Optimizing Apparel & Footwear Brands on Amazon: Blue Wheel’s Approach & Best Practices

A pair of jeans and sneakers on a yellow background

The global apparel and footwear industry encompasses many product categories, from basic and sports to luxury options. In 2022, worldwide apparel and footwear retail sales surpassed US$1.5 trillion, and are forecast to reach nearly two trillion dollars by 2027.

Certain apparel and shoe categories, such as leisure and sportswear, have seen an increase in demand in recent years. As the apparel market continues to change and adjust to customer demands, selling apparel and footwear on Amazon, combined with fashion advertising, requires a strategic approach. With numerous product categories, constantly growing competition, and a diverse customer base, Amazon presents opportunities and challenges for apparel and footwear brands.

A pink jacket, a pair of jeans, and white sneakers

At Blue Wheel, we have honed a comprehensive strategy to help apparel and footwear brands not just survive, but thrive on the Amazon platform. Our approach integrates meticulous planning, continuous content optimization, strategic advertising, proactive review management, and the strategic utilization of features and tools offered by Amazon.

Planning & Preparation for Apparel & Footwear Brands on Amazon

Whether your products belong to an apparel or footwear category, you are likely facing similar challenges and your brand’s success on Amazon begins with detailed planning and preparation. Apparel and footwear brands deal with situations where their product catalogs are too large and change often, or they are employing tactics that may work for a catalog of 50 SKUs, but not for the apparel industry as a whole. On top of that, the resources needed to manage catalogs in this space can often require an army of people, not just one or two individuals. 

When approached by apparel and shoe brands, we frequently hear that their 80/20 approach is closer to a 95/5 approach on Amazon, meaning very few SKUs drive a significant amount of their business on Amazon. They ask us how to diversify their sales into new products versus the old legacy products that have been up on Amazon for years. 

That’s why understanding product availability and profitability, combined with a competitive analysis, is crucial for clothing advertising. Segmenting the catalog into evergreen, seasonal, and discontinued products allows brands to prioritize optimization efforts effectively. For example, if you have a product that will go out of stock or style, or a product line going out of stock in six months, don’t waste resources on optimization. By the time it's ready to go live from the front end, nothing will be there to be sold. 

You should frequently be optimizing your top 20 styles for your evergreen products. Your seasonal products can be used for branded campaigns. When you use seasonal products for Sponsored Products ads, at least those customers who already know your brand or are loyal shoppers can see something different instead of just your core brand offering. By focusing on products likely to drive the highest return on investment (ROI), apparel and footwear brands can ensure maximum impact with their resources. 

Content Optimization Tactics for Apparel & Footwear Products

The clothing and footwear market is highly competitive, and with numerous brands fighting for customers’ attention, it can be challenging to achieve eCommerce success. Regarding content on Amazon, we get asked by our apparel and footwear clients about the best ways to prioritize content optimizations for hundreds of styles and colors. 

Content Optimization Tactics

The answer lies in optimizing product detail pages which is a crucial step for driving conversions. This involves crafting compelling product titles with relevant keywords, engaging bullet points, rich A+ content, and high-quality product images and videos. Correct categorization and effective use of variations can significantly enhance your brand’s visibility and discoverability. Additionally, staying vigilant of SEO best practices and monitoring the influence of third-party sellers on product visibility are essential components of effective content optimization. 

A thorough competitor analysis will help you understand which top-level category your products should be in and what your subcategories should be. Remember, it is crucial for organic search that your products belong to the right category on Amazon. 

Let's look at an example from one of our clients, NYDJ. Their Sheri jeans were sold in numerous styles, such as slim, cargo, crop, etc. Each Sheri jeans style had a different product page on Amazon. But with new colors coming out these various jeans styles were getting buried. So, we took all the Sheri styles that were going to be evergreen, and we merged them so that you could see all thumbnails in one place, as shown in the image below.

Amazon product listing before and after

With this improvement, their product reviews increased tenfold nearly overnight. However, you must be strategic when merging products, especially in apparel and footwear categories, to avoid overwhelming your customers.

Elevating Brand Experience with Amazon Store Optimization

For our apparel and footwear clients on the Amazon platform, we want to encourage shoppers to follow the store in order to capture retargeting data. Once you get followers through a post or the store, you can set up campaigns to share product recommendations. 

Ariat Brand Store

For example, with our client Ariat, if a customer bought a sweater last year, we recommend they purchase or check out their new boots. This is one of the ways to expose new product lines. However, if someone bought Ariat’s core Evergreen product, we don't want to target them with another Evergreen product. With loyal customers, we want to target them with fashion ads for seasonal products that are coming out and with new launches. 

If done well, driving traffic to the store has a higher conversion rate and AOV. You should regularly refresh your brand store and prioritize conversion-focused elements such as the "add to cart" button to drive sales on Amazon. Ensure your brand names are linked correctly and that you're organizing them. Think about what you will have in stock and then plan your store refreshes around that timeline. Amazon Brand Store optimization is important, especially if you're investing significantly into fashion advertisements with Sponsored Brands, and you shouldn’t optimize your store only once a year. Make sure that's part of your plan every quarter. 

Another tactic for your Brand Store is to mimic everything you do on social media with your Amazon posts. Test different imagery and texts at the bottom. Some of Blue Wheel’s clients offer coupons, allowing us to test new bundles and packs. 

By measuring success using key performance indicators such as store sales and conversion rates, you will gain valuable insights into performance that you can use for future optimization efforts.

Maximizing Visibility and ROI with an Amazon Advertising Strategy

An effective advertising strategy is critical for driving traffic and sales on Amazon. This involves updating campaigns seasonally, using relevant keywords, and leveraging branded terms to promote new product launches. Accurate keyword targeting and product visibility are essential for any apparel and footwear brand’s success in Amazon advertising. For example, if you sell black pants, make sure to bid on the keyword serving black pants from the front end.

We often see that if a customer searches for black pants on Amazon, a brand shows them white pants. Sometimes little things like this one go overlooked because the catalogs are so large. Make it a priority to refresh content consistently, looking at your keywords and watching for SEO trends to help you set up ad groups and campaigns, and update your creative assets. Also, use branded terms as an opportunity to promote new product launches and explore Sponsor Display campaigns for retargeting and brand awareness. 

Building Credibility and Trust with Customer Reviews on Amazon

Maintaining a healthy review rate is essential for building credibility and trust with potential customers. Utilizing tools like FeedbackWiz to automate post-purchase review requests can help achieve this goal. Pay attention to adhering to Amazon's terms of service regarding reviews as it is crucial to avoid penalties and maintain a positive brand reputation.

Leveraging Amazon Features and Tools

Exploring Amazon features like Local Selling and Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) can expand fulfillment options and enhance the customer experience. Local selling allows sellers to set up one to two-day delivery options by region, while BOPIS lets shoppers purchase products online and pick them up at a physical store. Stay updated on Amazon's latest offerings and experiment with new tools to remain ahead of the competition and drive sustainable growth.

Final Thoughts 

Regularly updating product pages, Brand Stores, and ad assets ensures that brands stay relevant and competitive on the Amazon platform. Explore alternative shipping methods and adapt to changing market conditions to drive sustainable brand growth and maintain a competitive edge in Amazon’s apparel and footwear categories.

In conclusion, mastering apparel and footwear sales on Amazon requires a holistic approach that integrates careful planning, regular content optimization, effective fashion and clothing advertising, review management, and the strategic utilization of various features and tools. 

By following Blue Wheel's proven strategies and best practices, brands can maximize their presence on Amazon and achieve the desired results. Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand thrive on the eCommerce giant’s platform.

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