Episode 007: Neil L | $150k+ | Selling Tees on Merch By Amazon

  • $150k With Merch by Amazon

  • Merch Hacking – Do’s Don’t’s

  • Getting that First Sale and Beyond

Neil L | $150k+ Selling Tees Merch By Amazon Success Story Interview Summary

YouTube Video

 

Resources Mentioned

MerchInformer.com – Popular Merch By Amazon Research Tool

  • Extra Valuable Info is Highlighted in Green
  • Mateen, (Interviewer): Bold and Italic Text
  • Neil: Normal Text

Merch by Amazon, I hear it everywhere. It’s kinda new isn’t?

It came out a year and a half ago, it’s fairly new as amazon goes.

What is the platform of merch by Amazon?

It is a print by demand service where you can upload a design and they will pay you a royalty if that design sells. They hold all the inventory, they all the customer support. All you do is upload designs add a few bullet points, they will slap it on the shirt and print it when it sells.

All you have to do is do your proper research and then upload designs and then amazon takes care of the rest, you have a money page on amazon that generates royalties everyday for you.

 

I think the benefit with amazon is amount of traffic they get because print on demand isn’t new right?

Merch by amazon is essentially the first time I’ve given print on demand a real shot and yeah others don’t have much traffic as amazon does.

 

I’ve read some statistics on amazon where there is one every two dollars on ecommerce is spent on amazon.

They’re right around 50% all ecommerce sales are done on amazon and it’s just growing year by year.

 

Do you think anyone can do merch by amazon or do you reckon there’s a special skill set that you need to get into it?

I think anyone can learn how to do it, it’s fairly easy. You don’t really need to be a designer, I’m certainly not. That can all be outsourced, also simple designs with photoshop or paint and you can type on a keyboard, you can definitely sell on merch.

 

Especially with youtube these days, you can teach yourself how to do a few decent designs.

That’s exactly what I did. I downloaded photoshop, went to youtube looked up a few tutorials about how to do a few interesting things, nothing advance at all. And that’s all that I needed to start making sales.

 

What did you do at school before you got into your first online venture?

Back in 2012, I was working at target while I was in college for political science and economics. I though I wanted to go to law school but at the time I dreaded my job so I was looking at ways to get out. And I landed on a flippa listing of website, and I thought that’s pretty simple, I can probably do that. That led down the rabbit hole of learning how to make a website.

Started teaching myself how to do all of that which grew into a decent affiliate business and I quit my job soon after.

 

What did you do after that?

I experimented with different affiliate website earning methods. I ran paid traffic on facebook, pop traffic, I ran native ads and lost tons of money. I basically tried a little bit of everything; huge affiliate websites are basically my bread and butter until merch launched then I started doing both.

 

So many designs did you get uploaded at any given time?

Right now at the account that I control personally, I have 1,100-1,200.

The tier that I’m at now has a limit of 8,000. The max tier that I’ve heard of is 10,000 but I don’t think many people are there.

 

Do you also have a limit? Like 2 a day?

The limit increases as you get tiered up.

 

What’s the general process, what’s the day to day activities that you do for your merch business?

It all comes down to doing proper research, other than that I outsource everything. My entire process is to find a niche on amazon that already has demand in it. Coz I don’t want to waste my time uploading designs that no one’s gonna look for, it’s a waste of my time, waste of resources and waste of amazon space.

 

I guess if people are searching for it then you have a chance.

Right so if I can find a niche that’s already getting sales my goal is to find a niche that has demand and then offer those people a better product that’s already been offered. It basically comes down to research; if you’re artistically inclined or you don’t have any money to outsource in the beginning you can easily teach yourself photoshop that’s paid but you can use gimp which is free.

 

I loved using gimp before, it’s pretty much the same thing.

Yeah exactly, and there’s like a ton of tutorials on youtube that’ll get you started.

And other than that, it’s just uploading and having a good understanding of keywords to make sure that your designs are found amongst any of the competition you might have.

 

So with amazon do you need to have the keyword density, mention the same keyword throughout the article, is it the same case with amazon or once they’ve got the keyword in it then you come up on the search result?

