If you’re looking to start selling clothes on Amazon, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of how to get started, from setting up your seller account to listing your items for sale.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful clothing business on Amazon.
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Setting up your seller account
To get started, you’ll need to create a seller account on Amazon.
The first step is to head to the Amazon Seller Central website and register.
You’ll need to decide between the professional plan or the individual plan. With professional you’ll be paying $39.99 per month, but you’ll get access to a range of more advanced features such as advertising.
The individual account doesn’t have a monthly fee, but you’ll pay a fee on each item sold and is therefore best for sellers making 75 sales or less per month.
You’ll want to be aiming for much more than that, so we would recommend taking advantage of all the professional plan has to offer, remembering that you can always downgrade your plan at any time if needed.
When does my account payout?
When you sell clothing on Amazon, your Seller Central account will payout every 2 weeks but revenues will be slightly delayed in order to allow for any potential returns.
Listing your items for sale
Once you’ve created your Amazon seller account you’ll need to create product listings in order to start selling clothing.
Here are the steps you need to consider.
Generate GS1 barcodes
Whilst Amazon sellers used to be able to get by with cheap, re-used barcodes, that’s not the case anymore.
Amazon stipulates that you need GS1 registered barcodes in order to avoid any issues such as products being removed from the platform.
So start on the right foot and invest in a GS1 membership.
Create the right variation structure
Amazon’s listings work in a parent/child structure. This means that if you are listing a style of t-shirt you would have one parent listing with multiple child variations beneath it for size and color.
For instance, if your t-shirt comes in blue and green and also in sizes small, medium and large you’d have six child variations:
- Small – Blue
- Medium – Blue
- Large – Blue
- Small – Green
- Medium – Green
- Large – Green
Each of these variations should be listed under the parent listing to ensure they are grouped together and appear on the say product listing.
This is especially important when selling clothes as customers will want to easily be able to choose the right size without navigating back to search results.
Choosing the right product categories
You will of course want to choose Clothing as the main category when selling clothes on Amazon, but be sure to also choose the most accurate sub-categories.
Choosing the right category has a significant impact on your ability to appear high up in search results for relevant keywords as Amazon’s algorithm places a lot of weight on relevance.
It’s also worth noting that it is not permitted to sell used clothing on Amazon and so you should only look to sell clothes on Amazon if you are selling new.
Now you’ve got the basics of structure in place, it’s time to optimize your product listings to drive traffic and sales.
Optimizing your brand presence
Selling clothes on Amazon is not as simple as “build it and they will come” but instead requires a clear strategy for getting your products found.
By optimizing your product listings for organic visibility through keyword ranking and good conversion rates, you’re well on your way to building a successful business.
Let’s run through the key aspects of optimization to get you started.
Creating keyword-rich product descriptions
Selling clothes on Amazon is far more a keyword game than it is a product game. For longevity, product quality is of course essential. But to start generating momentum, you need to understand the keywords customers are using.
For instance, if you are selling men’s t-shirts on Amazon the keywords you might consider include t-shirts for men, large t-shirts for men, white t-shirts for men and so on.
The easiest way to carry this process out is by using Helium 10 Cerebro. In under 10 minutes, you can create a list of highly relevant and high volume search terms to include in your listing.
Check out the complete guide here.
Not only should you include the right keywords, but it’s also important to clearly communicate the features and benefits of your products with a particular focus on how your product stands out from the competition.
Maximizing the impact of engaging images
Once you’ve taken the time to craft a title and description for your product, it’s time to get to work on some compelling images.
Whilst traditional fashion retailers may take a very minimalist view with product photography, our most successful sellers inside Brand Builder University use graphics and text on images to clearly call out the benefits of the product.
The main image does need to be on a white background, but each additional image can be a lot more creative and include lifestyle shots, banners, text and more.
Harnessing the power of branded content
As the popularity of selling on Amazon continues to grow, more and more brands are moving to the platform.
As such, Amazon continues to roll out new brand-friendly features that allow founders to tell the story of their startup and promote the benefits of their products.
