If you're a designer or creator, you've probably heard the name "Amazon Merch" floating around your creative circles. But what exactly is Amazon Merch on Demand, how does it pertain to illustrators, designers, artists, and other creators, and how exactly does it work? Put simply, Amazon Merch on Demand is an-all-in one platform that offers an on-demand printing service for creators, enabling them to sell their designs on a variety of different products with no upfront startup costs. It functions as a complete solution for creators who wish to sell their designs, but don't want to handle the production, logistics, customer service, and associated costs of running their own online store and printing operation. This article will give you a complete breakdown of Merch by Amazon, and explain exactly how it works to help creators turn into online sellers with minimal ecommerce know-how. Keep reading to find out what Amazon Merch on Demand is, what products you'll be able to sell, and learn how you too can easily sell your very own creations as high-quality products on the world's leading ecommerce platform.
Overview of Amazon Merch on Demand
Amazon Merch on Demand is both a service and a platform within Amazon, created with the intention of making it accessible and simple for artists and creators to print and sell their designs on different types of merchandise. This section will explain what Merch by Amazon is, give you a brief overview of how it works, and go over a few key benefits of using Amazon Merch on Demand as a creator and seller.
What is Amazon Merch on Demand?
Merch by Amazon is a dedicated platform within Amazon that enables creators to print and sell their artwork on various types of merchandise. Amazon Merch gives you the option of selecting the type of merchandise you'd like to offer for sale with your printed artwork, with options including various types of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies, tote bags, throw pillows, phone cases, and PopSockets.
How does Amazon Merch work?
To sell through Amazon Merch, creators need to upload their original artwork, choose the type of merchandise they would like it to be printed on, and then let Amazon handle the rest. Printing the designs onto the merchandise, packaging and shipping, inventory management, order processing, listing creation, customer service, and everything in between is handled by Amazon, and the creator makes a profit every time an item is sold. Printing is done on-demand whenever an order comes in, so you don't have to pay to print and hold pre-printed stock.
Benefits of Amazon Merch on Demand
There are many benefits to using Merch by Amazon as a creator and aspiring seller. First off, your startup costs are virtually zero, since you don't have to set up a printing station to print your artwork, don't need to handle packaging and shipping, and don't have to purchase stock. Secondly, Amazon takes care of every aspect of the sale any time one of your items is sold. They not only print, pack, and ship, but also handle any customer service necessary. Finally, Amazon Merch is a great first step for aspiring creators to see if there is a market for their designs, and to better gauge potential success on additional creative marketplaces like Etsy.
Getting Started with Amazon Merch on Demand
Think Amazon Merch on Demand can be a good way to get your creations to market? Luckily, setting up shop on Amazon Merch is just as simple as selling your designs. Here, we'll give you a brief explanation of how you can join Amazon Merch, what types of products you'll be able to offer for sale via the platform, how much you can expect to earn as a creator, and explain what Amazon Merch Tiers are for Amazon Merch sellers.
How can I join Amazon Merch?
To get started on Merch by Amazon, you'll need to request an invitation to the program from Amazon. Begin by going to merch.amazon.com, and clicking on "Sign Up." If you have an Amazon account, you can use it to log in, and if not, you'll need to create one. After a quick verification, you'll be logged in and ready to set up your Merch account.
Begin by inputting your details and business name (if you have one), your bank account information (so that you'll be able to receive payment from Amazon), and complete the tax interview section. Next, you'll need to fill out the invitation request form with your industry and organization name (i.e. your brand, site, etc.). After that, you'll need to explain to Amazon why you want to begin selling through Amazon Merch. Take care to make a good pitch, as you want Amazon to know that your designs have real potential for making sales. Finally, enter your website if you have one, complete the CAPTCHA, and click "Send Request."
Once your request has been sent, it can take up to several weeks to get a response back from Amazon. You'll receive notification by email if your request has been approved.
What kind of products can I sell?
The designs you upload to Amazon Merch can be printed on t-shirts, v-neck tees, long sleeve crewneck t-shirts, crewneck sweatshirts, and both pullover and zip-up hoodies. With the exception of hoodies, you'll be able to get your designs printed both on the front and back of the garment.
In addition to the garments mentioned above, you can also print designs on tote bags and throw pillows, as well as phone cases for iPhones and Samsung phones and PopSockets.
How much can I earn by selling merch on Amazon?
How much you can earn by selling custom print-on-demand (POD) merchandise on Amazon Merch depends on several factors. Firstly, you'll want to consider how much of a following you have (be it on social media, your own website, additional marketplaces or other POD services). The more established your customer base is starting out, the higher your potential for revenue. Secondly, you'll want to take into account your competition and how saturated the market is for your particular type of merch and content. The more competition and higher market saturation, the harder it will be for you to make a profit. Finally, the number of designs you're able to offer will have a direct impact on your earning potential; the more designs, the higher your chances are of making a sale.
