It’s much easier to get into the t-shirt design business nowadays.
To start a t-shirt business back then, you must have the t-shirt design, the shirts where the designs will be printed on, and the needed equipment to print the designs. You also need to worry about packaging the orders and delivering them customers. However, you won’t make sales if you don’t promote your t-shirt business to people. That’s another task added to your list that could overwhelm even the most seasoned entrepreneurs.
However, there’s no need for you to take care of everything yourself. And it’s all thanks to sites like Merch by Amazon and Teespring. They serve as a springboard for designers and entrepreneurs to profit from t-shirt designs without the hassle of printing and fulfillment.
In this Amazon Merch vs Teespring post, we will pit both websites to find out which one can help you earn more for your online t-shirt business. You will also learn:
- how your business can benefit from using Amazon Merch and Teespring
- the pros and cons of each platform
- which between the two is perfect for which business
Amazon Merch vs Teespring: Ushering in the new era of selling t-shirts online
As mentioned, it’s way easier to make money selling t-shirts in the day and age. It is comparable to a Shopify dropshipping business because you don’t have to do the heavy lifting to grow your business. You can sell t-shirts without immersing yourself in all tasks!
Thanks to today’s online t-shirt business, all you need is the designs for the t-shirt. You can delegate the t-shirt fulfillment and t-shirt printing to someone else. There are platforms that offer these services so you don’t have to look for them yourself. Also, these platforms only print on demand – there’s no need for you to print in advance and be stuck with the item if they don’t sell in the market.
Since the main focus of people in the printed t-shirt business is on the designs, you can run a business on autopilot. Once you have uploaded the designs, the platform will take care of printing and fulfilling your custom t-shirts to customers. Also, people can find your designs using the search bar on the platform. It’s no longer necessary to promote your online t-shirt business because the platform will help care of it for you.
Therefore, what you need to worry about now is choosing the right platform that will make your design available for sale and will take care of the fulfillment for you.
Right now, let’s discuss arguably the most popular online t-shirt selling platform to date, Merch by Amazon.
Merch by Amazon: The only platform you need for selling shirts
Merch by Amazon allows you to profit from your t-shirt designs as Amazon will take care of the rest. After uploading the designs, you need to create a product page for each complete with title, product features, and descriptions to entice people to buy them. People can search for the product pages of your designs from Amazon using its search function. Since there are hundreds of thousands of daily visitors on Amazon, there’s a good chance that people will stumble upon your design at least once a day.
If they buy your t-shirt design, Amazon will print the design on the t-shirt and send the order to the customer. Once the transaction is complete, you will receive royalties from Amazon.
Prints on demand
As mentioned, Merch by Amazon implements an on-demand printing process to take orders. Unlike other platforms, there’s no need for you to stockpile custom printed t-shirts waiting to be sold. Amazon will only print them once a customer places an order for your design. As a result, you don’t have to pay for unsold t-shirts left lying around their warehouse.
Creating an account is free
Also, and more importantly, you don’t need to pay for a free for an account at Merch at Amazon. Once you are invited into the program, all you must do is upload high-quality designs that you think will sell well on the platform. You may have to pay a designer for the designs if you’re more of a merch entrepreneur. You can start by searching at Upwork using this guide we’ve written for you.
Long wait after requesting for an invite
However, the biggest downside of Merch by Amazon is having to request for an invitation before you can create an account and upload your designs. When requesting an invite, you need to submit personally identifiable information as well as answer questions to help understand your background and make it easier for them to accept your requests. However, given the high demand of requests the platform may be getting from users, there is a huge chance that Amazon won’t send you an invite unless you have impressive credentials and experience as a merch entrepreneur or in the t-shirt business.
In particular, Amazon is more willing to accept people who know how to make money by selling t-shirts. After all, Amazon is in the business of making money and they won’t invite people who don’t know how to do that for them.
The request for an invite in the platform is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it keeps riff-raffs off Merch by Amazon so only the cream of the crop get invited into it. On the other hand, it makes it more difficult for you to join the program and make money off it. And even if you get in, you will be up against the best merch entrepreneurs in the market. Your job will be cut out for you because of the tough competition.
However, this shouldn’t discourage you from requesting for a Merch by Amazon invite. You’ll never know if you’ll do great selling t-shirts on the platform unless you try.
While you’re waiting for their approval, you can try your hand at another t-shirt selling platform, Teespring.
Teespring: A Merch by Amazon alternative that holds its own
Teespring is another platform for merch entrepreneurs to sell their wares. You can sell t-shirt sweatshirts and apparel t-shirts as well as iPhone cases, leggings, mugs, and more. Just like Merch by Amazon, you can sign up or an account for free. But unlike Amazon’s flagship program for selling merch, you don’t have to wait to receive for an invitation.
Right off the bat, you can create a Teespring account and choose which merch you want to create designs. As a result, you can create pages for your designs for people to buy. Once customers place an order, Teespring will take care of printing and delivering the merch to their doorstep. You can make all these happen after signing up which in turn helps you make money faster than you would on Amazon!
A luxury that Teespring doesn’t enjoy is the traffic that Amazon receives on a daily basis. With over thousands of people flocking its marketplace and using the search bat to find the products they want to place, it’s ideal to set up shop on Amazon for starters. Its reach is beyond compare as Teespring and other similar sites will need to come up with creative ways to stand out from the pack.
Reach your audience with the Boosted Network
The Teespring Boosted Network is the platform’s answer to Amazon. Upon creating a product page for your design, the platform will promote your design across different online marketplaces. That includes Rakuten, Walmart, eBay, and even Amazon, to name a few!
