Eric Heller, CEO of Marketplace Ignition joined us for a Facebook Live event to talk about how sellers can take advantage of Amazon’s annual Prime Day shopping holiday even when they don’t have an official deal. Watch the replay or read the highlights from the event in this post.
Can sellers take advantage of Prime Day even if they don’t have a Prime Day deal?
Absolutely. You just need to understand what moves the needle on Amazon.
- Sellers should always start by optimizing their product detail pages if they can do so.
- Promotions and advertisements usually attract traffic from off of Amazon.
- People go to Amazon with the intent to buy.
What can sellers do if they don’t have a Prime Day deal?
Sellers need to optimize their product detail pages to reflect the product and not the offer. This is one of the main differences between eBay and Amazon. Ebay is offer focused. This means everyone’s offer gets its own product page. On Amazon, everyone’s offer is combined onto a single product detail page, which is what makes it a product-focus marketplace.
To this end, sellers must not add any content to the Amazon product detail page that’s focused on how they ship, price, or how amazing their company is or how authorized their company is to sell the product. None of this matters on Amazon. You only want to list things on the detail page that are directly related to that product.
If sellers really want to take advantage of Prime Day, they can’t add anything to their product detail page that mentions Prime Day specials, deals, etc. This is a violation of Amazon’s Terms of Service.
Paid and Earned Search
Don’t put any resources into paid search until you’ve dialed in earned or organic search. Make sure a page is converting as well as possible before spending money on advertisements.
Imagine you are selling your house. What would you need to do in order to sell it? You’d need to put a sign out in front stating that it’s for sale. You’d probably want to list it in the paper and online. But the first thing you would want to do is stage your house. Before you do anything, you need to bring in a cleaner, repaint it and freshen up the furniture. For Prime Day, you want to fix your house (i.e. your product detail pages) before you start trying to drive people to your house (i.e. paid search).
Remember, only some content on Amazon can be changed. This is assuming you own the listing and are the only seller on it. You should be using keyword research tools and researching what your competitors are doing.
The three most important types of content on Amazon
- The title
- The images
- The feature bullet points.
If you sell supplements, look at the top vitamin producers. If you sell electronics, look at the top selling products’ images. What you’ll notice is the images aren’t just of the product, they are more like magazine ads. Obviously, the first image has to be on a white background. But all of the other images should explain the key features. Assume shoppers will look at images before reading the bullet points.
What should a seller expect on the actual Prime Day event July 10-11?
There’s going to be a massive advertisement by Amazon that’s going to drive tons of traffic. It’s already happening through the Echo device. Assuming you’re fully optimized and you’re not running a Prime Day deal, what kinds of strategies can a seller implement to take advantage of the traffic?
- Price vs coupons: shoppers will always buy to price. Offer 10% off the price instead of a buy x and get y for z deal. A discount is always better than a deal.
- If you want to affect the most change on Amazon, a seller needs to change the price or win the buy box more.
- Price will beat coupons and on-page promotions.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of the event.
For example, Eric had a client that sold insoles for shoes. He asked his client what their holiday promotion plan was and their response was, “Holiday plan! Are you kidding? Could you imagine how crumby it would be to get socks, insoles, and shoes for Christmas? That would be terrible.”
His response was, “People are coming to Amazon and opening their wallets.” Even if you’re not discounting your price if Amazon’s traffic is 2x the only way a seller won’t see some lift is if their conversions fall. Sellers have to assume that there will be an increase, even in items that are non-seasonal. Remember, people will be on Amazon shopping for something else and they may remember they need another product.
The Basket Analogy
Prime Day is the biggest traffic event of the summer and it is worth spending the next week ensuring your detail page content is amazing. Don’t think people aren’t looking for a deal on insoles. People will be shopping for all sorts of products, just like when they go to Target or Walmart. Prime Day is a deal-focused event.
Should sellers raise their retail price to show a greater discount?
No. In general, the market is getting savvy. People look at CamelCamelCamel and track pricing. Manipulating the list price in order to get a percentage off is a gray area and it’s legally questionable to do that. So just don’t do it.
Customers usually know what a product costs. This will prevent potential sales. Besides, the winners in most categories on Amazon aren’t the lowest price. If you can’t discount, then make sure your product demonstrates all of the right reasons as to why someone would pay more for it. You always want to add value in the chain.
What’s a good product detail page good conversion rate?
That’s a really difficult question to answer. It depends on each product and category. If you’re above 4%, you’re doing fine. There are certain categories where you’ll see people who trust certain brands and you’ll see a conversion rate of 15%. If you’re doing double digits, you’re doing awesome. Anything around 5% is good but means there’s lots of room for improvements. And anything from 4-10% depends on your market.
