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Seller Tips on Preparing for Amazon Prime Day

Amazon will host its second “Prime Day” shopping event in mid-July, and if last year is any indication, sellers should be prepared for a shopping frenzy.

It’s too late to submit deals to Amazon for consideration – sellers had until June 22nd to get their Prime Day deal inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers.

But whether or not you have an “official” Prime Day deal running that day, you should be prepared. Sellers who used the Fulfillment by Amazon service enjoyed record-breaking unit sales, growing nearly 300%, according to the company.

We turned to two service providers for tips on how to take advantage of this year’s Amazon Prime Day.

What is Prime Day and why is it a big deal? 
The shopping “holiday” offers special deals exclusively for members of Amazon Prime. Amazon ran a significant marketing campaign in the run-up to last year’s event, including TV advertising featuring dancing Amazon boxes.

In fact, an IPSOS survey of 1,005 US consumers commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One revealed advertising drove significant awareness for Prime Day 2015, according to Chain Store Age. Three out of five Amazon Prime subscribers age 18-49 exposed to advertising said they purchased something during Amazon Prime Day, last year.

While Amazon won’t confirm the date of this year’s event, the company has told sellers it will take place in mid-July. You can find more information in Friday’s EcommerceBytes Newsflash.

Take advantage of increased traffic
Amazon Prime brings a lot of new customers in the door. Smart sellers are taking advantage of this increased traffic by using Amazon Seller Central, sponsored ads, and social media, according to Ohad Hagai, Vice President of Marketing at Feedvisor.

Sellers may use product ads on Prime Day as an opportunity to get visibility to a private label product, for example. But if you do a sponsored product ad campaign for Prime Day, make sure you’re prepared, don’t wait until the last minute, Hagai said.

Likewise, Amazon sellers should consider using social media to drive the discussion and drive traffic into a specific listing – note that #PrimeDay and #PrimeDayDeals may be trending hashtags that day.

Hagai also suggested using promotions – even if you don’t have a special pre-approved Prime Day deal, be sure to have competitive prices. It may be an opportunity to do some kind of discount. But whatever it is, be ready in advance, he warned. His company offers repricing tools, which automate the process of adjusting pricing up or down quickly while staying within your guidelines.

Once you’ve got traffic, don’t lose the sale
Be sure to update detail pages. Shops that don’t provide updated descriptions, images, links and additional product content may still see a spike in traffic on Tuesday; but, when it comes to making the sale, they may lose customers.

Hagai said that’s especially true of older listings. “Presentation is something that’s important on any day, but especially on Prime Day.”

Don’t run out of stock
Make sure you don’t run out of stock, especially for top-selling items. In fact, you should always stay in-stock – if you go out-of-stock, you lose ranking for that product, Hagai said.

Staff accordingly
Amazon looks at seller metrics when determining whether you win the Buy Box, so late shipping can hurt you beyond Amazon Prime Day. “If you’re not staffed accordingly on Amazon Prime Day, and you’re getting those huge spikes in orders, and you’re not able to fulfill them, in time, that’s going to affect your seller score.”

That advice applies to sellers who offer don’t store their inventory in Amazon Fulfillment Centers such as non-FBA sellers and merchants who are approved for Seller Fulfilled Prime.

Liquidate, but don’t try this at home
Rob Garf, Vice President of Industry Strategy and Insights for Demandware, said Prime Day is a perfect opportunity to liquidate aging merchandise and squeeze the last bit of possible margin.

Some retailers may be wondering if they should try holding a similar shopping holiday. If it works for Amazon, could it work for your own ecommerce website? Probably not, Garf said, unless you have the requisite size and scale. “While it may be a tough pill to swallow, ride the Prime Day wave. Why create your own shopping mall on this day when there’s plenty of foot traffic on Amazon? ”

And, Garf said, “while there were reports of cranky customers last year, due to lack of desirable products and deals, Prime Day was a huge success for Amazon. At the end of the day, Amazon had 18 percent higher orders on Prime Day compared to Black Friday.”

The bottom line: Even if you’re not a Prime seller, make sure you’re ready to support huge spike in traffic and demand on Prime Day 2016.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.