Just under 3 months ago I was tiered up to Tier 2000 and was hoping that this was going to be the turning point in Merch by Amazon and I would start to return a profit after all the hours I’d been putting in.
I’ve been continually uploading and producing new designs and last week I passed the 2000 sales mark and got one of the beautiful notifications in Pretty Merch that we all look forward to:
So you may be wondering how I managed to tier up so quickly and if there are any secrets to my success so far and how I managed to get to Tier 4000…
Well, unfortunately, the honest truth is that there is no silver bullet and that most of this success comes from a direct result of the effort that I have put in.
There are loads of different ways that you can approach Merch, from focusing on smaller niches, jumping on trends, finding evergreens, trying to penetrate bigger niches, using AMS etc etc, but my recommendation would be to find one approach that works for you, that you can keep repeating until you start to see sales coming in.
My approach to Merch so far has been to try and work in smaller niches, where there is less competition, but also less sales. Focusing on selling a few shirts a month of lots of different designs rather than having a best seller really appeals to me as you stay under the radar and away from the copy cats.
That being said… the thing that pushed me over the line recently and brought me in a huge number of sales in the past few weeks was a trend that I jumped onto…
Chasing Trends / Events
If you’re in a low tier then this can be a great strategy to get tiered up quickly, because if you can jump on a trend early enough, your sales will spike and those tiers will come tumbling down for you.
Check out the sales that boosted my account on a trend I got on recently:
The trouble is… how do you get on a trend?
For me I think there are 3 key factors to do this:
1 – You need to be one of the first to market.
Start by looking at events, celebrations, festivals, holidays that are 4 months away from today’s date. There are heaps of calendars you can find to help you with this and just get in a good practice of checking these out on a weekly basis and making some designs for these themes.
2 – You need to have a great design
Focus on creating a quality design, rather than pumping out loads of cheaper variations. I’d recommend paying a little more for an illustrator if possible or purchasing some relevant designs assets to make your design stand out. Remember, it’s going to get very crowded so your design is really going to need to jump off of the page
3 – Get Eyes on your Design
Creating a great listing with keyword optimised titles and bullets is a MUST, however, once you’ve done this, dust down your wallet and spend a few bucks on AMS to really push your design out there. If you’ve got a good design then using AMS to push it in front of a captive audience will really boost your sales.
The beauty of AMS is that not only will you make sales through your advertised listings but your BSR will improve and you’ll make more sales organincally as well.
This is also a good way to test your design and potentially make subtle changes. For example if you’ve got 10 clicks on your design and no sales, then maybe try a different version of the text, swap out the font or change the design slightly.
The Mutli Uploader Tool
If you haven’t got access to it yet, then this is what it looks like and is simply a HUGE, timesaver. Full credit to the Merch team as this tool is awesome and means you can upload your design to 10 products in one go, as well as T-Shirts to the UK and Germany.
The thing I love about this most of all is it shows us the direction Merch is going in and I wouldn’t be suprised if in a few years you can publish your design to 20+ products in a variety of markets at the click of a button.
The only downside that I can see with this is that you need to be extra careful about Trademark violations and adding designs suitable for children as there’s been a few times when something slipped through my process and resulted in 10 rejections just from 1 mistake…
Tank Tops are Here
Another reason for my tier up recently has been the addition of tank tops, which are doing pretty well for me in certain niches. Not sure how long this will last though as I guess they are more of a summertime thing, but at the moment, they’re a perfect compliment to my T-Shirts.
I think one of the key’s to success with Merch is consistency and one of the driving forces for me has been my subscription to Design Pickle. I bought an annual subscription with them last year and have been really happy with the service so far.
The main thing I like is that I need to keep creating ideas for my designer to work on, otherwise, I’m paying for him to do nothing… and being the tight ass that I am, I don’t like wasting money.
This pushes me to have a backlog of ideas primed and ready for him to work on and means I have a steady stream of designs that I can upload to Merch and to the other platforms using Orbitkit
The 4 Day Week
One other thing that has really helped me dial up things in the past 6 weeks since I came back from travelling is that I’ve gone down to a 4 day week at my current day job.
I can not stress how awesome this is. I wake up on Monday mornings and I don’t mind going to work, as I know I only have 2 days of work to do, before I can spend the whole of Wednesday cracking out stuff for Merch.
This just gives me enough time now to have a cool day job, build up my Merch business and gives me time to do some of those enjoyable things in life like spending time with my girlfriend, enjoying the sunshine on the 1 day we get a year here in the UK, and of course it means I get more time to go to the boozer as well hahahah!
Seriously though, as I’m a freelancer, working 1 day less a week is a big dent in my pay check, however, this is another huge motivation to build up my Merch business to at least equal the amount that I would have earned on that day… the good news is that I’m not that far away from achieving this!!!
My goal is to reach Tier 6000 by Q4 and I think that should be achievable if I keep on focusing on Merch.
I’m going to keep using Design Pickle to roll out my scaled designs and using them for access to Getty Images, however, I’m also trialing Penji at the moment (mainly for custom illustrations) and have hired 4 illustrators on Upwork to roll out a series of tank tops for me. I’ll probably take on the person who provides me with the best designs for custom illustrations as well.
I’m also going to try a different angle and focus on more quality designs and entering larger niches to see if that can work. To be honest the thrill I got from the trend I got onto recently was incredible and I want to have that feeling again. It got to a point where the Pretty Merch dings were becoming quite annoying…. but that’s one heck of a position to be in!!!
Anyway, onwards and upwards guys…. stop reading this and get back to Merch!!!
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