. At Cafepress, you're out of luck on this. Cards come in sets of 10 or 20, so even if you only want one, you have to order at least ten. Not the case at Zazzle! If I see a card I like and only want ONE, that's all I have to order!

Bulk discounts: At Cafepress there are some bulk discounts. At Zazzle, however, these bulk discount rates and even the fact you can GET a discount when ordering in bulk, is shown to you right on the item page. Consumers just ordering one of something might not care about this, but if you have a business, and you're thinking BULK, you see the discount is there and what it is right on the page, eliminating the need for having to email and ask, and enabling you to order right then and there.

Speed of shipment: All of my Zazzle orders have always - always, always, always - been in my hands faster than my orders from Cafepress.

Better art/design selections: While Cafepress has some very good artists and designers who have made products there, some designs are crap. I'm sorry, but they are. It's clear some who have made products on Cafepress put little to no forethought into their design. As a customer on Cafepress, you have to wade through the crap to find something decent. Zazzle seems to have higher quality art and designs available, and the amount of items you have to look through on Zazzle to find what you want is less. Of course there's some designs that stink (in my opinion) on Zazzle as well, but overall, I've found the quality of art and designs to be better on Zazzle. Just my personal opinion.

This is all I can think of right now relating to the features and benefits for artists and consumers in regards to these two companies. If I think of more later, I'll edit this post to reflect what else I've come up with. Stay tuned for my next post, where I show exactly how easy it is for a customer to make a customized product on Zazzle!

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