#183 – Merch by Amazon – No Inventory, No Investment, No Problem! – Chris Green
What if there was a way to take a cool idea and immediately turn it into a fully formed Amazon product, then get paid automatically when it sells? Well, there is, and it’s called Merch by Amazon!
Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes Chris Green back to the (virtual) studio. Chris is an expert with Merch by Amazon and is here to give us the low down on what at first glance, seems too good to be true.
If you’re just getting started in e-commerce and don’t have money to launch a product, Merch by Amazon represents a great opportunity. Don’t have money to source an Amazon product? Want to take advantage of Fulfillment by Amazon? Need to make sure that your buyers can take advantage of Prime shipping? Merch by Amazon checks all these boxes.
Find out more about this unique Amazon selling model!
In episode 183 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Chris Discuss:
- 02:00 – Amazon Print on Demand Opportunities
- 03:15 – What is Merch by Amazon?
- 06:55 – A Second Wave of Opportunity
- 08:00 – Working Hard to Get Lucky
- 11:00 – Following E-Commerce Rabbit Trails
- 13:45 – Getting Artistic Help
- 17:50 – Creative Tools on the Internet
- 19:35 – How to Avoid Crossing the Line with Intellectual Rights
- 29:15 – Sponsored Ads and PPC with Merch by Amazon
- 30:05 – How to Get Eyeballs on Your Merch Product
- 33:15 – What’s on Chris’ Merch Software Tools Wishlist?
- 38:05 – How to Reach Out to Chris
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Today, we’re going to talk about a way of selling with Merch by Amazon, which utilizes Amazon prime and FBA, and it doesn’t require investment nor inventory. How cool is that? Pretty cool. I think
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS-free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. We got somebody who’s theoretically, a serious seller, but he’s rarely serious like me. Chris Green is back on the show after about a year and a few months, Chris, how’s it going?
Chris Green: It’s going well, man, hope things are going well with you. We’re overusing the word unprecedented when it comes to COVID and quarantine and pandemic because none of us have lived through this before. So, I don’t know what other word to use?
Bradley Sutton: I mean, pretty soon it’s going to be a precedented for everything though, that we’re going to have to say because it’s been a crazy year for sure. We would not have been able to predict how this year would have turned out. And speaking of which you just reminded me, I just looked up what episode you were on originally. So if anybody wants to find out Chris’s backstory it’s episode 54, but what’s going to happen when you get to that episode. Chris had agreed to a couple of things at the end of that episode. And Chris, what happened? We never did. We were supposed to do like a webinar together and stuff like that, but so far not yet.
Chris Green: We were going to do webinars. We were going to do some affiliate stuff. We’re going to get the Helium 10 tools in front of more of a Merch audience. I know you guys are kind of focused on, on Seller Central users and FBA sellers, but Amazon is a big place that has more than just sell physical products as a way to make money. And that’s kind of how I started, and people can go back and listen to the previous episode about that, but I’ve transitioned more into the print on demand space, not just with what people think about with merch by Amazon and the t-shirts and all that, but also with the books that are technically the same thing, they’re print on demand. And it’s just a different model where I am still selling physical products, but I don’t have to inventory them or pay for them upfront. So it’s very different. The tools and research things you would use would be a little bit different, but a lot of similarities. There’s a huge crossover between Helium 10 research tools for Amazon sellers and print on demand markets such as KTP and Merch by Amazon. And it’s just such a big world.
Bradley Sutton: Last time, I think we kind of split it between talking about KTP and Merch. We probably could still talk about both, but for me I think, I don’t know, this is just my prediction and you know, Merch’s going to have like a second wave of– it’s been around for a few years, but if I’m not mistaken, like during COVID, it was kind of shut down, I believe for a few months. And I just feel that that it’s going to come back strong even stronger than before. And I wanted to first talk about, or let’s just set the stage for people who didn’t listen to episode 54, without having to do a 15 minute soliloquy on it. Can you explain to the new listeners out there? What exactly is Merch by Amazon again, please?