To get a good idea of the revenue you can expect from a sale of each piece of merch, you can take a look at the Amazon Merch Royalties chart. Since the pricing and revenue calculation is quite complex and takes into account many variables such as type of merch, print type (front/back or both), local taxes, logistics, and more, Amazon gives you a projected royalty for each sale when you set the price for your item.
Amazon Merch Tiers – What Do They Mean?
In order to ensure that only quality original designs are offered through the Merch system, Amazon has implemented a tier system that caps the number of designs that a seller can have published at any given time. Note that the cap is only on the number of designs, not the number of products you can print those designs on. For example, if you have two designs that you offer on PopSockets, tote bags, and zip-up hoodies, you're still only 2 designs towards the cap of your current tier. Each tier also brings with it an increased limit for how many designs you can submit for approval by Amazon on a daily basis. You'll be able to see your daily limit on the dashboard.
If you've reached your limit of published designs for your current tier but wish to upload a new design, you can take down published designs to free up a slot for your new design.
Moving up a tier is dependent on your sales volume, but also on many other factors that Amazon does not publicize. Getting bumped up a tier requires approval by Amazon, and is done at their discretion and in their own time. Contacting support to ask to be bumped up a tier is unlikely to help, unfortunately, even if your sales warrant moving up a tier. You'll simply need to wait for Amazon to review your account and elevate your selling account to the next tier.
Creating Your Designs for Amazon Merch
Creating unique, high-quality designs that print well on your selected merch is key to making sales and retaining customers. This section will go over how to go about creating your designs, give you some key tips on how to design your products, explain how to best optimize your products for SEO, and go over the dos and don'ts of Amazon Merch to ensure that your designs and descriptions comply with Amazon policies.
How to Create Your Designs
The first thing you'll need to create your designs for Amazon Merch is your choice of graphic design software. We recommend using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or GIMP as your software, since Amazon provides free product templates for these programs.
From a design standpoint, it's important that your designs follow the cardinal rules of design: use a cohesive color scheme to create a sense of harmony, utilize no more than 3 fonts per design, balance your design and ensure that it's visually aligned on your selected merch, and use the highest possible resolution and size when uploading your designs to Amazon. For best results, Amazon also recommends uploading your designs in PNG file format and utilizing the RGB color format to ensure the most accurate color results when printing.
Tips for Designing Products
Starting out your Amazon Merch journey with in-demand, attractive designs is a surefire way to increase your chances of success. Luckily, following just a few simple tips when creating your designs and uploading your products can put you well ahead of the curve and help you get the most out of Amazon Merch!
Conduct A Thorough Research of the Market
Before you begin creating your designs, we recommend that you conduct a bit of market research to see what buyers are looking for. Take advantage of research tools like Google Trends or Semrush to discover what's trending, and use this information when creating your designs.
Take Advantage of Design Templates
As mentioned above, Amazon offers free downloadable templates for each type of product in several formats (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and GIMP) to help you create designs that are perfectly suited to specific kinds of merch. Take full advantage of these templates when creating your designs, and avoid unnecessary problems with scale, fit, and similar issues.
Ensure Compatibility Between Design and Merch
One of the biggest mistakes creators make when starting out on Amazon Merch and similar POD platforms is pairing designs with merch in ways that simply don't work. The most common example is selecting a design to print on a specific kind of merchandise based on a digital rendition without taking into account the way it will print out in reality. Some colors simply won't print well onto others, such as white designs on yellow t-shirts, while some fonts may not be legible when printed onto small items like PopSockets, for example.
Optimizing Your Products for SEO
Yes, even on Amazon Merch, where you get to avoid the majority of work involved in managing an ecommerce store, you'll still have to implement good SEO practices. Luckily, this is a much simpler process on Merch by Amazon than on a standalone webstore, for example. Optimizing Merch products for SEO involves creating a keyword-optimized product title and description, as well as utilizing both bullet points at your disposal to create an informative product listing that buyers can easily find.
Dos and Don'ts - Amazon Merch Policies
As you likely well know, Amazon is incredibly strict about their policies, with little lenience allowed for sellers who step out of line. This is no different on Amazon Merch, and it's surprisingly easy to get banned from the platform for seemingly innocuous transgressions.
First off, it's important to avoid using any words in your bullet points, title, description, or brand name that describe the merch itself. This means nothing like "high-quality t-shirt" or "ultra-cozy hoodie" – all you can do is describe your own design, not the merch. Saying something like "cute puppy t-shirt" is fine, but "super soft cuddly puppy t-shirt" is not.
