Give Your Sales a Real Gift This Holiday Season
Simple Ad Strategies for Amazon Holiday Success
The leaves are falling, and we can’t ignore it any longer. We’re well and truly into Q4 and that means only one thing: you should be well into holiday sales preparation. As you strategize the do’s and don’ts of ways to maximize profits and sales, here’s an overview primer on some best in class strategies that will get your sales, promotions, and most importantly, profits off to a great start.
What’s the Big Deal with the Holidays?
Success on Amazon is a long play. To sustain a healthy business, you need year-round visibility and sales, but the holiday season from Thanksgiving through Christmas is the biggest slice of that annual sales pie, and for good reason. In 2018, small and medium-sized businesses saw their Amazon holiday sales grow by 20 percent. During the four-day shopping weekend, 72 percent of shoppers visited Amazon to start their online shopping. At that same time, 180 Million items were ordered on Amazon, of which 4 million items were toys. It’s a pivotal sales window and platform that cannot be managed on the fly or without proper preparation regardless of category.
Important Dates and Thought Starters
Holiday planning started in August, or it should have. In late summer, you should have reviewed your inventory position, adjusted your pre-holiday stock levels and decided on which products will be your hero items this holiday season, garnering the most attention, clicks and ultimately, sales. There are mandatory dates for inventory readiness in October, and they cannot be missed. This month double-check inventory and ensure you have enough to fulfill demand during the season. As you do this, think broadly. Although Amazon drives the most online sales, your products exist within a multi-platform marketplace where consumers can encounter those products on your website, social media channels or other online marketplaces. Take a wide view of your cross-channel listings, pricing, and promotional strategy and know that in the consumer’s mind, Black Friday promotions can be found as early as the Monday of the holiday week.
Big Picture Strategies
It’s no news to say the holidays are a noisy, cluttered time with a lot of distractions for consumers. So, don’t forget you should expect to pay more to drive awareness and engagement during this period, and also for hard costs like additional returns. Consider the overall balance of display, search ads and particularly Lightning Deals in high search categories which can drive early visibility and quick sales. It’s worth noting too, that Amazon Advertising levers can create a halo effect for not just that product but others within your brand for consumers as they search on Amazon.
Review all content and when you think it’s great, review it again. Engaging, interactive content can go a long way to replicating the touch and feel experience of brick and mortar holiday shopping. It’s critical to ensure its not only retail ready but holiday optimized: colors, copy and imagery across every listing and every product ad are essential to fine tuning success during this time of year. Use A+ Content, Videos, and Brand Stores to help make your brand and shopping experience for shoppers more engaging and interactive.
Data-Driven Learnings – Don’t Go with the Gut
Data doesn’t lie but even still sellers are tempted to go with their gut. Always review the numbers from your own promotions and deals, as well as data Amazon provides you. If you ran Prime Day promotions, the data from these can help you create the most effective holiday plan possible. Look too at Amazon Brand Analytics data for category performance indicators. For instance, over Prime Day 2019 the cost-per-click dropped almost 6 percent across the Clothing, Jewelry and Shoe category despite an increase of 33 percent in ad spend and revenue rising by 540 percent. Plus, the average change in TACoS (total advertising cost of sale) was down 64 percent while the average cost of sale decreased by around 3 percent on average.
Black Friday sales inform Cyber Monday short term strategies too. Use sales data to re-target visitors to your store – and consumers in general – for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Using Sponsored Display Beta ads can loop those shoppers who were searching but did not click through to purchase back to your pages for an extra chance of converting. Remember that the holiday window is short this year with Black Friday falling on November 29, giving us all eight fewer shopping days than in 2018. Continue to test ad copy, bid levels and keywords to help zero in on the top-performing targeting tactics and content that is offering the best conversions.
As you build your overall ad strategy, consider both CPM display and CPC search options for Amazon as well as your other channels. Organic sales can benefit from paid ads. Consumers often search for a product type, not a brand, then encounter paid ads and re-search for the branded product. It’s a good idea to consider aggressive advertising for product types early in the run-up to the holidays to boost organics. Also, know discounts are not the ONLY strategy to drive volume sales. During 2019 Prime Day sales showed an 820 percent revenue increase on discounted products, while non discounted items also saw a bump of 496 percent. Use Ad Group Differentiation using advertising cost of sale (ACoS) as a guidepost. It enables you to start weeding out which products are performing well and deserve a higher bid vs. those products that are not performing well.
Once December arrives, Increase spend on Sponsored Brand Ads versus Sponsored Product Ads as these drive better conversion. Use Amazon’s Optimize my Ads Feature to alter ads in real-time based on user search intent. Sponsored Ads will automatically display the most relevant ASINs from your store or landing page based on shopper searches. All features are available in Campaign Manager, Campaign Builder, and Amazon Advertising API.
There’s a lot to think through to make your Amazon holiday sales successful. As you finalize the strategy, remember to give every product in your catalog a chance to perform not just the ones you want to do well. Monitor everything from initial listing to performance data and stay flexible for best the results.
If you need more specific holiday advice our Channel Key team is happy to discuss custom strategies and support for your sales.