So you’ve decided to start selling t-shirts on Amazon. Good call! Every month, 2.4 billion people visit Amazon to do their online shopping. And, being a marketplace, Amazon makes it easy for beginners to get started on their ecommerce journey without the technical know-how of building a store from scratch.
So let’s pair that market with an evergreen product like t-shirts. There’s a growing demand for custom t-shirts with printed logos, slogans, and quotes. What’s more, Amazon is the perfect place to shop for custom t-shirts—it’s a hassle-free shopping experience and offers worldwide shipping options.
But can you make money selling t-shirts? Even though the competition in this industry is higher than ever, selling custom t-shirts online can definitely still be profitable in 2023. To be successful, you’ll need to create niche-specific designs, have a competitive pricing strategy, and be ready to invest in marketing.
With this guide, I’m going to help you navigate through building a successful Amazon t-shirt business.
Let’s go over the process of selling t-shirts on Amazon, step by step.
To run a t-shirt business on Amazon, you first need to set up a storefront. Start by creating an Amazon seller account. Then, choose a selling plan that matches your business best. Your options are:
Individual plan—costs $0.99 per item sold. Great for small businesses selling <40 products a month and those just starting out.
Professional plan—costs $39.99 a month. Best for enterprises selling over 40 items a month also interested in product advertising and advanced selling tools.
There’s an exception where you don’t have to pay the selling plan (by selling with Amazon Merch on Demand). We’ll get to that a little later.
Once you’ve set up your seller account, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
To run a successful Amazon t-shirt business, you’re going to need some t-shirts, in other words, inventory. There are many ways you can source products for your t-shirt store, and here are the three most popular ones amongst Amazon sellers.
Amazon offers 2 fulfillment options, the first is Merch on Demand. Here’s how it works:
You upload your artwork
You set a listing price
Amazon sells, prints, packs, and ships products
You earn royalties on every product sold
To get started with this option, you first need to submit business registration, tax, and bank account information, and wait for Amazon’s approval.
Once Amazon has reviewed your request, you can start uploading t-shirt designs, working on your listing descriptions, and setting prices. Your royalties will vary depending on the listing price you’ve set, as well as the production costs, sales tax, and shipping expenses.
With Amazon Merch on Demand, you don’t have to choose a selling plan because Amazon sells the t-shirts on your behalf under their brand. While this is the cheapest for you, it also grants you the least control over your products. You don’t get to have your own storefront, interact with your customers, or advertise your products.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) has a different approach from Merch on Demand. You send FBA your t-shirts and other products. The service then stores your inventory, packs your orders, and ships them to your customers.
When it comes to this fulfillment option, FBA charges you fulfillment and storage fees.
Printful is a print-on-demand company that supplies online store owners with custom clothing. With Printful, you can choose to have your designs either printed or embroidered onto t-shirts. Printful will then pack your t-shirt orders and ship them to your customers.
With Printful, all orders are made on demand. That means you don’t need to pay upfront for your inventory. You only pay for the t-shirts you sell and there are no order minimums.
Interested? Here’s how to connect your Amazon store to Printful.
Once you’ve picked a way to fulfill your t-shirt orders, it’s time to design.
It’s time to get creative! This is possibly the most fun part of the process. To find your t-shirt design ideas, use your niche as an inspiration. Do you love exercising and want to sell motivational shirts to other fitness enthusiasts? Maybe you love houseplants and want to sell tees to other indoor gardeners? Whatever it is, you can turn it into a t-shirt design.
A few ideas you can implement in your design:
Inside jokes and niche-related puns
Vintage visuals (from Art Deco to Disco)
In short—there’s A LOT. If you’re still unsure about what your t-shirt should look like, here’s our list of great t-shirt design ideas for inspiration.
Once your design is done, put your t-shirt up for sale on your Amazon store. Now, let’s see how we can get your Amazon t-shirt listings the attention they deserve.
Amazon’s a huge playing field. With 1.9 million active Amazon sellers, it’s easy to get lost in the marketplace. That’s why you need to take a strategic approach to get noticed by Amazon shoppers. Here are the main things you should do to increase your discoverability.
Let’s imagine for a moment you’re an Amazon shopper who’d like to buy a t-shirt that expresses your love for books. You go to the site, type “book t-shirt” in the search bar, and hit enter. You are now presented with thousands of bookworm tees.
Sure, you’ll most likely compare some top results. But you won’t go through ALL the product listings. Therefore, it’s important for Amazon sellers to have their listings appear high up in the search results.
That’s where Amazon SEO comes in handy. Amazon SEO involves several strategies that boost your discoverability in the marketplace by nudging your listing higher up in the search results. If you’re interested in learning more about it, here’s an Amazon SEO guide to help you out.
Improve your customer’s shopping experience by adding high-quality product photos. It’ll be easier for them to find what they need and be happy with their purchase.
To catch the eye of your Amazon customers, make sure your t-shirt photos are:
High-quality (clear, well-lit, not pixelated)
Compliant with Amazon rules (white backgrounds, no additional text, no drawings/illustrations)
Showcasing your t-shirt in all its glory (design close-ups, additional lifestyle photos)
When you set up your seller account, you’ll have access to the Amazon Seller Central—an interface for Amazon merchants. Within the Amazon Seller Central, there are 3 tools you can use to boost your posts: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Display, and Sponsored Brands.
Sponsored Products are product listing ads. With Sponsored Products, your Amazon t-shirt listing will appear on page 1 of search results, page 1 of product category pages, and as related products.
Sponsored Display is similar to the previous promo option. The difference is, this one’s a little more customizable and it places the product ad both on Amazon and elsewhere on the web.
When clicked, this ad will lead them straight to your listing.
Sponsored Brands is a cost-per-click type of promotion. Sponsored Brands ads appear as banners above Amazon search results.
You can add your logo, a custom headline, and multiple products to your banner.
One of the best ways you can increase awareness for your products is with social media. Just keep this in mind: you’ll need to give each social platform special attention. People have different expectations for different social media platforms, and what content they want to see where. So copy-pasting the same content on every platform won’t be effective.
Also, remember to check in with your accounts daily and see if customers are coming to you with their questions, reviews, and other messages.
Learn the ins and outs of social media marketing in our guides:
For most t-shirt sellers, success on Amazon doesn’t come overnight. It takes patience and time, from one day to a month, and sometimes even longer to make the first sale.
“But what if I’ve tried everything and my t-shirts just aren’t selling?”
Don’t give up!
Lower your prices as long as you can stay profitable. Keep your finger on the pulse to jump on any emerging trends and test other t-shirt designs. Just because something didn’t work the first time, doesn’t mean it’s over for you and your tees.
When you find out what works and what doesn’t for selling t-shirts on Amazon, come back to this article, and share your experience in the comments!
This article was originally published in August 2018; it has since been updated.
Content Marketing Specialist
Una’s a Senior SEO Content Writer with a knack for SEO-friendly copywriting and building stunning landing pages. In her spare time, she's an avid reader and keeps close tabs on all things social media and mental health.
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