With Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend on the horizon, it’s time for Amazon sellers to prep their stores for the upcoming rush. The final 10-11 weeks approaching the BFCM weekend are a golden opportunity for brands to bring record-breaking business.
Tapping into the potential of BFCM weekend requires forethought, effort and knowledge, which we are ready to provide.
In this article, we’ve shared a week-by-week task list that you can follow to prep your Amazon store for ballooning traffic and revenue during Turkey 5. If you plan ahead meticulously and put these best practices into action, you’ll have a reason to celebrate even after the holidays are over.
Important dates and deadlines leading up to Turkey 5
November 1: Last day to get inventory to Amazon warehouse for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season
November 24: Thanksgiving
November 25: Black Friday
November 26: Small Business Saturday
November 28: Cyber Monday
It’s go time!
Week 1: Inventory management
We’ll begin with inventory because without it, your PPC campaigns will pause and you’ll lose the Buy Box. It may take several weeks to restock the inventory and by that time, the opportunity and traffic will be long gone, meaning everything you did for the BFCM weekend was in vain.
That’s why sellers should be relentless with inventory forecasting. Better be overstocked than miss out on sales. The holiday season is coming right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so wait until the end of December to pull out any excess inventory.
Leverage inventory forecasting tools to get a better idea of the inventory you’ll need. Or analyze your year-over-year shipments and sales data to get an idea of holiday revenue lift. Rookie brands who do not have this data can use Prime Day to estimate the spike in sales.
If you are doing FBA, be prepared to immediately switch to FBM if your inventory runs out.
However, the biggest hurdle this year has been the inventory caps being forced on by Amazon ahead of the peak season. One seller wrote, “FBA Inventory Limitations are BACK. Just got the notification and now our limits have been slashed by 40%. Our IPI is fine as well.”.
As a pre-emptive measure, we recommend checking your restocking limit beforehand and tackling any logistics headaches as soon as possible. If you have been forced to slash your restock limits, we recommend replenishing inventory only for the top-moving SKUs. Pro tip: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Send multiple shipments instead of one to avoid shipment delays and inventory stock outs.
Week 2: Customer service
Risk proof your existing pre-purchase and post-purchase customer service strategies as your sales volume increase during the Black Friday weekend.
The quality of service you provide will shape customers’ views of your brand. If they’re happy, your products will get a five-star review; if not, your product reviews are more likely to go south.
- Immediately reply to any queries in the “Customer Question & Answers” section of your product detail page.
- While sellers cannot reply to reviews, brand registered sellers can respond to customers who left a critical review (1-3 star rating) by offering them a refund via a templated message.
- Be a little more lenient with refunds, returns and general customer concessions at this time of the year.
- If a customer contacts you with an issue in the buyer-seller messages, reply to them immediately and deal with it quickly.
Related post: 7 Expert post-purchase strategies for your Amazon store
Week 3: Reinforce brand protection
The last thing you want during the peak sale days is to see your top-selling product getting hijacked by an unauthorized 3P seller. Listing hijackers are more likely to pop around Prime Day and BFCM weekend to make a quick buck.
Here are some of the tips to mitigate their actions
- Keep your eyes open and monitor your listings very closely, especially when the event is running
- Brand your products better and create a distinct image
- Add your brand logo to your product and its packaging
- Enroll in the brand registry program
- Register in programs like Project Zero
- If you find any counterfeits, immediately submit a complaint with Amazon
Week 4: Dress your listing for success
Bringing in traffic to your detail page is easy. Getting them to click on the “Add to Cart” button can be tricky. Are you doing everything to ensure the visitors on your listing are converted to paying customers? Improving your images and detail page copy will give you a vital edge.
Optimize everything a customer interacts with – title, bullets, description, A+ Content, reviews, Customer Question and Answer section and Price.
Content can take some time to index, so it is essential that you optimize your listings way ahead of the BFCM weekend.
Instead of taking the DIY route, we recommend hiring an expert Amazon marketing specialist to do the job.
- Refresh your title, copy and backend search terms with Black Friday and Cyber Monday related keywords.
- Go through critical customer reviews and try to address those issues in your listing copy and images.
- Ensure you fill all available image slots with white background, infographics and lifestyle images.
- Add timely and seasonal catchphrases in your listing copy and A+ Content so shoppers can better relate to your products.
- Create or optimize Amazon A+ Content to add an extra layer of confidence in the customer’s mind.