Secondly, you're of course not allowed to use copyrighted or illegal content. So while a Mickey Mouse t-shirt may seem like a great idea for a successful design, it could get you banned for infringing on Disney's intellectual property.
Next, you want to ensure you avoid designs that are offensive or controversial. This includes racist, violent, sexually obscene, and profane designs, as well as any design that promotes such things (even if it does not outright depict them). Use your common sense here, and if in doubt, take a look at the Amazon content policies to be extra sure before you submit your design for review.
Additionally, we recommend familiarizing yourself with Amazon's general policies, as well as Amazon Merch's specific policies, to ensure you don't accidentally do something that can get you blacklisted from the platform.
Promoting Your Merch on Amazon
Promoting your merch on Amazon is a great way to not only increase sales, but to also increase your organic traffic. When you just start out, it will be virtually impossible to make a sale without spending some effort on promoting your merch. Here we'll cover four of the most successful methods of promoting your Merch products: social media promotion, promoting to your existing audience, influencer marketing, and paid advertising on Amazon.
Promoting Your Products on Social Media
Social media is an easily accessible tool for promoting your Amazon Merch products. If you already have a social media following, it can easily become a customer base for your Amazon Merch. In fact, this is what Merch by Amazon was initially intended to be – a POD platform for influencers and other social media personalities to sell their own branded merchandise to their audience.
Driving Traffic Through Your Website
Similar to social media, if you've got a following on your website you're already ahead of the game when it comes to promoting your merch. Whether it be an avid readership or a dedicated following of your brand, promoting your merch to your established website audience is a great way to drive sales and jumpstart your organic traffic.
Utilizing Influencer Marketing
In lieu of a loyal social media following or an established audience from your own website, influencer marketing is a great way to get the word out about your merch to an audience that's already been pre-segmented for your niche. This option will obviously require some monetary investment, but if you're not able to promote your merch in any other way, it's advertising money well-spent.
Leveraging Paid Advertising
While Amazon Advertising is not an option for Amazon Merch sellers just starting out, it's undeniably the gold standard for promoting your Amazon Merch products. Amazon hand picks sellers based on a variety of criteria, and notifies you by email when you become eligible for promoting your merchandise through Amazon Advertising. The likelihood of getting invited to the program will of course go up with your sales and with each tier you advance, however there is no set number of sales or tier level threshold you must reach in order to become eligible.
Final Thoughts on Amazon Merch
Amazon Merchandise on Demand is a great platform for creators to share their designs and dip their toe into the ecommerce world. It offers a largely hands-off solution to selling on Amazon, and enables you to put more focus on the creative aspect of marketing and selling your designs. Overall, the main resource you'll need to invest to become a successful Amazon Merch seller is time – time to research the market, to create your designs, and to promote your products on as many channels as possible. The more time you invest in creating and promoting high-quality, unique, and attractive designs, the higher your chances of success will be on the Amazon Merch on Demand platform.
FAQs for Merch by Amazon
Still feel like you're not quite sure what exactly is Merch by Amazon? Check out these frequently asked questions about Amazon Merch on Demand and see if they can help clear things up!
Q: How much time does it take to set up an Amazon Merch account?
Setting up an Amazon Merch account can be divided into two steps: applying for approval and getting approved. The first part can take you under an hour, and entails entering your business information, completing a tax interview form, and inputting your bank details, as well as writing a short explanation of why you want to begin selling on Amazon. The second part is what takes a bit longer, and involves waiting for Amazon to approve your request. This can take anywhere from several days to several weeks, so you'll need to be patient!
Q: How can I optimize my products for SEO?
You can optimize your merch products for SEO by following these key tips:
- Use both your bullet points. Amazon gives you two optional bullet points to add to your Amazon Merch listing, and using these to input keyword optimized information is a great way to get noticed in buyer searches.
- Create an optimized product title. Your product title should include keywords that are based on your market research, and be something that buyers would look for when searching for your product on Merch by Amazon.
- Choose a descriptive brand name. Try to incorporate a descriptor of designs in your brand name if possible. Think "Brand Name Funny T-Shirts" instead of just "Brand Name."
Q: What strategies should I use to promote my products?
Promoting Amazon Merch products requires a multi-platform approach that includes leveraging your own social media following, driving traffic through the audience from your website, and using influencer marketing. More advanced sellers who've received approval from Amazon can also take advantage of Amazon Ads to promote their listings and drive even more traffic and sales.
Q: What kind of products can I sell on Amazon Merch?
The designs you upload to Amazon can be printed onto PopSockets, phone cases for iPhone and Samsung phones, tote bags, and throw pillows, as well as the following garments: tee shirts, v-neck tee shirts, long-sleeve crewneck tees, crewneck sweatshirts, pullover hoodies, and zip hoodies.