Let’s face it: not everyone has — or wants to spend — the cash to launch a private label Amazon business.
Fortunately, Amazon offers a cool way to start selling stuff on their platform without having to spend thousands to purchase inventory: Merch. Amazon Merch is a print-on-demand service offered by Amazon that lets you sell your product designs without any upfront costs.
How does Amazon Merch work?
The biggest advantage that Amazon Merch has over other forms of selling on Amazon is that the barriers of entry are fairly low.
It’s easy to set up, there’s no upfront cost, and even if you aren’t an artist, graphic designer, or have a large social media following, you can start an Amazon Merch account.
The setup process is pretty simple. Once you get an invitation to join Merch (see below), all you have to do is upload artwork and choose the type of product you want to sell.
Once Amazon approves your design, they create a listing for you.
Then, when your product sells, Amazon handles the printing, shipping, and customer service on your behalf. And then you earn royalties!
Merch by Amazon is so popular, even big brands use it. (Yep, that Baby Yoda shirt you bought on Amazon was probably created by Amazon Merch.)
The one major drawback to Amazon Merch is that it’s an invitation-only platform.
Otherwise, all you need to be successful is a good, unique idea, and a good social media account or blog to drive customers to your designs.
How much money can you make selling merch on Amazon?
Royalty rates can range anywhere from roughly 13% to 37% depending on the product’s price. But if you want to see Amazon’s full schedule of Merch royalties, you can check it out on their FAQ page.
Once a sale is made and your product is sent to the customer, you earn a royalty for the sale. The amount of royalty you earn is the price of the product minus applicable taxes and Amazon’s costs.
Amazon’s costs include:
- Customer service
- Resources required to detect and prevent fraud
How many Amazon Merch designs can I make?
Amazon Merch limits the number of products you can create and sell at one time. For those just starting out, you’re allowed only 10 submissions. However, as you make more sales and prove the quality of your designs and products, Amazon increases how many designs you can submit, also known as your ‘tier.’ You’re required to make 10 sales in order to move to the second tier.
Amazon increases your tiers as follows:
How do I get invited to Merch by Amazon?
To get invited to Merch, go to merch.amazon.com and click the blue “Request invitation” button. From there, fill out the application explaining why you want to be considered for Amazon Merch.
Once that’s completed, you’ll be placed on a waiting list. Due to high demand from sellers, it can sometimes take as long as six months to get accepted by Amazon.
How do I create a product on Amazon Merch?
Once you’re approved, Amazon Merch will send you to your dashboard, which looks like this:
From your Amazon Merch Dashboard, you can create new designs, manage existing ones, and analyze your sales. On the dashboard itself, you can see your account status which includes:
- Available submissions: the number of designs that you can create.
- Published products: the number of live designs you have on Amazon via Amazon Merch.
- Tier: your “seller level,” which dictates how many designs you can submit and how many products you can create.
There’s also a large button that lets you immediately “Add products.” From there, you can view information on recent sales in both the U.S. and EU market.
Step 1: To create your first product, click the ‘Add Products’ button from your Dashboard.
Currently, you can choose from a variety of products for displaying your graphics, including shirts, sweatshirts, pop sockets, phone cases, pillows, and tote bags.
Step 2: Click the ‘Upload Artwork’ button (or ‘Edit details’). If you’re unsure of your editing skills, Amazon Merch offers downloadable templates to make the process easier.
Note: Make sure that your artwork adheres to Amazon Merch’s guidelines, which generally prohibit objectionable content and copyright infringement.
Amazon has specific guidelines for Merch products to ensure that the final product is high-quality and accurately reflects what customers will view in the listing.
In general, uploaded artwork files for Merch designs should be:
- In sRGB (the standardized RBG color space for digital graphics)
- Transparent PNG files
- No larger than 25MB
Here are some general tips for creating high-quality designs:
- Use high resolution images and vector files to avoid image pixelation
- Format your design to suit each specific garment or product. For instance, the best artwork placement for a v-neck shirt will be different than for a crewneck
- Keep in mind that typically, colors will look more vibrant on a computer screen — make sure colors pop when printed by avoiding subtle color differences between the design and the base product
Take a look at Amazon’s best practices for more tips.
Amazon provides design templates for Adobe Illustrator to guide the placement and sizing of your art on the product of your choice.
Step 3: Once your design is ready, set a price and go live. From there, your listing goes through eight different statuses as Amazon reviews your creation.
- Draft: This is the state of your design while you’re working on it. It stays in draft until you submit the design.
- Under Review: After submitting your design, it goes through a review process to ensure it’s not infringing on Amazon Merch’s content policy.
- Rejected: If your design does not meet Amazon Merch’s content policy, its status is changed to ‘Rejected.’
- Started Process: If your design is approved, Amazon starts the process of adding your design to their library.
- Processing: Quickly after the process is started, your product moves to ‘Processing’ as Amazon starts to create your listing.
- Pending Your Approval: You also have the option to review a sample of your design. After you give Amazon “the okay” it goes from “Pending Your Approval” to “Live.”
- Live: Once your listing is created, your status changes to ‘Live’, and you can start making sales.
- Removed: Designs that don’t sell within the first 180 days of going live or that violate Amazon’s Content policy are removed.
Keep in mind that if you update your Merch listing’s price, title, brand, or description, it’ll go back through the status process (though the previous version of the listing will stay live on Amazon).
Tips for success selling Amazon Merch designs
- Use your designs to target a niche, like pop sockets for beauty influencers or t-shirts for fishing enthusiasts
- Find freelance graphic designers on sites like Fiverr or 99Designs for professional-quality artwork
- Use public domain images for your artwork— you won’t have to license these, and they’ll still be recognizable to shoppers
- Capitalize on trending content on social media — you can always find new images, memes, and concepts that people want to wear on a t-shirt
- Build a following for your brand on social media so you can alert large numbers of potential customers about new design releases
- Advertise your listing through Amazon’s portal promotions section or PPC advertisements
- Remove low-selling designs to make room for new ideas
Are you a successful Amazon Merch seller? We’d love to hear what has helped you succeed on the platform. Share in the comments below!