What is Merch by Amazon and how does it work?

What you’ll learn

  • What is Merch by Amazon
  • How to get started and create an account with Merch by Amazon
  • Things to consider if you decide that Amazon merch is for you

Looking to get started with Merch by Amazon but don’t know how and where to begin?

Look no further, you have come to the right guide because by the end, you’ll know how it works, how to get started, and the important points of what to look for.

The Amazon FBA program made it possible for many Amazon sellers to start their own brands, source their own products, and generate revenue while being in charge of their time and in control of their resources.

The program elevates this approach further for people wanting to sell merchandise in the form of print designs on shirts, sweaters, hats, and basic clothing form factors.

The main point is to eliminate manufacturing your products, inventory risk, and all other business processes. The only thing you have to do is create designs and let Amazon handle all the printing and manufacturing for you. Amazon offers faster shipping than what you will likely offer.

You’re responsible for creating the design, while Amazon brings your design to life, then you collect a royalty on every sale.

Even though Merch by Amazon offers other products like phone cases and pop sockets, its major product is clothing; shirts, and sweaters. In the future, I’m sure Amazon will add more products into the Merch program. Whether you are already selling apparel in your FBA business, looking into becoming a Merch by Amazon seller should be something to consider.

  • But what is it for sellers?
  • How does it work?
  • What is a royalty and how are they calculated? 
  • What’s the best way to set up a Merch by Amazon seller Account?

These and many more will be answered in this article. So, read on to find out!

What is Merch by Amazon?

merch designs

Merch by Amazon is a platform for creators to sell their merch artwork with no upfront cost. It’s Amazon’s version to compete with other Print on Demand websites. Make money by selling designs that you created and own, does not infringe on intellectual property like trademarks and copyright.

If a shopper sees and likes it on Amazon and makes a purchase, Amazon will then print it on the product, and ship it to the customer. This is one of the easiest entries to business with very little to no out-of-pocket expense.

 Here is how it works:

  • You create your own quality designs and upload designs on the Amazon platform platform.
  • You choose which merch product you want it to printed on.
  • You set the price you want the design to sell.
  • You hit the “publish” button to make your work public.
  • Amazon will display it on their website in their search results.
  • If someone buys it, the item is printed and then shipped to the customer.
  • You earn a royalty for every sale.

What are royalties? How are royalty rates calculated?

This is the fun part of the Merch program. Each time a buyer pays for any of your designs, you earn a royalty on the sale. If you sell physical products on Amazon, Amazon takes a commission for each item you sell. But with merch, you get the royalty for each merch sale.

Your royalty is based on your product’s purchase price less any applicable tax, and less Amazon’s costs. Amazon costs include materials, production, fulfillment, customer service, returns, exchanges, and resources required to detect and prevent fraud.

Merch Amazon FAQ

Quick calculations are as follows for t-shirt examples if sold in the US or UK:

Selling one shirt here and there is not going to make you a fortune. A royalty of $2.21 on a shirt sold for $15.99 is a 13.8% royalty. But if you can sell high-end designs, the royalty of $9.77 on a $25.99 shirt is 37.6%.

What a difference.

The following factors are included in Amazon’s costs:

  • Fraud protection
  • Handling returns and exchanges
  • Packing and purchase ground shipping at an Amazon fulfillment center
  • Materials and production

Picking and packing your goods when the consumer orders them and shipping your product to the customer (including shipping for Amazon Prime members and Free Shipping qualifying orders) are part of fulfillment costs which we’ve gone over in our detailed seller fees guide.

On the royalties alone, if you are going to use Merch by Amazon, it’s going to be better to sell high-end designs. It’s easier to sell one item and get a 37% royalty, than sell 3 items for the same royalty amount.

What is the merch design process Like?

What’s great about Amazon Merch is that you can create your designs using any medium, from Photoshop to Canva, or even hand-draw your designs and convert it to digital format. If you’re not a professional t-shirt designer or a graphic designer, there are so many tools online that you can use to create a brand design.

Image standards

To get the most of the Merch program, your custom Amazon t-shirt design should conform to the following standards:

  • Image size should be around 15 x 18-inch printable area.
  • Save your image as a 300 dpi PNG file
  • Create your artwork using RGB color.
  • Make sure your final fine is less than 25MB.
  • Ensure your designs do not include any prohibited elements, as contained in Amazon account content policy.
  • Avoid misleading text in your merch design.

Infringing content warning

The most important thing is to be very careful with infringing content. Here’s what they say.

Triple check, and then triple check again that whatever you design is not registered, copyrighted, trademarked. Check from the following databases:

If you have extensive experience with FBA, then you are likely well aware of how important this is. Whatever you do, do NOT copy or take someone’s photo, drawing, design, art, or digital image from the internet. Sell your own designs. Period.

It’s only a matter of time before it gets taken down, your account gets suspended and you lose selling privileges.

Offensive or controversial content

If your design does not infringe on any intellectual property, follow these guidelines so that you don’t get banned.

  • Content that promotes, incites or glorifies hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promotes organizations with such views.
  • Content that graphically portrays violence or victims of violence.
  • Content depicting children or characters resembling children in a sexually suggestive manner.
  • Youth sized products that contain adult content, profanity and/or sexual references.
  • Content related to human tragedies and natural disasters.
  • Content using profanity to attack a group or individual.
  • Content that promotes illegal activity.
  • Sexually obscene content.
  • Inflammatory content.

