Amazon and the Holidays
The Q4 holiday season is always a busy time for serious Amazon sellers. During the Q4 holiday season, many Amazon stores see sales peak – among other things. Shoppers are most active this time of year, eager to snag the best deals as they load up on gifts and coveted personal items. This is the time when sellers can take advantage of the shopping madness to boost their annual averages. But many more sellers could take better advantage of this prime time by properly optimizing advertising targeted to Q4 holiday season shoppers.
Plan Your Strategy
Amazon shipped out over 1 billion items last Q4 holiday season. More than 50% of this number is sold by Amazon itself, leaving about 500 million accounted for by the few million sellers on the platform. How much did you sell last Q4 holiday season? Are you getting your fair share? Yes or no, you could be selling a lot more. You need a strategy to manage your advertising efforts this coming season to maximize sales. Use what you’ve learned from past Q4 holiday season campaigns to prepare beter ones for this year.
Choose Your Products
Not every item in your inventory needs its own special advertising campaign. Doing this can be very costly, and you won’t get equal returns for every product. Instead, select which products you want to promote during the Q4 holiday season and focus on creating campaigns to highlight them. Your best sellers should of course be on your initial list, and a few others that you know will bring in the real moolah this season. To help you make the selection, look at indicators such as the number and quality of the reviews that you have gotten for each product.
Revamp Product Pages
Once you have made your selection, look over your product pages. If they lack the wow factor, spend some time right now making them better. Advertising will only get people to your pages, and it’s up to you to make sure that they have what it takes to turn browsers into buyers. Prepare excellent content that gives customers the information that they are looking for. Your images and text should be of the highest quality and work together to properly showcase your products.
Set Up Lightning Deals
You should know as early as now what Lightning Deal promos you want to run over the Q4 holiday season. Which products are you going to feature? Draft your proposals and get them reviewed by Amazon before everything gets too hectic – both for you and for Amazon. What Product Display should you use? Take some time now to go over the available options and the data from last year to choose the targeting strategy that seems most likely to succeed for your product. Choose a few if you are not sure and use the time between now and the beginning of the holiday rush to test them out. By Black Friday, you should be all set up to run your promos with not so much as a hiccup.
We are all trying to keep things lean and not spend unnecessarily, but you need to start your campaigns early to get the best results. Some advise setting up and running campaigns as much as three months in advance of the official start of the Q4 holiday season. Waiting until Black Friday hits before you launch your campaigns doesn’t give them enough time to gain the traction that they need to perform to your expectations. Also, remember that the performance of AMS campaigns gets stronger over time. The biggest shopping days are Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and any deals you want running on those days have to be ready before they come around.
It might seem odd to hear us telling you to get online when you are already, having an ecommerce store on Amazon. But more and more, holiday shopping is moving over to the online arena. People have busy schedules and the usual Q4 holiday season crowds can be so draining. People are choosing to take the virtual walk through online stores rather than risk the blisters and headaches of walking the malls and markets. To take advantage of this shift as ecommerce grows, you need to up your game.
It’s never too early to start building a presence on the most popular online hangouts. Marketing your brand through sharing information on these channels is one of the best decisions any business can make. You can use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to get the word out about your brand and your products. These sites get millions of visits and are already often used as places where people go to get good information and honest reviews about different items. By building a presence there, you can participate in conversations and provide useful information to shoppers.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Don’t be tempted to set your campaigns and leave them as you focus on other aspects of getting through the Q4 holiday season. There is a lot to do, for sure, but you need to stay focused on your campaigns throughout if you want them to work for you. By managing your campaigns, you can maximize returns on your ad spends, cutting waste down by over 30%. If necessary, get extra help for the Q4 holiday season so that you can be there to do the optimization and tweaking necessary to reap maximum sales.
One of the tweaks that you will need to do to ensure top campaign performance is increasing daily ad spends and bids at key points. Again, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are peak days when you will want to make sure that you have a high enough daily spend. Otherwise, you will hit zero fairly quickly and lose out on a huge portion of your potential sales. Your bids should go a bit higher as well so you can boost impressions enough to offset the total return on ad spend.
This last Amazon Prime Day was the biggest yet, and sales overtook last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Take advantage of the available Prime Day sales data to help you plan your Q4 holiday season campaigns. There is a lot that you can learn from the different products that sold well and poorly as well as the performance of the campaigns that backed them.
Part of the stress of the Q4 holiday season, and closely linked to increases in sales and shopper stress, is an increase in returns and feedback. Use the information that you have on past returns and reviews to improve your products going into this season. You can greatly improve the customer experience this way and avoid painful experiences that can drain you and steal your Q4 holiday season success.