Chris Green: All right. So Merch by Amazon is a “print on demand” platform, which means all you have to do is have your art files, your image files, they’re going to upload. So you can have a Helium 10 logo, you can upload it. And now it’s available on t-shirts and hoodies and long sleeves and all this other stuff. And it’s all sold by Amazon, ships by Amazon Prime eligible. It’s basically an Amazon product page that what it sells Amazon will do all the work and you will get some money, which is like when you’re coming from a physical products background of like FBA and inventory and lead times and shipments, it’s like, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. I get the profit off the listing battle with the replenish inventory. I don’t have to do any of that. Like, yes, that’s what it is. Now. It’s very heavily apparel loaded right now with clothing to do have pop sockets and cell phone cases. But they’re going to get into other stuff. They just opened up the Japan market yesterday. So they are now in Japan, Germany, Spain and Italy, and US, and UK, and it’s just continuing to grow, but you’re right. They did kind of pause it during the pandemic because some of the States where the warehouses were located, had different regulations about who could come to work. So, they had to shut things down. And when they shut things down and can’t fulfill, it’s like, Hey, we’re not going to upload your t-shirt designs and offer them for sale because nobody can buy them. So, just everybody just relax for a little bit. So they opened it back up a few months ago, they’re opening up new, they’ve released new products since the pandemic they’ve opened up new international markets since the pandemic, and it’s such an easy, low to practically no barrier to entry business model, where if you understand Amazon, which I’m guessing a lot of the listeners here do, and a lot of the Helium 10 users understand the Amazon customer, you got to be on Amazon. You got to be prime eligible, all these things, you get all of those benefits without the physical inventory costs and returns and lead time. It’s almost too good to be true type business model. If you’re an apparel seller, right. They don’t have print on demand, flat brim fitted baseball hats yet, right? But, maybe someday. Maybe someday, they will expand into more products.
Bradley Sutton: It’s separate from Seller Central. So, even if somebody has their own Seller Central account, they have to apply separately for Merch. So, just for those who are just getting really inspired by this episode, where can they go to sign up? How long does it take?
Chris Green: Hopefully, I mean, as time goes by, the application process will change. Hopefully get easier and faster, but right now it is an application that you’ll do in birch.amazon.com, fill out all of the information as best that you can. Hopefully you get a response fairly quickly, maybe a day, maybe two days. Sometimes it can take a little longer. It is a very popular program and they’re trying to automate the onboarding process. And they’ve got some growing pains that have going along with it. But it’s completely free. There’s no downside, there’ll be huge potential upside. And when you get a little bit creative, so if you’re a regular Seller Central user, and I started thinking, wait a minute, now I have access to these other things. What could I do in terms of promotions and crossovers? And like, it gets to be very interesting when you understand just the Amazon marketplace in general and the new capabilities that you have with a merch by Amazon account. It’ll make your head spin when you start to realize how good this platform can be. If you’re able to drive traffic, if you already have an audience and I want people to have the right expectation, like five years ago when merch came out, it was like, you upload a father’s day shirt and you’re on page one, just because there’s not that many father’s day shirts. So, you’re going to get some sales. Now it’s a more mature platform. It is definitely a better place. If you’re able, if you have an audience, if you have some existing demand that you can send some traffic to a listing, it’s a great way to give them the ability or the option to buy a physical product that you make money on without having to actually inventory and have to ship out orders. But it’s changed. It’ll continue to change, but I think you’re right. There’s going to be a second wave of popularity around Merch by Amazon, as they add additional markets. And they add additional products as they open up more advertising, like direct advertising. Cause it’s just so different from seller central,
Bradley Sutton: For many people, this is a great way to start or for even existing sellers to increase. So like, just real quick, just to get people excited. You’ve been familiar with thousands of people who have sold on Merch by Amazon. Can you give me a quick story about somebody like, Sally was a second grade teacher and now she’s bringing in $10,000 a month working one hour. One of those cool things that I think people can relate to so that they can understand the potential and possibly relate to somebody’s story that you have.
Chris Green: Yeah. There’s tons of stories. And so one thing, the best things about these stories is it’s such a wide spectrum, right? There are retired grandmothers who have literally been making thousands of dollars monthly with Merch. Now I do always want to preface it that like a lot of times people got lucky, right? They uploaded the right design at the right time and they just hit the algorithm. They hit the search, like they just got lucky. And I think a lot of people will start to hear stories about people getting lucky. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been incredibly lucky on a bunch of things, many things I can’t control, but some things where I put myself in the position to be lucky and it worked out, I’ve also put myself in the position to be lucky and it not worked out. So I almost, I worry a little bit about explaining the actual reasons why, like so many people do get lucky. Some of the most successful people had luck on their side because then people will use that as an excuse. They’ll be like, Oh, I didn’t realize Chris is only on the show because he got lucky. Like, no, luck is a bigger factor than people think. But when you realize that you continue to put yourself in the position to be lucky. And by doing that with Merch by Amazon, I mean, I think about it like physical products, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you try a product and it fails and you try another product and it fails, while you’re learning something each time. And eventually the more that you do that luck is going to eventually, I don’t want to say, be on your side that you can control it, but you might just get lucky and you’re going to learn things. You’re going to do things a different way. And you’re eventually going to see some success. It’s very rare for anybody to see any level of success on their very first try. So with Merch, it’s great. Cause you can upload something. You can see if it works. If it doesn’t work, you can go back and change it. You can upload something else. You’re going to get better and better and better every time that you do something. I mean, I would, you should go back and look at your very first podcast. Right? I bet it was fairly terrible.
