The Best Free Merch by Amazon Plugin You Have Never Heard Of
Over the years, as new plugins are released for Merch by Amazon by independent creators, we have tested pretty much all of them.
When it comes to Merch, TESTING is your biggest edge over every other seller on the platform. Anything that can give you any extra data about your business is great. Some of the plugins we have tested have been downright terrible, and some have been really good.
A few months back, we stumbled across a plugin that was pretty much unheard of called: Productor.
This plugin… is GREAT!
Oh, and its free.
The amount of tools and data this creator has packed into a single plugin is pretty much unheard of, especially being free.
So today, I want to run you through the features and why we like it so much and how it can help give your business that extra edge.
The Productor plugin is a toolkit for your Merch by Amazon dashboard, much like Merch Informer is a toolkit for your MBA research. It completely transforms your dashboard and gives you some data and tools that I did not have previously.
What I want to do is go over some of my favorite features and how they work. At the end, ill put all the other features so that you guys can take a look yourself.
Note: Before I get started, please note that all the data is stored locally in your browser and there is no external database or connections so all your data remains yours and safe.
Grab the plugin here and follow along: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/productor-for-merch-by-am/almiakmbepejhcjnfhhjkcfabeepefno
Alright, lets jump into it!
Designs Running Out
Even though shirts now have a LOT longer to stay up on Merch before they come down for no sales, this is still an issue when you have a large design catalog. If you do not have your bullets and title saved somewhere, relisting can take FOREVER.
When you first log in to Merch, the Productor extension goes to work:
It will immediately tell you what shirts are about to run out and be taken down for no sales. On the right hand side, you will see how many days they have left, a button to actually delete the shirt, but then there are the two buttons that look like a “recycle” icon.
This is one of my favorite features.
Clicking on the grey icon will relist the product while clicking on the red one will relist the product AND delete the older listing. This helps keep your dashboard clean of designs and no duplicates and also allows you to get your designs back up before they run out.
Relisting the product also PRE FILLS the pricing, brand, title, bullets and description that you already have on the shirt. No need to copy and paste thousands of times to get everything back up!
You can set this feature up to show anything expiring in 1, 10, 30, 60 and even 180 days from the settings menu:
Average Days Until First Sale
If you head over to the Productor Manage Tab, you will see all the data you would hope to see (today sales, all time sales in all all locales, previous month, current month, previous 7 days and the last 7 days), but it also gives you something I have not seen anywhere else.
It will tell you how many products have reviews, how many are marked as Amazon’s choice AND the average days until your first sale (on your designs).
This last one is huge. It lets you know how your catalog is doing as a whole, and not just indivually. I use this number to judge how new products are doing. The higher the number goes, the more I need to take a look at the my designs to make sure that they are actually a good market fit.
The lower this number the better! You want your products to be selling as quickly as possible. Do remember it can take a few weeks for the products to be properly indexed though.
Sort and Export
Productor offers 2 insane export options that let you download an ENTIRE version of your Merch by Amazon account in a single click.
You can either do it at the top menu, or from the bottom of the productor manager tab:
You can sort everything!
Select how many products you want to display from the left hand corner (including your entire account) and then sort everything by:
- Review Rating
- Rank (BSR)
- Days Until Deletion
- Sold (all time- canceled)
- Sold Revenue
- Sold Royalty
- Sold Returned
- Sold Cancelled
- First sale
- Last Sale
- Days until first sale
- Single/Multi upload
- Amazon Choice
- Merchandise ID
- Design ID
As you can see, the list which you can filter products is simply insane (and you probably wont actually use them all).
However, once you sorted the list, all you have to do is click on the export to excel button and BAM! Just like that, you have a full excel file of your entire Merch by Amazon account with ALL that information.
But wait…. I havn’t even talked about the best part yet.
You know those annoying times you are trying to find a design that you uploaded to Merch but cant find it on your computer because your files are a mess and spread out?
Productor lets you download your entire DESIGN catalog as well. This means you can download every single PNG you ever uploaded to Merch by Amazon with the click of a button….all in one place!
This is something I have not seen anywhere else and is a lifesaver.
There is no need for any 3rd party database or airtable. This free plugin downloads everything directly to your computer in an excel sheet and in a zipped file so you can keep everything organized. Keep in mind though that this data is downloaded as a snapshot in the time, it will not update after you downloaded it.
Wrapping It Up
Those are probably my 3 favorite features of this plugin but it does SO much that if I went over everything, this article would be 10,000 words. Being able to see all this data as well as the revenue/royalty breakdown per shirt is simply priceless.
Here is everything else it does broken down in bullets:
★ Data is stored locally in your browser, no external database or service needed!
