How to Sell T-Shirts on Amazon: From $0 to $1,000 a Month
So you’ve decided to start selling t-shirts on Amazon. Good call! Every month, 200 million 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—t-shirts. Selling t-shirts is becoming increasingly profitable. There’s a growing demand for custom t-shirts with printed logos, slogans, and quotes.
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!
1. Open an Amazon store
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 Merch by Amazon), 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.
2. Pick a t-shirt fulfillment provider
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.
Merch by Amazon (MBA)
Amazon offers 2 fulfillment options, the first is Merch by Amazon (MBA). To get your designs printed, you first need to request an invitation from MBA by filling out a survey. Tell them a little about yourself, your design ideas, and previous experience with selling/designing products if applicable.
Once MBA’s reviewed your request and approved it, you create a t-shirt design, upload it, and set your design price. That’s the amount of money you’ll get paid every time Amazon sells a t-shirt with your design. After that Amazon takes care of the rest—selling, printing, packing, and shipping.
With MBA, you also don’t have to pay a selling plan because Amazon sells the t-shirts on your behalf under their brand. While this way is the cheapest for you, it also grants 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)
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) has a different approach from MBA. You send FBA your t-shirts and other products. FBA 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.
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.
3. Design your t-shirt
It’s time to get creative! This is possibly the most fun part of the process. To find your design idea, 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:
- Motivational quotes
- Inside jokes and niche-related puns
- Animal-themed designs
- Photo collages
- Vintage visuals (from Art Deco to Disco)
- Holiday-edition designs
In short—there’s A LOT. If you’re still unsure about what your t-shirt should look like, here’s our guide to coming up with t-shirt designs.
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.
4. Get noticed on Amazon
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.
Do some Amazon SEO
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.
Add compelling product photos
Improve your customers’ 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 eyes 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 to the full extent (design close-ups, additional lifestyle photos)
Promote your t-shirt listings
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 on top of Amazon search results.
You can add your logo, a custom headline, and multiple products to your banner.
Create a buzz with social media marketing
One of the best ways you can increase awareness of your products is with social media. Just keep in mind—you need to give every social platform special attention. People have different expectations for each social media platform and what content they want to see there. 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 etiquette of each social media channel with our guide to social media best practices.
Final words: Be patient!
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, but my t-shirts just don’t sell?”
Don’t give up!
Lower your price as long as you stay profitable. Test other t-shirt designs, keep your hand on the pulse to jump on any emerging trends. 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 work while 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.