What Is Merch by Amazon: Ultimate Guide 2021

What is Merch by Amazon? In short, it’s an on-demand printing service for t-shirts.

 Amazon provides this service to sellers who want to make and then list their own t-shirt designs. Sellers enjoy being able to do this for free without upfront costs, and they get to earn royalties every time one of their shirts is sold.

 If Merch sounds like something you might want to do, then read on to learn more about:

What Is Merch by Amazon Ultimate Guide - The Selling Guys

What Is Merch by Amazon?

 If you’re a creator or seller, the best answer to the question of ‘what is Amazon Merch’ would be that it’s a great opportunity. It’s a chance to sell t-shirts online without having to actually make them, print them, or ship them.

 In fact, you don’t even need an actual website or online business to do it. Amazon takes care of everything for you on their platform. Amazon is, of course, one of the most successful, sizeable, and well-known e-commerce platforms in the world.

 Merch hasn’t reached its full potential yet, but it is firmly established. Sellers that have entered into this opportunity have reported notable growth. If you’re not involved with it yet, we recommend getting started.

How To Get Merch by Amazon Approval

Your Merch by Amazon account will be separate to your main Seller Central account so everyone will need to apply.

To set up an account the first thing you need to do is get an Merch by Amazon invitation. You need to visit https://merch.amazon.com and click on ‘Sign Up’.

Amazon then requires you to fill out a short application form if you are interested. You need to tell them a little about your design ideas and then you need to wait for approval.

According to Repricer Express, approvals can take from three weeks up to three months. That means that anyone interested should start the application process as soon as they can.

How Merch by Amazon works - The Selling Guys

How Does Merch by Amazon Work?

 Once you get approved and Amazon is satisfied with the information you provided, you will get access to your Merch dashboard. This is where you can:

  • Upload your designs
  • Promote your t-shirts
  • Analyze your sales

 In the beginning, you’ll only be allowed 10 unique designs. However, once you hit 10 sales, your account will get upgraded to the second tier, where you can upload up to 25 designs.

 More designs mean more opportunity to make money, as the tiered system accomplishes two things:

  • Amazon sellers who create popular designs are rewarded with more opportunities.
  • It minimizes the chance of spammers flooding Amazon with lots of poor quality designs.

 Amazon handles almost everything for you:

  • Once they approve the designs you uploaded, they create an online listing for you.
  • When any Merch product sells, Amazon does the physical printing of the product.
  • Amazon also handles the shipping. This is a huge plus as Amazon shoppers love the free and fast Prime delivery.
  • Not only that, Amazon handles the customer service, too. This is just one less thing you have to deal with.

 The only two things you really have to do are:

  • Create brilliant designs that sell
  • Collect Amazon Merch royalties

 If you’re curious about the royalties, they typically range from around 13 percent up to 37 percent, based on the selling price of the product. Your actual royalty with Merch by Amazon is:

  1. The product price
  2. Subtract applicable taxes
  3. Subtract Amazon’s costs and fees

 Consider that Amazon’s own costs can be significant. They’re the ones handling:

  • Production
  • Materials
  • Fulfillment
  • Returns
  • Exchanges
  • Customer service
  • Fraud detection and prevention

Doing Amazon Print on Demand Shirts

 While creating designs and collecting royalties are broadly the only two things you have to do, there are some nuts and bolts you will have to deal with.

Amazon Merch Tiers

Jungle Scout reports that Amazon’s tier system for their Merch program has eight different levels.

As mentioned earlier, you’ll start off at the first tier, where you are restricted to 10 unique designs. However, once you make 10 sales, you’ll get moved up according to this scale:

  • 10 designs
  • 25 designs
  • 100 designs
  • 500 designs

 Obviously, those who create the best-selling designs will be rewarded with opportunities to create more and sell more.

Merch by Amazon Tier Levels - The Selling Guys
Amazon Merch Tier Levels

Your Merch by Amazon Dashboard

 Once you get accepted into tier one, you can use your dashboard to create your first designs. The Dashboard information includes ‘Available Submissions’. This is where you can see how many designs you can create.

 You can make many different types of Amazon Merch products, including but not limited to:

  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • Phone cases
  • Pop sockets
  • Pillows
  • Totes
  • And much more

 To create your first Merch product:

  1. Click on Add Products.
  2. Click on Upload Artwork or Edit Details
  3. Save as a draft or submit for review

 Draft projects will need you to finish them before anything happens. If you are satisfied with your work, then submit it for review. From there it will have a status assigned by Amazon:

  • Under Review: This means it is waiting on Amazon to make sure it doesn’t violate their terms of service or guidelines.
  • Rejected: Amazon has determined for one or many reasons, which will be listed, that the design is not something they want to sell.
  • Approved: You can set a price and go live with your product.