★ Fast & easy Excel (.xslx) bulk import incl. price and colors
★ Bigger and better input fields
★ Auto check for banned keywords (Content Policy) – security for your listings!
★ Display Amazon Best Sellers Rank (BSR) on “Manage Products” and all listings of all Amazon platforms (Germany, USA, UK,…)
★ Display estimated sales for your products and the products of your competitors!
★ Extended “Manage Products” table to display “Brand”, “BSR”, “Reviews”-counter and faster access to “Edit” button
★ Display “ASIN” to create campaigns on Amazon Marketing Services, Amazon Advertising (AMS, AA) faster
★ Display estimated Sales and many more under “Manage Products” and Amazon search results
★ Smart and easy detection of copyright infringements! Distinct better between your MBA products or stolen ones on Amazon.
★ Right click on any listing to download high-resolution image
★ Copy and Paste incl. colors! Copy contents of one listing (own or others) and paste it into another.
★ Translate all form fields with a single click!
★ Focus Keyword extractor and analysis for every Amazon product
★ Never loose track of expiring Merch by Amazon products again. Daily popup for expiring listings for 60, 30 and 10 days including details and export function!
★ Improved Statistics and Analytics
★ Instant Notifications on new sales on MBA
★ Download high resolution images of any Merch By Amazon products, just with a single right click on the details pages!
★ Integration of edit and copy to clipboard functions directly into search results at amazon
★ Full export of all your products including designs!
★ Backup your Merch by Amazon
★ Trademark check of your listing included
★ Improved sorting and filtering of your products
★ One-click re-list of expiring products! (Re-publish your expiring product on merch by amazon with a single click.)
★ One-click cross-listing of existing products from US to UK or DE
★ Sort the table for any kind of information
★ Apply default colors, fit types, products and more for “Multiple products”
★ Sort search results on amazon by BSR (Best Sellers Rank) and Rocket Sellers
★ Auto convert image sizes like from T-Shirt to Hoodie and Popsocket
★ BSR history for all your products
★ Create Amazon Advertising Auto-Campaign Bulk Import export file to import your filtered products to Amazon Advertising.
and many more…
Grab the plugin and try it out. It’s FREE!
How To Use Rank Tracking To Optimize Merch by Amazon Listings
The vast majority of Merchers use a spray and pray approach when it comes to uploading shirts. You upload your limit of shirts, and hope something sells.
This CAN work, but over the years it has gotten hard and harder, making research even that more important.
Let’s say that you went through all the research steps, found a good subniche where there are buyers for your shirt designs, and you know what makes up a good design! All that is left is to list it right?
Yes and no!
The first step is listing it, using keywords in your title, bullet points and description to make a great listing for a customer. However, if you want to have a design catalog with thousands of designs that are selling monthly (and not just hoping someone buys it), then you NEED to keep an eye on your listings to optimize keywords in order to push your shirt up the rankings. The higher ranked your shirt is for specific keywords, the more sales you will make and the more royalties will flow into your account.
This works great for new listings, but also is important and something to keep in mind with sellers that you think you can grab some more volume from.
If you want to follow along in this guide and do NOT have Merch Informer, make sure to grab the 7 day free trial here: https://members.merchinformer.com/trial (no credit card required) so that we can start optimizing your shirts.
Optimizing a Merch T-Shirt Design
Keywords are what make this business go round! The better placed your keywords are, the more visibility they will have with the audience that will buy your shirts.
If you have a great design but do not take the time to optimize anything, you might be stuck at the back of 50,000 other designs with no way to get seen. The best thing for you to do if you are in this position is actually go watch the video in this post which lays out how to get started:
How to Keyword Merch Listings
Once you have a good understanding of how this all works, we can start actually optimizing the listings.
Step 1: Adding Designs
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have a Merch Informer account, so go ahead and log into that.
From the left hand corner menu, select the Merch Tracker. This handy little module will let you track your designs and keywords across Amazon. This will allow us to figure out where we are ranking so that we can make the appropriate changes in order to boost our position.
Go ahead and add the ASIN of one of your designs to the ASIN box. If you do not know where to find this, you can open up any Merch by Amazon t-shirt, scroll down to the product details, and then copy and paste the ASIN inside of Merch Informer:
I have selected a trump design to illustrate how this works for example purposes. We are using this design because the seller is missing out on a lot of opportunity here. Enter in the ASIN into Merch Informer:
Go ahead and click save and you will get a notice that it has successfully been added:
Step 2: Adding Keywords
The second step to this is adding some keywords. First though, lets break down all the functionality to get you used to using the tool.
When you first add a design to the tool you will see the design itself, a little clock, a trashcan, and the title, ASIN and keywords slot.
