Merch By Amazon: Everything You Need To Know To Make Money (2020)

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Merch by Amazon is a brilliant way to make money online.

However, if you don't know what you do, you'll only waste your valuable time and energy.

Merch by Amazon is, like any other business model, not a "get rich quick tactic".

If you're looking for fast money, it's definitely NOT your best bet.

But if you consistently put work into it, you'll be able to build a sustainable passive income.

From this point on, your efforts will pay off and you will reap the rewards for months and years to come.

So if you want to know how to make money with Merch by Amazon, plus some advanced marketing techniques, you've come to the right place.

Here's what you will learn in this post:

  • What is Merch by Amazon?
  • Who should actually use Merch by Amazon?
  • How much money can you make with Merch by Amazon?
  • How to sign up for Merch by Amazon
  • How to create an awesome design
  • How to submit your designs to Amazon
  • How to promote Merch by Amazon designs

Let's start.

What Is Merch By Amazon?

In fact, Merch by Amazon is Amazon’s Print-on-Demand service.

Merch products include T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Long-Sleeves, Hoodies, Zip-Hoodies, Tank-Tops, and PopSockets.

If you want to make money with Merch by Amazon, you need to submit your design and set a price for the product you actually want to sell (T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, etc.).

When a customer buys a product with your design, you will earn a Royalty fee.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Submit your design to Amazon.
  2. Select a product (T-shirt, Hoodie, etc.) on which the design should be printed.
  3. Set a price for your product.
  4. After Amazon approves your design, they will create a listing for your product.
  5. Customers buy a product with your design.
  6. Amazon prints your design on a T-shirt, Hoodie, etc. and sends it to the customer.

Yes, it’s really that simple.

All you have to do is to submit your design to Amazon and they will handle the rest for you.

Here's an Amazon employee printing a shirt in one of their facilities:

Merch by Amazon 1

(Source)

Yet, even if they handle A LOT for you, you’re actually the one who needs to sell it.

There are thousands of designs online, so chances are good that yours disappears in the mass.

If you don't know what you do, you won't make any money with Merch by Amazon. 

You'll rather waste a lot of important time and effort you put into it.

I emphasize this because most people think Merch by Amazon is a "make money fast tactic."

I can actually tell you - it's not.

However, if you do things right, you'll be able to make a few thousand per month in the long run.

You can actually build a business that makes you $73,000.

If you want to do so, read on, because I will share some amazing strategies with you in this post.

Who Should Actually Use Merch By Amazon?

In general, everybody can use Merch by Amazon if he/she has great ideas, is creative, and can create awesome designs.

Though, at the end of the day, you actually need to sell your T-shirts to make money.

If you don’t sell anything, you won’t make money.

And that’s actually the problem - Amazon doesn't sell your products, YOU need to do it.

For this reason, Merch by Amazon is perfect for influencers, bloggers, or known brands. In fact, you need a huge audience to promote your designs.

If you already have an audience to market your designs to, Merch by Amazon is a super awesome opportunity for you.

Remember what I told you at the beginning of the article? - Merch by Amazon isn't a "make money fast tactic".

Well, if you already have an audience, it is. Once you get approved, creating a design and upload it shouldn't be a problem. Even if you're not a professional designer, you can hire one.

However, this doesn't mean that if you don’t have an audience yet, you can’t start with Merch by Amazon.

There are other powerful ways to promote your designs that we’re going to talk about later in this post.

How Much Money You Can Make With Merch By Amazon

How much money you can make with Merch by Amazon depends on two factors:

  • The product you sell (T-shirt, Hoodie, etc.)
  • The price you set

Yes, you can set the price for your products.

Depending on this price, you will earn a Royalty fee that varies between 13%-37%.

However, Amazon has predefined prices (that you can choose from) for each product. You can check out all prices and Royalty fees here.

When you go through the list, you'll recognize that you can make the most money by selling T-Shirts and Hoodies.

Thus, I highly recommend selling T-Shirts and Hoodies.

