Should Your Brand Sell on Amazon?

Should your brand be sold on Amazon? In a recent interview with Internet Retailer, I talked about why there weren’t more fashion brands on Amazon. Amazon has actually launched a handmade section, and they have the help of former creative director, Julie Gilhart, from Barney’s, to help them revamp their fashion section.

However, what is going on with Amazon and should you be a part of this? Recently, LVMH announced that they were not going to be participating in any type of Amazon.com program; other fashion designers have declined opportunities to sell there. It may be that there is a brand misconception, in part because Amazon hasn’t done well at cultivating the higher end luxury market. The reason is they’re really a commodities-driven platform. So for some brands, being on the Amazon platform could be very useful. It gives access to millions of customers, and it leverages the power of their backend fulfillment system. With the review process, by tagging suggested products, products can go viral and make a lot of money through Amazon, but the products aren’t necessarily the brands you’d think.

When you think about fashion brands, you think about the necessity for the consumer to be romanticized by a website. The consumer needs to see the right pictures, to read the right product copy, and to experience the necessity of having the right aesthetics, even with how the font is laid out. The consumer conversation is so driven by an emotional process, that in order to sell a $500, $1,200, or $2,000 product, you need to have a high perceived value. It’s very important to be choosy about who is going to be selling those products. If you do decide to give Amazon a chance, follow these few steps.

  1. Make sure that you are very clear about your product images and your photography. Keep in mind that the images tell the story.
  2. Keep in mind that Amazon is basically like any other search engine. You’ve got to be very clear and conscientious about how you write your product copy.
  3. You can get reviews by seeding the market with free product. There are a lot of resources online to maximize getting free reviews, and how to do that in a very ethical way, while making sure that you get lots of great positive recurring reviews.
  4. Selling on Amazon makes other retailers unhappy; Amazon undermines the competition through margins and sales. Will you be comfortable with your brand sitting next to other brands on Amazon? If you are, keep in mind that as you grow your business, and you plan to be sold on Shopbop, Net-a-Porter, or some of the better boutiques, you may not want to have Amazon be on your distribution list. However, if your goal is to grow big, to get lots of volume, and to get a lot of people to buy your product, and it’s not very trend-driven, like a leggings or a basic business where it’s very commodities-driven, then Amazon could be an amazing platform.

Think about your long-term business goals, and your vision for the future. Where do you want your brand to be in 5 or 10 years? What does the ideal assortment look like? Is Amazon really the best channel for you, based on that?

As always, you can reach us at hello@scalingretail.com.

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