Merch by Amazon: What is it and How do You Get Started?
Have you ever wondered how to sell and design your own shirts and sweaters? Well, now there’s a simple way to do just that. Merch by Amazon lets you sell custom clothing to a wide audience, and the program is easy for everyone to use.
So, how exactly does it work and what do you need to do to create some top-selling designs?
Table of contents
This guide covers everything you need to know about Merch by Amazon so you can start building your fashion empire.
What is Merch by Amazon?
Merch by Amazon is a print-on-demand platform that allows you to sell your original clothing. It works similarly to Teespring. You simply submit your designs and when someone purchases one of your products you receive a royalty. Royalties range from 13 - 37% depending on the price of your items.
Best of all, because you don’t have to purchase any inventory there are little to no upfront costs. If you’re able to create your designs yourself you can set this business up for free. Or you can find an affordable designer to help you with the creativity.
When your design is ready, just upload it to Amazon, choose what type of shirt or sweater you want to put it on, select your colors, and set your price.
How Do You Sign Up?
Because of high demand, acceptance into Merch by Amazon is by invitation only. Anyone is welcome to fill out an application form, but it might take several months to hear back.
Here’s how to get approved:
Create an Amazon seller account or log in to your existing account.
Go to the Merch by Amazon page.
Click “Request invitation.”
Accept the services agreement.
Click “Begin Application.”
Answer the questions and provide Amazon with your business information.
Submit your application.
Because of the long wait time to get accepted it’s best to apply as soon as possible.
How to Find a Niche for Your Merch Business
Once you’ve been accepted into the program it’s time to start creating some designs. But what type of creative should you use?
The possibilities are endless (as long as your designs adhere to Amazon’s requirements), but you should think carefully about what type of clothing you want to sell. You don’t want to pour a bunch of time and effort into your designs only to have no one buy them.
The best plan is to do research and get some ideas based on what people are actually searching for on Amazon. Then, create shirts and sweaters based on those popular niches to ensure you’re selling items people are actually interested in.
AMZScout offers two tools that will help you with your product research:
1) Keyword Search
Use the AMZScout Keyword Search tool to research potential niches for your business. Enter terms into the search field to get dozens of related keywords, along with their estimated monthly search volume.
Look for terms that have a particularly high amount of searches (ideally over 1000 a month) and then select the ones that have the best potential for a design.
2) Reverse ASIN Lookup
Search for clothing on Amazon and copy the ASINs of products that are best sellers. Then enter those numbers into the Reverse ASIN Lookup tool to generate all the keywords being targeted by those products.
Review the terms and find the ones with the highest searches, then see if any of those could have a design created around them.
Because these keywords are related to items that are already selling well there’s a good chance that creating designs based on them will result in a good number of sales.
Check Your Competition
Once you’ve found some niches to base your creativity on, head over to Amazon and search for shirts and sweaters with those types of designs.
Are there a lot of similar products already being sold? Then it’s likely that you'll be up against a lot of competition. If the demand for those terms is really high then there may be enough sales to go around, but this is still something to think about.
Ideally, you’ll want to target niches that don’t already have a lot of products with designs based on them. This means the demand is high but the supply is low which will result in more sales for you.
Check out this guide to learn how to find high demand, low competition products to sell on Amazon.
How to Create a New Product
After you’ve decided what kind of creative you’re going to use for your clothing it’s time to actually create your products.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take:
#1 Create Your Design
This is probably the most important step. It doesn’t matter how in-demand your niche is, if your design doesn’t catch peoples’ attention you’re not going to make many sales.
There are a number of tools available for creating quality designs, but we recommend the following two products:
GIMP: This is a free design program. It’s not as powerful as some of the paid solutions out there, but it’s more user friendly and should still allow you to create some awesome designs.
Adobe Photoshop: This is by far the most popular program for graphic designers. You’ll have to pay to use it, and there’s a significant learning curve, but this is by far the best program to use for creating clothing designs.
If you’re new to either of these programs there are plenty of tutorials online that will walk you through how to use them.
Download Amazon’s templates and place your creative in the space indicated in the template. Any creative you submit should:
Use RGB colors.
Have a dimension of 300 dpi.
Be no larger than 25MB.
If you’re not much of a designer and aren’t interested in learning then you can always hire someone to help you. Sites like Fiverr, 99Designs, and Upwork have plenty of creative people who would love to help you bring your designs to life.
There are also companies that have already created clothing designs that can be purchased. You can browse their selection to see if they have the type of artwork you’re looking for.
Paying for creative is risky since it adds an upfront cost to the business, but if your design skills are lacking this is likely the best option.
#2 Add Your Product
When your design is ready it’s time to create it on Amazon. Go to your Merch by Amazon dashboard and follow the steps below:
Click “Add Products.”
Click “Edit Details” under the type of shirt or sweater you would like to add your design to.
Upload your design and edit the color of the item.
Submit your product details. You’ll need to enter your brand name, design title, product features, and product description. Make sure to include related search terms that you found using AMZScout’s keyword tools in your item details to improve your listing’s SEO and ensure you get found in the right searches.
Submit your product.
Once you’ve submitted your product it will be reviewed by the Merch by Amazon team to ensure it doesn’t violate any of their rules.
If it’s rejected you’ll be notified and you’ll either have to edit your design or upload a new one.
#3 Approval Process
Once your product is approved it will go through three stages:
Started Process: If you see this status next to your product it means it has been approved and Amazon is in the process of adding it to their library.
Processing: Amazon is creating a listing page for your product.
Pending Your Approval: You have the option of ordering a sample of your product before it goes live. Once you’re ready to start selling, select “Sell on Amazon” to launch your listing.
Note: You don’t have to order a sample if you don’t want to. If you trust Amazon you can simply approve the design and go live.
#4 Promote Your Product
Even though your listing is up on the site your work isn’t done yet. If you want to maximize your sales you’ll need to promote your products to get the word out there.
The promotions section of Merch by Amazon allows you to create Facebook and Twitter posts directly from your account so you can share your designs with your friends. If you have large followings on other platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest it’s a good idea to post your designs there as well.
Within the promotions section, you’ll also be able to create in-app promotions for your products for iOS, Android, and Fire OS.
If you’re willing to spend a little money on marketing, paid ads are a great way to increase your exposure. Experiment with Facebook and Google Ads campaigns and see what kinds of results they’re able to produce for you.
Merch by Amazon is now offering an advertising platform for sellers, but as of the time of this writing it’s currently in beta and you’ll need to request access to participate.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:
Price Your Products Accordingly: The more you charge the higher your royalty will be. But if you overprice your products you’ll lose sales. We recommend you price your shirts between $10 - $20, and then increase the price if a product becomes exceptionally popular.
Use Google Trends: Capitalizing on a trend is a great way to generate sales. Use Google Trends to see what topics are trending and try to create designs based on what you find.
Build a Following: Don’t just promote your clothing, promote your brand. Create social media pages for your brand and try to build a following, or start a store page. If you can establish a loyal customer base you’ll have people lining up to buy your products every time you release something new.
Merch by Amazon is a great way to start selling on Amazon. There’s very little risk and it can help you build a very profitable business. For the best results, use AMZScout’s keyword tools to research profitable niches and then start making money with some unique designs and clothing.