How to find what sells on Merch by Amazon | Print On Demand niche research

By | November 2, 2020


This post details how to find what sells on Merch by Amazon for FREE, as well as explaining step-by-step the strategy you should use to find profitable niches that have both high demand and low competition. That way, you can make sure thousands of customers are searching for your product before you even make it!

One of the most common mistakes people make with Merch by Amazon and other print on demand sites is creating work that nobody is searching for, then wondering why they aren’t getting sales. The reality is that it’s easier to make money by identifying what customers are already buying. That way, you can cater to the demand that’s already there rather than creating whatever you feel like and hoping customers will come across it.

Understanding and exploiting BSR

We’re going to use Amazon’s BSR for our niche research, so it’s important to understand how it works. BSR stands for Best Sellers Rank, which Amazon uses to indicate how well a product is selling. You can find the BSR of any product by scrolling down to “Product details” on the item listing. You’ll see an overall rank based on the department the product is listed in, as well as rankings for individual categories within that department. A product is only given a BSR when it makes a sale, so if there isn’t a BSR, it hasn’t had a sale.

Amazon's Best Sellers Rank
Amazon Best Sellers Rank

You’ll be able to look at the “Novelty & More” section of Amazon which is where the user designed shirts are categorised. Using the Best Sellers Rank, you can figure out which niches have significant demand because a lower BSR means more people are buying from that niche. Anything from BSR 1 all the way up to around 250,000 is worth further investigation in my opinion because it means they’re making consistent sales. I’ll elaborate on that in a minute.

Speeding up the process

Obviously going into each product and scrolling down to find the BSR isn’t practical because it’s going to take ages, but we can speed up the whole process by using MerchInformer.

You can use this link to access a free trial which lasts for 3 days, so you’ll have plenty of time to do the research. When you’re registered, use the Merch Hunter module on the left which will allow you to filter based on keywords, the customers location, the product type, and most importantly – Amazon’s BSR. You don’t need to put any keywords in at all if you’re looking for suitable niches to target.

Merch Hunter module on MerchInformer
The Merch Hunter module on MerchInformer

Best-selling niches

Using the default settings, you’ll get a list of the top 100 best sellers that are making a fortune. “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” are winning right now. These two shirts are making about $8000 per month in profit for the person who made them.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 on MerchInformer
Thing 1 and Thing 2 t-shirts (Dr Seuss reference)

The top 100 results are often either officially licenced artwork for huge brands, or already very over-saturated niches. If you want to investigate whether there’s room to compete against some of these top sellers, at least change the range to the “top 500” so there’s more variety to choose from.

You’ll get 5 pages with 100 t-shirts per page, ranging from anything as low as 1 BSR to around 60,000 BSR. Every one of those individual shirts in the top 500 is making a minimum of 40 sales every month and some of the lower BSR are making well over 1000 sales a month, so you know that there’s significant demand for any niche that you come across. You just have to scroll past copyright infringement or trashy designs that you don’t want to target, which will probably be a lot, hence the need to investigate the top 500.

The best Merch by Amazon strategy

The technique that I’ve been using for years to make thousands of dollars on Amazon is to change the settings to target medium BSR products. I realised early on that everyone and their dog was trying to compete in the low BSR niches because that’s where the most money is, but this means that they’re so over-saturated and it’s difficult to succeed.

That’s why I recommend going for the low hanging fruit as your main strategy by filtering the BSR range to be around 60,000 and above, then scrolling through the results looking at the available niches. One shirt in this range can still make over $200 per month in sales, yet there’s much less competition because most people are endlessly going after the lowest BSR’s, resulting in less success. While they fight it out amongst each other, I go around collecting profitable niches that they don’t even look at.

When I look down the list of successful products on MerchInformer, I know that ALL of the niches are still profitable and still in demand, so when I find something I like the look of, I make a note of it to investigate further. For example, here we’ve got the chicken niche and anime girl which are interesting, and Snoopy which we’ll ignore since it’s copyright infringement.

Niche examples on MerchInformer
Chicken niche, anime girl, and good ol’ Snoopy

Sometimes the niche isn’t obvious from the design so you’ll need to look at the title to find out what the popular keyword is. Keep going down the list and making notes on what’s in demand to investigate later to confirm they aren’t copyright or over-saturated.

If you get to the end of the 5 pages being displayed, you’ll probably be looking at products that have a BSR of over 100,000. This is still fine to target, and depending on the price of the shirt, a BSR of 100,000 can still be making around $200 per month in profit. If you’re short on ideas, it’s fine to change the filter to 100,000 and above, then repeat the process.

Personally, I wouldn’t go any higher 300,000 BSR because the demand starts to disappear and they aren’t worth targeting. If you wanted to broaden your search, you can change the country, product type, and other settings until you find what you’d like to target. The US has the most demand but also the most supply, and same goes for t-shirts. You can target other countries and products.

Investigating the niche you’ve found

After you’ve gone through the process and have a list of potential niches to target, you can investigate them further using the “Products Search” to see if it’s worth creating something for. Just input the keyword and look at the competition as well as checking out the designs that are already available as your market research. You can also use the “Competition Checker”, look directly on Amazon, or use the free “Merch Research” tool combined with your keywords.

It’s also worth a look at the “Trend Hunter” module which shows products that have suddenly become very popular – either overnight, weekly, or monthly. I usually have a look on here to see what trends are up and coming as it can be useful to either target them directly or use some aspect of the trend in a niche that I’m targeting from Merch Hunter.

Trend Hunter example
Trend Hunter graph

This graph underneath the shirt shows you what the sales rank was and where it is now. The “I’m kind, I swear” t-shirt went from a BSR of almost 3,000,000 on 25th October to 300,000 the next day. Sometimes it’s obvious as to why this is, such as a seasonal event, and other times you’ll have to do a bit more detective work to figure it out.

Final thoughts

That’s all there is to it! The research process isn’t glamorous, but it is very profitable, and you’ll get better and quicker at identifying what’s worth your time the more you do it.

After the trial period ends on MerchInformer, you can cancel without payment, but if you decide to keep it, you can get 20% off with the code PASSIVEOWL. That way it’ll only cost $7.99 a month instead of $9.99. In my first month, I made over $120 profit by using the same strategy that I’ve described so it pays for itself easily.

Merch by Amazon profits
$120 profit on Merch by Amazon during the first month

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I’ll be posting new content every week which will help you with your passive income, so keep checking back if you’re interested in that, and subscribe to my YouTube channel too!

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