The little clock icon will track this design over time to show you sales rank and pricing. The trashcan will remove it from the list. The longer you keep tracking your designs, the more data you will have to actually optimize your listings!
What is really important here are the keywords.
Here is the listing of the design that we added:
You can tell it has some decent keywords in there, and it looks like the design in question has 10 customer reviews (ASIN screenshot above). However, this seller is leaving a LOT of money on the table by not actually optimizing this listing.
Head on over to the product search inside of Merch Informer and look up the keyword “Trump” and you will see what I mean.
You can get to this screenshot by clicking on the little “i” icon under the product.
You will see that this shirt not only is priced higher, but it is selling a LOT.
Take a look at their listing:
What you should be doing is figuring out WHAT keywords in these other listings are doing well for these designs, and we will try and incorporate them into our listing after we track them to figure out what is going on.
So now, let’s add some keywords to the original listing that we put into the tracker.
The first thing I like to do is actually look at any reviews and see if there are any keywords THERE that we could possibly add to the listing.
It looks like there is:
Right there in plain site we see the keyword “president trump”, yet somehow this is NOT included in the listing for the shirt we are going to track. I also notice in these other listings the following keywords:
- donald trump shirt
- president trump
- trump 2020
- trump is my president
- trump supporter
So start by adding these to the keywords inside of Merch Informer.
When you first add them, they will look like this:
If a keyword has not been tracked, you will want to click on the “not tracked yet” button which will give you a rank for the design on Amazon.
After adding all the keywords, we have this:
Only a single keyword out of the ones we are tracking is ranking (and not very good ranking at that). The rest are not even in the top 100 results! This means that this seller is leaving probably a good $1000+ a month on the table, because they are not taking the time to optimize the listing.
So, lets optimize!
Step 3: Optimizing the Merch by Amazon Listing
Here are the two bullet points in the design we are tracking:
- Haters gonna hate! This funny trump tee is the perfect shirt for any conservative or republican who loves seeing liberals get up in arms about the president. Support Donald and the cause by rocking out this political gift tee today!
- Funny Haters Gonna Hate Donald Trump T-Shirt President Tee makes a great gift for friends and family.
These are “okay” but the goal here is to actually get some of the keywords that we are tracking into these bullet points AND the title where it makes sense. If Amazon sees these keywords in the right spots (where it makes sense of course) then they will slowly move the shirt up the rankings.
Here is the title of the design:
- Funny Haters Gonna Hate Donald Trump T-Shirt President Tee
First, let’s tackle the title.
The title by itself is good, but I want to put 1 keyword in there.
From our list of tracking, we see that we have the keyword “president trump” but that is actually not together in any of the listing.
So, if I was this seller, I would make this small change to the title:
- Funny Haters Gonna Hate Donald Trump T-Shirt President Trump Tee
As you can see, all we did was add “trump” to the title, to make the full keyword president trump show up.
Now that the title is taken care of, lets move on to the bullet points. We have 4 more keywords to POSSIBLY use (there is no need to always use all of them. Using too many could make your listing look spammy).
- donald trump shirt
- trump 2020
- trump is my president
- trump supporter
Lets see if we can fit these into the bullet points. Look for the bolded text to see what was added:
- Haters gonna hate! This funny trump tee is the perfect donald trump shirt for any conservative or republican who loves seeing liberals get up in arms about the president. Show that you are a trump supporter and the cause by rocking out this political gift tee today!
- Funny Haters Gonna Hate Donald Trump T-Shirt President Tee makes a great gift for friends and family. Show your activism for trump 2020 by wearing this design so that you can proudly say trump is my president!
and there you have it! With just a single sentence and a few slight changes, we have optimized the bullet points to include some extra keywords that other designs are pulling in the sales with.
The next step would be to change these on Merch by Amazon and then watch your ranks inside of the Merch Tracker every day. I would personally give them about a month or so to see some movement. After 30 days, you may wish to revisit your design, or start looking at putting some ad spend behind your shirt!
Wrapping It Up
This method DOES require a little bit more effort – about 5 minutes more.
However, if merchers actually took the time to optimize their account and keep tabs on their designs, they would easily grow with the platform and see increased sales.
All it takes is a few minutes a day or one big day of optimizing to start seeing some returns. After all, it takes a while to get ranked, but even if you are ranked, you could STILL be missing out on some of that Merch Money.
Let me know if you have any questions or how we can help you to optimize your designs even easier in the comments below!
To your success!
Evergreen Versus Trending and Seasonal Merch by Amazon Designs – Understanding The Difference
When it comes to any print on demand business out there, and especially Merch by Amazon, there are 3 core areas on how to build your business: Evergreen, Trending, and Seasonal designs.
