Amazon is the largest online retail selling website and one of the most valuable global brands, valued at more than 69 million U.S. dollars.
And it’s no head scratcher why we all use it. You can literally find everything you need on Amazon, from books and movies to toiletries, food, clothing and more.
Why You Should Sell on Amazon
There are a few reasons why Amazon is a great channel to start selling your apparel. First off, this well-known site already has a built-in audience. With 304 million active worldwide accounts and nearly 182 million unique monthly visitors to Amazon sites, you’ll have no problem increasing exposure to your apparel and therefore should have no problem increasing your sales on Amazon. Sellers who join Amazon Marketplace report an average 50% sales increase.
Secondly, Amazon helps make the customer acquisition process easier. Amazon users aren’t looking for specific companies on Amazon; they’re looking for a specific product at a good price. If they find and order an item from you and you deliver a high-quality piece of clothing and great customer service, then they’ll likely order from you again.
Another reason is Amazon will also handle all your fulfillment. With Fulfillment by Amazon, they pack, ship and provide customer service for your products. This is a great benefit for apparel startups.
And lastly, it’s a cost-effective channel. You pay either a monthly or per item fee (which I’ll get more into below) as well as other minimal selling fees, like a 15% referral fee for clothing and accessories. All online marketplaces charge fees, but the nice thing about Amazon is even with having to pay some fees, you’re getting more bang for your buck because of its high volume of visitors and accounts and its fulfillment feature.
Here are some tips on how to get started selling on Amazon today.
Tip 1: Choose the Right Amazon Seller Account
You have the option to sell as an individual or a professional.
Individual marketplace sellers is the best option for smaller apparel sellers who only have a handful of items to offer and plan to sell fewer than 40 clothing or accessory items a month. As an individual marketplace seller, you’re put on a pay-as-you-go system and are required to pay a $0.99 per item fee for each item you sell.
With the professional selling plan, where you plan to sell more than 40 items a month, you’ll pay a $39.99 monthly subscription fee but are exempt from the $0.99 fixed closing fee with each order. This plan is meant for experienced and high volume sellers and is the one where Amazon gives you more benefits, hence the monthly fee.
At any time you can switch your selling plan from individual to professional if your sales or inventory increases or from professional to individual if you discover you’re not quite at professional status yet.
Tip 2: Understand FBA
I briefly mentioned this earlier, but FBA is just the acronym for Fulfillment by Amazon. When you add FBA to your seller’s account, you send your products to Amazon fulfillment centers that store your products and then Amazon quickly fills customer orders. They also provide 24/7 customer service with all your orders.
Other benefits of FBA include:
- Simple and cost-effect. You pay as you go and are only charged for storage space and fulfilled orders.
- Eligible for free shipping. If you’re an Amazon Prime member or know someone who is, you know how great free two-day shipping is as a customer. FBA makes your products eligible for free shipping.
- Outsourcing returns. Amazon handles all customer service, including dealing with returns and refunds.
- Focus on growing your business. With Amazon taking care of filling orders and managing other customer service aspects, your time and resources are free to focus on growing your business.
But like is the case with most things, there are pros and cons. Here are some cons of FBA:
- Harder to keep track of your inventory. When you can’t physically see your inventory, like when it’s sitting in an Amazon fulfillment center, it’s harder to know what you have and can be overwhelming to continually check how many men’s t-shirts or women’s jackets you’re storing in one of its centers. (This is where utilizing an inventory management system will come in handy.)
- Fees. Along with the normal costs, Amazon also charges FBA fees, which include storage, weight handling, order fulfillment and pick and pack. You can also be charged long-term storage fees if you have inventory in Amazon’s fulfillment centers for longer than six or 12 months.
- Your products may not be profitable. If you have low-volume, low-margin clothing items, then they won’t be profitable to sell with FBA, especially if you add in the fees you have to pay with them.
Tip 3: Optimize Your Amazon Profile and Listings
Amazon is a competitive online marketplace. You’re not the first or last person to sell apparel on Amazon, and while you’ve got fun, practical, unique or all of the above clothing, there are other sellers on Amazon selling similar apparel to yours.
I’m not saying this to freak you out about selling on Amazon; I’m telling you so you know that even the smallest Amazon optimization tips can make a difference in your profile and sales. The following is what you can to do better stand out from competing apparel companies.
People go to Amazon to search for products because it offers millions right at their fingertips. But because there are millions of products, users are purchase-focused. They enter the exact search term they want to pop up. I wouldn’t just type blouse and click search (way too many blouses would appear and I don’t have the time to search through all of them). Instead, I’d type “women’s red blouse for work” to have the exact products I want to appear.
As a seller you want to appear at the top for every search that’s related to your product—this is where keywords come in. And Jungle Scout is your reliable friend here as you can take the list of keywords you’ve collected, plug them into Amazon and then use Jungle Scout’s data to see which keywords and phrases are generating the most sales and are more competitive.
Write a good product listing.
Those keywords I just mentioned, here’s where you want to use them. You can’t control a listing’s page design, but you can control whether you have a good title and description. Your title shouldn’t just be a short name; it should answer a consumer’s question and show that your product is what they’re searching for. Present the product clearly with your title, and add in multiple keywords.
As for the description, this short area is your online salesman. It should be unique, grab a consumer’s attention and ultimately get you the sale. Don’t just write about the product features; really ponder who your customer is and why they’d want to purchase your piece of apparel and then write a description. Explain the benefits and features, but be concise, and use keywords naturally.
A consumer may find and like your product, but if they don’t trust you as a company, they won’t buy from you. Showing off reviews from previous customers is a great way to show that you’re a reputable seller and that a consumer can trust you.
Tip 4: Generate Reviews
Reviews matter to consumers. In fact, 88% of online shoppers include reviews into their decision-making process when making an online purchase. Consumers trust online reviews, so if you want them to trust and buy from your company, then you need to get positive reviews.
There are a couple of ways to get reviews quickly. One way is to use a reviews service like Review Kick. This review acquisition and management solution lets you choose a group of reviewers to promote your products to, more than 55,000 Amazon shoppers, and then exchange your product at a discounted price for an honest review. You can also reach out to any of Amazon’s top reviewers and ask them to review your product because reviews from these reviewers are more valuable and important to Amazon.
Above all, offer a high-quality product and provide great customer experiences to get more reviews, and send a follow-up email to customers asking them if they’d fill out a quick review for you and the product they purchased. And for a better response rate, offer them an incentive, like 20% off their next purchase.