Get Ready for Prime Day 2019

Get ready now, because Amazon just announced that Prime Day will begin at 2:59 A.M. (ET) on July 15th and run through July 16th. Shoppers will have a full 48 hours of Prime Day deal hunting, meaning sellers will need to prepare for the onslaught if they want to make the most of this “Christmas-in-July” extravaganza.

Prime Day is Amazon’s biggest e-commerce event and a great opportunity for sellers to boost sales, increase brand visibility, promote new products, and unload slow-moving inventory. Prime Day is the biggest sales driver for 25% of Amazon sellers and even surpassed Cyber Monday’s sales by 19% in 2016 and 33% in 2017. With more than half of US households forecast to be Prime members in 2019, the customer base for Prime Day is huge. And rest assured, these customers are buying: Prime Day did an estimated $4.2 billion in sales last year, and is expected to only get bigger. Long story short, you’ll want to capitalize on this opportunity and build momentum for your brand.

If you’re unsure how to best prepare for Prime Day or if you simply want to perform better than you did last year, we’ve got the rundown for you right here. Follow this Prime Day Prep guide to increase your brand’s visibility and plan ahead for the increased traffic and sales.  

Prepare Your Inventory

Nothing else you do to prepare for Prime Day will matter much if you don’t have the inventory to support the increased demand. Look at the sales data of past Prime Days in conjunction with what promotions you’ll be running in order to determine adequate inventory levels.

  • If you’re using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), make sure you have your inventory at the Fulfillment Centers by June 27th or earlier, allowing Amazon’s warehouses sufficient time to process and redistribute your inventory for optimal placement and quick shipping.
  • If you use Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM), make sure your warehouses are fully stocked with appropriate inventory levels and have the staff, supplies, and tools ready to handle the increased activity. Be prepared to restock quickly!
  • If you ship Seller Fulfilled Prime, you’ll want to remain in good standing by keeping your performance metrics within the target ranges. Verify that you have sufficient personnel and supplies to handle the increased order volume.
  • Bonus: Amazon is offering lower storage fees from June 1, 2019, all the way to January 31, 2020, on qualifying inventory. If your product is a standard size FNSKU and you sell 60 or more units in a month, it might be eligible for 50-75% off on storage fees. Amazon will also flag items in the Restock Report that are automatically eligible for this promotion.

Give Your Amazon Advertising a Boost

Don’t wait to optimize your ad campaigns; act now to ensure they are in great shape for Prime Day, as it takes time for changes to take full effect and for campaigns to gain traction. Consider investing more in your Amazon Advertising campaigns, which may include gradually increasing your daily spend, campaign, and portfolio budgets (if you can afford it.) To maintain ad placement, you will likely need to increase your bids to account for the increased competition. It’s reasonable to expect your bids and overall ad spend to increase by 50% or more around Prime Day, so plan to monitor your campaigns closely; you don’t want your ads going down early because you ran out of budget. You can always set budget caps at the campaign or portfolio level to keep your spending under control.

Make your advertising dollars work smarter by knowing your target audience and refining your keywords to match what those customers are searching for. Research and expand on the keywords that are converting and eliminate the ones that are not relevant; appropriate use of keywords will produce a better ROI.

Finally, review your campaigns to ensure that ALL of the products you intend to advertise are included in the appropriate campaign(s), checking that each is eligible for advertising. Take action early to resolve any issues you find.

Polish Up Your Listings

Take some time to refine and update your Amazon listings so they’ll be retail ready when customers land on your page. Here’s a quick run-down of things you can double-check:

  • Titles, bullet points, and descriptions: Are they error free? Are your products listed in the appropriate categories? Do they properly convey benefits to the customer? If you’re using Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), make sure its copy and graphics are up to date and looking great.
  • Images: To inspire customers to purchase, you want images that highlight your product’s features. Update your images to high quality, high-resolution ones if needed—and be sure they comply with Amazon’s product image requirements.
  • Video: Amazon recently released a new and improved way to upload videos, so if you are Brand Registered and haven’t added one, or need to update an existing video, now is a good time. Go to the Inventory Menu in Seller Central and click on Upload & Manage Videos to get started.
  • Storefront: If you are enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry and have a Storefront, does it need a facelift? Make sure it’s showcasing your brand and products and that it has a deals page that highlights your Prime Day promotions.
  • Pricing Strategy: You’ll want to strategize your Prime Day pricing and discounts to meet your financial goals. Keep any pricing rules or tools you use on-hand to help you manage your strategy and set your prices accordingly. Don’t forget to align prices with your other sales channels, so off-Amazon pricing doesn’t make you ineligible for the Buy Box.

