06/04/2024

Amazon Prime Days

Prime Day Collage

Amazon Prime Days is one of the most important annual sales events. This post aims to give an overview of what you should know, from the most basic to more expert-level strategies. The advice in this post is also relevant for other popular sales periods on the platform.


What is Amazon Prime Day(s)?

Amazon Prime Day is an annual sales event hosted by Amazon exclusively for Prime members. During this event, Prime members have access to thousands of deals on Prime-eligible products. This high traffic event reaches over 150 million active Prime members worldwide, providing sellers/vendors with the potential to bring in large amounts of revenue. Smart advertising campaigns will make your products/brand more visible and attractive to shoppers.

The very first Amazon Prime Day was held on July 15, 2015 on Amazon’s 20th birthday to celebrate Prime members. It was 24 hours long and included 9 countries—the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria. The event was so successful Amazon hosted it again the following year, which surpassed the first year by 60% worldwide. Ten countries participated, with the Belgian Amazon marketplace joining the event.

Every year since then, more marketplaces join the Prime Day event, with the number of sales steadily increasing. In 2023, Amazon hosted Prime Days over a 48-hour period in 20 countries, and made over 10 billion dollars in sales worldwide. It is expected to continue its upward trajectory this year.

First and foremost, if a seller/vendor has participated in Prime Days before, they should revisit the data to see what worked/didn’t work for them in their markets. Based on this, a strategy and an advertising budget should be established. Typically, the advertising budget during Prime days is 10x the normal daily budget. Sellers/vendors will also need to determine which products will be earmarked for different kinds of deals. (Read our previous post about Using Amazon Promotions in a Long Term Marketing Strategy for more information.)


The Basics: An introduction to preparing for Prime Days

Congratulations! You’re participating in Prime Days as a Seller/Vendor, and you’d like to get a sense of how to prepare. Your strategy and setting an advertising budget are most important, and should be established well in advance.

Event Length

Prime Days are now 48 hours long and occur in July. In 2023, Amazon also hosted the Prime Big Deal Days in October, and it is expected to continue in 2024. Due to the vast potential of revenue for sellers/vendors, advance preparation is crucial. This ranges from setting up strategy and budget, handling inventory, establishing prices, to setting up deals.

Many sellers/vendors will start discounts early for the products not on the official Prime Day discount list (suggested by Amazon). This allows them to attract and maintain the attention of shoppers already on the Amazon platform, browsing and deciding what they want to buy during the Prime Days event itself. With attractive enough discounts, these shoppers might start their shopping early.

Deals

(Parts from this section came from our previous post, Using Amazon Promotions in a Long Term Marketing Strategy)

Some of the campaigns require paying a fee to have products appear on Amazon’s deals page. As the second most visited page on the Amazon platform sellers have an opportunity to greatly increase their conversions. To be eligible to have products listed on Amazon’s deals page, professional sellers must meet platform requirements with at least five seller feedback ratings. The products must be new, hold a rating of at least 3.0 stars, and be Prime-eligible in the sales region. The products must also comply with pricing and deal frequency policies and not be restricted, offensive, or inappropriate.

Table of top time-sensitive promotional campaigns

 Additional RequirementsLengthFeesProsCons
Lightning DealsDeals start at 15%Flash sale: lasting minutes to hours or until quantity is sold outTypically $150, but can vary depending on marketplace and time period

Can boost sales up to 4x;

“Limited Time Deal” badge;

Displayed on Amazon Deals Page;

Sellers determine quantity to sell

Sellers don’t have control over time slot nor length of time (but they can turn down Amazon’s offer)
7-Day DealsFor professional sellers only7 daysTypically starts around $300, varies depending on time period and marketplaces

“Limited Time Deal” badge;

Displayed on Amazon Deals Page;

Badge potentially drives up CTR and sales

Reduced profit margin due to long discount period;

Possibly higher return rate by shoppers more interested in price-sensitivity than the product;

Maintaining higher advertising costs during sale period;

Available only to top performing products

Best Deals

For vendors only;

Deals start at 10%

2 weeks 

Displayed on Amazon Deals Page for up to 7 days;

Increases visibility of brand and products

Seller pays a deal fee + normal sales fee;

Available only to top performing products

More time-sensitive promotional campaigns

(Some of these deals may not be available in some markets)

 Additional requirementsLengthFeesProsCons
Coupons & VouchersAt least 20% discountflexibleSmall fee per redemption, can vary by season, category, marketplace

Self-service tool;

Customisable;

Easy to create and monitor;

