What is Merch By Amazon And Why Should You Care?
Merch by Amazon has been one of the most recent additions to the Amazon platform, over the last few years.
Essentially, the platform allows you to upload tshirt designs, (and on other items of clothing in the US currently) and very simply to sell via Amazon.
You can either create the designs yourself, or you can outsource your designs.
But to get the ball rolling, you may as well get started yourself and my personal preference was to get learning and design a majority of the shirts.
If you think you’re hopeless at designing, fret not, even very simple text based designs can sell well too!
The best part about Merch by Amazon is – that the creating and uploading of the shirts is the hardest part for you, Amazon takes care of everything else.
Amazon prints the shirts, ships the shirts and deals with customer service. You then just pick up a certain amount of money per shirt.
So, for example, if you are selling a basic shirt for $19.99, you get $5.23. In the UK, a £17.99 shirt will give you a £4.24 commission and in Germany, a 17.99 shirt in Euros, will make you 3.04 Euros profit.
2019 update: The amount of commission you get per item, has gone down unfortunately.
The great thing about Amazon, is that it has a crazy amount of traffic coming to it every day and many people are selling their tshirts with absolutely zero promotion.
They’re just choosing good, low-competition, long-tail keywords that will position themselves well for their targeted audience – and wait for those sales to come in.
There is a LOT of competition now, but it’s still a good opportunity to make at least some extra cash.
For the first couple of years, people were calling it the biggest opportunity online, but now there is so much competition, that beginners can struggle to make their first sales.
Also, Merch is likely to expand into more and more products and to also open up into other countries.
Most recently they expanded from the US, into Germany and the UK.
But I imagine more Countries will be due to follow.
You don’t need to reside in these Countries to join though, you can join to sell from any Country and will be able to sell across any platform available.
Merch Is Invite Only Right Now!
Currently, you need to apply to Merch and wait to be invited.
Some people are accepted after a few months and some have been waiting over a year.
There seems no rhyme or reason why some people are accepted over others.
Personally, it took me around 2-3 months to be accepted and I didn’t put anything particularly special in my application.
I did add my website URL, but plenty of people have been accepted that do not have websites.
The best thing you can do is just go and sign up, because you don’t know how long the wait will be. Signing up with Merch, is completely free.
Before You’re Accepted To Merch:
While you’re waiting to be accepted to Merch, don’t just sit about waiting.
This is what I did personally, but really – you should be getting designs ready and studying everything Merch related that you can.
If you’re a designer anyway, then many people use Photoshop, or illustrator and if you’re not a designer, you can find a tonne of You Tube tutorials to get started.
Other popular websites to use for creating designs are…
You also need to remember to create the correct sized images for Merch.
- For T-shirts, tanks, vnecks, premium shirts – you can upload a 4500 by 5400 png file.
- Hoodies and zipped hoodies, need to be 4500 x 4050.
- Popsockets, need to be 485 by 485
How Many Tshirts Can You Upload?
Anyone will tell you that the most frustrating stages of Merch, are in the beginning.
Starting out, you can only have 10 designs live, (but you can upload others and save them in draft).
You need to sell around 10 designs in order to tier up to the next level, which is 25.
Some people have sold less than 10, others have sold more before they’ve tiered up.
Next, you need to sell 25 shirts and you may be tiered up to 100. Then sell 100 to get up to the 500 tier and it goes up from there.
When you have only 10 designs live, it can take weeks to get a sale.
While others seem to manage it within days – this can all be down to what keywords/niches you’re targeting and the quality of the designs.
Merch SEO For Beginners:
Having read through various blog posts, listened to podcasts and watched YouTube videos, I noticed there is definitely some disagreement among individuals regarding some of the best MERCH SEO practices.
So, I guess you need to go with what rings right with you, test and experiment as you go.
These rules will probably change over time, but for now, this is what seems to work.
I will run over some of what I’ve learnt and what has helped me so far, as well as having shirts rank highly in the Amazon search.
For those of you reading this who already come from a blogging or internet marketing background, the concept of keywords will be very familiar.
For those brand new, there may be a small learning curve, but really it’s pretty simple to understand – so, keep reading!
Merch By Amazon Pricing – What Is The Best Price Point?
This seems to flare up a lot of debate online. Certainly, not everyone agrees!
What have I heard? Well, people have literally said – all of this below…
- That $19.99 works best, because at lower prices the shirts have a lower perceived value.
- Some say they had their prices very low to start with and when they made their first sale, they raised the price.
- Some claim to have had their shirts price low and made sales actually after increasing the price.
- Some day to research your competition and then roughly price your shirt slightly lower than a competitor that’s doing well, (as long as your shirt is just as good!).
- Some day – if you have a shirt with low competition, price it high. The higher the competition, the lower the price.
