November 12, 2021

Black Friday on Amazon: Before, During, After [Bonus: Hot Products at the End]

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are practically here. It's a time that all of us who sell online have marked on the calendar with three exclamation marks.

And the fact is that, even though it's not what it used to be, it still represents one of the strongest promotional periods of the year for Amazon business owners.

Throughout this post, I'm going to give you some tips you should keep in mind before, during, and after Black Friday.

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What was Black Friday 2020 like on Amazon?

You're understandably wondering if Black Friday is worth focusing on. I won't waste too much of your time: yes (albeit with nuances).

The most logical thing to do is to look at last year's figures for reference, and the precedent could not be more spectacular: Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020 were absolute records for e-commerce. Users spent more than $9 billion, a jump of more than 22% over the same period last year.

If we talk about Amazon independent sellers, in particular, we see how they surpassed the $4.8 billion figure (up 60% over 2019).

What will happen on Black Friday 2021?

It is always difficult to anticipate this, but there are many signs that make us think that a period with lower sales volume on Amazon (and in any other channel, whether digital or retail itself) is coming.

The dynamizing effect of last year's pandemic will not be as strong. Partly because normality has progressively returned in many territories, but especially because it is now that we are suffering the effects of COVID-19 in the distribution chain.

Prices per container have increased 10-fold for products coming from China, commercial ports cannot cope, road transport is in a similar situation and, as if all this were not enough, we are facing a shortage of processed raw materials that is preventing the normal production of everything from electronic devices to cardboard packaging.  

What statistics say about Black Friday 2021

  • "Buy online" searches decreased by almost 55%, which not only negates the meteoric growth seen last year but brings search volume down to pre-2018 levels.
  • Search volume for "Black Friday" in November 2020 is similarly lower than it was in 2018 and is almost half that of 2019.
  • Black Friday 2021 is expected to attract the most visits ever due to the continuous growth of the marketplace. Last Black Friday saw 514 million visits to e-commerce sites, which is 9.02% higher than Black Friday 2019. Visits in 2020 (the key metric) are up more than 50% year over year. And all this despite lower searches for the term itself.
  • 26.8% of ads covering electronics mentioned Black Friday specifically. 21.2% of fashion ads did the same. Ads for pets, flowers and gifts, home, kids, or any other category, mentioned the shopping day less than 5.5% of the time.

The data is provided by Semrush's Black Friday 2021 Stats Research.

Tips before Black Friday 2021 on Amazon

Despite everything, this crisis we are talking about represents an opportunity for those who have guaranteed stock or production capacity, as the demand is still there.

Let's look at some of the things you should do before the arrival of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

1. Prepare your stock

Always a basic tip, but even more so this year. Breaking stock means losing a lot of sales, both those that you cannot fulfill and those that would evaporate if you lose the Buy Box. This is the biggest medium and long-term risk you run.  

Make a review today of what you have in the warehouse and start processing the orders you have to place with your suppliers so that you don't find yourself without the capacity to react at the worst moment.

2. Check your IPI Score

IPI score is calculated based on your sales, excess inventory, "blocked" inventory that is not shown on the platform, inventory in stock, and excess inventory. Based on these vectors, you will be assigned a value that can reach up to 500 points.

A bad IPI score penalizes your visibility and, in particular, can leave you out of the flash offers for Black Friday, which is a serious problem. Try to make it go up in these final days by getting rid of your oldest stock.

3. Adjust your margins

For all of the above, you may have to review how far you can go to ensure that your offers keep your business viable. Just for your peace of mind, I will tell you that most of the sellers, including your competition, this year will have a worse margin, and the offers will be lower in general. Still, it is up to you to decide how far you want to go.

It is important that you are 100% clear on this because it is critical in planning as well as going forward.

4. Plan and prepare promotions

We know there will be competition and it will be very tough. That means that we have to spend money and invest in advertising and promotion if we want to get visibility at a critical time.

The deadline for the Lightning Deals is already closed, but you can still apply for the 7 Days Deals, use coupons, bundles, and free shipping.

Tips during Black Friday 2021 on Amazon

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the die is cast once Black Friday kicks off. The best thing that e-commerce, in general, offers us is the immediacy and ability to react in real-time.

For optimal results on Amazon, you'd better be on top of what's happening, so you can correct and enhance.

1. Keep an eye on prices

Fluctuations can become very important at this time. You must be able to react within the margin we were talking about.

You can monitor your competitors manually to see how they evolve, use a tool that allows you to check the history, or, depending on what you are willing to invest, get a piece of dynamic repricing software that automatically adjusts prices within the range you define.

The same could be said of the campaigns you have in operation and the costs per click and ROAS that are managed at all times.

2. Customer service with capital letters

Allocate all the resources necessary to serve customers. Having a higher volume of timely sales can be a secret killer if you do not meet Amazon's expectations in terms of quality and satisfaction.

You have to solve every doubt and every incident that may arise at full speed. You don't want to be burdened with negative reviews that will drag down your Seller Rating. It is always dangerous to make this mistake.

3. Be thoughtful regarding discounts

Online retailers will undoubtedly be affected by the supply chain difficulties currently causing delays or shortages of items. Be thoughtful regarding what product lines you discount and how long it will take to restock.

Tips after Black Friday 2021 on Amazon

Once Cyber Monday is over, there is still one thing you can do, and that is to try to monetize all that extra traffic you have achieved in your listings for later. How can you do that?

1. Retargeting

The good thing about Black Friday and Cyber Monday is that we are talking about a very limited conversion window. This favors impulse buying, of course, but penalizes more thoughtful customers.

Thanks to retargeting, you can retarget once these dates have passed and try to achieve the conversion that escaped and, maybe, at an even higher price.

You can also use retargeting for cross-selling by offering complementary products to those purchased on Black Friday with a kind of deferred cross-selling that can be very profitable.

2. Multichannel

If, in addition to selling on Amazon, you work on other channels, you can try to build loyalty to those users outside the platform. You will always have a higher margin, and the return will be much more positive for you.

Amazon hot products 2021

These are my tips based on experience. I recommend you pay some attention to them and see how to apply them to your business.

Now, let’s take a closer look at top Amazon products and popular categories.

The data is provided by Semrush's Black Friday 2021 Stats Research.

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Read further:

Discover how a brand boosted its pasta sales by 200% in the holiday period. Check out some strategies that all Amazon sellers can use to boost sales and make the most of Halloween, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Black Friday. We have also put together a timeline to share our best holiday-selling e-commerce tips!