Make the most of Amazon Prime Day – even if you haven’t got an invitation to the party!

Currencies Direct June 23rd 2016 - 6 minute read

Feedback on last year’s inaugural Amazon Prime Day was mixed.

Amazon was happy, with sales up 93% in the U.S. and 53% in Europe[1] – plus an increase in worldwide order growth of 266% compared with the same day in 2014 and of 18% compared with Black Friday 2014. There were reportedly orders for 34.4 million items from Amazon in the course of the day with customers ordering 398 items every second.

And of course Amazon ended Prime Day with more Prime customers than it had before, having signed up more new Prime members (offered with a free 30-day trial during Prime Day) than on any single day in the company’s history. Let’s not forget the impact of Prime membership fees  on Amazon’s revenues last year.

The measure of Amazon’s happiness is that Prime day is happening again this year: mid-July, exact day still to be specified.

Shoppers, however, were not so happy last year. Many complained vociferously on social media that Amazon had over-promised and under-delivered – particularly as regards the selection of merchandise for deals (described as ‘random’ and ‘offbeat’ as opposed to the more desirable ‘big-ticket’ items such as TVs and electricals) – and the speed with which supplies of the best deals ran out.

As for sellers, many benefitted from the lift in sales at a traditionally quiet period. Other FBA sellers took the opportunity to sell off aging inventory to make room for new stock for the final quarter. And most saw normal sales rise as a result of the undoubted increase in overall traffic.

So how is Prime Day 2016 looking to pan out for you?

Amazon has made a couple of changes to the game plan this year, which will have an impact on how sellers will be involved this time round:


FBA and SFP participation

For Prime day 2015, participation was restricted to third-party sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). This year, sellers in the Seller Fulfilled Prime programme can also take part and benefit from the same privileges that FBA listings enjoy for Buy Box eligibility on Prime Day.


Pre-selected deals

Prime Day is all about deals; and Amazon says it will again be offering new deals as often as every 10 minutes.

Lightning Deals are promotions with a limited number of discount offers on an item for a short period of time, typically four hours, available until the time period expires or all of the available promotions have been claimed.

Deals of the Day, as the name suggests, involve discounts on a single item or small bundle of complementary items for one day only.

The crucial difference this year, probably resulting from consumer criticism of last year’s deals, sees sellers this year losing the ability to submit their own Lightning Deals. Instead Amazon has pre-selected the sellers and the products which are eligible. The plan is to avoid last year’s acknowledged poor consumer experience when some of the most popular deals ran out of stock within minutes – and to avoid less appealing items diluting the impact of the ‘real deals’.

Earlier this year, chosen sellers received emails advising them which of their products were eligible for Lightning Deals and inviting them to propose deals for any of these products. Proposals as to which products they could offer deals on had to be received by Amazon by May 4, with FBA inventory for Prime Day deals received at an Amazon fulfilment centre by June 22.


So what do you do if you haven’t received an invitation to the deal party?

If you didn’t receive an email invitation from Amazon – or you did, but your offers have not been accepted. Or, if you realised that Amazon’s minimum requirements for the deal would be uneconomic  – a 20% or greater discount from the average price listed on in the last 90 days, and deal prices lower than the lowest price since January 1, 2016 – do not be disheartened. This need not mean that Prime Day will be a damp squib; but success will depend on how much preparatory effort you put in to making sure that you still benefit from increased traffic on the day.

Here are some things to bear in mind.


Take advantage of the ‘halo effect’ of Prime Day traffic

If your products are not Prime eligible or have not been selected for the Prime Day deals, this is no reason NOT to gear up for Prime Day: there will be so many bargain hunters cruising that it’s worth offering your own promotions to take advantage of the increased activity.

Look at offering additional discounts or promotions on some of your best-selling items, for example. Money off, free shipping, buy one get one free – are also all likely to appeal to the deal-seekers.

