UPDATED September 28, 2020.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Day 2020 has been pushed back & the most recent information on dates & feature availability are reflected.
For 2020, Amazon pushed back Prime Week from July to October. While rumors circulated about Prime Day being the week o October 5th, we finally have confirmation that it will in fact be October 13 & 14. Another 2-day event, after last year’s success.
Prime Day 2020 was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Amazon was restricting FBA shipments to essential items. As panic shopping subsided, Amazon began shipping all items again but implemented inventory caps on most items that did not fall under the essentials umbrella. Top sellers & big movers may be exempt, however this inventory cap does make it trickier to boost stock in preparation for Prime Day 2020. The best way to work around this is to continue to follow the recommendations below in the 3-month lead-up to Prime Day so that your inventory caps rise in time for your big push & other Q4 incentives.
What is Prime Day?
Prime Day was spearheaded in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s 20-year anniversary. Amazon has now turned this into a global shopping event. As the name suggests, Prime Day’s purpose is to promote Amazon’s Prime service and offers exclusive deals for Amazon’s Prime members. It exists as a major marketing tactic for Amazon to get more Prime memberships, as the data shows they tend to purchase twice as much as other customers. And it works. Many Amazon customers will sign-up for the free 30-day trial or take advantage of discounted introductory offers, like the student membership.
The entire week leading up to Prime Day will be full of deals for all Amazon members, outnumbering Black Friday and other similar retail holidays. Many sellers and vendors will run special promos during this time too, to bring in more sales and entice non-Prime members to still make purchases. Amazon has reported up to a 60% increase in purchases during Prime Week, so even if you are not participating officially, this week can still be a great promotional opportunity.
Lightning Deals are the #1 Way to Participate
Lightning Deals are limited sales run on Amazon. They run between 4 and 6 hours (or until the deal quantity sells out), often for a discount of 20% or more. Amazon will list deals 24 hours in advance, allowing customers to sign up to watch the deal and get a notice when it starts. These deals will display throughout Amazon, including on the Today’s Deals page, and mobile users get notifications for Lightning Deals based off their browsing and purchase history.
Amazon will provide recommendations for your Lightning Deals. This includes not only a minimum sale price but also a minimum quantity. If you choose to participate you must meet these numbers. You can certainly offer more items for the deal and may even offer a deeper discount, but you may not submit a deal for a higher price or lower quantity. If you are creating a Lightning Deal for Prime Week, make sure to submit them by the deadline. For 2020 that deadline is May 8, but you can always verify this from the Lightning Deals screen.
How Lucrative are Lightning Deals?
This depends on your bottom line. Not only do you need to weigh the fees ($150 normally, $300 during peak times, and $500 for Prime Day + per unit funding for vendors; plus your normal operating costs to sell on Amazon), you need to consider a variety of other factors:
- Is this a good season for your item?
- What does your competition look like on Amazon?
- What about your competition off Amazon?
Just because Amazon sets a deal price, it doesn’t mean that it is the most competitive. You need to consider how many units you think you can sell and determine if the return is worth it.
How Else Can I Participate?
So, you’ve decided Lightning Deals aren’t going to be lucrative, or perhaps you don’t have any suggestions. There are still a variety of other opportunities for you on & off Amazon.
Take the time to refine your content and revisit back-end keywords. The power of organic search results and the halo effect from ads is huge, and taking the time now to optimize all of this will serve you well during Prime Week.
Also look at your feedback, reviews, and customer questions. Respond to negative feedback and reviews, or have Amazon remove them if they violate policy. Answer your customer questions; show you are active in the community & open a dialogue. Not to mention, this review gives you some food for thought when it comes to content optimization.
Amazon Brand Features
Don’t forget to build your brand image. Take advantage of Storefront and Enhanced Brand Content (Enhanced Media Content/A+ pages for Vendors). Storefront is a great way to get your brand, products, and story in front of customers. It pairs well with advertising & off-Amazon tactics. EBC/A+ makes your descriptions stand out on the page & easier to read.
Amazon Advertising Features
Update your ad campaigns. While revisiting your keywords, also look at your advertising search terms. Run ads that direct customers to your storefront, or run ads intended specifically for Prime Week.
Amazon also offers a variety of additional marketing opportunities. Take advantage of the increased shopper traffic and run your own specials. Set up promo codes and coupons. Both of these will actually show in search results as well; coupons being more visible than promo codes. Brand Registered sellers also have access to social media promos, which are unique landing pages you can share off-Amazon. These are all viable tactics to attract shoppers.
We don’t recommend discounted pricing as the value is no longer communicated to consumers. In the past you would see a slashed out price, but Amazon has now moved towards only showing the actual price. The exception being Subscribe & Save.
Prime Exclusive Deals
Prime Exclusive Deals launched in 2019. They are another work around to the sales pricing, as these deals will show as a slashed price. Slashed prices are a great way to offer a perceived value. These deals are not limited to Prime Day either! However, Prime and other specialty shopping times tend to have a minimum 20% discount.
Deal of the Day
Deal of the Day is exclusive to Vendors. While also not a Prime Day exclusive feature, participation during this time frame is very beneficial. These show up on the Today’s Deals page, but don’t think Prime Week shoppers won’t be scoping that out still! Deals of the Day also run for a full 24 hours instead of 4-6 hours like Lightning Deals.
Don’t forget the power of the internet. Many other online retailers are jumping on the band wagon and offering their own summer sales to compete with Prime Week. Join them! Or use your other web resources like your brand page, social media, and customer email lists to promote your deals on Amazon.
Important Prime Week 2020 Deadlines!
Lightning Deals need to be submitted early. Prior to COVID-19, US Vendors and Sellers only had until May 8, 2020, with Prime Day itself estimated late June/early July. Given that Prime Day has been pushed back to October 13 & 14, we would have expected Lightning Deals to be submitted in early August,. If you were able to schedule prior to May 8, your deals should still be valid.However if you were not, just keep checking back to see if deals become available.
Prime Exclusive Deal needed to be submitted 10 days in advance in 2019, so we would anticipate a submission deadline of late September, and according to some Amazon has recommended submitting by September 25, 2020.
Additional important dates, as suggested by Amazon, are August 20, 2020 to ship inventory in for Prime Day & September 11, 2020 as the cut-off for products newly utilizing FBA.
Any advertising adjustments you make should be completed at least 2 weeks before Prime Week starts (aim for September 15), and we recommend having most other plans in place by then as well.
Contact us to make sure you are ready to maximize on Prime Week!