Bradley Sutton: Oh yeah. I don’t want to look at my very first one.
Chris Green: Well with Merch and the fact that it has zero cost of entry, it allows you to try and try and try again and potentially put yourself in a better position to get lucky. I know someone who uploaded the very first eclipse shirt, the solar eclipse that went across the USA of 2007. It was an April or August, 2017. She didn’t expect big things to happen, but she was first. She was lucky. She was early and she made over $40,000 profit, royalty profit check sent from Amazon in a single week. With Amazon, doing all the work like she’s sitting back and be like watching the numbers go up and she’s like, this can’t be real, but Amazon’s like, this is great. Look, we are more than happy to pay you. We’re going to make the shirts. We’re going to keep all our customers happy. But you know, the revenues coming in, like this is what Amazon wants.
Bradley Sutton: People say that passive income, or laptop lifestyle are words that get thrown around. But for private label, that’s not really it. You still got to do, you still have to do stuff. You’ve got to talk to your supplier. You got to field messages, seven days a week. If you’re a private label seller, guys, you have 24 hours to answer a message. 365 days a year.
Chris Green: Unless you’re getting a yellow triangle.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. You want a yellow triangle, meaning you got a performance warning on your metrics or something, guys. How do you stay focused when trying to find what niche you’re going to get into? Or what shirt you actually want to start selling?
Chris Green: That’s an incredibly tough question. And I think maybe we can give people some guidance because what people and I went through this, I still go through this where it’s print on demand. You can follow every single rabbit trail if you want to. Right. And it’s not that like some rabbit trails might be bigger or better, longer, whatever you want to describe them as being which ones you should follow. But there won’t be a limit of how many rabbit trails you can follow non-private label. You might be like, Hey, we’re focused on this type of category or we’re focused on this type of price point or we only sell stuff that is ranked this high in these categories. You have those parameters when it comes to merch, it’s like, are we good? Are we not going to sell back to school shirts? Like, why wouldn’t we, Oh, because we’re a St. Patrick’s day t-shirt company. What? No, you can sell whatever you want. And there’s so much cool data that you just showed there. And I was, I had a ton of questions actually, right. Because you’re probably you’re looking at it and you’re able get it from a private seller point of view where I’m looking at it from a merchant point of view. So if you saw those stats, those 400, 500 type numbers, would that be an interesting result to a private label seller or are those numbers too small?
Bradley Sutton: Normally they would think something three or 400 is too small, but here’s the thing–
Chris Green: Why?
Bradley Sutton: Because on private label products, I would say the great majority of your sales comes from a very small concentrated number of keywords. You still need to rank for a whole bunch of keywords, but usually you don’t see that where it’s so evenly distributed, there is a good 50 keywords there where they’re on the top of page one and only one or two had over a thousand search one, like in the private label world, you don’t see that normally.
Chris Green: Here’s the one consistent threat of everybody who is making money with Merch by Amazon. They are uploading products and trying new things.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Right. Without risk.
Chris Green: It is such a small risk. That’s the fun part. That’s why I think more people should be playing around with these. Cause you’re going to start to see some success. It’s going to feel so good. You should only sell one shirt and make four bucks. You’re going to be like, I made four bucks and I literally didn’t do anything. Oh, that upload an image.
Bradley Sutton: We talked about getting started on Merch by Amazon. We talked about using Helium 10 to look at keyword opportunity, et cetera, et cetera. But wait a minute. I don’t know how to draw. And I don’t, I’m too scared to hire somebody from Fiverr or Upwork to draw. And I don’t want to invest at all or too much. What’s some software out there or some apps, or things that people can use, if you have zero artistic bone in your body that instantly they could have made something like this t-rex with these three lines of code here or of texting.
