Back to school season is behind us, which means holiday season is officially upon us! And just like it’s never too early to start holiday shopping, it’s never too early to start planning your holiday strategy. Last year, Amazon reported a record breaking $72.4 billion in Q4 revenue. From the cross-category trends we’ve been observing, we expect Q4 2019 to break records again. So, as you begin thinking about how to prepare your brand for the upcoming season, we encourage you to add one more list to your holiday to-dos.
Catalog: Put the Right Products on Your ‘Nice’ List
Review your current product selection on Amazon to identify top sales drivers (and make sure there are no profitability issues with those ASINs). These are the items you will want to focus on during the holiday season. Simultaneously, review your past holiday results. Which products performed best? Which products struggled? Leverage any key learnings from prior holiday seasons to determine where your attention (and investment) should be focused this year.
Inventory: Enough Gifts to Go Around
Few e-commerce disappointments hit harder than working tenaciously to have everything prepped and ready for the holiday, only to realize you don’t have enough inventory to see you through the season. You’d be scrooged. Now is the time to double-check current inventory levels for your most popular products and decide if you need to increase inventory to prepare for increased traffic. Not sure how to tell if you have enough inventory? We can help with your forecast. With our tools, “We can show clients the average unit volume for their products and category during holiday and then accurately forecast based on that data,” says Natalie Stanbery, Director of Consulting at Stackline. She adds that it’s also important to “diligently adhere to ship windows” to ensure you don’t run into any delays getting products up and running amidst the increased holiday volume.
Promotions: Win Santa’s Attention
Once you have decided which products to focus on and have confirmed you’ll have enough inventory on hand, decide if you want to run promotions, like lightning deals, coupons, or price discounts. Amazon is now accepting lightning deal submissions for Black Friday (November 29th) and Cyber Monday (December 2nd). All lightning deals must be submitted for consideration by September 27.
Per Amazon guidelines, products eligible for lightning deals should:
· Have a 3+ star average customer review rating
· Have an active retail offer
· Meet a projected customer demand threshold and discount amount
Also keep in mind, “We have six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, so daily demand will be somewhat consolidated, and brands will have less room for error – and less time to enact a backup plan - if initial deals go awry,” says Nick Duda, Director of Consulting at Stackline. Make sure you have an aggressive strategy for generating and capitalizing on demand on the highest-traffic shopping days, or prepare to get sleighed.
Content: Get Your Products Professionally Wrapped
Review the content for all your products to ensure titles, bullets, product descriptions, images and A+ content provide a concise, compelling story for your products. With the extra traffic during holiday season, it’s important that your product pages stand out and persuade deal-saturated shoppers to follow through to purchase. Now is also a great time to review your highest-traffic category keywords to ensure your content includes the most relevant terms. We have the industry’s most comprehensive keyword data to help you stay on top of the latest consumer interest.
Advertising: Jingle All the Way
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to lock down your Q4 holiday budget. With so many offers and products on Amazon, it will be more challenging to land your product on the first page of search results. Building a competitive budget to support increased traffic on the site will help ensure campaigns run throughout the day and increase your chances of landing on the first page of search results. If budget allows, you can also create holiday-specific campaigns with holiday messaging and keywords.
The Bottom Line: ‘Tis the Season
A variety of factors can impact your holiday sales, but following these steps as Q3 comes to a close can help you navigate through the craziness ofthe holiday season and prep you for a successful Q4.