I honestly didn’t think I used so many things to run my POD businesses. This is a full list of every tool I use for Amazon Merch, other PODs, my own and print on demand company.
If there is something I’m missing, please let me know in the comments. The write-ups aren’t that long here since this is a pretty long list of extensions and programs, but I’ll make specific posts for each section to dive a little deeper into each of these merch tools.
Niche Research and Keywords
These are all of the places I go for finding new ideas for new niches to sell in. Combining all of these tools helps me figure out if a niche is good in terms of being overcrowded or less competitive, profitable, and ideas of the types of designs that sell. I stopped doing the whole copy a design but make it “different” technique. This research is more about finding out people like “xyz” shirts and the best-sellers are text-based/funny/serious/etc.
(Paid Membership) – 20% Off Promo Code – 2NDSCREENS
The gold standard in Merch research. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s worth testing it out for a free trial at least. The main tool I use is the Merch Hunter to search a niche and see what is selling the most. I’m also starting to use the historical sales more to plan 2-3 months ahead for seasonal niches.
The quickest type of research I do. You just right-click on a keyword and search Amazon for Merch shirts that have that keyword. I found my top-selling niches by searching like this when reading articles that had nothing to do with my merch research.
Yeah this has become a gold mine for some great niche ideas. I’ll see girls wearing shirts that I think are funny or interesting and I’ll put my own twist on it. There are a lot of screenshots on my phone of dating app profiles that makes me look like a creep.
Reddit / Reddit Pics
(Free website & Apps)
I spend a lot of time on Reddit just for fun, but come across a lot of ideas here that turn into profitable niches. Things seem to trend on Reddit before they go viral in the world. For example, I had one of the first Area 51 shirts after seeing some similar memes get some traction there.
Lately I’m using this less and doing more of my keyword research on Merch Informer, but still find some solid keywords with the free version of Etsyrank.
DS Amazon Quick View
I like being able to see a quick snapshot of useful information while scanning Amazon for niches. It shows me seller rank and also helps me figure out good categories to list my KDP journals in.
Merch Design Tools
I’m not a designer. Not at all. I have taken the bare minimum and slightly added to it thanks to a lot of Youtube instructional videos. These are the programs I use to make/edit designs, acquire images/graphics for designs, and scale designs.
Also, the only reason I’m using Adobe programs is because I’m still using a student discount. You can get that if you have any .edu email address. I graduated years ago 🙂
(Paid software – $29.99/month)
I run all of my designs through Illustrator. I mainly work on a t-shirt design and then I’ll tweak the size and colors to make extra upload files for hoodies, Pop Sockets, and KDP journal covers.
Adobe Photoshop –
(Paid software – included in Illustrator deal)
I don’t use this as much as Illustrator, but I still have it since sometimes I can’t edit images as easily in Illustrator. I also use Photoshop for making specific mockups.
(Unlimited Downloads for $14.99/month)
I used this for some mockups a long time ago and stopped. Then I started using it to make t-shirt designs. It’s the best $15/month I spend on the business with all of the shirt templates and images they offer. I’ll still usually need to go tweak them in Illustrator though to mess around with the colors or to scale some designs with different text.
(Included in Merch Informer research membership)
I know I already listed this in the research section, but they also have a designer built into the program that I’ll use when I need to make simple designs, apply textures, and scaling a lot of designs quickly.
If I need to make a quick text-based design this is where I’ll go first. This is awesome for when I’m not at my computer and have a good idea I can make fast.
This is kind of like Over except it has a lot of great text combos that people really like to spend money on.
(Free, but more options with membership)
I don’t design shirts on Canva anymore, but I do use it for other images like website banners, logos, and Etsy specific images.
Canva added an amazing t-shirt design tool, similar to PlaceIt. They have some decent images, but what I love is the great typography options that you can definitely scale for different niches.
Bulk Resize Photos –
I can quickly change the size of a Merch shirt to fit the specs for a hoodie.
Uploading/Listing Merch Designs
I need all the help I can get to make my uploading faster since there are so many PODs and sites I’m sending my designs to. These are all tools I use to upload to multiple PODs, make each listing faster, and edit existing products.
$35/month for the smaller plan – SO worth it!
This program changed the game for me and is partly responsible for being able to go full time on POD. Upload your designs to Orbitkit, add the title/description/keywords, choose your preset templates, and Orbitkit will upload your designs to multiple POD sites like Redbubble, Teespring, and Cafepress.
Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome
I use this mainly for Etsy posts where I keep having to type the same thing for listing like descriptions and materials. All I have to do is type the 5 letters I set up for each text block and it automatically shows up.
For when I forget what the Auto Expander codes are, I have those text blocks in here. I also use this to quickly write down shirt ideas and to keep other text I need to have on hand quickly.
Sometimes I’m a little too lazy for the text expander and I want the text on the page right away. This really helps when uploading a lot of designs to Amazon Merch or KDP that have the same info in certain fields like prices or brand.