A little of both. The two places that matter are the title and the bullet points. You want to have your main keyword and your title as well as your bullet points but you don’t want to come across as keyword stuffing. Technically, amazon’s really not cool with that although a lot of people do it so basically I put the main keyword in the title but then my bullet points I’ll do in sentence form, write something that’s coherent.

 

So when you say the bullet points are you talking about in the description the last bit of text box right?

No, when you click on an amazon listing you have the title, you see the brand and then they’ll be some bullet points. There is a description and you can fill that out as well but the description from my experience really doesn’t have much to do with ranking the products but the descriptions gonna show up on mobile and it’s also gonna be what meta box shows in google.

 

Is the research process probably the most important part of the whole thing?

Yes, hands down.

 

So for someone that’s just starting. When you say research, what should you be doing?

Every product on amazon has something called amazon BSR (Best Sellers Rank). So if you go to any product that has sold at least one unit, you scroll down you’ll find a little product description box and in that they’ll tell you what the best sellers rank is in this specific category. And amazon started breaking them down into subcategories. But how I built my merch by amazon business, is I would look strictly at the best sellers rank in clothing and I would find something around the 100,000 BSR range coz that to me says that it’s selling about one unit a day. It’s gonna be different for each category but we’re mainly focusing on clothing, because merch by amazon, so I basically play the numbers game, if I have a thousand slots and I can upload a thousand shirts, I want each one to sell one a day. It’s essentially my goal.

I’ll go through and search for different keywords, different niches and I’ll look for designs that are selling about one a day. I’ll look at the keywords that those specific designs are using and then I’ll try to come up with a better design or I’ll send it off to my designer that actually has some artistic talents and tell him to come back with something better than what’s currently being offered.

 

What does amazon have with the whole concept of designs that are too similar, do they have an issue with that? I know with the FBA thing you can’t sell the same product on different listing. 

With merch they actually made it so you can’t piggyback each other’s listings. There is issue with a bunch of different similar designs. You could report but it depends, copyright law is really complicated.

So when I send off these designs or ideas to my designer, I want the design that comes back to be in the same niche so I know that the people that are buying in this niche are interested but I want the design to be completely different.

 

I think that’s the main thing, make sure it’s completely different in terms of the look of it, like you can probably have the same phrase right?

It depends, you need to be checking trademark. Because someone might have filed a trademark on a specific phrase if they did and you put a shirt up, they can come after you get your shirt taken down and if you get so many shirts taken down, amazon might ban your account.

If you’re gonna come with a phrase or you see a phrase that you want to make a shirt on, you need to be checking USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) they have an online search database where you can check each phrase and make sure it’s safe to use or not.

 

I’ll put a link for that. So you can just search any phrase in there and it’ll tell you straight away if it’s copyrighted?

It depends, you need to go to the Trademark Electronics Search System (TESS). And then you’ll be asked to search for a basic word mark and you’ll  enter in your phrase or something and it’ll come up with a bunch of different trademarks that are either alive or dead. And you’ll have to look through there and see if they’re alive in clothing or not.

 

So what happens if you have a new clothing and you’re making sales on a product that has a specific phrase on it and then later on that phrase gets trademarked, can that happen?

That can definitely happen. I know we haven’t talked about it yet but I included a piece in the software we built to combat that. One of the problems is that specific thing will actually happen and if that person that has the trademark decides to enforce it on amazon, then amazon’s gonna immediately take down your shirts for you.

You’d be a lot better off monitoring your own shirts and taking them down preemptively so your account remains safe.

 

That’s pretty much the research process, that’s more of like you’d spend quite a lot of time going through these clothings; this product selling hundred thousand or less BSR but you kind of pretty much search a niche and see what shirts are coming up in that category and make sure the BSR is less than that hundred thousand?

Yeah, typically I’m looking for around a 100,000-300,000. I just want to make sure that the niche that I want to make a design in to, actually has some buyers intent there. To make sure that if I do put up a design it actually stands a chance of someone seeing it and buying it.

 

I think that’s an important balance that if you’re a designer and you’re listening to this, you’re probably thinking that it’s a great business for you but you also have to see it from a business perspective. A lot of people would probably be like you can just put any design on a shirt and if the design looks really good it should sell well, but it’s not generally the case isn’t it?