Chris Green: So, there’s tons of programs out there. I covered a lot of them, like in the Merch challenge, I did get some feedback that I offered too much. I was telling people about too many cool programs, which I’m like, no, I thought you guys wanted like a whole bunch of options. There’s Photoshop and there’s sites like web apps, like Canva. One that I spent a lot of time with lately is stencil. They have a free trial there they’re very inexpensive, but I am, I never like tried to come on a show and say, look, Hey, you got to sign up for this. You got to pay for this. But most things you do have to pay for so that they stay in business, right? It’s going to be hard to find a graphic design program. It’s going to be completely free forever. There’s an app called over for iPhone and Android where you can make simple text-based designs in the right format, in the right dimensions. That’s completely free. They do have some like upsells for different things, but you don’t need it to do texts. But I just put out a new book. I don’t, I wasn’t trying to come on like plug my book because I’m not trying to sell books, but I will do this for any listeners. It is a digital course and they can have completely free access to it if they want. I don’t know how to do that or something. So, anybody listening to this, if you email me, my email is probably really easy to figure out it’s firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioned this podcast, and I will give you completely free access. I’m not going to send you a book, but I will give you completely free access to all of the content on the inside. And I put in, I don’t know, look, you’re going to love this. This is how I do videos. QR codes for the videos. The videos it’s got 22 separate videos. It teaches you everything you need to know about using it specifically for stencil. Cause I don’t want people to be overwhelmed with all of the different programs out there. So this is just one program, but it talks about merch by Amazon and KDP. So t-shirts hoodies long sleeves, pop sockets, cell phone cases, book covers for Kindle and paperback covers all of that stuff. I say completely free. Just send me an email. Let me know that you heard about it on the Helium 10 podcasts. Be happy to give you access to that. And it’s more and more of those things like nobody’s born a designer. So when people say, Oh, I don’t have a designing bone in my body. It’s like, nobody did at the beginning. You can learn, right. You can watch videos. Adobe has an entire channel dedicated to helping you be bad ass at Photoshop for free, right. And Photoshop’s $10 a month, month to month. Right? So, at some point, if you’re like, yeah, free only, and I don’t want to learn and I don’t want to watch a video. Well, at some point, you’re not like, well, you got to do something, right. You got to move forward with some kind of effort.
Bradley Sutton: Just to put it in perspective. We’re not telling somebody to go get what I have because my kids were all taking graphic design classes. So I had to get the stinking Adobe creative cloud and cost this $300 or whatever, the tools that are out there, like this stencil one, like even if you’re paying for the paid version, what are we talking about? 20 bucks a month, $10 a month?
Chris Green: Nine. Free trial discounts. It’s still only $9 a month or something like it. It is very, very inexpensive, which I don’t try to promote expensive things that are overkill, but I love the fact that your kids are using creative cloud, right? That’s money that I’m happy to spend. So I was doing Photoshop and illustrator, I think. And then David wanted to get into these 13. He wanted to get into more video editing. So we had to get the Lightroom creative suite. But I was like, you know what? I don’t– this, if my kids are learning to edit video at ages 12 and 13, if they can edit photos and Photoshop and do all this. Yes, yes. That’s money that I’m happy to spend as a parent because if my kids can create and they know about Merch and KDP and Amazon and FBA, if they know all this stuff, they will be, they will be well-equipped for being an adult. If they can create, being creative is in my opinion, speaking as a parent, the most valuable skill that any child can hold onto into adult life and 50 years ago, no, that wouldn’t make sense a hundred years ago. No, it didn’t make sense. But today with the internet, with creativity and social media and advertising and print on demand platforms, the ability to be creative is going to be one of the most valuable, if not the most valuable skills that a person can have.
Bradley Sutton: To recap so far, we’ve talked about how easy it is to get into Merch. We’ve talked about how to maybe even do some research into potential categories using the Helium 10 and seeing what’s working for other people. We’ve talked about how to get the artwork up. Let’s just talk about for a couple minutes here, like the content, obviously this one that I keep coming back to this dinosaur about grammar and stuff like that, that was probably an original idea, but obviously, you can’t do things that are licensed, that are trademarked and things like that, like TV shows, but let me ask you this. What about things that might not be necessarily trademark, but like, let’s say you’re watching some TV show like, or maybe Twilight is not a good example. It’s a famous movie, but whatever high school was in Twilight, it was probably some fictitious high school. I don’t know. All the Twilight fans are probably going to get very upset with me that I don’t have anything, but let’s say it was like a Riverview high school was the high school in Seattle or wherever the school was big.
Chris Green: Make a Bayside shirt for all the saved by the bell.
Bradley Sutton: Let’s say you don’t use a logo, but it’s like Bayside football or something, not any logo or anything, but where’s the line drawn where you’re putting yourself at risk. I mean, there’s no trademark necessarily for it. And you’re not going to go use saved by the bell, like words in your listing, but is that still a risk to have Bayside athletics or something shirt? It was a fictitious high school or where’s the line drawn there?
Chris Green: Well, it’s technically a risk where the line is going to be subjective and there can be people who disagree and say, I don’t think it’s crossing the line. If someone else thinks it is crossing the line and they’re both right, right. Like it’s not, it’s a gray area. You’re getting into what most might consider parody. Right? That’s not exactly parody, but I treat the same as parody, right. Where someone like mashes up two different things. And in general you can get away with parody. But what people don’t realize is parody is a defense. So, once you do something and like, I never saw Deadpool. But I guess there’s finding Francis. Is Francis like a character or something?
Bradley Sutton: I don’t know. I didn’t watch Deadpool either.
