Merch by Amazon: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

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Merch by Amazon allows you to list apparel designs on Amazon and earn money from them.

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

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

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

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:

Let's start.

What is Merch by Amazon?

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 to Amazon and set a price for the product you want to sell (T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, etc...).

When an Amazon customer buys a merch 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 (you can do t-shirt designs, for example).
  3. Set a price for your merch product.
  4. After Amazon approves your design, they will create a listing for your merch 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. 

It's that simple.

All you have to do is 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 Facility

(Source)

Yet, even if they handle A LOT for you, you're the one who needs to sell your merch product.

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

However, what's excellent about Merch by Amazon – especially for beginners – is that you have minimal upfront costs (...compared to starting an Amazon business as a private label seller).

Who Should Use Merch by Amazon?

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

However, you need to sell your merch products to make money.

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

And that's the problem - Amazon does not 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 merch products.

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 great ways to promote your designs that we will talk about later in this post.

How Much Money Can You Make With Merch by Amazon?

How much money you can make with a merch business depends on two factors:

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

Depending on the price, you will earn a royalty fee 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.

For t-Shirts and hoodies, here's how much money you can make depending on the number of units you sell per month:

T-shirts:

How Much Money can You Make with Merch by Amazon 1

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Hoodies:

How Much Money can You Make with Merch by Amazon 2

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How to Sign up for Merch by Amazon

Indeed, that's a hurdle.

Merch by Amazon is an invitation-only platform.

First of all, you need an Amazon account. Then, you can request an invitation.

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, designs, or e-commerce experience.

4. Wait to get approved.

In general, it's not that difficult to get approved if you have great designs and e-commerce experience.

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

So if you're planning to start a merch business, you should request an invitation right now.

How to Do Merch by Amazon Research

Honestly, there aren't 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 some inspiration.

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

So, you don't know exactly whether anybody on Amazon is actually searching for it or not.

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

In fact, you need to research like an Amazon seller for his/her Amazon FBA business.

Using the strategy I'll show below, you'll know exactly for which merch products Amazon customers are searching for.

Get Helium 10

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

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 research 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 for all your competitor's keywords. Thus, you will not only steal your competitor's customers, but you'll also improve your organic rank.

As your organic rank improves, you'll be able to increase your sales dramatically. 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 professional designer. But I know the basics since I worked with many web designers over the last few years.

So, let's see what you can do to create an excellent design for your merch product.

What is 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, plus a lot of templates.

You can also use Adobe Illustrator, which is perfect for creating illustrations. 

If you're looking for a budget variant, you can use Gimp.

I also recommend reading this article about the best graphic design software. It covers everything you need to know in detail.

If you don't know how to use graphic design software, I highly recommend checking out some professional tutorials or hiring an expert graphic designer.

Which Design Should You Create?

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

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

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

So let's assume you want to create t-shirt designs. 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 helpful design ideas:

Google Trends Baby Joda

Here's another one:

Google Trends baby shark

Super useful.

How to Create a Great Design

As already mentioned, I'm not a professional designer. However, there are some basic principles that almost everybody should know who wants to create new designs.

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 the contrast of elements. For example, you can balance a large square with a small circle
  • Radial symmetry - For example, you can 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.

Contrast is a great way to catch the attention of a viewer.

Pattern

A pattern is the constant 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

Let's say you've finished a design for a new t-shirt. You now have to submit it to Amazon.

This is actually pretty easy.

All you have to do is 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.

Add a product description, and you're good to go.

Easy.

However, if you want your design to be approved, 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 country's law 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 Artwork Is Design Ready

You also have to make sure that your artwork 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 (With Photoshop, you can choose "Smallest File Size" in the PNG Format Options dialog to help reduce the final file size)

However, you should check Amazon's page 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

With a new merch account, 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 ten 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 an excellent 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 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.

Here are five great strategies to promote your designs:

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 effective one.

When you promote your designs through Amazon PPC, 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.

Blogging

This is the second most effective strategy to promote your merch products.

BlogIcon

However, you need to blog for months or even years to see results. 

But 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 convert

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 called "Which chair is the most comfortable one?".

When you publish such a blog post, you know that your readers search 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 products. Especially because people on Pinterest are always looking for design stuff.

And Pinterest also has a massive organic reach.Pinterest

However, you'll also need to build an audience in the long run which takes time and effort.

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 designs to.

Instagram

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

If you want to boost your growth on Instagram, you'll need to run ads.

Twitter

Twitter is a great social network because it has a massive 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 ten 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 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 an excellent 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 promote your designs.

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