Merch By Amazon is a platform where you can upload designs and sell them on clothing items on the Amazon platform.
At the time of writing, you can only upload to the US, UK and Germany, (but you don’t have to reside in those countries to sell on them!).
When Merch By Amazon first took off, very few people knew about it and because the competition was so low, people started making a LOT of money.
As an example; Elaine made 50k PROFIT in her first 10 months on Amazon.
In the beginning, it was easy to get on there and even just dabble about and make sales.
Your designs really didn’t need to be very good at all – there were some real shockers making money, (in fact, I created many shockers myself and some sold!).
When I was doing Merch, I unfortunately ended up losing a bit of faith and pretty much giving up on the whole thing until quite recently.
I decided to start again, because I was on the 500 tier and had under 200 live designs at the time…… that seemed like such a huge waste of slots!
Also, Amazon improved by creating the ability to do multiple uploads at once and branched out on products on top of T-shirts, (v-neck tees, tanks, zipped up hoodies etc…).
PLUS I was able to create shirts for the UK, (where I’m form) and Germany now. Which opened up even more doors.
Related Post: What Is The Merch By Amazon Opportunity?
What’s The Problem?
The frustrating problem for me is that I am not a designer and although I love creating basic designs with the limited tools I have…
I have been solely working from a Chromebook and I want to do more.
Some people simply hire designers to do the work for them, but part of the enjoyment for me with Amazon, is creative aspect.
(Actually, today I just got an Ipad pro and am really looking forward to creating designs in using Procreate!).
If you’re serious about Merch and don’t want to rely on hiring designers, I strongly recommend that you learn some design skills as well.
There are plenty of courses on platforms like Udemy, where you can get started.
There are also tonnes of videos on YouTube and extremely helpful tutorials…
However you choose to create designs, there shouldn’t be a lack of tutorials for you!
How Does Merch Work?
Well, first you have to actually apply and wait to be approved.
I can’t advise you much on that side… I found it really easy when I did it.
I did say that I had a website and, to this day, I’ve no idea if that helped. But I didn’t put much thought into the application process and was accepted a few months later.
Then you have to work the tiers!
Initially you’re stuck at tier 10. Which means you can only have 10 designs live.
Once you’ve made 10 sales, you get on to the 25 tier…. you can gradually upload 25 designs.
After 25 sales, you jump up to the 100 tier!
This is far more interesting, because you can get a decent amount of designs on there… But it’s still slow.
The next jump is better. 100 sales and you’re boosted to the 500 tier…. 500 sales and it’s the 1000 tier and so on!
I’m personally on tier 500 right now and very close to the 500 limit upload.
Now that Amazon have expanded their number of products, it’s not difficult to upload a lot.
Originally when I started, I could only upload on Tshirts – and so, 100 uploads was literally 100 designs.
Now I probably have only done a couple of hundred designs in total, but have 500 uploads.
Merch By Amazon – Then Vs Now:
There are some much better things about starting on Merch now and there are some not so great things.
- There was less competition,
- You got more commission per sale,
- Getting to the higher tiers was easier, they used to freeze uploading because they couldn’t cope with the demand, frequently many sizes were not available.
- Only T-shirts available at first, uploading was very slow once new products were introduced, (each one done separately).
- So many untapped niches to get into.
- More products available to upload your designs on to,
- Now a multiple upload option it’s SO much quicker to list multiple products, (although it is not a perfect system right now!)
- much more difficult to tier up in the low tiers, (due to competition), harder to make consistent sales.
- More countries to upload to and I Imagine this will only continue to expand.
- Harder for complete newbies to gain traction in the lower tiers.
The Good News About Merch By Amazon?
Amazon is STILL relatively new and they’re only going to expand as time goes on.
New products and new countries opening up to Merch By Amazon, means more chance for sales and new chances for you to start making money.
I only recently got back to this, but I was literally jumping up and down when I made my first UK and Germany sales recently.
There are lots of untapped niches on this platform – some people are complaining about not making sales.
But the thing is… I’m in the UK and most people here just wouldn’t be searching on Amazon for specific niche T-shirts yet….
Because they don’t know they do them!
Over time, people will start to figure out that Amazon are now doing these types of products.
But I’m sure it will be! And once it is, I’m sure people will start seeing those sales coming in.
I’m unsure if there is a similar thing going on in Germany, but probably so.
