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Avoid the Pitfalls: How to Get Approved by Merch By Amazon

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Navigating Amazon Merch's Approval Process: Tips and Pitfalls

Article Image Merch by Amazon beckons as a highly lucrative gateway to the print-on-demand T-shirt market, leveraging the e-commerce giant's immense traffic for visibility [1]. However, joining this exclusive platform requires navigating a rigorous application process to secure the sought-after merch by Amazon approval [2].

Grasping the nuances of Amazon Merch's invite-only structure and mastering its application system are essential first steps for sellers aspiring to capitalize on the print-on-demand boom through Amazon [3][4]. The forthcoming sections will reveal insider tips on preparing your application, perfecting your design portfolio, and constructing a compelling brand presentation to thrive on this competitive platform.

Understanding Amazon Merch's Approval Process

Embarking on the Merch by Amazon journey begins with a dive into their approval process, a crucial step to unlock the potential of the print-on-demand market. Here's how to navigate through the application stages:

Step-by-Step Application Breakdown:

  1. Sign Up and Terms of Service:

    • Head to the Merch by Amazon landing page and click on 'Sign Up'.
    • Carefully read and accept the terms and conditions of the program, demonstrating your understanding of Amazon's Terms of Service [1][5].
  2. Business Information Preparation:

    • Have your contact information, bank account details, and tax identification number at the ready [1].
    • If you already sell on Amazon FBA or other print-on-demand platforms, this experience may boost your chances of early approval [5].
  3. Filling Out the Application:

    • Provide your business or personal contact information and a fantasy name for your project if you don't have an official business name [1].
    • In the 'Additional Information' section, introduce yourself, your business, and outline any previous selling experience. Mention if you have a plan to drive outside traffic to Amazon [6].
  4. Showcase Your Portfolio:

    • Demonstrate the availability of high-quality, original designs that adhere to Amazon's design, content, and intellectual property guidelines [2][5][7].
    • Highlight any previous success in selling print-on-demand apparel on other platforms [2].

Key Considerations:

  • Professionalism: Maintain good grammar and a professional tone throughout your application. If necessary, have a native English speaker review your application for clarity [6].
  • Originality: Ensure your designs are unique and do not infringe on copyrights or trademarks [2][7].
  • Transparency: Be honest and thorough in your tax interview and provide all required banking details [6].

Additional Tips for Success:

  • Utilize Research Tools: Employ tools like Merch Informer for keyword and design research to ensure your designs are in demand [5].
  • Highlight External Traffic: If you have a website that generates traffic, make sure to mention it as it may increase your chances of acceptance [2].
  • Patience is Key: Understand that waiting for approval can take 3-6 months, and there is no guaranteed way to ensure approval [8][9].

By meticulously following these steps and providing a clear, comprehensive application, you're setting the stage for a strong entry into the world of Merch by Amazon. Remember, while these tips can enhance your chances, the final approval lies in the hands of Amazon's quality standards and quota considerations [2][10][11][12].

Preparing Your Application

Before diving into the Merch by Amazon application, ensure your armory is well-stocked with the essentials. Here's what you'll need to prepare:

  • Personal and Business Information: Your full name or business name, contact details, and a website URL if you have one. Flaunt that digital storefront if it's already dazzling the online world [13][14].
  • Banking and Tax Details: Bank account and routing numbers are a must, as well as your social security number or tax identification number, to keep everything above board [2][13][18].
  • Artwork and Design Quality: High-quality designs are your golden ticket. Make sure they're original, comply with submission guidelines, and are ready to make a splash on a t-shirt mockup [1][5][7].

Now, let's break it down into actionable steps:

  1. Complete Your Profile: Gather all your personal information, payment, banking, and tax details. This is the backbone of your application, so double-check for accuracy [13].

  2. Application Form Precision: Fill in the invitation request form with your industry type and organization name. If you're a lone wolf without a business, your own name will do just fine [13][16]. Don't forget to:

    • Add a dash of insight into your design background.
    • Describe the types of designs you’re planning to unleash on Merch by Amazon.
    • Mention any online presence or following that you've cultivated [13].
  3. Showcase Your Portfolio: This is where you shine. Provide links to your high-quality design portfolio, whether it's on other POD sites or your own website. Let Amazon know you're not just a one-hit-wonder [14][5].

