As the global economy – and global shopping habits – continue to be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, both shoppers and businesses alike are starting to ask one very important question: will the much-anticipated Amazon Prime Day go ahead in 2021?
With Amazon having come under fire last year for the treatment of some of its workers during a particularly difficult period, there have been rumours that Prime Day would be paused in 2021 to better enable the retail giant to support the safety and wellbeing of its employees throughout the pandemic. However, Amazon appears to have adapted well to the changing landscape, with the website confirming that Prime Day will take place on the 21-22 June.
What is Prime Day?
Prime Day is one of the biggest shopping events in the Amazon calendar, offering exclusive deals and discounts to Prime members. Products across a huge number of categories – everything from kitchen appliances and toys to fitness equipment and electronics – can be discounted, giving shoppers a unique opportunity to save. While some discounts are available under Amazon’s limited time ‘Lightning Deal’ programme, other products may be available at a lower price for the duration of the exciting event.
Prime Day was initially introduced in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s 20th birthday (the website was first launched in July 1995), and ended up becoming a huge annual event held across 20 countries. This includes the UK, US, UAE, and Netherlands, along with Turkey, Spain, Singapore, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, China, Canada, Brazil, Belgium, Austria, Australia, and India. At first, shoppers had just 24 hours to grab their bargains, but over the past few years this has been doubled to 48 Prime Day hours.
How to Prepare
With just a couple of weeks before Prime Day takes place, it’s important for advertisers and sellers alike to be prepared if they want to reap the benefits of the event and attract and engage with an influx of sales qualified leads.
While each seller and ad manager will naturally have their own tasks they’ll need to complete ready for Prime Day 2021, there are four vital aspects that anyone intent on capitalising on the shopping event should consider:
With summer holidays still off the table for many people this year, it’s estimated that more and more will be looking to invest in home and leisure during ‘staycations’. Additionally, following more than 12 months of financial uncertainty resulting from job losses and furlough, an increasing number of shoppers are actively looking for discounts to help them save. Together, these two factors are expected to boost shopper interest.
‘Plan for high demand and fast turnaround, especially for new and popular items’. That’s according to Amazon, who believes that Prime Day 2021 could be bigger than ever. And so it’s clear that inventory management should be at the top of every seller’s list when it comes to preparing for Prime Day this year, ensuring that every retailer has access to the stock they need to meet growing demand and satisfy their customers.
While it can be nerve wracking to purchase more stock than usual – especially as the uncertainty of the pandemic means nobody can be 100% sure what will happen in terms of Prime Day sales – Amazon does have a way to get rid of any unsold stock easily. It’s called Amazon Outlet, and it lets you create an exclusive 1-2 week outlet deal to help shift leftover items and manage excess inventory to minimise wastage.
A mistake that many make when it comes to Prime Day is that they postpone their advertising campaigns to ensure their ads are running over Prime Day itself. However, with Amazon reporting that small and medium sized businesses generated $900+ million in sales during the two weeks prior to Prime Day 2020, it’s clear that shopper interest begins to ramp up much earlier than the discounts are released.
To really get the most from Prime Day 2021, retailers should be thinking of launching their advertising campaigns right now to attract the early birds who are already researching products and using the platform in anticipation of the main event. By building interest and connecting with audiences in advance, advertisers can successfully create a pool of potential leads who may be more likely to make a Prime Day purchase from their brand.
Although there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to what type of advertising campaign works best for Prime Day sales, remember that many shoppers will already have a good idea of what they want, and have been waiting for a price drop before hitting the button. In this scenario, Sponsored Products can be an excellent option. In 2019, Sponsored Products campaigns received a whopping 48% more clicks than usual.
Carrying on from this idea of shoppers already knowing what they’re looking for in the sale, it’s reasonable to assume that some will directly search for the items they want, rather than browsing Prime Day listings. This means that it’s important to optimise product titles and descriptions to better align with Amazon’s A9 ranking algorithm, helping to ensure that the right deals get seen by the right people, at the right time.
However, when it comes to this year’s Prime Day, optimisation is about more than just visibility; it’s about differentiation. During the pandemic, when many ‘non-essential’ brick and mortar stores were forced to close under Government guidelines, there was a widespread shift to ecommerce. More small and medium sized retailers turned to the Amazon platform than ever, so Prime Day 2021 could be the most competitive yet.
By optimising content to differentiate from the competition and meet buyer needs at this unusual time, advertisers may well be able to increase their sales during Prime Day 2021. Content can – and definitely should – be used to deliver a strong and engaging brand message, especially as there have been rumours lately that Amazon is thinking about hosting a second Prime Day later this year. Sellers can attract now to sell in the future.
4. Review Profile
It’s important to remember that not every seller – and not every product – is eligible to be included in Amazon Prime Day. Two of the biggest boxes that must be ticked are related to review profiles, so it’s worth checking your eligibility now, while there’s still time to make changes to meet the criteria. The first box is that your Seller Feedback Rating must be 4 or more. Or, you must have no seller feedback.
In addition to this, any product that is included in the Prime Day sale must have received an average 3.5 star rating. Alternatively, products that have not yet received any feedback can be included. If you currently do not meet these criteria, now is the time to start preparing, building, and strengthening your Amazon review profile so that products from your brand can be accepted into the Prime Day 2021 programme.
The best – and perhaps easiest – way to do this is simply to reach out to customers who have purchased from you in the past and ask them if they’d be willing to leave a review, either of the product, or of you as a seller. It may also be worth thinking about signing up for the Amazon Early Reviewer Programme, which provides an incentive for shoppers to leave a review in the form of a small value Amazon gift card.
Why is Prime Day so Important?
In 2019, small and medium sized sellers took a total of more than $2 billion during Prime Day, making this 48 hours more revenue-generating than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Of course, that was pre-pandemic, and many retailers worried that 2020’s Prime Day would be less beneficial, especially since the event had been postponed. As it turned out, they needn’t have been concerned. With the rapid rise of online shopping sparked by the outbreak, sales for Prime Day 2020 rose by almost 60% year on year, with sellers generating more than $3.5 billion across the two-day event.
It therefore seems safe to say that 2021 is going to be yet another record-breaking day (or 48 hours) for the platform. This is a unique opportunity to attract new customers and drive sales outside of the holiday shopping period, which can be key to recovering from the uncertainty of the past year. Getting the most out of this year’s Prime Day means being prepared, and with the four helpful hints above, you’re now well equipped to ensure you’re ready to maximise every opportunity to sell more.