It’s that time of the year again, the sun’s bright as usual and the days are longer as usual but….nothing feels normal. Yes, it’s that time of the year again, but things have changed now, for everyone.
For some of us, the first half of 2020 was the most profitable in history, for some depressing and for most frustrating. No matter in which situation you were in, two months from now would be completely different. Being an Amazon seller, getting perplexed isn’t an option; you need to be prepared for what may come. And so this is the time you should forget about what happened and focus on what you can do to make everything right for your Amazon store.
You had no time to plan for the unexpected pandemic but you can for the upcoming holidays. For the second half of 2020, you should have a laser-like focus on keeping your clientele satisfied, maximizing profits and protecting your business operation. However, for this year, you won’t have to prepare for the obvious things that may happen (sales jump) but also for the not-so-obvious things that might happen (supply channel disruptions). The action plan and guidelines you had for last year won’t work this year, so it is necessary that you start everything from the beginning. In this week’s blog post, I have rounded up some tips that will help you fine-tune your Amazon store for the “new normal” and be prepared for the unknown.
#1: It’s Never Too Early To Start
As it is rightly said, “Every Battle Is Won Before It’s Even Fought”. The same is true for Q3 and A4. The year is full of uncertainties, so be sure to prepare three times better and stay prepared for unexpected plot twists out of nowhere. What if there is a logistic upset occurring again, what if Amazon decides to pause the lightning deals? Are you and your Amazon store prepared for these situations? If not, now is the right to time to do it. It’s up to you to be ready for anything the year brings on.
At the same time, this would be the best moment to let your customers know about the fantastic products you have in your store. This way, your brand will be on the top of the mind of the customer during the discount period. The early bird gets the worm so you should have an action plan ready with you. If you don’t have it ready yet, ask your Amazon Professional. Never be left behind just because you didn’t take steps when you had the time for it.
#2: Lightning Deals & Coupons Are The Star Of The Show
These traffic-driving deals are a big draw in Q3 and Q4, especially in the holidays and sale days like Prime Day, Black Friday & Cyber Monday. If you have any excess or slow moving stock that is costing you money in the warehouses, then lighting deals is the best way to get rid of it. Plus lightning deals will get you better visibility and sales than any other form of advertising. However, there is an eligibility criteria for lightning deals so you must submit them to Amazon. The lightning deals submission date for Prime Day is 10th July. While lightning deals are essential for bringing in the traffic, coupons will help you to delight the customers and increase conversions. Use both in conjunction and see your sales skyrocket in the next few months.
#3: If You Missed On Lightning Deals, Try Sale Price
In Q3 and especially Q4, apart from Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brand ads, sellers also tend to utilize Lightning Deals and Coupons for better conversions and sales. However, the time is different now and so is Amazon’s priority. Many reports have claimed that Amazon is trying to sell less. In fact, in the last month, they had completely disabled the ability to create coupons and removed the deals page from its home page. In case, if such a situation arises again, you can always offer sales price on your listing.
#4: Your PPC Strategy Will Change Too
The next few months are going to be full off increased traffic, clicks and sales. And because Amazon will see higher traffic, don’t hesitate to increase your budget. In the same way, accept that high ACOS is okay too. What you need to keep in mind is that you target your ad campaigns with relevant keywords which drives traffic that converts. For that, you will need a thorough Amazon Keyword Research done by experts. Make sure you include each and every product in your catalog in your campaigns, none of them should be missed out. You can also make separate campaigns for high performing and low performing ASINs.
#5: Try Building A “Local” Community
#shoplocal, #shopsmall, #supportlocalbusiness are trending these days. Shopper’s mindset is drastically changing and at the same time, they are looking at your brand differently. People want to purchase from businesses through which they feel they are contributing a little in these times. If your product is Made In The USA or if your brand is contributing a part of the sales in the charity, don’t miss to highlight this point. Moreover, try to build a sort of relationship with your customer. The more a customer feels connected with you and trusts you as a brand, the more likely are they to purchase from you. There are many ways with which you can “build a community”. You can increase your presence on the social media account, run an email campaign, write blogs and engage the audience or share Social Media Promo Codes to bring outside traffic on Amazon. You can also try a contest where shoppers can post a photo of a product in use.
