Prime Day 2020 was a record-breaking event with more than 1 million deals globally—and Prime Day 2021, which will be held on June 21st and 22nd could be even bigger. This year is a crucial time to get in front of new customers in the competitive ecommerce market.
The big question is: Are you Prime Day ready?
From an end-to-end channel management approach, the following post will outline what you should do before Prime Day to maximize sales and make this your most successful Prime Day yet.
What is Amazon Prime Day?
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand why Prime Day is one of the biggest shopping events of the year and how it has evolved.
Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The first Amazon Prime Day was a one-day retail holiday for Prime members. Since then, Prime Day has overtaken Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the biggest annual sales event on Amazon, with better deals on more products resulting in increased sales (and Prime memberships).
According to reports, small and midsize businesses (that sell on the Amazon Marketplace) made more than $3.5 billion during Prime Day 2020 (held in October), which is a 60% increase from sales in 2019.
According to Tinuiti’s client data, sales attributed to Sponsored Brands increased nearly 600% year over year during Prime Day 2020, and Sponsored Brands video ads played a key role, driving nearly 20% of all Sponsored Brands Prime Day sales for advertisers deploying video.
(Check out our full 2020 Prime Day recap here.)
While the ecommerce landscape looks different this year than any before, we can still expect Prime Day 2021 to be a big event for Prime members and Amazon sellers alike.
The Ultimate Prime Day 2021 Checklist
Recently, top ecommerce experts from Tinuiti, Skubana, eComEngine, and DataHawk gathered to share their best-kept secret strategies for prepping brands for guaranteed Prime Day success.
From buttoned-up operations to eye-catching creative and savvy advertising tactics, we’ve compiled the ultimate checklist to ensure you are Prime Day ready.
Tip: Choose your products wisely
The ideal products for Prime Day deals are ones that:
- Are in stock and easily replenishable
- Have at least 15 reviews
- Have a 3.5-star rating or higher
- Include optimized images
- Include branded and keyword-optimized content
In addition to choosing the right products, make sure that your product listings are optimized for conversions.
“From an operational standpoint, detail page content for images and copy descriptions are going to differentiate your product from a large selection of heavily discounted products; Vendors and Sellers should optimize their detail pages to ensure maximum conversion.”
– Emily Leung, Marketplace Operations Associate at Tinuiti
Tip: Create a subcategory page devoted to Prime
If you have an Amazon Store, consider creating a dedicated Prime Day subcategory. Use it to feature your Prime Day deals and discounts, and treat it as your landing page for all things Prime Day.
When you have Prime Day ads on Amazon, pointing users to a specific landing page makes it easier for them to convert into customers. You can even use your subcategory page as a landing page for ads off Amazon, like Google or Facebook.
Tip: Check your inventory levels and historical performance
We say it every year and we will say it again: Don’t stock out!
Make sure you have enough inventory for your promoted products and best sellers. You can generally expect Black Friday and Cyber Monday numbers to fall in line with Prime Day’s, so if you have data from those sales events, use it to determine your inventory strategy for Prime Day.
“Understand what your historical performance is for previous Prime Days. If you notice that you’re not the best player in a certain category [from previous experience] that’s a good indication you should look into a different category to perform. If you don’t have historical performance, then be ready to be competitive. Increase your keyword bids, increase your campaign budgets. Just make sure you are ready.”
– Ben Gemkow, Director, Growth Media at Tinuiti
“For me, Prime Day is all about buying the buyer. You want to have enough stock in place to support all the new eyeballs that your listing could be getting impression share on. As Ben mentioned, making sure you are properly in stock does involve going back and looking at your historical data. If your inventory is not stocked, you could lose that impression share to competitors and they could gain higher prioritization in the search engine framework.”
– Chad Rubin, Co-Founder and CEO at Skubana
“In addition to product detail page optimizations, every brand should evaluate its overall operating processes; ensuring a sufficient amount of available inventory to the projected demand, clean up of warehouse inefficiencies, and actively manage your catalog listings.”
– Emily Leung, Marketplace Operations Associate at Tinuiti
Know that there’s a balance between keeping enough inventory in stock to meet demand and overstocking.
Tip: Set up and test your Amazon advertising campaigns early
Stay on top of your campaigns. Set aside time leading up to and during Prime Day to check on and manage your ad campaigns. Pay close attention to your bids and budget. Make sure you have the budget to capitalize on the full Prime Day opportunity, so you don’t run out in the first few hours.
