You’ve decided to pursue a Merch by Amazon business venture but are confronted by the concept of Merch by Amazon tiers. If you don’t already know, these are levels that Amazon sellers must climb to upload more designs onto the marketplace. More designs equal more chances of appealing to a wider audience and, ultimately, more revenue. That’s always a good thing.
Another way of optimizing your Merch by Amazon business is to use software like Merch Jar to automatically adjust your PPC bids. With this software, sellers can spend more time coming up with new and compelling designs, knowing their PPC campaigns are in capable hands.
For now, though, let’s take a closer look at Merch by Amazon tiers. We’re going to look at the criteria for each tier, as well as how to climb them.
Merch by Amazon tiers refers to the number of designs sellers are allowed to upload onto the marketplace. It’s a concept that Amazon implements to stop the market from being flooded with designs and to ensure a good customer experience.
After you’ve signed up to Merch by Amazon and your account is approved, you’ll begin with a limit of 10 designs. These, however, can be spread across any number of Amazon’s print-on-demand products. For example, if you upload 10 designs, you can create hundreds of listings for products like t-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts, all featuring one of those 10 designs. In other words, one design can be used for any number of products. Designs must be unique and high quality to survive on the Merch by Amazon marketplace.
Once you’ve sold 10 products, you’ll move gradually up the following tiers:
While you can upload your own unique designs to Merch by Amazon, there are naturally some Merch by Amazon best practices, as well as strict guidelines you must follow:
Let’s look at some examples of Merch by Amazon products:
Tank tops: The below design is simple. However, the tank top comes in a variety of colors and can be ordered for both men and women. You’ll also notice that the listing advertises the fact this is an Amazon Merch product and highlights the ‘Extra Savings’ the buyer can enjoy.
T-shirts: Below is an example of how to create a Merch by Amazon t-shirt. You’ll notice there’s an ‘Upload’ button on the t-shirt itself so that you can see what your it’ll look like before your listing goes live.
Getting out of Tier 10 might be simpler than you think. There is a fair amount of competition across Merch by Amazon, so you need a solid strategy to climb those tiers quickly. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of four ways that you can get ahead of the game and stand a better chance of selling your merch.
When you sell on Merch by Amazon, you can (and should!) not only promote your products elsewhere but also sell them through different channels.
For example, as your designs are not exclusive to Amazon, you can open a Shopify store and sell your designs through that using a different manufacturer or PoD service. This will help you maximize your reach.
As well as having your own store, and selling via Merch by Amazon, of course, promote your products through the likes of Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Discuss topics related to your designs and generate a buzz around your brand. If your designs are related to nature, for instance, you could target all the nature lovers out there with interesting nature facts and anecdotes.
If you’re selling high volumes, you might also consider sponsored product ad campaigns through Amazon’s PPC service. Merch Jar, for example, helps you to target the right keywords with your sponsored ads for a winning bidding strategy to drive interest and conversions. The more people see your products, the more opportunity you have to showcase your unique and creative designs to the right people.
Pricing is a tricky business. Amazon pays its Merch by Amazon sellers royalties for the products they sell. The actual amount varies greatly. For example, for a $15.99 t-shirt, sellers will get a royalty of $1.93. On the other hand, if you price your t-shirt at $25.99, you’ll get $9.32. Obviously, the latter is much more appealing.
While it’s tempting to price your products high to feel like it’s worth your time and effort, consider starting off on the low side. You need to build up trust and a customer base before you can charge premium prices. You also want to get yourself out of Tier 10 as quickly as possible, which will be harder to achieve through high prices.
Be mindful of competitor prices but also be mindful of their reputation, number of reviews, and how long they’ve been with the program. In all likelihood, if a seller is selling the same products as you at much higher prices, they’ve probably earned the right to do so with consistently high-quality designs and a loyal customer base. When you’ve sold more products, you can begin increasing your prices gradually as you move from tier to tier.
As well as taking advantage of holiday seasons, like Christmas, 4th of July, and Valentine’s Day, it’s also helpful to identify evergreen trends. This is opposed to fleeting trends that don’t stand the test of time. For example, remember when ‘Live, Love, Laugh’ signs were a thing? This trend peaked between 2008 and 2012 and has slowly died off since.
While it’s great to get in on recurring seasonal trends, ones that pass offer little lifetime value. This means that when you identify rising and rapid trends, you either need to get in quickly with advertising your designs or avoid them altogether.
While it’s perfectly fine to cash in on rapid trends, ideally, you want your designs to stand the test of time rather than be seen as irrelevant or even embarrassing in a time to come. Evergreen trends, content, and designs are those that are always relevant and appealing, regardless of how much time has passed.
Google Trends is a great way to find evergreen themes for your designs. Type in your topic idea and search ‘Interest over time’. You’ll be presented with a chart. The chart should be fairly consistent and not experience either gradual or rapid declines.
Below is an example of an evergreen design. The sweatshirt features the classic ‘AUSTIN’ message that’s been a consistently popular design for many years.
This is a really simple way to get around Amazon’s tier algorithm, provided you have the money to do so. It also gives you a nice boost in Amazon’s ranking system. Buy 10 of your products and consider it an investment in your business. Once you pass that first milestone, you can go on to upload even more designs that potentially appeal to many more consumers.
You might also ask friends and family to purchase your products and leave an (honest) review. This will increase your credibility and your store rank in Amazon Merch.
If you’re selling your designs through Merch by Amazon, you want to climb the tiers as quickly as possible to remove limitations and grow your business. Follow the four tips above to get from one tier to another. Most importantly, don’t give up. Keep at it and you’ll begin seeing more success with each tier.
Do you have a lot of Merch by Amazon product listings? Merch Jar might be the Amazon ad management platform for you. Our software helps Amazon sellers maximize their conversions by creating and automating highly-targeted PPC campaigns. You can get started with us for free today.