Chris Green: So there’s something about Finding Francis is I guess a character in there. And they mashed it up with Finding Nemo. They did a Nemo, like a little goldfish in the Deadpool colors. And it made the logo instead of saying, finding Nemo at finding Francis. So, I’m guessing Deadpool had to find someone named Francis, maybe like his girlfriend or something. I don’t know whatever it was, but it was a very popular shirt because it’s Nemo when people get it, they’re like, Oh, it’s like, that’s like, Oh, I get it. That’s funny. Generally that’s going to be okay because it is parody, but it’s an offense. So if Disney or I guess Disney owns both of them, if any part of Disney came after them, they would have to defend themselves as parody and maybe win. But it’s not like, Oh, they’re not going to come after me because it’s parody. And when it comes to Merch by Amazon, I tried to describe it as you should be the most conservative with Merch by Amazon, because Amazon wants to play things conservatively. Cause they just, they don’t want the trouble. They don’t want to have to hide. If they get a cease and desist, they get any kind of legal document. They have to respond, which means they have to hire their lawyer. They are going to get billed. It’s going to cost them money. They don’t want to do that. So there’s going to say none, forget it. Now you could go over to a different print on demand platform, like a red bubble or something else where parody might be a little bit more accepted. You’re not going to run the risk of losing your account. I mean, that’s what I’m worried about. I don’t care if Amazon takes it down and says, Hey, no, that’s not cool. I’m like, all right, no problem, Amazon. I’m not here to fight you. But, a lot of them say, Hey, we took it down and we banned your account as well. That’s what I don’t want for me. That’s why I don’t want for anybody else. Which is why my advice is to be super conservative with anything Amazon, FBA, seller central, KDP, like there might be other sites where I can get away with a little bit more. But putting up a Bayside athletic shirt is technically going to be a risk because, and here’s the rule of thumb that I use. Are you trying, are you marketing to obviously a different market, right? Is your market obviously saved by the bell fans? Right? And if the answer is yes, then, well you’re going after someone else’s market, right? Someone else created that demand, someone else created that market, that intellectual property. And you’re trying to sell to specifically to their customers. If that’s the answer, then your problem. I’m not saying you are, but you probably are doing something that is potentially going to be a run a risk to your account. I think it’s great. I think it’s hilarious. I think it’s funny when I watch shows, I’m like, Oh, for Pete’s sakes, we should make a shirt like that. Watching South park reruns, why exercise lately? And I’m like, I see little things. I’m like, Oh, that should be a t-shirt. That should be a t-shirt. But I’m obviously selling to South park fans. Right. Which the creators of South park, they created that demand. They’ve created the demand for that t-shirt and I’m trying to cash in on it. So it’s was like, eh, technically. Yeah. I’m scalping a little bit off of there, off of their business. There’s probably plenty of times where, like I said, it’s great as a South park. They’re like, Hey, we do not care. We actually encourage our fans to do that. And that’s cool, but that’s still not a legal defense if ever they changed their mind. Or if Amazon just take something down. Merch is still a very young platform. It’s still growing. It’s still going through some development.
Bradley Sutton: We talked about the last episode that we did together, about how you could do kind of like fundraisers for schools where you go and say, Hey, how would you guys like to have your school basketball team or your school club or whatever on a shirt and your team goes door to door. You can’t go. I mean, it’s kind of like not cool to go door to door these days. But, somehow, you send out a flyer, sent out emails to all the parents and now no investment. And now you can raise money for ASB because you can get the ASB, Bayside ASB here, Sheridan and it’s FBA and boom we’ll do profits. I mean, there’s so many cool ideas. Now you get the product– whatever your idea is, if it’s not going to be something that’s a grassroots campaign like that, where you’re kind of strictly relying on bringing in traffic on or off Amazon, you’re not in seller central, like you said, so what access do you have to sponsor ads? Can you run ads to it from a separate Seller Central account? Or how do you do PPC for a Merch by Amazon without Seller Central?
Chris Green: Well, it’s still kind of in development. So to do advertising, do you have to get an invitation code? You’ll see it in your merch account, if you have access to it and you know what, eventually Amazon wants to give everybody that they’re more than happy to take our ad money. Yeah. Right. They’re just not there yet. Right. They’re kind of, they’re trying to like fit. What’s a valve, right? They let so many people, they can let everybody enter the whole thing’s going to fall apart. So then you get access to Amazon advertising, which is going through all its own upheavals and changes. So it’s not like seller central it’s not like AMS. It’s not like– they keep changing it around. So I don’t have all the answers on that, but some accounts and eventually all accounts will have access to that. But I don’t want people to think that Oh, I have a great idea and it’s just not going to work. You could totally contact whoever owns the licenses to say by the bell and say, I want to do this and get a license. And then you send that license, that written agreement to merch by Amazon. And you’re good to go. So it’s not a– you have to– everything has to be original, but if you have an idea that needs licensing, then you get licensing and then you communicate with merch. So they know that. Yeah. Bradley’s cool. He’s got a license to Saved by the Bell properties. If anybody reports anything, if there’s any issues, we go back and look and like, no, he’s cool. He’s got permission. So, that’s a little bit more advanced. A lot of people are like, Oh, I don’t want to actually have to contact anybody. And I was like, well, you had to contact a supplier to get a physical product, like contact. It’s almost too easy. So people think of it, like just contact, look them up. It can– 10 seconds. I could Google who has the saved by the bell intellectual property rights. I can find contact information. But I like your idea of the fundraiser stuff like going around and you have access, you have a way to turn a product into money through merch by Amazon. And yeah, I got it. We can almost do an unboxing here when you got that right now. You don’t even know what this is. Do you?
