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Merch by Amazon - What is it and What Does it Mean for E-commerce Sellers

May 05, 2023 | Author:  Andrew Maff

Are you curious about what Merch by Amazon is and how it can potentially benefit your e-commerce business? If so, then this blog post is for you. If you're up for a challenge, get ready because we'll be discussing the exciting world of Merch by Amazon and how it can be a game-changer for e-commerce sellers.

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Merch by Amazon (MBA) is a print-on-demand service that allows an online business to upload their t-shirt designs onto apparel products such as t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, and more merch products without needing physical inventory or paying the upfront costs.

It’s a great way for new businesses to get started in e-commerce without having to worry about investing large sums of money into stock or equipment. All you need is an Amazon Account, a business name, and your own intellectual property and you’re good. Who knew selling t-shirts could get this stratified and automated!

So, if you're interested in taking advantage of this service, here's what you need to know about how MBA works, its benefits and drawbacks, and what it means for e-commerce sellers like you.


The Merch by Amazon Business Model Explained

The  Merch by Amazon business model offers print-on-demand (POD) shirt services to consumers and business owners. Now, PODs can be created without the need for any upfront costs or inventory management. The shirt will only be commissioned when a customer purchases the shirt, so it is printed “on demand” and shipped directly to the customer. It's a simple business model, but forms an intricate web that we will dive into later on.

This popular business model originates from  TeeSpring's glory days when shirt designers made money from POD. Today, TeeSpring has mostly fallen apart and has since merged into Merch by Amazon Models.

POD makes it easy for graphic designers to translate their designs straight to a merch business. No need to worry about computing shipping costs and monitoring the direct deposit of your customers’ payments, all you need to do is churn out designs!


What is the Merch Design Process Like?

Amazon Merch is perfect for creating designs for t-shirts, hoodies, and other apparel items. The Merch design process is straightforward and can be completed in a few simple steps. But, if you don't have a graphic designer, you may need some help creating designs. If you plan on using Merch by Amazon on your own, you will need a graphic design software in your arsenal to create your own designs.

Making custom t-shirts on Merch by Amazon doesn't mean you need to be well-versed in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Some designs are simply made on pen and paper and scanned onto the computer–it doesn't always have to be digital art!

However, the results may vary in quality if you decide to just scan your art. You can still opt to go digital and use very easy platforms online like  Canva and  Pixlr. These platforms have great downloadable templates that are customizable to your liking! These are useful platforms to get you started on Merch by Amazon t-shirt designs.

Once you have a design created, you can  upload it on Merch by Amazon. All products will be reviewed by Amazon before they are published on their website. This is to make sure that the same designs don't end up on the market and cannibalize each other. And, of course, Amazon checks for copyright infringement.

So if you want to join a merch program, you don't need to be a highly skilled artist, you can virtually use any platform you're comfortable with to create your designs!


Merch by Amazon - Benefits for Your Online Business

The biggest benefit of Merch by Amazon for your online business is that it provides an easy way to get your products into the e-commerce market with low overhead costs. You don't need to purchase any inventory or have a stockroom, which can be expensive for new businesses. There are no upfront fees needed to get your designs on t-shirts, plus you can easily access these services via the Amazon platform. 

Additionally, you don't need to worry about ground shipping costs or customer service. Amazon will handle all this for you, so that's another major plus of using Merch by Amazon.

Moreover, you can also benefit from Amazon's automatic targeting of your t-shirts. This means you can have your product details SEO tailored to your target audience and rank higher on search results. This is vital to drive more organic traffic and sales for your products, while covering most of the Merch by Amazon costs like production and fulfillment expenses. You can also choose to opt for paid ads to have your merch appear on other platforms as well.

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Where Does Merch by Amazon Lack?

The major downside of Merch by Amazon is that it is an invitation-only platform. Being an invite-only system means that for you to have access to this service, you must have a reputable name in the e-commerce business. So if you're a newbie, this might not be the end-all start-up solution for you. 

You can do the request invitation route via their request invitation form, but you will have to provide a lot of information to prove your business's value. This ensures that customers are only purchasing from reputable sources that have successfully passed Amazon’s review process. 

Another downside is that Amazon takes a substantial cut of the sale price and there are several other fees associated with selling on the Amazon platform. When you sell merchandise via Merch by Amazon, you are entitled to a royalty on the sale of each product. Your paid royalties are calculated by taking the sale price of your product, minus any taxes that apply, as well as Amazon's operating expenses.

Amazon's prices take into account the cost of raw materials, production, fulfillment, customer support, returns, exchanges, and the resources needed to identify and prevent fraudulent activity. The costs associated with fulfillment include picking and packing your product when it is ordered by a customer as well as transporting your goods to the consumer. This includes the cost of shipping for qualifying orders that qualify for Amazon Prime and free shipping.

For instance, for a $15.99 shirt, you would only get about $1.99 per shirt sold. This may be a downside, however, if you compare Merch by Amazon to other e-commerce sites, the cost of production and shipping is relatively cheaper when compared with other e-commerce sites.

This is what separates Merch by Amazon compared to typical Amazon sellers who have to carry out all the activities mentioned above and more to make a sale. Think of it this way: it's as if Amazon is an investor taking a considerable chunk of your company, and, in exchange, helps you produce more products.

What Does Merch by Amazon Mean For E-Commerce Sellers?

Merch by Amazon provides a great opportunity for new e-commerce sellers to get started with minimal upfront costs. With this platform, you don't need to worry about production, shipping, and customer service. All that is taken care of for you by Amazon. This allows sellers to focus more energy on doing what they love, like creating new designs or marketing their business.

Furthermore, it doesn't take too much time for products to start selling due to Amazon's strong customer base and search engine optimization. The platform also makes it easier for you to cater to a larger audience with its international reach.

Overall, Merch by Amazon is an amazing opportunity for e-commerce sellers who want to add t-shirts as another product offering in their line. But again, the caveat is that for you to be a shoe-in to the Merch by Amazon program you should already have a reputable following and business. Think of it like Shark Tank, where Amazon is the sole shark investing in your designs.

Nonetheless, it is an excellent way to get started in e-commerce as it provides a great platform for businesses looking to expand their product offerings. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have Amazon’s marketing power behind you. Not to mention, Merch by Amazon is a great way to diversify your product offerings and earn additional passive income.


Final Tips for Amazon Sellers

Remember, it takes a great deal of work and patience to get into the Merch by Amazon program. Once you've been accepted, make sure to research your competition's designs and prices. Monitor customer feedback closely and use that information to refine your product offerings. Lastly, don't forget about marketing your products on social media or through email campaigns.


Good luck and happy selling!

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