What began as an attempt to drum up sales in retail’s slowest month has become its most anticipated summer sale: Amazon’s Prime Day.
In 2015, in celebration of 20 years of Amazon, the very first Prime Day generated $900 million dollars in sales. Not too shabby, right? Well, it’s only grown exponentially larger since, with the last few years being wildly successful: in 2019, Prime Day saw $7.16 billion dollars in sales, followed by $10 billion in 2020, $11.19 billion in 2021, and $12.09 billion in 2022.
Just to compare, a regular annual sales year for a major US retailer like JC Penney is $7.9 billion - for the entire year. The amount of revenue generated in two short days in the middle of July is straight-up insane, and if you’re thinking about how to grab your slice of the pie, you’re on our wavelength!
Brett Curry of eCommerce Evolution recently sat down with two other members of OMG Commerce, Rachel Cowden and Jonathan Finkes, to discuss some ways to take advantage of Prime Day’s 48 wondrous hours of Lightning Deals, coupons, and the ultimate urgency-based promos that make the whole thing a wild and crazy shopping frenzy.
Tl;DR… They teach you how to make money on Amazon.
However, it’s not uncommon for things to go a little wonky when it comes to things breaking, getting your product delisted by Amazon, or letting your ad spend go wild without proper optimization.
Here we’ll discuss some fantastic insights about how to maximize your sales on Prime Day, in addition to getting you ready for the days that immediately follow the event. The best part? The same tactics can help prepare you for the next quarter you might be thinking about (yep, Holidays 2023 are already breathing down our throats).
In the USA, the 2022 Prime Day Event saw 300 million items purchased over 48 hours, which equates to 60,000 items per minute.
The busiest shopping time was from 8-9pm on July 13th, and there was a large variety in the types of items purchased. For the most part, customers were looking for those sweet deals or discounts on things they needed versus splurging on high-end items. Ecommerce in general was slowing down a bit at the end of 2022, with inflation kicking in, and the everyday staples we all needed were in high demand over luxury products.
For example, a popular Lightning Deal last year saw Amazon offering a 36% discount on diapers.
Plenty of consumers will be looking for similar or better deals on items they need rather than want, as inflation is still hurting our pocketbooks. It’s totally worth it for your brand to be there when they’re searching.
You can use Prime Day to your advantage to boost sales in the short term while also taking the learnings from this mega sales event and applying it to your business strategy as a whole.
We’ll take a look at how to optimize your listings, pricing strategies, overall ad strategies, and how you can use the post-Prime Day traffic to snag the customers that needed a little more time to convert.
If you’re reading this with a little time before Prime Day 2023 rolls around, keep in mind that small changes can have a big impact! Depending on your company’s position, you either want to take Prime Day as an opportunity for aggressive growth over a steady climb. Or, if you’re more likely in the stable growth pocket, just take the bump in sales from Prime Day as a bonus and don’t try to run ads that won’t benefit you in the long run.
Rachel’s rule this close to the big event is: don’t change too much. You might not have enough time to get into the nitty gritty of brand new ad strategies, but you certainly can make improvements to your Amazon Storefront. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, and don’t try to make big changes as they can take some time to approve on Amazon’s end (sometimes up to 7 days). You can use a free tool like Helium10’s Amazon PPC Audit Tool to see what little things can be approved on the listing itself.
Another spot to optimize is within the Amazon A+ Content section for your product listings. What’s Amazon A+ Content, you ask? It’s a tool inside Amazon Seller Central that allows you to create product descriptions that lead with compelling visuals over blocks of text, and a premium feature available for all brands and third party sellers. A brand that uses Amazon A+ Content is immediately heads and shoulders above a seller that doesn’t utilize it. A product description that features stunning visuals and a logical presentation of product features is going to do better than a boring block of text, so make use of this tool if you’ve got product descriptions that need a little tszuj.
Right above the A+ Content lies the brand specific content you can create to tell your brand story. It’s really easy, and really quick, to set up a slider that has a text box, picture, or grid of products. With some lifestyle images, you can highlight your best selling products and your brand values to potential customers. A video in the product listing is beneficial because it helps the customer better understand the product, and at the same time, the video can be shown on a competitor’s listing! Any content that leads a customer back to your listing is a win.
Another quick thing to do before Prime Day is set up a dynamic deals page on your Amazon Storefront. This is an easy one, since if the product is on sale, it will show up on the page. You can use this link later as well to get people onto the deal page. But, ultimately, performance might just come down to whether or not the customer is getting a deal.
The first rule about Amazon is: always be the cheapest.
Amazon is customer-centric, meaning they want the customer to get the best possible experience. And, when you’re in the business of selling, a customer who gets a great deal is a happy customer that keeps coming back for more.
I mean, look at us - we pay money for the privilege of being able to buy things on Amazon that arrive immediately. Having a Prime membership means we’re part of a club: the great deal, fast-and-free-shipping club. Customers just want to buy cool things. As a seller, your goal is to balance what the customer wants while maintaining a sustainable profit margin.