Bradley Sutton: Nope. I just see an envelope right there.
Chris Green: All right. This is a great example. I hope you have some numbers off the top of your head. I don’t know if you do or not because you sent me this, right? This is from you.
Bradley Sutton: Oh yes. Helium 10 t-shirt.
Chris Green: My Helium 10 t-shirt. And I want this to be a great example. I don’t know if it’s going to be perfect. Because I don’t know exactly what you paid for the shirt and the labor and the shipping. But if you wanted to, you can have this Helium 10 shirt in every size and 21 different colors. And then when you have someone come on your show is, Hey, we want to send you a t-shirt. It’s going to cost you $13 to send total $13 to send me whatever size of whatever color I choose. 13 bucks. And you don’t have to inventory 21 different colors and 11 different sizes and ship. Oh, he’s out. He’s in a different country. Oh we can’t, let’s go. It’s going to cost so much to send it to the UK. It’s like, Nope, you can do it in the UK as well. 13 bucks. Right? So anybody that like you guys could do the exact same thing. I don’t think that’s what you guys do. I mean, clearly you didn’t do that because this is not an Amazon package, but that gives everybody this ability to drop ship any size, any color of any design that they want. You can keep it unlisted. If you’ll say, look, the only people that come on our podcast, get this awesome shirt, right? This is like exclusive. And I mean, you could honestly just send me a $13 gift card and say, just go buy whatever one you want, use your prime benefits. Right? And now you’ve outsourced that entire thing. That’s what people can do. And that’s a little bit more of a creative use of Merch by Amazon. But to me, that’s where I get more excited. Like wait a minute. There’s ways versus uploading a tee shirt, kind of crossing my fingers, hoping somebody finds it. Amazon don’t always know traffic. Amazon doesn’t owe us any sales. Right. Amazon is giving us this ability to provide great products to their customers. But it’s up to us to provide great products, right? We upload a crappy design. Why would Amazon want to push it and sell it? Right. Amazon gives us incredible abilities. And then it’s up to us about like, okay, what are we going to do with those abilities? It’s like having a printer.
Bradley Sutton: With Merch by Amazon. I like what you’re talking about? You can almost control the purpose of your shirt. It could be like, we’re trying to do a campaign to get the helium 10 logo out to more places. And it’s a marketing play. We’re not trying to make money off the shirt. We’re just trying to make it available. So we set the price or we give coupons or something. So, we set it at $13 and every– it’s free for everybody or we just pay it to ourselves. Right. It’s to ship to somebody. But what– let’s go back to again, beating a dead T-Rex here, but let’s go back to that T rex shirt, was it just luck that they started selling 1500 units? If you don’t have access to the advertising in the beginning, how do you get eyeballs on your Merch by Amazon? For private label it’s a no brainer, it’s– you just start sending PPC or do you do like a search find buy campaign or for your main keyword or whatever, which I’m sure you could do search find buy, if there was just some crazy big search keyword, but as we saw that product didn’t really have any superstar keywords that’s sending the majority of the traffic, it was spread apart. I looked, I didn’t call this out, but Helium 10 can show if there are any sponsored ads showing up for that. And there was none. So that shirt has zero sponsored ads. So maybe that merch seller doesn’t have that invite. How in the world do you get eyeballs on your great shirt idea without these normal things that other people use for Amazon?
