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This is the fourth post in our ongoing series about online vendors through whom you can have custom print-on-demand holiday cards printed. Today we’re looking at Zazzle and CafePress, two print-on-demand companies through which you can also sell your greeting card designs to the public.

Zazzle and CafePress

These two companies are the print-on-demand behemoths for custom-printed t-shirts. In addition to clothing, mugs and other gift items, they also print greeting cards and various stationery items. If you fancy yourself a greeting card designer, you can set up a “shop” through either (or both) of these websites and sell your designs to the public.


CafePress

Custom t-shirts comprise about 99% of CafePress’ business, so unlike some of the other vendors discussed in this series, greeting cards are not its core business. Up until a year or so ago, the quality of the CafePress greeting cards was pretty crappy, but they’ve since changed printing processes and the print quality for cards is competitive.

CP offers 126 holiday card template designs for flat cards in seven sizes into which you can insert your own photo (see example at the top of this post) and greeting. Or you can start on a blank card and upload your own design. Cards are only offered in sets of 12.


Zazzle

Like CP, t-shirts are Zazzle’s core business. You can design your own card or select a template offered in the Zazzle marketplace. Zazzle’s design tool provides extensive customization options, and you can choose from thousands of custom templates in the Zazzle marketplace. Most cards are not sold in sets, so you can purchase exactly the number you need.

Quality

CafePress: Quality used to be really crappy, but now the print quality is competitive, so if you had a bad experience with their printed cards a few years ago, they’re worth another try. They offer 2 papers choices McCoy Matte 110 lb. cover and Mohawk Linen 110 lb. cover. With folded cards, you can print on the front and the inside.

Zazzle: 5″x7″ folded cards are printed on 120-lb card stock. You can print on all four sides of the folded cards.

Zazzle’s print quality is first-rate, but I’ve had a number of issues with quality control and fulfillment for their print products (I’ve had no issues with t-shirts and gift products), necessitating returns. Although they claim that cards are printed and shipped within 24 hours, on numerous occasions I’ve had stationery orders get “stuck” in processing for longer than a week. Fortunately, their customer service is responsive.

Zazzle offers thirteen sizes and paper types. 5″x7″ folded cards are only offered in a glossy finish. Zazzle offers thousands of templates through Zazzle member shops. Some card types are only offered in sets.

Auto-Mailing
Neither company offers auto-mailing.

Pricing

Shop owners determine pricing, so it can vary widely on both of these sites. Here are the design-your-own card price points:

CafePress: 5″x7″ flat card prices start at $1.67/card and significant quantity discounts are available. 5″x7″ folded cards start at $4/card.

Zazzle: The price for 5″X7″ flat cards starts at $1.50/card and significant quantity discounts are available. 5″x7″ folded cards start at $2.95/card. (TIP: if you’re creating your own design through Zazzle, be sure to offer it for sale in the marketplace for an additional discount.)

Choice of Finish?
CafePress’ greeting cards are available only in a matte finish. Zazzle’s are available only in a glossy finish.

Production & Delivery Speed
Both sites claim to print and ship “most products” within 24 hours. (As noted above, Zazzle’s stationery products can get “stuck” in processing, so if you order through Zazzle, don’t wait until the last minute.)

Other Products

Both companies offer a dizzying array of products. CafePress’ stationery selection is limited to notes, cards, photo cards and flat cards. Zazzle’s selection is far more compelling, offering address labels, postage stamps, envelopes and stickers.

User Experience
C+ for both of them overall. Zazzle’s checkout process gets an “A” — if you’ve ordered from them before they will store your defaults, so that you can check out with just a couple of clicks.

Overall
Of the two, Zazzle has the more compelling, higher quality (and less expensive) offering.

LINKS:

Special Deals

Both offer deals, so it’s worth signing up to get email announcements of current specials. Zazzle has a free shipping offer for orders over $50 through the holidays – enter coupon code FREESHIPFORU at checkout.