There really is no reason to limit yourself to just one POD platform. If you’re waiting for Amazon to approve you or if you have a collection of designs you want more money from, here are some of the best alternatives to Amazon Merch that I’ve used over the last few years.
I used to ignore some of these because I didn’t have the personal bandwidth to upload designs, position them, write titles/descriptions/tags, etc. for all of these, in addition to Merch by Amazon. Check out the end of the post for the tool that has made it incredibly easy to publish to multiple POD sites in just a couple of minutes.
You can sort these Merch alternative POD sites in a lot of different ways, but I’ve decided to sort these websites based on the amount of money I get paid out on a monthly basis. The list starts with my favorite and most profitable…
Of all the POD websites on here, Redbubble is one of two I actually knew about beforehand as a customer. From a customer’s perspective, they are an awesome company. Products are printed and shipped super quick and the quality is amazing. I bought a last minute Christmas gift for my stepdad who loves Christmas vacation, and he still wears the sweatshirt even in the spring.
As a seller, Redbubble is a dream.
They offer so many products and they let you adjust the prices on each product to be competitive or to try and squeak out as much profit from each sale as you can.
I consistently make about 25% as much money on Redbubble than I do on Amazon Merch every month. Around Christmas time it gets even closer since it is more than just tee shirts. You’d be amazed to see some of the things people will buy from you. I check the box for every product each time 100% not expecting some silly design to sell on, say a duvet cover, and low and behold I get an email saying I made a $10+ commission on a funny political design on a duvet.
Whenever I have an issue with Printful on my Etsy shop like international orders or delivery speed, I’ll usually just send my customers over to Redbubble. I’ll end up with a slightly lower payout, but it’ll help ensure a sale.
Redbubble prints on: shirts, hoodies, tanks, dresses, leggins, mini skirts, stickers, iPhone/Samsung cases, phone wallets, pillows, totes, posters, laptop skins/sleeves, tablet cases/skins, duvets, ceramic mugs, travel mugs, scarves, drawstring bags, spiral notebooks, hardcover journals, clocks, and wall tapestries.
- Makes a lot of money
- Ranks well in search engines so Googlers can find your stuff
- Supports scaled designs
- Set your own prices and commission levels
- Tons of products to sell
- Let’s you track store/page visits with Google Analytics
- Upload your designs to all products at once
- No minimum payout
- Let’s you send messages to previous buyers so you can advertise new products
- Some products have a confusing color selection
- Tedious uploads since you need to position the design on each product*
*As of March 2019 Redbubble added a feature that lets you use a previous listing as a template for a new design which drastically increases submission time.
PRO TIP – Set your stickers to 250% profit. They sell a lot and you can make a few dollars on each sale.
Sign up to sell here (https://www.redbubble.com/about/selling)
I never heard of Spreadshirt until I started using Orbitkit (https://www.orbitkit.com?offer=ORG204292). Boy am I glad they had this site as an option!
This is another site with a lot of products you can upload to where you can set your commissions at a base rate. I set mine all to $3.50.
The upload process is easy, but can take some time if you want to
I love that they also auto-suggest new tags for your products. They’ll show up immediately when submitting after scanning your title and description. This seriously speeds up the submission process while you’re trying to brainstorm ideas of what buyers are searching.
It used to be a tedious process to upload your design to their items, but they’ve been investing a lot in the platform over the last year. Uploads are really quick now and you can get your items listed on a lot of items really quickly. They even implemented a template setup near the end of 2018 which makes is SOO much faster and easier.
Spreadshirt prints on: shirts, tank tops, hoodies, baby clothes, ceramic mugs (white and colored), tote bags, drawstring bags, aprons, water bottles, travel mugs, dog bandanas, duffel bags, computer backpacks, hats, pillowcases, iPhone/Samsung Galaxy cases, buttons, mousepads, posters, and more things keep getting added!
- Great earning potential
- Lots of products to choose from
- Easy uploading process
- Suggested tags / lots of space for tags
- Can integrate with your website to set up a “Spread Shop”
- No minimum payout
- Easily create storefronts to show off specific niches together
- Always adding new products!
- Volume bonuses available starting at just 26 sales
- Not friendly to scaled designs
- No access to analytics
- They don’t automatically sync new products to existing designs
*PRO TIP – Also sign up for the European version of the site. I wasn’t expecting to sell anything on there, but I’m consistently making enough money for a few fancy dinners per month.
Sign up to sell in the US – https://www.spreadshirt.com/start-selling-shirts-C3598
Sign up to sell in Europe – https://www.spreadshirt.co.uk/start-selling-C5780
Teepublic is one of the POD sites that I didn’t sign up for until only a few months ago, but the sales came in pretty quickly. I’m technically making more money from Spreadshirt, but I think that is because the amount of designs I have on Teepublic is so much less. I’m making more money in relation to the amount of designs I have uploaded, so you better believe I’m investing more time with getting more designs live on Teepublic!