For T-Shirts and Hoodies, here's how much money you can make depending on the amount of units you sell per month:

T-shirts:

How Much Money can You Make with Merch by Amazon 1

Share this Image On Your Site

Hoodies:

How Much Money can You Make with Merch by Amazon 2

Share this Image On Your Site

How To Sign Up For Merch By Amazon

Indeed, that’s a hurdle.

Merch by Amazon is an invitation-only-platform.

Nevertheless, you can request an invitation from them.

Here’s how to do that:

1. Head over to merch.amazon.com

2. Press the "Request Invitation button"

Merch by Amazon Request an Invitaion

3. Explain why you want to join the program and tell them a little bit more about your ideas and designs.

4. Wait to get approved

In general, it’s not that difficult to get approved if you have a great idea and great designs.

But, it can take up to six months because they get so many requests.

So if you're planning to sell via Merch by Amazon, you should request an invitation right now.

How To Do Merch By Amazon Research Right

Honestly, there aren't that many tools to do research for Merch by Amazon.

Most people tell you that you should use Google Trends or Google's Keyword Planner to find out what's trending.

Using these tools is a great way to get inspirations.

However, the problem is that all these tools don’t use Amazon’s data.

So in the end, you don’t know exactly whether anybody on Amazon is actually searching for it or not.

In fact, it's guesswork.

You need to do research with Amazon's data to see what people are actually searching for on Amazon.

Moreover, even if a trend works for a while, continuity makes your business successful.

Using the strategy I'll show you in a minute, you’ll know exactly how buyers find other MBA products and buy them.

You can use this knowledge to optimize your whole Advertising strategy, e. g. you can set up an Amazon Advertising campaign for your designs.

So, here’s a keyword research strategy for Merch by Amazon that actually works:

Get Helium 10

To research money-making keywords for Merch by Amazon, you need to get Helium 10. There’s no way around.

You can use this 50% discount, or you can sign up for free here, but you’ll then have limited uses.

Head over to Cerebro

Cerebro is a Reverse ASIN Lookup tool that you can use to find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for.

Helium 10 Cerebro Start

If you don't know it yet, I highly recommend checking it out here.

Head over to Amazon

Head over to Amazon and search for your Merch by Amazon competitors.

I know that there is no direct competition, as everyone has their own designs.

Yet, I bet that there are people whose design is almost identical to yours.

What you need to do is to search for these designs and create a list with all ASINs.

Head over to Cerebro Again

Once you have created a list of your competitors, you need to go to Cerebro again and enter all the ASINs into the tool.

Helium 10 product reseach with Cerebro

Cerebro spits out all the keywords that your competitors are ranking for on Amazon.

Set the right parameters

By now, you know for what keywords your competition ranks for.

However, you don’t know from what keywords your competitors generate sales.

To find out, you need to set up the ORGANIC RANk from 0-10.

Now, Cerebro only shows keywords where your competitors rank between positions 0-10.

90% of sales come from these keywords.

Make a comprehensive list of all keywords

In the end, you need to export Cerebro’s results to create a master list of all keywords you want to target.

As soon as you move into the third tier (100 designs), you can use Amazon's Advertising Services.

What you need to do is to set up a campaign targeting all your competitor's keywords.

Thus, you will not only steal your competitor's lots of valuable customers, but you'll also improve your organic rank.

As your organic rank improves, you'll be able to dramatically increase your sales.

71% of customers only take a look at the first page of search results.

How To Create A Great Design

Unfortunately, I’m not a pro designer. 

However, I know that setting the foundations right is essential for long-term success.

Set the foundations right and you can fix anything else. But if you don't get the foundations right, it doesn't really matter what you do.

You will always struggle to succeed.

Hence, let’s see what you can do to create better designs:

What’s the best graphic design software?

First, you need to decide which graphic design software to use.

I highly recommend Photoshop since it’s the most comprehensive tool and gives you the flexibility you need to create a huge range of designs.

You can also use Adobe Illustrator, which is perfect to create illustrations. Besides, if you’re looking for a budget variant, you can use Gimp.

If you don't know yet which design tool to use, I recommend reading this article about the best graphic design software.

It covers everything you need to know in detail.

Which Design should you create?

When you know which tool to use, you need to decide what kind of graphic you actually want to create.

To get a ton of awesome inspirations, you should use Google Trends.