The last one seems to make pretty good sense. Check out the market and work accordingly?
Most recently, I have been trying to put my prices incredibly low until I get that first sale.
That’s because, once you have a sale or two, Amazon will make your listing more visible.
Also, getting reviews can help your ranking. Once you get some great reviews, you could then consider raising your prices.
Merch Brand Name – What Do You Choose?
When you complete your listing, there is a brand name section.
A lot of people on Merch opt for having a different brand name every time and to incorporate their keyword into the brand name.
So, if your keyword was crazy cat lady shirt, for example – your brand name could be exactly the same thing – crazy cat lady shirts.
I’ve personally found that using my keyword in the brand name is really important and yet something I’ve seen a lot of the competition overlook.
Having a different brand name every time, can also stop copycats swooping in and stealing all your designs in one fell swoop.
(While Amazon are trying to tackle copycats, it is quite an issue on the platform).
For people browsing for your exact keyword, seeing it in your brand name will also be an additional thing to stand out for them – as it will be exactly what they’re looking for.
The Title Of Your Shirts:
What you include in the title, will depend on the competition. I check out the competition for keywords directly in Amazon.
Although, I also use a regular keyword tool as well. This is because, often these exact keywords will be searched in google and Merch listings can appear on the first page of the search results.
Using a keyword tool, can also give me additional ideas for long-tail keywords.
If there are some monthly searches there and there is low-competition, I go and take a look in Amazon.
Ideally, I will want a keyword that brings up only a couple of hundred shirts or less. If your keyword brings up thousands of results, you’re going to have a hard time ranking for it.
Now, you want to check those results on the first page. What keywords are they using and where are they ranking?
You want to check out their best seller rank, (BSR). A great little tool for seeing how well shirts are ranking is Unicorn Smasher... it’s a free google chrome extension.
The only thing is, it seems to over estimate how much money people are earning, when you consider the numbers below:
- A best seller rank, (BSR) of 100k in the US will mean they’re selling a shirt every day.
- A BSR of 2000 in the US, means they’ll be selling approx 25-50 a day.
- A BSR of 400,000 in the US and they’ll be selling a tshirt about once or twice a week.
So, I tend to ignore the approx amount Unicorn Smasher says people are earning on average per month and focus on what the BSR rank is, which Unicorn Smasher shows you too.
In the Amazon search bar, Amazon also auto predicts what you’re going to write next and this can be a good way of discovering keywords, as Amazon will come up with terms recently searched for.
Update 2019 – another tool I now use instead of Unicorn Smasher is called DS Amazon Quick View.
Bullet Points Are Important:
So, once you definitely have your targeted keywords and your title, you need to add your bullet points.
Bullet points are what you put in after the title when you are uploading a design.
When you get to that stage as you’re uploading a design, Amazon calls them “key product features.”
Amazon will say that they’re optional – but they are definitely not if you want any hope of ranking!
I’ve seen many Merch sellers do one of two things… leave out bullet points entirely or cram as many keywords as they can into the space.
You should include keywords in your bullet points, but you want to include them in sentences that actually make sense.
Apparently, the product description section doesn’t effect SEO, but I usually still like to fill it out.
Beware Of Copyright & Trademarks!
When Merch first started, it seemed like anything was accepted and thrown up on the platform.
Therefore, people were putting up their own Disney shirts and so on.
Now, they’ve full caught on to all of this and you need to be careful about what you’re putting out there.
Not just blatant rip offs of Disney – but rip offs of other peoples work in general and trademarked terms, names & phrases.
There are plenty of phrases that are trademarked and you also need to be really careful with any images and art work you use – you need to ensure you hold a print on demand license.
You can get chucked off of the Amazon platform, if your shirts are constantly being rejected too.
So, it makes good sense to really look after your account.
A couple of useful websites that can come in handy for checking trademarks are:
So, that’s some of the Merch basics to get you started!
If you’re interested in learning more about Merch, below are some different resources that I’ve found useful and they’ll certainly keep you busy!
- Merch Facebook Group
- Merch Informer Blog
- Merch Minds Podcast
- Merch Entrepreneur podcast/blog
- Lisa Irby – Some Great Merch Related Videos
- Merch Elephant YouTube
This is my most recent side hustle and although I’ve only just started, I wanted to share with you what I’ve learnt so far – I’m sure it would be a great opportunity for plenty of you out there.
update: my most profitable side hustle is now self publishing.
What I’d like to happen, is to build this up as an additional income alongside affiliate marketing and additional income streams.
Right now I make the most via affiliate marketing & paid advertising – I learnt about that here!
So, what do you think? Are you going to give Merch By Amazon a go? Let me know in the comments.
Pin Me For Later! 🙂