As we all know, this year’s Amazon Prime Day will not be the same as in years past. It’s likely to be in October, three months later than its usual July timeframe. Backend logistics will also be different, with the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting supply chains across the globe. Less financial certainty and more time spent at home could continue to shift consumer behavior. While many of the same tactical Prime Day preparations we’ve talked about before still apply, there are several considerations unique to Prime Day 2020 that advertisers should keep in mind.
1. Keep shoppers engaged with your brand throughout the holiday season.
Prime Day is usually the unofficial kick-off to the back-to-school shopping season. This year, it will instead kick off the holiday shopping season. In recent years, 40% of consumers have started holiday shopping by the end of October. We expect Prime Day’s October timing to entice even more shoppers to shop before November this year, essentially forming one, long holiday shopping period encompassing Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and much of December.
On Amazon, where building brand loyalty can be tougher than on other channels, it’s especially important for advertisers to engage with shoppers throughout the season to stay top-of-mind. In the wake of the impact of COVID-19, 36% of consumers have tried a new product brand, with the majority intending to continue shopping with new brands.
Disruptions in customer loyalty paired with consumers shifting away from in-store shopping make this an ideal time for Amazon advertisers to home in on their customers’ brand loyalty. Vendors and brand-registered Sellers should ensure their Amazon Stores pages are optimized in preparation for Prime Day.
In addition to driving Sponsored Brands campaigns back to your store pages, advertisers can test Sponsored Brands video beta campaigns, which allow for greater opportunity to showcase your brand story. Display should be used to retarget customers that view your ASINs on Prime Day, in order to help them convert on other ASINs throughout the holiday shopping season.
2: Prime Day and holidays are in the same quarter for the first time ever. Budget accordingly.
For the first time, advertisers will need to fund both Prime Day and holiday advertising with fourth quarter budgets. It’s hard to predict how much budget will be appropriate for Prime Day, given the many changing variables this year. However, as with other years, advertisers should allocate sufficient budget for campaigns to run continuously throughout the event.
Major retailers announcing store closings on Thanksgiving Day indicate a parting from previous years’ tradition of consumers getting a head start on Black Friday shopping, and retailers are continuing the trend of extending holiday shopping into October. With this shift away from the one-day in-store shopping extravaganza, combined with increased consumer preference for online shopping, online advertisers should align budgets with potentially elevated traffic during the holiday season.
Additionally, advertisers should prepare for higher competition on Amazon, starting with Prime Day and into December. Competitors will also be looking to capitalize on changes in traffic, so advertisers will want to be prepared with ample budget to maintain their brand space and earn greater market share within their category on Amazon.
3: Different product sets may resonate with consumers better than those historically pushed in July.
The change in scheduling, along with consumer changes driven by the pandemic, requires revisiting your promotional product set for Prime Day this year. With 49% of Prime Day shoppers planning to use the event to shop for the holidays in a typical year, retailers can expect that percentage to increase as Prime Day falls even closer to the holiday season this year. Advertisers should adapt to expected changes in purchase intent by catering their items promoted on Prime Day to seasonality and holiday shopping.
Beyond seasonality changes, shopping patterns have shifted with consumers spending more time at home during the pandemic. Some top categories from 2019, like consumer electronics and household essentials, will likely still resonate. However, the types of products shoppers buy in Apparel & Shoes and Health & Beauty may shift with fewer in-person gatherings. Looking at recent product-level insights can help advertisers predict what types of items customers will be most interested in within those product categories.
4: Stay on top of inventory issues to avoid supply and shipping headaches.
Maintaining a good inventory position is an important factor in generating sales on Amazon, so staying ahead of inventory is especially imperative during a high-traffic event like Prime Day. Keeping your products well-stocked will not only optimize your efficiency, but it will also prevent competitors from taking over space in the category that you could have owned with a better inventory position. Consider your current set up with Amazon and identify possible alternatives, like Direct Fulfillment, to keep up with shopper demand.
Prime Day will be different this year, making it more difficult for advertisers to plan. The switch to October is unprecedented and creates uncertainty for what to expect, but advertisers can still be well-prepared for the event. By pairing Prime Day best practices with adaptability and an understanding of your target audience’s shopping behavior, you can set yourself up to succeed.