The eCommerce giant Amazon has launched Merch by Amazon, a services that lets businesses and independent designers create and sell T-shirts which are then shipped to customers by Amazon on demand.
App developers and other interested users can use the self-service program to create and upload custom T-shirt designs. They can also advertise the designs on their mobile applications and elsewhere online and Amazon will print them on demand.
Amazon rewards designers with royalty points that increase with the number of T-shirts sold.
To use Merch by Amazon, users are required to upload their custom design or artwork to an online dashboard — it could be art or a logo from their app, game or business — or use Amazon’s templates to get started. Using Amazon’s calculator, users are able to set their preferred T-shirt price.
A creators’ royalty depends on the set list price, less Amazon’s costs. Amazon requires that the list price set by developers covers its own expenses, including customer service, producing the t-shirts with artwork, stocking blank T-shirts, selling expenses, and shipping costs.
Amazon, however, says that increase in sales leads to increase in royalties since the cost of production reduces.
Amazon also says that developers can specify the material and also configure their tees as either one or two-sided. Creators can pick from either American Apparel or Anvil brands, and the shirts are from a single product page in kid’s sizes (K4 to K12), women’s (S to XL) and men’s (S to 3XL). Once a sale is completed, the shirts are printed by Amazon and shipped to customers anywhere in the world.
The Merch by Amazon program does away with the risk of ordering hundreds of T-shirts ahead of time — that may or may not hit with the fans — and the complication of shipping and delivering the shirts.
Amazon is going up against some established players like CafePress, which sells designs printed on more than 450 products, including phone cases and mugs; and Teespring, which has raised $56 million in funding from the likes of Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz.
Merch by Amazon products are sold on standard Amazon pages and free two-day shipping is provided for Prime members. Designers can promote the shirts themselves through their existing channels (social media, blogs, email or website) or they can promote them on iOS, Fire OS, or Android via Amazon Mobile Ads.