Not at all, some of the most simple stuff sells on merch that you have no idea looking at it that it would be a best seller, but some people eat up these simple designs.

 

Do you think that’s because there’s some search volume for it?

It depends, it could be that. It could be that, that specific phrase is trending based on the current news in the world. It really depends, there’s different seasonal niches, Christmas, Easter. You can have some big sales during those holidays. Or you can just have evergreen shirts that sell once a day.

 

That would be pretty good, I’m assuming merch is more of a volume game, like you don’t just want to have 5 really good designs. Ideally you want to have thousands of designs out there so even if you’re selling 1 a week, you’re making good income from it.

Yeah that’s exact mindset that I took. I’d rather have a ton of designs each selling once a day, once a week rather than one design that’s popular for a week and then dies out.

 

You mentioned you outsourced the designs, did you do designs yourself?

I did the first 100 designs myself which were all incredibly simple, they’re mostly just text and easy graphics. And those ended up selling well. I proved the concept to myself that merch by amazon was legit, it was easy to make sales and then I started outsourcing to a graphic designer overseas for about $4 a design.

People are gonna say oh my God that’s so cheap; It is cheap but I’m outsourcing hundreds of designs a month to disperse, it works.

 

Some people pay about $25-30 for a design, but I’ve also outsourced my design especially when I was doing teespring. I remember I’d spend $8 if it was a completely brand new concept and then $3 for every variation of that.

So you found him on upwork?

Yeah I found him on upwork. I was fortunate in the fact that I was looking to hire someone who could make a lot of designs for me. We formed a pretty good relationship over the last year. If you’re gonna to test people on upwork, make sure you test out these people and that they’re not gonna  be using copywritten images coz that can actually come back to bite you.

 

Did you test a few designers before you selected one?

Yeah, I have a few designers that work for me now but I have one main one who has always delivered great work on time.

 

Yeah that is important, and also communication for me is a big thing for me. If they can’t speak english well enough for me to understand or understand my english well enough to come back with a concept. It’s such a drainer sometimes just to get one design back.

That’s very true. Yeah, I got fortunate with the main guy that I hired he’s from the Philippines and he speaks very good English so communications never been a problem.

 

Philippines is an amazing place for finding people to come partner up with, they speak great english there.

They do, every Filipino I’ve ever worked with.

 

Sometimes I can’t even tell they’re from Philippines, I wouldn’t even know I’d probably think they’re from the States if I was chatting with them on skype. The few people that work with me, they’re all from the Philippines right now.

Nice!

 

Once you did the research, designs. After that, uploading the design on that particular campaign. How do you work the keywords or the descriptions? What’s important in terms of the on page stuff that allows you to stand out a little bit more?

Number one, you don’t want to be spamming your keywords. Some people on merch, if you’re doing your research, you’re gonna come across these listings that have different bullet points where all they do is list a keyword comma list another keyword that’s like a paragraph long. Buyers don’t want to see that and it doesn’t work that great. You want to get the main keyword that you wanna rank for in your title. With amazon merch you can choose your brand name, it depends if you wanna build a coherent brand or you want to include the keyword in your brand name.

With the bullet points, I like to write my bullets as complete sentences where I will include the main keyword but I’ll also include other keywords that are similar to the main keyword. So if you’re doing a shirt about chickens you might want them to have chickenshirt, chicktee or something like that. So a lot of different variations of the same thing works really well.

 

Do you use a tool to kind of give you those keywords?

Sort of, we included that in the software we ended up building for a bunch of different synonyms. But other than that I would say I use that as well as my experience in affiliate marketing comes in handy.

 

I think that’s really important because the more search results you get the more chances of you selling?

Right and you have to think like a customer, they’re not always going to be typing in the exact same thing, so you wanna make sure you have a lot of different variations because someone might type in one variation while the other person is typing in another but they’re actually looking at the same niche.

 

What kind of t-shirts do you find have worked well? T-shirts with just pictures or t-shirts with specific phrases or very specific in terms of who they’re targeted to? which do you think sell better?

Usually very specific shirts but they don’t have to be complicated. We were talking about nurses before we started recording. There’s a million different sayings about nurses that would sell if you would put them on a t-shirt. Specific stuff within a niche seems to work well.