Find & Replace for Text Editing
A lot of my listings, especially scaled ones, have basically the same descriptions except I’ll sub in words. Example – Buy this funny XXXX shirt for YYYY lovers blah blah. I’ll use the find & replace to swap out the XXXX for something like dog then YYYY for puppy.
Merch by Amazon Trademark Protection
An extension that comes from the Merch Informer team. I honestly don’t know what else this can do, but I use it to do a quick trademark search before I submit something to Merch by Amazon I might get in trouble for.
Grammarly for Chrome
Because I never want to be the guy mixing up there, they’re and their.
Tangent Template’s List Helper
(Requires Tangent Templates membership)
The $60 I spent on Tangent Templates has had lots of awesome things like this I didn’t realize were available. I have a bunch of pre-filled out templates to make uploading to KDP a breeze.
KDP Wizard Kindle Direct Publishing
I honestly don’t use this as much as I wish I did. It seems extremely helpful, but I think I only use it to auto-fill my KDP authors and quickly find categories. I just don’t feel like paying for Airtable to get the most out of this.
The easiest way to edit pricing and other information across a Shopify store with a lot of listings. I also use it for updating some Etsy listings.
Word to HTML
I have a few templates that I paste into this site and automatically have HTML markups made for Amazon KDP descriptions. It helps formatting bullet-points, bold text, etc.
POD Business Tools
In addition to uploading designs to sites that fulfill all of my orders without me ever having to do anything on my own, I have my own POD based businesses. The margins are higher, but I have to drive my own traffic, fulfill orders, and do customer service.
I don’t LOVE Shopify, but it is incredibly easy to use. I’m sure there are better options for my needs, but I currently use Shopify to host my one niche POD store. It also makes it easier to post products other platforms like eBay, Amazon, and Pinterest shopping.
I currently have 3 different stores on Etsy. 1 general store and 2 niche. I love Etsy for POD and get my 2nd highest income there, next to Merch by Amazon
(Pay just for fulfillment/shipping)
The pricing isn’t the best with Printful, but I haven’t found anything better for consistency, quality, and processing times.
Printify No, don’t use it! Much better pricing than Printful and lots of other products to choose from. Update – I stopped using Printify. The last 20 orders I sent them, I had issues with 7 of them and the customer service, while friendly, was useless.
Double update – I started using Printify again. They have made some major updates to their system to make it a lot better for us all, and the prices give you a much better ROI. I use this in conjunction with Printful for my POD Shopify and Etsy stores. You can read about how I do that here.
Check out Printify products and pricing.
This saves me A LOT of time and keeps me from breaking tax laws. I sync it with Shopify, Etsy, and my Amazon Seller’s account. My accountant appreciates this during tax season too!
Shopify Quick Edit
The backend of Shopify is SOOOO slow. To edit a listing or a blog post on my Shopify store, I’d rather just open it up by visiting the page and using this extension to directly edit the page I’m on.
I ran out of headings to put these under, but these are some things that I use often for Merch related tasks.
Free Chrome Extension / Paid version also available
Everyone selling on Amazon Merch has this. I haven’t seen a “need” for it, but I love hearing the coins sound when I make a sale.
See all of your Merch listings in one place with all of the information for each listing (title, bullet 1, bullet 2, description, brand, price, BSR, royalties). I downloaded this to update my pricing quickly across shirts, but it’s become invaluable for finding listings I need to optimize.
Hi-Res Image Downloader for Merch
Because you can’t just download an image from an Amazon listing. I mainly use this to pull images for my niche blogs that I use to send traffic to my listings.
These things all just keep my life in order so I can focus on making money and not waste time.
Google Sheets/Microsoft Excel
Sheets is free / Excel is not
I’m a spreadsheet nerd and use these programs to track so many different things merch business related and to keep my life in order. I’ll use Excel for more advanced spreadsheets that have a lot of formulas and formatting that Google Sheets can’t handle.
You can get a good idea at how many Chrome extensions I’m running based on this list. This one helps clear up some much-needed RAM so my computer isn’t freezing up so much when I’m making new designs or uploading to MBA or other PODs.
Similar thought process with Great Suspender, but I also use this to organize research. I’ll sometimes have a window open with over 20 tabs of all ideas for a particular shirt niche I want to work on. I just hit OneTab and they are done using my memory and saved for when I’m ready to work on them.
I cannot remember all of the passwords to all of these sites. I also don’t like having the same password across multiple webpages because of constant hacks. This also helps me log into accounts on my phone and iPad.
Save to Pocket
I have serious ADHD with opening new tabs to read new articles about things that I don’t need right away. I’ll save articles to Pocket so I can read them from my iPad or phone later on.
I have all of these downloaded on my computer. I don’t really use them that often, but occasionally do. Some of them I’ve even paid for so I REALLY should start using them.