7 Ways Fashion Retailers Can Win on Amazon
A recent report from 2PM reveals that 13 of the top 20 direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are in the booming fashion sector. This sector is estimated to be worth 1 trillion this year, with unprecedented online demand. However, there is fierce competition.
In this modern gold rush, everyone is climbing over each other to find it. On Amazon, the Clothing, Jewelry & Shoes category is the 11th most popular Amazon product category for third-party sellers, and fashion is profitable for the majority of merchants.
So, how can a fashion seller find success and grow on Amazon?
General tips for all product categories
SEO-optimised titles facilitate findability and conversion. Failure to adhere to this translates to missed opportunities.
There are many ways to grow Amazon sales, including PPC campaigns, promotions and vine programs for review generation, lightning and Prime day deals, social media and influencers for brand building. Leveraging these proportional tactics is ‘step one’ for any seller.
Now, let’s focus on the most effective ways for fashion sellers to improve their sales performance.
Amazon Fashion Core Principles
People don’t buy trendy jackets or trainers because they need them. Fashion is about selling an identity. You’re branding an experience and promoting a lifestyle.
On Amazon, it's that story and image you need to convey. Your identity must resonate with the audience you need to attract, using attractive visuals and an on-screen experience your buyer demographics emotionally connect with. To do this right, you need to know your identity and your audience.
Fashion caters to our emotional brain, so you can’t describe a coat the same way you would a laptop computer. Fashion has a function and specifications, but it's not the function you’re promoting - it's the image.
Tip #1: Images
Imagery is the first and most important aspect of a fashion seller's focus, so use plenty of different angles. Show context with the lifestyle they represent and close-up details showing key features and quality.
A few rules that lead to positive conversions:
- Always use a real model to showcase your clothing items.
- Models in pictures should be in active poses: walking or standing.
- Always shoot against a pure white background for the main image. (Amazon requirement)
- Use ‘lifestyle’ settings with the rest of the product shots.
- Convey emotion without distracting from the product.
- Avoid clipping the product unless you are showing a close-up of a feature - soft interior materials, an elegant zip, a nice pocket detail, etc.
- Colours and lighting have a measurable effect on returns. When a buyer selects ‘Blue’ from the menu, it’s the blue they see on the screen they want to receive.
- The more images, the better. It improves conversion, and algorithms prefer it.
- Avoid digital colouring renders. You might think this saves you time and cost, but it will reduce your conversion and profit.
Tip #2: Branding your Identity
Now let's discuss the various ways you should apply your images.
Fashion sellers need A+ Content to achieve maximum sales. ‘A+ Content’ is a feature registered brands get, enabling extra lifestyle imagery, brand message, cross-selling and visual representations of USPs using graphics and videos. This differentiates brand owners from resellers or traders.
Only a brand with a trademark can have A+ (and numerous other perks) granted on their Amazon accounts.
Listings with A+ Content experience better engagement and conversions. Studies show conversion increases of between 70-210% when A+ Content is applied. Our own internal agency studies have shown they increase sales on every vertical - and it’s especially impactful in fashion. Creating A+ content is part of Amazon's branding best practice, and with today's competition, it’s essential.
Lengthy description texts have limited impact. Images, videos, and bulleted selling points are what most buyers will scan on their small device screen or desktop. A+ allows you to make a visual story connecting the practical needs of consumers with the product.
Summary: A+ Content is a conversion magnet.
Tip #3: Understanding Marketplace Buyer Search
Consider the buyer journey: they come to the marketplace with a product intent and search for a product.
People tend not to search for ‘brands’, and 69% of consumers are undecided on brands when they begin the search.
Starting with a generic search, they use filters to narrow down the selection. They scan the first pages of results, with clipped titles, the main image only, and the price.
This first page of results is where you must stimulate buyer interest with simple tactics:
- nice product image
- fair price
- title matching their need/search
Let’s assume they clicked - now the branding experience kicks in.
Thanks to your A+ Content, they’re already interested. Your branding is how you finalise the story and message by visually giving them all the final information and feelings needed to Buy Now.
Branding on A+ should show consumers the answers to these common questions:
- What does your brand stand for?
- Has your brand followed consumer trends and moved to a sustainable model?
- Do you give to charities for every purchase?
- Are you affiliated with a movement, organisation or other entity?
Resolve all doubts with a brand story and brand experience that blends the product with your identity.
