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.
In our Merch by Amazon review, we will look at what is Amazon merch, how Amazon Merch works, how to get Merch by Amazon approval, the Merch by Amazon tiers, and whether Merch by Amazon is worth it. So, let’s dive in…
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 to customers.
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 now firmly established. Sellers that have entered into this opportunity have reported decent 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 from your main Seller Central account. Even if you are already selling on Amazon, you will need to apply.
To set up an account, the first thing you need to do is get a 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 want to be accepted. You need to tell them a little about your design ideas and then you need to wait for approval.
According to Repricer Express, Merch 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 Does Merch by Amazon Work?
Once you get Merch by Amazon approval and they are 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
With the Merch by Amazon tiers structure, you’ll only be allowed 10 unique t-shirt designs to begin with. However, once you hit 10 sales, your Merch account will get upgraded to the second tier, where you can upload up to 25 designs.
More designs mean more opportunities 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 with Amazon Merch 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 Amazon Merch royalties take into account:
- The product price
- Subtract applicable taxes
- Subtract Amazon’s costs and fees
Consider that Amazon’s own costs can be significant. They’re the ones handling:
- Customer service
- Fraud detection and prevention
To make a success of selling Amazon print on demand shirts, you mainly just need to create designs and collect royalties. However, there are some nuts and bolts you have to take care of.
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 at the first tier, where you are restricted to just 10 unique designs. However, once you make 10 sales, you’ll get moved up according to this Merch by Amazon tiers 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.
Your Merch by Amazon Dashboard
Once you get accepted into tier one, you can use your dashboard to create your first designs. The Merch by Amazon dashboard includes information on ‘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:
- Phone cases
- Pop sockets
- And much more
To create your first Merch product:
- Click on Add Products.
- Click on Upload Artwork or Edit Details
- 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 its 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 start selling your new product.
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 Vexels 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.
Besides copyright infringements, Amazon rejects designs that feature:
- Child exploitation
- Objectionable content
- Hate speech
- Human tragedy
- Human tragedy
- Mental illness (certain countries)
- Blank imagery
- Imprecise metadata
- Political promotions
- Poor design quality
- Contact information
- Misspellings or mismatched content
- Soliciting product reviews
How to Be Successful on Merch by Amazon
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:
- Social media
Specific tips for growing your Amazon Merch sales include:
- Increase your sales by using well-written descriptions within the Merch 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 find popular online keywords.
- 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 or way to make easy profits. Remember, just getting invited to join can take months.
Once you’re there, your Merch 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 good opportunity 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 even achieved sales of tens of thousands of dollars once they are well 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 on Amazon works well for anyone with a big enough social media 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 Amazon Merch royalties are paid 30 days following the end of each calendar month.
Why sell with Amazon? EntreResource suggests two good reasons:
- A typical $25 t-shirt will give you $10 in Merch royalties, whereas many other print-on-demand sites would only give you $5.
- Amazon is the biggest online retailer of apparel, outselling its closest online competitor by over $10 billion a year. Amazon may well soon become the biggest apparel retailer online or offline.
Don’t expect to make a six-digit income from Merch on 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 if they make a few hundred 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:
- The ‘Best Sellers Rank’ helps you find popular designs, but use them for inspiration and not for copying.
- If a lot of different Merch listings already use the same text, create an original design for less competition.
- T-shirts and hoodies are the best two products for making money until you develop a niche.
- Amazon Prime members enjoy free shipping on orders over $25.
- Non-Prime shoppers can use ground shipping to save money.
- Amazon Merch, at the time of writing, ships within the entire United States. There are also marketplaces for Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Japan, and the UK.
- Merch on Amazon t-shirts are manufactured by Bella + Canvas and Port and Company.
- Unless you are moving up the Amazon Merch 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 to try and get sales coming in. You might also need to just move that design to a different type of physical product. Marketing and generating attention are also crucial to getting more traffic.
- You don’t even have to have images for Amazon t-shirt selling. 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 or text on them. Remember:
- The Merch 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 Amazon Merch 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.
I hope you enjoyed our Merch by Amazon review and if you have any questions at all, please leave them in the comments below.
Good luck and Happy Selling!
Article By James PercivalFounder and Lead Editor of The Selling Guys
James has been selling online for over 15 years. He has focused mainly on Amazon selling but also has experience of selling on eBay, selling globally, building ecommerce sites and much more.
He still runs a very successful ecommerce business but decided to help other sellers to make money online through ‘The Selling Guys’ website and the ‘Amazon Selling for Beginners’ Facebook group.
He has 3 children, two dogs and a (now missing) cat.