Merch by Amazon vs Amazon Seller Central … do you know the difference?
The online retail giant has a new game in town and it’s called Merch By Amazon. Merch By Amazon actually launched over two years ago, but as Amazon sales continue to increase and more and more sellers are looking for easier ways to get their t-shirts sold online, Merch By Amazon is drawing those sellers in.
But what makes it different than the traditional Amazon Seller Central? From design to production to marketing, Merch By Amazon is changing the way we do business.
Ready to figure out if Merch By Amazon is right for you? We’re comparing the two and noting the most distinct differences so that you can decide if one, or both, is right for you.
Merch by Amazon vs Amazon Seller Central – How do they differ?
Merch By Amazon and Amazon Seller Central have very different business models. The main distinction is the need (or no need) for inventory.
Most businesses on Amazon Seller Central purchase inventory from a manufacturer or a wholesaler, list it, price it however they want, and sell it to customers via the Amazon marketplace. Some t-shirt businesses choose to use third-party t-shirt fulfillment services, but they still have to manage the process and orchestrate the details in order to have their designs printed and shipped. They also don’t get the immediate benefit of Prime shipping eligibility.
With Merch By Amazon, there’s one basic step: upload a t-shirt design. That’s it. When a customer places an order for your design, Amazon will print, ship, and handle the details. Merch By Amazon charges a fixed cost to print and produce each shirt, so all you have to decide is how much profit you want to make on each tee. It’s a simplified way of doing business that allows you to put the focus on design rather than production.
How Quickly Can You Start Selling On Merch By Amazon?
All good things require some level of patience, and Merch By Amazon just might test your patience for the next six months or so. At this point, you can only become a new seller by invitation, so you’ll need to submit an application and wait for Amazon to send you the coveted invite. In the meantime, you can start working on some great new designs, research keywords, check out what the competition is doing, hone in on new trends, and start marketing your artwork through social media.
If you’re looking to get started selling your products today, Amazon Seller Central might be the way to go. No invitation is necessary, but there is a monthly fee, so you’ll need to weigh your options accordingly. You can still enjoy the print-on-demand services of t-shirt fulfillment companies, but you’ll need to be involved in the process, so think about your long-term goals and what level of involvement you ultimately want to have.
What Do Product Listings Look Like On Merch By Amazon?
While Amazon Seller Central allows for flexibility with five bullet points, keywords, prices, and promotions, Merch By Amazon has serious limitations on how you can manipulate and differentiate your product listings. Merch By Amazon has limited fields, so you can only add a title, brand name, two bullet points, and a product description. There is no option for sales, discounts, promotions, or keywords, so you have to maximize the fields that do exist in order to include relevant keywords and target your audience in the most effective way. Amazon Seller Central has its own strict set of rules that you must follow, but it does provide more options for how to reach your target customers.
Do You Want to Interact With Customers?
If you don’t want to deal with people, you’re going to love Merch By Amazon. While some Amazon Seller Central users employ third party t-shirt fulfillment services in order to print and product their t-shirts, they still have to handle customer service. That entails replying to customer messages, answering questions that a customer may have, dealing with returns or damaged items, and monitoring feedback and customer reviews. To keep your account in good standing, you’ll need to monitor customer messages at least once each day. With Merch By Amazon, you’ll never have to deal with any of that. Customers aren’t even given an option to contact you.
Think about it like this: with Amazon Seller Central, you’re selling directly to the customer via the Amazon marketplace, and you have direct contact with those customers. With Merch By Amazon, the customers aren’t really yours—they’re Amazon customers that you’re simply providing with a design. You will not receive feedback or reviews and you will never have to deal with a customer message, question, or return request.
Are You Ready to Market?
Successful sellers on Merch By Amazon will tell you that it’s important to get creative and use social media to market your designs. There are no built-in marketing options, and it can be difficult to differentiate between your design and similar designs (or copycat designs). While Amazon Seller Central users have to deal with the copycat issue as well, it is still a bit easier for sellers to enjoy some organic success in the marketplace. Regardless of which platform you decide to use, it’s always a good idea to maximize your marketing efforts in order to drive sales and reach new customers. Post great pictures on Instagram, tweet about new designs and new trends, and get involved in online forums that appeal to your niche audience. The more creative you can get with your marketing, the more success you’re likely to have.
There are many differences between Merch By Amazon and Amazon Seller Central, so make sure you weigh your options before you decide to choose one over the other.. To sum it up, Merch By Amazon is easy, you’ll never have to deal with customers, but you will experience some limitations as to how much control you have over your listings. Amazon Seller Central offers greater options for distinction, marketing, and pricing, but it comes with its own set of challenges and drawbacks. Regardless of which platform you choose, do your homework, learn your niche, and market to your target audience to enjoy real, sustainable success.
Jessica Heston is a writer for the MerchReadyDesigns blog where she writes about best practices and provides tips and resources for Merch by Amazon sellers. MerchReadyDesigns provides premade & custom designs and copywriting for Merch by Amazon.