Getting Started On Amazon – Getting Out Of The Lower Tiers.
So, I think we’ve established that it is harder to make sales on Amazon now than it used to be.
At least, if you’re soley relying on FREE organic search traffic.
But what are some ways that may help you start making some sales?
Well, some people suggest you BUY your way out of the lower tiers.
For example; you could buy your first 25 shirts and skip to tier 100.
Or if you’re not into spending quite that much, you could buy the first 10 and skip to tier 25.
I couldn’t buy any of my shirts when I started out, because the platform was US only at that point and I was in the UK.
It was a frustrating wait! But there are people who believe it’s better to start out this way…
Then when your design DOES sell, you’ll see that someone has really liked it and you can work on expanding in that niche.
What I did at tier 10, was play around with Keywords and designs until my first sales came in.
I would tweak things until I saw my design on page 1… This is a lot harder now!
But it’s still possible when you are careful with your niche selection and keyword research…. The video below could be useful in this respect!
Any Tools That Can Help?
I personally was originally subscribed to Merch Informer, very soon after starting Merch By Amazon.
Merch Informer can be a great tool for niche research and finding out the most recent trends and what is selling right now.
What I don’t like about Merch Informer, is that they have a handy section that shows you some of the best selling shirts.
But as soon as any new high shirt appears, you will soon find hundreds of the same kind of thing appear on Amazon overnight.
Most of the shirts I ended up selling, were a result from my own research and not what I’d figure out on Merch Informer.
There was one exception… Which happens to be one of my best selling shirts, (in the past anyway!).
I managed to get in early with a variation of a particular design near Halloween and it took off.
It didn’t last long though, the niches soon became totally over saturated.
Another way I found my own niche ideas, has recently been via Pinterest and these ideas have led to some new sales recently.
I prefer to look into niches that I already have some knowledge or interest in, it just feels more fun that way and I tend to create better shirts.
Once I slowed down with Merch, I cancelled my Merch Informer account.
Since I’ve got back into Amazon, I’ve really been enjoying doing my own research again.
However, I am probably going to sign back up, because they do have so many cool features, (and growing).
For people that are brand new, it can also give you some help – they have a 9 part video course that can show you how to get those initial sales.
It’s not too expensive either, at $9.99 for the newbie membership option,
As well as this, there are various Apps and chrome extensions you could use that may help you.
However, the main two that I use right now are:
- DS Amazon Quickview... Which shows you the BSR, (Best Seller Rank of all the shirts in the search results on Amazon…). A lower BSR = More Sales. I tend to look for shirts below 500,000 usually.
- Pretty Merch… A chrome extension that notifys you when a sale comes in and can also offer you some basic stats and info of your sales. There is a premium version and they’re currently adding more features to that.
You find out about tonnes of other extensions that I don’t know much about over here…
But really, as someone brand new, I wouldn’t overload yourself with purchasing a tonne of products and subscriptions.
Keep it simple getting started and focus on creating designs that you’re proud of and are sell-worthy!
Or, if you can’t produce the designs, you could link up with a new designer via the Merch By Amazon Designers Facebook Group…
OR hire a freelance designer on somewhere like Upwork, (like I have done personally!).
So, Is Merch By Amazon Worth It?
If you’re looking to make a lot of money very quickly, that’s not how this works.
If you’re a complete beginner on Merch, you’re probably going to struggle with getting your first sales.
Most of the designs that anyone puts out there – don’t sell. That’s just the way it is.
Expect only a minority of your designs to sell and you will be less frustrated.
However, even if Merch is unlikely to make you $$$$ super quickly, it’s still something you should checkout, if it interests you.
Since starting back on Merch, I’ve pretty much fallen in love with the design aspect now- which was unexpected!
So, the money is the secondary component.
Personally, I’m just really excited about learning new skills and creating new designs and seeing where this leads me.
If you’re not super excited about design, you can still do well on Merch though.
The key is to treat it like a business right from the start.
Learn what you can, find a good designer, (if you’re not doing it) do plenty of research and have a plan of action!
Personally, I’m terrible at sticking with strict schedules – but I also know they’re what absolutely get the best out of me.
The best way to see if Merch is for you, is just to try it.
There is still plenty of opportunities coming up, with new products and countries likely opening up on the Platform in the coming years ahead.
Have you been accepted by Merch? Let me know in the comments.
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All the best,