Amazon Prime Day has become ingrained into the e-commerce calendar as the go-to summer shopping event since it began in 2015. Last year saw consumers from 18 countries flock to the site during the 48-hour sale period in July, resulting in 175 million items flying off Amazon’s metaphorical shelves.
Traditionally, brands have welcomed the day as a chance to shift stock during a summer lull in sales, with consumers on the hunt for seasonal and back-to school goods. But this year will be distinctly different.
Amazon has delayed the event, now predicted to go ahead in October. Whilst it should still be seen an attractive opportunity for brands to boost their sales, visibility and credibility on Amazon, the change in date presents many additional complexities which companies must be prepped to negotiate.
Prime Day should not be seen as a stand-alone event this year, but as part of the whole final quarter of sales due to the proximity of Prime Day to Black Friday, the Christmas rush and January sales. Brands must act now to ensure they have smooth supply chains and enough stock to last the whole of the final quarter, especially for their hero lines.
What’s more, Amazon has made two announcements recently that will force sellers to put even more thought towards stock. The first, that sellers will be restricted to stocking three months’ worth of inventory at Amazon fulfilment centres, will present challenges for Prime Day, set to take place in less than three months’ time.
Brands must plan now what products to stock for Prime Day, researching and predicting what will be popular in October as opposed to the usual July date. The risk involved with the change in seasons, forcing brands to reduce a different selection of products to suit the time of year, and the fact that inventory will be due at Amazon fulfilment centres earlier than what’s feasible for many means that brands may not be able to offer the breadth or depth of deals they usually would.
Amazon’s second announcement, that UK sellers will no longer be able to transfer inventory to the EU after Brexit, will have a significant impact on sellers located on both sides of the border. The change is set to take place in January, so Amazon retailers must start prepping logistics and splitting inventories now to avoid being caught up during the peak sales period in the lead up to Christmas.
But with all this extra consideration going into stock, it is imperative that brands have the correct Amazon strategy to start boosting their visibility now or the stock won’t be shifted come Prime Day.
Deals are great, but if no one sees them what’s the point?
A whopping 70% of consumers never scroll past the first page of results, so the goal for brands in the lead up to Prime Day is to master Amazon SEO. Amazon wants to provide consumers with the products they are looking to buy, and prioritise products that sell, so brands must have a deep understanding of how to optimise products for maximum relevancy and sales.
Sellers must first of all ensure that products are retail ready. This hinges on having available stock and high-quality images to attract consumers, and project a positive brand image right from initial impressions.
Concise and insightful keywords also play a role in first impressions, and affect whether a product will be seen. In the lead up to the sale-saturated period at the end of the year, companies should consider bidding on carefully chosen branded, non-branded or competitor keywords to increase brand awareness, reach a wider pool of consumers and prevent competitor interruption. Brands can use Amazon’s search term report to understand what consumers are searching for on the site to inform their keyword decisions.
We recently worked with SodaStream to launch a Sponsored Brand campaign, targeting generic keywords to reach new-to-brand customers. The result was a 94% increase in new-to brand orders. Launching a similar campaign close to Prime Day may result in a boost in sales and consequently visibility on the platform leading into the Christmas sales period.
Whilst there may be concerns that increasing ad spend coupled with decreased product prices could be financially damaging, Prime Day should also be seen as an opportunity to boost future sales by picking up positive product reviews.
Reviews can make or break a product. 72% of Amazon customers won’t consider buying a product until they’ve read reviews, and 22% of purchase decisions are directly linked to the number of reviews. Excellent ratings create consumer trust, generate sales and are rewarded by Amazon with a higher search result ranking.
Consequently, positive consumer response on Prime Day will give brands a head start come Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and further success in these sales events will give a boost into the Christmas period and beyond.
To supplement simply listing products, brands can enrol in Amazon’s Brand Registry to unlock tools such as counterfeit detection, and Amazon store pages through which the personality of a brand can shine through, helping to build a loyal returning customer base. Brands with larger budgets could also consider Amazon’s display advertising, which allows brands to run their own media campaign with high visibility and engage shoppers on and off site.
There’s no one-size fits all approach to Amazon strategy, but discovering what works for your brand in the run-up to Prime Day will help boost sales when the day arrives, and set your brand up for an upwards spiral of success in the sales-saturated final quarter of the year.
Companies who fail to prepare may not resurface after being hit by wave after wave of sales events. But those who put in the work now will not only survive the coming months, but also be able to hijack each big sales event to their advantage, boosting sales and visibility on Amazon, and emerge with healthy profits and a dominant Amazon presence in 2021.