While this seems pretty straight forward on the surface, there seems to be some confusion on each of these areas, where they overlap, and how Amazon works with each. Today we are going to go over each of these in detail, and why you might think you are going into a trending niche but really, you are no where to be found and finding it impossible to rank.
Lets jump into it!
Evergreen Merch Designs
Evergreen at its core just means that something has enduring popularity. Put in simple terms, evergreen merch designs are going to be those designs who appeal to an audience that buys YEAR round! They will buy these shirts in January. They will buy them in August, and they will purchase the shirts for Christmas.
Just because they buy a shirt during Christmas season does NOT mean that it is not an evergreen design (more on that further down).
Most of the largest Merch by Amazon sellers build the base of their account on evergreen designs. This acts as a hedge for slower months. If you have shirts that sell year in and year out, you guarantee yourself a base level of income even when it seems that the majority of the buyer pool is drying up in the dog days of summer.
Think of evergreen designs as those BIG niches you hear about every day in life and in Facebook groups: dogs, unicorns, jobs… these are all evergreen broad niches.
Looking at this design, one might automatically think about the 4th of July and think it is seasonal or trending, but in reality, this is simply an American flag patriotic shirt, which will sell YEAR round. This is an evergreen shirt.
The sales data backs it up!
As you can see, the sales are consistent over longer periods of time making this design evergreen.
So many people think that seasonal niches are trending designs when they see something like this.
In reality, these are evergreen shirts with seasonal sales.
Let me say that again….evergreen designs with seasonal sales! This is why when you find something you think is trending and put up a bunch of shirts thinking you will easily rank and make money, you are left wondering why no one can find your designs!
Evergreen niches with seasonal sales are very hard to rank for. The reason is that people have been uploading in these niches for years and Amazon gives priority to shirts with reviews, sales rank (the shirts have sales velocity and click through rate data) and have been optimized to be sellers. When you come along in a sea of 10,000 other shirts in an evergreen niche that just has some seasonal sales, you stand very little chance.
This is where keyword research comes into play. If you find a niche like this, you CAN break through with the proper research and optimization. That being said, if you make a mediocre design in the “dog” niche, and do not dive down on new phrases and long tail keywords, you will still be stuck.
The idea is that even though these niches are getting crowded, find a way to stick out. Find a way to use keywords that are still being searched for on Amazon but not by thousands of people. This gives you a chance to start ranking for the main keywords if you can squeeze out some sales on lesser used keywords.
The video below is a long one, but this goes over exactly how you can easily come up with phrases that people will buy that are not saturated on Amazon:
Seasonal Merch Designs
Seasonal merch designs are NOT trending designs. Just because you see a shirt taking off does not mean it is a trend. In fact, almost all seasonal merch designs are part of an evergreen base that just has seasonal sales. For example, Christmas designs. Christmas occurs every single year and because of that, people have been uploading Christmas related shirts since the beginning of the internet.
There are all types of “seasons” that can be considered seasonal. There are holidays every year that are part of a season: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween. There are seasons for specific hobbies such as mushrooms, and then there are seasonal niches that occur at a specific time but are not necessarily a holiday or a hobby: 100 days of school, groundhog day, pi day.
Seasonal niches are something that occur every single year meaning that every year they will see a spike in buyers. This does not mean that they are trending designs, but that certain designs can trend DURING that season (I hope that makes sense).
An example I always like to go back to is Mushrooms. There is a specific time window where people go out and harvest mushrooms.
Here you can see the keywords in the Merch Informer keyword tool. If you click on the far right information icon, you will see exactly what I was describing above.
See that graph at the very bottom of the screenshot? That is a Google Trends graph and shows you when the keyword gets popular and starts spiking in the amount of searches people are making.
This graph CLEARLY shows when the season occurs for morel mushroom hunting. Every single year it happens at the same time (just like all the niches mentioned above).
The key to sticking out in seasonal niches is three fold:
- Be Unique
- Get designs up early
- Niche Down
When you find a seasonal niche you want to go into, you first want to do your research. You can use the video above to figure out how to be unique by coming up with your own phrases (that people still want to buy!), but you also want to get your designs up early to make sure you have a chance to rank. Your chance to rank will have a lot to do with optimization as well as niching down within the overarching seasonal niche that you are going into.
For more info about seasonal niches, make sure to check out this article we did:
A Definitive Guide On Seasonal Niches – How To Find, Rank, And Manage Your Listings
Trending Merch Designs
Trending designs are a great thing to get into when you are first jumping into Merch by Amazon as these have the possibility to rank quickly and get you tiered up in record time if you land on something that hits!