 

So for example, if you just make a shirt that saying “I am a Nurse” would that be a good shirt or do you want to be more specific than that?

Usually a little bit more specific than that. There are some shirts that sell well that just says “Search and Rescue” because people will buy those, or lifeguards or something like that.

Usually if someone’s looking for a gift for someone else they want something a little more specific, maybe something with a little bit of humor in it.

 

Is merch by amazon right now only t-shirts or do they have any other custom merchandise?

It’s just t-shirts, it’s rumored that they’re gonna do more than that.

 

It would make sense that they would; I guess they’re still testing the waters at the moment.

They have a lot to figure out, they are starting to move in to the EU merch, that’s kind of not talked about much because they’re still trying to figure out how everything’s working.

Just recently teespring integrated with amazon; it’s clothing with rush shipping eligible products, so you can sell t-shirts but you can also sell sweatshirts, hoodies, long sleeves and tank tops.

A month or two ago, shopify integrated with amazon. So what that allowed you to do was use any number of the print on demand companies to upload almost anything you wanted on to amazon. So we’ve been having a ton of success using the same designs we put on shirts but we would take those designs and put them on coffee mugs. Using shopify coz we can use a print on demand service, in my case I’m using teelaunch.

 

So you have to find your own fulfillment for that coz amazon doesn’t fulfill it at this point?

That’s why you use shopify so the orders would come in, you do need a sellers account for that method. But essentially the orders would come in they would show up in shopify and the you would have fulfillment service which would fulfill them and then automatically upload the tracking and then that would sink back to amazon, essentially there’s not much work required at all.

 

It’s like amazon just wants to sell everything and anything it can get it’s hands on. That’s pretty interesting, I didn’t know they were integrating it with shopify.

 Yeah that was the first thing, I was super excited about that. Teelaunch for example which is the company that I’m using as for my fulfillment, they have 40 different products right. Let’s say I have a thousand designs already that I know that are selling well, I could easily turn that into 40,000 products on amazon just by uploading the same designs and different products.

 

I think printful integrated with amazon as well.

They’re a little too expensive for my taste, the margins are not great.

 

But I guess if they have different products, it’ll still be worth adding the products that they have different to teelauch, on amazon?

Completely agree, you have to do your research to make sure the margins are gonna be worth it. The one thing you have to worry about the shopify integration is you will have to deal with customer service since you’re gonna be doing this through an amazon sellers account. So if anyone wants to return, that could be sort of a pain but I think it’s worth it for the amount of sales you can generate.

 

So from a customers point of view they buy it from amazon which teelaunch is integrated from shopify.

So the process goes like this, they come across the product on amazon, they would purchase it, that purchase would show up in your shopify store. The shopify would be connected to a fulfillment center. The order would come in to shopify it would automatically go to your fulfillment center, they would print and ship the product to the customer and as soon as they printed and shipped the product they would upload the shipping information which would go back through shopify to amazon and the customer would see that your product have shipped.

 

So, say the customer wants to ask a question, they would ask it through amazon?

Yes and it would come to your sellers dashboard.

 

So your shopify account would really just be the money ins and money outs?

Right, it basically takes care of all the fulfillment and automates it all.

 

That’s really interesting, I didn’t know they integrated so much into amazon. I would assume there’s real no limit with how much you can launch on teelaunch, or printful or any these integrated at the moment?

Sort of,  with the shopify integration if you make a brand new sellers account, you’re limited to 100 ansons a week, might be 200.

 

We’re talking about amazon sellers account right?

Right, if you were to do FBA or something like that, it costs $40 a month it’s really not that bad.

If you have an older account, you can upload a lot more per week. The downside there is that each shirt is gonna require multiple UPC codes because one for each variation, you’d have colors and sizes. If you’re a new seller doing that you’re gonna be able to only upload 2 shirts a week which is terrible. So that’s why I’ve been recommending everyone if they want to do the shopify integration to start with something like mugs because there’s only one variation so you can upload a hundred mugs a week.

 

That makes sense, so each shirt is basically a new product so it needs its own UPC code. How much are UPC codes? I think I bought a set back in the day when I was trying to get into FBA, they’re not that expensive right?

