Archive for May, 2021

Amazon Prime Day 2021: What Your Brand Needs to Know to Maximize Success

Amazon Prime Day 2021: What Your Brand Needs to Know to Maximize Success

The countdown is on to the most anticipated online shopping event of the year: Amazon Prime Day. While no official dates have been announced, Amazon has confirmed that Prime Day 2021 will take place “late in Q2”, which means the retail giant is likely to reveal a June timeline any day now. In the meantime, here’s everything your brand needs to know about what to expect and how to prepare for this year’s mega sale.

Prime Day 2021 Growth Potential

If the past six years are any indication, Prime Day 2021 will generate billions in sales over the course of 48 hours. The question is: exactly how much? Each year, the two-day shopping extravaganza has outperformed prior events. In 2020, customers purchased $10.4 billion worth of goods on Prime Day, up 45.2% from $7.16 billion in 2019. Third-party sellers (most of which are small and medium-sized businesses) enjoyed a 60% YoY increase in sales. It’s important to note that last year’s event took place in October instead of the usual July timeframe, which leveraged the purchasing power of early holiday shoppers. Still, despite much of the country on lockdown, Prime Day 2020 performed higher than analysts had expected. As for Prime Day 2021, nobody knows for sure just how much customers will spend. That said, as we will explain in the next section, there’s reason to be optimistic.

Consumer Spending Is on the Rise

While $10.4 billion is certainly a high benchmark – especially for a non-holiday shopping season event – a few key factors will likely support strong sales during Prime Day 2021. First, the elephant in the room. Although many people are exhausted from talking about COVID-19, the pandemic is still impacting daily life. In fact, it may even help sales during Prime Day. Both Bloomberg and S&P Global have recently reported the vaccination rollout has ignited consumer spending, with U.S. retail sales growing 51.2% year-over-year in April. Bloomberg Economics calls this revenge spending, defined as the intentional splurging on retail goods and services that customers likely went without for most of 2020. If this trend continues, the timing of this year’s Prime Day will coincide with a motivated nation of customers who are eager to buy. That’s good news for all brands on Amazon.

Prime Membership Continues to Grow (So Does Amazon)

Another factor that impacts Prime Day performance is the current number of Prime members, which continues to grow. In its First Quarter Results Report released in April, Amazon announced there are now more than 200 million paid Prime members worldwide. Obviously, the higher this number climbs, the greater the sales potential for member-only events like Prime Day.

It’s also important to consider the overall growth of Amazon itself. While many businesses struggled during the pandemic, 2020 was quite a year for Amazon due to the surge in online shopping. According to consulting firm McKinsey & Company, e-commerce experienced 10 years of growth in just 90 days during 2020. As the largest and most powerful online marketplace, Amazon benefited the most from this shift. To no surprise, the company capitalized on the growing popularity of e-commerce by adding new benefits and services for both sellers and customers, including the following:

  • Amazon continued to invest in fast, free, and convenient delivery for customers. In the U.S., Same-Day Delivery is free on orders over $35 on over three million items in select cities. This is in addition to Free Same-Day Delivery on millions of items in thousands of cities and towns across 47 major U.S. metro areas, plus over ten million items available for Free One-Day Delivery coast to coast.
  • Amazon introduced a Prime prescription savings benefit that offers discounts at more than 60,000 participating pharmacies in the U.S., including Amazon Pharmacy.
  • Prime Wardrobe, Amazon’s “try before you buy” offering, expanded its selection and launched new innovations for customers, including the ability to chat live with Amazon Stylists for personalized recommendations and trial items recommended by their favorite fashion influencers and websites.
  • Amazon announced that millions of Prime members now have access to Key In-Garage Grocery Delivery in more than 5,000 cities and towns in the U.S., enabling them to enjoy free, contactless, and secure in-garage delivery of grocery orders from Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh.

