One of the huge benefits of Amazon is that you don't have to "beat 'em" you can "join 'em". They have an amazing platform so I would say that companies should look at how they can leverage the power of Amazon for their own brand/business. The Amazon system is really complex so navigating it is not easy and frequently the people working at Amazon are the last people to ask for this type of strategic advice. So network with other Amazon sellers and learn the system or hire a good consultant and don't fight against them, join them!
Recently Amazon.com launched a new subdivision called "Merch". Anyone can sign up for an account for free with a social security number or FEIN. Shirts that you design can be listed in the Amazon catalog, printed on demand when purchased, and fulfilled by Amazon and included in their Prime shipping program. You can also create "private" shirts that are only available to people you share a link with.
The public shirts are great for business owners who want to use them for marketing, shirt designers who want to enter the t-shirt biz, and anyone else who wants to print a shirt and have it fulfilled via Prime shipping. Like anything else that you put in the Amazon catalog, it usually will not magically sell, you have to do some marketing and publicity.
The fee structure is very user friendly. The break even cost (for Amazon) of a shirt is about $9.69. So if you sell a shirt for that amount, you won't make money on it but it will be cheap to buy and FREE for you. If you are simply trying to build brand awareness and get your name out there, then selling a shirt at this price point makes sense. It can also be great for volunteer groups, softball teams, clubs and more. Any price above about $9.69 includes a royalty fee for the creator. So if you sell a shirt for $14.99 the royalty payout is about $4.50. A $19.99 shirt is about an $8.50 payout and on up.
It's true that if a restaurant or other business ordered shirts from a shirt printer you could get a lower price than $10 but, you have to anticipate sizes. This way, people can order any size they want. Right now, any shirt is available in Kids sizes 4-10, Womens sizes S - XL, and Mens sizes S - 3XL so if customers go and order, even if you give them a $10 gift certificate to pay for it, there are no extra shirts and no work on the part of the business. Amazon prints and ships each shirt.
As a marketer or business owner the entry to barrier in the t-shirt business is zero now and the profit structure is much more generous than Sun Frog or Tee Spring. Did I mention, it's shipped via Amazon Prime? That's a HUGE benefit.
I see a huge potential for non profits or others who have a loyal following. They can get their message out and make passive income to their already established fan base and list.
Now, there is the design aspect that can be off putting to people. You can use a graphic designer from Fiverr or your own to put the image in the right format (4500 x 5400 px, 300 dpi, .png).
If you are a DIY type person, I highly recommend Chris Green's course on Udemy. (Note: this is not my affiliate links, I do not make a profit when you sign up, I just think the course is great!) He gives you the tools to do everything including design, create and market your shirts.
Check out this cool Koala Commerce shirt that we designed.
We at Koala Commerce can also get this all set up for you and even create your listings with strong key words so that you can just sit back and reap the rewards. Contact Us and we'll be happy to help.
Jewelry is very different on Amazon than say, toys. It is what is called a "gated" category meaning even pro sellers have to apply to sell in it. There are a few important factors to consider when planning your Amazons strategy.
Does your work consist of one of a kind pieces? If so, then you will want to try out Amazon's new competitor for Etsy, Amazon Homemade. It's a brand new program, right now you can just "apply for an invite".
Is your jewelry considered "Fine Jewelry" or "Fashion Jewelry"? Fashion is much easier to sell in, the application process is pretty simple where as fine jewelry is a much more lengthy application process which includes a $500 application fee. This is understandable as Amazon wants to assure that customers buying fine jewelry are only buying the real deal.
Here is a brief comparison of the two categories. This is excerpted from Amazon Seller Central:
Fine jewelry is made of precious metal and/or set with precious or semi-precious gemstones and/or cultured or natural pearls. Metals include silver, gold, vermeil, and platinum family metals. Gems include, amber, amethyst, black diamond, blue diamond, garnet, lapis lazuli, pink diamond, and MORE.
I interviewed successful Amazon private labeler, Andy Slamans today. We discussed the steps in becoming the recognized brand owner on Amazon of your own products and when in the process you create your listings. Andy said the order in which these actions occur is important. The steps are:
Many toy retailers (and others) have found that selling on Amazon has hurt their business by lowering prices and customer service standards. This can be changed. By managing your brand on Amazon (and other platforms), business can thrive everywhere.