How To Sell Apparel On Amazon
Selling clothes and footwear on Amazon is one of many lucrative ideas. Many people looking to monetize their online presence are now turning to this profitable niche to earn more coins. For instance, according to Scribd, almost $40 billion worth of apparel was sold on Amazon in 2020 alone.
Also, Zanguru points out that almost a third of clothing products sold in the US is through this e-Commerce giant. This is a clear indication that utilizing the platform can create a reliable flow of income.
Unfortunately, like any other category, selling apparel brands on Amazon is not as easy as most people think. One needs to learn all the secrets involved in making Amazon a good selling ground. And this starts with ungating apparel brands on Amazon.
Therefore, this article provides the ultimate guide on how to start selling clothes and footwear brands on Amazon.
Is Amazon A Good Place To Sell Clothes?
Over the past few years, more people have been shifting from brick-and-mortar store shopping to online shopping.
This was significantly influenced by the pandemic, which left many people locked in their houses. Instead of risking their lives visiting physical stores, shoppers learned how to order their basic items from the comfort of their couches, and this led to the growth of big online retailers such as Amazon.
To balance the supply side of the equation, more sellers have taken the advantage of the expanded Amazon market to supply buyers with what they want and make money.
This makes Amazon a good place to sell clothes since the platform is full of millions of buyers looking for trending apparel.
Amazon also provides security to both sellers and buyers hence; third-party sellers can make money selling apparel brands.
However, this is only possible if sellers meet the set standards before listing their products.
How Much Money Can You Make Selling Clothes on Amazon?
Being a global marketplace with millions of buyers looking for the best-fitting and fashionable clothes, selling on Amazon can earn you thousands of dollars monthly.
For instance, clothes suppliers were estimated to make about $41 billion in 2020, and the figure is likely to rise in the next years.
Also, about 44% of these sellers make between $1,000 and $25,000 monthly. This equates to between $12,000 and $300,000 annually. Still, some super-sellers make up to one million dollars from their annual sales.
From the figures above, it is undoubtedly true that Amazon is a good spot to make millions from selling clothes.
However, the amount of money you earn selling apparel depends on various factors, including:
- Your business models,
- Your initial investment capital,
- Your sourcing methods and suppliers,
- Your customer base,
- Your selling team and other in-house factors, and
- How much risk you are ready to take.
Is Selling Clothes on Amazon Profitable?
As stated earlier, Amazon has an ever-growing demand curve in every niche.
Whether you are a new seller or an advanced FBA seller, selling clothes on Amazon will never go wrong, especially if you have all the hacks at your fingertips.
All you need is to learn the market, which includes selling trendy fashions and understanding your buyers.
You should also know when to list your apparel to capture more buyers. Selling clothes on Amazon, therefore, is a profitable hustle.
According to Statista, the apparel online retail sector is expected to record a revenue of about $2.25 trillion.
That means anyone planning to sell clothes on Amazon can easily convert that into their primary source of income.
How To Sell Clothes on Amazon
If you are convinced to start selling clothes on Amazon, you are probably wondering how to get started.
Of course, the demand for clothing products through online platforms has grown significantly over the years. This is influenced by the massive ownership of smartphones and other digital gadgets.
But when it comes to Amazon selling, setting up a retail online shop can be somehow challenging.
So, the question is, how do you start selling clothes on Amazon? Building your business on this e-Commerce giant and selling clothing products demands you to fulfill certain requirements and ungate apparel brands on Amazon.
Besides maintaining a positive rating on your Seller Account, you also need to accomplish the following steps before you start selling apparel brands on Amazon.
1. Get Ungated For Clothing Brands
The first step to ungate apparel brands on Amazon is to create and grow your professional Seller Account.
As a new account owner, Amazon will walk you through the necessary steps before signing up.
After that, you will need to go through the three major selling levels before you unlock the apparel category.
These levels are beginner, intermediate, and advanced Amazon sellers. Building your selling history on Amazon is a crucial step.
That is because Amazon will evaluate your apparel brand ungating approval request based on your customer feedback, years of experience, and your source of merchandise, among other factors.
For example, before requesting to ungate apparel brands, you need to have at least a 6-month of selling experience in the same field.
Choose A Fulfillment Method
How will you send your apparel items to your customers?
