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Prepping for Prime Day

16 Sep 2020 Rina Yashayeva
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in Amazon, Trending

Amazon’s star event looks a little different this year. As VP of Marketplace Strategy at Stella Rising, managing this major Amazon opportunity for our clients is a significant part of my role. As a follow-up to my recent StellaVision episode, here is my take on what Prime Day will look like during this unprecedented year, and how to best prepare.

PAST PRIME DAYS

Even during a year when so much has changed, historical context is important and can still inform current planning. Prime Day started as a one-day event in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary and drive sales mid-year. The event has increased in length and sales every year since; in 2017, Prime Day lasted 30 hours and by 2019 had become a full two-day event. Each Prime Day has consistently surpassed the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales of the year prior—a bold achievement. In 2020 there is a first, however: Prime Day did not happen on time, in July, as Amazon postponed so as to prioritize essential items in its fulfillment centers. Amazon has not officially announced the new 2020 date, though reputable sources have confirmed October 13th, starting the holiday shopping season early. (Note dated 9/28/20: Prime Day is confirmed for October 13/14)

Timeline

Key highlights from Prime Day 2019, the largest shopping event in Amazon history:

  • Over 1M deals exclusively for Prime members
  • Members in 18 countries shopped—double the amount in 2015
  • Globally, small and medium-sized businesses far exceeded $2B in sales last year
  • Top ASINs included:
    • Echo Dot
    • Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice
    • LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
    • Instant Pot DUO60
    • 23andMe Health and Ancestry kits

 

PRIME DAY SCHEDULE

Amazon uses a three-step approach for Prime Day, including lead-up and lead-out stages. The lead up to Prime Day essentially begins now. This is the time for brands to prepare their pages for success, a process known as retail readiness, and to build awareness for their brand by driving traffic to their ASINs. Now is also the time to promote product awareness by focusing on content and solidifying strong search advertising campaigns.

The second phase is Prime Day itself, the 24-48 hours during which Amazon will heavily push featured deals and promotions. During this time, we focus on converting consumers by offering a promotion and driving traffic to that promotion through advertising. As soon as Prime Day is over, we transition to the lead-out period, which can last two weeks or more. During lead-out our goal is to re-engage with any consumers who did not complete their purchase and maximize the halo effect.

Phases

WHAT TO FOCUS ON 

  1. Retail Readiness Checklist: A key part of the lead-up phase is Retail Readiness, a term coined by Amazon to get products ready for advertising. It is important to remember that the consumer’s decision is made on the detail page, so those pages must look their best to maximize conversion.
◼️Optimized Copy
    • Title: Brand Name, Features & Benefits
    • Optimized bullet points
    • Backend Keywords

◼️ Optimized Images

    • 5+ Images
    • Videos
    • Infographics!

◼️ Reviews: 15 reviews, 3.5 stars

◼️ A+ Content

  1. Promotional Strategy
    • Depending on the size of your brand, the category your brand falls into, and your relationship with Amazon, some brands will have the opportunity to participate in Amazon-specific deals such as Prime Day Promotions. However, for all other brands, the option is self-service deals through Vendor or Seller Central. Goals of a promotion can be to:
      • Increase revenue
      • Drive brand awareness
      • Move through excess inventory
      • Promote new launches
    • Deals options are as follows: Lightning Deals, Vendor Powered Coupons, Price Discounts, Promo Code, and oftentimes, a promotion above 20% is most compelling during this time.  
  1. Inventory
    • Depending on whether you are a Vendor or a Seller, your strategy for inventory will be different, especially if you were previously affected by lower inventory levels in the past few months due to COVID-19. As sellers are more in control of their inventory, we recommend sending sufficient inventory at least one month before Prime Day to account for shipping deals and receiving delays on Amazon’s end. Keep in mind Amazon’s inventory thresholds and the quantity limits on your products. For Vendors that rely on Amazon to purchase inventory, this is a good time to check out your current instock levels; see what Amazon bought too much of and promote those products in order to move through excess inventory 
  1. Advertising
    • A solid advertising strategy will be crucial to Prime Day success. In the lead-up test period, ensure that Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display campaigns are running as it makes sense for your brand. If your brand has the assets, you can add the newer Sponsored Video and Custom Creative strategies. Ensure your Sponsored Brand campaigns are driving to your Brand Store and give your store a refresh in the next few weeks. During Prime Day, adjust bids higher and prepare for increased competition. Focus your Sponsored Ads on the ASINs that are being promoted. During the lead-out period, target shoppers through Amazon DSP; remarketing can amplify Prime Day halo effects. 
  1. External Traffic
    • Finally, besides driving traffic on Amazon, adding external traffic is key toward maximizing sales. At Stella Rising, we offer full digital services in addition to our Amazon work; we understand that most brands drive media to their own site most of the time. This strategy makes sense from both a margin and consumer data perspective. However, Prime Day is the one time of the year when I encourage giving Amazon its time to shine. The two main ways to do so are through social media (organic and paid) and email; both channels can be directed back to your brand and tracked through a source code.

 

Historical precedent and a blockbuster year for Amazon so far suggests that Prime Day 2020 will eclipse last year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday. One consideration to the contrary: the close proximity of this Prime Day to holiday could jeopardize the event, especially if consumers decide to wait for later deals. However, with the tremendous shift to digital in 2020, we expect a strong Prime Day, and encourage brands to take all of the proper steps to drive revenue during this major moment.

If your brand is looking to shine on Amazon—a key channel for COVID consumers—connect with us to discuss strategy, advertising, content optimization, and more.

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