With holidays just around the corner, Amazon sellers the world over have begun preparing for a significant cash flow boost. In 2020 alone, retail e-commerce revenue in the United States touched $186 billion. Amazon captured a large portion of this economy, with the platform's 2020 last quarter sales peaking at US$7.2 billion. The Amazon holiday season sales pie is enormous, and every Amazon seller can grab a slice for themselves.
In this post, we’ll cover some strategies that all Amazon sellers can use to boost sales and make the most of the upcoming holidays—Halloween, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Black Friday. You will discover how a brand boosted their pasta sales by 200% in the holiday period. We have also put together a timeline to share our best holiday-selling e-commerce tips! So all you need to do is prepare a to-do list, cross it off in time and start raking in cash from your business.
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An Amazon holiday season sales success story
For example, consider the story of Barilla, Italy's largest pasta producer.
In 2019, Barilla focussed on boosting their premium Voiello durum wheat pasta brand over the holiday season. They launched a Christmas campaign that packaged multiple Voiello products into one large gift box. The premium pasta holiday hampers, called Scaramantica Box, offered additional value to customers and created a focussed holiday marketing opportunity for Barilla. Barilla's marketing team ramped up keyword bidding and leveraged Amazon Sponsored Brands, pulling in seasonal customers to their store.
The result? Voiello sales increased by 205% over November-December 2019. The Scaramantica Box was particularly successful, generating 91.7% of all Voiello sales and 29% of all Barilla Group sales on Amazon Italy.
Barilla's success clearly shows that every Amazon seller can benefit from some holiday season tips about tweaking their marketing strategy. You don't have to sell specific gifts or seasonal items to make it big; you just have to innovate product positioning to fit the holiday theme.
Let’s look at what you can action to boost your sales in the upcoming days!
Before November 15th – Figure out the basics
Holidays are not the time to launch new products and drain your cash flow on items that might not sell. Instead, it makes more sense to focus on marketing your popular products to fit the holiday theme. By November 15th, you should have sorted:
Your inventory and stock levels
You can't leave your inventory management to the last minute during the holiday season. Make sure you send in enough volume to cover anticipated sales for all of December by mid to late November.
The high volume of stock and orders means Amazon staff have their hands full and little patience for shipping mistakes. If you offer Fulfillment by Amazon, make sure you meet all FBA inventory requirements before items reach the warehouse. Amazon often returns items if criteria are not met, and Amazon staff may not be helpful during holiday time. You can expect higher storage fees, lost shipments, and less Amazon customer support, so proactive inventory tracking is the way to go.
Holiday offers and bundles
Holidays are the perfect time to offer coupons and promotions on your popular products. It is important to note, though, that you cannot use event names like “Black Friday” in your holiday coupons.
You can also bundle some of your products into a holiday hamper for a niche customer group. FBA brands can use the Amazon Virtual Product Bundles Tool to group two to five complementary ASINs for sale from a single detail page. Virtual Tool bundles will be grouped and shipped by Amazon without you having to package items together.
It is always a good idea to have your content listings polished before mid-November. Make sure your photos and videos are optimized and you are following all the best practices. You might also want to re-word your product copy, and detail pages to have holiday keywords and themes worked into them.You don't have to re-write listings that are doing very well, but it might be worth a try for average performers. Semrush's Keyword Wizard is an excellent tool for deep-mining those holiday terms and finding the best ones that suit your product line.
Split Test your product pages
Late October is a good time to run some split test campaigns to optimize marketing for December. In a split test campaign, you take one of your product pages and note its views and conversion rate. Then you make some tweaks, say a new holiday photo or a re-written holiday theme copy, and then wait one week to observe the results. By repeating this process a few times in short cycles, you can identify popular product page designs. Then, you can heavily market these pages closer to Christmas.
Run Lightning deals
Well-timed lightning deals create a sense of urgency for last-minute shoppers hyper-focused on finding holiday bargains. You will notice your Amazon holiday season sales picking up if you run frequent deals across various products. But you will need to get your deals organized and scheduled by October-end even if you want to run them in December.
November 15th to December 15th – Boost your marketing
Now that you have laid all the groundwork, it's time to crank up the marketing. You can't leave your sales to chance or wait for organic product discovery while your competitors invest heavily in marketing. Some strategies you can apply during this period are:
Monitor slow sellers
Trying to push low-performing items is a critical holiday season e-commerce tip. You can try reducing prices slightly or run promotions on slow items. You might also want to try using virtual bundles to bundle underperformers with top sellers and deliver more value at higher margins. These strategies motivate customers to buy the slow stock even when they don't make the perfect gift. You can then funnel that cash towards marketing more of your top sellers with better profit margins.
You can use an automated monitoring system that gives you ranking visibility across all your listings. You can use it to dynamically change prices at runtime and gain better control over your sales process.
Keep an eye on the competition
Holiday time is all about being proactive. Closely monitor the competition and respond with price changes in real-time so that you don't lose out due to their price drop!
Manage your orders
Relying solely on "Sold, ship now" emails is not the best order fulfillment strategy for the holidays. Large order volumes could mean you miss some emails, impacting customer experience. Holiday buyers want to receive items quickly to test and replace the product if they don't like it. To avoid negative reviews, you can visit your Seller Central account frequently and fulfill new orders every day.
December 15th – 1st January – The season isn't over
Fatigue may set in by the time mid-December rolls around. After all, everyone is done with their Christmas shopping, right? Wrong! Sales pick up between 15th - 25th December as last-minute shopping picks up pace. Moreover, New year is yet to come, and you don't want to miss out! Some holiday selling e-commerce tips for the period include:
Keep your ads rolling
Mid-December is a good time to push for brand awareness and increase your marketing spend to reach more customers. Your split test campaigns from October would have given you the data needed to boost your PPC campaigns confidently. Optimized listings, video ads, and targeted PPC can increase your customer base significantly in this period. Tools like PPC Optimizer for Amazon help to launch and optimize all your Amazon PPC ads automatically. You can save time, get more return on your Amazon PPC spend, and automatically discover new keywords and products for your campaign.
Review your inventory
Remember to regularly review your inventory for depleting stock levels. If you are running low, turn-off ads or increase prices to get better margins on limited inventory.
Plan for next year
You can start sending in stock for 2022 to the warehouse after mid-December. Wholesale brands can also expect a high volume of 2022 orders around this time.
January is the time to analyze sales and reuse some of that hard-earned cash for new product discovery in the next year. Product Research can help you quickly discover products that are cheap to manufacture or purchase, appeal to a broader audience, and face less competition. It also contains a free FBA calculator in the Amazon Product Research tool to determine if a product is profitable.
We wish you the very best of luck in your 2021 holiday season e-commerce journey!
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