There are two main components to Prime Day: sellers who are authorized resellers and sellers who own their brands and products.
Understand your P&L on the item level. Eric works with a number of companies where he asks what the margin target is and the companies will say something like “Is that an average margin target or an absolute margin target?”
In other words, does every item have that minimum hurdle? Either way, they are wrong vectors. Sellers should focus on every product they sell. For example, if you sell shoes, every size should have its own margin target. Understand you P&L at the long-SKU level. Meaning at the finest, most granular level and then pushing your target margin on the product.
Pro Tip: Amazon Seller and Product Feedback Hygiene
Many sellers aren’t thinking about the hygiene of their feedback. People think about listings all of the time but forget that Amazon has a contract with their customers. Feedback related to price aren’t usually valid because of price changes all of the time. Feedback about shipping, for example, that says the product arrived crushed isn’t related to the product but instead the shipper. This isn’t valid. Sellers need to make sure the feedback on their detail pages and seller accounts are valid because some of those can be removed. If there is a valid concern, make sure it’s removed to keep your product listing clean.
What kind of Sponsored Products advertising strategy does Eric give to his clients?
The number one thing Eric sees is that sellers aren’t thinking big enough on getting a full return on an ad spend model. Since Prime Day is earlier in the month, there’s going to be a lot of spending. Amazon probably knows this. Sellers need to be extremely vigilant—this isn’t the time to set it and forget it. Sellers need to be looking at their maximums throughout the day. They should set specific times to go in and evaluate their ads. Think about all of the traffic Amazon is going to receive. How quickly will sellers burn through their impressions and the clicks they’re paying for and how fast will sellers go through spend before they know their actual performance? Sellers need to set what they’re willing to spend before the day begins before spending their whole budget before 11 a.m.
And Sponsored Products delays ad information. So if you’re spending $1,000 a day and you increase it to $2,000 a day for Prime Day. You should check at lunch and see that you’re close to spending your entire budget—but you have no clue how that spend performed—do you risk it and spend another $1,000 or $2,000?
If you up your bid spend by 20% and you can see your orders are up by 25%, that would be one indicator that things are working. But you won’t be able to tie the ad spend to the sales immediately. Look at your Prime Day advertising as educated dart throwing. You should see your orders increasing at some type of pace that’s similar to your ad spending. Either way, sellers need to take advantage of this time because it’s hot.
The Halo Effect
The sales you generate on Prime Day are going to generate additional sales throughout the rest of the year. This could be a launching pad into Q4. Prime Day has the ability to raise a company’s market share.
You can move all of your non-Prime Day deals up by purchasing keywords and driving traffic to move all of your products up. It’s like a ratchet growth effect. One of the easiest things you can do is identify if your product is linked to another product in the “Frequently purchased together” section. This works two ways because if you want to move a key product you can bid on that product knowing that your lesser product is getting free spillover traffic from the key product’s detail page.
What can a seller do today to take advantage of the spillover?
The best thing a seller can do is to invest in some tools. Sellers need to understand why their competitors are winning and why others are winning against their products. What keywords are their competitors buying? Sellers need to know what keywords are driving sales for their products.
It’s never too late to get started. But it takes time. Sellers should adopt the 80/20 rule and focus on the top keywords that are driving 80 percent of their traffic. This all depends on the size of the catalog, or course.
Should sellers promote Prime Day deals to external traffic like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or their own e-commerce sites? If so, what kinds of results should sellers expect?
Yes, sellers should be driving traffic to their Amazon deals. One of the best indicators for sales rank and search rank are the additions of items to wish lists, off-Amazon traffic to Amazon and affiliates. Sellers need to understand who the influencers are in their space.
You can find a way to add affiliate links to sites that drive traffic to your Amazon products. Mommy blogs and fan groups on Facebook are great affiliate resources. The number one thing sellers want is to help their earned, or organic, search. You want people linking to your items and you want to drive people to your deals the morning of Prime Day.
If you have an audience outside of Amazon, invite them to come partake in your deals. This strategy is only useful if a seller has an affinity group set up. Facebook ads will help sellers who don’t have a group or audience. But remember that Facebook ads will be difficult to attribute into your products’ P&L report in such a short amount of time. If you’re not doing this, start. This will pay off big during the holidays.
- Update your product detail pages
- Run a price-based promotion for your products
- Use stackable coupons to further increase offers
- Increase your budget for Sponsored Products ads.