Google Trends is super useful because you can see which topics are actually trending.

So let’s assume you want to create designs for T-shirts. All you’ve to do is to head over to Google Trends and type in “T-Shirts”.

Google Trends Merch by Amazon

Next, head over to the “related search field":

As you can see, you can discover hundreds of useful design ideas:

Google Trends Baby Joda 2

Here's another one:

Google Trends baby shark 2

Super useful.

How To Create A Better Design

As already mentioned, I'm not a pro designer. However, there are some basic design principles that almost everybody should know.

In fact, if you apply these principles, at least none of your designs will suck.

Balance

"Balance" means that a design should "feel right". All parts of it should fit together.

You can achieve "Balance" in 3 different ways:

  • Symmetry between objects
  • Asymmetry through contrast of elements. For example, you can balance a large square with a small circle
  • Radial symmetry - For example, you distribute elements around a central point

Here's a great example of an abstract illustration, showing how you can use symmetry to create balance:

Contrast

Contrast can occur not only with colors but also with elements.

You can use it to draw attention to a specific element.

This image shows how you can use contrast within a design.

The designer didn't just contrast the figure with the rest of the picture.

He also set the floor in contrast to the walls and contrasted the individual parts of the vases.

Basically, contrast is a great way to catch the attention of a viewer.

Pattern

A pattern is the uniform repetition of any element of art or any combination thereof.

Here's a great example of a pattern:

Feeling of Movement

To create a feeling of movement, you can use:

  • Diagonal or curved lines,
  • Illusion of space
  • Edges

Here's a great example showing how the illusion of space and curved lines create a feeling of movement:

However, if you really want to improve your design skills, I highly recommend reading one of these blogs.

How To Submit Your Design To Amazon

Once you finished your design, you've to submit it.

This is usually pretty easy.

All you have to do is to head over to your Amazon Merch Dashboard and click on the “Add Products Button”.

Then, you’ve to choose whether you want to print a shirt, a pullover, a tank top, or something else.

Next, upload your artwork.

Easy.

However, if you do not want to get in trouble with the approval, you need to ensure two things:

Amazon’s Guidelines

If you want to make money with Merch by Amazon, you've to consider Amazon's Guidelines. Here's what's important:

Don’t create products that violate trademarks, copyrights, or international law (the law of the country you sell the products).

Don’t create objectionable content:

  • Pornographic content
  • Child exploitation
  • Profanity
  • Promotion of hate or intolerance
  • Human tragedy
  • Promotion of violence
  • Nazism promotion
  • Mental illness (UK specific)

There’s also a special policy for youth sizes:

“We will protect our customers from questionable content on youth sizes.”

Furthermore, you've to consider that your design doesn't meet something of the following:

  • No blank images
  • Content mismatch/misspelling
  • Inaccurate product metadata
  • Solicitations for product reviews
  • Bad design Quality
  • Include Contact information
  • Promote Political campaigns
  • Promote Charity and donations
  • Designs should not make claims about the quality of the product or shipping

I recommend checking out ALL Guidelines before you start creating your design.

Make Sure Your Product Is Design Ready

You also have to make sure that your product is design ready.

Here's what you need to consider in general:

  • Use RGB colors for your artwork
  • Output your artwork using 300 dpi at 100% print size
  • Make sure your file isn't larger than 25MB

However, you should check Amazon’s site on how to create your artwork. They also have a lot of great tips to help you create better designs.

Merch By Amazon Tiers and Limitations

If you’re just starting out with Merch by Amazon, you've to consider some limitations.

These limitations protect Amazon from people who flood the marketplace with thousands of designs.

Thus, if you’re just starting, you can only list up to 10 designs. If you’re able to make 10 sales, you’ll move to the next tier.

In the next tier, you can list up to 25 designs. To move from this tier into the next tier, you'll also need to make 25 sales.

In the third tier, you can list up to 100 designs. Accordingly, you'll need to make 100 sales and so on.

Here's an overview of all Merch by Amazon tiers:

  • 10
  • 25
  • 100
  • 500
  • Pro

How To Promote Merch by Amazon Designs

By now, you know how to get invited to Merch by Amazon, how to create a awesome design, and how to submit it.

