Amazon Merch Guide: The Ultimate Side Hustle – Part 3

Getting Started: Researching Design Ideas

Now that you understand your Merch by Amazon dashboard, account, and how to properly upload designs and optimize your listings for your primary keyword we can move on to the good stuff.

I’ll show you how to find design ideas and inspiration along with the right keywords to use in your listing.

In this section I want to cover a couple of websites in which you can find a trove of design ideas and gather inspiration from such as PinterestAmazon, and Google search.

I’ll also show you how to do simple keyword research in part 4 of the guide.

Finding Design Ideas & Inspiration

The best way to quickly find design ideas and inspiration is to have a general idea in mind already. You surely have a passion and interest that you know more about than the average person. I recommend you make that your starting point.

I’ll explain this process for you using one of my own interests as an example.

I enjoy Basketball. I played it my entire life competitively, and I understand the lingo, I see what t-shirts or tank tops people spend their money on and wear to the gym. I understand the words used to reference aspects of the game such as “Paint” “Free Throws” “3 Pointers” “Jump Shot” “Layup”, and the words people use in the game such as “Pick Left”, “Pick Right”, “Flare”, “Foul”, ect…

I can say with confidence that I know more about basketball than the average person so I’ll make that my starting point to look for design ideas.

This gives me an advantage as I know what interests people about this niche.

Using Pinterest & Amazon to find Product Design Ideas & Inspiration

Pinterest can be a treasure trove full of pinned t-shirts from various different sources. You can use Pinterest to find more ideas than you know what to do with, and then run a search query on Amazon to see what exists.

I’ll stick to my example as previously explained. Go to Pinterest.com, and do a search. I’ll start with a basic search such as “Basketball shirts”, and see what I come up with. Instantly I see so many shirts that get my creative juices flowing. However, I’ll keep this simple, and focus on just one design.

Merch by Amazon - Pinterest Product Research

I see a “It’s in my DNA” t-shirt with a thumbprint of a basketball. That shirt stood out to me, and I actually like the design. I’ll use that shirt as inspiration, take the keyword “It’s in my DNA” and dig a little deeper.

Now, go to Amazon.com and do a search with that keyword, but here’s the catch. Don’t click enter on the search query just yet…
Let Amazon show you the “Suggested / Autocomplete” keywords that are most commonly searched for by other consumers.

Why?

Because you can use these keywords to generate even more ideas and inspiration, and they’re usually a bit more long-tail and buyer keywords.

I primarily try to stick to autocomplete keywords with some added research to use in most of my personal product listings, and I do quite well.

Here are the autocomplete results from Amazon for “It’s in my DNA”:

Amazon Autocomplete Research

As you can see one of the first autocomplete keywords is a long-tail basketball related buyer keyword which is perfect.

Now, it’s also important to recognize the other keywords being suggested on this list. I can take my one design idea (basketball thumbprint with the text “It’s In My DNA”), and also make it for football, soccer, baseball, and softball, and I see that enough people are searching for it to appear as an autosuggested option.

One product idea can quickly turn into multiple product ideas if you use Amazon to gauge what people are searching for…

Again, sticking to the “It’s In My DNA” basketball shirt idea I found from Pinterest I’m going to see what currently exists on Amazon, so I’ll click the “It’s in my dna basketball shirt” autosuggested keyword.

Once the results are loaded, I filter down even further to see what already exists in the Merch by Amazon space by clicking on the “Novelty & More” category on the left-hand side, and then refine the search by “prime” only, and “Sold by Amazon”.

Here are the results:

Amazon Autocomplete Research

Once the results are loaded you’ll want to first recognize how much competition exists for this product idea. As you can see from the image there are a total of 57 results for this keyword under the Novelty & More category.

It’s low competition, and I can see that a few of the shirts are getting sales too because they have a BSR (more on this later).

Secondly, it’s important to know if you or your designer can create a better, and more unique design to present the marketplace with before you start your design process.

Another thing you always want to remember is to always check your idea for “trademarks” before you ever put any time into creating a design.

I’ll get into trademark safety in another post, but it’s quite easy to check the safety of a phrase using the trademark search from Trademarkia or the official USPTO.gov websites.

Using Trademarkia you can see the “Its in my DNA” phrase isn’t trademarked, and it’s okay to use.

Trademark Safety checked with Trademarkia

And there you have it…

The product research method above can be rinsed and repeated as much as you like until you find design idea(s) that interests you.

Let’s recap:

  1. Use PinterestGoogle Search, and/or Amazon to find design ideas.
  2. Check trademark safety on design idea.
  3. Check Amazon’s “Autosuggested Keywords” to see what pops up (if anything).
  4. Check the existing competition & demand on Amazon.
  5. If your idea has high or medium demand with low competition – create the design, and upload to Merch by Amazon.

Understanding Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank (BSR)

The Best Sellers Rank which is also referenced as “BSR” is perhaps the most important piece of data Amazon gives us in determining if a product is selling, and it also gives us a general idea of how well a product is selling. This information is super valuable…

If a product has a Best Sellers Rank on Amazon it means that it has received at least one sale. If it has no BSR it has not received a sale at all.

The lower Best Sellers Rank a product has the more sales it’s receiving on a daily/monthly basis.

If sales slow down for a product the Best Sellers Rank will start going up.

In simpler terms:
Low BSR = More Sales
High BSR = Less Sales
No BSR = Never Received a Sale

The Best Sellers Rank is always fluctuating based on the categories a product is in, and how well all the products in the entire market/niche are selling collectively.

How can I find the BSR of a product on Amazon?

You can easily find the BSR of any product on Amazon by first finding and opening a product, and then scrolling down to the “Product Description” section. The BSR will be included there as shown in the image below:

How to Check Product BSR On Amazon

A good rule of thumb when creating Merch by Amazon shirts is to avoid HIGH competition, and LOW demand. You can do that while doing your research and sticking to ideas that are in the 300K – 550K BSR range to use as a model for inspiration, keyword ideas, and ultimately to create a better design.

I try to stick to this BSR range myself, especially when jumping into new niches and it has served me well. It should serve you well too if you follow it.

In part 4 of the guide I will go into detail on researching keywords.

“Never spend your money before you have earned it.”
– Thomas Jefferson –

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