Amazon will hold its third annual Prime Day the second week in July, and BigCommerce’s Product Marketing Manager Natasha Russ shared some advice for EcommerceBytes readers to make the most of the summertime holiday-shopping event.
The first Prime Day was held on a Wednesday (July 15), when Prime members purchased more than 14 million items from sellers and small businesses. Last year it was held on a Tuesday (July 12), when sellers saw orders nearly triple compared to Prime Day 2015, according to the company.
Amazon told merchants invited to submit deals, “Prime Day will take place the second week of July (“Prime Day Week”) and will run for 30 hours (6PM to midnight the day before Prime Day, and the 24 hours of Prime Day, PDT). We’ll announce a definitive date as we get closer to the event.”
Amazon also told merchants it would be “supplying wide-range marketing, both on-site and off-site.”
The first way to prepare, said Russ, starts with inventory – making sure you have enough stock to fulfill the higher influx of orders that Prime Day may drive. “If you are managing multiple channels (i.e. a branded storefront and an Amazon store), sync your inventory in advance to avoid overselling items and consider the most effective way to allocate inventory for each channel,” she said.
Sellers using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) should be sure to send inventory in a timely fashion. Amazon told sellers it would notify them if their deal(s) were selected for Prime Day Week or Prime Day by email on May 24, 2017, and said FBA inventory for Prime Day Lightning Deals must be received at an Amazon Fulfillment Center by June 20, 2017 at the latest.
Russ suggested offering channel-specific merchandise. “What works on your online storefront may not be as successful on a crowded third-party marketplace.” And her company’s platform offers a product override feature that lets merchants change product titles and descriptions depending on which channel they are being sold.
Sellers should also analyze the competition, as Prime Day can create even more competition around pricing and other differentiating features. “Take the time to research your competitors’ offerings, and use that knowledge to create more compelling deals,” Russ advised.
Advertising is another option. “Take advantage of Sponsored Products. If resources allow, bid for placement on your top items to ensure you are maximizing sales,” she said.
And although Prime Day is an Amazon-driven holiday, it doesn’t mean that sales have to stay on Amazon. “This is a great opportunity to build brand loyalty and drive traffic to your site by complementing Prime Day efforts with offerings like free shipping or special site discounts,” Russ said.
How important are third-party sellers to Amazon Prime Day’s success? Jenn Markey, Vice President of Marketing at 360pi, had told us last year: “Amazon is strategically positioning marketplace sellers to bear the risks, costs and discounts associated with Prime Day, while taking the lion’s share of glory for themselves,” she said.
Clearly sellers must carefully weigh the risks versus the rewards of participating directly in Prime Day, and should prepare for the likely spillover effect on sales outside of the program as the high-profile event has shoppers going looking for deals.
A version of this article appeared in the May 22nd issue of EcommerceBytes 411.