Wondering how to sell Amazon Print on Demand products? You’re in the right place.
For entrepreneurs keen to start their own ecommerce business, Amazon stands as one of the most popular platforms. Easy to use and brimming with versatility, Amazon represents a fantastic tool for getting products in front of an already phenomenal audience.
While you can certainly sell your own products on Amazon, it’s also possible to work with a host of dropshipping providers and similar partners, including print-on-demand services. Using print on demand with Amazon means you can sell a host of creative, and even customizable products to customers, without spending a lot of initial capital.
The question is, how do you start selling POD on Amazon?
What are Print on Demand (POD) Products?
Let’s start by defining Print on Demand, and what it means to your business strategy. Print on Demand products are products made to order whenever your customer buys something from your website. Similar to dropshipping, you’ll work with a manufacturer to provide customers with a variety of items, which are supplied by your partner.
With print on demand, you don’t have to hold any stock, or even ship your items to your customers, the vendor you work with does all of that for you. Instead, you simply pay a fee for the item and shipping, and then charge your customer enough so you can still make a profit.
What makes POD different to basic dropshipping is the ability to customize your items. With print on demand, you’re working specifically with manufacturers who can add unique designs and pictures to your products. This means you can load up a unique design for a T-Shirt, a mug, or a set of pillows, and your manufacturer will add this image to your item.
Sometimes, you can also work with designers to create personalized items for your customers. This allows your clients to choose a specific design or add their name to a product. You send the request to your manufacturer, and they handle the rest.
The beauty of the POD method is you get the simplicity of dropshipping, with no requirement to hold your own stock or fulfill orders yourself. However, you also get the added benefit of being able to make your products stand out too. You’re not just selling the same items as everyone else – as you would with basic dropshipping.
How Do You Sell POD Products on Amazon?
Selling POD products on Amazon is a simple enough process. You’ll need a few things to get started, like a POD company you want to work with, and an account as a seller on the Amazon website. However, once you have those things, the majority of your work will flow pretty smoothly.
Start by setting up your Amazon seller account. The first thing you should know here is Amazon offers two different kinds of accounts for sellers. There’s a free account called the “Individual” plan, which allows you to sell a few products each month. However, if you want to build a relatively scalable business on Amazon, you’re going to need the professional plan. This does have a monthly fee attached to it, but it could mean you can sell more than a basic seller.
Professional plans on Amazon are particularly useful, because you’ll get access to the Amazon Marketplace service. This means you can link your Amazon account with other tools, including Print on Demand suppliers.
Using Merch by Amazon for POD
After you’ve got your Amazon account set up, the next step is creating an account with your print on demand supplier. There are a lot of options available, which we’ll come back to in a minute. However, if you want to avoid finding an external provider, you can keep things simple by using Amazon’s own dedicated POD solution.
Merch by Amazon launched in 2015 to give business owners a chance to experiment with the print on demand environment. The biggest issue with this service is it’s invite only. You need to make sure you’re approved to get involved with the Merch by Amazon service. Once you are approved to sell, you can upload your own designs for all kinds of products, including things like shirts, hoodies, and so on. There are some pretty high-quality items on Amazon’s POD solution, so you can expect to sell a few decent products.
Merch by Amazon is popular enough that even some of the world’s biggest brands use it. However, the application process can take between 3 weeks and a year to complete, which means you need to sit around waiting to start your business. The application form requires you to provide your bank account and routing number, business contact information, and Tax ID.
There’s also a comprehensive questionnaire where you’ll need to answer questions about your industry and organization. Amazon is only willing to support companies they think will make them money. Once you open your account, you’ll only be able to sell 10 different designs to begin with – as this helps to prove to Amazon you can actually make some cash.
Once you’ve made at least ten sales, you’ll be placed on a tier system where you can gradually progress to being able to upload more designs. It’s a pretty complicated process, and there are a lot of rules, such as:
- You must check the copyright and trademark database before uploading a design
- You can only use artwork following Amazon’s guidelines for sizing
- You must prove your ability to sell before updating to the next tier
Prices for Merch by Amazon products are pretty standard, and you’ll also get the extra benefit of being able to list your items as “Prime eligible”, which means faster shipping for your customers. Another benefit of Amazon’s merch program is that it’s free to get started – but only if you actually get approved to begin with.
What About Amazon KDP
Notably, Merch by Amazon is the tool you’ll use if you want to stick with Amazon for your POD custom products. Generally, this solution is intended for the creation of things like t-shirts and hats. Amazon also has an external service called KDP which allows for a slightly different print-on-demand sales experience.