Two options are available to qualified sellers:
Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
Under Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM), you need to make arrangements to fulfill sale orders and satisfy your buyers.
In this case, you handle all the tasks involved in preparing orders, packing, shipping, and handling customer issues.
Contrarily, Fulfillment by Amazon means Amazon does all the tasks for you.
This includes picking orders, packing, and shipping them to customers.
All you need is to send your apparel to Amazon’s warehouse or fulfillment centers.
3. Choose A Business Model
There are four basic models available:
Private Label | Handmade | Retail Arbitrage | Wholesale
Before choosing any business model, you need to consider its flexibility on Amazon and its costs. For instance, private label is the most used model, with more than 61% of sellers attesting to its convenience.
However, it is the most expensive as sellers need to pay over $2,500 to get started. On the other hand, handmade is one of the least costly business models, although it is also the least profitable.
4. List Your Items
List your items and optimize them accordingly for better sales. When listing your items, use high-volume keywords to get targeted traffic.
This means you need to understand your buyers and the season.
You should also use high-quality images that show sizes, wearing angles, and other vital details.
Remember, high-quality images can significantly impact your conversation rates. You can also consider branded apparel when listing your items.
Examples of Apparel and Clothing Brand Names
Under Armour | Adidas | Champion | Burberry | Marc Jacobs
What Are Amazon Restricted or Gated Categories
Amazon gated or restricted categories are those with strict selling rules that no seller is allowed to sell freely.
These categories, brands, and ASINs have specific approval guidelines, and any seller who meets the standards can enjoy a vast market with less competition.
That means Amazon only has the power to draw the rules and open gates for more sellers to access the categories.
The good news, however, is that Amazon does not always restrict the entire category, like in the previous gating practices. Instead, it gates subcategories, leaving some products open, even though they might be under gated categories.
This explains why there is a short list of gated categories and a long list of restricted products or subcategories.
Generally, any seller who wants to ungate apparel brands or any other category must apply for Amazon to let them in.
Why Does Amazon Gate Apparel Brands?
Most multi-million investments are built on trust, customer satisfaction, and a healthy working environment, and Amazon is no exception.
Being a huge marketplace with millions of users globally, Amazon strives to maintain a good relationship with apparel buyers and sellers by ensuring only high-quality clothing products are in circulation.
It achieves this by gating some categories, apparel brands, and ASINs.
Therefore, among others, here are the main reasons why Amazon gates its clothing category:
1. To Monitor Product Standards
One of the first missions of the company is to ensure buyers are offered both high-quality and safe products. It does this by allowing only sellers whose products have undergone stringent quality assessment steps to access highly-demanded categories.
Since the platform is home to millions of brands and buyers, there are high chances of buyers getting counterfeit products.
Hence, it is Amazon’s responsibility to block such products by setting up strict selling rules and allowing only those who submit their apparel brand ungating requests.
2. To Protect A Brand’s Reputation
Amazon also works jointly with big apparel brands to ensure only authorized resellers can list products. Therefore, to protect the brand’s reputation, Amazon asks sellers to provide legit documentation from these brands to show they are allowed to list their products. Resellers who do not provide proof of authorization are locked out of certain categories. In fact, many large and well-known brands require pre-approval with them directly, before even applying to Amazon. This is true for both seasoned sellers, and individuals new to the platform.
3. To Enhance Customer Satisfaction
Besides ensuring buyers can get high-quality products, Amazon also restricts some categories to prevent sellers from exploiting buyers. That means only sellers with a positive track record can access the categories and reach buyers. This enhances customer satisfaction and a positive rating. The company may also limit or dictate maximum pricing to ensure buyers are not being fleeced.
4. Adherence to FDA Regulations
Many items require the approval of the Food and Drug Administration to sell in the US marketplace. No retail platform, website, or other selling venue is permitted to offer any product that is not previously rubber-stamped by the FDA. The obvious reason for this is safety because specific laws exist to ensure that end users are not harmed. Further, items from foreign countries may not be permitted, as they do not meet standard codes from other regulatory bodies.
Categories And Products That Require Amazon Approval
As stated earlier, Amazon has a long list of gated products and a short list of restricted categories. That is because one category can have more subcategories, which can add up to tens of products. Therefore, when applying for apparel brand ungating approval, sellers need to consider three ungating levels; category, brand, and product ungating. They should also differentiate between category and product unlocking.