Trending designs are something that is trending because of a specific event that does not always happen every year. Since these are one off events, there are almost always no other long standing shirts on Amazon. This means that there is no competition that has been selling for years previous, there are not thousands of designs before you, and there are no shirts with reviews if you catch it early enough!
The perfect example of this that is current as of this article is: Storm Area 51.
If you are not familiar with this, there was a Facebook group set up about storming area 51 and figuring out what was really there. This movement has become HUGE!
Now, there have been lots of “Area 51” shirts up on Merch. These would be considered evergreen shirts. However, the phrases and sayings being used to promote this “storm area 51” are trending because it is a one off event that has seemingly come out of nowhere and exploded. If you were to catch this trend early, there was ZERO shirts for a while on Merch. The ones that got in early are seeing massive success and sales by getting in early.
As you can see from this example, they even included some different terms in their shirt (such as 5k fun run), but also used the saying that is being spread everywhere “They can’t stop all of us”.
Getting in early had its advantages for this seller!
They managed to make hundreds of dollars from one simple design because they decided to put in the work and do the research.
Not only that, but if this was a new seller at a lower tier, this would ensure that they tiered up and got more slots to increase their earnings potential going forward in their Merch by Amazon Journey!
Wrapping It Up
No matter if you are a long time Merch by Amazon seller or someone just starting, it is important to understand the difference between these three areas. This alone could save you a bunch of headache as you fill out your account.
When you are starting off, focusing on just evergreen could be a slow journey to get out of those initial tiers. The most important thing early on is sales volume so that you can open up more slots for evergreen designs. You should be looking into niching down, seasonal and trending designs. Once you have the space, build the foundation for your business on evergreen designs but never completely ignore one of these 3 categories.
And most of all, don’t get fooled into thinking you have found the perfect trend when really you found an evergreen niches with seasonal sales!
Good luck building your Merch business!
How To Scale Your Merch Account Through Amazon Advertising (AMS) Automation
It has been a while since we posted anything on the Merch Informer blog, and for good reason!
The last few weeks we have been extensively testing one of the coolest tools that has JUST hit the market that anyone serious about Merch by Amazon will easily find the value in. This tool takes one of the only guaranteed ways to scale any business (advertising), and takes it to an entirely new level!
I should have titled this blog post “how to scale your merch account through amazon advertising without losing your mind”. Lets face it, competition is increasing on Merch by Amazon. Using the proper keywords to get in front of the right audience is only a single piece of the puzzle. Once you have a successful design, if you really want to grow your numbers, you have to act like a business and put some ad spend behind your assets (your designs). When you have a design catalog of 100+ or even 10,000+ designs, this entire process becomes near impossible. You have to set up ads one at a time, change bids, add campaign names…the list goes on and on…for each and EVERY shirt.
There are people in the Merch Community that have spent over 1,000 hours creating ads for all of their shirts, and their royalty numbers reflect this.
But what if there was a way to create all of these ads for ALL of your designs in just a few button clicks?
^^That sounds like absolutely click bait, but ever since we have started testing this tool, it has really blown us away.
Introducing Merch Amigo – Merch Ad Automation
Merch Amigo is the brain child of someone this community knows very well: Ken Reil.
Ken has not only become a great friend over the years, but has his hand on the pulse of Merch by Amazon.
He is leading the fight against frivolous trademarks (through the Trademark Watch Dawgs), knows more about licensing art for his Merch account than anyone I know…and knows a thing or two about selling a LOT of clothing through the platform.
One of the driving factors behind getting the initial boost in search and getting great selling designs to the first page has been to put ad spend behind his business. There is absolutely no quicker way to get your designs in front of the right audience.
Doing the ads one by one is something that most of us do NOT want to do, so Ken came up with the automated solution and let us tag along for the ride in making sure everything was working properly in just a few clicks of a button. Merch Amigo is truly the Amazon Advertising solution that you need if you run a real merch business.
Let’s get into how it works!
How To Set Up Merch Amigo In 3 Easy Steps
Step 1: Get The extension
The first step is to actually go get the Merch Amigo chrome extension here: https://merchamigo.com/.
Sign up (which is 100% FREE), and get the extension by clicking on the link!
Step 2: Log Into Merch by Amazon
The next step after you have the extension installed is to log into your Merch by Amazon account.
Go to your “manage” tab and you will see that now you have the extension enabled, the manage tab has a navigation bar.
Step 3: Click Settings
From the manage tab, click on the settings button.
This will bring up the settings window. In order to get the plugin to “talk” to Amazon advertising and your Merch account, we need to enter in some settings.
