Merch By Amazon – The Guide To Getting Started

When we see a question like this in our Facebook group, we like to answer it as quickly as possible. Although it might have taken me 21 hours to get a response together, I just want to stress that we really do take the time to read through every question and conversation in the Facebook group and try our best to respond with the best possible answer (as quickly as possible).

The question that was asked was:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 12.33.45 PM

So Jordan, here is your answer:

Let’s start with the basics….Merch By Amazon is a platform that is currently invite only (as of 5/9/2016) and it based upon the print on demand concept.

The process is actually very simple:

  1. You upload a design (per their design specifications)
  2. You set a price
  3. Amazon creates a product listing for you (with a few bits of information from you)
  4. People see the listing and buy your shirt
  5. Once someone buys the shirt, Amazon will print it, pack it, and ship it for you
  6. The process continues to repeat

See. I told you it was actually pretty simple. You do all the work up front and Amazon handles all of the work after that. There are a few incredible benefits that we need to understand upfront.

  1. You do not have to purchase t-shirts ahead of time. I repeat. You do not have to purchase t-shirts ahead of time. This means the only cost you have to launch a shirt is the cost of the design (if you are a designer, then you just have the cost of your time). You never have to worry about inventory or out-of-pocket costs.
  2. Once you have your design, it takes around 6 hours to have your shirt live on the Amazon marketplace. No need to ship shirts to a warehouse in Washington state (or ONT8). You literally can upload a design from the beach and someone can buy that same shirt later that day.
  3. There are no upfront costs. Membership to Merch By Amazon is currently free once you receive an invitation.

So please tell me light bulbs are starting to go off and you are starting to see why this is a really really good idea…

Now that we understand the basic process, let’s get to the info about how to make money using this platform.

Step #1 – Get approved for Merch By Amazon. There is no magic formula, but you do need to apply and wait on an invitation. The average wait time for an invitation is around 4 months, so don’t expect it to be done instantly. Once you are approved, you can follow the steps below.

Step #2 – Download one of the following templates (if you don’t know how to use any of these software applications, don’t fear – I’ll cover that a little later in this post).

Photoshop
Illustrator
GIMP

Step #3 – Design a really awesome t-shirt. You can do this on your own or outsource the entire process (like I said above, I’ll cover that a little later in this post).

Step #4 – Upload the shirt design to the Merch By Amazon interface. The process should look a little something like this:

  1. Go to the dashboard and click “Add a product” :
  2. Upload your shirt design (make sure it is from one of the templates I provided and it follows the sizes that Amazon mandates).Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 12.59.17 PM

    Once you upload a design, it should look like this:

    Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.01.20 PM

  3. Then you will need to pick your colors and your price. Amazon has a nifty little feature that allows you to see how much you will make based upon the cost of printing the shirt. Play around with the numbers and find a price that works for you.Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.02.38 PM
  4. Once you have the colors and price set, then you will have to do a few more little things before your shirt can hit the Amazon marketplace. You will need to at least add a title and a brand to the shirt, but it is a best practice to add details and a description as well. It should start out like this:Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.04.56 PM

    And end up like this:

    Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.08.14 PM

  5. The final step is reviewing the shirt one last time and submitting it for approval. That should look something like this:

    Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.11.03 PM

    Followed by this:

    Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.11.11 PM

    And finally this:

    Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.11.20 PM

Didn’t I tell you it was easy!?!? You will get an email from Amazon later that day (typically 6-8 hours later) with an approval of the shirt and a link to your product. That is the time you can share it with the world (or a few of your close friends) and start to see the sales roll in.

Now it’s time to move from the basics to the ways you can actually make money with this service.

Money making idea #1 – Niche Marketing

You have heard this idea time and time again. Find a niche, build an audience, launch a product, make money, repeat. With Merch By Amazon, you can actually launch an entire line of t-shirts without any upfront investment. Find a niche on Facebook, a blog, Twitter, etc and start coming up with new shirt ideas. Once you find out what sells, then you can adjust your designs and start making sales every week.

Money making idea #2 – Work It Locally

Have a favorite bar you like to hang out at each weekend? Wouldn’t you get excited if they had some great merchandise you could purchase? How about partnering up with your local business owners and creating a win-win with profit sharing.

Money making idea #3 – Major Events

Are you one who closely watches the news, YouTube, a calendar, or anything else that a ton of other people watch as well? If so, this might be an area for you to capitalize on each week. All you need to do is find something that is hot for that week and get a design up ASAP. You will be able to take advantage of the hype and make some money along the way.