Ensuring Your Brand’s Success on Prime Day 2021

While all signs point to a great Prime Day 2021 in terms of customer shopping, brands need to work hard to ensure their own individual success. With more than 2.5 million active sellers, the competition on Amazon is fierce – especially during Prime Day. With this in mind, the first step to a successful event is to determine if a Prime Day promotion is right for your brand.

Remember, this is the biggest shopping event on the largest e-commerce marketplace in the U.S. It takes time and resources to stand out from other sellers. Even then, there’s no guarantee you will hit a home run. It’s prudent to examine previous Prime Days to understand what items sold well and what items didn’t. The most sought-after products typically fall under three main categories: 1) high-search items like electronics and devices, 2) mass-volume products that consumers need regularly, and 3) hot-ticket items.

Unfortunately, the latter is difficult to predict. In 2020, iRobot Roomba Robot Vacuums, LifeStraw Personal Water Filters, and Lego Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmets were a few of the top sellers. The point is: not all promotions on Prime Day are successful. If your product portfolio does not include items similar to those that have performed well in past Prime Day events, it might be wiser to save your resources for the holiday season.

The Essential 3-Phase Prime Day Advertising Strategy

Once you know what products you want to promote, it’s time to execute the three-step advertising strategy that is designed to maximize traffic and conversions during each phase of Prime Day:

  • Phase One: Promote Your Deals & Brand to Customers Researching Products
    The lead-up to Prime Day is the time to showcase the value of your promoted products and brand to customers who are actively researching products. This will help make your promoted products and deals even more discoverable and increase conversions on the day of the event. You can also use this time to optimize your campaign inputs, such as audiences and keyword strategies, so that your campaigns are running at maximum performance on Prime Day.
  •  Phase Two: Convert Brand-Aware Shoppers Who Are Ready to Purchase
    Customers are ready to purchase on Prime Day because they know the event does not last long. This is the time to utilize additional marketing levers (which we will discuss in the next chapter) to help maximize conversions among audiences that have already been exposed to your ads. For example, you can remarket to audiences that visited your product detail pages before Prime Day to stay top of mind on the day of the event.
  • Phase Three: Re-Engage Your Audiences at Scale to Maximize Sales
    Brands often enjoy a “halo effect” after Prime Day ends. According to Adobe Digital Insights, retailers experienced up to a 50% increase in sales in the days following previous Prime Day events. To maximize sales during this time, promote complementary products to your existing audiences or reach new audiences who didn’t purchase your products during Prime Day.

Prime Day Marketing Levers that Generate the Most Sales

Distinguishing your brand on Amazon during Prime Day requires an aggressive marketing and advertising strategy. Fortunately, Amazon provides a robust suite of tools to drive customers to your listings, maximize conversions, and increase sales. Below are three of the most powerful Amazon promotions that can elevate sales during Prime Day (note: there are many more):

  • Amazon Lightning Deals
    A Lightning Deal is a promotion in which a limited number of discounts are offered on an item for a short period of time. Lightning Deals display a countdown ticker, which establishes a sense of urgency. Sellers can apply for these promotions via their Seller Central dashboard. While the competition is high on Prime Day, Lightning Deals typically provide a significant sales boost for popular and top-selling items.
  • Amazon Deal of the Day
    A Deal of the Day is an item that is discounted for one day only. These are displayed on the Deals page, which is one of the most popular pages on Prime Day. To be eligible, you must be a Professional Seller with at least five Seller Feedback Ratings per month and an overall rating of at least 3.5 stars. While there is no guarantee that your deal will run, applying for this promotion on several of your top-selling products can lead to a boost in orders should your deal be selected by Amazon.
  • Amazon Coupons
    Similar to the coupons you likely receive in the mail, Amazon coupons provide a discount on select items. Since shoppers want the best deals on Prime Day, using Coupons can be an effective way to distinguish your products by offering additional savings. For example, Channel Key ran a 20% Off Coupon for a client in the Toys & Games category during Prime Day 2020, which improved conversions by 22%. Coupons are a great way to boost sales on both slow-moving and top-selling items.

