How Does Merch by Amazon Work? A Beginner’s Guide

May 31, 2024

Merch by Amazon is an outstanding way for creative, entrepreneurial sellers to make money in the online marketplace without taking on the risk of inventory, overhead, and shipping costs associated with opening a store of their own. 

This Merch Jar guide will help you get started by walking you through the process of creating, uploading, and selling your designs on Merch by Amazon. We'll cover everything from designing awesome products to getting paid for your sales. 

Let's get started!

What is Merch by Amazon?

Merch by Amazon (MBA) is a print-on-demand service offered by Amazon.

For those who don’t know, a print-on-demand service is a system in which products are printed only after an order is placed. With MBA, sellers upload designs and choose a selection of products (shirts, mugs, hats, etc.) to print the designs on. When an order is placed, Amazon prints the design and ships it to the customer.


Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Create an account and upload your unique artwork.
  2. Choose the product you want to sell from a wide range of options.
  3. Customize the colors to complement your design.
  4. Set an attractive price and an appealing title.
  5. Publish your creation on Amazon. Every time a customer buys an item with your design, you'll earn a royalty.

Now, let’s talk about the benefits of this service.

Benefits of Selling on Merch by Amazon

  • Fulfillment and shipping handled by Amazon: With Amazon Merch, you can create a t-shirt business that runs on autopilot. Amazon takes care of printing, shipping, returns, and customer service, allowing you to focus on crafting compelling designs.
  • Access to Amazon’s massive customer base: Leverage Amazon's global reach to create a brand that appeals to an international audience. You can also target specific countries to market your merchandise.
  • Earn royalties from your sales: Similar to Amazon KDP, you earn royalties from every sale made through Merch on Demand.
  • No need to purchase inventory upfront: As a print-on-demand model, there's no need to worry about unsold stock or purchasing inventory upfront. Amazon prints and ships orders as they come in.
  • Prime Shipping: All orders are eligible for Prime Shipping, ensuring fast delivery for your customers.

How to Sell on Merch by Amazon

1. Log in or Sign up for Merch on Demand

Previously, Merch by Amazon was open to everyone, but now it operates on an invite-only system—you’ll need to apply for an account to get started. The good news is that applications are reviewed quickly. You’ll hear back about whether you were accepted in 1 to 14 days.

Using your existing Amazon account or create a new one if you're new to Amazon. 

If you don't have a registered business, choose “Individual” for Business Type. If you do, choose “Corporation”.

Finally, add a bank account and fill in your tax information.

2. Access Your Dashboard

When your application is accepted, you’ll be able to log into your MBA merchant portal to access your dashboard.

This is where all the action happens—you can create new designs, manage existing ones, and analyze your sales. The dashboard shows your account status, including available submissions, published products, tier (seller level), and product potential (how many products are allowed on your tier).

3. Create Your First Product

To create your first product, click the “Create” button on your dashboard.

You can choose from a selection of products you’d like the design to appear on. There are quite a few to choose from, including:

  • Standard t-shirt
  • Premium t-shirt
  • V-neck t-shirt
  • Long sleeve t-shirt
  • Pullover hoodie
  • Zip hoodie sweatshirt
  • Tank top
  • Raglan
  • PopSockets grip
  • Phone case

Think about your design and decide which products you’d like to use.

4. Upload Your Artwork

Now it’s time to upload your designs. 

There are a few important rules to follow here (in addition to the formatting rules we’ll cover in a minute):

  • Illegal or infringing content: Ensure compliance with local laws and avoid using intellectual property without proper authorization.
  • Offensive or controversial content: Avoid promoting hatred, violence, intolerance, or sexually suggestive material involving children.
  • Other content not allowed: Do not solicit customer reviews, falsely claim donation proceeds, or reference product attributes.

If you lack confidence in editing, Amazon Merch on Demand offers downloadable templates to simplify the process. That said, the formatting guidelines are fairly straightforward:

  • Use the sRGB color space for digital graphics.
  • Save your files as transparent PNGs.
  • Keep the file size under 25 MB.

For each design, you can also set a localized price. Amazon will automatically calculate your estimated royalty based on the price you set.