  4. Highlight Your Success: If you've got a track record of print-on-demand apparel success on other platforms, don't be shy about it. This could be the edge you need [14].

  5. Professionalism and Originality: Ensure your application is polished and professional, with a clear demonstration of understanding Amazon's Terms of Service. Original designs are the name of the game—Amazon doesn't play with copyright infringement [14][5].

  6. External Traffic: If you're the proud owner of a website that's buzzing with traffic, make it known. Amazon loves a good customer redirect [14].

  7. Research and Tools: Tools like Merch Informer can be your best friend for keyword and design research. Prepare your social accounts too—they're your megaphone to the world [5].

Remember, the devil's in the details. Review your application's tone and wording before hitting submit. Aim for a blend of professionalism and creativity that's as unique as your designs [1]. And if, by chance, the gatekeepers don't grant you entry on your first try, adjust your application, change your email, and come back swinging [9].

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When preparing your Merch by Amazon application, it's crucial to dodge the common pitfalls that can lead to rejection. Here's a rundown of mistakes to sidestep, ensuring your application shines:

Design and Content Missteps:

  • Copyright Confusion: Steer clear of copyrighted elements unless you have proper licensing. Infringing on others' intellectual property can not only get your application rejected but also result in account suspension [19].
  • Trademark Traps: Repeatedly using the same phrase in your descriptions or using brand names without permission can create trademark issues, risking rejections and account safety [18][19].
  • Quality Control: Misaligned or poorly placed designs, or failing to meet Amazon's product tips, such as general placement guidelines, can be detrimental to your approval chances [22].
  • Artwork Specifications: Amazon has strict artwork specifications. Ignoring these, like using the wrong color mode or file size, can lead to rejections. Ensure you're using PNG format, trimmed of extraneous pixels, and in RGB color for the New Design Editor [22][23].

Listing and Presentation Errors:

  • Spelling and Profanity: A simple spelling mistake, such as replacing "T-Shirt" with "T-Shit," can lead to rejection. Profanity and obscene content are also big no-nos, as they can result in account suspension [15][19][20].
  • Misleading Information: Creating artwork or descriptions with misleading information, or implying your shirt can do something it can't, violates Amazon's content policy and can lead to rejections [21][22].
  • Keyword Overload: Avoid keyword spamming. Descriptions should read as sentences or true descriptions, not a string of search terms [21].

Emotional Intelligence:

  • Rejection Reflection: If rejected, calmly analyze the reason. Make the necessary modifications without letting emotions take the wheel [24].
  • Avoid Quick Schemes: Patience and dedication to improving your designs and marketing strategies are key. Avoid the temptation of quick schemes like stealing brand names, as these can backfire [18].

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can enhance your application's appeal and increase your chances of joining the ranks of successful sellers on Merch by Amazon. Remember to keep your designs fresh, your application honest, and your approach patient and persistent.

Optimizing Your Design Portfolio

To optimize your design portfolio for Merch by Amazon, consider the following strategies:

1. Design Quality and Originality

  • Catch the Eye: Your designs are the first thing potential buyers see, so make them pop to instantly attract attention [25].
  • Stand Out: In a sea of options, unique and creative designs help you differentiate your offerings from competitors [26].
  • Artistic Showcase: Use your portfolio to display your artistic abilities, including T-shirt designs or high-quality website visuals, to demonstrate your potential and increase the chances of a faster approval [7][28].

2. Portfolio Diversification and Niche Research

  • Explore and Dominate: Research niches thoroughly to understand demand, purchasing behavior, and sales potential, avoiding overly competitive markets [15][26][32].
  • Design for Success: Include designs that cater to a variety of preferences, such as distressed designs, high-contrast colors, and active characters, which tend to perform well [6].
  • Seasonal and Evergreen: Balance your portfolio with topical, evergreen, and event-based designs to cater to different audiences and occasions [6].