Want more advanced Amazon tactics to boost sales?

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What if you are not a designer?

People with skills, work for people with ideas.

Jim Cockrum

I love that quote because it is so true. If you think you must know everything and do everything yourself, then you will fail.

Designing is no different. Do you think Jeff Bezos is on photoshop removing backgrounds from images being listed on Amazon? Or coding the next version of the buy now button?

Even if you don’t know how to hold a pencil, you can sell great designs but outsource the creative work to someone who is an expert.

Better yet, a design doesn’t have to be a drawing. A word or pun can sell just as well. But for other designs, here are some ways to go about doing it.

Hire a designer on Fiverr

If you go to Fiverr, there are thousands of offerings like this. They will send you a file that you can edit. All the work has been done for you and you can edit what you want.

merch designs fiverr
credit Fiverr

Be cautious with what you buy and who you buy from on Fiverr because if the same designs are sold hundreds of times, who owns the copyright to your design?

Although some words may be different, if the overall design is the same, you can get taken down for infringing on someone else’s design.

Post a job on UpWork

To avoid the pitfall of Fiverr and being sold a copyrighted, trademarked or cookie cutter design, consider posting a job on UpWork or other freelance sites.

This way, you can define what theme and direct the creative direction. This will be more hands on work as you have to give input, ideas and have knowledge of what you want to achieve.

It will be pricier than Fiverr, but you can get excellent designs that is 100% unique and owned by you. You can see current job posts and see what the going rate is and what requirements are needed.

Reach out to designers directly

Dribbble or Behance are designer communities you can use to go through the portfolios of designers and then contact them directly if they are available for work. Linkedin is another source.

This is always our preferred method as the quality is 10x higher. It is the difference between cheaply designed template shirts that sell for $15 vs eye-popping designs that people want to wear for $40. It’s time-consuming, but it has worked for us 100% of the time because we can cut out all the fake and wannabe designers from Fiverr or UpWork.

I would take designs over Fiverr any day. Wouldn’t you?

tshirt artwork designs

Step by Step: Setting up a Merch by Amazon seller account

Setting up a merch account is the same as setting up an FBA seller account too. Have the following basic information handy:

  • SSN
  • Business name
  • Business address
  • Documentation like a bill or incorporation letter that matches your business name and address (I highly advise you NOT to use just a personal bill and home address as your account will get flagged and suspended before you can even start).
  • Bank account and routing numbers
  • Business contact details

Once you have the above information ready, follow the steps below to create your merch seller account:

Step 1

Visit the official webpage of Merch by Amazon via https://merch.amazon.com/landing and click on the “Request Invitation” button.

Step 2

Sign in to your regular Amazon account and proceed to click on the “Begin Application” button. Please note that at this stage you may be required to enter your mobile number for two-step verification.

Step 3

This will lead you to your account page, enter your business name or your Amazon account t-shirt business, and your country. If you do not have an existing business, you can enter your full name. The next step is to enter your bank details so that you can receive your royalties.

Step 4

Enter your tax information and print your tax interview for record purposes. Click “exit interview” on the tax confirmation page. This should take you to the account information page. Click the “Save and Continue” button to proceed to the Request Invitation Form.

Step 5

Enter your:

  • Business or brand name
  • Industry (app developers, novelty t-shirts, etc)
  • A short description of your business and what you intend to achieve with the Merch program. You need to be honest in every information you provide!

Step 6

This is the stage where you’d have to wait to get approved by Amazon. The average waiting time is around 14 days for most content creators. You can take this time to explore designs and downloadable templates, review Amazon’s content policy, or even browse frequently asked questions. In fact, this would be a great time to design your business logo if you’ve not done so.

Step 7

If your application is successful, you will receive an email from Amazon to that effect. Congratulation! You now have a merch seller account. Login to your account to view your Amazon dashboard and upload your first design.

Consider Merch by Amazon as another income source

If you already sell online, Merch is another potential revenue source where the risk is low and the money required to start is minimal.

If you don’t gain traction with your first design, don’t worry, upload a new design and keep trying. Consistency is key in any business and the Merch program is not an exception. Continue uploading new merch products and trying new things.

You must also follow all the listing optimization guidelines in order for your designs to be visible in the search results. Running ads is going to be key to gaining traction too.

As you keep up with the trend, feel free to share your experiences with us using the comment box below.


Is Amazon Merch free?

Merch by Amazon is absolutely free of charge with no upfront costs you have to pay to Amazon.

What is a Merch by Amazon?

Merch by Amazon is an on-demand t-shirt printing service powered by Amazon. The service allows sellers to design and upload their custom t-shirts on Amazon for free. Sellers are paid royalties when a customer buys their t-shirts.

Is Merch by Amazon legit?

Of course, Merch by Amazon is 100% legit. We have heard cases where serious sellers generate continuous passive income from the program.

What are the requirements for Merch by Amazon?

The following are what you need to get started with the Merch by Amazon program:

  • A killer or best selling designs
  • A digital design studio or design software
  • A valid bank account, routing numbers, and proof of ID.

How Does Merch By Amazon Work?

The process is simple and straightforward. All you need to do is to create your design and upload the design idea to the service. Then choose which Amazon products you want it to live on. Once that is done, the next thing is to set the price you want the design to sell, the hit on the publish button. Your custom design will become public for buyers to patronize. What’s more? Amazon would take care of the t-shirt production and shipping options, while you get a royalty for every deal.


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