Each year Prime Day keeps it fresh with unique offers, extended hours, and exciting events. But Prime Day 2020 will leave us guessing more than ever. In the past, Prime Day has been the pinnacle event of self-serving consumerism. Unaligned with seasonal gift-giving, it's all about fulfilling personal "wants" at fantastic prices.
In light of recent events, will this year have a different tone? Will Amazon integrate causal and community-support focused initiatives? Instead of concerts, could we see a giant donation? From a brand perspective, this opens up an opportunity. What will drive shoppers to click "add to cart" and make them feel like they have contributed beyond buying a new Instapot?
Much of the event has yet to be confirmed, including the date. In a message to sellers at the end of April, Amazon provided a little more insight into what sellers can expect for Prime Day 2020. Amazon plans on providing a wide range of marketing on-site and off-site to drive customers and sales.
With April 30th's update they still have not announced the date of Prime Day however, they expect "it will take place within a similar time frame as years past". Read into that what you will. In that same message, Amazon said the date will be announced as we get closer to the event.
The tentative date is now August, allowing for some distance from the COVID-19 impact, which in turn adds a new dynamic of connectivity to the Back-to-School season. This alignment to a peak retail season could amplify or cannibalize Prime Day sales, or a mixture of the two depending on the category.
When it comes to Back-to-School, Families focus on specific categories and set budgets based on mandatory school lists. Brands must consider this mindset in how they stand-out and what items they feel are most relevant for Amazon as well as other retailer channels. There are no sure bets when it comes to Prime Day, especially this year. However, there are ways to organize, evaluate, and test around the event to get clarity on the potential opportunity.
In this blog, we'll show you how to:
- Evaluate what products will perform best.
- Promote your Prime Day deals.
- Plan ahead for inventory.
- Optimize Amazon listings.
- Create a Prime Day marketing plan.
- Drive off-platform awareness.
In a hurry? We turned this blog into a downloadable guide so you can come back to it later!
Step One: Evaluate Prime Day Participation
Before kicking off a Prime Day game plan, assess the overall business opportunity, and confirm that your product is eligible for official Prime Day activations.
1. Is your product Prime-eligible?
Because the event is exclusive to Prime members, all participating products must be Prime-eligible. To be eligible, you must have two-day shipping either fulfilled by Amazon or seller-fulfilled).
2. Have you selected products that will perform?
In 2019, Prime Day sales exceeded Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Select an item that has adequate inventory to support the event. You will also want to identify a product with strong historical sales or one that is innovative or seasonally-relevant.
After you've selected your item, run an ROI analysis based on the tactics you are exploring to evaluate margin and inventory viability. Testing ahead of the event is recommended.
Do not use Prime Day as a liquidation tactic for unsuccessful products as the investment can be significant. Pick a winner!
3. Are you eligible for Lightning Deals? If not, that's okay; there are other ways to play!
Prime Day Lightning Deals are the main attraction for the event. Amazon awards Lightning Deals to select products based on sales and inventory thresholds. Thankfully, there are alternative discount strategies brands can explore to take part in Prime Day excitement.
Step Two: Understand the Deals
There is a mix of different ways to play within Prime Day from a deal perspective.
Prime Day Lightning Deals
Lightning Deals are flash sales where Amazon features an item for several hours on their Deals page. Sellers can find out whether an item is eligible for Lightning Deals in Amazon's Sellers Central. Amazon recently extended the deadline from May 8 to June 5 for submissions.
To be eligible Sellers must have:
- Professional seller account
- 5+ Seller Feedback ratings per month
- Overall Feedback rating 3.5+ stars
- 3+ star customer review rating
To be eligible Vendors must have:
- 3+ star customer review rating
- Retail offer must be active
- Product(s) must meet projected customer demand thresholds
- The discount must be the lowest price as of 1/1/2020
- The discounted price is off of the lowest site price in the past 30 days
- Must align on a per-unit funding arrangement with Amazon on Lightning Deals (which can be set to apply up to a specific volume, e.g. 200 units).
Lightning Deals carry a merchandising fee of $500 per product. A great way to validate whether Lightning Deals are a fit and to appropriately plan around the event is to run Lightning Deal tests in advance.
Amazon coupons are an easily accessible way to take part in the event and provide high visibility across the platform. Creating a strong presence of a deal to bargain-hunting shoppers.
Amazon Deal of the Day
Amazon Deal of the Day is available to Vendors only. They are similar to Lightning Deals; however, they run for a full 24 hours and have highly sought-after placement on Amazon Deals page.
Discount Houses (Off-Platform)
Off-platform discount houses provide Sellers and Vendors alike with a way to offer exciting discounts with no limitations on thresholds. These offers are consolidated on discount sites and drive shoppers to Amazon for redemption.
While these discount houses allow more flexibility in how you set up your offer, they do not integrate with Amazon's marketing. Potential exposure is not as vast as the Amazon landscape, so ask questions about audience size, conversion rates, and media support when looking for a partner.
Provide Value with Bundles
As an alternative to discounting, bundles can provide a unique lever to generate excitement around value while delivering on profit. By bundling a hot product with a less popular one, customers may feel like they're getting a significantly better deal even though they're spending more money. Ensure you quantify the value of the bundle within the listing.
Step Three: Plan Inventory for Prime Day
Prime Day breaks sales records every year, so the increase in traffic, sales, and exposure could be a big deal for your business.
