In this post, Anna Hartzog shares her best Merch by Amazon tips for beginners – how to sell on Merch by Amazon, how to do keyword research, how to discover trends, and how to find profitable niches on Merch by Amazon.
About Anna Hartzog
Anna is based in Los Angeles. She studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and then worked for 10 years in the apparel industry as a swimsuit designer. Then things got tough and she was laid off, and this made her re-think her career’s next steps.
Before she was laid off, she had started a small eBay store selling apparel.
While she was working full-time, her eBay store made a decent amount of additional income on her salary, so she gave herself a month to commit to it full-time before she would start looking for another job.
Her husband was ill at the time, and she was spending a lot of time with him. Plus, her usual eBay sources were drying up. So she decided to look into selling on Merch by Amazon.
Merch by Amazon allows you to upload your designs and sell them on different products (t-shirts, phone cases, pillows and accessories) to the Amazon customer base. Whenever someone buys a product with your design – you get get paid.
Anna’s print-on-demand business with Merch by Amazon really took off, and now she creates trendy designs full time.
Merch by Amazon Tips for Beginners on How to Find Trends
In our interview, Anna stresses the importance of finding trends for your Merch by Amazon print-on-demand products, since this is what will get your designs noticed and sold.
For example, if you are making dog designs when everyone is looking for cats – that’s a no-go. But if you know that cats are popular, then making cat designs will bring more buyers to your Merch by Amazon listings.
To find trends, start by identifying your audience. You want to understand who they are and what they want. Depending on the customer, you should consider who influences them and what they are looking at.
Anna explains that the trends she is able to find translate into her art. With her years of experience, Anna now has a trained eye that allows her to see what’s repeating and worth designing.
She emphasizes that these designs are not about you. As artists, we often treat our art as our baby, and we can become offended if people don’t like it. But if you identify what your customer wants, then you can create designs for them!
A viral trend that Anna’s found success in is humor. Jokes, puns and memes are wildly popular, but you need to check first for copyrights and trademarks to make sure you don’t use someone else’s intellectual property.
Here are a few places where Anna finds trends:
- MerchInformer tool for trend research
- Music videos by popular artists (when used to be MTV, and now moved to YouTube)
- Instagram hashtags
- TikTok hashtags
- Local shop windows in LA
- Google Trends tool
It’s best to focus on your customer, what they are interested in, and try to combine as many trendy ideas as possible from that niche.
SEO Keyword Research Tips to help Merch by Amazon Beginners
When you are a beginner and start to sell your designs online, it’s important to understand the difference between online and retail sales. To be successful in online retail sales, keywords are very critical. Keywords allow your designs to be found.
KEYWORD IS KING.
It’s a bit like this. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If you publish your design on Merch by Amazon and no one can find it, does it exist?
A tool that Anna uses all the time for merch SEO keyword research by is MerchInformer.
It’s a subscription-based service that analyses Amazon data to understand what’s trending in the Amazon marketplace, and what keywords people use to find the products.
One of the metrics that Anna looks at is Best Sellers Rank (BSR) – the lower the number, the better. Anna recommends to analyze products below 200K or 300K.
Another great tool to use is Google Trends. You can see the search volume for a specific keyword, and trajectory of a movement. Is it going up or down.
Anna also suggests using Google’s auto-complete feature for search. Type your design’s general idea, for example, ‘cat’ into the search box and then see what Google suggests. 🙂
Most importantly, Anna recommends developing your ideas and then creating your art. Once you create a design, avoid working in a bubble and look for feedback. If people love a particular design, then it’s worth pursuing. Do multiple colorways. But if not, don’t push it and change the design. It’s not personal!
Finding trends, doing SEO keyword research and spotting profitable niches takes practice. But each time you do it, you learn more. Eventually, you train your eye to spot those trends and niches consistently.
Merch by Amazon Tips for a Complete Beginner
When you start selling on Merch by Amazon, you don’t have an audience or tons of designs to make sales. Therefore, it’s extra important to do your trend and keyword research.
Think about your customer’s profile before starting your designs. Do the research. Then create a design that combines multiple trends to be able to add those keywords to your product title and description.
More keywords = more chances for your design to show up in customer’s search results.
For example, tie dye is still really hot right now (as of early 2021). So you can make a cute dog (keyword “dog lover”) and then add a tie dye background (keyword “tie dye”). In this way, you are covering BOTH niches, and you’ve just doubled your chances of making a sale.
Consider looking online for similar things that people are doing and look at what keywords their using. Don’t copy someones exact phrase, of course. And always make sure to copyright and trademarks. But use those keywords as inspiration.
Finally, once you are established – price your work high. People who shop on Amazon are prepared to spend money. Do a REALLY good job on your design, and price what it’s worth.
More about Anna Hartzog
You can find Anna and her shop on Instagram @KawaiiKreeps
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To learn more about branding your work as an artist, check out this interview with a branding strategist Patrick Sesko.
Thank you for joining me today, and I will see you in the next post!