Here are the key areas to implement:
- A+ Content (formerly known as Enhanced Brand Content) gives room for rich graphics and imagery to further tell the story of your brand and product and helps improve conversion rates.
- Storefronts allow you to create a branded experience on Amazon that displays products and collections as per your preferences.
- Video content gives sellers the opportunity to increase conversion rates further. This medium is particularly powerful when selling clothes, allowing the browser to see much more detail of each product.
To access branded content like this you will need a registered trademark and then apply for Brand Registry on the Amazon platform.
Pricing your products
Finally, it’s important to launch with a clear pricing strategy.
What you need to understand about selling clothes on Amazon is that your business goals and Amazon’s won’t always be aligned.
Amazon wants the biggest selection of products at the cheapest price, whereas you need to be able to sell clothes at prices that actually make you money.
However, when launching your products it’s advisable to go in with a discounted initial price in order to gain some traction and climb the Amazon rankings.
This should be seen as an upfront marketing expense knowing that a return on investment will come in the form of organic sales from Amazon’s daily volume of traffic once you are ranking for relevant keywords.
On that subject, let’s look at how you can kickstart this growth with some effective marketing.
Marketing your clothing business
When you start selling clothes online it’s easy to get so focused on creating a great product that you forget you’ll need to find people who want to buy it.
The beauty of learning how to sell clothes on Amazon is that you don’t need to be a marketing expert or have a huge budget to get people to your products, you instead need to get your products in front of existing buyers.
As already covered, selling clothing on Amazon is about understanding the types of queries the customers are searching for and then ranking your products on the results pages of those searches.
In short, Amazon elevates products that sell well and so the key is to stimulate that growth with aggressive pricing coupled with beginner-friendly marketing strategies.
Any Amazon business that wants to grow sales needs to look seriously at the on-platform marketing option of PPC ads.
PPC (pay-per-click) advertising allows sellers to bid on relevant keywords to have their products shown in sponsored positions on results pages and only pay when a customer clicks on the ad.
This cost-effective model means you can enter a list of the most relevant keywords that are likely to drive sales from day one.
Google ads are another form of pay-per-click advertising that enable you to drive targeted traffic to your Amazon listings.
To start running these ads you will need to create an account with Google and set up your campaigns with your product listing URL and chosen keywords.
Finally, serious fashion brands will always have a solid social media strategy to help them sell clothes online.
When launching a new line of clothes on Amazon social media giveaways can be carried out to grow followers and generate interest.
Over time you can create a regular calendar of content on your brand pages that steer traffic towards your Amazon listing.
In order to track the performance of what campaigns are working, we suggest using a tool like Pixel.Me that gives clear insight into where your marketing is performing well and what could use some improvement.
Shipping and fulfillment
Once the exciting things like making sales and building an audience are happening, it’s time to actually ship products to customers.
The great news for fashion brands who want to sell clothing on Amazon is that this process can also be very hands-off.
That all depends on the fulfillment route you take.
Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)
The FBA program has revolutionized the online business model for Amazon sellers.
When activated, you can make sales on any Amazon site around the world and its warehousing arm will spring into action.
They will pick, pack and ship your products at lightning speed and all for a fulfilment fee that is usually cheaper than you’d be able to find with a direct courier.
Of course, you are handing control of your fulfilment operations to Amazon, so if you wanted to have complete oversight of that area too, there is another option.
Fulfillment By Merchant (FBM)
Opting for the FBM fulfillment method allows third party sellers to continue to make sales on Amazon but ship products out themselves.
Most Amazon sellers do opt for FBA, and in most cases, it would be advisable for clothing retailers too in order to secure the Prime badge on your Amazon store.
Given the growth of Amazon Prime Members (over 200 million globally), the importance of having the Prime badge on your listing cannot be overstated, and for this reason alone FBA is highly recommended.
The pros of selling clothes on Amazon
Whilst creating your own store on a platform like Shopify is always recommended, adding a marketplace like Amazon to your sales strategy should definitely be top of mind.