Channel Key Takeaway:

As the most important e-commerce event of the year, Amazon Prime Day is also the most competitive. As mentioned earlier, shoppers spent more than $10 billion on Prime Day in 2020. Even if this year’s event doesn’t set a new sales record, it will certainly be a lucrative 48 hours for brands that compete effectively. One of the easiest ways to ensure your brand’s performance during Prime Day is to partner with a recognized Amazon agency. With a roster of over 40 clients, Channel Key routinely helps our brand partners break sales records before, during, and after Prime Day by implementing proven strategies and tactics. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business on Amazon, contact us today for a free consultation.


ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more.


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Download our FREE Guide to Selling MORE on Amazon Prime Day!

Amazon Explore: A New Opportunity for Sellers to Reach Customers

Amazon Explore: A New Opportunity for Sellers to Reach Customers

It’s virtually impossible to talk about the state of retail in 2021 without discussing Amazon. The online giant has become a central component of daily commerce, setting record after record for growth in just about every aspect. Describing itself as the world’s most customer-centric company, Amazon continues to find new ways to provide value to not only individual shoppers, but also the many brands that utilize its platform to sell direct to consumers. These often come in the form of updates to its vast suite of marketing and advertising levers, such as the recent targeting enhancements to Sponsored Display ads. Other times, Amazon will introduce an entirely new service that benefits both sellers and shoppers – such as Amazon Explore.

What is Amazon Explore?

Amazon Explore is an interactive live-streaming service that allows customers to book virtual experiences with hosts located around the world in real-time. It is essentially a tour guide service that enables people to learn, shop, and discover new places from the comfort of their computer. Customers can ask questions, investigate new locales, and (in many cases) make purchases with Amazon’s secure checkout. Launched in September of 2020, Amazon Explore offers the following key benefits:

  • Be in the moment, not on camera: Amazon’s one-way video, two-way audio stream lets you see and hear your host without having to be on camera.
  • Shop for something special: In many experiences, you can purchase the items you find along the way.
  • Get the local perspective: Each experience is a one-on-one conversation with a host live-streaming on location in real-time. Your host will give you an insider view of things.

How Does Amazon Explore Work?

Amazon Explore is designed to provide an easy, affordable alternative to the individual experiences that traditionally come with vacations. For example, a family might spend a day visiting wildlife during a trip to Costa Rica or browse local boutiques while on vacation in Quebec. Amazon Explore currently offers more than 250 unique experiences in more than 16 countries around the world. Most of these fall into three primary categories:

  • Culture and Landmarks – Discover famous landmarks and not-yet-famous hideaways where only locals can go.
  • Learning & Creativity – Learn new skills from tie-dying to pan-frying and more.
  • Shopping – Browse local boutiques and markets to find one-of-a-kind items you can’t get anywhere else.

Amazon Explore sessions include English-speaking hosts, such as tour guides, professionals, personal shoppers, and other local specialists who have been vetted by Amazon. These hosts stream directly to customers, allowing them to see, hear, and talk about everything as it happens live. During the session, customers can ask questions, take pictures, make purchases, and experience the sights and sounds of the atmosphere just as they would if they were physically there. Some experiences – such as courses and tutorials – also include personal supply kits, which Amazon ships to the customers before the session.

Amazon Explore sessions cost anywhere from $10 to $99, and are currently available only to customers in the U.S. As with most customer-facing services on the platform, Amazon Explore is simple to use:

  1. Book your session
    Most experiences are 30-60 minutes long. Customers choose the time and day (based on availability) and can cancel or reschedule up to 24 hours before the session begins.
  2. Show up at your computer
    When it’s time for the session, customers sign into their Amazon account and click the Your Session page from Your Orders. The host will connect with the customer from there.
  3. Explore
    The host interacts with the customer to customize the experience to their interests.