The upload process on Teepublic reminds me a bit of Redubble, except it is much quicker to navigate the products and get your designs on them much more easily.
Teepublic prints on: shirts, tank tops, hoodies, baby clothes, ceramic mugs, phone cases, laptop cases, stickers, wall art/posters, notebooks, pillows, totes, and tapestries.
- Above average volume of sales
- Easily upload your design to lots of products
- Probably the best keyword/tag generator of all the sites
- You can’t customize the royalties per product
- Products go on sale the first 3 days which eats into your commissions
- Not the best looking mockups
Sign up to sell on Tee Public – http://tee.pub/lic/J00jSi2rXac
Zazzle is overwhelming but a damn good site for selling POD items. Zazzle and Cafepress are neck and neck for the most variety of items available to sell on. It’s honestly a little overwhelming at times.
I’ve made a lot of sales by customizing individual products, like bumper stickers and buttons for election season.
What I really like about Zazzle is that the customers can customize their products like adding their names or take the design and put it on another product. I’m sure a lot of the customers don’t realize it when shopping, but I’ve noticed a lot of my sales are for products I didn’t create.
Zazzle sells: Everything! They have the normal stuff all print on demand sites have plus obscure custom print products like golf balls, greeting cards, playing cards, and bathroom floor rugs.
- SOOOO many product options
- Make extra money by using their affiliate links to send people to your products
- Lots of traffic coming in from Google
- Able to customize royalty amounts
- Able to make different storefronts if you want to showcase individual niches
- You have to individually add designs to each and every product
- Not a lot of analytics available
- Can only list 10 keyword tags
Sign up to sell on Zazzle – https://www.zazzle.com/sell/designers
This POD site has been around for a while offering customers personalized items. It has as many, if not more products to list on than Zazzle.
In terms of amount of sales made, I make more sales on Cafepress than any other POD site, with the exception of Amazon Merch. The only problem is that the royalties are so low that you don’t make as much as one would hope. Most royalties are $1 and under, so you have to make a lot of sales to make it worthwhile.
Cafepress sells: Everything! From clothes to beer steins, magnets to coasters, and yard signs to neck ties.
- Maybe the most product options
- High volume of purchases
- Quickly upload designs to all items
- Really good traffic from Google
- They spend a lot on marketing
- Backend is pretty clunky and not user friendly
- Ridiculously low royalties per item sold
- Only able to list 10 tags; all Cafepress search traffic is based on keywords in tags
Sign up to sell on Cafepress – https://www.cafepress.com/cp/shopkeepers/index.aspx?page=make-money
To be fair, I’ve barely been on Society6 so I can’t really compare it to the others in terms of money generated. I have 150 designs live right now and I’ve made 13 sales for $22 over the first couple weeks of March. Of those 150 designs, a decent amount are Christmas themed or ones that won’t sell this time of the year so I imagine it’ll go up later in the year.
The upload process for Society6 may be my least favorite of all print on demand sites. You have all of the options on one page, but if you want to tweak anything it takes you to a new page that you need to edit the product on, then go back to all of the products and start again.
While most other POD sites will resize your design file to fit their products, Society6 doesn’t do this for all of their items. I find myself only listing on clothing and stickers since I’m too lazy and/or impatient to resize all of my files for their other products. I do realize the missed opportunity of not putting my design on shower curtains, mugs, pillows, towels, and yoga mats. I just don’t have the resources to start focusing that much on sizes for one POD platform when the others all accept Amazon Merch size designs.
Society6 prints on: shirts, tank tops, hoodies, leggins, wall art, window blackout curtains and sheer curtains, clocks, wallpaper, rugs, furniture, pillows, blankets, duvet covers, shower curtains, beach towels, bath towels, bath mats, ceramic coffee mugs, travel mugs, coasters, serving trays, cutting boards, stickers, wrapping paper, notebooks, phone cases, laptop sleeves, fanny packs, and a few more things.
- Pretty good inbound traffic, but it doesn’t look like as much as Redbubble or Cafepress
- Good royalties on products
- Lots of products to choose from
- Clunky backend makes it take a while to upload designs to multiple products
- You need to have specific size designs to upload them to some products like mugs, posters, curtains, pillows, and towels
- Not a lot of apparel options
Sign up to sell on Society6 – https://society6.com/register
Teespring is one of those sites that makes believe they are only making products for a limited time with a countdown timer on each page.
I have a love-hate relationship with Teespring.
They have, by far, the greatest commissions on products sold on their site. For example, you can list a basic tee shirt for $19.99 and make a $7.67 commission from the one shirt. That’s more than I make from my Etsy/Printful setup.
The only issue is you need people to buy your products, which is easier said than done.
Teespring doesn’t put your products on their webpage for browsers on their site, and they don’t personally advertise your stuff, so you have to send it traffic on your own.
If you understand Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest advertising, then you can probably get rich off of Teespring by driving your own traffic. Youtube “influencers” also have a great integration they can use to sell their Merch from your Youtube video pages. I’m still learning social media advertising and I’m definitely not a Youtube star, so I just rely on the random sales that show up on Teespring. Though, I do know of some people that are cashing in a few hundred dollars a month just from their accounts sitting there.
