Typically slated for mid-July, Amazon Prime Day, an event promising two days of epic deals, will take place June 21-22 this year. Last year, third-party sellers scored a collective $3.5 billion in sales on Prime Day alone, making this event a key opportunity for small to medium sized brands in a variety of product categories.
We spoke to small businesses and consultants to find out more about why Prime Day is particularly important for ambitious small businesses and what they can do to capitalize on this key sales opportunity.
Have a robust fulfillment plan
From dual fulfillment plans to early ordering, sellers can’t make the sale if they don’t have the products in stock. “I always recommend that sellers have dual fulfillment set up,” said Shannon Roddy, founder and CEO of Marketplace Seller Courses. “This means that a business listed on Seller Central will create a merchant-fulfilled offer, in which the seller is responsible for fulfilling orders directly, in addition to their FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) offer, in which Amazon is responsible for fulfilling orders, to avoid being out of stock,” he explained.
Richard Elden, founder and CEO of dbest products, a top-selling utility cart brand, agrees that diversification is the best inventory strategy.
“It’s important to plan inventory early and really load up because the goal is to have continued success and visibility for weeks beyond just the Prime Day event,” he said.
Have authentic UPCs
Amazon recently reiterated in a blog post why valid UPCs need to be associated with seller product listings and warned that those that do not have correct UPCs will be removed.
The last thing any seller wants is to risk being delisted during one of the busiest times of the year. But that risk is mitigated through an authentic UPC barcode. The numbers encoded into a UPC, issued by the standards body GS1 US, uniquely identify a product in an online product listing, which helps their products surface in more search engine results and prove that a product is legitimate.
These critical numbers, coupled with good quality product information, can help small brands’ products stand out among competitors. “We make sure we have A+ content ready for Prime Day,” said Kelly Ennis, director, marketplace strategy and analytics, JAM Paper, a family-owned company offering a wide range of colorful paper, envelopes, folders and more. “We focus on our product listings being accurate and complete, and that they have plenty of high-res images.”
Fine tune your marketing campaigns
"You don’t want to overspend when there is a huge influx of traffic a few days before Prime Day—there are lots of purchasers clicking but waiting until the deals start,” said Camron James, a mentor for the Amazon seller community. He advises that now is a good time to check that pay-per-click campaign and lower bids where you see fit.
Elden of dbest products says Prime Day marketing is all about jockeying for the best ranking. “We want to be top ranked when a shopper searches for “shopping cart,” “rolling cooler,” or “teacher cart.” Prime Day is an opportunity to run a promotion when you have more eyeballs on Amazon than any other time of year,” said Elden.
Destaney Wishon of Better AMS, an agency specializing in Amazon advertising, says it’s important to focus on driving brand loyalty. “Many sellers are concerned about balancing margins and cash flow but focusing on driving impressions during Prime Day can ultimately help your long-term profitability.”
Ennis of JAM Paper points out that the erratic timing of recent Prime Days has made forecasting difficult. “Our historical data was somewhat unreliable due to the timing, so we combined items we know did well in the past with what we typically see selling in June. We also like to add coupons to items to take advantage of the increased traffic during this time,” explained Ennis.
Ultimately, Prime Day is a big opportunity for small businesses. Now is the time to examine your strategies and ensure you are prepared to capitalize on this high-profile retail event.