Although other categories are more thought about on Amazon, there is huge potential on the site for fashion brands. In the US, Amazon’s share of fashion shoppers jumped from 50% in 2017 to 61% in 2018 and, according to Forbes, is expected to grow even more this year. With such authority already, it seems a no-brainer to sell your clothing and other ‘Softline’ products on Amazon.
Softline products are what Amazon groups apparel, shoes, jewellery, watches, luggage and bags as and all fit under the description as fashion items. However, selling fashion on Amazon can be a complicated process. Below is Molzi’s how to guide on setting your fashion brand up for success on Amazon.
When first setting up your fashion brand on Amazon’s marketplace, it is a good idea to originally create an action plan and consider road mapping your strategy. This will help you focus on the most important tasks and provide you with a guideline to work towards. At Molzi, we suggest working towards a 3-month plan to begin with as to help brands start to build success on Amazon’s marketplaces. There are 3 steps to consider when selling on Amazon successfully.
Step 1 – Setting up your Brand on Amazon
Your first month should initially be spent getting your fashion SKUs onto Amazon. This includes registering for Brand Registry, ensuring that your ASINs are retail ready and determining which fulfilment option suits your business model.
If you are a trademarked fashion brand, it is a highly recommended decision to sign up for Amazon’s Brand Registry programme. Brand Registry tells Amazon that you own the trademark which means you will have extra features and tools than other third-party sellers do including a lot of features we suggest later on in this guide. However, it is integral within the fashion industry as fashion is one of the biggest victims of counterfeit operations. In 2018 alone, the market for counterfeit clothing was estimated to amount to $450 billion! A key feature of having Amazon’s Brand registry is that it allows brands including fashion to protect both their brand reputation and their loyal customers from being a victim of counterfeit.
The tools given to authorised brand owners include the ability to search for the brand, trademark or product name and find all the ASINs within Amazon’s marketplace which hold them. Equally, you will also be able to upload an image of your product to find similar images or listings which might violate copyright or infringement. These features will allow you to efficiently notify Amazon of any brand counterfeits that you may find at a faster rate and ensures that your brand will be represented accurately and positively on all Amazon marketplaces. It is important to own your brand on Amazon as the possibility of counterfeit, duplicate listings or unauthorised sellers may affect your Amazon reputation which, in turn, will impact your Amazon sales and conversion rate negatively.
It may also be worth considering whether you will be applicable for Amazon’s Project Zero initiative where sellers will be given even more authority over their brand and can remove product listings independently without Amazon’s intervention to do it on their behalf. Additionally, Amazon has also recently created the counterfeit crimes unit to remove counterfeits from the marketplace, making Amazon a much more secure place for Softline brands to sell on.
Many brands believe that the moment their products are placed on Amazon, they will be seen and sold immediately but this is not the case. Each ASIN must be made retail ready if you want your products to be successful. Retail readiness is about viewing your listings regarding how consumers shop online. Shoppers can’t touch or see the product in question and therefore need more information than brands usually give. This isn’t new to fashion brands as there is always the added factor of sizing to consider when selling online. However, unlike selling on your own website, you must compete with thousands more listings and sellers. Retail readiness should be viewed as improving your conversion rate. The areas to optimise for retail readiness are as follows:
Images are also one of the 1st places consumers look at so make sure your hero and secondary images are all high quality and are on a pure white background. Also try to use all available image slots to showcase your product.
3. Insert variations
ASINs that are variations of each other such as colour or sizes should be placed into Parent and Child ASINs to increase awareness of all your ASINs as well as make it easier for consumers to browse the variation they want thereby improving customer experience with your brand.
2. Product Title
This is the first thing shoppers will see in the search results and on your listing. Ensure your Amazon title is concise and relevant to attract consumers. An example title could be your brand, the department, the name, and the size.
4. Bullet Points
These give shoppers a quick idea as to if your product suits their needs. Therefore, they should all be clear, and each promote an individual product feature. There should be a minimum of 5 bullet points. You should use them to show off the unique selling points (USPs) of your ASIN.
5. Product Description
The product description can help sell not only your product but your brand too. Retail ready product descriptions explain your product in detail and answer any questions the consumer may have after reading your bullet points. The best descriptions carefully balance Amazon keywords and product information while maintaining reader interest and intrigue.
There are 2 options available for sellers when it comes to Amazon fulfilment. These are FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) and FBM (Fulfilment by Merchant). The immediate difference between the two options is that FBA sellers send products to Amazon warehouses to be shipped off to consumers when bought whereas FBM sellers ship products to consumers directly. The best option for fashion brands depends on their original logistical position however fashion items tend to be most suited to FBA.
FBA Sellers use Amazon’s shipping & fulfilment services to send their products to consumers to guarantee fast & efficient delivery. FBA Sellers are still responsible for the prices of their products but must pay fulfilment and storage fees based on the dimension and weight of the products for using Amazon’s service. Fashion items tend to be most suited to FBA as they are small, light products that do not require lots of room to store, sell fast and are low cost for high return items. This ultimately means fashion brands can store a large amount into Amazon’s fulfilment centre without building up a massive fee based on the size or weight of the products.
Being eligible for Prime is a massive step forward in optimising sales on Amazon as Prime members on average spend $1.4K each year in the U.S alone and tend to buy more often than non-members. Additionally, brands with the Prime badge tend to automatically be trusted by consumers which further improves conversion rate. FBA sellers automatically eligible for Prime as Amazon guarantees products are delivered from their fulfilment centres within the 1-day delivery time. However, FBM sellers can also become Prime eligible if they prove to Amazon they can provide customer service worthy of Prime and become an SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime) account.