Amazon KDP is a self-publishing tool, so you can design and sell your own eBooks, hardbacks and paperbacks. You’ll have direct access to your book on Amazon, and you can also create product details pages for the book. Thanks to Amazon’s robust ecosystem of tools, you can also use Kindle Direct Publishing to immediately send your eBook to ereaders.
The good thing about KDP is it gives you full rights to your eBook, audio book, and physical designs. You’ll be able to maintain your branding during the book publishing process, and choose everything from the cover design, to how you want to market your product.
The Kindle Unlimited service allows you to publish all kinds of journals, textbooks, poetry, cookbooks, children’s books and novels. You even get to choose your list price, so you can make more money by choosing a competitive profit margin.
You will need to set up a KDP account to sell books this way, but once you’re up and running it’s easy enough to add new products to your portfolio. You can even publish books already published elsewhere if you own the rights to the content. KDP is much easier to access than merch by Amazon if you want to print book products
Alternative Options to Merch by Amazon
The sad reality is Merch by Amazon is extremely difficult to get involved with. If you want to jump into print on demand selling as quickly as possible, you’re going to need to consider some alternative solutions. Fortunately, there are a lot of great options out there.
Printful is one of the most popular print on demand companies, ready to integrate with a host of sales environments. The Printful brand creates all of its own products, and it’s well known for offering a huge variety of amazing products to choose from. Printful has gained a lot of popularity over recent years for its amazing high-quality items, excellent customer service, and handy mockup generator.
You can choose from a selection of attractive-looking products on Printful, and customize them in a range of different ways, adding your own colors, embellishments and more. There’s even jewelry with custom engravings. Printful even offers more products than Amazon Merch.
Quick and easy to use, you can connect Printful directly to Amazon in a couple of seconds. Just sign up to Amazon and get your Printful account, then create your merch using the mockup generator on Printful. You then connect Amazon to your Printful account and send your designs to Amazon. You can also list the same designs on other marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. When a sale comes in, Printful receives the order automatically for fulfillment.
You’ll need to:
- Sign up for the Professional seller plan at $39.99 per month
- Use the GTIN exemption on Amazon
- Connect your Amazon and Printful accounts
- Add and sync products with your Amazon store
Once you’re done, you’ll have access to all of Printful’s simple graphic design services and amazing quality control. At the same time, you get the benefit of selling on a trusted marketplace.
- Excellent range of great products
- Easy to use integration with Amazon
- Convenient mockup generate
- Fantastic customer service
- Requires an Amazon Professional Seller account
👉 Read our Printful review.
Teespring is another excellent POD solution offering an integration with Amazon. It’s very easy to get your products from Teespring up on Amazon, and there are a ton of great options to choose from, when it comes to what you want to sell. There are more products appearing all the time too. At the time of writing you can create things like sweatshirts, dresses, accessories and more for your Amazon business.
To get started with Teespring and Amazon, you’ll need to create an account on TeeSpring alongside your account on Amazon. Click on the right hand corner button in Teespring for “create and sell”, then make your designs. You can use the “Art” tab to upload your own designs. TeeSpring is pretty handy for budgeting because it shows you your base price as you use the mockup generator.
Remember to set your listing to “always available” so you can sell on Amazon. Then visit your campaign tab, and click on the globe to create your Amazon settings. You can add custom descriptions and bullet points for your Amazon page through TeeSpring.
One slight downside is you’re not eligible for price with Amazon and TeeSpring at the moment, but there’s no reason why that wouldn’t change in the future.
- Excellent range of products
- Very informative mockup generator
- Lots of design choices
- Convenient connection with Amazon
- Can be complicated to set everything up
3. Shopify / Amazon integration with Teelaunch
A slightly more complex, but effective way of selling products on Amazon with POD is to use the Shopify/Amazon integration, then use the Teelaunch app for Shopify. Shopify is excellent if you want to build your own website for selling products, while simultaneously having an avenue for sales on Amazon. Selling across multiple channels gives you a higher opportunity for profits.
You’ll need to invest a little money and time into the Shopify and Amazon integration, but it could be worth it. You’ll be able to build far more of a compelling brand using Teelaunch, Amazon, and Shopify than you would on Amazon alone.
Shopify has the added benefit of featuring an extensive app market with dozens of apps to link to your preferred bookstores, marketplaces and more. You can also link directly to POD solutions like Teelaunch, which offers competitive pricing options to support your business model. There’s a wide range of products to choose from, and most base prices are pretty low.