Money making idea #4 – Research

I love data and I love being able to dig into it and find the nuggets of information it can provide. I do the same exact thing with Merch By Amazon designs. I use the data to find out which topics are already seeing some great results from merchandise like t-shirts and then I work to enter that market.

Ok Chris. This sounds fantastic, but I have some questions…

I figured as much.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:

I can’t design anything. How can I make designs?!

Well. You have a few options:

  1. If you know someone that can design, work out a partnership agreement with them
  2. Take a course on using Photoshop (I did and once you get the basics, it’s a breeze).
  3. Outsource your design work to a site like Upwork
  4. Some services give you the ability to buy designs.

Why aren’t my shirts selling! 

Well. There are a few possible reasons:

  1. People might not be able to find your shirt. Just because you launched it doesn’t mean it magically ends up in the customers inbox.
  2. You haven’t given it enough time. The process to upload a shirt might be quick, but sometimes it takes time to see the sales start.
  3. Your idea isn’t a good one. I hate to say it, but sometimes designs suck. I have had many flops, so you always have to ask yourself: Will anyone actually buy this?

What is the best price point for my shirt?

This is going to be a personal choice, but I like to go with a lower price point to generate more sales. I like to keep it in the $14.99 – $17.99 range.

Do you offer a service to help us get approved for Merch By Amazon?

No. The process is simple. Apply and wait.

How should I promote my shirts?

The possibilities are endless, but you can start with:

  1. Email
  2. Blog
  3. Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. Pinterest
  6. Etsy
  7. Linked-In
  8. Paid ads
  9. Signs in your neighborhood
  10. Text messages
  11. Instagram
  12. Snapchat
  13. Friends
  14. Family
  15. Co-workers

Get the idea?


Well I think that is a pretty good answer to Jordan’s original question. I hope it helps a few of you out!

CW

17 thoughts on “Merch By Amazon – The Guide To Getting Started

  • May 9, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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    So who provides the shirts?
    Are shirts sent to Amazon for PBA then FBA?

    Reply
    • May 10, 2016 at 9:51 am
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      They handle the printing, shipping, and customer service of the shirts. We just supply the designs.

      Reply
  • May 12, 2016 at 3:40 pm
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    Thank you. This was very helpful.

    Reply
  • May 31, 2016 at 11:32 am
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    i applied almost 10 week b4 but still didn’t get any approval mail from amazon…don’t know they approve me or not..feeling exhausted 🙁

    Reply
    • November 2, 2016 at 11:34 pm
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      Have you got it approved now?

      Reply
  • June 8, 2016 at 7:23 am
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    You say: “You haven’t given it enough time. The process to upload a shirt might be quick, but sometimes it takes time to see the sales start.”
    How long does it usually take for a design to start selling if it is a good one?

    Reply
    • June 8, 2016 at 7:27 am
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      From my experience (and other please correct me if I am incorrect) – 1-2 months. Some start sooner, but it does take some time.

      Reply
  • July 26, 2016 at 3:45 am
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    Nice article. How to get approve by Merch ? I have submit some times but not success 🙁

    Reply
  • August 17, 2016 at 1:16 am
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    Applied for Merch 5 months ago and have not approved. I can login and see resources but if I try to go to any other section then it takes me back to the “request an invitation” page. What can I do?

    Reply
  • August 17, 2016 at 8:41 am
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    Hi, quick question – What is the quality of the tshirt itsefl? That was one issue I had with some of the other print on demand services. Thanks!

    Reply
  • September 11, 2016 at 6:46 am
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    I don’t have photoshop skill, can I do Merch? How often do we have commission from Merch?

    Reply
  • October 28, 2016 at 12:37 pm
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    What file format is Amazon looking for these designs to be in?

    Reply
    • October 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm
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      PNG

      Reply
    • January 16, 2017 at 1:39 pm
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      No problem. You check United States because as non US resident open a Payoneer account and your bank will be Bank Of America.

      Reply
  • April 3, 2017 at 7:20 pm
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    This is AWESOME! I applied. So, wait 4 months?? So excited. I want to get started! What do you recommend I do while I wait?

    Reply
    • April 29, 2017 at 5:49 pm
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      Build up lots of designs. Then when you are approved submit the best.

      Reply

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