We all know that Amazon is great for buying and selling finished products including clothing – and now, Merch by Amazon offers increased creativity and flexibility by allowing users to design and manufacture their own clothing ranges. We’ve put together our guide to getting started with Merch by Amazon in order to start selling your own design T-Shirts, hoodies and more.

Quick Guide:

What is Merch by Amazon?

Launched in 2015, Merch by Amazon is a print on demand (POD) platform similar to Amazon’s KDP and App Developer programs. After opening an account Merch by Amazon, customers can upload their own designs for T-Shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies to the site.

Once approved by Amazon, the product will be available on Amazon and searchable by buyers. When a buyer chooses to purchase a product, it will be produced to order – i.e, on demand. Then, Amazon pays the designer a royalty on every product sold.

How does Merch by Amazon work?

Signing up for Mercy by Amazon is relatively straight-forward and should take less than 15 minutes. Before you get started, make sure that you have the following to hand:

  • Your Amazon account sign-in details
  • Your contact information
  • Your bank account and routing numbers
  • Your social security or tax ID number

Opening your Merch by Amazon account

Log onto www.merch.amazon.com/landing.  On the screen, you’ll see an orange button marked ‘Request Invitation’.  

photo credit: Amazon.com

Click onto the ‘Request Invitation’ button and you’ll be presented with an application form. This form will ask for a number of different pieces of information including your company profile and your banking information (good thing you had these handy before you started).

If you don’t yet have a company profile, you can simply use your full name but, you will need to include an industry such as ‘T-Shirt business’.  

You’ll also be required to fill in a tax questionnaire (for non-USA users, Amazon might withhold around 30% of profits for tax withholding. It’s important that all of the information entered is accurate and honest in order to avoid your application being rejected.

Once you’ve submitted your application, it will be sent to Amazon for review – Amazon states that a decision will be made within 60 days but it’s usually a lot quicker. You can improve your chances of being accepted by stating your previous experience, linking to your personal website and including original designs with your application.

Once your account has been opened, you will have 10 design slots which means that you can upload 10 different designs. Once you have sold 10 or more items and have used most of your design slots, you’ll be put onto the tier system which allows you to upload more designs as follows:

  • Tier 1 10 Designs
  • Tier 2 25 Designs
  • Tier 3 100 Designs
  • Tier 4 500 Designs
  • Tier 5 1000 Designs
  • Tier 6 2000 Designs
  • Tier 7 4000 Designs
  • Tier 8 8000 Designs

Creating your first masterpiece

From your Merch by Amazon dashboard, access the ‘Upload Finished Artwork’ button.

photo credit: Amazon.com

Your design will need to comply with Merch by Amazon’s guidelines which include:

  • 15”W x 18”H with a transparent background
  • 300 ppi (example, 4500 x 5400 pixels)
  • Export artboard as an sRGB
  • Your file size must be less than 25MB

If you’re just starting out with design, you can use one of Amazon’s templates which include Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and GIMP.

Staying within the law

When selling clothing which contains an artistic design or slogan, you must always make sure that the design belongs to you and not to anybody else. Using other people’s work on your designs is a breach of copyright and could see you banned from a selling platform or even prosecuted.

If you have a unique design which you intend to use a lot, it may be worth trademarking it to make sure that nobody else can use your design. You can trademark design or slogan by registering it with USPTO.  

Once you’ve uploaded your artwork, you’ll be presented with a drop-down menu from which you can choose the kind of design you wish to upload – for example, T-Shirt, sweatshirt or hoodie.

After submitting your new product, you’ll see that it appears on your dashboard as ‘Under Review’. This will change to ‘Processing’ before finally going live. Once live, you’ll be able to copy the product link for use in your marketing.

Is it Worth Joining the Merch by Amazon?

Merch by Amazon – The Pros and Cons

Although Merch by Amazon is a great tool, it may not be for everyone. We take a look at the great bits – and the not so great bits of Merch by Amazon.

The great bits
  • Creativity – Merch by Amazon allows new and budding designers to get their work out there in order to build up a profile. Users can create unique pieces of clothing rather than just buying and selling existing items.
  • Cost – Merch by Amazon is free to use and means that designers can create unique items of clothing without the cost of materials, storage or shipping.
  • Useability – Merch by Amazon is super-simple to use as you follow the straight-forward guidelines. Users can quickly and easily create items which will be ready for sale on Amazon in a matter of hours.
  • Quantity – Merch by Amazon rewards users by increasing the number of designs that can be uploaded, via its tier system. This means that serious and prolific designers can upload up to a staggering 8000 designs in order to increase sales.

The not so great bits
  • Pricing – Sellers have very little flexibility when it comes to the pricing of items as this is set by Amazon – for example, a standard T-Shirt will generally be priced between $15.99 and $25.99 and sellers are not able to price lower than Amazon’s minimum.
  • Royalties – New designers signing up for Merch by Amazon shouldn’t expect to become a millionaire through the site. Royalties paid to sellers are low – for example, for the sale of a T-Shirt priced at $15.99, the seller will receive just $2.36. For more details of how Amazon calculate the royalties for seller, you can check the Royalty Calculation page.
  • Range – Merch by Amazons range is not too wide and, currently, only includes T-Shirts, Long Sleeved T-Shirts, Sweatshirts and Hoodies.
  • Quality – Due to the limited range available, sellers don’t get to choose the quality of the actual garments in terms of fabric or craftsmanship. Plus, items are created, packed and shipped by Amazon which means that the seller has no quality control.
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How to Beat Competition on Amazon Merch

Needless to say, there are a huge number of people selling their designs through Merch by Amazon so, how do you make yours stand out?

Design – Make sure that your design is distinctive and completely unique in order to attract your customers. If adding a slogan, try something trendy or topical to get your product noticed.

Marketing – Make the most of social media in order to get your designs out there.  Create engaging posts and paid ads and start collecting those likes and shares.

Research – Before going ahead with your product, do a little research to see what’s already out there. Take a look at products which are similar to yours to see who the competition is and how well their products are selling. Try using Merch Informer to help you see who’s selling what.

Branding – When selling your own branded items through Merch by Amazon, you can improve your chances of success by making sure that your branding is really strong. With your company name, product name and blurb, always think SEO – and make sure that the words that you use are memorable, relatable and relevant to your niche or brand. Always, of course, make sure that you’re not using a slogan or phrase that belongs to somebody else.

Price – You don’t, unfortunately, have too many price options with Merch by Amazon and, many sellers will tend to opt for the cheapest price in order to encourage more sales. In reality, it’s better to go with an average price rather than the lowest as, when comparing similar products, buyers will often question the quality of the lowest-priced items.

Conclusion

Merch by Amazon provides a great channel for those looking to begin a career as a clothing designer. The on-demand services mean that this is a risk-free way of showcasing designs and slogans.

The only downside to Merch by Amazon is concerned with cold hard cash – sellers are unable to control the pricing of items and earn a relatively small amount per sale. Although this means that it may not be the best option for sellers looking to make a lot of money, it’s certainly a great tool for those just looking to show off their design skills.

Recommended Readings:
Amazon Brand Registry Best Practice for Sellers 2019
Retail Arbitrage: Is It Still Profitable on Amazon 2019?
The Complete Guide To Amazon Drop Shipping
Everything You Need To Know About Amazon Product Research

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