If you are searching for tips to get ahead on Merch by Amazon, better known as “Merch,” you are most likely a Merch member with an Amazon account or waiting for approval. Creating T-shirt designs or print-on-demand products is not as simple as uploading a tremendous graphic and watching the royalties roll in.
Okay, I admit it; I thought it would be that easy when I first started. When I opened my Merch account, I thought every Amazon buyer would see my design, love it, and cause it to go viral, making it rain Benjamin’s into my bank account.
That didn’t happen. So, I had to rethink my strategy and then think outside the box to get the most out of Merch by Amazon.
The good thing about Merch is it forces you to slow down because of their tiered system. They give you several waiting periods before moving to the next tier. While on the waiting list, I began to put together a few tips and tricks to help you be successful on Merch by Amazon. A list that can help you skip the mistakes I made and go straight to success.
Generic Tips and Tricks
If you search for “tips and tricks for Merch by Amazon,” you will be overloaded with some excellent, beneficial generic advice. And I don’t mean generic in the wrong way. However, the tips you find are essential to being successful on Merch. As you can see in the image, my search yielded millions of hits.
The most talked-about tips and tricks include the following:
- How to apply and get invited to join the Merch family (it is an invitation-only platform)
- Learn copyright vs. trademark
- Finding design platforms for your Merch designs
- Finding a resizing platform and knowing how to create a sizing chart
- Read Merch policies, including their quality assurance rules
- Understand tier levels
- Advertising your own designs, product sales, and portal promotions section
- Keyword optimization
- Merch rankings
- Pricing and upfront costs
- Outsourcing design work
- Managing inventory risk
- Royalty earnings
- Amazon’s costs
- Copyright infringement
- Knowing how to drive customers and enter new markets
Whew! These are just a few of the topics being discussed today online (Check Google Trends for current topics). Without following these tips, you will cause unnecessary stress.
I want to give you some tips and tricks to try after you’ve completed the ones given to you by other pros.
I want to share information that is less available but still very important. Let’s get started.
Tip 1: Sell to an Overseas Market
One of the best sales advantages Merch has is that they allow designers to create T-shirts for the overseas market. Right now, you can market Merch products to the United Kingdom and Germany. And if I know Amazon, this list will grow in time.
Designing and marketing to an overseas target audience are not as hard as it sounds. Try the following:
Search Overseas Trends. There are several ways to do this:
- Conduct a Google Search
- Read the news headlines of U.S. news sources who report on overseas events
- Follow foreign celebrities or politicians on Twitter and other social media outlets
- Use the search tools already created by the Big Guys in this industry. One is Merch Informer, and they make it easy to search all things Merch for a reasonable monthly fee
- Do your research using www.Amazon.co.uk
- Once you are on the amazon.co.uk site, search for graphic T-shirts (if you have a niche, search for that niche (e.g., graphic t-shirts, math nerds)
- Pick a T-shirt to analyze, preferably one like a design you have created
- Scroll down to the “product details” section
- Look for “Amazon’s Best Seller Rank” to find out how the T-shirt ranks in clothing overall and in the more specific category where it is sold.
- After you have found the BSR for this design, you can click on the link that says, “See Top 100 in Clothing” to view what other sellers are selling most. This may include clothing other than graphic tees, but you can narrow your search using the categories on the left.
Tweak Your Designs for the Foreign Market:
The designs you have listed on Merch for the U.S. market may not be perfect for the overseas market. They may need a little tweaking, however. For example, you have created a niche like farm animals and rock and roll music. In the States, your design may include a dancing pig with the words “rock it” underneath.
If you are marketing to a German audience, make sure the words “rock it” are written in German. Merch reminds you of this when writing your product listing information.
- Use translating software to write your descriptions and keywords in the language of the countries in which you are selling.
Remember, other countries have politics, popular television shows, work-related problems, pets, and everything we have here in the States. If it’s funny here, it’s likely to be funny there. If it’s profound here, it can be there too. If it sells here, it can sell there.
Tip 2: Join the Conversation
You may have already found that waiting on people to see your T-shirt design on Merch by Amazon can be boring. Organic sales do happen, and they will happen for you too. But why wait when you have options to assist people in finding your products?
A great way to drum up some traffic to your Merch store is to join online communities.
The key? Joining the right communities in the right way without looking like a poser trying to get sales.
