Is Amazon Merch a Good Business Idea?

Picture this scenario; you’re working on your desktop when suddenly, an idea pops out of your head. It’s a t-shirt design you’ve been thinking about for quite some time now. Enthralled, you ask yourself, “Should I start selling t-shirts online?” If the answer is yes, you may want to look into Amazon Merch.

We’ve discussed previously what Amazon Merch is and how it works. Basically, it’s a print-on-demand service that lets creators print their unique designs on apparel/merchandise and profit from them. You simply create the designs, and Amazon takes care of the rest.

If you want to bring your t-shirt ideas to life and earn money simultaneously, this option may be for you. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of Amazon Merch to see if it’s worth exploring!

What makes Amazon Merch a good business option?

You may think that Amazon Merch is only for people with creative skills, but that could be further from the truth. With graphic design platforms like Canva and Stencil, even non-creatives can start working on unique designs for their merchandise. These tools make it easy to craft digital designs, but the best part is they’re free to use.

You can also opt for the Pro versions of these platforms to access their rich editing tools and high-quality resources. As long as you have unique design ideas that stand out from the competition, you can trust that Amazon Merch will serve as an additional revenue stream.

Another reason to consider Amazon Merch is that sellers have no upfront costs. You can upload merch designs for free without worrying about inventory, printing, and shipping. Amazon pays sellers royalties for every merch sale depending on its purchase price. The simplicity and accessibility of Amazon Merch make it an ideal choice for people who want to share their creative designs and make money through them.

What are the advantages of Amazon Merch?

There are plenty of reasons why Amazon Merch is an appealing option for sellers. Here are the advantages:

1. Amazon handles everything

Running a t-shirt business is a complex process. You have to buy equipment, find a supplier for your apparel, and print the designs yourself. Not to mention the shipping, returns, and customer service you need to handle. These elements can prove challenging to sellers who already run an FBA or FBM business as it splits their time, energy, and attention.

With Amazon Merch, you can utilize Amazon’s vast resources to create a t-shirt business that nearly runs on autopilot. Your only focus is to craft compelling designs capable of generating sales. As soon as your designs start selling, Amazon will handle everything for you.

While the marketing aspect still falls on your shoulders, you still have plenty of time to do keyword research and optimize your listings. When you take advantage of Amazon’s fulfillment, you can market them to your audience as best you can.

2. Sell more t-shirts by climbing the tier level

Amazon rewards sellers with excellent sales by promoting them up the tier level. At first, creators can only upload ten designs onto the platform. As the quality of their design improves and their t-shirts rack up sales, sellers can progress from:

  • 10 designs
  • 25 designs
  • 100 designs
  • 500 designs

Amazon uses a tier system to prevent low-quality shirts from flooding the market. Considering that Amazon is consumer-centric in its approach, you want to create designs that fit your audience’s interests for a positive experience. The tier system also helps level the competition for creators as they won’t have to worry about competing with cheap, knock-off designs.

As a seller, it’s your job to ensure utmost responsibility for the designs you upload, meaning they don’t breach the intellectual property rights of third parties. Only use original concepts and ideas to make your shirt unique. The higher you climb up the tier system, the more t-shirts you can sell, thus equaling more profit.

Amazon Merch Tier Levels


3. You can sell your designs on a global platform

One of the main reasons Amazon is an e-commerce giant is its global reach. How does it benefit sellers? For one, you can create a brand that appeals to an international audience. Second, you can focus on selling your apparel to a specific country. The choice is solely up to you on where you plan to market your merchandise.

Google Trends is a great tool that lets you discover people’s interests in a particular topic. You can choose the location and analyze the performance of a keyword to fuel your t-shirt designs. Statement tees are very popular, and you can come up with unique ideas by staying up to date on social media.

What are the disadvantages of Amazon Merch?

Of course, not everything is rainbows and butterflies when selling t-shirts online. There are a couple of disadvantages sellers should be aware of, and these are:

1. Amazon Merch is highly competitive

Due to the low barrier of entry, almost anyone can upload their designs on Amazon and start selling merchandise. It’s not uncommon for sellers to upload their artwork and generate zero sales in weeks or months. You must be in it for the long haul if you want to earn money through Amazon.

It’s not a “get-rich” scheme like most people think. You still have to put in the effort to optimize your listings, conduct keyword research, and market to the right audience. Remember that you can only upload ten designs when starting; if those don’t sell, you’ll find climbing up the tier levels difficult.

2. Amazon Merch works on an “invitation” basis only

After launching in 2015, Amazon Merch has generated plenty of interest from creators and non-creators alike. Because of the influx of applications, Amazon has reserved its merch program through invites only. Doing so ensures that only serious creators get access to its print-on-demand service.

Before you apply for an invitation, you need to provide some details. These are:

  • Business contact information
  • Bank account and routing numbers
  • Social security details
  • Tax identification numbers

You can find more information about the application process by visiting the Amazon Merch page. The most important detail you need to know is the additional information box. There is where you’ll make your case as to why Amazon should accept you into their merch program. Provide links to the designs you’ve created, and highlight your marketing strategy for generating sales.

Getting in is tough, but if Amazon accepts your invitation, you can get straight to work and earn money from an additional revenue stream.

3. Trademark infringement is aplenty

With so many designs flooding the market, it can be tricky to identify which ones are trademarked or not. Amazon takes intellectual property rights very seriously, and if you’re not careful with your approach, you risk getting banned permanently from the platform.

If your designs sell well, you may also find other sellers infringing on your rights. It’s a constant battle between protecting your designs and respecting the designs of others. Fortunately, tools like Merch Informer can perform trademark checks to ensure you comply with Amazon’s content policy.

Wrapping up

Amazon Merch has plenty of potential as a legitimate print-on-demand service. If you love creating t-shirt designs and want to generate additional revenue, it’s a great business model worth considering. While it may not fully replace your FBA or FBM business, it’s got a lot going for it as Amazon nearly automates the printing process.

Make sure to consider the pros and cons of Amazon Merch to see if it’s a good business idea for you.

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