Optimizing Your Merch By Amazon Listings – A Case Study




Editor’s Note: This is a blog post from my dad Jason Wilkey. He got me started in Merch by Amazon back in 2015 and has been the one guy that has pushed me to keep uploading and optimizing designs. Back in late 2016, we started this project on my Merch by Amazon account and tracked the results. I was amazed (and happy) at the outcome. His new tool Merch Magic is killer and I think all Merch by Amazon sellers should use it. I won’t spoil the story, so here you go! 

A well-oiled machine is one that is optimized to run at maximum efficiency. As a trained machinist, I know the value of optimization. If you can get more done in the same amount of time, it is a win-win for the business.

I started Merch by Amazon back in 2015 when it was first launched. I started uploading designs and tracking the winners and the losers. So I started to make adjustments on my Merch by Amazon machine and started to see better results.

Then I noticed something.

Designs that were “low quality” were selling and some of my “high quality” weren’t. So I did a little research and found a correlation.

Amazon shoppers don’t search by images.

I could have the most visually appeasing image in the world and it would never sell if a buyer couldn’t find it.

Buyers can’t buy what they can’t find.

The designs that were my best sellers had strategically written brand names, titles, bullet points, and descriptions.

Buyers could find these designs.

This revelation made sense, but I just never looked at it that way. I was under the notion that I needed to upload as many designs as possible. Writing descriptions and bullet points takes time and I could be uploading more designs instead.

So I decided to start optimizing all of my designs moving forward (and track my optimization techniques to see if they worked).

All I can say is: Whoa.

The more I optimized, the more I sold. Buyers could actually find my designs and they were buying more shirts because of it!

Since I had been tracking my optimization methods and evaluating what was working and what wasn’t, I decided to share my findings with my son Chris Wilkey.

Thus begins the case study:

My son Chris had an account which he didn’t really use until April 2016 (against my advice I might add). He started uploading designs and was seeing marginal success. His growth rate was only based on the number of designs he uploaded, so he was limited by the tier restrictions and daily limits.

So after a few beers, I showed him my formula for 37 data points and taught him the process I used to optimize my shirts. He seemed impressed and we decided to document the results along the way.

He started using my optimization methods in July 2016. At that point in time, he had just over $300 in sales and had roughly 300 designs uploaded to his account. His designs simply had a brand name and a product title. No bullet points, no description. Just a title.

From that point forward, Chris uploaded all of his new designs using the knowledge that I had about listing optimization.

By October, he had crossed $800 in sales. Then November came and he crossed the $1,000 threshold.

And this is where I need to insert some of my comments.

This could easily be a case of “cum hoc ergo propter hoc” (yeah – I just used Latin to prove a point). In English, this means that one could not assume correlation equals causation. In plain English, this means that there were other factors that could explain this increase in profits. The time of year is the obvious one.

Knowing this, I figured that December numbers could prove my point, but they don’t actually show the growth pattern that comes from the listing optimizations. December is an outlier and shouldn’t be used in the analysis.

Back to the story.

Chris’ December numbers were off the charts (over $3,500), but they quickly retreated to the $1,300 mark once the holiday season had ended. This retreat was to be expected, but we were excited to see that January had increased by 30% compared to November.

February was another increase. Just over the $1,400 mark.

And then Chris started doing something different. He started using my process and optimizing his older listings (that hadn’t been optimized before). This started in February, but has continued to the present day. This was when a good thing became something amazing.

In March, he cross the $1,800 mark. That’s a $400 increase in one month. It was followed by another $400 increase in April (at the $2,200 mark).

And as we approach the end of May, he is on track to cross the $4,000 mark.

If we look at a growth pattern from July 2016 until May 2017, we can see that there was a $3,700 monthly increase.

Now: Where does the optimization come in?

Chris took a look at all of his now 750+ live designs and pulled the following information (as of the start of May):

Number of designs: 760

Number optimized: 533

Percentage of best sellers that are optimized: 94%

Percentage of income from optimized designs: 82%

Percentage of designs that are not removed after 60/90 days that are optimized: 55%

According to our numbers, optimization plays a significant role in the success of a Merch by Amazon account.

So what should you take away from this case study?

Optimization increases your likelihood of having a successful Merch by Amazon account.

I challenge you to build your own method or process for optimization and track your results. I think you will be amazed at the difference you will see over time.

If you just have the time or the desire to build your own process, I have decided to build a tool that can help you with the optimization of your Merch by Amazon listings.

The tool is called: Merch Magic

I took 37 data points that had been tested on over 4,000 Merch by Amazon designs and built an algorithm to help with the optimization of Merch listings.

I then took this algorithm and built an Excel spreadsheet to speed up the optimization process.

And Merch Magic was born.

Merch Magic is an Excel spreadsheet that scores Merch by Amazon brand name, product title, bullet points, and description based upon my algorithm.

All you have to do is type your listing information into the spreadsheet and you will get a score based upon your optimization of a main and secondary keyword.

If your listing isn’t up to par, the worksheet provides feedback to help teach you to build consist Merch by Amazon listings.

Regardless if you use my tool or build your own, just understand the importance of optimization. Investing a little time now can yield massive returns down the road.

Jason Wilkey
Arbitrage 411

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