General Guidelines to Unlock the Apparel Category
Sign Up for A Professional Amazon Seller Account
Professional Amazon Seller Account is the backbone of any seller as it records all the activities conducted by the seller on the platform. It is through this account that Amazon can tell your business position and determine whether you meet all the quality standards or not.
Therefore, if you don’t have one, you can create a professional Seller Account which goes for around $39.99 per month.
Analyze And Verify Your Account Health
Creating a professional Seller Account is not enough to succeed in apparel brand ungating.
You still need to maintain its health to maximize your chances of getting approved. Maintaining a healthy account includes meeting your customers’ expectations and adhering to Amazon’s business code.
That means you should have a timely shipping record, good customer relations, competitive pricing, and avoid violating Amazon’s policies.
To check your account health, go to the Account Health section on the Seller Central Account and click on the Performance menu.
Check Specific Apparel Brand Ungating Guidelines
Each category has specific ungating instructions, and you need to check them before requesting approval.
Some categories are complicated, while others have simple instructions that even new sellers can unlock easily.
For example, some categories require sellers to have at least three years of selling experience and running websites.
Choose A Reputable Supplier
Getting a reliable supplier is also a vital step, especially as your demand curve grows. Amazon will also ask you to provide legitimate invoices from trusted suppliers whose products fall under gated apparel brands.
After choosing a supplier, you need to place at least three orders, with each order having at least ten pieces of the restricted product.
Retailers are not considered suppliers. You cannot go down to your local store and purchase a bunch of items for resale. The products need to come from verified wholesalers and distributors.
Be sure to do your research before sourcing and paying for any potential sales items.
Prepare Your Documents
Before submitting your apparel brand ungating approval request, you need to prepare your documents, which include recent purchase invoices from reputable wholesalers.
These scanned copies of individual invoices should have all the ASINs written next to the product name. Price and other confidential information should be locked for wholesaler privacy.
As a general note, it is usually best to send the documents in PDF format, so it can be easily seen that they have not been revised.
You may also be required to send information about your status or business trading information.
Request Apparel Brand Ungating Approval
With all the documents and other requirements ready, you can request apparel brand ungating approval using the following steps:
- Getting a Pro-Merchant Status. You can get the status at only $39 per month. It becomes easier if you already have a Professional Seller Account.
- Search for the item you want to list
- Go to the Listing Limitations Apply
- From the new menu, click on the Apply to Sale button
- Lastly, click on the Request Approval button
Guidelines To Ungate Specific Categories on Amazon
Selling on Amazon goes a long way in understanding what each category entails and how to ungate it on Amazon.
For instance, the Grocery and Gourmet Food category requires sellers to have authorization from regulatory bodies like Food and Drug Administration.
On the other hand, apparel brand ungating requires sellers to have at least 6 months of selling experience and a good online presence.
Therefore, if you intend to ungate apparel brands on Amazon, you need to consider the following best tips to maximize your chances of getting approved:
- Getting a Pro-Merchant Status. You can get the status at only $39 per month. It becomes easier if you already have a Professional Seller Account.
- Maintaining your order defect rate below 1%. Since it is challenging to tell how fast some products can go bad, it is crucial to ensure your orders move as fast as possible to minimize cases of selling defective products.
- Maintaining your pre-fulfillment cancel rate below 2.5%. A higher pre-fulfillment cancel rate can impact your account health negatively. Thus, you need to lower your order cancelation to maximize your apparel brand ungating approval chances.
- Lowering your late shipment rate to below 4%. Timely delivery is one way to get customer trust; hence, you should try as much as possible to avoid late shipment.
- Acquiring child product certificate. A Child Product Certificate is a must-have requirement if you want to sell in children’s categories such as Toys and Games. It also proves that you adhere to both local and federal product safety laws.
Final Thoughts on Ungating Apparel and Footwear on Amazon
Maximizing online selling is not an easy task, especially when dealing with one of the largest e-Commerce platforms like Amazon.
Besides creating a catchy online presence, you also need to follow all the set rules to fit into Amazon’s business code. This will allow you to unlock the apparel category on Amazon and make your business highly profitable. Being able to ungate apparel brands is indeed the first step.
Luckily, the above guide will help you overcome the challenges and make your apparel and footwear-selling business a lucrative online hustle.