For those who want to skip the preamble and jump right to CommerceIQ’s Prime Day Success Punch List, please scroll down and feel free to share our infographic with your peers! But, for those who want more context on what to expect June 21 and 22, here are a few thoughts about this major e-commerce event.
The Chimera in the Room – Prime Day 2020 was WEIRD
First, we all know that Prime Day last year was a crazy chimera. The event consisted of Covid-driven supply chain failures, Amazon’s move of the Summer event to October (pushing it right up against holiday) and a focus on indoor and pet products driven by a worldwide quarantined shopper base and timing into the fall/winter buying season.
What is 2021 Going to Look Like?
Look, everyone knows Instant Pot has owned Prime Day for the past 5 years, and there’s no reason to believe that will change. The whole category practically builds its sales strategy around the day. The gains that robot vacuums have been making will likely continue. The commoditization of household goods means it is tailor-made for a deal/price-driven strategy.
However, because Prime Day has returned to summer, just as travel is opening up again, indicates this year’s event will be huge for outdoor products – furniture, apparel, sporting goods. While we saw Covid-driven growth rates diminish in home appliances and FMCG categories over the past two quarters, home improvement and outdoor products will have sustained growth levels.
Also, I say “Prime Days” intentionally, because Prime Day is clearly no longer a single-day event. In 2019, Amazon expanded Prime Day itself to 48 hours and doesn’t show any signs of rolling back. On top of that, many brands often get a jump on the event by offering advance deals. With one month still left to go, Tom’s Guide is already showing deals from 13 major brands. If all you’re focusing on is June 21-22, take a look at what can be put into place two weeks prior to the event.
Prime Day is 3 Weeks Away and I Don’t Have Deals! What Do I Do?
So, you may notice the timeline begins at 120 days. Yes. Ideally, like most of our customers, you began preparing for Prime Day in March. But if you didn’t, don’t panic, because (A) there is still time to get all of these things done, you just need to play some catchup, and (B) Prime Day is the kind of event that lifts all boats. The sheer amount of traffic lifts sales on products that don’t even have deals. But to truly capitalize on the additional momentum this event brings, below are a few things brands can start doing now.
- Increase and Target Ad Spend: If your brand isn’t funding discounts, use that budget on advertising. Watch the products going on sale and make sure your advertising platform is ready and able to surge spend on the best comparable products. Increase display ad spending budgets now: target competitor detail pages, use category-profile targeted ads to build pre-event brand awareness and use network placements to target customers pre-shopping before the event start (on deal and news sites).
- Price Discounts and VPCs: Vendor-Powered Coupons and funding of basic price discounts are your best friend now. They don’t require Amazon approval and while they may not get the Deals Page attention that Lightning Deals and Deals of the Day get, they are still just as effective for the 90% of customers that will be using product searches to find products. During an event like Prime Day, even though customers are looking for deals and making “net-cast” impulse purchases based on deep discounts, most are still “spear-fishing” and looking for specific products or types of products. Also, start setting up SNS campaigns now to leverage longer-term sales from new customers captured during the event.
- Conversion Drivers: There is still time to tighten up content and variations.
- Technology and AI: Finally, there is still time to put a tech platform in place that can do a lot of the heavy lifting and automation. E-commerce channel optimization technology will watch your products and those of your competitors to uncover and act on Prime Day promotions – where out of stock competitive products are susceptible to advertising attacks, and where your brand’s in-stock or conversion-challenged products need to shift and become more visible.
If Prime Day is So Important, Why Are There So Many Fails?
Prime Day(s) is by now well-established as one of the cornerstone events of the retail year, much like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Singles Day, Memorial Day, and…yes… the “Big Game.” Yet, every year, major brands that are accomplished and skilled stumble and miss out on sales they could have had. Planned promotions suddenly fail, traffic is pointed at products that have poor content, important products suddenly face suppressions or buy box losses. Why?
