• Yoda Yee

Are you prepared for Amazon's Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales bump?

It seems like a running joke that each year Christmas marketing season seems to start earlier and earlier - barely out of summer and you’re already hearing holiday jingles in stores. That’s because it works.

Prime Day may have just passed and we’re still several months away from Black Friday (this year it falls on November 26th), but it’s never too early to start preparing for it and its tech-savvy cousin Cyber Monday. Unlike Prime Day, Black Friday has the obvious benefit of being in the holiday season, really making it more of a Black November.

Brands that know what they’re doing kick off their Black Friday advertising months in advance of the big day. It’s all about anticipation, pulling back the slingshot as far as you can before it’s time to actually fire and getting your deals on people’s shopping lists. Not only does it build up sales velocity, but by extension it gets you winning the buy box and getting more sponsored product spots. It also carries the added benefit of getting you up the rankings and driving down your cost per click.

We may be coming out of the pandemic, but the shift in consumer attitudes is undeniable. Even with stores open and people going back to brick-and-mortar, eCommerce has gotten a turbo boost over the past year and will continue to reign.

Take care of your inventory

The last thing you want to do is find yourself, at any point in the year’s biggest shopping extravaganza, with not enough stock. If you run too hot without having made the necessary inventory preparations, you run a real risk of selling out, losing the buy box and freezing your trip up the rankings.

Don’t be too nervous about splashing out on stock. You stand a good chance of selling in the aftermath before Christmas.

Reach out to your suppliers with as much lead time as possible so production can ramp up sufficiently by the delivery date, then make sure you’ve shipped them in time.

Take plenty of time before the event to review inventory storage limits and see if you’re subject to any ASIN-level restrictions. These are not things you want to be caught off-guard with closer to the date, as it will determine how much inventory can be sent to Amazon facilities. You want to give yourself as much time as possible to talk to alternative logistics companies if need be.

Conveniently, Amazon makes it easy to schedule promotions in advance from Seller Central, whether its a week-long discount or a 4-hour lighting deal. Keep in mind, however, that deal on Black Friday weekend itself can carry a healthy premium, costing anywhere between 2-4x other times.

Top Tips for the big day

To shoppers, the whole internet is a fire sale around Black Friday, so sellers need to be able to stand out in a field full of good deals - or at least not let others stand out from them.

  • Free Shipping: There’s little point putting a product up with a discount if you’re just going to tack on a shipping cost on the back end. We’ve all been there, getting drawn in by a good deal only to find it largely erased by the delivery fee thrown into the total. Few things are more annoying, or more likely to turn people away.

  • Bundles, Bundles, and Bundles: Products that go well together, should sell together. Black Friday is the perfect chance to offer limited time and exclusive deals on just about anything. Give them an offer they can’t refuse.

  • Optimize keywords and pictures: Make sure your products are towards the top of the list where they are most visible and that the pictures are attractive enough to get people to choose them over similar alternatives. Pepper the listings with keywords - especially if they’re holiday related. Use bold images, actions shots, infographics and any other tool at your disposal to stand out. Keep in mind that more than half of shoppers on Amazon use their phones, making images all the more crucial.

  • Keep an eye on your performance ahead of time: Don’t leave your products unattended. If they’re selling too fast, send more inventory over, and if it's too slow, tweak your PPC campaigns accordingly.

  • Don’t price minimums too low: Rookie mistake - a lot of new sellers drag down the prices and sell out, losing out on chunks of profit.

Above all, don’t take your foot off the pedal. Just because the event ends doesn’t mean that people stop shopping. This is the time to capitalise on the festivities, when people think they will have to wait another year if they miss out, so don’t squander it.

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