3. Design Creation and Optimization

  • Refine Your Skills: Improve your design skills with software like Adobe Illustrator or GIMP and stay updated with design techniques and best practices [30].
  • Keyword Mastery: Optimize your designs with relevant keywords that enhance discoverability without resorting to keyword stuffing [21].
  • Outsource to Scale: Consider building a team to outsource design tasks, allowing for a more diverse and extensive portfolio for long-term success [30].

4. Build an Online Presence and Engage with Communities

  • Online Branding: Create a website with a portfolio or online store, engage on social media, start a blog, and grow an email list to build a robust online presence [29].
  • Community Engagement: Collaborate with brands or cultivate a community around shared interests to drive traffic and improve rankings [26].

5. Increase Tier Levels and Sales Tactics

  • Tier Advancement: Focus on increasing your tier level by ensuring the overall quality of your designs and products, as this is crucial for selling more designs [17].
  • Promotion and Customer Service: Develop sales and marketing strategies, provide excellent customer service, and ensure compliance with Amazon's guidelines [18].

By implementing these strategies, you can craft a design portfolio that not only appeals to a wide audience but also meets the high standards of Merch by Amazon. Remember, consistency in uploading quality designs can lead to a compound effect in sales, so keep innovating and refreshing your offerings [26].

The Importance of a Strong Brand Presentation

Crafting a brand strategy that resonates with your audience is like piecing together a puzzle where every piece is essential to the bigger picture. Here's how to ensure your brand presentation on Merch by Amazon is not just seen but remembered:

  • Align Your Brand to Your Audience:

    • Understand your target market's preferences and align your brand's mission and style accordingly [28].
    • Consistency across your brand's personality and messaging helps build trust and increase revenue growth [28].
  • Create a Memorable Identity:

    • Establish a brand strategy that includes your purpose, mission, values, and visual style [33].
    • Ensure every aspect of your brand from your logo to your tagline embodies uniqueness and evokes emotion [33].
  • Communicate Effectively:

    • Use storytelling to share your brand's narrative, making it more relatable and engaging [33].
    • Develop a strong brand voice that reflects your core values and stands out in the marketplace [28].
  • Optimize for Visibility:

    • Implement SEO strategies to make your products easily discoverable, driving organic traffic and sales [28].
    • Utilize social media marketing to boost your brand's visibility and engage with customers [28].
  • Leverage Customer Insights:

    • Actively seek and prioritize customer feedback to gain insights that can help refine and grow your brand [28].
    • Stay nimble, ready to adapt and innovate based on what you learn from your audience [28].
  • Study the Competition:

    • Analyze competitor strategies to identify market trends and gaps, carving out a unique selling proposition for your brand [28].
    • Regularly update your approach based on market changes to maintain a competitive edge [28].
  • Presentation Perfection:

    • Craft product descriptions with relevant keywords and clear, enticing language to boost sales [28].
    • Avoid poor thumbnail designs that can make products go unnoticed; ensure visuals are clear and attractive [32].

By weaving these elements into your brand's fabric, you'll not only capture attention but also create a lasting impression that keeps customers coming back for more. Remember, in the world of print on demand, your brand is your signature—make it bold, make it unique, make it you [28][33].

Submitting Your Application

Ready to make your mark on Merch by Amazon? Here's what to do to get your application in the running:

  • Step One: The Gateway

    • Navigate to the Merch by Amazon landing page and initiate your journey with a confident click on 'Sign Up' [2].
    • If you're already part of the Amazon family, simply sign in with your existing Amazon account. New to the scene? No problem—creating a new account is a breeze [2].
  • Step Two: The Waiting Game

    • Once your application is out in the world, it's time to play the waiting game. Approval times are as unpredictable as a roll of the dice—ranging from just a few days to several months [13][7].
    • Keep your cool and stay patient. Good things come to those who wait, and this is no exception [13].
  • Step Three: The Rebound

    • If your first shot doesn't hit the target and you find yourself facing rejection, don't throw in the towel [1].
    • Dust yourself off and come back stronger. Consider re-applying with a fresh account and tweaked business data to give yourself another chance at the prize [1].

Remember, the road to success is often paved with trials and learning opportunities. Avoid the temptation to mimic others—be original, be you, and steer clear of being a copycat, as that's a surefire way to account suspension [15]. Don't let emotional attachment to your designs cloud your judgment; stay objective and data-driven [32]. And above all, resist the urge for instant gratification. Embrace the journey of continuous learning and adaptation, and you'll be setting up shop on Merch by Amazon before you know it [32].