System Requirements:

  • A laptop or desktop computer (Amazon Explore doesn’t work on phones or tablets)
  • An up-to-date Chrome, Safari, Edge, or Firefox browser
  • A microphone (the one on your computer will work fine)
  • Headphones or speakers
  • High-speed internet of 5 Mbps or better (Search “test my speed” online to find your speed)

Amazon Explore: Benefits for Sellers

In most cases, Amazon Explore allows shoppers to make purchases during their session. This provides an opportunity for sellers to reach new customers, although some caveats apply. Amazon Explore is built around the idea of providing a virtual “experience” to customers. The items available for purchase during an Amazon Explore session need to be connected to the overall experience. This provides a challenge for many brands. A tour of a warehouse isn’t going to suffice. That said, local boutiques are one of the primary categories of Amazon Explore. If a brand happens to have a brick-and-mortar location in a town or city that is regarded as a popular tourist attraction, Amazon might consider this a viable experience opportunity for Amazon Explore customers.

All sellers need to go through an application process to become an approved Amazon Explore host. To apply, be ready to provide basic details about your business, including contact information and number of employees. You also need to provide a title for the experience you want to offer along with a description and a price. This is what Amazon will use to determine your eligibility. Since Amazon values customers above all else, you will need to offer an interesting experience and, if you want to sell products, find a way to fit your products into the experience.

Channel Key Takeaway:

One of the greatest challenges to selling on Amazon is distinguishing your brand from the 2.5 million other active sellers on the marketplace. Fortunately, Amazon continues to expand its vast suite of marketing and advertising levers designed to help brands target customers. Still, as competition on the marketplace continues to grow, it’s helpful for brands to find additional ways to reach customers on the platform. While not a good fit for every seller, Amazon Explore is an interesting new service that is gaining popularity among Amazon’s vast customer base, which makes it worthy of consideration as a tool for sellers to reach shoppers.


ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


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Download our FREE Guide to Selling MORE on Amazon Prime Day!

Amazon Improves Audience Targeting for Sponsored Display Advertising

Amazon Improves Audience Targeting for Sponsored Display Advertising

As the world’s most powerful and popular online marketplace, Amazon is continually improving its already robust suite of tools designed to help brands better target and convert customers. The latest expansion, announced in April 2021, are new audience targeting features for Sponsored Display ads. To help keep your brand at the forefront of Amazon’s ever-evolving marketplace, we’ve detailed what Sponsored Display ads are, how they work, why they are important, and what has changed.

What are Sponsored Display Ads?

Sponsored Display is a self-service display advertising solution that helps you grow your brand on Amazon by engaging shoppers across the purchase journey – both on and off Amazon. Launched in 2019, Sponsored Display is one of the newest types of Amazon PPC (pay per click) advertising tools and is available for vendors and sellers registered in Amazon Brand Registry. While still relatively new compared to well-established Amazon Advertising tools like Sponsored Products, Sponsored Display ads are growing in popularity as more brands discover their effectiveness.

Depending on your targeting selection (explained later), Sponsored Display ads can appear on the Amazon homepage, on product detail pages, or shopping results on desktop, mobile, and app, and on third-party websites and apps. Sponsored Display ads can provide the following key benefits:

  • Help grow your on-Amazon business: Reach relevant audiences who are browsing, discovering, or purchasing products on or off Amazon
  • Access self-service display advertising: Simple campaign creation and automatically generated creatives help you quickly and easily create display ads that deliver results
  • Control costs with retail-aware CPC ads: Sponsored Display ads only show when your products are in stock and the Featured Offer, and you only pay when customers click on your ads

How do Sponsored Display Ads work?

Unlike Sponsored Products, Sponsored Display ads allow brands to reach customers at scale both on and off the Amazon platform – including highly visible placements on the Amazon home page. This tool utilizes a targeting strategy powered by first-party shopping signals that helps brands reach relevant customers throughout their shopping journey. According to Amazon, only 4% of shoppers complete their purchase during their initial product search. Sponsored Display advertising can help you reach the remaining 96%.

