Today I’m back at it again with the second half of my three-part interview with “Mr. Amazon” Chris Green of Merch Dojo, and it’s time to dive back into the nitty gritty of Merch by Amazon.
Just like FBA, there are landmines with Merch by Amazon. Don’t mess up! They won’t be shy when it comes to removing you from the platform. Chris has been through the process of getting started with Merch by Amazon, and he’s here to share his expertise.
Intellectual property can be confusing. What is it? What does it mean to own it? Do I still own my design after I submit to Merch by Amazon? Long story short, intellectual property is a work or invention that comes as a result of a creative process. In this case, it’s the design you upload to Amazon. You own it both before and after you upload. All you’re doing is licensing it to Amazon. In the context of Merch by Amazon, there isn’t even any exclusivity to the licensing agreement. You’re free to do whatever you want with your design outside of Amazon.
This is where the first of those landmines Chris talked about comes in. Make sure you have the rights to your design. If you upload a Darth Vader shirt design just because you saw the next guy do it, you’ll get banned straight away, and nobody will feel bad for you in the slightest.
Chris isn’t a lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice. If you’re not sure if what you’re uploading is legal, find a lawyer. It’s better to spend $200-$300 on legal advice now than to lose your Merch by Amazon account later.
Copyright is about design; trademark is about the source–Amazon itself is a good example of a trademark.
Copyright technically exists as soon as a work is created. You can’t copy someone else’s design. If someone rips off your design you have recourse, but you can’t just sue them for $100k because you feel like it.
You can sue someone who has infringed on your design if you’ve spent the time and money to register a copyright, but most people don’t register copyrights on single designs. It’s too time-consuming and expensive.
It’s important to pick your battles. If you come up with a simple design it might not even be copyrightable, and even if it is it’s important to make sure the legal cost of pursuing justice is worth it. Sometimes the best course of action is to simply file a grievance with the site–assuming it’s on a site like Amazon or eBay–and move on.
It’s important to realize that inspiration is everywhere. Chris isn’t a huge viewer of major market sports. That said, inspiration can come from anywhere. Even a funny sign at the Super Bowl can bring inspiration for a design. The more you think about product design, the more you’ll begin to see inspiration everywhere around you.
This one’s not complicated. Sat you’re making a shirt that rhymes the words ‘sun’ and ‘rum’. Some of your inspiration came from that bartender in the Caribbean that couldn’t stop saying em, and the rest comes from that tank top you’ve seen a million times that says, “Sun’s Out Guns Out.”
So where do you find the keywords to drive traffic to your page? The Sun’s Out Guns Out tank top page of course!
Do your research! Find out what people are posting about on social media. Look up bestsellers on other websites and emulate them. This isn’t rocket science. Find out what people like and make your great unique designs in the same niche.
This platform is essentially free. Throw something at the wall. See if it sticks. The better you get at it, the more you’ll sell.
There are two major factors and everything else is secondary. Send the right traffic and make a good design. It’s that simple. Find someone who can give you honest feedback and listen to them. Check out some Youtube videos from established designers. Optimize your listings. Use the right keywords; don’t stuff T-Shirt in them 47 times. Yes! Amazon knows that trick!
Amazon can’t tell you what to do. You make your listings. However, they will nudge–yes, nudge is an Amazon term–you to do what will work. Amazon is in the business of sales. So are you. They know what works. If Amazon tells you to price your shirt at $17.95 do it! They’re giving you that information because it will increase your sales.
Look at successful listings. Check out their images. Read their descriptions. You’re not there to copy. You’re there to learn from their success.
Amazon controls these–for now). You’ve got the main image and a sizing image. You can zoom. Make sure your photos aren’t blurry or pixelated. You can show up to five colors, but right now you don’t get to decide which one Amazon shows in your listing; Amazon recommends offering three. Remember, great images sell.
Don’t miss the last part of my interview with Chris Green that comes out on Wednesday. If you’re ready to get started but don’t know where to begin, Chris is giving Amazing FBA listeners four free training videos. Head on over to amazingfba.com/merch to find them!