What to Do While You Wait

While the anticipation builds during the wait for Merch by Amazon approval, seize the day and use this time to lay a solid foundation for your future success. Here's a productive game plan to keep you on the fast track:

Niche Mastery and Design Development

  • Research with Precision: Dive into niche research using tools like AMZScout to uncover trends and gaps in the market [3].
  • Create and Curate: Start designing and uploading your creations, readying a stellar lineup of products complete with captivating details [3].
  • Top Ten Tactics: Focus on selecting or creating your best 10 designs, aligning with keyword and niche research to ensure they're primed for success once approved [31].
  • Design Rotation Strategy: Utilize a savvy rotation of designs, maximizing the use of your initial slots by refreshing your offerings with new, trend-aligned designs [34].

Marketing and Multi-Platform Presence

  • Marketing Pro Moves: Study and plan effective marketing strategies tailored for Merch by Amazon, ensuring you're ready to promote like a pro [30].
  • Spread Your Wings: Don't put all your eggs in one basket—upload your designs to multiple POD platforms like Etsy with Printful integration, Teepublic, and Redbubble [30].
  • Own Your Space: Consider launching your own website, a strategic move that grants you customer data insights, helps in ranking your Amazon products, and protects your designs' copyrights [30].
  • Experience the POD Spectrum: Gain invaluable experience by selling on various platforms, from KDP to Spreadshirt, honing your skills in niche identification and customer engagement [12].

Strategic Planning for Tier Advancement

  • Tier-Level Targeting: Understand Merch by Amazon's tier system, where initial upload limits are tied to sales milestones—plan to make those first 10 sales count [31].
  • Keyword Indexing Insight: Keep in mind that keyword indexing can take a couple of weeks, varying with seasonal traffic—timing is everything [32].
  • Community and Trend Engagement: Stay engaged with trending topics and community discussions, ensuring your designs stay relevant and desirable [34].

By actively engaging in these strategies, you'll not only be prepared for your Merch by Amazon debut but also build a robust, diversified portfolio that can withstand the ebb and flow of the print-on-demand market. Remember, the time spent waiting is an opportunity to build, learn, and grow—an investment in your future as a successful online entrepreneur [3][8][30][31][34].

Handling Rejection & Reapplying

  • Reapplication Strategy: If you've faced the sting of rejection, don't lose heart—many sellers have found success by reapplying with a fresh set of details:
    • Switch up your email and phone number to ensure a clean slate for your new application [12].
    • Some tenacious sellers have applied up to 20 times, tweaking their approach each time until they hit the jackpot [10].
  • Enhance and Evaluate: Before you reapply, take a hard look at your previous application and design portfolio:
    • Sharpen your design skills and ensure your artwork meets the technical specs laid out by Amazon [11].
    • Reach out to the Merch by Amazon community for feedback—this could provide valuable insights for your next attempt [11].
  • Alternative Approaches: While waiting for the green light from Amazon, consider other avenues to keep your business momentum:
    • Utilize your own website to list products and drive traffic through Facebook ads or other social media platforms [11].
    • If your account was previously closed, remember that you can apply for a new one once the cooldown period has passed [12].
  • Preparation Is Key: As you gear up to reapply, make sure to:
    • Wait for the cooldown period to end and use this time to double-check your application for any potential errors [24].
    • Diversify your portfolio and stay abreast of Amazon's policies to ensure compliance and relevance [24].
    • Learn from successful sellers—what strategies have they employed that you can incorporate into your brand? [24].