Teespring sells: shirts, hoodies, tank tops, kids & baby clothes, socks, leggings, Samsung/iPhone cases, tote bags, stickers, ceramic coffee mugs, die cut stickers, pillows, posters, wall tapestries, beach towels, and fleece blankets.
- The launcher – upload designs to all products with a similar backend to Society6*
- The best royalties per product available
- Recently (Q2 2019) started making all listings international
- A decent amount of products to sell
- Allows you to set up Google Analytics, Facebook pixels, Twitter pixels, and Pinterest pixels to track your store and advertising campaigns
- Let’s you message former customers who purchased from you
- Volume bonuses starting at 100 sales (units)
- You need to drive your own traffic, or hope for random visitors
- The backend is also clunky and takes a bit of time to upload
- Kind of annoying to input each tag
- You can’t edit existing listings
*I’m only listing this is a pro because the former version was horrible. They’ve been working hard over the last year to roll out some great updates like this.
Sign up to sell on Teespring – https://teespring.com/signup
Other Amazon Merch Alternatives Worth Mentioning
There are definitely a lot more POD companies you can work with online and each has their own sets of pros and cons. The sites below I’ve either used and made under $100/year, have not used yet, or haven’t been accepted to sell on them yet.
- Fine Art America/Pixels – FAA focuses on artsy projects, but if you upload there it also goes to Pixels.com which sells all sorts of POD products. It costs $35 per year to be able to list more than 25 designs.
- Design by Humans – I love this site and they have amazing web traffic from search engines, but the jerks won’t accept me into the designer program!
- Threadless – I only realized while writing this post that I’ve been missing out on this POD that I’ve heard gets good traffic and makes people good money.
- Inktale – They suck. I had over 1,000 listings up and it showed me getting over 10,000 views to the products but never sold a thing. Then one day all of my designs except for 2 were deleted.
- Sunfrog – This one is really similar to Teespring where you have to send them the traffic yourself. If you are good at online advertising you can make a lot of money sending to designs that other people have put up.
OrbitKit – Easily Upload to Multiple POD Sites at Once
I used to just focus on Amazon Merch since there was so much money there and I was doing this all as a side hustle. With my limited time I could only occasionally upload to alternative POD sites, which was usually just Redbubble because it had a proven track record.
Then came OrbitKit!
OrbitKit is a website that connects to your POD accounts to seamlessly upload your designs (with title, description, and tags) to all of the sites you set up.
The guys over there have been amazing since they launched it by consistently adding more platforms, responding to any issue, and making the whole console easier to use and with more functions.
Without spending too much time explaining this (I’ll make a post 100% about OrbitKit later) the whole process works like this:
- Create templates for each site
- Upload designs and fill out the title/description/tags
- Click the checkbox next to the templates you want the design to upload to
- Sit back and relax while the software uploads your design to ALL of the sites you selected
- Figure out what to do with your new income streams
It takes less time to put a design on here than it does to submit a design on Amazon Merch, AND it sends it off to multiple sites for automatic submission.
When they first launched the program it was $99 per month which I was nervous about. I was lazy the first month with uploads, but realized that before my 2nd payment was due, I made $85 from my newly uploaded designs.
They’ve recently rolled out a cheaper version that I’m on now that uploads less designs per day for $35/month.
If there was a single thing I’d ever recommend spending money on in the print on demand business, it would 100% be this. They even have a 30 day guarantee now.
Even if you don’t have that a lot of designs to make it worthwhile to use Orbitkit, I’d still recommend singing up for the FREE tier. This one let’s you store all of your designs in one spot with the titles, descriptions, and tags. You can either sign up later to mass-upload them to the POD sites, or you can use it as a place to store all of the info so you can upload on your own time and not stress over which folder on your PC has a certain design.
As of this writing they support Redbubble, Spreadshirt, TeePublic, CafePress, Fine Art America, Society6, Teespring, and Printful (sends to Etsy, Ebay, Wish, and others). They even launched their own fulfillment service!
Check out OrbitKit here – My readers can get a special discount on their first month of Orbitkit. Click my link and sign up for a free account. Then you’ll have the option of signing up for the “starter” tier for $5 instead $35 for the first month, or $20 instead of $95 for the first month of the pro version.
Wrapping it Up
Regardless of where you’re at in your Merch or POD journey, I really think you should be taking advantage of all of these opportunities.
If you’re just waiting for Amazon Merch to accept you, then start flexing that shirt making muscle and put your designs on all of these sites. When Amazon accepts you, you’ll have a library of designs ready to go.
If you’re already set up on MBA, then what do you have to lose by jumping into some of these other platforms?
I’d like to once again say that these are all reviews based on my personal results from these Amazon Merch alternatives. I’m sure other people are seeing different incomes and having different experience, but this is my honest take on this all. Happy Merching!