If you buy the GS one or something, the seller of the top tier 1s they’re very expensive. But if you’re willing to buy the cheap ones on ebay, they sell them for $2-3 for thousands of them.

 

Geez no way! I didn’t know that, I think I bought 10 for $3 and I thought that was cheap.

Yeah some people are like “oh those are not legit yada yada yada”; they work, they work on amazon. I guess it’s up to this specific person whether they want to use them or not.

 

I think amazon prioritizes any product that it deals with itself or it fulfills by itself. Right now, the merch by amazon products that sellers upload and use merch by amazon to sell with. They’re fulfilled by amazon, so if you have the same or similar shirt and you’re selling it with teelaunch and you’re trying to integrate it would the amazon listing get priority in terms of the ranking?

Yes, I think so. Usually it’s prime listings and they get a bit of a boost. So with the teelaunch-shopify integration, you have to be careful that your shipping and your production time are set to long enough where your fulfillment company takes a while your account doesn’t get in trouble. So those are never gonna have prime that being said you can still make a ton of sales doing that. There’s also the teespring integration which currently are not prime but I’ve been told in the very near future, they’re gonna have seller fulfilled prime. That’s something to keep an eye on.

 

I don’t really know what prime is, is it like quickest shipping?

Amazon prime is where you pay a yearly fee, you can get your products free 2-day shipping. It’s free 2-day shipping, it’s essentially what it is.

 

So if you’re on prime you pretty much get 2-day shipping or else it’s usually how long is the shipping time, 5-10 days depending who sells it?

If you are paying for amazon prime and you buy a prime listing, you’re gonna get it in two days. But if you’re buying a listing that’s fulfilled by a merchant, so say you were doing the shopify integration, you might wanna be setting your shipping time to a week. Just to make sure that if your fulfillment company is a little slow, your sellers account doesn’t get in trouble.

Some people are gonna shop just prime, they want their products now and they don’t want to wait a week.

 

Sounds like me, that’s probably most people.

That’s what I thought right. And I went and tested out the shopify integration and we still are making a lot of sales with listings that are not prime at all. I think it’s just the sheer amount of traffic that amazon has where you can definitely success with both.

 

Is ebay popular in America?

It is but I don’t really use it or sell there.

 

Could be worth listing products on there?

It could. I’m assuming you could set it up through shopify where it would automatically fulfill but I haven’t actually done it so I’m not sure how it would work.

 

Coz at the end of the day it’s a traffic game right? Once you’ve got your product you just want to get it on the big platform and the most sales you can make from amazon from integrating it here and there. I know with ebay I did this experiment where I was doing what’s referred to as retail arbitrage. 

Yeahp! very familiar with that.

 

I tried it out. I would actually use target online to fulfill my products and sell them on ebay. I got the whole link to a guy in the Philippines and list every single one of these products for a dollar per listing and this guy went nuts and at one point I had 1,500 listings. I would put $20-50 margin on each product and they would sell. But the problem was that, if products don’t go through and the customer wants to return it, it’s a hassle coz they gotta spend money to return it to you and you got to return it to target and you might lose money from that. For me it was just time consuming customer service wise, but I was definitely getting sales.

It’s funny coz I did the same thing but my issue was that it would sometimes run out of stock, the site that I was using to fulfill with. The main thing for me though, eventually I do want to look into other sales channels but I wanna make sure that I’m using up all the slots and taking all the designs I can and putting them on amazon first because that’s where the biggest bang for my time comes from. I was looking the other day and I saw that amazon has about 2 billion visitors a month where as walmart gets 300 million a month, there’s just a huge difference amazon has all the traffic.

 

Wow walmart I didn’t know they get 300 million, that’s quite a lot still.

But in the great scheme of things that’s like not nearly in the level I would expect.

 

Did you ever drive traffic from anywhere else or were you more of the organic play?

Building the merch by amazon accounts that we did, I was more of the organic play. But coming from my internet marketing background I’ve started building up pinterest profiles because social traffic does very well in the merch space. So far we’ve tested just a little bit of that and it looks very hopeful.

It’s definitely a juggle between do I want to grow the traffic that I’m building or do I wanna put more products out, I only have so much time in the day.