Expanding Beyond Amazon Merch

Venturing beyond the confines of Merch by Amazon can be a strategic move for sellers looking to diversify their income streams and increase brand visibility. Here are some avenues for expansion:

Diversifying on E-commerce Platforms:

  • Etsy and Printify: Etsy's handmade business platform is ripe for print on demand sellers, especially when paired with Printify's seamless integration for order processing and shipping. This duo allows sellers to enjoy a passive income stream with significantly less competition than Amazon Merch, potentially leading to increased sales [10].
  • Redbubble: With the ability to upload up to 50 designs per day and no limit on store products, Redbubble offers a print on demand platform that manages customer service and order processing. Although there may be stiff competition within niches, the platform provides a more passive approach to sales [10].
  • Walmart Marketplace: For those looking to tap into a similar customer base as Amazon but with less competition, Walmart Marketplace is a viable option. With no setup or monthly fees and referral fees ranging from 6-20%, it could be a lucrative channel for sellers [38].
  • eBay and Newegg: eBay caters to value-conscious shoppers and is excellent for selling branded products with flexible policies. Newegg, popular among tech shoppers, offers an opportunity for sellers to stand out in non-tech categories despite strict shipping policies [38].
  • Facebook Marketplace: This platform offers a secure payment system, targeted marketing, and access to valuable consumer insights, charging a modest fee per shipment [38].

Leveraging Tools and Services:

  • Merch Jar: Streamline ad management on Merch by Amazon with keyword research, bid management, and analytics provided by Merch Jar, making the process more efficient and potentially more profitable [35].
  • Zentail: Utilize Zentail for easy, one-click listing across multiple channels, alongside robust inventory management. This tool can simplify the expansion process and keep operations running smoothly [38].
  • Buy with Prime: Increase shopper confidence and conversion rates with Buy with Prime, offering a trusted checkout experience, fast and free shipping, and easy returns. Merchants must meet specific requirements to take advantage of this service [39].

Enhancing Product Offerings:

  • Product Diversification: Beyond t-shirts, consider adding a variety of apparel items like tank tops, shirts with different necklines, raglan sleeves, hoodies, and long-sleeve shirts. Customizable items such as cell phone cases, mugs, and home decor can also broaden your product range [37].
  • Third-Party Fulfillment: Utilize third-party providers like Printful or Printify for items not available on Amazon Merch on Demand. This approach can help scale your business and offer a wider array of products to customers [37].
  • Strategic Product Selection: When adding new products, focus on target demographics, current industry trends, and popular product categories. Ensure your designs are distinctive and cater to the interests of your intended audience [37].

By exploring these options, sellers can create multiple revenue streams, minimize the risk of relying solely on Amazon Merch, and potentially increase their overall sales and brand recognition. Remember, diversification may require time and effort, but with the right approach and tools, it can evolve into a profitable venture [6][10][37][38].


Throughout this comprehensive guide, we've navigated the intricacies of the Merch by Amazon application process and underscored the importance of a well-crafted portfolio, attention to detail, and robust brand presentation. The strategic insights offered are designed not just to pave a pathway to acceptance, but to empower aspiring sellers to flourish within this competitive marketplace. By embracing the practices of patience, originality, and refined marketing, applicants are equipped to elevate their print-on-demand ventures to new heights.

In conclusion, your journey doesn't end with submission; it's a continuing quest for innovation and engagement in the dynamic realm of online sales. Whether refining designs, optimizing listings, or exploring alternative platforms, always strive for excellence and adaptability. For a truly seamless expansion of your online storefront, consider exploring more of what Merch by Amazon has to offer and expand your brand's reach. With diligence and creativity, the world of print-on-demand is yours to conquer.


Q: How difficult is it to be accepted into Merch by Amazon? A: The process of getting into Merch by Amazon can be challenging, especially for those who are unfamiliar with print-on-demand (POD) services. Approval is required to join, and not everyone who applies is accepted into the program.

Q: Is it possible to be rejected by Merch by Amazon? A: Yes, you can be rejected when applying for Merch by Amazon. If this happens, it's important to review your application. Common issues include using a bank account already associated with another account (like a spouse's) or forgetting about a previous application.

Q: Does Merch by Amazon accept all applicants? A: No, Merch by Amazon does not accept every applicant, and they do not provide detailed reasons for application rejections. Consider if you already have an existing Merch on Demand account, as this could impact your application.

Q: What are the eligibility criteria for Merch by Amazon? A: To be eligible for Merch by Amazon, you must sign up and potentially undergo a review process where Amazon considers your background, goals, and designs before possibly sending an invitation. You are required to have an active Amazon seller account to participate in Merch on Demand.


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