Over the last five years Amazon Prime Day has become a major annual shopping spectacular and one of the key peaks of any ecommerce selling strategy. With the disruption of 2020, the event’s usual mid-July date was pushed back, and Amazon Prime Day has now been confirmed for October 13-14th.
With the challenges faced by high street retailers, combined with a surge in consumers shopping online, Amazon Prime Day 2020 could turn out to be a sales bonanza for online retailers. Sellers on Amazon’s marketplaces must ensure they are fully prepared to maximize this two-day event and get their Q4 off to a flying start. Amazon marketing specialists, Molzi surveyed over a thousand UK Amazon shoppers to find out how shoppers intend to shop on Prime Day 2020 and what sellers need to do to maximise their sales and customer satisfaction during this crucial retail event.
The last six months have seen shopper behaviour change rapidly in response to the disruption of COVID-19 and we have seen ecommerce revenues increase dramatically, including for items customers have traditionally bought in-store. The stock management challenges this has caused were behind Amazon’s decision to move Prime Day to October, and that delay means Christmas gift buying will be an important component of this year's event. Molzi's research shows a full 80% of UK Amazon shoppers plan to buy on Prime Day and 26% say they are less likely to wait until Black Friday to buy Christmas gifts this year. All in all, UK shoppers voted Amazon Prime Day the most important ecommerce event of the year – unsurprising considering last year’s sales topped $7 billion.
The appeal of Amazon Prime Day to shoppers is clear. 34% of shoppers want to avoid the shops because of Covid-19, while 44% say they want to get ahead of their Christmas shopping. Indeed, with the possibility of continued disruption during this holiday shopping season, we’re seeing customers plan their festivities earlier than ever – and sellers must act accordingly. Above all, shoppers are on the lookout for Prime Day bargains. 46% want to make the most of discounts on products they already have an eye on, but 57% of shoppers are looking to be inspired by special deals.
With over half of shoppers undecided on their purchase, this is a fantastic opportunity to engage and convert customers in what promises to be the peak trading period of the online retail calendar. Tailored Amazon ads that capture the shopper’s attention are vital in ensuring a successful selling strategy. Fashion (25%) books (27%) and especially technology (38%) were reported as the product categories that customers most anticipate buying during this year’s Prime Day, but competition among sellers for their attention will be fierce so knowing the top factors that sway the purchase decision is very important.
The Molzi research found that shoppers were likely to be influenced by product images and descriptions (29%), product reviews (43%) and discounts (51%) so sellers need to make sure all these are optimised. But the most important factor revealed by the research was delivery time, which 57% of shoppers said would be central to their decision to buy. This is a real opportunity for sellers to differentiate themselves, but they must also address the challenges and restrictions that COVID-19 has imposed on the supply chain, stock and inventory management.
Get planning now. Remember that many shoppers already have a product in mind before Prime Day itself so try to establish the interest of buyers in advance. These customers may well search for your brand name instead of via a target keyword so make sure you’re achieving full Amazon SEO visibility for your own brand name. Products that have already achieved the ‘Amazon choice’ label will, of course, be primed for success.
Always important, but particularly on Prime Day, make sure your products are ranking high in the search results. Make sure your customers can find your product by optimising titles, bullet-points and keywords. Once the customer finds your product, ensure that your ASIN’s copy will appeal to them. This is absolutely essential because if your ASINs don’t convert to sales that can damage your ranking over the course of Prime Day itself.
Make sure your product’s primarily ‘hero’ image is the best it can be. It’s the first thing that customers see and is hugely influential in getting that all important ASIN click-through. The image should be clear, full-frame and placed on a pure white background to entice the shopper. Secondary images can also boost effectiveness so use your full allocation. Consider using lifestyle images and video for extra impact. Sellers with Amazon Brand Registry should consider using A+ content which allows a more visual appearance instead of the usual product description.
Try and test the effectiveness of your ads in advance of Prime Day to help optimisation. The high traffic levels on the marketplace created by Prime Day usually increased CPC significantly. You should have campaign budgets and a bids strategy already in place that will cover the whole event. You do not want to run out of budget before the event finishes, especially as many customers wait until the final stages of Prime Day to make their purchase.
This year has shown us the value of adaptability. Things can change fast on Prime Day too so make sure you’re ready to trouble-shoot where necessary. A minor issue can quickly develop into a major problem and you want to be able to respond and ensure sales continue to convert and your customer service levels don’t drop. Keep a close eye on budget burn rate and allocate the necessary time and resources to stay on top of all eventualities.
Despite 2020’s unique circumstances, Amazon data from previous years is still vital in helping sellers decide which ASINs to prioritise in order to maximise sales, so make sure you take full advantage of this in your planning. And as Prime Day unfolds, a wealth of data will continue to be captured over the two-day event. Keep a close watch on this and advertise your best-selling items to convert undecided customers.
Amazon has introduced changes to inventory management in response to the pressures it has faced since March, including introducing FBA inventory management restrictions for Q4. Sellers will only be allowed to stock approximately three months’ worth of inventory and sellers will need to maintain at least 500 on their IPI (Inventory Performance Index) to avoid storage limits. Linnworks Inventory Management software can help ensure you avoid inventory management issues and operate with increased efficiency and cost savings.
With the research showing that delivery times are the most important single deciding factor for shoppers, resilience means having a backup plan in the event that Amazon FBA is unable to keep up with the volume of orders or if fulfilment centres begin to run out of stock. Sellers should consider services such as Seller Fulfilled Prime, Fulfilled by Merchant or third-party logistics companies to respond to pressures and disruption. Linnworks Stock Control software can ensure you have complete visibility of your stock levels and stock movements at all times.
Think of the future too – this year’s data will be the basis of your 2021 Prime Day plans. Make sure you capture what works and what doesn’t so that you can continue to optimise. And don’t forget that you can learn as much from your competitors’ successes and failures as you can from your own activities.
Despite the turbulence of 2020, Amazon Prime Day has the potential to be a bumper retail event for sellers. If you can get each part of the customer and selling experience right, it has the potential to be the best Prime Day yet.
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