Prime Day is here, and it’s a 48 hour event!
Last year’s Amazon Prime Day was such a huge event that it crashed their servers, resulting in thousands of ready-to-buy shoppers becoming instantly disappointed by 404 errors (at least temporarily). There was so much traffic that Amazon couldn’t handle it.
Think about that for a minute. Amazon is the largest eCommerce company ever in existence (whose CEO’s side project is building a spaceship). Their competitors only do a fraction of the business they do. But they could not handle the traffic influx generated by their own event.
While it was an embarrassing moment for Amazon, they still broke sales records. And they learned a great deal from it. In fact, they have been thinking about it nonstop for a year. Not only are they allocating more server capacity for this year’s event, they are extending it to 48 hours to limit traffic spikes related to the short time window of one day.
There is a lesson here. The sales event was so big that it was more traffic than Amazon’s site and app could handle. What does this mean for the sellers like you who power the Amazon machine? It’s time to get your inventory together.
The Truth About Prime Day
The truth is that the biggest boost Prime Day sees is from large name brands discounting high ticket items like electronics or appliances. Before Prime Day ever existed, consumers making these large purchases have been trained to “wait for the sale” and make a purchase when they know it will be discounted.
Add to that past criticisms of Prime Day as a ‘digital yard sale’ with marginal discounts on lesser-known products and you can see why Amazon has made a push to offer discounts on high-demand items.
Traditionally, Etsy is thought of as the anti-Amazon. When we think Amazon, we think mass-produced goods at the lowest price. But when we think Etsy, we think of something unique or one-of-a-kind.
This move can make some small sellers feel left out if they don’t offer those types of deals. But they can still benefit from the extra sales in other ways which we will touch on later. For many, Prime Day is simply a nice sales boost in July when sales can otherwise be flat.
Some sellers participate in the hourly specials offered. Others simply benefit from increased traffic to Amazon in general, which can result in extra sales, even if it’s not a specific Amazon Prime Day deal. There is debate among smaller sellers as to how much traction this actually still has. So either way, they are gearing up for the longest Prime Day ever.
Be Sure Manage All Of Your Channels In Anticipation Of Prime Day
As expected, other retailers are crashing the Amazon party. Literally. eBay is billing their event as a “crash sale,” a not so subtle shot at Amazon’s server crash from last year. Ouch!
Walmart is also expected to take advantage of the buzz and offer sales as well. If you sell on these platforms, you need to create a strategy to not only take advantage of the potential increase in sales, but to make sure you don’t overextend your inventory.
eBay and Walmart are likely to only do a fraction of the business that Amazon will do, but as the engines that power all of these sites, sellers will need to have inventory in order across all channels because the consumer cares less and less about where they buy. They care about what they get, and the value they get it for.
Since the package arrives in full Amazon garb, it’s like having your logo added to your competitors direct to consumer marketing, and getting paid to do so!
And if you use FBA to fulfill your non-Amazon orders, be prepared for an influx in FBA traffic. It’s inevitable that the increase in digital shopping traffic will spill over to more channels than just Amazon. Since FBA fulfills orders from other sales channels, there is concern that this year’s hiccup could be on the fulfillment side instead of the front end (website and app).
Amazon has offered assurances that their FBA services will be fully staffed to handle the influx. Just keep in mind that they also thought they had enough server space to handle last year’s traffic.
Sellers need to be able to diversify their channel offerings while maintaining the amount of stock in all marketplaces to meet consumers as they shop around for the best deal.
How To Succeed On Prime Day
While it’s true that most sellers on Amazon are not offering huge discounts on the latest Ultra HD television, there are still many ways that smaller sellers can work with Prime Day to increase sales.
Here are a few:
Participate on Amazon Deal of the Day: Amazon vendors (note: not all sellers) can participate in a “Deal of the Day” page for 24 hours. If you’re eligible to participate, you will probably be required to step up the discounts from the normal, 10 – 20 percent off sales, to compete with the offers all over the internet.
Use Amazon Coupons: Tag coupons onto your products, either for dollars off or percentages, to get a bright-colored badge by your products on several pages, including a coupon sales page. The deadline for this is July 12th, so act quickly!
Leverage Sponsored Products and Brands as well as Product Display Ads on Amazon: If you run ads on Amazon, make sure you review your ad campaigns, especially with products that are likely to be featured in a deal of the day or have a coupon. If you are running ads on Facebook or Google Shopping, make sure to pay close attention to your best sellers and the audiences who most often buy them. Create campaigns tailored specifically to these products and audiences.
How To Choose What To Discount?
This may generate the biggest debate about Prime Day. These are the two main theories: let Amazon boost your money-makers to sell even more or discount your slow sellers to get rid of them.
It may seem obvious to highlight and discount your best sellers on Prime Days. Doing so can improve your Inventory Performance Index (IPI) score simply because high sales improve your scores. But some sellers may be hesitant to offer discounts on a product that is already selling well without a discount.
Discounting your slow sellers is a good way to get rid of inventory that is costing more to keep, than it costs to offer a discount. Especially if you are racking up long-term storage fees from FBA. If the discounts are enough to move your product, then those discounts may offset what you were losing in storage.
The main consideration is cost. The 75% price increase to use FBA on Etsy and eBay orders may seem high, but consider the potential value. How much would it cost you to store, package and ship your merchandise?
Most sellers just choose what is right for them. If your inventory supports it, we suggest trying both approaches to see which one offers the best results. Not only will you learn something for next Prime Day, you can learn new ways to approach inventory management issues year round.
Start with your goal: What do you want to sell? From there, work each backwards until you have a solid plan that you can execute.
How do you best plan for Prime Day? Start with your goal: What do you want to sell? From there, work each backwards until you have a solid plan that you can execute.
Make sure you are ready to boost your sales by understanding which products you want to discount, how much inventory is allocated to each channel, and what is the best way to reach your best buyers.