Week 5: Set up promotions and discounts
Shoppers expected to be wowed with deals, discounts and promotions on the BFCM weekend. Your competitors are going to leave no stone unturned in setting up compelling offers that win clicks and sales.
So if you want to successfully cut through the noise and connect with the shoppers, you’ll need to tee up compelling discount offers that align with shopper expectations.
Week 6: Create Virtual Product Bundles
With virtual product bundles, sellers can sell complementary products together without having to physically ship inventory to FBA warehouses. The virtual product bundle tool can be accessed from the “Brands” section of your Seller Central dashboard.
Your product copy and images can inform customers how buying these two products together makes complete sense.
Please note that products enrolled in virtual bundle may be shipped separately to the shoppers. So it is better to inform customers beforehand that they won’t necessarily receive items simultaneously.
Know more about virtual product bundles here: Everything you need to know about Amazon virtual product bundles
Week 7: Create Store Versions
Amazon’s latest Store Versions feature allows brand-registered sellers to create a Black Friday or Holiday-themed store that would run only for a specific period of time.
Brands can create a Black Friday centric store that will run for that day only, highlighting all the deals on your product line. With Store Versions, they can get your holiday-themed store up and running without worrying about the typical, time-consuming approval process.
Ask the team that worked on your Amazon Brand Store to make edits to create a new version of your store.
Week 8: Prep your Amazon advertising campaigns
No big sale days are over without Amazon PPC ads. Sponsored Ads are instrumental in winning big during these massive sale holidays. Strategically created Amazon ads campaigns can help you maximize the number of eyes on deals and promotions you have been running on your products.
- Make the most of all available ad types – Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display.
- Utilize Sponsored Display targeting to cross-sell your product line. Doing this will prevent competitors from luring shoppers away from your detail page and increase awareness of the product catalog.
- Use Sponsored Products to push your products that have deals and promotions running.
- Refresh your Sponsored Brand creative with Holiday or Black Friday themed imagery and copy.
- Include only deal ASINs in your advertising campaigns.
- Create holiday-specific campaigns with holiday unique keywords and high converting keywords.
- Increase campaign budget on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If ACOS is a concern, focus only on the key terms, high converting keywords and brand keywords.
- Carefully monitor your profitable keywords and if you are not getting the placements you want, be aggressive with bidding.
- Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, the competition gets cutthroat. Your products and ads will be attacked with the hope of stealing your stake in the market share and paid ad positions. Ensure you have a solid defense strategy in place to prevent getting trumped by competing brands.
- Shoppers have been trained to look for deals early in the season. So we recommend starting your PPC campaigns 2-3 weeks ahead of the event.
Week 9: Plan to bring off-Amazon traffic
During peak traffic periods like this, there has been a lot of comparison shopping going on. It can be difficult for new brands to grab shoppers’ attention even after draining money on Amazon PPC.
Driving your existing email, social media, or website traffic to Amazon will prove to be a cost-effective way to close a sale.
Week 10: Start generating early buzz
Now is the ideal time to put your products and brands in front of early birds and shoppers who are just browsing through deals before the BFCM weekend. We recommend ramping up your efforts beginning this week. Start with small promotional offers, and try to draw more and more purchase-ready customers to your product detail page.
Starting early will give your brand a competitive advantage before the demand and traffic skyrockets.
During the event
Once the event has begun, keep on monitoring your campaigns to ensure they are running and delivering. If they’re not, immediately troubleshoot the issue by adjusting the budget or verifying and fixing the issue that’s stopping ads from showing up on the platform. Ask your Amazon management consultant to check your account and listings every few hours to ensure everything’s in control.
The rush is over; now what?
Once the dust has settled, it’s time to reveal the performance of your products and reflect on what went wrong and what could have worked better.
Now that you have some time on hand, you can start thinking about catalog expansion and begin planning for the next busy season. Take some time to optimize low performers as well, ensuring that they rake in better sales during the holidays.
Need help managing your Amazon store during the holidays?
Preparation can be a daunting and overwhelming task. But planning in advance can help you overcome the madness and rush of activity that spans between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The more prepared you are for the event, the more successful it will be.
Amazon consultants at eStore Factory can help your brand get ready for the year’s biggest and busiest online sales event and set up a robust foundation for success. Our specialized Amazon experts will create and implement a comprehensive, data-driven strategy while you can focus on other additional tasks at hand.