Some things sellers do to try to have a deal appear on Amazon is increase their reference price on Amazon and then put it on sale for its actual regular price. If you do this, and your product appears cheaper outside of Amazon, Amazon doesn’t like this. Remember, Amazon always wants to be cheapest. So find the optimal price for your product that keeps your profit margin where it needs to be for your business to be successful. It never makes sense to lose money on sales (unless you’ve got a strategic follow-up planned to recover that loss in future marketing).
Also keep in mind that adjusting your product’s price might impact conversion rate. For example, if you lower your price, you’ll likely see an improved conversion rate, which leads to lower overall ad cost since you’re getting conversions in less clicks. On the other hand, increasing the price could mean a decreased conversion rate, which means ROAS would go down. Whichever direction you take will make you more or less competitive.
So your products are ready to go, pricing is set, and it’s time to promote your deal! There are plenty of different strategies for running ads during the Prime Day event, and the route you take depends on the growth stage of your business as a whole. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are a few things to consider that we’ll go over here.
Typical Bid/Budget: If you’re selling on Amazon, you should have a typical bid/budget rate for specific keywords that individuals will search for. During Prime Day, how much is your bid/budget set to increase? If you’re not running any deals, you’ll still want to increase it by 1-2x. Amazon sees a ton of increased traffic during the event, so taking advantage of extra people searching is still a smart strategy. If you are running deals, you should increase your bid/budget by 2-6x. The cost-per-click (CPC) rate doesn’t increase too drastically on an account-wide basis, but this also depends on whether your products sit in a super competitive category.
Bid Strategies for Placement Modifiers: How you choose to adjust these for Prime Day again depends on your position. If you’re in the stable bucket, don’t make any big changes here. If you’re trying to be aggressive, increase your spend in the Top of Search modifier to see big gains! That’s where the bulk of newer brand sales are coming through.
Once everything is set and running, make sure you have your Amazon storefront connected to your Triple Whale account - learn how to set that up here!
Rachel’s number one tip when it comes to deals on Prime Day is to watch for deal stacking.
It’s possible a few months ago you set up a promotion on an item, then you mark something down 25% for Prime Day, and then a customer is cashing in on a coupon for 25% off they had in their back pocket.
A customer might make out like a bandit, but this type of discount can really eat away at your profitability margins.
Besides it being bad for your bottom line, significantly discounting a product erodes the brand value. Make sure you go into your dashboard well-ahead of Prime Day to see which promos are still running and which you may need to end in order not to severely discount your product.
When it comes to ads, if you’re running promotions, make sure the competitive edge is pushing on the targeting against competitors. There’s a tight group bidding for Top of Search product placement, so be aware of where your deal is showing up. The best thing to do is bid to show up in the whole category so that your deal is showcased to as many people as possible.
No matter which ad strategy you go for, make sure you’re diligently watching your ad performance. This is definitely not a set it and forget it kind of process. This is the type of shopping frenzy where every hour of Prime Day is equivalent to a week of normal business! Be prepared for a few changes to how things run on Amazon during Prime Day, including things costing more. Want to run a Lightning Deal on Prime Day? It will cost you $300-500 instead of the usual $150.
Amazon can suppress promotions if the reference price isn’t listed properly, so if you’re running a promo, ensure your reference price is available. This is also an excellent motivator for customers, as having that strikethrough value showing the regular price really displays the value of the deal.
A higher number of shoppers = more customers buying and interacting with your brand. Make sure your customer service team is ready for increased inquiries and returns. Monitor your NCX (Negative Customer Experience) dashboard and proactively address issues that pop up before they become a factor! You should aim to respond to all inquiries within 245 hours as Amazon requires to keep the customers happy.
Finally, make sure if you’re running promotions that you actually have enough inventory to support the sale. Seems like a no-brainer, but trust us… check it.
Phew, we made it through another Prime Day. But guess what, the work never ends.
The day after Prime Day (normally a Thursday) is when you should go in and ensure your aggressive parameters are turned down - not entirely all the way off, as we’re expecting higher traffic than normal in the days directly following the Prime Day event. There will still be shoppers who visited and maybe didn’t seal the deal on a purchase. It’s a great time to push forward with some remarketing attempts to get that sale. For people who did purchase from you, there’s an opportunity to push some other products in your catalog that they might like.
Even offering a small 5% off or $1 off coupon around two weeks following Prime Day really can help capture residual traffic from people who wish they’d bought and lost out on a deal. Chances are if they were viewing the product, they’re interested and will take a little deal if presented! Maybe when evaluating your sales you had one product that really performed well - focus your remarketing on this item for success!
Using Triple Whale’s Smart Customer Data Platform (SCDP), you can create a segment audience of customers who bought or viewed your products on Amazon, push that audience to Facebook, and retarget customers through some clever ads to get them back to your Amazon storefront.
We’ve reviewed some ways you can optimize your listings, set up your product pricing strategy, discussed the best way to tackle ad strategy, and discussed some ways you can keep the momentum going post-Prime Day. Hopefully, you’re ready to take advantage of these tactics to take your marketing for Amazon Prime Day to the next level! Best of luck - we’ll be shopping. ;)
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