Are you thinking about selling clothes on Amazon? Then you might already know that a massive $41 billion worth of clothing was sold on the platform in 2020, making Amazon the No #1 apparel seller in the US. This year, apparel sales are likely to surpass the 45 billion mark.
With such outstanding revenues in the clothing category, Amazon now enjoys nearly one-third share of the entire pie of online clothing sold in the US.
If you look at it from the consumers’ perspective, almost 40% of US shoppers are now buying clothing on Amazon.
All these figures point to one thing i.e. selling clothes on Amazon is as lucrative as it has ever been. If you want to capitalize on Amazon’s good performance on the apparel side but don’t know where to start, continue reading this piece.
Here, you will get to know how to sell clothes on Amazon from the ground up.
Before we dive deep into our discussion, it is imperative to look at how Amazon has become a thriving marketplace to sell clothes. You can’t pinpoint any single reason for this success. Several factors have contributed to improving the apparel landscape on Amazon.
For starters, Amazon’s decision to lift the blanket gated restriction from the apparel category has played a decisive role. It has helped small sellers to launch their own clothing private labels and brands on the platform without much hassle.
Then, Amazon has also launched a couple of programs (Big Style Sale, Prime Wardrobe, The Drop, etc) to help the sellers operating in the fashion and apparel industry. Those programs have helped improve the platform’s profile in the clothing category.
Lastly, the pandemic has proved to be a blessing in disguise for Amazon’s apparel operations. With conventional retail operations and brick-and-mortar storefronts struggling due to COVID-restrictions, Amazon’s online clothing sales witnesses a significant uptick.
Assuming that you haven’t used Amazon as a seller, the below information will help you in getting the right start with selling clothes on Amazon.
Start with creating a seller account on the platform. You have two seller plans to pick from: individual and professional. If you opt for the individual plan, you will have to pay a $0.99 selling fee on every sale. This selling fee won’t include the referral fee or any closing fee (if applied).
The professional seller plan comes as a monthly subscription. You get it at $39.99 per month with no selling fee on any individual item sold. However, the referral fee and closing fee are levied in the same manner on every sale.
For any aspiring seller who is in it for the long game, the professional seller plan is always a better option. First of all, there is no sales volume cap in the professional plan. Whether you sell 100,1,000, or 10,000 units a month, you will pay the flat subscription fee of $39.99.
Secondly, the professional plan comes with loads of perks that you can’t enjoy as an individual seller. As a professional seller, you get a range of inventory management tools and special listing features. Also, you become eligible for listing placement in the Featured Offer and sales tax calculation services of Amazon.
Once you get your account to sell clothing on Amazon, you need to settle on the fulfillment method for your orders. You essentially have two fulfillment options with Amazon: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM).
FBA is a great option for new sellers with limited operational capabilities. They can use Amazon’s extensive network to pick, pack, and ship their clothing products. Meanwhile, FBM is a sound option for those sellers who want to keep control of their order management in their hands.
You can go with FBA if:
You can go with FBM if:
Amazon outlines an entirely different fulfillment fee structure for apparel items in comparison to other product categories.
Fulfillment Fee for Standard Size Clothing Items
Fulfillment Fee for Oversized Clothing Items
While using FBA, you will also need storage space in the fulfillment centers for your apparel consignments. This storage also comes at a cost.
Monthly Inventory Storage Fee
For most product categories, Amazon's referral fee lingers between 8 to 15%. However, clothing is one of those few categories where you have to pay a higher referral fee. For both FBM and FBA sellers, the referral fee on clothing items is 17%.
This is the most crucial step in your preparation to sell clothing on Amazon. It won’t be wrong to say that how and what you choose here can make or break your clothing venture on the platform.
You have essentially these business models to consider for your clothing gig on Amazon.
Let’s see what these different business models are all about in connection with apparel sales on Amazon.
Many sellers consider it the best business model to sell clothes on Amazon. By opting for this model, you create your own brand/product label of clothes and sell it as a first-party seller on Amazon. You can get your private label clothing line incorporated with a custom logo, slogans, and other branding elements. Also, you don’t have to wait and go through Amazon’s product approval process when your clothing is sold under private label.
To sell private label clothing on Amazon, you will need to register yourself with Amazon Brand Registry. For that, you will require UPC barcodes for your clothing products as well as a brand trademark.
A successful clothing private label on Amazon can transform into a lucrative brand. You can then take it even outside of Amazon. However, the main catch with private labels is you need a substantial upfront capital investment to start it.
