Numbers rarely lie. Amazon may not give out the exact numbers, but recent estimates place the exact amount of sales during Prime Day 2020 to be roughly $10.4 Billion during the 48 hour period—and a nearly 60 percent increase from the previous year’s event, growing faster than Amazon’s retail sales as a whole.
And that was only two days in October.
Prime Day may not be the sole mitigating factor behind Amazon’s success, but there’s no doubt it’s one of the decisive elements in its 31.4 percent market share in US ecommerce during 2020. Prime Day has become virtually synonymous not just with Amazon but with eCommerce itself. A 2019 survey from PwC found that 52 percent of American consumers wait until Prime Day before making major purchases. But for many new sellers, taking advantage of the event requires both forethought and preparation.
Prime Day Strategies for 2021
Many sellers view Prime Day as a short term sales driver which can make up for any anticipated losses in the remainder of the year. What they fail to realize is that Prime Day doesn’t just spike traffic for a 48 hour window of time. It gains them long term visibility. It affects their overall Amazon performance. And it can convert even the most impulsive shoppers into loyal converts—if optimized effectively.
1. Make Certain You’re Actually Eligible to Sell on Prime Day
Contrary to the expectations of many new third party sellers, Prime Day is not a free-for-all. Customers may pay a relatively low subscription fee, but Amazon knows that over 150 million customers will demand nothing but high performance from their sellers. That means:
Delivery either through Amazon FBA or Amazon’s pre-approved carrier list. Amazon-approved carriers for seller fulfilled orders. Seller-fulfilled vendors must also ship over 99 percent of their orders on time and offer premium and expedited shipping options.
A rating of at least 3.5 stars or higher and an order defect rate of less than 1 percent.
Compliance with official Amazon category, product and listing protocol.
2. Ensure Your Customer Service Meets Prime Customer Delivery Demands
72 percent of Prime members have indicated that unlimited free shipping is the main benefit of their membership. But Amazon is becoming fairly demanding in their expectations of Prime sellers, with two-day delivery being a nearly universal minimum. But customers don’t just want two-day shipping. Or even necessarily same day delivery. They want delivery on their terms and on their own schedule. To meet those terms, Amazon recently launched a new program for Prime Members called Amazon Day which allows customers to schedule multiple orders to be combined and received on the selected date of their choice. And with porch theft growing at an all time high, merchants need to be able to alleviate customer concerns about piracy effectively and conveniently.
3. Conduct Your Research and Forecasting Early
There’s certain product categories which are consistent top sellers during Prime Day, with electronics and smart technologies being just two of the most prominent examples. But trends on Amazon can be fickle. Accurate forecasting depends on both consistency in your own sales volume as well as your competitors. And given the wild ride of 2020, consistency can be anything but—consistent. Demand planning requires both a macro-level understanding of the marketplace as well as a micro-level understanding of your potential sales performance based on history, product categories in addition to individual product SKUs and your ultimate profit margin. Data gleaned from fulfillment and inventory reports can only take some of the leg room out of forecasting. The rest can be as much a question of intuition as it is a question of competitive analysis.
4. Fix Any Weak Links in Your Supply Chain Management
If 2020 was anything but business as usual, Prime Day proved to many sellers that Murphy’s Law is just as applicable in eCommerce: anything that can go wrong eventually will. And that can include everything from inventory scarcity to unexpected delivery shortages in addition to a delayed start as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But Prime sellers can sometimes forget their supply chain vendors aren’t exclusive to a 48 hour period. Nor are they the only customers. You can save yourself time and frustration by automating all but the most vital tasks of inventory fulfillment. You may not be able to halt delivery snags outside of your control with automation. But it will give you the necessary control over your fulfillment processes.
5. Your Marketing Solutions Aren’t Limited to Prime Day Alone
Prime Day may bring you high volume discovery as a seller. And Amazon’s toolbox of internal solutions can elevate your visibility and drive your listings. But there’s a fundamental difference between hedging your bets on seasonal increases and maintaining sales volume year-round.
If it worked on Prime Day, it will work off Prime Day. Top sellers know exactly which tools to use because of their year-round performance, not just a seasonal promotion. But not every Amazon solution will work for every seller. PPC may be a cost-friendly and easily trackable method for many new sellers, but its efficacy is entirely subject to year-round demand for your product line. And while larger brands can expect a relatively high conversion rate through programmatic DSP, smaller niche vendors shouldn’t necessarily budget with the same expectations as well established entities.
Prime Day may spark early public interest in your product line. But it’s a means, not an end. Customer loyalty and continuing innovation should ultimately be your long term goals. Prime Day is simply one of the most effective means of getting there.
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