The first is your US Account ID:
To get your US Account ID, log in to advertising.amazon.com (you can click this link), and your ID will be the LAST string in the URL. What you need to copy and paste will be right after “entityld=”.
Copy and paste that into the account ID into the settings and the plugin is now ready to work!
Before you save and reload the page, make sure you enter:
- Daily Budget – This is the TOTAL amount you will spend per day PER ad that you set up with Merch Amigo.
- Default Bid – This is how much you will spend “per click” on your ads.
- Campaign Bidding Strategy – This is how the ads will function. If you want to spend the same amount per click every time, start this at “fixed bids”. If you want them to change depending on the competition to get more clicks, you can switch to dynamic bids.
Once you have selected these settings, click on save and reload and you are now ready to set up your automated ads!
Automating Your Merch by Amazon Ads
Let’s go through the functionality of how this is going to make your life a LOT easier to set up and start running ads immediately.
Note: This is phase 1 of the plugin which has everything you need to get started. There is a LOT more in development that we will let you know about in time.
When you go to your manage tab, you will now have the Merch Amigo bar at the very top:
You can set up GLOBAL bids by clicking on the settings button like we did above, but the way it starts, is that you can create individual ads by clicking “create ad” under each shirt.
This will use your global settings (for budget and bid), but if you have a shirt you want to change budget and bids on the fly, you can change that in the top menu bar!
Clicking on “create ad” will automatically open up an Amazon Advertising tab and prefill everything for you, including the name of your campaign (the clothing title) so that you can easily track later.
Here is an example shirt. This shows what settings were selected and everything is pre filled:
That’s pretty great and all, but the reason we got excited about this tool is when you switch the selector at the very top under “ad type”
Once you have this flipped on, it allows you to create ALL the ads with the click of a single button:
You can go through and select what shirts you want to run ads for individually, or you can set the selected (right below the live dropdown menu) to on, which will select ALL your shirts on that page.
Then all you have to do is click on “create” and it will open up all the AMS tabs for you with ALL of the information in the campaign prefilled. The only thing you have to do from there is click on “launch campaign”.
There is also an option as you can see from the top menu to run group ads, but I would recommend running 1 campaign with a single shirt in that campaign for the best results!
Wrapping It Up
Head over to Merch Amigo and grab a free account to try it out here: https://merchamigo.com/.
That about wraps up what this tool can do right now (and Ken has some amazing updates planned in the next couple of weeks).
What used to take hours and hours of “pull your hair out” time, can now be done in 3 button clicks. Click the “ad type” selector to on, Click the “select all” slider to select all the shirts on the page, and then finally click create to launch all the pre-filled tabs. Everything done for you so that you can spend time on what REALLY matters, creating and uploading so that more customers can buy your products on Merch by Amazon!
After you have clicked the link above and given it a spin, let us know what you think in the comments below.
Until next time, keep creating!
3 Ways To Stay Competitive In Merch by Amazon
It has been a while since we last posted an article here on the Merch Informer blog but this not without good reason. We are working on some really exciting updates to Merch Informer that will help everyone really deep dive their research and get a competitive edge in Merch. If you have not checked out our latest update where we added the social hunter, make sure you check that out!
Before we release that though, we thought it would be a good idea to go over the three best ways to stay competitive in the Merch environment.
It’s true, Merch has changed A LOT over the past few years. When it comes to running a business, you have to constantly be evolving. If you don’t, you will get left behind! If you are willing to test and evolve your business and practices, you can stay at the head of the pack, which is exactly what we want for all of our readers.
Here are the 3 ways to stay competitive in a changing Merch environment.
1: Research Research Research!
This has probably been pounding in to your head since you first began your merch journey but this is more important than ever. Things are getting more competitive, there are more sellers than ever, with even more products live on Amazon.
So how can you possibly stand out?
Deep dive research!
The days of uploading “dog” shirts and making 100 sales a day off a single shirt are pretty much over unless you get really lucky. What strategy has been working lately is that you upload t-shirts in a niche that are very specific to a sub niche of that category. An “mind map” example of this research would be something like this: Dog Niche –> Dog Groomer Niche –> Dog Groomers who run their own business. We know that the dog niche is HUGE, but using the mind map I just showed you, there are only a very select few shirts targeting the sub niche of dog groomers who run their own business. This an opportunity! If you do this enough times, you can easily gain market share in that massive niche.
If you take a look at the keywords and results inside of Merch Informer, you can see that the overarching niche is doing very well and that there are a lot of keywords you can use inside of your dog grooming shirts:
Research is really the only way to stay ahead of any competition that will crop up. If you are first, and your designs are good, you will stay first!
Everything else in this list relies on you understanding the market, and what they are looking for. Get this piece wrong, and you are going to be in for a rough time.