You have two options to source your apparel for the private label. You can either go to a manufacturer and place a custom order or you can procure readymade unbranded items. You can bank on Chinese manufacturers for your private label sourcing due to their reasonable costs and expedient operations.
On platforms like Alibaba and AliExpress, you can order a large number of unbranded clothing products from China for your private label business.
You can also start selling clothes on Amazon by adopting a wholesale model. It is another sustainable method to grow a business on Amazon. You can buy clothing in bulk from brands and distributors and use Amazon’s fulfillment facilities to sell them to end consumers.
However, you will need prior approval from Amazon to sell any clothing item not branded under your name. The platform doesn’t approve a list of brands (including many clothing ones) to be sold by third-party sellers. Amazon does it to prevent sales of counterfeit products and to maintain good service delivery to customers.
Retail arbitrage is another option to consider for selling clothes on Amazon. Simply put, retail arbitrage is the process where you leverage the price difference between two markets as a seller. For instance, you buy discounted approved clothing products from eBay at, say, $7 and sell them on Amazon for $15. If you don’t have a bigger budget that can kick-start private label or wholesale business model, you can certainly try out retail arbitrage to sell clothes on Amazon.
If your apparel products include unique, one-of-a-kind, artisan-produced items, then you can also opt for Amazon Handmade program. You will be able to reach the right consumer group by opting for this selling model.
To sell on Amazon Handmade program, you don’t need to pay a monthly seller subscription fee. Instead, Amazon will charge you a flat 15% on every item sold. Relevant fulfillment and storage fees will also be levied if you take the FBA route.
After deciding what clothing items you are selling through which business model, it’s time to create listings and optimize them.
Listing creation means making product pages of the clothing items you want to sell. You will need these information bits to create lists.
You should have a list of keywords and search terms for which you want to optimize the aforementioned content of listings. Having such a list will make sure you can tweak your product details accordingly. Also, you can add those keywords and search terms to your clothing item’s catalog data (against its ASIN) to describe it further.
For instance, if your product is a unisex t-shirt, you can use “t-shirt for men”, “t-shirt for women”, “simple t-shirts”, “round-neck shirts”, etc as its keyword and search terms.
Apart from optimizing the text content around the right set of search terms, you can take care of these things to optimize your clothing items on Amazon.
Make the most of the 200 character limit of the product title to dispense maximum information about the product. For instance, if you are selling t-shirts, make sure you mention the brand name, product type, material, color, size, quantity, and other key features in the title. This example can come in handy in understanding how to have an optimized product title for your clothing items.
Comfort Unlimited Pack of 2 Yellow T-Shirts 100% Cotton, Medium, Stretchable, Single-Needle Stitched & Machine Wash
Reiterate all the salient features of the product in the bullet points. In the product description paragraph, outline those features again and tie them up with their benefits and conveniences for the consumer. Also, try to incorporate the keywords and search terms in those texts as naturally and contextually as possible.
You can add a maximum of five images to each listing. So, make sure you display your clothing items in the best possible manner in that image collection. These are some requirements you must take care of while managing product shots of your clothing.
There are many other details you need to take care of while taking product shots and uploading them on your apparel listings.
After creating and optimizing listings, you need to promote them to get the maximum traction from potential customers. You can take advantage of these promotional options to improve engagement and sales of your clothing line.
Pay-per-Click (PPC) marketing on Amazon works pretty similar to how it works on Google. You select keywords and phrases for which you want your listing to appear on the first page and above the fold for given search results. For every click on your listing, Amazon will charge a fee from you. For all new sellers without an established name in the apparel sector, PPC marketing is a must to get initial visibility among the target market.
Discount coupons and a particular percentage off on your clothing items can also help you improve your sales volume. Establishing a price differentiation through these discounts helps to rope in many of those customers who are sitting on the fence.
Lightning Deals is a time-sensitive promotional campaign run by Amazon for certain products, primarily on its Today’s Deals page. Through lightning deals, customers get to buy certain products on discounted deals in a particular time window. For a certain fee, you can get your product qualified for lightning deals and improve your sales velocity.
Acquiring a unique identity pays dividends as an apparel seller. It helps in attracting more customers and building a loyal consumer base. On Amazon where hundreds and thousands of sellers are trying their luck, you should take care of these things to stand out among the rest.
