What to do When Sales are Slow in Your Print on Demand Store

What to do when sales are slow print on demand stores

Hey guys!  Today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on what to do when sales are slow in your Print on Demand shops and online stores.

In retail, whether online or brick and mortar, there are sales cycles.  This means that sales slow down at certain times of the year and peak during other times, like at Christmas.

It can be frustrating and confusing to go from making several sales in a month to barely any, but that is totally normal and just the reality of retail. It does not mean you’ve failed, so don’t get down!

Think about how you personally shop. What times of the year do you spend the most money and when do you save? You will most likely find this reflected in your sales.

Here you can easily see the cycle peaks and lows during the year from my Redbubble analytics:

sales cycles on print on demand online retail stores

You can see my sales peak in November and December and drop down in the spring. Then they steadily climb back up until August when people shop for Back to School.

Now this sales cycle is totally normal and something you will need to get used to and prepare for, especially if your sole income is through online retail shops.

Instead of getting frustrated and throwing in the towel, there are lots of things you can do during these low times to get your shops ready for when the sales start to rise again!

Here is a list of ideas:

  • Work on your website or blog. Start one if you haven’t yet.
  • Continue creating and adding new designs to your shops.
  • Find new ways to promote your shops. Start using Pinterest for example.
  • Grow your social media followings.
  • Go through your stores and fix or delete under-performing designs.
  • Go through your designs and update keywords.
  • Enable new products you haven’t offered before.
  • Do a brand overhaul: new logo, banners, etc.
  • Promote sales. If your sales are slow, so are the websites you sell on and they will often have really good sales during slow times to get people to buy.
  • Ask others for feedback. You could ask friends or other Print on Demand artists for feedback on your stores and/or designs.
  • Network. Find and join support groups with like-minded individuals. There are lots of Print on Demand groups on Facebook.
  • Learn new business and marketing strategies through YouTube or other sources.
  • Take a break. Sometimes we need some time away to replenish our creativity.  Go on a holiday or spend time with friends and family and come back with new ideas.
  • Open a new store. There are lots of print on demand sites out there, perhaps there is one more suited to your style. Here is a list of Print on Demand sites to try.
  • And most importantly don’t give up!

Looking for more? You can find lots more tips about selling your art through Print on Demand websites in the resources section of my blog.

Happy selling!



Selling your art on POD websites – Zazzle vs. Society6 (Part 2)

selling art print on demand zazzle vs society6

Welcome back to my 2 part series on Selling your Art on POD Websites: Zazzle vs. Society6!

I hope you’ve had a chance to read Part 1, but if not you can do so here.
Now, carrying on from where we left off….


On Zazzle you will get paid once your balance clears $50. You can request a payout to Paypal, or reach $100 to request a cheque.

Society6 pays automatically to Paypal, any balance on the 1st of the month following the 30 day clearance period. I am not sure if any other payment methods are available from them.

Quality of Products

I have ordered a few items for myself from both stores.  Overall, I have been happy with my purchases from Zazzle and Society6.

It’s hard to compare the quality of items since I’ve purchased different types of items from each store. However, I think the products on Society6 look slightly nicer.

Society6 carries American Apparel brand, so their apparel is consistent quality but not *the best* in my opinion (shirts are a little thin).  The cell phone case (see above) I purchased from them was OK, but didn’t provide much in the way of protection for my phone. The design looked quite nice and crisp however.

I ordered a biker tank from Society6 which has a nice image, but is very large (granted, it was unisex).

Zazzle’s t-shirts are nice quality but the print fades after awhile (after several washes), which is to be expected.  Some mugs I received looked OK but the image was little fuzzy. This may have been my fault due to not uploading high enough quality images).  The trucker hat (see above) I ordered was pretty nice and the detailed image came out clear.

Another point about Zazzle is that there are A LOT of products to choose from, and new items are added on a regular basis.  This can be a little overwhelming. But, since there are so many options you can create niche stores for things like just t-shirts or baked goods or only home decor products for example.  Personally, I am a little haphazard in my store and just make whatever my designs look the best on!

Society6 has a more refined list of products available in their store but they do add new products quite often. Their recently added throw blankets look really nice and cozy.

Marketing of Products

Zazzle takes the cake in this regard, for having the simplest marketing options available.  They have an easy “sharing” section on the product page where you can copy and paste different links, share to social media, or select a nicely laid out clickable product image with options for both HTML or BBCode. You don’t need to know any coding or even have an image editing software in order to advertise your products.

Under Zazzle‘s Affiliates section you will find various sized banners which you can use to generate referral traffic.  If someone makes a purchase through those links you will receive referral income. Keep in mind — you can also received referral income on your own products ON TOP of your regular royalty!

Society6 has a curator link (similar to an affiliate link) on each product page. You can receive royalty on your own products or anyone else’s using this link.

One marketing initiative that Society6 does well is they will send an email before a big sale, such as Black Friday for example. In this email they provide you with templates overlays to help you create ads for your store so they look nice and consistent.  