According to a report by Profitero, brands still plan to invest big on Prime Day, when/if it happens. Only 10% of brands participating in Prime Day said they wouldn't spend the same amount or more this year compared to last year. In the same report, half of the respondents said they are increasing their Prime Day budgets.
So much can be impacted when you ship a product to FBA in light of COVID-19. Brands need to prepare for delays. Also, be aware that you could see increased sales for a few weeks after Prime Day ends. Plan for the best-case scenario and make sure you have enough inventory so that you don't sell out during or after Prime Day.
All FBA inventory for Prime Day Deals must be received at an Amazon Fulfillment Center by July 2nd. Provide yourself some wiggle room to make that deadline. Any inventory that isn’t received by this date is not guaranteed to be scanned in by Prime Day 2020.
Step Four: Optimize Amazon Listings
Look at your best listings and do an audit to make sure they shine. Of course, make your top-performing products your priority.
Check if your titles, bullets, images, and descriptions are up-to-date. Make sure your product is in the right category for maximum exposure when shoppers are searching for deals.
You have three main factors that help achieve that first click:
- Your title
- Your main product image
- Your price (and any visible coupons/promo)
Your listing needs to take advantage of compelling visual content like Amazon Brand Stores, A+ Content, and Enhanced Brand Content.
If you are looking to optimize your listing using A+ content, keep in mind that the approval process of Brand Registry and the time to create that content can take longer. You will want that ready before Prime Day gets here.
SEO is critical in a great listing. Research keywords to determine what searches are driving traffic to your competitors' listings. Use keywords that are the right balance between high volume, low competition, and high relevance to your brand. Consider the value that SEO brings to your complete listing copy and not just the title.
Step Five: Create a Prime Day Marketing Strategy
The right marketing support can be a game-changer for your business. However, allocating funds and setting up the right campaigns takes research and the right tools to ensure it pays out.
Sponsored Product campaigns are a wonderful tool to help drive brand awareness and get your brand in front of a wide audience. Before Prime Day, you will want to know how to get the most bang for your buck ahead of time. If you have used Sponsored Products, then you can use the learnings you have developed over time.
If you haven't used Sponsored Products before, you will need to focus on key areas. With the increase in traffic because of COVID-19, use the data you have accumulated to set up a winning Sponsored Product campaign. Look for what consumers are searching for during these unique times.
Before you begin running a Sponsored Product campaign, take the time to evaluate which products in your portfolio have the potential to respond best to this campaign. Conduct SEO research on your items and compare PPC rates. Consider what products are worthy of your time and money.
Doing a little spring cleaning on your PPC campaigns is just as important as optimizing your product listing. Your campaigns need to be as efficient as possible. Research better keywords, or add keywords without impressions that you need to activate on your listing.
Brand Registry can help funnel shoppers to a brand-specific environment. You can take advantage of this method by designing a Prime Day landing page and tailoring your brand store to showcase any of your Prime Day deals. You can easily share your brand store in your other campaigns via social media and email.
Some key considerations for your Prime Day landing page in 2020:
- Do not use this to try building brand awareness.
- If your brand has a cause it supports, be sure to leverage that and provide exceptional brand storytelling. Take the opportunity to talk about how you are helping with the current pandemic.
- Remember, Prime Day is shifting from the summer lull to the peak back-to-school season.
- Direct your advertising efforts to your products with Prime Day offers.
- Once campaigns run out of money, your ads will disappear, so make sure you are keeping enough cash to stay visible.
Step Six: Grow Off-Platform Awareness
When prioritizing your advertising budget for Prime Day, the focus should be on Amazon PPC campaigns. If you still have room in your budget, additional tactics driving awareness off-platform are a great way to maximize visibility during a highly competitive event. Off-platform tactics also provide more bandwidth to tell a story and engage in a meaningful way.
Consider leveraging relevant social influencers and channels to drive hype around deals, calling out Prime Day timing, and integrating direct links to your products on Amazon. Social is also a great forum to integrate any seasonally-relevant solutions, content, or causal initiatives.
Existing brand sites and CRM databases already have a loyal audience. You can provide updates on Amazon deals through these channels, whether it's a banner that drives to Amazon or countdown email blasts on upcoming Prime Day offers.
Explore your existing national brand channels to discover ways to integrate Prime Day engagements and maximize your reach.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, brands have dealt with everchanging supply and demand. Embrace Prime Day 2020 for the unique opportunity that it presents. Let the brand do its part with any causal relationships or community-support focused initiatives. It will be crucial for brands to leverage Prime Day traffic for the greater good.
Here's a quick recap on the actions you can take for a successful Prime Day:
- FBA receiving is likely to slow down as we get closer to Prime Day. Avoid as many headaches as you can, and get your inventory sorted out in advance.
- Use Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand campaigns to drive as much traffic as possible to your discounted products and deals. Use Amazon advertising as a tool to drive conversions.
- Optimize your listings and do a listings audit. Make sure you are using the language that your shoppers are using to win.
With no official statement from Amazon just yet, it doesn't hurt to be optimistic and prepare for the best with the pseudo-holiday still happening in August. Now is also the time to begin formulating a plan for tackling Prime Day if it gets pushed back once again or even canceled.
Traditionally, Prime Day has been a big day for sellers and consumers. We don't see that changing. This year will be different from previous years. Don't be afraid to experiment and learn.
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