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Blog / Ecommerce platform guide / From Society6 and Redbubble to Your Online Store

Ecommerce platform guide

How to Know When to Leave Society6 and Redbubble to Start Your Own Online Store

How to Know When to Leave Society6 and Redbubble to Start Your Own Online Store
Julia Gifford

By Julia Gifford

6 min read

These days, there are plenty of options for artists to monetize their work. Some join online marketplaces like Society6 and Redbubble that have tons of existing and loyal shoppers. Others choose to run their own stores using popular ecommerce platforms and third-party fulfillment partners.

Both options are great, but have their benefits and drawbacks. And that’s exactly what we’ll be looking into today.

Selling on online marketplaces

Society6 and Redbubble are online marketplaces where artists upload their artwork and sell it printed on a variety of different products. To get started, you create an account on the platform of your choice, upload your design, and select products toprint your designs on—it’s that easy.

Benefits of using platforms like Society6 and Redbubble

  • Quick store setup. With Society6 and Redbubble you don’t need any technical know-how to start selling online. These platforms come with full setup, from storefront to payment processing, product descriptions, and more.

  • Easy design upload. You can bulk upload your design on several different products at the same time. This is especially helpful if you’re planning on selling a huge variety of products with the same design.

  • Access to an existing customer base. Society6 and Redbubble have thousands of shoppers who are already on the lookout for products with unique designs.

Drawbacks of using platforms like Society6 and Redbubble

  • Limited branding options. If you’re selling on Society6 and Redbubble, your work is partially under their brand. While you can personalize your storefront, you can’t have branded URL or product packaging. And that means there’s very little you can do to provide a branded experience for your customers.
  • Stiff competition. While these platforms have a lot of incoming traffic, there are also hundreds of thousands of artists competing for visitor attention.
  • You have less control over what you earn. Although you can set any profit margin you like, you also have to take into account the competition. To stay competitive, artists on online marketplaces often keep their margins very low.
  • You only receive your money on payout days. Both Society6 and Redbubble have payout days once a month, which means that you won’t be able to access your earnings whenever a sale is made. Redbubble also has a payment threshold—$20.

Artist profit with Society6

society6

Society6 sets a default artist profit margin at 10%, but you can change it for any individual product or product category.

Artist profit with RedBubble
redbubble

Redbubble’s pricing is similar to Society6—it lets you decide how much you want to sell the product for. A suggested profit margin on Redbubble is 20%, but you can do 5% or 50%, it’s up to you.

Is selling on online marketplaces worth it?

Marketplaces like Society6 and Redbubble are worth it if you don’t have much time, or don’t want to deal with the technical side of things that comes with selling online. They provide an easy and convenient way to start selling without the need to set up your own website or deal with printing partners. An added benefit is that these marketplaces have huge established customer bases, meaning your investment in marketing can be lower.

Running your own online store

If monetizing your art by selling it on printed products is something you’d like to pursue seriously, creating your online store is the right place to start.

Today, launching a store is simpler than ever thanks to easy-to-use tools available at your fingertips. Here’s how this process looks in a nutshell:

  1. Pick your ecommerce platform

  2. Connect it to a print-on-demand company like Printful

  3. Upload your designs on the products

  4. Add them to your storefront

  5. Start selling

Of course, just like with selling on Society6 and Redbubble, selling through your own store has its benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits of running your own online store

  • Everything is under your brand. Since you’re running a store independently, you’re in control of how your brand is perceived by your existing and potential customers. The best part? You look more professional because you have a branded domain name and email address, website design, product photos, etc.

  • Instant income. Since it’s your store, you get the money as soon as the customer makes the order. This can be extremely helpful if you want to invest some of your income in marketing or new product development.

  • Your customers are yours. Selling on Society6 or Redbubble means that people who purchase your products aren’t really your customers, but rather the customers of the marketplace. You don’t get to directly communicate with people who buy your art and that can make it harder to retain customers in the future. Building customer loyalty is often easier when you’re the one dealing with customers directly through your own site and brand.

  • You have more freedom to experiment. Since you’re not working under another brand, you get to do things your way, like adding new products or creating and updating your website as you think best.

Drawbacks of running your own online store

  • It can take longer to set up. Even though the process of setting up your store and connecting it with a third-party printing and fulfillment provider like Printful is quite easy, it can take a little longer than setting up with marketplaces like Society6 and Redbubble.

  • It requires time. Running an online store requires time, whether it’s responding to customer questions, or making sure the store is functioning as it should.

  • It comes with extra expenses. To make your store look professional and keep it up and running, you’ll have to invest in a domain name, plus hosting and ecommerce platform services. This can cost you at least $35 a month, depending on the ecommerce platform and hosting provider you choose.

Is running your own online store with Printful worth it?

Compared to selling on online marketplaces, running your own online store is worth it if you want more control over your business. With Printful, you have the flexibility to create a unique brand and market it any way you like. There’s more potential for brand recognition and customer loyalty, which can result in higher profits in the long run.

Selling on Society6 vs. Redbubble vs. your own online store with Printful

Now that you know what marketplaces and independent websites have in store for you, let’s compare them side by side.

In the table below, we’ve summarized several key metrics, including product variety, approximate profit margins, product customization methods, branding options, production facility locations, audience size, and amount of competition.

 

Society6*

Redbubble*

Printful

Product variety

75+ custom products

80+ custom products

330+ custom products

Profit margin

Typically 10%, can be adjusted

Typically 10–20%, can be adjusted

Typically 20–40%, can be adjusted

Customization methods

  • DTG printing
  • Sublimation printing
  • DTG printing
  • Sublimation printing
  • DTG printing
  • Sublimation printing
  • Embroidery
  • DTF printing

Branding

No branding options

No branding options

  • Branded packing slip
  • Inside labels
  • Outside labels
  • Packaging inserts
  • Custom packaging

Production facilities and shipping origins

Third-party production facilities in Australia, Germany, Italy, the UK, South Korea, and the US

Third-party production facilities in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the US

In-house production facilities in the US, the UK, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and Latvia, plus third-party production facilities in Brazil, Australia, and Japan

Audience

5M monthly website visitors

27.6M monthly website visitors

Depends on your niche

Competition

400,000+ active sellers

809,000+ active sellers

Depends on your niche

*Information on products and service specifications is as published by named companies on April 17, 2023, and may be updated at any time without notice.

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It comes down to you

How can you know when to leave Society6 and Redbubble to open your own online store? It comes down to your business goals.

Platforms like Society6 and Redbubble are great for artists who are looking for another way to monetize their work, but don’t have the skills to set up a store or time to maintain it. But if creating and growing a brand is your long-term goal, you should launch your own store instead. This option will give you more creative freedom and let you be in control of your business and the money you make.

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By Julia Gifford on Apr 23, 2023

Julia Gifford