Upload Guidelines

 Your Merch uploads have to meet certain criteria:

  • You can create your own designs.
  • You can also buy ready-made designs from other providers such as merchreadydesigns and dribbble.
  • Avoid any copyright infringements. Amazon will permanently shut down accounts for copyright violations.
  • Don’t stretch or pixelate your image.
  • The Amazon Merch dashboard has a creation tool you can use, but you can also upload something you created in Photoshop, Pixlr, or GIMP.
  • Use either transparent PNG files or sRGB files.
  • Stay under 25MB.
  • Use 300 dpi at a 100 percent print size.
  • Vector files and high-res images will minimize pixelation.
  • Avoid subtle color differences. Colors usually appear more vibrant on a computer screen than they will on a base product.
  • Effective designs have visual balance and general symmetry.
Merch by Amazon Downloadable Template
Merch by Amazon Downloadable Template

 Besides copyright infringements, Amazon rejects designs that feature:

  • Child exploitation
  • Objectionable content
  • Profanity
  • Hate speech
  • Intolerance
  • Human tragedy
  • Nazism
  • Human tragedy
  • Mental illness (certain countries)
  • Blank imagery
  • Imprecise metadata
  • Political promotions
  • Poor design quality
  • Contact information
  • Misspellings or mismatched content
  • Soliciting product reviews
Merch by Amazon Policy Violations - The Selling Guys
Merch by Amazon Policy Violations

Making the Most of Amazon T-Shirt Selling

 While it seems like Amazon does everything for you, there’s one thing they won’t do. That’s the marketing.

 Your designs will get some exposure just by being on the Amazon platform, which generates considerable traffic on its own. However, if you really want to get traffic just for your designs, then you need to invest time and resources into:

  • Blogging
  • Social media

 Specific tips for growing your Amazon Merch sales include:

  • Increase your sales by using well-written descriptions within the listings you create. Better text can boost your sales by 40 percent.
  • Come up with totally original ideas no one else is doing. Find your niche market.
  • Consider partnering up with a local business.
  • Use Google Trends to see the keywords popular online.
  • Public domain images are free to use and have instant recognition among consumers.
  • Advertise your designs using PPC or Amazon portal promotions.

Is Merch by Amazon Worth It?

 Amazon Merch is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s also not a chance to make fast money. Remember, just getting invited to join can take months.

 Once you’re there, your designs will have to compete against thousands of others. You have to put in the work to stand out from the crowd. How long this takes will depend on your SEO efforts and social media promotions.

 Even though it will take time, Merch is a chance to generate thousands of dollars in passive income.

Smart-Minded reports that it’s possible to make several thousand dollars per month with Amazon Merch. Some sellers have achieved sales of tens of thousands of dollars once they are established.

 The trap that many sellers fall into is that they forget they are actually the seller. Amazon handles almost everything except the actual selling. However, this is also why Merch by Amazon works great for anyone with a big enough audience, be they a blogger, influencer, or just a known brand.

Amazon Merch sellers are paid monthly. This happens via EFT, or electronic funds transfer anytime their balance is over $0.00. When a product is sold, the royalties are paid 30 days following the end of the calendar month.

 Why sell with Amazon? EntreResource suggests two good reasons:

  1. A typical $25 t-shirt will give you $10 in royalties, whereas many other print on demand sites would only give you $5.
  2. Amazon is the biggest online retailer of apparel, outselling their closest online competitor by over $10 billion a year. Amazon may soon become the biggest apparel retailer online or offline.
Merch by Amazon Standard T-shirt Royalties
Merch by Amazon Standard T-shirt Royalties

 Don’t expect to make a six-digit income from Merch by Amazon alone. The truly successful have already proven they can make a few thousand dollars a month, but that requires creating hit designs that lots of people buy. Most sellers are lucky to make hundreds of dollars a month.

Merch by Amazon Review Pointers

 While the overall system Amazon has in place is rather straightforward, there are many individual review pointers you should always keep in mind:

  1. The ‘Best Sellers Rank’ helps you find popular designs, but use them for inspiration and not for copying.
  2. If a lot of different listings already use the same text, create an original design for less competition.
  3. T-shirts and hoodies are the best two products for making money until you develop a niche.
  4. Amazon Prime members enjoy free shipping on orders over $25.
  5. Non-Prime shoppers can use ground shipping to save money.
  6. Amazon Merch, at the time of writing, ships within the entire United States. There are also marketplaces for Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and the UK. Japan is now also an available market.
  7. Merch by Amazon t-shirts are manufactured by Bella + Canvas and Port and Company.
  8. Unless you are moving up the tiers fast enough to have more listings than you can fill, you should remove creations that aren’t selling well. Of course, don’t just assume it’s that design’s fault. You can always try writing a more descriptive Amazon listing. You might also need to just move that design to a different type of physical product. Marketing and generating attention are also crucial, as traffic matters.
  9. You don’t even have to have images. Text-based products are among the best sellers if they’re witty enough.

Merch by Amazon FAQs

Amazon Merch Key Takeaways

 The Merch by Amazon program is a chance to create and sell products online with your graphics on them. Remember:

  • The program is invitation-only, but you can request to be added.
  • You’ll be limited in how many designs you can upload, but you’ll get more opportunities as your sales increase.
  • Amazon handles printing, shipping, and customer service.
  • You just have to do design creation and some marketing.
  • You get royalties on every sale.

 Whether you want a part-time form of income as a side project or you want to create merchandise for a business you already have, Amazon Merch is a great way to open a new income stream that doesn’t require upfront investment or operating expenses on your part.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

James 🙂

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