Merch By Amazon Weekly News, 10th August 2016Last Updated: November 18, 2016
Want a quick breakdown of the latest in the world of Merch By Amazon? Well here it is!
- Is there a slowdown in sales across Merch?
- Swearing and Cussing – is it ok?
- Merch is recruiting – what does that mean?
- Thoughts on Copycats
There’s A Merch-wide Slowdown In Sales! Or Is There?
To some, this is to be expected given the time of year – August being the height of summer holiday season.
But others are convinced there is a bug, a throttling, or some other kind of internal issue that’s hitting the number of sales.
There has been no official comment from Amazon yet, and personally I believe the reduction in sales is more likely to be due to the summer season, and perhaps the new influx of Merch users (since last month). My own sales seem to be down marginally on last month, but nothing significant enough for me to suppose anything suspicious.
Have you experienced a slow down this month? Let me know on twitter!
Since Amazon introduced the content review policy last month, things seem to be tightening up across the board. One of the areas affected is designs and listings featuring bad language.
It now seems that designs with any rude or vulgar words are getting rejected – unless the words are censored in the titles (eg. ‘Sh*t’).
Furthermore this seems to be affecting not just new designs, but older ones too. Multiple Merch sellers are reporting the removal of previous designs, suspecting that swear words are the probable cause.
There’s no official line from Amazon on this, except to point people towards the existing Merch By Amazon Content Policy (which says nothing about bad language btw).
So watch out for those naughty words in future, and you might want to consider removing your older designs if they’ve got sh*t loads of bad language in them.
Amazon has posted multiple new positions on it’s jobs site, directly related to Merch. There’s over 16 in total, from developer roles to financial managers.
Should this matter to sellers?
Probably, inasmuch as it lets us know that Amazon is serious about growing Merch.
Just check out some of the quotes from this particular job posting;
- “We are building the world’s largest t-shirt store.”
- “On demand t-shirts are only day one.”
That should let sellers and designers know that Merch isn’t a flash in the pan. Amazon has serious intentions about scaling this platform – new products and worldwide expansion seem to be on the horizon.
That’s good news if you’re investing a bunch of time and energy into Merch By Amazon. Anyone currently selling is really in at the ground-floor; the only way is up for your earnings potential if Amazon continues on the current trajectory.
So heads down and fill those slots!
To finish us off, I thought I’d spill my thoughts about the current copycat situation with Merch and talk about where I see this going.
I’ve been hit by copycats on almost all of my highest-selling designs. I’ve no way of knowing how much that has cost me over the past few months, and I’d rather not think about it. Amazon doesn’t seem to be able to deal with the amount of Takedown Requests at the moment (I haven’t had a reply for weeks) – which only serves to annoy genuine creators further.
Where is all this going?
I don’t think Amazon has the resources to constantly investigate copycats and to takedown all their accounts (and even if they did, new ones will just spring up again). Some sellers favour a watermark-based solution – to protect designs from being easily copied – but I think this would do little to deter copycats, and would probably hit sales to some degree. (I do however think Amazon could reduce the size of the zoomed-in T-Shirt preview – as that is one thing that’s making the copycats job a lot easier.)
Longer term? Genuine designers will have to become more savvy and informed about the techniques they use when uploading new designs and how they maintain rankings. And as Merch grows I expect the copycats will have a harder time profiting from the work of others. Copycats will increasingly be competing with not just the original designers, but also other copycats. That should reduce profitability for copycats in the longer-term, and perhaps eventually make the whole thing unattractive, for the effort required.
In Conclusion: I’m not overly concerned about copycats – because they’ll always be on the back foot – one step behind those of us who can create new ideas and designs. PLUS they provide an increased motivation and pressure for us to develop our own marketing channels and funnels that cannot be hit by copycats. ON TOP OF ALL THAT – Amazon will be working on various solutions to prevent these issues arising in the first instance.
So it may seem like a pain now, but copycats never win 🙂
Thanks for reading guys, that’s all for this episode. Be sure to subscribe below to get the latest in your inbox every week!