Tip #4: Brand pages
Images and A+ can go a long way to brand building, but it’s still not a complete picture until you then factor in branded pages. These put 100% of the consumer’s focus on the brand.
A brand page will have a clean, customised look, giving brands a chance to tell a unique story of their identity. This is where you can resonate with your audience’s emotions by catering to trends, beliefs, and causes you want them to associate your brand with.
Buyers are savvy and know how to find the truth. They can easily spot any deceit or inconsistency in messaging. Brands must be true to their beliefs now like never before - and brand pages can help you demonstrate authenticity.
Some brands have seen a 70% increase in sales in just 30 days from their brand page. In the past, it was difficult to measure the results from your Amazon storefront, but now brands have access to a tool called Amazon Store Insights.
Tip #5: Amazon Marketing
Fashion is one of the most margin-sensitive and cutthroat industries online. Having an Amazon marketing function that’s profitable, scalable, and constantly analyses data is vital in this vertical.
Fashion sellers need to approach this differently from sellers of other categories. A luxury brand will have more margin to spare but also a smaller potential audience. This means the luxury segment needs a different strategic plan to fast fashion. Amazon segments the two already.
Remember, most buyers start their search with a product type. Amazon ads give you a chance to compete and promote listings from a humble general starting point. New Amazon sellers with no BSRs (Best Seller Rank) on their new listings should adopt Amazon Ads to kick-start conversion metrics so longer-term organic sales can follow in their wake.
A fashion brand must have a strategy, expertise, and a sufficient budget for ongoing marketing campaigns. Fashion sellers will struggle to gain market share and grow otherwise. Don’t just throw money at it - the best approaches start with small budgets you grow over time, using data analysis and gradual optimisations.
Tip #6: The Drop
Amazon’s ‘The Drop’ is a temporary fashion showcase featuring “limited-edition street style, designed by global influencers.” The concept is largely influencer-driven, catering to the growing presence of social media in everyday ecommerce experiences. Use ‘The Drop’ to your full advantage to create excitement around your brand.
‘The Drop’ features:
- Limited brands (exclusive!)
- Limited stock (available in only a 30-hour window)
- All products are made-to-order (leveraging the sustainability mindset)
- Both fast fashion and luxury brands are featured
- Includes a mix of established and new-comer brands
It’s an impulse-buy-driven showcase and another way to sell your brand image in a pulse-quickening ‘act now while stocks last’ atmosphere. Amazon is selective about The Drop, but any brand keen to get involved should consider applying for this targeted and well-promoted spotlight.
Tip #7: Amazon Prime Wardrobe
In April 2018, Amazon launched its “try before you buy” service called Amazon Prime Wardrobe. It allows shoppers to order up to 8 clothing items at a time and only pay for what they keep. This gives online shoppers more of an in-store experience.
Prime Wardrobe is available to all Prime members and offers the customer free and easy returns for unwanted items. For Amazon clothing sellers, however, it's strictly invite-only.
Consumers love the convenience of ordering multiple articles of clothing from the comfort of their homes and only paying for what they keep.
For sellers, however, the 14-day trial period and free returns are a cause for concern.
Summary Fashion checklist
Before you start on Amazon, make sure you’re ready with this checklist:
- Do you have a solid brand identity you can message and emphasise? You need to know yourself and what you stand for.
- Who is my audience? This will be critical to how you visualise and promote your brand identity and tonally drive copy.
- Have I got robust deep visual assets? Make sure you can tell a story of your brand and products in images alone.
- Do I own and have a trademark for my brand? This is exceedingly critical for Amazon's catalogue management and ASIN principles.
- Am I ready for research and analysis? Fashion is more sensitive to good keyword SEO than any other industry, and you cannot skip this work.
- Am I ready to build curtailed branded experiences? No big growing fashion seller on Amazon is able to skip this.
- Do I have the resources to market on Amazon? You’ll need to leverage not just specialist PPC needs on the Amazon ecosphere but wider brand pages and display ads, and possibly even DSP.
- Can I give this the runway to grow and evolve? Points 5, 6 and 7 are ongoing iterative work for existing and new lines.
- Prime, FBA and delivery are ready? With IPI score limits and strict KPIs on stock velocity and rotation, you need expert-level management of stock movement, replenishment and forecasting.
Amazon is ripe for fashion growth. All trends suggest it’ll get a growing market share of fashion buyers. However, Amazon is not the easiest channel to navigate, manage, and stay on top of. The gold rush made many rich, but only those who knew their craft and where to mine. Make sure you have the right tools and experts.