Here are some tips for joining online communities:
- Choose groups that are talking about how to succeed on Merch by Amazon
- Reddit is an excellent forum for designers who offer peer-to-peer advice. Some of the better Reddit conversations happen on Amazon Merch, Merch Titans, and Merch by Amazon.
- Merch by Amazon forum
- Facebook Merch Groups. Popular groups on Facebook include Merch Life, Merch Success 2.0, and Merch Empire.
When you join these groups, participate for the right reasons, to learn how to succeed. Find natural ways to add information about your products. You can do this by asking questions related specifically to your niche. You can even ask for reviews from your peers.
- Choose groups to join that are talking about your niche
There will be no better place to find out what people are talking about in your niche than to speak directly to those people. Or listening to those people.
If you have a niche related to horses, join groups and communities discussing horses. If you have a second niche related to coffee, join coffee groups. Combining these two niches could make an awesome tee. A picture of a horse sipping coffee with a caption reading, “Coffee before hay, makes a great day.”
Well, you get the point. Be creative as an Amazon seller, and don’t be afraid to try your idea. If it doesn’t work, take it down and try again.
You can find niche groups on Facebook, even groups like horses and coffee.
Tip 3: Take Advantage of Free Tools
Some great companies online offer you free tools for assisting your Merch by Amazon business.
Merch Titans, Merch Entrepreneur, and Merch Informer are two of these giants. They offer tools to help you resize your clothing, search rankings in the U.S. and overseas, check trademarks, and even research other products.
They also offer a lot of upselling. This means they will try to get you to join their group of subscribers. If you do, you have access to even more benefits. These are worth the cost if you are serious about scaling your Merch business.
Even if you don’t join, you can access their free tools.
Tip 4: Other Great Tips
I know you are ready to get busy implementing these tips into your print-on-demand Merch business. So, I will shorten the rest of my suggestions into a must-do list of tasks that can enhance everything from designing custom products to sales.
- Choose niches based on topics you know a lot about. If you are a super nerdy science geek, you are not alone. So, own it and be proud! Many other geeks will get your designs and pay for them. So, use those gigantic words and formulas to your advantage.
- Advertise your merch product across platforms. Just because you are using Merch by Amazon, that doesn’t mean you can only advertise on Amazon. Create Facebook and Instagram ads using your quality designs and send customers to your Merch store for purchase.
Advertising your own brand doesn’t have to be on your sites. Advertise in the areas of podcasters, other POD platforms, YouTubers, and bloggers who have huge followings. Also, use Twitter posts, and any other platform Amazon approves of. They may cost a little more money, but it gives you access to hundreds of thousands of followers and help you make more sales.
When you Join Merch by Amazon, here are other things to keep in mind:
- Create quality designs that involve two or three or more people. T-shirts for besties, grandma and grandpa, or squads are perfect examples of T-shirts that encourage two or more people to get the same T-shirt. You don’t have to employ a graphic designer or be a T-shirt designer to do this, you can use graphic design software, like Adobe Illustrator.
- Become a wholesaler and market to retail shops. Offer retail stores a small discount if they buy in bulk. This helps you list T-shirt designs in stores and gets royalties in your account.
- Buy your shirts at the lowest price and sell them at farmer’s markets, festivals, or to family and friends. This gives you another passive income stream outside the Amazon platform.
- Create designs that are perfect for personalization, e.g. political campaigns. Then, share those designs with your social media followers and take pre-orders for personalized versions. Once you upload designs to your Amazon Merch dashboard, let them know they can place an order. Or, you can order for them for cheap, mark up the price, and have them pay you upon receipt.
- Offer businesses personalized designs using the same process.
- When writing your product descriptions, think like an Amazon customer. What words would they type in the Amazon search bar? Merch already adds famous words for you like “T-shirt” or “sweatshirt.” You want to think about the other words a person will use.
- Send a sample of your best T-shirt design to a well-known person in your niche. For example, if you design a shirt about gaming, send a shirt to a YouTube gaming superstar and ask them to wear it on their show. You can also send samples to bloggers and podcasters but check their sites for rules first.
- Offer a freebie with the purchase of your Amazon T-shirts.
Your freebie can be something as simple as a digital download, calendar, or informational product, maybe even related to your niche. Customers like to feel they are getting more for what they pay. You may even want to offer a discount, buy one get one half off kind of thing.
Now that you have plenty of tips to help you in your Merch by Amazon T-shirt business start implementing and enjoying the results. In the meantime, I’ll be coming up with even more tips and tricks for success.