Make Your Q4 Count – Last-Minute Black Friday and Cyber Monday Prep

Zanoma

The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching. For many brands and retailers, the Q4 shopping season represents a significant chunk of their total yearly sales. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are arguably the biggest shopping days of the year, drawing in tons of consumers looking for the perfect gift for the holidays, the family’s next gadget, or perhaps something special for themselves. So how do you as an Amazon vendor and/or seller best align your business on Amazon to take advantage of these high-traffic shopping holidays?

Optimized Listings

Typically when someone wants to sell their car, they clean it up, take a few pictures and make it look as nice as possible before listing it for sale. The savvy seller ensures they’ve provided as much information as possible to inform potential buyers. In other words, a lot of common sense.

The reality is that at its most basic level, selling on Amazon is not all that different from selling your used car. Your product listing name or title should be concise and deliver as much information at a glance. Avoid stuffing the title with keywords too (that can look a bit desperate).

Your product images should be plentiful, clear, and well-lit. Remember that online shopping is very much a visual medium. Those product images should effectively showcase your item, provide perspective on the relative size of the item as a whole and additionally, should also serve to highlight all of the features that are unique and specific to the product.

Bullet points should deliver all of relevant information that the consumer would or should need to know about your product in order to make an informed buying decision. And your longer product description should cover any other information about the item or even your brand, that were not included in the bullet points.

Speaking of points, you’ll earn bonus points when or if you’ve also taken the time to create and add enhanced brand content, also known as A+ content on your detail page. That enhanced content (often in the form of videos, graphs, charts and more product images) has been shown by Amazon themselves, to increase conversion rates up to 10% in some cases.

Not only does a fully optimized listing increase conversion on your product detail page, but it can also lead to and generate better organic search ranking since your efforts will naturally result in having more keywords associate with your content than you would with a poorly optimized product detail page.

Advertising

As we just learned, having an well optimized detail page with great images and relevant content is all well and good, but those efforts can be rendered completely useless if no one is actually finding your product. There is a joke among those that sell on Amazon that goes like this: “Where is the best place to hide a dead body? The second page of Amazon search results.” Funny right, unless you’re the seller with the “dead” listing buried in Amazon search.

It’s worth noting that 70% of Amazon shoppers never take the time to click past the first page of search results. And consider this, 35% of Amazon shoppers immediately click on the first product featured on page one. While the first three listings on page one of Amazon search results earn almost 64% of the clicks on that first page.

So the question is, how do you avoid becoming a casualty of the second page and beyond? The answer: Advertising!

The Amazon Advertising Platform (formerly known as Amazon Marketing Services) provides vendors and sellers/merchants the ability to advertise their products based around relevant search terms that sellers feel their products should display for. This is also where sellers have the opportunity to ensure that ads for their items show up on the critical first page of search results.

Advertising in general, is some respects, one of the “easiest” sales levers to pull on Amazon, but real success requires some basic knowledge of the fundamentals of Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising as well as world of keyword bidding.

Over the years, the team at Zanoma has learned how to leverage this CPC platform and we are constantly learning new tips and tricks related to keywords . If you and your brand are already utilizing Amazon Advertising, that great! In fact, you are already ahead of the curve.

We encourage you to consider the following steps to ensure your ads are positioned to perform as the we get closer to the “most wonderful time of the year.“

  • Take the time to ensure your daily campaign budgets are high enough to account for the increases seen in bid prices during the key holiday shopping days
  • Eliminate unproductive keywords, do this early and often
  • Be sure you are also including and experimenting with keywords that are unique to the product and the holiday shopping seasons. These seasonal keywords (think “stocking stuffer” for example) are ideal for ads designed to resonate with shoppers during specific times of the year
  • Refine bid prices, review the keywords you know for sure that you want to win and ensure your bidding strategy sets you up accordingly

Promotions

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are usually associated with deep discounts and once-a-year prices on must-have products and this is typically displayed on Amazon by way of Lightning Deals, Deal of the Day promotions, holiday gift guides, and category-based sales. If you as a seller/vendor are just becoming aware of this fact right now, it’s unfortunately too late to submit promotions for Cyber Monday and Black Friday, but there is still time to target days in early-December when many consumers are still very much looking for last-minute gifts for the holidays.

  • Lightning Deals
    • These are limited-time offers (in most cases, a six-hour deal) with a pre-determined total number of units available at that discounted price. This type of promotion often works very well because it serves to create a sense of urgency with the consumer that they may miss out. In order to qualify, your product price has to be at least 20% below list price and 5% lower than the lowest price (for that item) in the trailing 30-day time period (sometimes this trailing period is extended to 90 and even 180 days)
    • This type deal enable placement onto Amazon’s “Today’s Deal’s” page, which is Amazon’s most popular and most visited page each day
    • You as vendor or seller, control the percentage level of the discount as well as the total number of units subject to the discount
    • The downside is that these deals will often include a merchandising fee ranging from $150 to $500 each and depending on the date of the deal
  • Coupons
    • Offering a coupon for a discount on your product is another good way to include extra incentive for a consumer to convert to a buyer on your product. The great thing about Amazon coupons is that you can closely budget the funds available for promotions by limiting the total amount you are willing to fund towards the coupon, which essentially give you more control.
    • Coupons includes prominent icons which are easy to spot in both search results and on the product detail page, they play an important visual clue in that they alert the Amazon consumer know there is a deal to be had and savings to made.
  • Best Deals
    • These are deals where a price discount runs for up to two weeks on your product. The discount has to be 10% or greater, we usually recommend at least 20%. This is your next best deal (if you cannot get a lightning deal) since your product can still potentially be featured on the “Today’s Deals” page. This promotion, however, does not allow you to control how many units are subject to a discount, you can only control the duration. The caveat here and now, is the soonest you can schedule a Best Deal is 28 days out, which puts you past the window for Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

Inventory

The other incredibly important factor to consider during the peak selling season is your inventory levels. A solid advertising and promotional game, as outlined in the preceding paragraphs is completely based around inventory. If you (or Amazon) do not have inventory, it won’t matter!

If you are selling now via Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) consider using Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) as a backup plan so you do not miss out on sales. On the vendor side, we encourage clients to look at setting up a direct fulfillment offer to potentially compensate for Amazon not ordering enough inventory in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season.

Wrap Up

There’s little doubt that this holiday shopping season is going to be big! The good news is that Amazon offers plenty of merchandising tools and promotional levers designed to position your brand and your products on Amazon to take advantage of the traffic.

The bad news? It’s not always easy. If you’re not feeling 100% comfortable with approaching holidays or the position of your products on Amazon, the team at Zanoma can help. With services ranging from advertising, optimized detail page copy, A+ content, and more, our team of experts are ready and willing to ensure that you won’t have to go it alone.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you make this your best Q4 to date.

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