The widely-celebrated holidays and the shopping frenzy that comes along with it are about to kick off. Now is the time to prep your channel and store for the most profitable, hectic and unpredictable time of the year. Without a proper strategy in place, many brands fail to capitalize on the impressive bump in traffic during the last three months of the year.
Our Amazon experts have shared actionable tips that will help brands maximize their sales during the holidays. We’ve covered every aspect of preparing your Amazon store right from inventory management to high level strategic recommendations to reach and crush your Q4 sales target.
Important sales dates during Amazon Q4 2022
Halloween – 31st October
Thanksgiving – 24th November
Black Friday – 25th November
Cyber Monday – 28th November
Hanukkah – 18-26th December
Christmas – 25th December
Boxing Day – 26th December
Kwanzaa – 26th December to 1st January
#1: Inventory management
Amazon has left no stone unturned to make inventory management challenging this year. The biggest headache is the surge in storage fees that Amazon has announced to offset the rising costs. Prior to Q4, the retail giant had declared a 5% fuel and inflation surcharge in April after hiking fees in January.
Despite the constant increase in storage fees, their fulfillment services remain 70% less expensive on average than comparable two-day shipping alternatives. However, sellers must be prepared to switch to FBA in time of need.
You might want to adjust your marketing strategy in accordance with your current inventory. Be more conservative with your advertising campaigns if you are about to run OOS soon.
Analyze year-over-year data to get a reliable sense of sales lift during holidays. We suggest prioritizing your fast-moving ASINs when sending in stock for the holidays.
#2: Brand protection
Counterfeit third party sellers and bad actors are likely to emerge during the holidays to make a quick buck. Constant vigilance against unauthorized sellers and squatters on your buy box is the only way to mitigate them from siphoning your hard-earned traffic and sales.
Add brand terms to your listing, use software that monitors infringement, register your brand with Amazon, sign up for programs like Project Zero and add branded elements like A+ Content to your listing to fend off counterfeits from taking over your listing.
If your listing is already optimized with informative content, high quality images and A+ Content, don’t go for any major changes.
We suggest adding holiday-related and seasonal keywords like “stocking stuffers” and “holiday gift” in your listing content and backend along with dressing up your images for the occasion. It can be as little as adding an image that highlights your product as the perfect Christmas present. If you don’t have access to keyword tools like Helium10 or MerchantWords, leverage Amazon’s own Brand Analytics tool to uncover seasonal keywords that could be relevant for your products.
Be sure to look at customer reviews and questions and answers sections to address common concerns that create an influx in returns and push your valuable ratings south.
While this might seem daunting because it requires an enormous amount of time and efforts, Amazon SEO optimization experts at eStore Factory can help.
Buyers look at dozens of products every day during their holiday shopping spree. To get an edge on your competitors and add an extra layer of customer confidence, include visual elements to your detail page and create a full branded experience for shoppers.
- A+ Content: Amazon A Plus Content allows brand registered sellers to refurbish their existing text description with a professional looking, image based description. If you have published more than 12 A+ Contents this year, you are also eligible for Premium A+ Content, a better version of A+ Content with more engaging and interaction modules.
- Store Versions: With the Store Versions feature, brands can create a temporary version of their Amazon Store that runs for that day only. The unique version created can highlight products with promotions and discounts or holiday-themed creative.
- Amazon Brand Story: Strategically located right above the A+ Content section, brand story helps brands highlight their brand’s unique value proposition. It appears as a scrollable carousel with attractive modules that link to your storefront or product detail pages.
- Amazon Posts: Posts are social media-esque posts with lifestyle shots and a catchy caption that help brands attract customer’s attention. Posts appear on the product’s detail page, detail pages of similar products and on storefront on a separate page. By clicking on Posts, shoppers can be redirected to the detail page of the product advertised in the post.
- Amazon Live: On high traffic days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday brands can engage with browsing shoppers in real time using Amazon Live. They can offer them a discount code or answer common concerns about the featured products.
- Video: Adding video to your listing can boost overall conversion rates by 58%. Shoppers prefer watching videos to learn about your products rather than reading dry blocks of texts. If your budget allows, we highly recommend creating a professional video that highlights all the unique features of your products.
Making these creative changes to your store can be time consuming so it’s best to start these processes as soon as possible. Consider employing optimization services to create professional designs.
- Focus only on winning ASINs. This is not the time to experiment. Prioritize your top sellers that have historically done well during the past few years, especially in previous Q4s.
- Get a head start: Run your PPC campaigns at least a week BEFORE the big holidays.
- Dress up your campaigns for the holidays: Refurbish your Sponsored Brands and Display creatives with holiday themed images and copy. Make sure to utilize the custom image feature of Sponsored Brands and newly introduced headline suggestions for Sponsored Display campaigns.
- Spend more to earn more: Increase budget during peak retail holidays like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Halloween, Christmas, Jewish Holidays, Boxing Day etc. If you are not getting the placement you want for your top performing keywords, be aggressive with the bids. The key here is to stay visible but simply increasing spend without a strategy can blow your ACOS targets and hurt your bottom line. We recommend increasing the bids by 60-70% to remain competitive yet profitable.
- Create unique holiday themed campaigns with products and keywords that are relevant for gift giving.
- Cross sell, defend and increase total order value: Utilize Sponsored Products product targeting and Sponsored Display product targeting to cross sell your product catalog. The detail pages on which you’re advertising your product should be pricey, less optimized and poorly rated compared to your products. Brands can also advertise complimentary products or “frequently bought together” products to increase customer’s total order value. This will also defend ad placement that would otherwise be assigned to competing products.
- Couple Amazon ad campaigns with promotions: To encourage ad-driven traffic to convert to customers, leverage promotions and coupons.
#6: Risk management and troubleshooting
Keep an eye out for common roadblocks and be prepared with a contingency plan if any issue pops up.
- Deactivated and suppressed listings: A faulty main image or a restricted keyword is enough to get your listing removed/suppressed, so keep a watch on your catalog to ensure all listings are live and available for sale.
- PPC failures: If payments aren’t made or your campaigns go out of budget, your PPC campaigns will stop working. That’s why it is essential to monitor your campaigns everyday, especially during big events.
- Inventory issues: Have a plan in place if your products go out of stock.
#7: Post-holiday influx of returns
Almost every brand selling on Amazon has to brave the wave of returns and refunds after a busy holiday selling season. Although there is nothing you can do to stop the influx of returns and refunds, you can at least learn from the mistakes and try to fix them. For example, if the return is because the product did not fit the customer as expected, create an image that explains how to buy the right size.
#8: Post-holiday halo effect
A common mistake most brands make is thinking that Q4 momentum cannot be continued to Q1. The first quarter of the year is infamous for its sales slump. We suggest planning a flash sale or big promotion to kick start the New Year with a bang. Planning for a profitable January cannot only help you get rid of excess inventory but also increase sales in otherwise slow months of the year.
Need help managing your Amazon account for Q4?
The fourth quarter is about to take off but it’s never too late to start working on your holiday selling strategy. And if you don’t have a strategy yet in place, the team of Amazon seller consultants at eStore Factory can help. Things happen fast in Q4, you’re always in a time crunch and if outsourcing everyday Amazon tasks and Q4 prep to an agency can free up your time, then it’s totally worth it.