But you don't know the most important thing.

You don't know how to promote your designs.

If you believe that Amazon sends you hundreds of customers who buy your designs - you’re absolutely wrong.

After a while, you will get more organic traffic and from that moment on - yes - Amazon will send you customers.

However, if you’re just starting, you’ll need to promote your designs on your own.

I can actually tell you that Merch by Amazon, as any business out there, is no “make money fast business".

If you’re not willing to invest your time and effort into it, you’ll probably fail.

To work against this scenario, here are 5 strategies to promote your designs that actually work:

Amazon Marketing Services (AMS)

Promoting your designs through Amazon PPC is a great way to increase your sales.

You need to be in the third tier (100 listings) to use Amazon's Marketing Services. Thus, this isn't a strategy that you can use right from the start.MerchbyAmazonPromotion

However, I mention this strategy first because it’s the most efficient one.

When you promote your designs through Amazon Ads, the most important thing is that you know which keywords customers use to buy them.

I already showed you a research strategy that you can use to find out these keywords at the beginning of this article.

Amazon's Marketing Services work based on the PPC model (Pay-per-Click). The average CPC is $0.97 while the average conversion rate is 9.47%.

So if 1000 people click on your ad, approximately 100 will buy. 

Here's a great infographic showing daily averages per seller:

Stats Table May 2019 vs June 2018

Even though you can achieve great results with your campaign, you should understand that the main goal is to improve your organic ranking and tier.

Blogging

We head over to the second most efficient strategy to promote Merch by Amazon designs.

Blogging is the complete opposite of a "quick game".BlogIcon

You need to blog for months or even for years to see results.

However, if you start blogging right now, you'll be reaping the rewards for years to come.

Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI.

If you want to start a blog, you need to make sure two things:

  • Know who your target audience is 
  • Create blog posts that actually convert

Look:

Let's say you sell chairs. It doesn't make sense to blog about tables since you don't sell tables.

In that case, you need to write about chairs. For example, it would be a great idea to publish a blog post like "Which chair is the most comfortable one".

When you publish such a blog post, you know that your readers are actually searching for chairs to buy.

You have to do the same with your designs. If you have comic designs, write about comic designs.

If you design shirts for people who do yoga, write about yoga shirts.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great place to promote your Merch by Amazon products. Especially because people on Pinterest are always looking for design stuff.

And Pinterest also has a huge organic reach. 

So when you post something on Pinterest, not only your followers can see it.

All Pinterest users can discover your images.Pinterest

Yet, you'll also need to build an audience in the long run.

It doesn't work the way that you post one picture a day and make one sale a day through this post.

It rather works like you post 10 pictures a day for 3 months and drive 10 extra sales.

Then, when you have a following, perhaps you post 10 images a day for another 3 months and make 30 extra sales.

Building an audience on all social channels takes time and is not a "quick game".

However, you can also use Pinterest Ads since it’s a great way to boost your reach and achieve your goals faster.

Instagram

It’s the same with Instagram. 

There are thousands of potential buyers to promote your design to.

Instagram

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competition nowadays so you also have to build your audience.

Same here, if you want to boost your growth on Instagram, you’ll need to run ads.

In the long run, you will see results.

Twitter

Twitter is a great social network because it has a huge organic reach.TwitterPromo

Unlike other social media networks, twitter requires a more aggressive form of advertising.

It’s not enough to post once a day. You’ll need to tweet 10 times a day.

However, it’s the same here.

You’ll need to build an audience and you can run ads to achieve your goals faster.

In the long run, it will pay off.

In Conclusion

To summarize what you've learned, here are the most important things:

  • You can make money with Merch by Amazon.
  • If you have a huge audience, Merch by Amazon is a great opportunity for you.
  • Merch by Amazon is an invitation-only platform.
  • You need to create awesome designs and have great ideas to join the program.
  • The duration of the approval takes up to 6 months.
  • Merch by Amazon is, as any other business, no "get rich quick tactic".
  • You need to invest a lot of time and put time into promotion.
  • The time you invest in promotion will pay off in the long run (We're not talking about a few months)

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