The main reason is that e-commerce retail is inherently complex. There are approximately 40 factors a brand needs to watch on each product every single day. Discounts on other channels can cause Amazon to lower its price and make a product ineligible for a planned Prime Day promotion, content gets overridden, or content teams don’t get the message that sales or advertising has chosen to promote a new product. In addition, 3P sellers use deep discounts (often funded by trade spend they got from the brand) to grab buy boxes at an accelerated pace and launch unauthorized variations to grab sales from key products. “Black hat” actors both 3P and 1P may file fake complaints to trigger suppressions, or product data issues that Amazon has long ignored may suddenly get actioned. There are simply too many things that can change or impact performance at any given point.
There is a way to overcome this, however. Start by dividing activity into specific missions: strategize, execute, confirm, lock-in, monitor, adapt, leverage. The simple task of planning and focusing for each week in the months leading up to Prime Day will help. However, during the final lead-up and the event itself – real optimization does require some kind of technology platform capable of helping your e-commerce team monitor and respond to changes quickly.
Prime Day Success Punch List
Specific Things to watch out for
- Promo Eligibility Requirements (will stop promos in their tracks if they get triggered)
- Price drops below promo price
- Inventory drops below projected units needed to fulfill promo
- Promo ASINs CRaP out
- You lose Buybox during promo
- Ads will not run if you are out of stock, lose buybox, or run out of daily budget
- CPCs will begin to increase 1-2 weeks before Prime Day, and will increase at least 2x, so plan budgets accordingly
- Private label manufacturers and 3P sellers will attack ASINs with falsified customer complaints to cause suppressions on key competitive ASINs
The Daily Scrum is a time-boxed event to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours to meet the desired goals. Start with weekly stand ups and gradually increase the frequency as the process becomes more streamlined.
What happens during SCRUM?
- What did I complete yesterday that contributed to meeting our goal?
- What do I plan to complete today to contribute to meeting our goal?
- Impediment that could prevent me or the team from meeting our goal?
- Assign tasks to individuals based on root cause, e.g. 3 SKUs dropped in sales due to inventory issues and supply chain lead needs to ensure POs are filled or 3 other SKUs have seen fall in demand and needs AMS support,
- Share impediments/challenges/new initiatives in each functional area.
How Technology Helps Brands Win on Prime Day
- Provides visibility into business metrics for custom “slices” of your catalog
- Automatically scans for, alerts you to, and initiates action on issues (buybox, out of stock, suppression, content or variation changes)
- Automatically adjusts spend based on your in-stock, competitor in-stock, your organic search position, and shopper conversion behavior
To find out how CommerceIQ can help make Prime Day a success for your brand, contact us to Request a Demo today.
Additional Prime Day Tips for CommerceIQ Customers Only:
30 – 14 days prior
- Create filters in CommerceIQ of
- ASINs that will go on promo
- “Halo” ASINs that are varied with promo ASINs, are related to promo ASINs (accessories) or are substitute purchase for promo ASINs (upsells & downsells)
- Set up email subscription alerts for OOS, Suppression, CRaP, and Competitor OOS
- Set up Advertising, Operations, and Content Automations
- Grow Share of Voice
- Replace price-compressed ASINs with alternate
- Replace predicted OOS ASINs with alternate
- 3P Variant
- 3P Duplicate
- Variation Authority
- Content Authority
- Create response protocols for promo eligibility issues
- Schedule daily / weekly scrums
21 – 14 days prior
- Confirm forecast, stock levels, and delivery appointments
- Dial-in content and variations
- Compete creation of holiday ad campaigns with day-parting schedules
10 – 14 days Prior Begin Scrums
- Read/Review subscription alerts
- OOS and Predicted OOS
- Content Change
- Predicted CRaP
- Price Change – did any deal ASIN fall below the deal price?
- BSR Change
- Suppressed ASINs
- Lost Buybox
- Received units
- Suppressed ASIN ticket Status and Follow-Ups needed
- Status of Replacement ASINs if Initial ASINs are ineligible