Let’s first summarize the key benefits of selling on Amazon, before taking a look at some of the downsides to be aware of.
First, Amazon is one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, so you’ll have access to a huge potential customer base.
Rather than having to learn advanced marketing skills to drive traffic to your store, when selling on Amazon you instead need simply ensure your products get seen by an existing sea of traffic on Amazon.
By using a keyword research tool like Magnet from Helium 10 you can see that there are many clothing-related phrases searched on Amazon hundreds of thousands of times per month.
Second, Amazon is a trusted and well-established platform, so buyers will be more likely to purchase from you if they’re familiar with the site.
Whereas the average conversion rate on eCommerce stores is 2-3%, the Amazon average is upwards of 10%.
This is largely due to the trust Amazon has established with its customer base and the benefits that come with Prime shipping.
By selling clothing on Amazon you can tap into that consumer trust to launch your clothing line with momentum.
Ease of Setup
And finally, selling on Amazon is relatively easy to set up and manage, so it’s a great option for those who are just starting out in the e-commerce world.
You don’t need to learn how to code or create websites, instead, Amazon will be your website, payment process and – if you opt for Fulfillment By Amazon (more on that soon) – they will also handle shipping and most customer service.
Now that we’ve covered some of the reasons why you should sell clothes on Amazon, let’s get into how to actually get started.
The cons of selling clothes on Amazon
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and there definitely are some challenges to selling in the clothing category on the Amazon marketplace.
Let’s take a look at the most significant challenges so you can get a clear view of this business model.
The ease of returns
It’s no secret that selling products in the clothing category is going to lead to a higher return rate than the eCommerce average.
Fashion brands understand this when starting out, but the challenge many don’t foresee is the impact of this reality on the health of their Amazon account.
Amazon has strict performance indicators that sellers must work towards in order to keep their account in good standing, and clothing products having a high return rate can often cause these metrics to be pushed close to the line.
Given the approval process for returns on Amazon is very generous towards the customer, fashion designers and clothing brands should be very mindful of this when starting out.
The lack of customer data
When deciding to sell apparel products on Amazon you are making a decision to forego customer data.
Amazon continues to restrict the flow of customer data towards FBA sellers in order to maintain control over the buyer journey.
As a brand owner in the fashion industry, the ability to communicate with your customers and drive repeat purchases is essential. Therefore it is essential to build out a strategy for growing your audience post-purchase such as by using product inserts.
The extra fees
Simply for the ability to make a sale on Amazon, you will be charged a closing fee as a percentage of the sale price, known as the referral fee.
The referral fee percentage varies between categories, but clothing items attract one of the highest percentages at a significant 17% of every sale.
Before launching on Amazon, sellers would be well advised to study accurate data to determine profit margins and ensure the numbers make sense.
The limitations on brandability
For anyone looking to sell products online, Amazon is a fantastic platform. But there are nuances to the fashion industry that means it needs to be considered carefully.
As previously mentioned, the Amazon brand team do continue to roll out features that help new sellers reach more potential customers through the telling of their brand story.
That said, you will never have as much freedom on Amazon as you would on your own website and it is for that reason that Amazon should be seen as a sales channel as opposed to the only place to sell your clothing items.
Selling clothes on Amazon – Is it worth it?
The opportunity to sell clothes on Amazon is a clear one – you only have to reference the search volume to see high demand and sales velocity exist on the platform.
Amazon continues to evolve with exciting initiatives like Amazon Prime Wardrobe where shoppers can “try before they buy” and no doubt will continue to innovate in this trillion-dollar industry.
However, anyone selling clothing items on Amazon needs to be aware of the potential downsides discussed in this article and have a plan for overcoming these challenges.
If they do, the opportunity is bigger than ever.
Whilst this article has tried to focus on aspects specific to clothing products, for those serious about launching on Amazon we have created a more in-depth step by step guide to the end-to-end Amazon selling process.
And if you’d like our help and support along the way, check out all that a Brand Builder University membership has to offer.