Sponsored Product Advertising
Now that you know the Softline ASINs which are selling well, you should consider promoting them via Sponsored Product Ads. These ads drive Amazon consumers directly to a specific ASIN. Sponsored Product ads are typically shown in the search results, including at the top where all consumers will see them, but they can also show on other product detail pages. Bestsellers, therefore, work best as you know that they already convert shoppers and that more will convert if people just see the ASIN. However, Sponsored Product ads can only be used if you are winning the buy-box. Therefore, it is imperative to do so.
Step 2 – Branching out and determining bestsellers
After setting up your account and you begin making sales, brands should begin to see what sort of products Amazon consumers like to buy and the ASINs that struggle to convert. These struggling products should be reviewed and analysed as to see why they are underperforming compared to other ASINs and possibly have their copy altered to improve conversion. On the other hand, you should also begin to extend your Amazon reach, using your bestsellers as a driving force in increasing sales.
Selling across Europe
One step to consider is showcasing your bestsellers within new Amazon marketplaces found in the EU to further expand your customer base and reach. A major perk of having an Amazon Seller account is that it is already a European unified account. This means that rather than needing an individual seller account for each country, you automatically gain access to selling in all the other EU countries with that account.
It can be further simplified with Amazon FBA as a lot of the hard and expensive work such as shipping will be done for you at a lower price and shipped throughout Europe via Amazon’s European Fulfilment Network (EFN).
Note: As of January 2021, the EFN will not include the UK
Before signing up all your ASINs, there are several considerations to research first to determine which ASINs to sell transnationally.
Is your Softline ASIN suited to the specific country? for example what may be fashionable in the UK may not be as popular in Germany and vice versa. Research the target demographic to decide on evergreen products.
What are other brands selling on the target marketplace? If there are similar products onsite, how will your brand stand out? Reconsider your unique selling points and consider how copy may need to be edited or transcreated to entice this different audience.
Will the extra shipping costs be worth the increased revenue? Does this mean your product needs to be more expensive? How will this affect your ASIN in the target marketplace in relation to your competitors?
Step 3 – Improving Brand Awareness
Now that shoppers know that they like your products and are open to buying more from you, it is time to show shoppers who you are. Consumers know your Softline products, but they don’t know your fashion brand. With Brand Registry given, you can begin to focus more on the user experience to further improve new to brand shoppers as well as converting those stuck in your shopping funnel.
A+ content is a highly desirable feature in that it allows product pages to be much more informative and stand out. It replaces the product description section on your listing with unique imagery and content to show off your brand and the product in a more enticing way. This content improves how consumers react to your ASINs and provides another layer of trust between them and your brand. A+ Content has the potential to increase your sales by up to 10% as it allows you to put so much more information on the page, reducing return rate and reducing Advertising Cost of Spend (ACoS) as shoppers know in detail what they are buying.
You can also create your very own Amazon URL which links to an Amazon Store Page. Consumers can then browse all your products and labels in one place. You can also showcase who you are as a brand overall which can aid in improving brand retention and repeat custom as consumers may share the same brand values that you as a brand have. Additionally, this Store Page can be utilised efficiently by an off-site advertising strategy by using the given URL to bring consumers away from Amazon to see all your entire product range in one place.
Sponsored Brand Advertising
It is also a good idea to start creating Sponsored Brand ads which will highlight your brand rather than a specific ASIN. It will portray your logo and up to three branded products of your choice. They are found above the result listings and Sponsored Product ads as well making them the 1st thing consumer see when browsing for a product. What makes them so useful is that they can also send the customer to your Store Page so they can see your entire catalogue without competitor interruption. Additionally, you can use Sponsored Brand ads to track new-to-brand customers and see how successful your brand awareness campaign is.
Deals & Events
There are certain times in the year that it would be highly suggested to create a brand awareness campaign by using Sponsored ads as well as Amazon deals. These periods are retail holidays which Amazon gains a large amount of traffic for, the largest being Black Friday weekend and Prime Day. It is worth considering which events may be most fruitful for you, for example as a clothing brand, it might be that you set Amazon deals around New York fashion week or Back to School sales depending on the type of Softline products that you sell. By creating a brand awareness campaign over certain periods, you can increase brand visibility, ASIN rankings while making extra sales.
Amazon deals should not only be used during these events. Lightning Deals & Deals of the Day can also be utilised throughout the entire year to improve brand awareness as the Amazon Deals section is the second most visited page on Amazon. Your chance of being seen will also not be confined by keywords and so your brand or specific product will be seen by much more consumers.
Promote a limited number of discounts for an item for a short period of time. Lightning deals are available until either the time for that promotion expires or all the available promotional discounts are claimed.
Deal of the Day
Runs for 24 hours from 00:01 to 23:59. The short time frame motivates would-be customers to buy products while they are reduced.
Using the Amazon Influencer Programme to your advantage
The Amazon Influencer Programme can also be used to increase brand visibility and target consumers off Amazon’s marketplaces. This programme allows social media influencers to advertise your Amazon products on their platforms. For brands already using social media influencers, it is good idea to see if they are part of the Amazon Influencer Programme already to help boost external traffic to your Amazon presence as well.
Still need help from an Amazon consultant?
Following this guideline will help you begin to understand how complicated Amazon can be. Unlike other marketplaces, brands must continuously work to succeed on Amazon. Similar to the Amazon flywheel, selling on Amazon becomes easier the more successful you become, but still requires hard work and brings its own issues. As a full-service Amazon marketing agency, Molzi has all the combined skills and experience needed to succeed on Amazon and our services usually end up cheaper than hiring an entire in-house team altogether. From Amazon advertising, sales & data analysis and Amazon SEO optimisation, we take pride in making sure your fashion brand does well on Amazon by taking care of all the dirty work for you.