However, before you can join the Boosted Network, you need to create great merch designs following the Teespring Boosted Network Design Guidelines. More importantly, you need to sustain a high seller trust score for the platform to consider you into the Network. Therefore, you can’t get Teespring to promote your designs on other platforms if you don’t have a proven track record as a seller. You still need to put the work in and bring money to Teespring with the designs you will sell.
Also, Teespring will decide which designs to showcase on which platforms. While it makes your job easier in terms of setting up the listings, it also limits your control as to what t-shirt designs to showcase.
Considering that Teespring is a much smaller platform than Merch by Amazon, you’ll have to actively promote your product pages in more ways than one. Running an ad campaign is ideal especially if you have the budget for it.
Amazon Merch vs Teespring: Pros and cons
Both Merch by Amazon and Teespring are great places to sell t-shirt designs and make a decent living off of them. While both have their flaws and shortcomings as a platform for selling t-shirts, there’s really no site out there that offers no disadvantage. There’s always something to nitpick about these platforms and it’s best to discuss them here before you choose which site where to sell your wares.
Merch by Amazon: Pros
- Higher chances of making a profit – Due to the number of visitors Amazon receives, you can bet at least one person will stumble upon your listings and consider buying your designs. If you can boost your listings using the best optimization practices, you can drive more traffic to them and possibly increase your sales. Because of this reason, you don’t have to come up with a promotions strategy or an ad campaign for your listings as the searches alone can help you generate customers.
- Lots of tools available to help you create profitable designs – Since money is to be made on Merch by Amazon, lots of third-party tools provide information from Amazon’s database to help you come up with designs guaranteed to sell on the platform. For example, Merch Informer helps you sort out the best-selling t-shirt designs so you can create something similar and ride the coattails of products with the highest sales. Other features such as the keyword finder, advanced competitor checker, and more give you insights on the type of designs you need to sell on the platform. I have detailed other factors you need to worry about in researching for a design to sell on Merch by Amazon and the tools you must use in this post. The tools allow you to come prepared when creating designs for the platform so you can maximize your sales.
Merch by Amazon: Cons
- No guarantee you’ll receive an invite – While you must request for an invitation to register an account in the program, it doesn’t mean that you’ll receive one. Due to the caliber and volume of people requesting for a Merch by Amazon invite, you can’t be sure you’ll receive an invitation no matter how good you are as a designer or entrepreneur. The competition for selling t-shirts on Amazon is cutthroat that the site can to hand out invitations to people with proven track records as a t-shirt seller. You can still try your luck for an invite but don’t come crying home after not receiving one knowing the odds.
- Intense competition – The question is not about whether you can sell or not on Merch by Amazon. Eventually, you will get a slice of the proverbial pie with your designs. But you’ll have to deal with the backlash from the competition. Copycat designs of the best-selling shirts are rampant in the platform. While it’s not the exact same design, competitors can change elements of your design and pass it as their own. The sad thing is that Amazon will consider it as a unique design and list it beside yours. Amazon will have to make changes on how they manage knock-off designs for you maximize your profits in the platform.
- Create an account without waiting – You can set up a Teespring account in a matter of seconds. You don’t have to wait for an invite before you can make one. This means you can get your designs listed and profit off of them faster than you would in Amazon.
- Sell across different platforms – One you’ve built a good reputation on Teespring, your designs become eligible for the Boosted Network. They will be featured on the biggest online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and others guaranteed to increase your reach and potentially increase your sales. With the Boosted Network, you don’t have to sign up for a Merch by Amazon account because the platform will list it for you on your behalf. The more people see your designs, the greater the chances of bagging orders for them!
- Forced to pay for promotions – Compared to Amazon, Teespring has a much lower reach in the market. You won’t be able to drive sales the way that Amazon can for your t-shirt designs. For comparison using SEMrush, Amazon has a whopping 1.3 billion total visitors for August 2018 while Teespring generated 9.8 million during the same time. The discrepancy is so huge that there’s no assurance you can rack up sales anytime soon. Therefore, you need to actively promote your listings to generate sales. That means spending on Facebook and Google Ads as well as other tactics like blogger outreach, SEO, and others. They will eat up your resources and time whether you will generate the work to someone else. As a result, the ROI for every sale made on Teespring is much lower.
- Work your way up to elite status – The Boosted Network is open to those with high seller trust scores. Therefore, you need to find ways to not only sell your designs to as many people but also hope they are satisfied with their order. By selling more, you also need to boost your promotions and spend on ad campaigns and other promotional tactics.
Amazon Merch vs Teespring: Verdict
To be honest, Amazon Merch and Teespring are not in competition with each other. While both to the same audience of designers and merch entrepreneurs, it is clear that Teespring is looking to leverage on Amazon’s marketplace to help sell the designs of their users through the Teespring Boosted Network. Therefore, consider Teespring and Merch by Amazon in cahoots towards helping sellers make more money using both platforms.
All things considered, Merch by Amazon is the platform that will help your t-shirt business generate more profit. By getting your designed listed in Amazon’s database, you increase your online visibility and potential precipitate sales in the process. While you need to request for an invitation to create a Merch by Amazon account, it would be silly for you not to request for you. Given the fierce competition on Amazon, it’s better to try your luck using this platform if you want to maximize your ROI.
Teespring proves to be a more than viable alternative to Merch by Amazon if the latter didn’t send you an invitation. You can do the same things on this platform albeit on a smaller scale. However, if you sell well enough, you can extend your reach with its Boosted Network feature. On top of Amazon, Teespring will feature your designs on eBay, Walmart, and more.
However, the best way to make the most of your online t-shirt business is to sign up for an account on both platforms and try your best to monetize from them. By diversifying the income streams for your business, you increase your chances of turning over a profit.
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