Clothing is a competitive niche, but it can be very lucrative—apparel and footwear sales for Amazon sellers in the U.S. grew by an estimated 15% in 2020 to more than $41 billion, making Amazon the number one choice for customers who turn to online resources for clothing.
Whether you’re already established in the fashion industry, or new to ecommerce and ready to build your digital boutique from the ground up, here are some considerations for selling clothes online and running an online clothing business—including some common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
We’ll also explore tactics and tools you can use to sell clothes in the Amazon store, grow sales, and turn your eye for fashion into a profitable venture.
How to start an online clothing business
1. Decide what type of clothing you want to sell
Basic staples, bridal dresses, Halloween costumes—you can go many directions within clothing as a product category. Consider your audience, then do some product research by exploring the Best Sellers list to see what’s selling. The Movers & Shakers list is another resource for identifying breakaway items and top trends in the fast-paced fashion industry.
Your business model might depend on how you’ll source clothing to sell. Some options include:
Creating clothing by hand (check out Amazon Handmade, an online community of artisans from around the globe)
Working with a manufacturer to design items and produce them in high volumes
Developing your own clothing label
Each approach can have pros and cons. For example, you might have the skills to produce stunning embroidered creations, but could be limited in terms of how many pieces you can create, and struggle to scale. Likewise, building a brand can require significant time and investment, but it can pay off eventually in customer loyalty. If you’d like to go the brand route, consider enrolling in Brand Registry to unlock Amazon tools and features for safeguarding your label and driving conversions.
Get assistance with the process with IP Accelerator
If you’d like to file a trademark, the IP Accelerator program can help with registering intellectual property rights and give you access to Brand Registry benefits.
2. Create an online store and list clothes for sale
To develop a presence online, you might want to build your own online clothing store, reach audiences through social media, or set up shop on an established selling website like Amazon. You can also use a combination of online selling channels like these.
A digital storefront is your opportunity to convey your brand and highlight what makes your business unique. To connect with hundreds of millions of Amazon customers, use the Amazon Stores builder to create a multi-page, branded shopping experience using drag-and-drop tiles—no coding or design experience required.
When you’re ready to start listing products, keep the following tips for listing clothing in mind:
Share different color, print, and size options for a single product by attaching multiple child ASINs to a parent ASIN.
Use A+ Content to include sizing charts, your brand info, and other materials to enhance the product page.
Bullet points, relevant keywords, product titles, and other elements of the product page can work together to help shoppers make informed decisions as they choose articles of clothing—and help decrease the chance of returns.
3. Price clothes competitively
How do you set prices to sell clothes online? One way is to evaluate the prices of similar products. For example, you can explore your categories of interest in Amazon search, drill down to items comparable to the ones you want to sell, and analyze competitor prices. Keep your intended audience top of mind in the process, and try these other tips for setting the right selling price when selling online.
Use an automatic pricing tool
With ecommerce, you have the opportunity to leverage automated solutions like Amazon’s pricing tool. Adjust prices quickly and automatically for select SKUs or your whole catalog based on demand.
To calculate your margins, take expenses into account, such as the cost of procuring goods, and fees for storage and shipping. You might also need to factor in the cost of providing customer service, including processing returns—apparel is the most commonly returned online retail product, accounting for 75% of all returns. Restocking items and taking care of clothing that gets lost or damaged in transit can also eat into your bottom line.
What if you set the right prices, but the clothes still aren’t selling? Special deals and promotions can help you move inventory, such as holding seasonal sales, offering coupons, and using other digital advertising options.
4. Set up processes for fulfillment of clothing orders
As clothing travels from the place where they originate, to the space where you store them, to the customer’s doorstep, items can easily get torn or damaged. So be sure to think through the fulfillment process from beginning to end.
If you want to sell clothes online from home, a spare room or a garage might cover your storage needs. As you process orders, pack clothing with care using appropriate materials to minimize exposure to dirt, liquids, and other hazards.
As you scale, you might want to outsource tasks to a fulfillment solution like Fulfillment by Amazon. FBA can even handle customer service and returns on your behalf, and enrolling in the program can allow you to incentivize customers with fast, free shipping through Prime.
5. Market clothes online
Drive traffic to your clothing brand by marketing across different online sales channels. Here are some ideas:
Collaborate with social media influencers to generate interest in your brand.
Leverage content marketing (such as blog posts and email campaigns) to engage with loyal customers.
The right ecommerce solution for running an online clothing business can allow you to track sales, monitor product performance, and build relationships with customers. You can do all this and more with an Amazon storefront and even use the Amazon Seller app to manage details on the go.
You can create your own direct-to-consumer website, sell on social media channels, create a storefront on an established selling website like Amazon, or use a combination of online selling channels. Consider your goals, then do some customer research to figure out where your audience likes to shop. Learn more in this ecommerce business guide.
What’s the best place to sell clothes online?
The right online sales channel for you will depend on what clothes you want to sell, your goals, and your intended audience. In terms of reaching customers online, Amazon is the number one apparel retailer in the U.S. with an estimated $41 billion in clothing and footwear sales in 2020. For more perspective, in 2021, Amazon sellers in the U.S. averaged about $200,000 in sales per seller. If you want to reach hundreds of millions of Amazon customers, get started with an Amazon selling account.
What’s the best app to sell clothes?
There are many apps and software solutions that can help you sell clothing online, including the Amazon Seller app, which is designed to help you list clothes, manage sales, keep on top of customer communications, and more, all from the palm of your hand.
How do I price clothes to sell online?
You can set pricing for clothing by conducting customer research, analyzing competitor prices, and using automated pricing tools. Calculate your margins by taking into account costs like shipping fees, processing returns, restocking items, and your advertising budget to determine overhead for your business and monitor your bottom line.
Decide on a business model. Will you handcraft bespoke items, coordinate with a manufacturer, or source clothes another way?
Consider fulfillment. If you want to start an online clothing business from home, you might handle storage, packing, and shipping in-house, or outsource fulfillment to a service like Fulfillment by Amazon as you scale.
Do competitor research to get product ideas and develop a pricing strategy.
Pick your online selling channels, such as your own selling website or social media presence. You can also create an Amazon storefront either as your primary sales channel or to complement other sales methods.
Boost sales by optimizing product listings to rank in search, and create a marketing plan.