Chris Green: Well, it’s hard to say if I had like a perfect answer. If I knew then one, I would just do it all day myself every day and I would make courses and I would teach people about it. So I do that as much as I can, but it could be that they had some kind of social media. It could have been picked up by some homeschooling blog or some mommy blog. And I don’t know if we’re linked in, were like outside of Amazon searches or like, Hey, is this linked to anywhere on Amazon or on Google? Okay. Google find where any external traffic is being sent to Amazon. Cause generally that’s a big unknown. And if you’ve got some kind of social following that you can post, especially if it’s related to e-commerce or a business, say, look, Hey, I just upload this new shirt and you have a whole homeschooling audience, then all of a sudden, Hey, let’s go start selling. And the Amazon algorithms going to start kicking in and be like, okay, people want to buy this. We should put it on search. It doesn’t get returned. It’s getting good reviews. It’s competitively priced, all the things that go on behind the scenes. So there’s definitely things that people can do about, there’s a strategy to say, look, get your friends to search for the specific terms and then buy them. I mean, so people are spending money on ads. You can spend money on is giving away shirts, right? You can run contests and say, Hey, share this. And I’ll pick a winner and give away different shirts. I think there’s a lot of opportunity there to say, look, instead of running paid ads, I’m going to take that same amount of money, that same budget and give away t-shirts. I mean, if you went to a homeschooling Facebook group and said, look, the shirts, what 16.99, I’m going to give away 10 shirts, 170 bucks. And I’m going to contact the admin of this a hundred thousand member homeschooling Facebook group and say, look, I would like to give you admin 10 shirts for you, admin to give away. So that you, admin look really good. Who’s going to turn that down. Right? And now you’ve got 10 sales. You got an admin who thinks you’re awesome. Hey, thanks for giving me almost 200 bucks of stuff to give away. And the people who didn’t win are still going to know that the t-shirt exists. You going to get more clicks to go through. So, some of these things are a little bit more creative and they’re not necessarily guaranteed to pay off, but I don’t see how you don’t get some kind of benefit out of it. It definitely works better if you have some kind of existing audience or existing kind of market demand, instead of just throwing stuff up there and be like, Hey, someone else uploaded dinosaur shirts. So I’m going to upload dinosaur shirts too. That’s not a strategy that’s necessarily going to work, although you might get lucky and it ends up working. So you just never know.
Bradley Sutton: Now, a lot of what we offer for, as in Helium 10, for private label sellers, for wholesale sellers, for arbitrage sellers, it works for Merch too. I showed you guys Cerebro. You could do keyword research and magnet. You could look up black box here. We showed you guys Xray that’s working, but what is not out there yet, but it’s like, man, I wish a company like Helium 10 would offer this kind of functionality or figure this part out because it would really help Merch. So I’m putting myself on the hook now. So, Chris, if you were sitting on the helium 10 board and could direct us to like start working on something, what would really help merch sellers that they don’t really have access to from other tools?
Chris Green: Well, I don’t, you guys probably already have many tools that would work really well. Probably it’s that same one where, Hey, if I can Helium 10 tell me where any potential external traffic is coming from to an Amazon listing. And there’s probably a way to do it where you say yes, this blog over here, links back to this Amazon product page. And if you’re going to start reverse engineering that, cause then you could say, Hey, look, this blog, this mommy blog sends a lot of traffic to Amazon. Then you can say, Hey, I want to get featured on that mommy blog, what can I do? How can I set up? It’s kind of like some people call it the dream 100 or even just straight affiliate marketing. I like finding out where the traffic’s coming from and then finding a way like how can I get my products in front of those customers? And you have to do it in a win, win scenario. Everybody knows you want to win. How can I make the person who has this traffic, this attention, this demand, how can I help them? Right. What to help them to give away some of my products in order to expand their email list is would help them to like whatever it might be. It’s part of that is just contacting them and talking to like, what do you need? What can I help you with? And you know, if you could have those types of relationships, then all of a sudden there’s going to be a whole bunch of affiliate opportunities and cross promotional opportunities. So, that would be one. The advertising stuff as more, there isn’t a lot out there about the specific merch advertising strategies with like case studies of this works. Because there’s so many different types of ads like headlight ads and search results ads and product page ads. And it’s completely new. It’s a true blue ocean strategy. And if someone could come in and we’re going right down the exact same road, we’re going to get to the end, we’re going to say, you know what, we need to do this and have to like, hold each other accountable, actually do it because I could do this stuff all day. Right? I enjoy looking stuff up and reverse engineering and like, okay. Some of the tools that you’re showing me, I didn’t realize they did. And I’m like, Oh man, I got to spend some time with them.
Bradley Sutton: How about this? I’m going to put you on our customer advisory board. We have a customer advisory board that we’ve invited a lot of people. And we’ve always said that all the tools we develop is made for users. And the reason why we’re able to do it is because we have customer advisory boards where people tell us, Hey, I’m a wholesale seller and this is what I like to do. Or I’m a brand new seller. This is how I would have liked to have had the tool. So we don’t have anybody for merch. I’m going be you cool to be in our like advisor on merchant. Oh, all. Alright cool. I’m going to bring you on. We got to do KDP. That’s another thing we’re going to have to get into now. Now real quick, we’ve been talking about strategies and different things throughout this whole episode. There’s this, I don’t know if we had it last year, but there’s this part of the show that we do now, we call it the TST, the TST, 30-second tip. So what is something– you and I just love to talk, so I know this is the hardest for both of us, but what is something that you could say in 30 seconds or less just some great values and great strategy. That’s very actionable that you haven’t talked about yet.
