Researching Merch By Amazon Design Ideas
To build a t-shirt empire that is going to generate thousands of Dollars for you, you are going to need designs that appeal to people. Designs that people like, designs that interest other people, and not the designs that interest only you.
But the question is: how in the world do I know what other people like?
The answer is simple: Research.
If you have been uploading Merch by Amazon designs over the past year (or how ever long you have had your account), hopefully you have been doing some initial research to help you determine your niche before getting accepted into Merch.
If you have not, don’t fear because I’ll give you the steps you need to take
1 – Focus on data, not your gut.
The first major hurdle we have to face is the dreaded gut feeling.
My gut could tell me that I am a badass NCIS agent, but data can prove to me that I couldn’t run and catch a suspect if I tried.
And when it comes to research:
Data > Gut Feelings
2 – Start with a literature review
The first part of any research study is a review of related studies. You want to find out what has previously been tested, what has worked, and what has failed miserably.
When it comes to Merch By Amazon, there are a few different ways this can be done:
A – A search through Amazon
What better way to determine what sells well on Amazon than to look at Amazon. This isn’t an exact science, but it will at least get you started in the right direction.
Simply go onto Amazon and search for your keyword or niche.
Once the results populate, drill down on the left hand side to get to Clothing > Novelty & More > Clothing > Novelty
At this point, you should have drilled down to a level where Merch by Amazon shirts can be found. Since we are wanting to learn about their performance, we want to eliminate the other data points from our analysis.
(Side note: If one of the shirt bullet points reads: “Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem” that’s a dead giveaway it is a Merch by Amazon shirt).
Then you simply can choose a shirt and scroll down to the sales rank on the page. It should look something like this:
If you don’t see a sales rank, that means the shirt has not yet sold on Amazon.
The lower the sales rank number, the more often this shirt has sold, just like a normal Amazon product.
B – A search through Google Keyword Planner
If you are a little more skilled in digital marketing, you can actually use an awesome free tool to help you gather information about different keywords and niches outside of Amazon (yes – I know our audience is on Amazon, but multiple sources of data can help support our research as a large number of people use Google to search and find things on Amazon).
Meet the Google Keyword Planner. If you want a print on demand specific keyword planner, check out WordCandy orMerchInformer (these are paid services, but they are specifically designed for Merch sellers).
I won’t spend a bunch of time explaining this right now, but it’s pretty straightforward:
Type in your keyword(s) and hit search.
Once you hit search, you will get results back.
All we care about are the first two columns (for beginners that is). This is going to show you the average number of search for that keyword per month and then it is going to show you the competition level for ads.
It’s up to you to determine what levels are acceptable to you, but the data is there for the mining.
C – Searching Google
If we want to know what people are looking at related to a specific topic or niche, we should go to the largest search engine in the world: Google.
As I am searching for the keyword or niche, I try to drill down on things like phrases, saying, quotes, funny images, etc to find out what people in this niche enjoy.
Once I have something that is a possible idea, I throw it into one of the first two methods and see if there is an audience for the idea. This is an awesome way to quickly validate ideas before moving to the next step in the process.
D – Searching Pinterest
My favorite place to start my research has been Pinterest. Personally, I do not use it on a regular basis, but my wife is an avid user. She had to teach me how to use it (it wasn’t hard, but I asked for a little help anyway).
Since most people buy after seeing a design, Pinterest is a great platform to test and gather data from a visual perspective.
I like to judge the design ideas by the number of pins or re-pins on a design as someone took the time to say they liked a design (please remember that showing interest and making a purchase are two completely different things). Once I find a design idea or niche, I take a look at it in Google or Amazon to see the performance there as well.
3 – Test a hypothesis (aka a design or niche) on a small scale first
If you find a niche that you think has potential, you should spend the month making thousands of designs…
Seriously? You should know better than that.
Start off small with 1 or 2 different design ideas and give them a small scale test run. See if they make any sales. If they do, great – move on to the next step! If they don’t, you should go back and look at your research method and see where you went wrong (a great way to do this is to compare the data between the shirts that do sell and the shirts that do not sell).
4 – Take it to a large scale test
If the small scale test provides positive results, then it is time to go large scale.
Continue making new designs and leverage the knowledge you have gained from the research and experience. Repeat the process and find your next niche (over and over again).
And more importantly.
Make it rain.
Credit: FBA Master