How you showcase your clothing items can make all the difference between you and your competitor. You can ace that showcasing by having professional fashion photography of your products with models. You will need to dole out a considerable budget for such photoshoots.
However, a higher photography outlay will be worth it in the long run. Be as creative as Amazon image guidelines allow you to be while having a product photoshoot.
When it comes to displaying clothes, five images and 2,000-character product descriptions seem inadequate. That’s why you should add A+ Content to your listing. A+ Content is a feature that sellers with registered brands get. It essentially allows you to add more visual and text content to your product pages.
You can leverage A+ Content for storytelling as well as a better/thorough display of your products. Listings loaded with A+ Content tend to experience better engagement and conversions.
If you are selling clothes online, you will primarily cater to a younger audience. This demographic is quite different from its predecessors. They like their brands and products to be socially responsible. If you want to develop great goodwill for your clothing business from the beginning, you need to develop it as a socially responsible identity.
As a clothing seller, you can take several measures to develop a socially responsible image.
Whether it is a high-end luxury brand or a roadside outlet, every clothing business uses social media to acquire, engage, and retain customers. There is no exception for those selling clothes on Amazon either.
Besides promoting your listings on Amazon itself, you have to broadcast them on social media pages as well. You can use social media to target potential customers and engage existing customers. You can also use it to get reviews, listen to customer complaints, and resolve them.
Amazon has been very proactive in helping the fashion industry for the last couple of years and particularly during the pandemic. To begin with, Amazon has partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Vogue to help and support fashion brands and independent designers hit hard by the pandemic.
Amazon also arranged a Big Style Sale last year in July after delaying its Prime Day sale until October. The reason to have this sale is to help clothing retailers in improving their sales affected by the pandemic. Amazon has also tinkered with the idea of a fashion exhibition by introducing The Drop. This platform entails a collection of limited-edition street-style apparel envisioned by fashion influencers across the globe.
All these developments indicate that Amazon is quite serious about bolstering fashion and apparel-related activities on its platform. In other words, you can expect to have a secure future as an apparel seller on Amazon and can transform your clothing line into a fashion brand.
Moreover, there are two fashion-focused features of Amazon that you can use right now as a cloth seller.
If you have launched a private label clothing line, then we will strongly recommend you to create an Amazon store. This store will be a multipage digital space on Amazon where you can turn your clothing gig into a brand through storytelling and an interactive product display.
Amazon store gives off the feeling of a private website decked with rich visual content. You also get an easy-to-remember URL for your store. It can be as handy as amazon.com/your-brand-name. Even though creating and curating an Amazon Store is like developing a website, you don’t have to write a single line of coding to set it up.
The store uses drag-and-drop features like WordPress where you can create and customize your brand pages with predesigned tiles, grids, and templates. The best thing about the Amazon store is you can make it without paying a single cent to Amazon. Yes, it is free to create as long as you are registered with Amazon Brand Registry.
Want to provide your customers an in-store apparel shopping experience? You can become part of Amazon’s invite-only program Prime Wardrobe. This program lets Prime members order eight clothing items at a time from selected sellers. They can try all of them and pay for what they keep, and return the rest of them free of cost within 14 days.
Free returns and a long return window are not some things that sellers usually like. However, providing an exceptionally convenient online shopping experience to customers can help you do better than others in the highly competitive niche. Also, providing such value-added service to customers is essential to transform your business into a brand.
Before wrapping up the article, let’s answer some of the recurring questions about selling clothes on Amazon.
No, you can’t sell used clothes on Amazon. Doing so can land you in trouble and can get your seller status permanently rescinded.
You can make anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a hundred grand in a month by selling clothes on Amazon. Since it depends on a lot of variables, we can’t put an exact number on the income you can have selling clothes on Amazon.
You will have to pay a monthly subscription of $39.99, a referral fee of 15% per item sold, and a fulfillment and storage fee as per the item size to sell clothes on Amazon. Talking about the entire business cost, you will need a few hundred dollars to start retail arbitrage. For wholesale and private label, you will need the initial capital in the range of $2,000-4,000.
Yes, you can sell boutique clothes on Amazon under your private label just like any other clothing item.
Selling clothes on Amazon entails different prospects to different sellers. For retailers doing online arbitrage, selling clothes on Amazon can generate a good part-time/additional stream of income at a very low cost.
For sellers opting for private labels, selling clothes on Amazon can lead to the formation of a full-fledged clothing brand. You can also capitalize on your Amazon success by diversifying your apparel operations on other online and offline retail avenues.
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