Average 11% increase in sales;

You can set a budget limit on how many coupons/vouchers are redeemed;

Effective during Prime Days/Black Friday periods to boost visibility and conversions

21-day lead time required;

Reduced profit margins;

Cost of advertising to show promotions;

Customers don’t always see the coupons and redeem them

Prime Exclusive Discounts

At least 10% discount;

Discount must be lowest price in the past 30 days

Up to 4 weeksnone

Free to create;

Shown as a strikethrough price & savings message near the Buy Box

Only available for Prime members;

Not always available;

Only Prime-eligible products

Deal of the Day (DOTD)At least 20% discount off normal price listed over 90 day period1 day 

“Deal of the Day” badge;

Displayed on Amazon Deals Page

Amazon chooses the products;

Vendors/sellers must receive an invitation by Amazon to submit a Deal of the Day request;

Requests not always selected

Best Deals flexibleMinimum fee on the discounted/free item depends on the product category

Easy to set up;

Flexible terms (quantity, discount)

Seller still pays the fulfilment fee for the free item;

Not all items eligible for BOGO;

Reduced profit margin

A Caveat about Lightning Deals

Lightning Deals may sound very promising for the Prime Days period given the high volume of shoppers browsing for deals. However, Lightning Deals might not actually be the best deal to use during Prime Days. According to a survey of American shoppers on Amazon, surveyed shoppers reported that they set specific budgets for Prime Day shopping in 2023. Thus, shoppers will be more focused on deciding how to budget for their wish list. They will be spending less time than usual focusing on any one brand/product.

Inventory – stock early!

Prime Days can provide a good opportunity to offload slow-moving inventory by offering attractive discounts for shoppers. For popular products, however, ensure that you are well-stocked to meet increased demand.

It is important to check the inventory of products in the fulfilment centres, ordering/restocking if necessary. In the case that products need to be produced, your logistics chain will tell you how much advance notice you will need for this step. For domestic transfer of products to fulfilment centres, you can anticipate about 2 weeks shipping time. For sellers/vendors with an international supply chain, anticipate at least 3 months from factory/warehouse to fulfilment centre. Another thing to allow for: leading up to Prime Days, Amazon fulfilment centres will be handling an influx of products. With this in mind, even more advance time should be planned to account for any possible manhour delays.

Price / Discount

As part of your overall marketing strategy, it is important to schedule price adjustments of products ahead of time. If a product still has a lower price from another discount/deal within 30 days of Prime Days, sellers/vendors run the risk of getting a discount price off the discount price. This will reduce the profit margin even further. Products marked for Prime Exclusive Discounts will be discounted based on the lowest price from the previous 30 days. Deal of the Day (DOTD) promotions offer discounts of at least 20% off the normal price over a 90-day period. Therefore, it is important to establish a pricing strategy ahead of time so your profit margin is not severely affected.

Other discounts can be applied to products not earmarked for Prime Exclusive Discounts or DOTD promotions to make them more attractive to buyers. The more products in a catalogue that have a discount, the more likely a shopper will buy more products from a single vendor/seller.

Advertise

As part of your marketing strategy, you should determine which kinds of PPC ad campaigns to use for which products. It is important to target shoppers at all levels of the marketing funnel, and start advertising campaigns ahead of time. Read our post on Navigating the Amazon PPC Advertising Journey for a more comprehensive look at PPC campaigns and how they apply to the marketing funnel.

It should already be standard practice, but bears repeating—review your data and double check the keywords with the keyword report, which is available in Seller/Vendor Central. Ensure that your product listings are updated and optimised with the relevant keywords. Without this optimisation, the products will not show up in product searches.

Recap of the basic tips

Advance preparation is necessary for a successful Prime Days experience for your brand/business. Establish your strategy and budget and ensure sufficient inventory. Set the price adjustments and plan advertising campaigns in advance. Thoroughly preparing for Prime Days will help maximise the potential conversions and success of your brand/business’s performance during the event.


Intermediate: Streamlining your preparation process

You have participated in Prime Days before, you know how it works. You’ve applied the tips from the basics section, let us look at ways to streamline your preparation process.

Spreadsheet

Having a spreadsheet of all the products you’ve applied for deals for is crucial. This document will serve as a checklist of everything that must be checked and double checked ahead of time. These include, for example, content optimisation, the existing and planned PPC ads, inventory levels, and keywords. With this spreadsheet, you can also start researching the competition to see how you can improve content if necessary.