“Brands should leverage the additional traffic coming to Amazon as well as the higher conversion rates by approaching tentpole events like Prime Day with a three-tiered approach. A well-rounded advertising strategy that targets different areas of the advertising funnel during the lead-up period, the promotional period, and the lead-out period will allow you to maximize your reach to meet return and awareness-based goals.”
– Jackie Bui, Senior Manager, Amazon & Marketplace Channels at Tinuiti
Using Search and Display together to form your Prime Day tactics allows you to not only capture the demand of those who are actively searching on Amazon but also to generate demand by layering in mid and upper-funnel strategies such as competitor conquesting and In-Market or Lifestyle audience targeting on top of Amazon Search ad units.
You can also use past Prime Day campaigns and metrics to guide you, though keep in mind that the ecommerce landscape and consumer preferences look different this year.
Every brand should prepare for Prime Day by building out and testing all campaign types and betas that Amazon has made available to advertisers. Prime Day is extremely competitive, so it’s essential to know which campaigns we are especially interested in throttling to make the most out of the increased traffic.
“I specifically recommend building out video in Sponsored Brands. We have found that, on average, we are seeing quadruple the click-through rate (CTR) for our clients versus the original Sponsored Brands ads. It’s a great way to stand out while taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase how to use a product and send traffic back to a storefront to tie everything together.”
– Meghan Andrade, Director of Business Development, Amazon & Marketplaces at Tinuiti
“Based on our findings, when we were looking at ad spend data (from Prime Day 2020) we noticed that ad spend on Prime Day increased 150%. Now, you might be thinking, if ad spend is 150% higher and the number of ad spots is still the same then the ACoS must be very high but it was not. In fact, the silver lining is that when we looked at Sponsored Products ads data the ACoS on Prime Day was actually 10% lower. Why? Because conversions were 17% higher. So, Sponsored Products is a good place to put your money on Prime Day. Sponsored Display is even better because ACoS also went down 40% so that another good ad placement to invest in on Prime Day.”
– Prateek Haralalka, Amazon Expert & Customer Success Manager at DataHawk
Tip: Invest in Amazon Direct Fulfillment ASAP
One way to make the most of Prime Day 2020 is to invest in Amazon Direct Fulfillment. With COVID-19 continuing to affect some areas of online retail and distribution, Amazon has been reaching out to vendors to ensure that they understand the benefits of using their Direct Fulfillment program.
Similar to dropshipping, Amazon Direct Fulfillment lets vendors use EDI (electronic data interchange) to automatically share real-time inventory information for their entire product catalog with Amazon.
Here’s how the purchase flow works when a vendor uses Direct Fulfillment:
- Amazon Customer purchases Product X
- Amazon tells Vendor Product X has been sold
- Vendor packs and ships Product X directly to the customer
If you don’t have Direct Fulfillment set up as a backup to FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon), you might miss out on sales. When Amazon warehouses are out of stock, customers cannot order your product before Amazon receives your inventory.
Pro-tip: For vendors that are capable of direct fulfillment, we recommend that your Direct Fulfillment connection is set up correctly and you are ready to utilize this program for Prime Day and in Q4. If you are not currently using Amazon’s Direct Fulfillment program, you can get started by following the instructions within your Warehouse Settings in Vendor Central.
Some of the benefits of Direct Fulfillment include:
- Products are displayed as “Ships and Sold by Amazon”
- You can make your entire catalog available to customers
- You don’t have to wait for a purchase order to start selling products. Direct Fulfillment lets Amazon pull in the inventory directly from EDI and show shoppers that your product is available.
- You’re protected from out-of-stock issues
- Amazon handles all customer service requests and returns for you
- Amazon pays all shipping fees
To set up Direct Fulfillment, go to the Warehouse Settings in your Vendor Central account and follow the on-screen instructions to set up a Direct Fulfillment warehouse.
Tip: Don’t forget to monitor your budget the day of
Throughout Prime day and the week leading up to it, make sure you are checking in on your budget caps.
“I typically increase my budget campaign caps by 50% on Prime Day, but throughout the day I’ll be monitoring spend and checking in often to make sure that all campaign budgets are still available and running. If you hit your budget cap too early – your ad won’t be served to shoppers and that’s the last thing any brand would want on Prime Day.”
– Ben Gemkow, Director, Growth Media at Tinuiti
Want to learn more on how to prepare for Prime Day? If you missed our 2021 Live Panel, you can view it on-demand here.
The panel of experts will cover:
- How to engage new customers, optimize existing campaigns, and re-engage audiences
- How to use new Amazon features to increase click-through rate
- How to get your product in front of new customers on Prime Day (and keep them loyal)
- Ways to capitalize on Prime Day momentum to impact performance across other channels
- And more!