5. Enter Product Details

Once your design is ready, select colors, set prices for each marketplace, and enter product details like title, feature bullet points, and description. 

Amazon will automatically list your products in all available marketplaces. During listing creation, you can choose to have Amazon translate your listings or provide your own translations for each language.

6. Publish

Finally, it’s time to publish your listing. Your listing will go through different statuses as Amazon reviews your creation:

  • Draft: This is the initial state while you're working on your design. It remains in draft until you submit it.
  • Under Review: After submitting your design, Amazon reviews it to ensure it doesn't violate their content policy.
  • Rejected: If your design doesn't comply with Amazon Merch's policy, it will be marked as 'Rejected.'
  • Started Process: If your design is approved, Amazon adds it to their library.
  • Processing: Shortly after, your product moves to 'Processing' as Amazon starts creating your listing.
  • Pending Your Approval: You have the option to review a sample of your design. Once you give your approval, the status changes from 'Pending Your Approval' to 'Live.'
  • Live: Once your listing is created, the status changes to 'Live,' and you can start making sales.
  • Removed: If your designs don't sell within the first 180 days of going live or violate Amazon's Content policy they’ll be removed.

Remember that updating your listing's price, title, brand, or description will restart the status process, but the previous version will still be live on Amazon wile this process is pending.

What Are Merch by Amazon Tiers?

Merch by Amazon has tiers that impact the number of products you can create and sell. You start on tier 10 with the ability to list 10 deigns. If you make 10 sales, you move up to tier 25 with the ability to list up to 25 designs.

The tiers are as follows:

  • Tier 10: Up to 10 designs.
  • Tier 25: Up to 25 designs.
  • Tier 100: Up to 100 designs.
  • Tier 500: Up to 500 designs.
  • Tier 1,000: Up to 1,000 designs.

How Are Merch by Amazon Royalties Calculated?

Merch by Amazon royalties are paid based on product sales. These royalties are based on the purchase price less taxes and Amazon’s costs (materials, production, fulfillment, customer service, returns, and exchanges). 

Generally, royalties will be between 10% and 15%. For example, a standard t-shirt that sells for $15.99 will give you a royalty of roughly $1.93.

Merch by Amazon Best Practices

  1. Use an automated ad optimization tool. Merch by Amazon sellers perform well when they have tons of designs. Unfortunately, that means managing and optimizing many ads. An automated optimization tool like Merch Jar can help take the burden off manual ad management and free up your time for other tasks. Our tool allows you to set targets for metrics like Amazon ACoS and sales, with automated changes to your ads.
  2. Use the correct keywords and product descriptions. Merch by Amazon is all about driving traffic to your listings with relevant search terms. Make sure that you use the right words when creating titles, product descriptions, and tags so your products will be found in searches. Tools like Merch Jar can help you by automatically promoting and demoting keywords based on their performance.
  3. Utilize dynamic bidding strategies. Too often, sellers set and forget bids without changing them depending on the context of the search query. Merch by Amazon is highly competitive, so having a dynamic pricing strategy can help keep your ACoS in check. Use Merch Jar to adjust bids automatically throughout the day for maximum efficiency and cost savings.
  4. Take your time with designs. Quality is important. While it can be tempting to build up a massive product catalog quickly, taking the time to create high-quality designs and product descriptions will pay off eventually. Invest in a good designer or invest your own time into creating quality products that customers will love.
  5. Find a niche. Finding an underserved niche is the best way to carve out a piece of the pie. Research customer trends and what’s currently available on the platform to find opportunities for unique products that will stand out from the competition.


That's how you can effortlessly create a business with your designs in just a few clicks. Understanding the process and learning how to sell on Merch by Amazon is a crucial step in embarking on your merchandise journey. Before starting, it's important to familiarize yourself with the website's procedures, techniques, and rules.

At Merch Jar, our goal is to stay ahead of trends, optimize listings, and make data-driven decisions on your behalf. We help you automate the process, so you can focus on design, marketing, and growing your brand. 

Experience Merch Jar for yourself with a 30-day free trial.