Updated: Oct 4, 2020
eCommerce has achieved explosive growth this year. Just try to visualize what the online shopping scene for Q4, 2020 is going to look like. Not only are people shopping more online, but there are now more people shopping online.
Countries like Italy, Spain and India that have traditionally been slow to accept online shopping are now quite comfortable, maybe even a bit addicted to the new conveniences of doorstep deliveries that they've discovered as a result of the pandemic. This poses both challenges and opportunities in the weeks and months ahead until the end of this unprecedented holiday season.
What does being prepared look like?
If the events of March this year were any indication, we know that even a giant like Amazon will likely be stretched to its limits in terms of fulfillment and logistics. There are bound to be shipping delays just like the ones we saw earlier in the year. Anticipating chaos and congestion, Amazon has already put several measures in place including extensive hiring and instating restrictions on inbound inventory into its warehouses.
Here are some steps that we as sellers can take to participate in an unprecedented sales season spanning four mega events - Prime Day (Oct13-14), Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the Holidays.
Lead-up to the Events
Listing Optimization: With the multitude of choices that shoppers have access it, your ads or listings have only a few nano seconds to make an impact. It goes without saying that your listings need to be fully optimized and your offer attractive. This includes your main image, title and description.
Keyword Selection: Use Brand Analytics and other keyword research tools to pick the most popular keywords, making sure they are in prominent places on your listing (Title, Bullets), while retaining the phrase order. This will bring you the traffic you need.
Backend Optimization: Make sure your backend fields are optimized. A lot of sellers tend to leave these blank and that’s a mistake. Amazon dynamically constructs customized shopping experiences for shoppers based on choices such as color, size, weight etc. If you don't have these fields filled out, you lose out on opportunities for visibility
Keyword Flywheel: In order to have a great flywheel effect between your listing and your advertising, make sure you bid on all the important keywords that are present both on your listing and your backend
Create Video Ads: Take advantage of all ad types, but especially Video Ads. With a fantastic conversion rate and low CPCs right now, these are low hanging fruit to allow the power of visual persuasion to lead shoppers into your funnel. [Note: PPC Ninja runs a deep dive start-to-finish masterclass on creating video ads. If you are interested please message us at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Sponsored Display Ads: Use Sponsored Display ads to target competitors and related categories. Sponsored Display ads offer prominent placements right under the bullet points/buy box areas. Use these to lure shoppers into your funnel.
Stay in stock: With the 200 unit (or 3x of 30 days sales) restriction on inbound inventory at FBA warehouses, make sure to keep sending in stock as soon as you are eligible to send even a bit more based on your sales rates
Merchant Fulfilled: Set up FBM/3PL options if you can. Amazon is going to be pretty swamped with deliveries and FBM offers will get plenty of opportunities to win the buy box based on Amazon's ability to handle the increased demand
Watch the Data: In the days leading up to each event you will notice a drop in conversion rates as people will be window shopping and researching quite a bit, but putting off purchases in anticipation of deals. Be prepared for that!
During the Holiday Event
Budgets: If you sell giftables or impulse buy items, then make sure to allocate 2x to 3x the amount of budget on campaigns that have proven to be high converting.
Broad Match Types: We recommend turning off or considerably lowering bids on broad matches and auto campaigns as these are likely to see high traffic and low conversions
Bidding Strategy: Consider switching your Dynamic Bidding strategies from Dynamic Up/Down or Fixed to Down Only
Placement Modifiers: Evaluate campaign placement performance to tighten the multipliers or turn them off completely in case of under performing campaigns. With PPC Ninja making this change in bulk is as easy as 1-2-3.
Ads + Coupons: Run ads for items that you have already picked for coupons and deals. The combination works well in terms of great visibility and conversions.
Lead-off and beyond
Last Minute Shoppers: We know from historical data that post-event purchases continue for a few days after the event. There will always be last minute shoppers!
When to Ease off: Watch when data begins to indicate a downward trend in impressions, clicks and sales, and use those as triggers to pull back on bids and budgets.
Post Event Slump: Be prepared for a drop in sales after the event is over. It's sad but good times cannot last forever!
Post Season Recovery: Amazon has data on shoppers that visited your product detail pages. These audiences can serve as inputs to Sponsored Display or DSP ads to remarket to shoppers that have already indicated an interest in your products but did not buy. Use this data for post season recovery!
An unprecedented event
We are about to witness an unprecedented online event; one that can cause our sales to skyrocket. Our CEO, Ritu Java, recently spoke at the Virtual India Sourcing Summit about Q4 preparedness. Watch the entire video recording here.
Good luck on Q4!
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