The example above is perfect for evergreen niches (niches that sell year round), but research is also CRUCIAL for holidays and trends. Trends you have to jump on really fast, and can be hit or miss. While this can work really well when you are a lower tier, I like to focus on holidays when your account has grown.
Previously, it was recommended that you get your shirts up about 60 days in advance of the holiday actually happening.
What we have found is working even better is getting these designs up 6 months in advance. This helps them get properly indexed so that by the time the actual holiday is rolling around, you stand the best chance at search visibility.
This means that if you are going to be doing Christmas shirts, you should be getting those uploaded to Merch by Amazon in JUNE!
2: Putting Money Behind Your Work (Amazon Marketing Services AMS)
Since Merch has changed so much over the years, one of the easiest way to stay competitive is to actually put some real money behind your designs.
MOST people are not willing to do this, which automatically gives you the edge.
That being said, your designs have to be GREAT in order for this strategy to work. Your 10 second text design does not count and should probably not be used with a paid traffic campaign.
You can read about how to set up your first campaign here:
Launching Your First Amazon Advertising Campaign (Sponsored Products)
There are a few key things you need to remember when running ads though to make sure that you get the best out of them.
The first, is that this is not a set up and forget process! You simply must know your numbers. If you do not, or do not keep an eye with what is going on inside of your AMS account, you will more than likely lose money. We recommend setting up auto campaigns which will pull keywords for you. Once you have run your auto campaigns for a while, take a look at the keyword report and see which of them is performing. Kill off all the keywords in a campaign that is NOT performing, as those are just losing you money if they are getting clicks and no sales.
The second, is that the lower the ACOS, the better. ACOS stands for Advertising Cost Of Sales. You will need to do the math to see if you are making money. For example, lets say that you price your shirt at $14.99 and make a sale via AMS. If you spent $1.72 on ads to make that $14.99 sale, you have an ACOS of 11.49%. This looks GREAT right?
You actually lost money on this transaction because you spent $1.72 on ads and only made a $1.45 royalty on the sale through Merch.
You will see so many people running AMS and bragging about their sales and how much money they are making, when in reality they are losing money on every shirt they sell. This strategy CAN work if your goal is to kickstart organic traffic and then turn them off, but if you are running ads to make a profit, keep an eye on them!
Nothing is worse than spending money without a return, so always be testing and watching your ACOS as it relates to the royalty you are making per sale.
Note: Remember when we mentioned that the best time to upload Christmas designs was in June? We recommend that you start playing around and testing AMS ads on your holiday shirts about 2 months in advance of the actual holiday. This will really give you the boost that you are looking for.
3: Explore Other Markets
As much as we are lead to believe, Merch by Amazon is not the only outlet out there!
There are so many places to go out and get ideas as well as see where and what customers are buying off Amazon. This leads to an opportunity for you!
We see this all the time. There might be a popular niche over on Etsy where the seller is doing very well. Many Etsy buyers are purchasing, they are happy, and the niche seems to be flourishing. Yet, when we go on Amazon and look into the same niche (notice I said niche, not the same design), there is nothing to be found!
This is an arbitrage opportunity for you. You can create a bunch of unique designs around that niche and control it over on Amazon.
The best part about using Etsy as an outside marketplace to do your research is that you have access to social proof and actual traffic that the product is getting! This gives you a good idea if there are buyers out there or not.
In the example above, we used the Social Hunter inside of Merch Informer to gather some information on this product. We can see that it has 70 favorites, so people like it (social proof) and that they are getting a lot of views to their single product. This would be perfect to look into further and maybe use some keywords to get ranked on Amazon.
You do not need to just look at other marketplaces though! You can look at MARKETS.
By this, we mean places that have certain demographics. A good example of this is Pinterest.
Pinterest is a visual search engine, and is a GREAT place to get some ideas and concepts that you can use to create unique Merch by Amazon designs. Their demographic is women who are highly educated and love to spend money on things they find on Pinterest. This makes it perfect for marketing as well as get ideas of what people are buying.
Very soon you will see a Pinterest option inside of Merch Informer to help you really deep dive your research. There is no easier way to come up with unique designs than by looking at other markets that may not even exist on Amazon yet. Talk about low hanging fruit!
Wrapping It Up
To quickly wrap it up, our suggestions are as follows:
- Focus more on research
- Put some money behind your products
- Explore other markets
You will notice that some of these actually require a bit more work than you may be used to. However, if you are willing to adapt and put in the time and effort, you can easily stay competitive in this changing Merch ecosystem.
Good luck out there!