And don’t be tempted to just dust off and wheel out old stock. The actual selection of the items offered last year on Prime Day was heavily criticised by consumers – who have a very clear idea of what a real bargain looks like!


Price competitively but affordably

Make sure you can afford any planned promotions by testing out the discounts and promotions you are planning to offer, in different permutations, in the run-up to Prime Day. Check what impact these have on sales volumes and profits.

You could also consider repricing more aggressively on Prime Day to win the Buy Box – particularly important if you are looking to use Sponsored Ads.


Consider bundling products

Offering several complementary products at a combined (usually discounted) price can make the total bundle of greater value in the eyes of customers than the individual parts. You know your customers and will know what will appeal to them in terms of bundle contents. Bundling masks the prices of the individual components (making it more difficult for competitors to price-match or undercut) and as the bundle has a unique ASIN, it can increase your chances of winning Buy Box. It has the added advantage of allowing you to move some slow-selling or slim-margin products, as non-lead bundle items.

Note – any bundle needs to be prepared in advance and registered with Amazon, who will only accept the bundle when the lead product does not fall into the category of book, music, video, DVD or video game, for obvious reasons. For more information read our article on how to implement a bundling selling strategy.


Ensure sufficient stock levels

Whether you are involved in Amazon-sponsored Prime Day deals, offering your own promotions, or just hoping to attract more buyers to your site, make sure you restock popular items well ahead of time. That means building plenty of ‘slack’ into product delivery lead times – especially for imported items. 


Make sure your shop-front is enticing

Think of potential new visitors to your site and view it through their eyes. Make sure you site is user-friendly, with:

  • Eye-catching, high quality product images
  • Informative, easily readable item descriptions
  • Easy navigation and purchase process

Check that it can be easily found too, by being linked to the most appropriate keywords for searching, and that your products are visible in terms of Amazon’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) which favours products with reviews and positive customer ratings.

This brings us nicely to the next point.


Focus on reviews prior to Prime Day

User reviews and their associated star ratings are key determinants as to whether would-be buyers will select your product before others and proceed to purchase – or move on to a competitor.

Given that Prime day will involve so much extra ‘noise’ for visitors to – it is worth having a blitz campaign to collect more reviews prior to the day to make sure that your products stand out in the crowd – and that the feedback will be positive for your rankings and conducive to turning visitors into buyers.

This is good online selling practice anyway, as you should be nurturing your feedback to ensure your customers have the best buying experience possible when they choose your ‘store’.

To find out how to get your customers to leave great feedback on your products and increase conversions – at any time, not just for Prime Day, please take a look at our article on the power of positive reviews.


Consider Sponsored Products advertising for Prime Day

Sponsored Products can have a big impact on product visibility; and with the increased traffic on Prime Day, you will need all the help you can get to stand out from the crowd.

Sponsored Products ads are only displayed for product listings that are in the ‘Buy Box’. When they are clicked, they lead directly to your product detail page – hence they help to drive buyers (rather than browsers) to your site as they deliver highly relevant ads to targeted searches.

Effectively, you bid for a keyword and it is down to you to determine both the level of keyword bids and your daily ad budget for Sponsored Products ads. The minimum bid is 2p – though Amazon recommends bidding at 5p or more. Amazon levies a cost-per-click (CPC) fee in addition.

So you need to factor in these costs and think about how high you are prepared to go with your bids and whether you use Sponsored Products ads for multiple products or just one or two items when thinking about Sponsored Products ads for Prime Day.

Read our earlier article for further details on how Sponsored Products ads can help to drive traffic to your Amazon store anytime, not just Prime Day time.


Making the most of Prime Day

Irrespective of whether you are an invited guest with accepted deals on the table for Amazon Prime Day – or a ‘plus one’ looking to ride on Amazon’s coat-tails, you can use your own online marketing skills to make sure you benefit from the occasion.

All it needs is a bit of preparation up-front.

[1] Quoted in CNN Money, July 16, 2015

Written by
Currencies Direct

Select a topic: