*Parental Advisory* we’re discussing the secrets of Santa and some last minute Amazon Seller strategies to drive awareness, consideration and sales this holiday season

DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN READ THIS POST

Now that Amazon is so pervasive in holiday share of wallet (they shipped more than 1Bn packages during the holiday season of 2018), I wonder how much sooner in life our kids are needing to face the existential Santa dilemma: How does his sleigh fit all of those toys? …”OMG”

With Amazon anticipating an even larger holiday season this year, what can we ascertain from last year’s reporting for some holiday sales strategies to explore?

PYMNTS points out that some of the best-selling products of last season were the Echo Dot, L.O.L  Surprise! Glam Glitter Series Doll, fashion items from Carhartt and Bose Quiet Comfort Wireless Headphones.

Learning: Toys, Fashion & Electronics are HOTT in the Holidays

With those categories in mind, we want to provide a few last minute strategies for brands in the Toys, Fashion and Electronics categories to drive growth this Holiday Season.

All Categories: YOU’RE TOO LATE to make the most meaningful decisions to drive growth:

Inventory for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should arrive at Amazon fulfillment centers by November 5, 2019.

Inventory for Christmas shopping should arrive at Amazon fulfillment centers by December 5, 2019.

Inventory for 2020 should be sent to Amazon fulfillment centers no earlier than December 17, 2019. Until then, please only ship items to Amazon that will sell in 2019.

Be sure to allow ample time for supplier lead times, carrier lead times, or both. It may take longer to get inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers during the busy holiday season.

Aside from having prepared well in terms of inventory planning and having a plug with Marty McFly or Doc Brown to travel back in time, here are some strategies and tools all sellers can take note of:

Amazon’s FBA Holiday Selling guidelines

The average increase in Amazon Ad spend per brand is about 4X-10X during holiday season.

This stat is pulled from an aggregate of other media agency reports, as well as, our own studies of our clients’ spend patterns, so I have to give that caveat. However illegitimate this stat might be scientifically speaking; it is anecdotally and directionally accurate.

It is intense with competition during this time of year and you must balance short term profit with longterm growth at this time of year more than ever. Keywords and placements are all more expensive at this time.

Lots to consider! Are your stock owners happy with their returns this year? Do you need to maximize units to hit targets? Do you need to maximize margins this year or are you looking to grow at all costs?

Every brand will need to treat their Amazon Advertising strategy differently given some of those macro considerations, as well as, tactical questions of whether you are in a defensive or category conquering mindset. We would love to schedule a 1 hour consult to chat it through with you.

As advertising is crucial to have a grip on for every category and so very unique to each brand, we wanted to provide some other ways to drive awareness, consideration and sales this holiday that are unique for some of the highest GMV holiday sales categories: Toys, Fashion and Consumer Electronics:

Toys: Amazon is very protective of this category in the Holidays. Kids must get the right toy on time!

Ever since Toys R’ Us liquidated their business, retailers and manufacturers have been vying to fill in the massive opportunity. They are all employing very aggressive price matching & selection incentives to beef up their market share quickly.

With that in mind, ensure that all of your order management issues are sorted and that your Seller Fulfilled metrics are pristine… this time of year especially! If you sell in the Toys category, Amazon will shut down your ability to fulfill items (and we all know that FBA inbounding is a nightmare this time of year) unless you maintain these metrics:

Performance Criteria based on Seller-Fulfilled Orders (not fulfilled by Amazon)

  • Your first sale on Amazon must be prior to September 1, 2019 and does not need to be specific to Toys & Games.
  • You must have processed and shipped at least 25 seller-fulfilled orders from August 15, 2019 through October 14, 2019.
  • Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate must be no greater than 1.75% from September 15, 2019 through October 14, 2019.
  • Your late shipment rate must be no greater than 4% from September 15, 2019 through October 14, 2019.
  • Your order defect rate must be no greater than 1% as of October 14, 2019.

Fashion: who is your shopper & where should you focus traffic driving efforts off Amazon to your listings?

Each demographic is fairly well represented on Amazon & the shear velocity of US households paying >$120 per year to be Prime members should tell you that your audience is on Amazon. But if you are looking to influence your audience on other Platforms to drive conversions at Amazon, where should you turn?

It is fairly intuitive that fashion, more than other categories, is influenced by social media. Not to mention the frequency of purchase in this category leads to high levels of impulse buys…

With that in mind and with our agency’s strong portfolio in the fashion, apparel and accessories space, we work with our brands to target specific channels where their audience is most likely to drive to purchases. The above research provided by our friends at BigCommerce and highlights just how important Snapchat is to the Millennial and Gen Z crowd. I was convinced that Snapchat was cancelled, who knew??

A healthy brand with equity being driven on other channels that are not just ratings and reviews is more crucial now than ever to Amazon Merchants. There was a day, when my co-founder, Viet Tran, could rely on increasing ratings and reviews on Amazon to maintain his category dominance in eyewear for ZeroUV. Now a days, private label manufacturers are all finding that Amazon’s algorithm is rewarding listings that are driving their own organic traffic in their listings.

We are working with clients to integrate their Amazon listings into increasingly integrated marketing campaigns to engage consumers and drive brand equity. The investments are paying off and we are excited to share how effective content marketing / community building can drive inorganic growth in your Amazon business in upcoming case studies.

For now, pay attention to where your demographic is paying their attention and develop relationships there, as well as, on Amazon… Go do it now!

Download Amazon’s Social Media Tool Kit for promoting your Product Listings

Electronics: identify ways to drive experiential activations for your brand & leverage the content online. Features and benefits only get sold so well on a web page.

Our team took a tour of one of B8ta brand’s retail concept stores in Austin, TX. I have been following B8ta for some time now, as I am quite interested in how they are innovating in selling high-consideration product types. With a focus on explaining complex product types & ability to test the product before trying. Take Devialet’s $3K speaker box that promises:

This is not a speaker. This is Phantom. The best sound in the world. Encounter the physical impact of a high-end ultra-dense sound. Instantly. With power, clarity and precision unlike anything you’ve heard before.

https://b8ta.com/b/phantom

Bose proves that audiophiles are shopping amazon and willing to pay for premium product, but the consumer needs to appreciate the “high-end ultra-dense sound.” How else will they do that other than hearing one?

What B8ta brands is doing is interesting and something I saw work quite successfully for OtterBox when I worked there. We were at least 100% more costly than the next brand on the wall @ Best Buy, but we invested in employee incentive programs and experiential marketing to make sure people knew their iPhones were protected in our Box.

The lesson here is not to concoct some multi-city, multi-retailer campaign, but how do you take your marketing budget and cost efficiently drive some local experiences that display your product with your audience? What of the B8ta experience can you take and activate between now and December 20th. People are shopping later and later in the year these days. More time to win their attention!

Fun fact… B8ta is also powering the technology behind the Toys ‘R Us revival – more to come on that. Not sure if I buy it or not.

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j$

E: Justin@smartosc.com IG: @justin_smartosc (biz) @j__dollarsign (private) LI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justinraywilliams/ CEO, North America, smartosc.com **Thoughts are all mine and may not necessarily reflect smartosc.com all of the time. smartosc.us

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