Introducing Merch Legend – Sorting Your Dashboard With Ease
In a massive sea of Chrome plugins that can help you with your online business, it can be difficult to decide what to download and use, and what to ignore.
You have all seen those Chrome screenshots where people have half the screen taken up by different plugins that they never ever use! What if there was a plugin that helped you grow and monitor your Merch business and that you used everyday? Would you try it then?
Merch Legend is the newest Chrome extension on the block and it does something important that I have been talking about for a LONG TIME! It helps monitor your reviews (which can be the literal life blood of your Merch Business), as well as different functionality not found in any other plugins. The creator of this plugin actually created Merch Checker which ended up saving me, as well as countless others when MBA changed their terms. We reviewed it here: Merch Checker Overview.
Let’s step through the process of what all is possible.
Merch Legend Walk Through
The very first thing you need to is actually go and download the plugin. You can grab it here: Merch Legend Chrome Extension HERE.
After you download it, you simply need to log into your Merch by Amazon account and notice there is a new tab in the right hand corner right next to “analyze”.
This is where you will find your new Merch Legend dashboard.
At first, the dashboard looks completely blank.
This is because you will need to click on the Start Analyzing button in the middle of the screen. This will grab all the products in your account and give you a dashboard where you can see ON THE PAGE exactly what your product is, what your bullets look like, and your description.
So why is this important?
Because it lets you monitor a ton of really cool information:
You can sort your entire Merch account into the follow categories with the free version of Merch Legend:
- Upload Date: Low to High
- Upload Date: High to Low
- Sellers Rank: Low to High
- Sellers Rank: High to Low
- Review Count: Low to High
- Review Count: High to Low
- Review Rating: Low to High
- Review Rating: High to Low
By far, the most important one of these to me is the review count as well as review rating.
I have been preaching for years that when it comes down to it, you want to sell as much volume as possible to get those sweet sweet reviews. Keeping track of the reviews though can be a real pain, especially when your account has more than just a few products.
Keeping track of your reviews can also actually help you make more money.
As soon as you see a product get a higher review rating, or simply more than one review, you can play around with the pricing. The higher price you can get (with more reviews backing it up), the more money you are going to make. This plugin makes the process of figuring out which products to play with, and which to leave alone so easy.
Before you can do any of this though, you will need to click on the Start Analyzing button in the middle of the screen:
This will grab all the ASINs of your account, and go look them up on Amazon for you (to bring back all the detailed information).
At the bottom of your screen, you will see something that looks like this:
This means the plugin is working to bring back all your information and should be available for sorting soon.
NOTE: This can take a LONG time for bigger accounts. I would click on Analyze and then walk away for a bit. When you come back, all the information you could possible want will be in your dashboard.
Even when the plugin is working, you can refresh the page to see the products that it has loaded. As you can see from the screenshot, I have sorted the details that have loaded in by review count which is showing one of the highest reviewed shirts in this account:
As you can see I blocked out the information for the specific listing, but this is how your dashboard will look with all of the sorting options.
You can always click on the name of the listing to bring you to the Amazon details page to see all this information as well, but upgrading to the Pro Version of this extension is very well worth it.
If you click the Upgrade to Pro to view button in the right hand corner of all the products, you will see this:
Clicking on the “Go PRO” button at the top, or scrolling to the bottom to click on “Get License Key” will take you to Gumroad.
This actually unblurs some of the options but most importantly lets to sort by upload date, product type and REVIEWS. With a single glance, you can keep track of your reviews and use that to make MORE MONEY (which is why we all do Merch by Amazon in the first place right?).
Not only does this extension let you sort by reviews, but the other sorting options are gold as well.
Sort by sellers rank will of course show you your best sellers (but you already knew they were your best sellers!). What I like to do instead if actually sort by sellers rank, and sort the account by high to low.
What this is going to show you are shirts that have sold before, but that are not selling WELL.
What does this mean for you?
It means there is customer demand there, and the listing might need a little help. The easiest way to get these ranking higher in search is by running AMS ads directly on Amazon. If you are not comfortable setting those up, I would highly recommend checking out our guide on that here.
As I mentioned previously, its also a great way to pick out not your best sellers, but the shirts that have gotten great reviews, that maybe you did not raise the price on yet:
By sorting reviews from low to high, you get this data immediately instead of needing to go through your entire account looking for them. As you can see from the screenshot above, I have some prices that need to be raised.
Wrapping It Up
The developer of this plugin is literally top notch and cares. The Merch Checker plugin that we reviews in the past on the blog was from the same developer and that single plugin has helped save countless accounts from violations after the MBA terms changed.
If you want to get your hands on an Amazing plugin that I am sure will be supported into the future with more features coming, I would pick this up as soon as possible.
To your success!