After waiting nearly 9 months to get my Merch by Amazon account accepted, the next step was to finally start selling some tshirts so how did I go about this and what did I learn over the past few months?
Earlier in the year Merch changed their sign up process somewhat so instead of applying and waiting months to get accepted most people are now getting accepted after about a week of applying. This is actually how I got onto the programme in the end by simply reapplying for my account.
The next thing to mention is that it seems time a lot easier to tier up these days than it used to be as well. Previously you were given 10 tshirt slots to fill and when you sold 10 tshirts you were tiered up to 25.
Sell 25 to get tiered up to 100 and then 100 to move up to tier 500 etc etc.
What happened with me?
I sold one tshirt and bought 2 of my own shirts then was tiered up to 25
I filled up my slots immediately and sold maybe 5 shirts for the Royal Wedding and got tiered up to 100
I quickly filled up all 100 slots and probably sold about another 20 shirts then magically my account was tiered up to 500 … Ding dong!!!
So it seems that Amazon are a little more relaxed about the numbers you need to sell now, which in one way is good news for the newbies but also bad in another way as it means more competition.
The other thing to note with these changes, the daily upload limit has increased.
- Tier 10 = 1 per day
- Tier 25 = 3 per day
- Tier 100 = 10 per day
- Tier 500 = 50 per day
Tips for getting quickly to tier 500
Fill your slots
I think this metric is actually more important than sales because as soon as I had all my slots filled up, they gave me more. If you get stuck filling your slots then do some simple colour variations or upload each design to the 5 different product types. You can always remove these later if you have new designs you want to put up.
Add your designs to other platforms
I added all of my designs to eBay and Etsy as well and used promoted listings to drive traffic, which resulted in a few extra sales. With these sales I would then buy the shirt from Amazon, add the customers delivery address and get it delivered to them using my Amazon Prime account. Even though this meant I was paying two sets of fees it meant I could increase my Best Seller Rank (BSR) and chalk off a few sales on my account.
As much as I hate doing it, at least in tiers 10 and 25 I would keep your price as low as possible to give yourself that competitive edge. Yes, it sucks when you get a sale and only make 8 cents, but initially you’re not in it for the profit and need to think more about scaling your account instead.
I would always recommend doing your own research, creating a few designs and doing your own bullets and descriptions, but as soon as you have got the hang of things I would hop on over to upwork.com and outsource some of these tasks to a Virtual Assistant.
- If you’re not a great designer you can hire someone for less than $5 per design and you can focus on niche research instead.
- If you’re not a good researcher , get someone to do the niche research for you instead.
- You could actually outsource the whole lot and get someone to do your bullets and descriptions as well, depending on whether you are poor in either money or time.
Just remember you aren’t allowed to get anyone to do you uploading for you as that is strictly against Amazon’s Terms of Service
Personally I did everything myself apart from the design work which I outsourced to 3 different designers. I just send them the keywords and a brief and they come back a day or so later with the designs.
For $5 a pop the quality wasn’t bad at all. I mean you’re not going to get a high end complex design for that price, but they were better than about 80% of the shirts I see on Merch!!!
What helped me get to Tier 500?
Remember you are right at the start of your journey and there is so much to learn out here but try not to get frustrated and take it step by step.
Consume as much information as you can in all mediums and try to soak it up.
The first thing I did was join all of he Facebook groups and listen to as many podcasts as I could on he subject and here are my favourites:
- Jersey Merch – run by a real hustler from New Jersey who is looking to build a massive business from merch
- Merch Minds – run by Yong (a designer) and Glenn who is a full time online hustler
- Merch Lifestyle – Another useful podcast with hosts Spencer and Shannon covering multiple PODs but mainly Merch by Amazon
- Merch mastermind – Run by RJ Martinez and friennds… really useful practical advice
- Merch by Amazon – Run by Chris Green, one of the forefathers of the Merch Movement
- Merch Empire – This it the Facebook Group for the Jersey boys
There is a ton of info out there and you’ll find most people in the community more than happy to help.
Every man and his dog is out there selling an Amazon service, plugin or course at the moment, so be a little careful where you spend your money.
However, there are 2 standout tools that you can not do without:
The weekly weekly Merch Momentum newsletter from Michael Essany is a must have accessory for every Merch by Amazon enthusiast out there. At $10 a month this is an absolute bargain as it is packed full of tips on keywords, strategies and general tips to help you build your merch business.
The final thing that you should purchase is Merch Informer, which you can get for about $20 a month and is full of awesome features. Its main focus is to help you to do keyword research and find which niches are competitive or not, but recently they launched an awesome design tool as well, which is specifically tailored to making merch designs
Remember at this stage it’s all about building your business up and gaining knowledge, not money, so get your head down and start cracking out those designs.
If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s free and easy to apply for – DO THIS NOW