It’s time to prepare now, as the deadlines for participating in some Amazon holiday specials fall in September. Look at your results last year, and keep in mind that your prices and promotions on Amazon will impact your results in other channels.

Ryan Melamed, vice president of strategy and growth, Digital Operative

Ryan Melamed, vice president of strategy and growth, Digital Operative

Gift-giving. Family gatherings. Amazon. They are becoming linked traditions at the holidays. Since 72% of consumers visit Amazon for product ideasand holiday 2019 is just around the corner, the time to get ready for Amazon is now. Whether your business is seasonal or not, below are learned lessons and innovative tactics to help you break sales records on Amazon during holiday 2019.

Start early, like now.

You’re weeks away from prepping for the 2019 holiday season. Be mindful of deadlines, particularly Amazon’s in order to get your products seen via native promotions. Like many retailers and marketplaces, Amazon has cut-off periods for product and promotional offerings. Plan ahead, because in September the window to “participate” in activities such as Lightning Deals closes, as well as other Amazon advertising programs.

For shoppers searching for something to buy without specific ideas, try to be seen in the more exploratory parts of Amazon.

Fully understand your overall investment in that channel by asking your digital marketing team, “How does Amazon play a role in the holiday season across our market segments and channels?” Determine which products to focus on that won’t cannibalize your other channels, can perhaps support other channels, or be able to move through products to focus on a forthcoming product line.

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Know your product and inventory.

Eye up what you have and which products are predicted to become heroes. Do you need to move through units already in stock or need to replenish? Deciding whether to increase inventory or not should happen in August or September.

In terms of strategy, review best-selling products because you may not need to over invest. Since those products are already in hand, your merchandising team may apply deep discounts to capture as much as revenue as possible. With new SKUs on the way, gauge how much energy it will take to refresh product descriptions.

Tool Tip: If last year’s holiday sales and fulfillment got mucked up thanks to vendors like the provider of your order management platform, you should handle it ASAP.

Get a grip on your other channels.

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Multichannel selling gathers and delivers a rich story about your buyer behavior throughout the year. Tracking activity across all online sales channels is a year-round job. Yes, Amazon is likely just one sales channel for you, but what happens there may substantially impact other channels and marketplaces during the holidays. What you discount on Amazon may affect other channels and others sales with higher price points. Will you offer the same product on your website and Amazon only to compete against yourself?

From a customer’s perspective, there’s one experience, so you can’t isolate channels.

Reexamine your hero product. Are you confident it will perform brilliantly again? If you activated influencer programs during the year, what lessons did they teach you?

Intimately know your entire investment.

I’ve witnessed several ad spends jump 4-10x in December. Your most competitive time period for spending (CPM and CPC [display and search]) is coming up. For each channel’s investment, it’s crucial to know how much money and profitability to focus on in terms of a promotional perspective. Be prepared to make those investments very soon and have concrete numbers at the ready.

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Remember, your ad spend likely won’t generate as much traffic with the same ROI as the rest of the year. In order to drive conversions and cut through the noise, you’ll incur higher expenses not only with advertising but shipping. The holidays are about diversifying spends. Sometimes it’s not enough to focus on headline or search listings. Explore placement in key competitive categories. Also, consider Lightning Deals and other high-value target placements Amazon offers in order to be topical with what shoppers are looking for during the holiday season.

For shoppers searching for something to buy without specific ideas, try to be seen in the more exploratory parts of Amazon. Sometimes arriving during a shopper’s discovery phase is a massive win and results in a far greater LTV that a one-off holiday sale. If you don’t snag customers now, you’re winning by increasing mindshare.

Make your content holiday-friendly.

Think about how holiday themes can fit into your content, whether it’s copy, photos or videos. Assess product features and benefits to call out seasonal relevance that’s great for gift giving. If resources allow, tweak product descriptions for select items to make them emotionally relevant during the holidays. For example, if you’re selling all natural floor cleaner, call out how it’s safe for kids to crawl on when they’re visiting family at the holidays.

Lastly, do not overlook the data pile you have from last year’s Amazon sales efforts. There are certainly dollars waiting to be collected based on feedback from returned products, what worked with Sponsored Products Ads, and your approaches to clearing out old inventory.

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At the holidays, people are searching Amazon for products regardless if they’re purchasing at that time or not. Make sure to not overlook visibility opportunities for brand and product consideration since Amazon display ads drive non-Amazon sales. It’s likely your competitors are running holiday marketing campaigns and earning mindshare.

Digital Operative is a digital marketing agency.

 

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