Merch Pricing Strategies – Why You Are Leaving Money On The Table
Since we started Merch Informer, we have seen almost every pricing strategy in the book. This is something that most people will probably never agree completely on, and thus, has been the topic of hot debate in the past. Should you price high to be seen as the premium option? You WILL make the most royalty per shirt this way, that is for sure. Should you price right in the middle of the pack of designs and try to compete less on price, but more on unique, amazing designs? Or, do you throw all of that out the window and attempt to make only a few cents per shirt sale and price at the bottom of the barrel in the hopes that you will stick out among the thousands of people you might competing with. “Have some self respect!”, some might say.
Since we started playing around with Merch by Amazon over a year ago, each of these strategies has been tested in house. While we are never going to be able to give a definitive answer on what is best and what you should be doing, let’s go over the pros and cons of each and why you might want to consider switching up your pricing strategy. After all, you should ALWAYS be testing if you want to make the most amount of money possible.
The Premium Merch by Amazon Pricing Strategy
There is a reason that brands such as COACH and Canada Goose can charge so much for their products and people will purchase them. They are seen as the premium product. Something that is worth buying for so much money because of the perceived “quality”. If people think your product is top notch quality, they will automatically assume that the product is worth the price and that it will last a lot longer than something at a lower price.
We have seen a lot of people in Facebook groups mention that they only price at $19.99, $21.99 or even $24.99 and will not even consider pricing lower. Amazon themselves have said that you need a VERY good reason to be pricing above $19.99 as they see sales start to taper off at this price. This price point works great if you have your own brand built up and people are specifically searching for it. It also works great if you have a very unique design that is more than just a novelty saying. Finally, this price point works the BEST when you have your own audience to drive traffic to.
The perfect example is Youtuber Philip Defranco. If you are not familiar, this particular Youtuber is very popular for discussing current events and often sells Merch to his fans.
When you have 5 million people as your own audience who are interested in your brand, you can charge what you want. As you can see, he is making great money and selling above the $19.99 price point.
When the Teespring Amazon integration happened, I started uploading my designs to the platform (yes even for t-shirts), and playing with my pricing model and setting them to 24.99 per shirt (when they landed on Amazon). This is a completely different strategy than we have used in the past, and guess what? They sold! They even sold organically which showed us that this strategy does work.
While it is true that they are making great money per shirt sold, you need to always be testing like mentioned above. Teespring, being a massive company, decided to test different price points with the integration shirts on Amazon. This meant that the t-shirts going from Teespring were now showing up on Amazon around $18.99, and what would you know, sales started to take off!
So while the premium pricing strategy seems to work and get sales, if you want to drastically improve the volume you are selling at (especially if you do not have your own massive audience), we would advise you to stay away from pricing too high.
Average Price Merch Strategy
One of the biggest benefits of being a customer on Amazon is that you are probably going to get the lowest price. Sellers are ALWAYS competing for the lowest price, and if you are in the FBA world, you might have had one or more wars over grabbing that buy box.
Simply put, price is one of the biggest driving factors of many decisions on Amazon. Usually the lower the price, the better.
That is just simply not always true when it comes to Merch on Amazon. Why? Because when you are buying Merch, people shop with their eyes first, and the price second. Even if you take nothing else away from this article, please take away that point. People will shop with their EYES first, and the price second.
Sometimes you will have people who find something they think is funny or cute, and they simply just have to have it. I am sure you know people like this in your life. Most people though, will look t to find something they really like and is visually appealing and then take a look at the price to see if that price is in line with their buying habits.
We briefly went over the average pricing strategy when we did the Merch Informer case study on the big dill saying. I highly suggest you give it a read. If you do not have the time, let me just break down for you the strategy.
Once you find a niche, get a design created and make sure it is the BEST design in the niche.
Next, when you are putting your listings up, make sure you are pricing right in the middle of what everyone else is pricing. The easiest way to do this is add up all the prices of the best selling shirts and divide them by the amount of shirts. This will give you an average selling price.
The Merch Informer Product Search makes this REALLY easy by displaying this table when you are searching:
This is the pricing strategy that we have been using for a long time now and it is working very well.
We price to the market and have been able to sell THOUSANDS of shirts per month rinsing and repeating the process in that case study.
The only downside is that even with this strategy, some people are willing to pick up an inferior design if that means they are paying a little less money, which is where the 3rd Merch pricing strategy comes in.
The “No Profit” Pricing Strategy
These people get a bad reputation and often called copycats. You probably have seen it over and over again. People pricing at 11 dollars and essentially making only a few cents in hopes that they make more sales. Fact of the matter is though, this strategy works pretty well and I will explain exactly why.
First, you have to consider that when a lot of people get started, they go after niches where there is a LOT of competition. When you are going up against 10,000 other Merch by Amazon sellers, you need some way to try and stick yourself out there. One of these is price and if you can get some momentum from sales at a low price, you will slowly start to gain rank and more visibility in these big niches. Now, if they would have used the Merch Informer Advanced Competition Checker, they would be able to quickly figure out the competition and avoid this issue all together.
Second, when you are getting started, Merch by Amazon now only gives you 10 slots. If you only have 10 slots available, the only thing on your mind should be getting more slots. The way you do that is by selling product and the easiest way to sell product is if you make it a no brainer for the purchaser (best design and lowest price).
Finally, the topic that EVERYONE ignores for some reason, is that a lower price and more sales means more reviews. Reviews are the life blood of Amazon. Yes, you can sell a lot of shirts on Merch without reviews. We have sold tens of thousands of shirts at this point without any reviews. When you get reviews though, everything changes.
When I first got started with Merch, I priced most of my designs around $14.99. Granted, this is not “no profit”, but it was pricing far below everyone else. I outsold EVERYONE in the niches I went to. Those extra sales means that my product got boosted in the organic rankings and I started to get reviews. Some of these products today have 20-30+ reviews.
When you have reviews, you can charge almost whatever you want and still sell. Those reviews (if they are good ones), are the social proof you need that goes hand in hand with the great design that draws their eye in order to make a sale. This is very similar to the social proof we went over by running ads to Merch by Amazon products.
While you might not make very much money at all doing this method, it helps to make the sales, get out of the 10 tier, and get the reviews you might need to boost your prices.
Wrapping It Up
We certainly do not have all the answers or are able to tell you which Merch pricing structure is best. What we do know though, is that if you are dead set on a single pricing strategy and are not willing to at least test other approaches, you are leaving money on the table and hurting your own business.
After selling tens of thousands of shirts, we can very easily say that each one of these strategies works and each has its place in a Merch business.
What pricing strategy do you use and why? Let us know in the comments below!