Take Care of Your Customers

Happy customers make for future customers, so be sure to review and respond to seller feedback, product questions, and product reviews—paying particular to the negative ones. Make sure you have the support necessary for an increase in customer contacts leading up to, during, and after Prime Day. Remember to utilize your Voice of the Customer dashboard and address any issues you see there. If any of your Seller Performance metrics fall below Amazon’s established targets, respond to those issues right away. If your account is at risk of suspension, submit a Plan of Action immediately that addresses what caused the problem, how you are correcting it, and how you will prevent it from happening in the future. But if all this is feeling overwhelming, consider using a 3rd party tool for alerts on feedback and product reviews so you can stay on top of issues as they arise.

Create Promotions & Coupons

The deadline to submit lightning deals was May 10th, so if you missed it or weren’t eligible, don’t worry—there are other ways to entice Prime Day shoppers.

  • Coupons: Create your coupons early so they’re in effect for Prime Day. Depending on your sales objectives, you can even run coupon campaigns during the lead-up to Prime Day and in the days (or weeks) following.
  • Promotions: BOGOs, percentage off, and free-shipping promotions can increase sales when used appropriately. Use social media and other off-Amazon platforms to alert your customers to these promotions and drive traffic to your product pages.
  • *NEW* Prime Exclusive Discounts: Just announced by Amazon, this new advertising option (only available for FBA offers) specifically targets Prime members with exclusive deals (not just on Prime Day, but any day of the year). The savings will display alongside the product offer. and Prime Day offers will also feature a Prime Day Deals badge. To create these discounts, click on Prime Exclusive Discounts under the Advertising tab in Seller Central. 2019 Prime Day discounts must be created by July 5th.
  • Be Creative: Lots of sellers will be vying for customer attention, so be creative, utilize the tools available to you, and stand out from the crowd!

Promote on Social Media

Reach out to your customers on social media: Facebook, Instagram, email lists, or other platforms are a great way to alert your customers to your up-coming Prime Day deals. You can also utilize your partners, affiliates, and influencers to help drive traffic to your Amazon listings. Again, remember to be creative; competition will be crowded, and you’ll want to catch the customers attention.

Anticipate the Glitches

Prime Day is a high traffic day and is not without glitches, so expect some technological performance issues not just on Amazon, but with your other tools and systems too. Expect that Amazon sales data could be delayed for hours, if not days. You can prepare by reviewing issues that came up in past Prime Days, either on Amazon or on your end, and decide ahead of time how to respond if they reoccur. Identify your possible problems—system outages, personnel shortages, shipping supply stockouts, etc.—and devise a contingency plan. Consider having email templates or announcements for social media at the ready so you can quickly communicate to customers what the issues are and how you’re dealing with them.

Finally: Post-Prime Day Review

Whew! So you made it through Prime Day 2019. There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you’re coming down from your Prime Day high: plan for how and when to bring your advertising spending back down. Also, be ready for higher rates of returns and customer contacts in the days and weeks following Prime Day. Many sellers see a sales lift that continues for days and even weeks beyond Prime day, so be prepared to deal with that happy possibility.

Now take some time to asses: What can you learn based on your sales, inventory, and performance metrics? What kind of customer feedback did you receive during and after Prime Day? Digging into the data can help you produce better products and improve your operations. Treat Prime Day as a trial run for the upcoming fourth quarter, and you’ll have a better idea of what you might expect and how to prepare for it, so you finish the year successfully.

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