#6: Never Put Your Eggs In One Basket: Use FBA, But Also Find An Alternative
Everyone agrees: FBA is a boon for Amazon sellers. Sellers could ship and fulfil the product with no effort on their side. Sellers were so much reliant on FBA that some of them didn’t even have an alternate fulfilment option ready with them. In March, when Amazon prioritized the shipment of essential items, sellers were into a dilemma as to what should be there next move. The shipments were delayed and the delivery dates showed two months even to the Prime Sellers. Owing to delayed deliveries, many sellers got negative reviews on their listing. Don’t make this mistake again. The uncertain times aren’t over yet; they have just begun. If Amazon gets overwhelmed during the high sales day, it may again take this decision to delay shipments. You don’t want to happen, do you? Try FBM; Seller Fulfilled Prime or other 3PL options for a few months. Also, make sure you have adequate stock for the upcoming holidays. Popular products sell like hotcakes and they will too this year.
#7: Change The Way You Present Your Products
Customer’s buying preference has completely changed. Those buying makeup products are now looking for face packs and skincare essentials, shoppers buying a car sunshade are now looking for products that can help them work from home. Similarly, their gifting choices would also change, instead of giving a BBQ set, shoppers might think of giving a phone sanitizer. Identify how your product can be useful to people in these times and try to incorporate that in your listing content, images and ad creatives.
#8 Look For Traffic Beyond Amazon
Product unavailability in brick and mortar stores has pushed online businesses 10 years into the future. Social distancing and fear have compelled the shoppers to purchase online. Experts suggest that the paradigm shift in this behavioral pattern is going to last even after the stores open. For online seller like you, that means more and more people will now make a habit to buy everything from grocery to luxury online. To capitalize on it, you should find ways to bring off-Amazon traffic. Share your gleaming 5-star reviews on social media, upload your product videos to YouTube, share your Amazon product page link on your blog or guest blogs, or advertise your products with the help of influencers; social media influencers are the in-thing these days.
Related: How to bring off-Amazon traffic
#9: Keep A Check On Reviews
The negative reviews and returns this year has hit an all-time high and they will even go higher during the holiday season. And if you are not using FBA, you will face more trouble handling everything single-handedly. During the high-sales period, if your listing has a bunch of negative reviews and ratings, then it won’t just harm your account health but dramatically reduce conversions. This is the last thing you want to now. Start fixing the reviews from today. Go to your listings, make a detailed list of negative reviews and find the reason. Be transparent with your customers and explain the situation. Try giving them a refund and ask them to remove the review. Don’t forget to check your seller feedback as well. Also, try to get increase the reviews with the help of tools or email campaigns. Before the holiday season begins, make sure you have better (and more) ratings and reviews and you will see a real uptick in conversions.
#10: Break No Rules
You want to avoid any flags on your account. Because of COVID-19, the retail giant has made enormous changes in its TOS. Remember when Amazon used to block listings if it had pesticide word written in it, even if it was an electronic item? Yes, Amazon bots are just a bunch of idiots. The same can happen again, even if Amazon suspects that you are price gouging or the quality of the product is deteriorated, then your account can be suspended. And I am not saying it just like that; I have seen such instance in recent time where a huge Amazon seller’s account got suspended just because a customer doubted its authenticity. And they were brand registered sellers. And they are having a hard time having the account reinstated.
More recently there are multiple sellers complaining about their listings getting blocked because of an unknown reason. Upon researching, I came to know that any certification or claim without proof can get your listing blocked. For example, Claims like FDA approved or GMP certified. Some of the listings that were blocked the Best Selling products. If you are not careful and updated, you would also be in the list of the unfortunate sellers. Starting from June 1, Amazon has also restarted tracking and suspending selling accounts with high cancellation rate, late shipment rate, or order defect rate. If you want to make the most of Q3 and A4, make sure your account health is up to date.
All The Best For The Good Times Ahead!
All I would like to say is that start the next half of 2020 on a good note and with a positive mindset. Don’t cut down on efforts just because you are not getting the results instantly. In fact, this is the time to double or triple your efforts. If the prediction of the e-commerce boom is accurate, Amazon sellers are going to be in a great place a few years from now. And if you are successful in positioning your business right now, you could actually have the best time of your life in the future. To ensure the success in Q3 and Q4 consider hiring professional Amazon consultants from experienced Amazon Agency like eStore Factory.