Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world, and print-on-demand lets you access its massive customer base without any major investments and with only a few hours of setup.
We’ll cover the basics of getting started with POD on Amazon, the benefits of a print-on-demand business, and the potential challenges you may face. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of POD and be ready to start selling your own products on Amazon.
Print-on-demand is a business model that allows you to sell custom products without having to keep large amounts of inventory on hand. All you have to do is find buyers, and your fulfillment partners take care of the rest.
With this model, you can design and customize products, such as clothing, mugs, and posters, and produce them only when they are ordered. This eliminates the need to store and manage inventory, as well as most of the other overhead that a typical business has.
Because orders are forwarded to the printer, you don’t even need to handle the product. So, your customers will be happy because they’ll receive their items quickly, suppliers will be happy because they’ll be moving products, and you’ll be getting paid to create and market your designs.
The process to start selling POD on Amazon is relatively simple, and it starts with creating a seller account. Amazon offers two main types of seller accounts: individual and professional. The individual plan collects $0.99 cents for every item you sell, and the professional plan costs $39.99 per month but doesn’t have the $0.99 fee. Both plans also collect a referral fee from every sale you make that varies based on item price.
You can start with the individual plan, but that won’t get you too far. The professional plan lets you use third-party services to create your POD products, which will be an important aspect of long-term success. That said, you have two options to start selling print-on-demand products on Amazon: using Merch on Demand by Amazon or partnering with a third-party service, such as Printful or Printify.
Merch on Demand is simply Amazon’s print-on-demand service. It’s very simple to get started and is a great way to test the waters with minimal commitment. Here’s how it works:
Once you set up an Amazon seller account, you sign up for the Merch on Demand program and you can start uploading designs. The product creation interface is simple and intuitive and you’ll see how designs look on various items. When your design is ready and you’ve selected a product, you set a list price and put it up on your Amazon store.
Orders come in, Amazon processes them and prints the products, and your customers get their items. It couldn’t be simpler, and Merch on Demand products are even eligible for free shipping.
You get royalties for every item sold based on the price of the item. This sounds great in theory, but those royalties are relatively small. For example, if you sell a $15.99 t-shirt, your cut will be only $1.93; needless to say, low margins will negatively impact your print-on-demand profitability.
Additionally, Amazon’s product selection is pretty limited, so you won’t have a whole lot of room to compete with anything other than the designs you create. Additionally, Merch on Demand’s low barrier to entry has led to fierce competition, so you’ll have your work cut out for you.
In short, Merch on Demand is extremely beginner-friendly but also less profitable than other options–but it isn’t the only way to sell POD products on Amazon.
You can partner with third-party suppliers and sell their products on Amazon with your designs instead of using Merch on Demand. In a way, this gives you the best of both worlds–you have access to a much broader product catalog and better profitability, but still get to sell your products on Amazon.
The process starts out the same–you’ll need to create a professional seller account on Amazon (individual seller accounts aren’t eligible for this approach). From there, you can sign up with a third-party supplier like Printful.
Printful offers direct integration with Amazon, which makes the process quite simple. Once you’re signed up, you need to get a GTIN exemption. Amazon requires a global trade item number for products, but POD products often don’t have this, so you’ll have to request an exemption.
When your exemption is approved, you can link your Amazon and Printful accounts. This will eliminate a lot of the manual work you’d otherwise have to do to send orders back and forth. With your accounts linked, you can start creating and uploading designs to Printful and listing products on Amazon. When someone places an order through Amazon, Printful will fulfill it and ship it out to your customer.
Products won’t be eligible for Prime shipping this way, but you’ll end up earning much more per product sold than you would through Merch on Demand. Moreover, the wide range of products in Printful’s catalog will allow you to compete in much less saturated niches.
So, which is the best way to start selling print-on-demand products on Amazon? It really depends on what you’re looking for–if you want a simple and easy way to get started, Merch on Demand is a good option.
However, if you want more control over your product selection and want to make more money per sale, partnering with a third-party service like Printful is the better choice. Whichever route you decide to take, remember that it takes some time and effort to get started–but the payoff is more than worth it.If want more freedom than what Amazon offers, you can always set up your own store on a platform like Shopify. For information regarding Shopify print-on-demand. Check out our latest post.