Going after the biggest and most profitable niches is a natural inclination and logical pursuit for Merchers. Big niches are where the most obvious money stands to be made. And so, despite the competition, many of our peers pile into the most competitive of all niche markets.

And how do a lot of these intrepid souls go about doing this? For starters, they generally stick with the prevailing design styles that consumers are buying in these niches — styles that most other creators are also constantly replicating. Merchers then strive to leapfrog the competition and land on page one by writing superior listings packed with expertly researched and deployed keywords.

In my experience, however, being on page one is of reduced importance if your design is still largely indistinguishable from every other design on pages one, two, and three.

Unfortunately, there’s a pervasive mentality in Merch that it’s okay to blend in and look exactly like the designs that sell as long as you do whatever it takes to be seen ahead of the competition (an objective pursued through keywords, ads, lower pricing, etc.)

In my opinion, being a preeminent pea in a pod is not as effective as sticking out like a sore thumb in the big niches. This approach actually makes brilliant keyword strategies and advertising campaigns even more effective.

So what do I mean by sticking out? Sounds like a lot of creative heavy lifting, right? No. It doesn’t have to be at all, and I’ll give you a prime example from my own experience.

One of my best selling niches on Merch By Amazon (for the last five years) is the military — designs for veterans and military family members. A few years ago during Q4, some of my best-performing military tees were selling 10-15 units per day. However, my “RED Fridays” military-themed tees were struggling, under-performing against my other military tees. One of the problems I faced was the sea of competition that I was blending in with. By being just another red tshirt, I simply didn’t stand out.

Then I tried something different with my RED Fridays designs. Even though these were the niche’s leading performers, I stopped making red tshirts with white and/or black text and imagery. Using my same design templates, messaging, and keyword strategies, I shifted to black tshirts only and changed all design elements to red.

I don’t like to say that overnight successes can happen in Merch, but in the case of my experience with this one reformed niche approach, two of my RED Fridays tshirts (on black tshirts) soon started selling 5-10 units per day. They weren’t better. They just stood out now. And I believe that is what made the difference.

From music and fishing, to patriotism and retro sunsets, there is a lot of observable uniformity in the biggest and most bankable niche designs in POD. If you want to find success in these niches, it isn’t enough to merely come up with a better message, a smarter keyword strategy, and a bigger advertising budget. At the end of the day, if your design doesn’t jump off the results page by standing out aesthetically, you may find yourself in an uphill battle for success.

A quick and effective way to stand out? If the niche you’re targeting returns multiple pages of similar if not identical designs all displayed on black tshirts, create and optimize your design for white/light colored tshirts and use only black/dark lettering and imagery. Don’t hesitate to upload your tshirt design to only one or two light colors. I do it all the time when I want to assure that I’ll stand out in a competitive sea of similar designs.

More often than not, color can be the ultimate conduit to leaping off the Amazon search results page to stand out. Whether you’re adding or subtracting color, I believe that any effort you can put forward to ensure that your design is conceptually and aesthetically unique will be rewarded over time because it is ultimately your best defense against getting lost in a sea of similarity.