The concepts of eco-friendliness, economy, and ergonomics, which have become incredibly popular over the past two years, have helped spread and expand the print-on-demand approach worldwide. As a result, even children can now open their print-on-demand store, and no investment is required to launch it.
If you decide to launch your print-on-demand business, there are a few things you need to know about running such a business, and before you start, you need to familiarize yourself with the different options.
Below, we will take a look at the scheme for launching an online print-on-demand store on Amazon.
Merch by Amazon
The difference between an Amazon store and a specific print-on-demand platform (Printify, Shopify, etc.) is that you should adhere to the rules of the global aggregator and take into account the nuances of interaction not only with customers but also with partners and the platform as a whole.
To simplify documentation and formal procedures for setting up and running a business, Amazon has developed the Merch by Amazon system, operating since 2015.
Merch by Amazon is explicitly designed for print-on-demand stores. Therefore, the main difference from the POD services mentioned above is that the tool is adapted for Amazon and does not support the processes that you conduct through your website or third-party online stores.
How to set up Merch by Amazon for your POD store?
Once you’re connected to Merch by Amazon, you are entitled to royalties, and it’s completely free.
To get started, you should follow the next steps:
- Register at Amazon. This is the first and easiest step and does not require any additional effort.
- Submit your Merch by Amazon registration request. Yes, you can’t just go and register with Merch by Amazon – you need Amazon approval for that. This is the most difficult stage since you may need to wait three months to a year until the company checks and evaluates your application.
To complete this step, you should fill in the form, including your personal and business information and bank account and tax ID data.
- Put up ten trial items in various designs for sale. After Amazon approves your application, you will only be able to list ten items for sale upon request. The design may vary. The essence of this stage is for the company to ensure that there is demand for your products and that you conduct business by all the rules established by the aggregator.
- After successfully selling ten items, submit more as your quotas increase. Merch by Amazon sets up to 8 levels (from 10 to 8000 products); after successful completion, you can sell products in unlimited quantities. If any of your products (or design categories) have not sold within a year, Amazon deletes them automatically.
- Find your POD-niche. Passing eight levels from Amazon will help you determine which design and product category you are most successful in. For example, perhaps jeans will be more profitable than jackets, and bright prints related to the latest movie scenes will attract more customers than retro monochrome.
Some tips about how to get your Amazon shop working right
So you’ve already got Amazon approval to sell your print-on-demand products. Now is the time for research and analytics, iterations, and additions.
- Add the products that are in demand. Start by displaying products that are understandable to a wider audience. Avoid adding highly specific motives that will be foreign to the uninitiated. Only after completing the first levels can you experiment with categories and designs. In this process, observe which products are selling the best. You can do it manually or use special analytics tools (like HelloProfit)
- Explore trends not only among your existing customers but also among the leads. To do this, you should research competitors’ stores (both on Amazon and third-party sites), or you can also use common tools such as Google Trends.
- Use automation tools. Explicitly designed to automate print-on-demand processes, tools like PODza will save you time on repetitive processes and optimize frequently used tasks for your store’s needs. Plus, they help to reduce the number of employees required to run your store.
- Get a trademark. Amazon provides the opportunity to obtain a trademark for design print products upon request. To do this, you must ensure that the product is successful among buyers (as your metrics will tell you) and that the design is unique and has no analogs or a registered owner. To complete the procedure, it will be enough to contact the Amazon team and go through the necessary stages of confirming the uniqueness of the design or product.
Partnering with Amazon to launch and promote your print-on-demand online store is a good idea if you’re a beginner and adhere to established rules and standards. However, as with any platform, Merch by Amazon has both advantages and disadvantages compared with an independent website or 3rd part services. The most important ones are listed below.
Disadvantages of Merch by Amazon:
- Limited price flexibility. You can only set prices within limits allowed by Amazon. Therefore, to avoid excessive production costs and get the maximum ROI and profit, you need to calculate the production costs and the estimated profit from each item in advance.
- Low royalties. Perhaps, on other platforms, this metric is higher, but given the cost-effectiveness of processes, this is not crucial.
- Limited international shipping options. Merch by Amazon only ships to the US, UK, Europe, and Japan. If you don’t aim to sell to other countries, it’s okay, but it can be such a restrictive point if you want to reach a global audience.
Advantages of Merch by Amazon:
- High visibility and priority. One of the largest retailers in the world is pushing store merchandise from Merch by Amazon. You don’t need to think about SEO, targeting, competition with internal Amazon sellers. You can use optimization and ranking strategies as an additional promotion effort, but this is not a priority if you work with Merch by Amazon.
- Ready-for-use free platform. You don’t have to worry about something going wrong because the platform has built-in process optimization tools and supports the use of specialized services (PODza).
- Trademark getting opportunity. Obtaining a copyright and trademark license is a competitive advantage of the platform. It won’t be easy to get the coveted label on your own, while with Merch by Amazon, it is enough to show that your design is unique and in demand by consumers.
So, explore these opportunities of Amazon and get additional information about how the platform works on the official website, and make the right decision for your Print on Demand business.