Prime Day is no longer just a massive boon for Amazon. If properly prepared for the influx of shoppers, brands can capitalize on the buzz to generate sales across a variety of retail channels and capture user-generated content that will be useful in the months and shopping seasons to come.

Erin Pohl, senior marketing manager, Bazaarvoice

Erin Pohl, senior marketing manager, Bazaarvoice

Amazon Prime Day has dramatically altered the shopping calendar, creating a new “holiday season” in July. Each year, the event grows larger and attracts higher volumes of shopper activity.

But now Prime Day shopping extends far beyond Amazon. Competing retailers such as Target and Best Buyhave capitalized on this summer shopping surge by creating “Black Friday in July” sales to rival Prime Day and attract eager online shoppers.

This is a prime opportunity to solicit more user-generated content from customers to prepare for the holiday season, which kicks off earlier each year.

Shoppers are taking notice, with three in four saying they have visited competing retail websites to research product ratings and reviews before making a purchase on Prime Day. The top places these shoppers searched included Walmart (46%), consumer electronics websites like Best Buy (45%), Target (40%), home improvement websites (39%) and brand websites (39%).

While Amazon continues to see year-over-year growth, with last year’s Prime Day being the internet retailer’s biggest yet, that halo effect also extended to other major retailers. According to TechCrunch, larger retailers—those with over a billion in annual revenue—saw a 54% increase in sales on Prime Day, compared with an average Tuesday. Target, for instance, announced that its one-day sale held during Prime Day last year was their biggest online shopping day of 2018, both in terms of traffic and sales.

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With Prime Day 2019 just around the corner, brands have an opportunity to capture shoppers and drive sales. However, with increased competition, they must find ways to stand out across all of their retail channels. Ideally, preparation for Prime Day should have already begun, but below are a few last-minute ways brands can get ready for what has become one of the biggest days of the retail year.

1. Collect reviews on new items or items with few reviews

Although Prime Day is no longer limited to just one day, with last year’s event lasting 36 hours, there is still a relatively small window for sales and an even smaller window on each individual product. While most would expect that the limited time would lead to more impulse purchases, consumers participating in Prime Day are actually using these valuable minutes to read ratings and reviews before making purchase decisions.

Just the presence of user-generated content (UGC) can drive shoppers to purchase, even if they don’t directly engage with it. Product pages with at least one review experienced a 354% increase in conversion rate and a 446% lift in revenue per visitor compared to those with no reviews, whether or not visitors engaged with the review content.

Now is the time to collect content for products without reviews, with a small numbrer of reviews or with old content, so this information will be readily available for shoppers to view come July. A great way to collect reviews quickly is through sampling campaigns: offer loyal customers the opportunity to try out products in exchange for their honest reviews. Not only does it collect fresh review content, which will boost search rankings and inform shoppers, but it also builds loyalty with existing customers.

2. A picture is worth a thousand words: prioritize content

Visual content is key when preparing product pages for Prime Day. Along with professional product shots, photos and videos of real customers engaging with products bring them to life and inspire other shoppers. 66% of consumersare more likely to purchase a product if the website has social media posts with pictures and videos from customers. Similarly, brands and retailers report that visual UGC creates a more engaging shopping experience, increases discoverability, deepens brand trust and increases conversion.

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While sampling campaigns lend themselves well to gathering visual UGC, another option that can be executed quickly is to launch hashtag campaigns on social media. Choose a relevant hashtag for a product or line of products and include a call to action for customers to tag their photos and videos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with it.

A hashtag improves campaign discoverability for the customer and makes it easier for the brand to find customers’ photos. With their permission, curate and display UGC images and videos on corresponding product pages across your website.

3. Answer any outstanding questions on product pages

Along with ratings and reviews, Q&A featureson product pages allow customers to ask specific questions that can be answered by fellow customers or a brand’s employees. A recent study found that brands and retailers that engage with Q&A on product pages saw a 114% lift in conversion and a 120% lift in revenue per visitor.

Enhancing product pages, ecommerce sites or retailer sites with Q&A features can help shoppers make more informed, swifter purchasing decisions on Prime Day. With the expected influx of consumers as mid-July nears, brands can expect more questions from shoppers than typical. It is important to continue to respond to incoming questions with genuine answers and to allot the necessary resources to be able to respond quickly on Prime Day itself.

4. Cut through the noise with display advertising and paid search

It is difficult to cut through the noisy conversation surrounding Prime Day, as consumers are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of products on Prime Day. Fresh product page content will improve search rankings and help shoppers find products, but with discoverability proving difficult on a regular day, for an extra boost, consider investing in paid search and display advertising in the weeks leading up to Prime Day.

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It is important that the advertisements have a genuine appeal to the brand’s customer base to drive an increase in traffic and sales. Consider analyzing shopping data from last year’s Prime Day to learn how consumers are researching and purchasing products in different categories. This can inform the right approach for each brand and retailer including the right tactic, the optimal timing and the best performing product families to drive traffic to particular pages.

5. Take advantage of the Prime Day rush to collect (even more) product reviews

With the influx in shopping activity, this is a primeopportunity to solicit more UGC from customers to prepare for the holiday season, which kicks off earlier each year. Take advantage of the uptick in sales with incentives for customers to review products post-purchase for fresh review content. Ask customers to post photos and videos of their experiences with the products and get their permission to share them across channels.

Be mindful about the timing of post-interaction review requests and be strategic in the number of customer communications. With no signs of slowing down, get ahead of next year’s Prime Day by taking note of customer engagement rates with post-purchase outreach.

Prime Day is no longer just a massive boon for Amazon. If properly prepared for the influx of shoppers, brands can capitalize on the buzz to generate sales across a variety of retail channels and capture user-generated content that will be useful in the months and shopping seasons to come.

Bazaarvoice provides ratings and reviews technology to 634 of the Top 1000 online retailers in North America, according to Top 500Guide.com.

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