Shipping costs

Unfortunately the shipping costs to Canada on Zazzle can be pretty high. If you are in the U.S. however, then their shipping rates are more affordable. They even have free shipping promotions (only one time in a year did I see this promotion though).

Society6, on the other hand, often has FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE promotions. Sometimes the promotion is site-wide, while other times they give you a special link for just your friends and customers. However, not ALL products qualify for free shipping, like the framed prints.  They do a promotion like this just about once a month though which is awesome.


Which one of these websites is better?

I think that is something you have to decide for yourself!  There are a lot of factors to take into consideration such as your art style, how comfortable you are with HTML coding, and how much time you have to put the work in for designing and advertising your products.

In my opinion, if you’re trying to sell prints of your fine art then Society6 might be better for you.  If you like design and making text-based graphic t-shirts and invitations then Zazzle will be your thing.  Try both and see what works for you!

For me, having stores on both websites is great for maximizing exposure.  I also sell on a few other websites like Redbubble, Teepublic and Amazon Merch.

I hope you have found this guide detailing the differences between Zazzle vs. Society useful.  Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, and follow my blog if you like what you’ve seen here!

Further reading:



Selling your art on POD websites – Zazzle vs Society6 (Part 1)

selling art print on demand zazzle vs society6

Welcome to part 1 of my 2 part series about Selling your art on POD Websites: Zazzle vs Society6!

I’ve been selling my designs on Zazzle and Society6 for a few years now. So, I would like to share what I’ve learned so far about these two different Print On Demand demand platforms. Hopefully this guide can help you decide which of these sites could be best for you!

“Print On Demand” means an item is printed or created after it has been ordered. You upload your art or designs onto a website and digitally place them on different product mock-ups. Then, the company prints and ships the product to the customer after they buy it, and pays you a commission in return.

You do not have to pay for anything or maintain an inventory, so this is a fairly risk-free way to get your art and designs out into the online world!

There are several websites out there who offer this service.  I chose Zazzle and Society6 after doing some research because they are both popular and widely known, offering good customer service and fair designer programs.

Pros and Cons of Zazzle vs Society6

Now I would like to discuss some of the major differences (mainly pros and cons) between Zazzle vs Society6. This is my experience as a designer (and consumer) living in Canada.


Society6‘s audience is fine art based. There is more of a focus on prints, and different ways of displaying unique art work (ex. framed art prints, tapestries).

Zazzle caters more towards audiences looking for graphic design based products. Think wedding invitations, birthday cards, and business cards.

 Also, graphic t-shirts with funny/topical sayings are top sellers on Zazzle.

Store front

As an artist I prefer Society6‘s store front, as you can customize your store front to show either just your designs as prints, or the different products you have for sale. You can also sort by new, random or most popular.

The Zazzle storefront has recently been revamped so your”Home” tab is the landing page for your storefront.

Under the “Home” tab your “Most Popular” products show up first, followed by your “Categories”, then “Recently Sold” products, and finally “Latest Products”.  You can customize which categories are shown.

There is also a”Products” tab which seems to show a mix of your more popular items, a “Collections” tab(which can include your own products as well as other people’s), followed by “Comments” and “About” tabs.

While this new storefront is a major improvement from what it was before, I find it a little cluttered and also think it may be confusing or overwhelming for a first time user.

A redeeming factor for Zazzle is that you have the ability to have multiple stores under the same account, which is not possible on Society6 at this time.

Ease of upload

When I first started I thought Zazzle was easier to create products with, but once I caught on to Society6 I realized it is actually less work in the long run.

This is because first you upload your original image and choose the appropriate tags, and then your work is automatically placed on all of their different products. You may have to adjust the size or orientation for some products but most of them should work if your image is large enough.

On Zazzle you upload your image only once but then you have to create each item separately (they do have a “Quick Create” tool but I don’t recommend using it), and then add custom tags for each product. This one by one process can be very time consuming.

One thing that does set Zazzle apart though is that you (and your buyer) can customize each individual item with text or other images, all within their website.

Society6 has no options for customization after you’ve created your products, besides changing the colours of some items.


Now the part you really want to know – which of these websites can make you the most $$??

Personally I have made more on Society6, but it will completely depend on your style of artwork, target audience and how well you market your products.

On Zazzle you can set your own commission rate, so it can be as  high as you choose — but keep in mind it will be hard to compete with other stores and get sales.  The typical commission rate is usually around 10%. I get anywhere from 0.10 cents to $10 depending on the item sold.

On Society6 you get a fixed commission rate on products, but you can choose your own commission for prints.  I generally earn about $4-$5 per sale, so the set commission rate seems pretty fair to me.

Also keep sales cycles in mind. Generally I get the most sales around the Holidays and Back to School (August) while the Spring and early Summer is generally quite slow.

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 of Selling your Art on Zazzle vs Society6 including information about: Payment, Quality of Products, Marketing of Products, Shipping, and my own Summary remarks!

What has been your experience selling on Print on Demand websites?  Do you have any of your own tips to share?  Feel free to leave your comments below!