 

So you’re actually building up social profile at the moment with pinterest?

Mainly pinterest because it’s mostly women that have money is the demographic and they like to spend it. So it’s like the perfect profile of people that would buy merch from me.

 

Pinterest and twitter are the only social platform that I haven’t experimented on. I’ve experimented on instagram, I’ve bought shoutouts, are you familiar?

Yeah I’m familiar with it but I’m not a fan of instagram.

 

I’ve spent about $200 on a shoutout for a drop shipping product, it was something like buddha incense burner or something. I’ve made $300-400 in sales from that. There’s definitely promise there and I know a couple in my forum hitting $1,000 a day just doing instagram shoutouts.

That’s pretty cool.

 

Whether it’s instagram or pinterest, even facebook. I had a guy that hit $500 of revenue from a facebook page that only has 6,000 followers on it.

That’s not bad.

 

It’s crazy.

That’s another thing that I feel like that a lot of people that are currently doing this completely ignore. And there’s a lot of facebook groups around merch by amazon and they’re all looking for organic traffic. But it’s so easy to find facebook pages that have an audience already. You can message the admin and work out a deal, create a shirt for them, they can post it up and instantly you’re making profit.

 

If you think about the return what you’re getting for your money, say $20-30 and they would have a facebook page with a 100,000-200,000 people and they get shown to about 20,000-30,000 that’s a good deal, like $20-30, so many people looking at it.

It depends on what you price at on amazon. If you’re pricing at 19.99 you’re making over $7 a sale, you can easily make that money back.

 

You’re right, a lot of people that are doing amazon because it’s such a low barrier to entry. I feel like everyone is doing this but once it starts to get complicated, I don’t know if merch by amazon has a PPC platform right now?

They don’t. Let’s go back to the beginning, merch by amazon was created for app developers. They wanted people to promote these shirts inside of their mobile apps.

 

No way! I logged in to my developer portal by accident instead of merch by amazon and it had the merch by amazon thing but they kept referring to me as developer so I was so confused.

I wonder if that’s why you got accepted so quickly.

Yeah so it was developed for app developers, I have a few apps but they’re nothing where I would sell a t-shirt. So people like me saw the writing on the wall they were like “oh this is easy money” and jumped into it.

Coz at the very beginning merch by amazon was open, anyone can join at any time and they were immediately accepted and now they have to wait a little bit.

 

Some people have been waiting for a few months I think.

Yeah, few months would be not that long in the great scheme of things, some people have been waiting a lot longer than that. But they’re getting a lot faster at accepting people. They made a deal with a printing company I believe.

 

So there’s definitely future in merch by amazon.

There’s a lot of room to grow, eventually they’re gonna be in all the different in every single amazon and they’re gonna have multiple different products it’s just a matter of when.

Do amazon have fulfillment centers in a lot of different countries, even the Euro countries? Russia or Spain?

I don’t know about Russia but there’s one in Spain,UK, Germany, Japan. They’re all over the place.

 

That’s really interesting and I guess it’s really easy to roll out, all they’re really rolling out is like a printing facility and that’s pretty much it.

That’s true, but I mean they deal with customer service. The printers they’re using are each like half a million dollars and you basically get to use those and they pay you royalty on the sale so it’s not a bad gig.

 

Yeah, I asked that question because on teespring, probably a good 20-30% of my income was generated from translating designs that worked well for me and selling it in Euro countries. I would sell thousand of shirts in Russia, Italy or Spain. I’m just using 1 hour translations, they have human translators and they just charge you 20 cents per word. One t-shirt was like 10-15 words. I’d sell it on fabrily which used to exist.

They were bought out by teespring right?

 

So when teespring was becoming big they dominated the european market because they have this thing where it kind of auto translates the whole website based on the geo location where you’re visiting from. Which kinda made the website a lot more native to the visitor if they were in all these euro countries. I’ve tested every single country on facebook which is like 160 countries. 

Quite a few of them hit like 10-15 countries, I was able to sell quite well in, made a good profit especially the traffic there was really cheap at that time.

Exactly, see when I was running facebook traffic I was running to foreign countries too because no one is advertising to them; you get petty clicks all day long.