Unfortunately, your products aren’t going to be eligible for Prime listings through the Shopify/Amazon integration, but you will be able to direct people back to your website where you can offer any kind of shipping you like.
- Excellent for building a marketable brand
- Good connectivity with other apps
- Extend your sales opportunities
- Decent range of product options
- Can be expensive to get started
- No Prime eligibility
How to Sell on Amazon Using a Third-Party POD Company
Now you know some of the services you can use to sell on Amazon with a POD company, it’s time to learn a little more about selling with Amazon using a third-party solution. For the purpose of this walkthrough, we’re going to be using Printful as an example, as it’s one of the most popular options.
The first thing you need to know is that using Merch by Amazon is free, but using a third-party POD solution does require you to sign up for a professional seller account, which costs around $39.99 per month. However, once you’ve paid your monthly fee, you’ll be able to sell as many products as you want and create as many listings as you like.
To begin, go to Amazon and create your Professional account. You’ll be able to do this in the account settings of your existing Amazon account if you have an Amazon account already. If you’re setting up your account for the first time, Amazon will give you the choice of a personal account or a professional account. Once you have your professional account:
1. Create a POD account
Next you need an account with your POD solution. In this case, we’re looking at Printful because it’s one of the most popular options on the market, but there are plenty of alternatives. Take the time to explore resources like Createspace, gearbubble, and various others to make sure you’re keeping your upfront costs low and your quality high.
One of the good things about Printful is you can easily sell products on your own website, eBay, and Amazon, so it helps build a higher passive income. The printing cost is pretty low too. You won’t have to pay a monthly fee for an account, but you will pay for the price of the item you’re making for your customers, and the price to send it to Amazon’s distribution centers.
2. Create your products
Once you have your Print on Demand business account, create the artwork for your design. You’ll be able to use the Printful mockup generator for this, which is pretty intuitive and straightforward. You simply drag and drop your design to the place where you’d like it to be. You can also choose from a range of different printing options, like printing or embroidery, outside or inside label, left or right sleeve, and so on.
You’ll be able to upload your own design using services like Canva, Gimp, or Photoshop, but if you don’t have the right skills to create artwork on your own, you can also find people to help you. Freelancer marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr are a good place to start your search.
Upload your artwork and create your mockup, making sure to get plenty of pictures of what your item is going to look like for your product listing.
3. List the product on Amazon
The next step is to connect your POD account to Amazon. The way you link the two accounts will depend on the kind of print on demand solution you’re using. Printful is very straightforward, as it allows you to simply click a button to automatically connect your Amazon account and sync products onto your store immediately.
You will need to apply for a GTIN exemption from Amazon before you can make the link, however. This basically means you don’t have to purchase barcodes from Amazon for your items. Usually you’ll get an exemption pretty quickly, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long.
If you’re using another POD solution with an Amazon integration, you should be able to simply visit the app store of the POD service and link the two sites using the guidance provided.
4. Optimize your Amazon listing
Next, make sure your Amazon listing is optimized to help customers find it as quickly as possible. This means you need to work on your product page to make it more compelling according to the Amazon search engines. Using keywords describing your product will make it more visible to potential customers. You should include keywords in the description and product name.
Remember to make high-quality bullet points for your listing which feature your key terms, and the most valuable features of your product. You can also use the product description section to share more insights into your items and business.
Collecting plenty of reviews, questions and answers can also help to improve the quality of your listing, so engage with your audience whenever you can.
5. Fulfilling product orders
Now it’s time to wait for orders to start rolling in (while doing a little marketing from time to time too). You should be able to manually fulfill orders by placing them through the POD website using the information provided by your customer if there isn’t a direct link. However, the dropship integration tool on Printful will reduce this work.
When an order is placed on Amazon, the integration with Printful means that your Printful team will also get the notification and start preparing the order. The Printful team will automatically submit tracking information to marketplaces too, so you can give your customer a more straightforward experience.
Making the Most of Print on Demand Selling on Amazon
Notably, achieving success with Print on Demand selling from Amazon requires a careful plan. To sell well, you need to think about everything from what kind of products you want to create for your customers, to who you’re going to work with to design those items. The good news is there are plenty of tools for making your own t-shirt designs and custom template products to sell on Amazon.
Merch by Amazon is one of the best options, but it can be difficult to access for beginners. Make sure you consider all of your third-party solutions carefully, as each has its own pros and cons. Once you’ve found your preferred POD solution, and you’re ready to start selling, work on things like SEO and Amazon listing optimizing to reach as many customers as possible.
You might also consider building your business brand a little further by investing in your own business website too, so you have more platforms through which to sell.