Storefront

If you have not done so already, storefronts are an option for sellers/vendors enrolled in Brand Registry. They are an excellent way to expand the reach of your brand. Storefronts on Amazon showcase your brand’s products and increase brand awareness among shoppers. An Amazon Storefront allows a seller to creatively display products on a home page and organised via subpages. If you haven’t already, set up a subpage on the storefront specially for deals/specials. Labelling the page as “Prime Days” will result in it being rejected by the Seller/Vendor platform. Set this up at least one week early, so browsing shoppers can already check for discounts.

Generally, this page is good practice to have. See our post on Using Amazon Promotions in a Long Term Marketing Strategy for tips on having ongoing deals to attract repeat customers to your brand/business. Use the Sponsored Brands PPC campaigns to draw traffic regularly to your storefront. Maintaining a Deals subpage regularly shows shoppers that they can regularly check this page for updated deals.

Advertising

Start at least one week in advance with your PPC advertising campaigns set up for Prime Days. This is to ensure that the ad campaigns are working and are visible. You will establish a baseline with bids and identify the keywords/ASINs to focus on during the sales event itself. Before the Prime Days event, set the bids low. People will be browsing and more likely to click on ads to check the product listings or storefronts. You want to maintain visibility of your brand and products, but you do not want to run out of budget.

One note about budgets: normally you will spend about 66% of your Prime Days budget on the first day, with the remaining 33% on the second day.

Recap of the intermediate tips

On top of the advice given in the basics section, the tips in this section will help you streamline your process based on your prior experience with Prime Days. Generally, sellers/vendors will want to have information visible to browsing shoppers at least one week in advance. Visible information includes: targeting competitors and their products; setting up a Deals subpage on your storefront; and setting up ads to direct browsing shoppers to your storefronts and product listing pages.


Advanced: Getting ahead of the game

You’ve participated in Prime Days before, but you want to up your game. Now it’s time to get and maintain more control over the sales process.

Advertising Strategy

Typically, Amazon will contact sellers/vendors with a suggested list of products for Prime Day discounts, including the suggested discount price. However, you can approach Amazon first, with your own proposal for Prime Days. In this way, you have more control over which products will receive which deals and which discount price. You will also be able to stay on target with your own long-term marketing strategy for your brand/business.

Know Your Competition

Choose your battles. If a competitor has strong products in a specific category, it will be difficult to compete with your own products. You might instead offer a discount on your products in the pre-Prime Day period.

Amp Up Your Sponsored Display Campaigns

With your storefronts and all content up-to-date, use Sponsored Display campaigns to retarget browsing shoppers. By focusing on shoppers who have browsed your products within the last 90-120 days, you keep your brand on their mind as they shop around in advance of Prime Days.

Adjusting Bids

With your Prime Day PPC ad campaigns set up in advance of the event, you will be establishing a baseline of spending on bids. You will also be identifying the target keywords and ASINs that, with controlled spending, will best display the ads for your products. When you target certain ASINs, shoppers visiting those product listing pages will see ads for your products.

Recap of Advanced Tips

Obtaining and maintaining more control over the sales process enables you to stay on target with your overall marketing strategy. This can be done by approaching Amazon before they approach you, with your plan for Prime Days. Knowing and anticipating your competition will also help you fine tune your Prime Days strategy. Regarding PPC ad campaigns, amping up your Sponsored Display campaigns to retarget past shoppers and adjusting bids to aggressively target competitor ASINs will help keep your products/brand in the mind of shoppers ahead of Prime Days.


After the Prime Days

At midnight of day 2, turn those bids down or pause them. It’s normally an extremely slow period on Amazon after Prime Days. In the first three days after the Prime Days event, don’t expect high conversions. Keep those bids low or pause campaigns while you recalibrate the campaigns back to normal.


Conclusion

Amazon Prime Days is the largest annual sales event on the Amazon platform. Sellers/vendors have the opportunity to vastly increase their revenue during this period. It is crucial, however, to plan their participation well, as to enhance their profit margins while remaining appealing to shoppers. Starting with a strategy and a budget, it’s easier to set up a game plan for Prime Days, from inventory management to optimisation of product listings, storefronts and PPC ad campaigns. Optimisation also involves researching and knowing the competition and their products; this helps you stay ahead of the game and maintain visibility to browsing shoppers ahead of the Prime Days event. Armed with these tips you will be more prepared to achieve higher profit margins and conversions.



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Image credits, clockwise from top left: Megan Rexazin Conde from Pixabay, Rupixen from Unsplash, Bastian Riccardi from UnsplashBC_Y from Pixabay, Marques Thomas from Unsplash