Chris Green: I would encourage people to go back and maybe even replay and listen to what I said earlier about luck, because luck is actually a bigger factor in a lot of people’s success than people realize. And there’s a lot of great YouTube content out there that explains the dynamics behind it. And you can put yourself in the position to get lucky. And a lot of times that doesn’t take a lot of effort. It’s just a matter of being consistent and keep putting yourself out there without this fear of, Oh, what if someone says this? Or what if it doesn’t work? And honestly, one of the reasons I’ve been lucky so much is because I do try a bunch of things and I’m known and I’m remembered for the things that work and all the things I did that didn’t work, everybody forgot about, which is great. I don’t have to keep reliving it, but like I have failed and things have not worked out over and over and over again. And I share that in a way to be vulnerable. So people can say, Hey, I look up to this Chris Green guy, he’s done a lot of things. He’s had a lot of success, but he’s even, he’s happy to admit that he’s failed at a bunch of things and yes, I failed. Everybody forgets those things. So don’t worry about it and just keep trying things. And the more things you try, and the more times you try it, something’s going to give, you’re going to get better at something. And you’re going to end up getting lucky and you’re going to get on some podcast. And all of a sudden you’re going to get a little bit more of an audience and it’s just because you kept trying, so don’t discount it. Don’t discount the factor of luck that goes into it and just keep trying. Because there’s no downside to trying, right?
Bradley Sutton: Yup, absolutely. Now, you mentioned earlier how people can get that free book. So, if you can just mention that again, or just, if people have more questions about merch, I mean, you’re one of the ones who are known in the industry to kind of like help as many people as you can, free of charge a lot of times. So how can people find you or Facebook groups or anything like that in order to get more information from you?
Chris Green: Yeah, it should be the number one result on like Google and Facebook for just Chris Green. Website is Chrisgreen.com. And of course, email is email@example.com. I’m the only one who checks it. Anybody, any response you get is actually going to be from me. This is my newest book. I did put this book up on Amazon at 50 bucks. But for the listeners of this podcast, you can have the files you can have the PDF that you can have, the videos, 22 separate videos that go with this. You guys can have those absolutely for free. Just send me a message about that. It’s going to help you just understand the programs that you can use to make designs for merch by Amazon and for KDP. It explains what print on demand is. It’s pretty in depth. That goes into a lot of good information, including what I think is very underrated these days, the power of Amazon prime, you have to be prime eligible. At least you don’t have to be prime exclusive at least have a prime eligible offer. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling Merch KDP, Seller Central, whatever it is. It explains that from my point of view, maybe a point of view, you hadn’t heard before. Yes, you have that. Absolutely. For free. I want people to start seeing some success, get something uploaded. Once you have that taste of success. You’re like, wait a minute. That was easy. Chris said it was easy. Bradley said it was easy. Until you do it, all you do is just like, Oh, they said it was easy, but I don’t know if it’s actually easy. Then when you do it, you’re like, Hey, that was easy. And then you get that new level of confidence. You have an accomplishment. That’s what we try to do through the Merch challenge. And it works, once people have a little bit of tape, a little bit of success, they run their first successful ad campaign, right? They source their first successful product. They make their first dollar. It’s not about making $10,000. Maybe that $.1 that’s what gives them the confidence. And that’s what we’re hoping to do with this podcast. And just all the content that we put out is just help people see the opportunities that are out there. There are so many of them. They’re so good, but it can be overwhelming. And if people feel overwhelmed, encourage them to kind of step back and like focus on what they’re good at trying to remind themselves, what am I trying to do? I try to make a million bucks or my really just try to make a thousand bucks because the heck nobody’s going to make a thousand bucks. Right?
Bradley Sutton: Chris, thank you so much for joining. And I’m going to get my kids to commit to what they had said last year, make a shirt and then you and I still have to do our Helium 10 webinar for your audience. So it’s taken us a year, but better late than never. Right?
Chris Green: Well get to it. We’re not going to let it hang over us, like in a bad way. It’s more of a, Hey, you know what? We didn’t get through it. And I want everybody else to know. It’s okay. If you guys don’t get the things too, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just look forward. We live in the present and look forward to the future and do not dwell on the past, man. It’s nonsense.
Bradley Sutton: All right. We’ll see everybody in the next episode.
- #289 – PPC Talk: Amazon Advertising & Adtomic Updates - October 16, 2021
- #288 – Amazon Posts 101 - October 12, 2021
- #287 – Bookkeeping And Accounting Tips For Amazon Sellers - October 9, 2021