- Will Marcotte
- On November 12, 2019
Have you looked at our Amazon holiday calendar lately? Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, ready to reward the prepared, and punish the unready. While you may feel that 2019 has gotten away from you, it’s not too late to take action and take advantage of the rising tide of customers. We’ve organized some last-minute tips for Amazon sellers still looking to boost Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Here are the essential (must-do) and the beneficial (try to make them happen) tips you can still use to move the Black Friday/Cyber Monday needle.
Essential Amazon Seller Prep for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
1. Audit Your Advertising, and Make Relevant Changes
When’s the last time you audited your advertising? If it’s been more than a week or two, you’re overdue for auditing your Amazon ad campaigns. Things change quickly on Amazon, especially in the last quarter of the year so take a deep dive into your advertising every couple of weeks (or more frequently).
Amazon Advertising: The Head, Torso, Tail Method
- Head = The top 20% of your products, the most-important high-velocity ASINs. Focus the majority of your advertising budget on these. Use ad scheduling, dynamic up and down bidding, and placement modifiers on high ROI placements.
- Torso = The middle 60% of your products, the lower-velocity ASINs that still produce for you. Focus a small portion of your Amazon ad budget on these. Focus on dynamic down only bidding.
- Tail = The bottom 20% of your products: the “Should you even be selling these?” items. Limit or even omit your advertising when your CPC begins to climb or your profitability otherwise drops.
Remember, less is more! Use fewer (but stronger) keywords. Instead of spreading your ad spend all around, find your best converters and spend on them. Lower the spend on poor performers or disable them entirely. Catch our recent webinar, Maximize Q4 Profitability: Optimize Amazon Advertising for the Holidays, for more info on these tactics.
2. Check Proximity to Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers
Pop quiz! Where’s the nearest Amazon warehouse to you? If it’s relatively close (find out on this list of Amazon Fulfillment Centers), you may still have time to ship merchandise in and have it in stock for the rest of the quarter (November 6 was the cutoff for FBA shipments guaranteed for Black Friday and Cyber Monday; December 3 is the cutoff for FBA inventory guaranteed for holiday gifting). Keep in mind the holiday inventory madness and look at your track record with how quickly that warehouse has handled past check-ins.
3. Avoid Nasty Surprises: Keep a Close Eye on Your Account
How often do you check your account health in Seller Central? If you’ve been doing just fine checking it occasionally, make that a more frequent practice during the holiday season. Make time for a daily check. The last thing you want is to check on your account after a week only to find that you’re teetering on suspension.
4. Resist the Temptation to Add Holiday Focused Keywords to Non-Holiday Products
If you’re thinking about adding new keywords to your advertising or listing, especially those such as “Christmas present” or “holiday gift,” reconsider. Instead, focus on what has already worked well in the past. The most important factor to consider is that during the holiday season, traffic is increasing across Amazon. That means more eyes on your products and potentially more customers. But impressions aren’t the same as conversions, and a buyer who feels misled by your holiday verbiage is more likely to bounce from your page and to that of a competitor, in turn, harming your ranking (bounce counts) and losing you the sale.
Beneficial Prep for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
1. Use Your Existing Data to Your Advantage: Check Historical Data and Inventory
Do you have data from 2018’s holiday season? Use that to your advantage! If you don’t have that, look to Prime Day 2019 for some sense of the data. What sold the most during these times? Was it consistently a particular product? That product will likely continue to sell well during the holiday season. Can you make it more enticing for 2019 buyers? Read how Seller Labs Pro’s Performance Center Powered by Quantify can help.
Always ensure that you have the proper inventory to support the increased sales volume. Remember that Amazon deducts health score points for stockouts or late shipments. Set yourself up for success, read What to Do When You’re About to Stock Out.
2. Consider If (and Which) Promotions Are Right for You
Lightning Deal availability for the holiday season has come and gone, but you can still think about coupons and deals. If you’re eligible for a promotion, and you can enact it profitably, go for it in an attempt to sell the volume that will boost your search rankings.
3. Use Ad Scheduling to Find Out and Stretch Your Ad Budget to Advertise When Your Shoppers Actually Buy
Using Ignite, get the edge on your competitors by using ad scheduling (AKA dayparting) to determine which periods of which days give you the best sales. Once you find that sweet spot, put the majority of your advertising dollars towards the time of day that has been proven to be successful. Disable your ad campaigns during spells that have high CPC.
4. Focus Forward and on the Future
Sure, sales lessen after Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holidays, but there are still myriad opportunities for increased sales afterward. Just think of all of the gift-card recipients eager to shop! And Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s day aren’t far off, both historically showing increased customer traffic before each holiday. Easter isn’t as early, but it’s another high-traffic holiday that could help you generate additional sales. Before all of these, however, Chinese New Year will be here in late January 2020; Amazon traffic has seen tremendous growth for this holiday in the last few years. Use these times of increased traffic to your advantage, and keep that flywheel moving!
Go Ahead, You Got This!
Now that you’ve gone over our recommendations, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are that much closer. Take what you’ve learned and make the 2019 holiday season your best sales period ever! Oh, and as a bonus tip: make notes of what worked best for you. Those notes will be key to your success come Prime Day 2020.