 

You get clicks for like .01 sometimes engagement for like .001, it was ridiculous.

You can get hundreds of clicks without spending hardly any money and it’s not hard to not make money when you’re doing that.

 

But for me it was also outlook into or realization that they do spend quite a lot of money in some of these European countries. So if amazon does go there then I’ll be right on it and give everything that I can.

See, some my shirts that do well are kind of based on general humor and I feel like some of the times American humor doesn’t line up the same with people in the UK.

 

There are some generic shirts that works well for all occupation, it was something like ‘all men are created equal but the best of them are hunters’ or something. And they pretty much did the same thing for every single hobby or niche. So things like that you can translate straight on, could work. You might find one that hits, and it might not just hit in one country you might hit it in 10-15 countries. It’s all about just finding one that works.

I’m not exactly sure when merch is going to roll out to this other countries.

 

I think when they do, if you’re listening to this podcast and you wanna get into merch by amazon, it would make sense that you’d have to be prepared to deal with people that have the systems in place to expand. Or deal with people that are willing to spend money on traffic. Do you think you’d have to probably learn marketing skills as well?

Honestly I think it comes down a lot to: first you need to know how to optimize your listing and you’re gonna get better at that by putting up more listings. But one of the things, I don’t know why people don’t seem to want to play around with price very much. Like they want to list at 19.99 and nothing below that because they think these shirts are so worth it.

But one of the things that I found works extremely well is you price really low, you don’t get much royalty per sale.

 

Do you think that makes people think their shirt is of cheaper value or not, I think some people might?

Sometimes, but here’s the thing though you’re gonna get more sales and that’s going to lead to reviews. And once you have the reviews which are like the life blood of amazon, you can kick you’re price up and you’ll outsell everyone, because you have those two, three, four reviews where the other shirts don’t.

When I started this a year and a half ago fairly cheaply and today some of my best sellers have 30-40 reviews and I can jack the prices up on those, higher than everyone else in the same niche and I’ll still get the same amount of sales.

 

I think you have to think about it as not wanting to make profit straight out, there’s a strategy to it right? You’re right, amazon do favor reviews and sales a lot more than anything else, especially reviews.

Correct, it also comes down to the niche that you’re going into. If you’re competing against ten other sellers you might not need to do that strategy of pricing low,  you can just easily have the best design. But if you’re going against a few hundred other sellers then that’s where pricing lower is going to benefit you more to stand out.

 

So if you’re starting your advice would be to price really low, aim for the sales and the reviews, especially now I think because the tiering system is a bit more complicated?

I would say first you have to look at the niche and see how many other designs you’re gonna be competing with and if you’re competing with a lot you might want to start the lower end. But if you find a niche that people are buying in that doesn’t have very many designs for sale then I think you can start right around the middle.

 

The future of amazon, where do you think it’s gonna go?

They’re definitely expanding to the EU, that’s huge and will get only bigger and bigger. I know they’re not moving over all their products yet but if you go to amazon.co.uk you will see some merch shirts up there.

 

Already? So they must have some people testing it?

They do, but you have to be specially invited to that. People will get there, that’s gonna open up more as time goes on. They’re going to be rolling out new products eventually, no one knows when.

 

Any tools that you would recommend people to use, or websites or blogs?

My partner and I, back when we first started all of this, we were basically really in depth with the affiliate marketing and didn’t want to spend very much time doing all the research. So basically everything that I’ve explained today merchinformer.com which is essentially a software that will help you automate pretty much all your research and organization, finding different keywords, optimizing your listings. As I’ve mentioned earlier it’s gonna keep track of all the trademarks everyday.

We basically went through and automated as much of the whole process as we could.

 

So merchinformer.com, how long has it been out for?

6-7 months beta. We also do have a blog on the site that I run. There’s a lot of free information there about how to market your shirts, how to optimize your listings. Same domain name merchinformer.com at the very top you’ll see a search bar and just click on blog and all the articles will be there.

 

So is that where people can contact you if they have any questions?

Yeah, we have a helpdesk at the top, click log in you’ll see support and you can message me from there.

 

Alright Neil, thanks for being on the show and sharing all that good stuff!

Thank you too!

 

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