Sponsored Display offers both product-based and audience-based targeting options. If you’re looking to drive consideration, product targeting can help you promote or cross-sell your product among audiences who are actively browsing your product or similar products and categories. Target specific products or categories with ads that may appear on product detail pages on Amazon. Product targeting allows you to target products within your advertised product’s category as well as complementary categories. You can refine targeting by price, star rating, brand name, and Prime eligibility.

If you are interested in engaging new customers or re-engaging those who have viewed your product, audiences can help you reach relevant shoppers both on and off Amazon. Custom-built audiences, such as views remarketing, allow you to reach high-intent shoppers or engage new customers using customizable controls, such as star rating refinements. Amazon audiences, including interests, lifestyle, in-market, and life stage audiences, allow you to reach audiences with pre-built segments based on a variety of first-party shopping and streaming signals from Amazon, Twitch, IMDb, and Prime Video.

How have Sponsored Display Ads improved?

In November 2020, Amazon introduced views remarketing, a subset of Sponsored Display audiences that enables you to reengage audiences who have viewed specific product detail pages but haven’t purchased your advertised product(s) in the past 30 days.

Most recently, Amazon has expanded targeting options for creating audiences within Sponsored Display campaigns. Brands can now select audiences in a similar way to how you would describe your brand’s core customer. For example, if your brand manufactures outdoor clothing, you can create an audience based on descriptions like “Outdoor Enthusiasts” or “Hiking Enthusiasts”. You can then connect the language used in your overall brand marketing strategy to your Sponsored Display campaigns. You can also mix and match Amazon audience segments with custom-built-views remarketing audiences within your ad group.

With these improvements, Amazon audiences makes it even easier to reach new prospective audiences through awareness and consideration campaigns. These audiences fit into the following four segments (each informed by billions of first-party shopping and streaming signals):

  • In-market: In-market audiences allow advertisers to engage audiences who are “in-the-aisle” and have been recently shopping for products in each category. To achieve share-of-mind, advertisers can reach audiences in the same category as their advertised products to drive consideration, as well as try out entirely new audience segments to help drive product awareness.
  • Lifestyle: Positioned for awareness campaigns, these audiences reflect a variety of shopping and viewing signals, including shopping on Amazon, browsing on IMDb, streaming on Prime Video, or streaming on Twitch. These behaviors reflect shared preferences and map to lifestyle segments such as “Foodies”, “Sports Enthusiasts”, “Tech Enthusiasts”, and more.
  • Interests: Interest-based audiences allow advertisers to help raise awareness with prospective buyers based on what they frequently browse and buy. Examples of these audiences include “Interested in Canadian History” and “Interested in Interior Design”.
  • Life Events: Life Events audiences give brands the opportunity to drive awareness and consideration for relevant products based around life moments, such as “Traveling Soon” for shoppers going on vacation.

Channel Key Takeaway:

Sponsored Display ads are a great complement for brands who are already using display advertising. For example, if you are using a DSP to reach new audiences with programmatic display, you can extend your reach to specific Amazon product detail pages by using Sponsored Display product targeting. According to Amazon, 64% of shoppers use multiple channels to make a single purchase. Sponsored Display ads can help increase your presence in multiple channels to keep your brand and products top of mind for shoppers looking to buy.

From a broader perspective, the latest enhancements to Sponsored Display ads provide greater control over how brands reach customers. With Amazon growing at an unprecedented rate – for both shoppers and sellers – brands need to utilize every tool available to stand out from their competitors. It can be difficult to stay up-to-date with Amazon’s ever-changing advertising ecosystem. As a proven agency that works closely with Amazon every day to help brands across all industries develop best-in-class Amazon sales channels, Channel Key is devoted to bringing you the most recent developments in Amazon Advertising to help your brand stay competitive. Be sure to check back soon for the latest Amazon announcements.


ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


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Download our FREE Guide to Selling MORE on Amazon Prime Day!

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