Thriving During the Holidays as an Amazon Vendor

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Thanksgiving is over and we've overindulged in turkey and stuffing, weathered Black Friday, and survived Cyber Monday. It's safe to say that the holiday shopping season is upon us. Brick and mortar stores have had holiday displays up since at least Halloween day, some since July - big box craft stores, I'm looking at you! The online marketplace may have looked a little less aggressive, with many sites rolling out ads and pop ups geared to the holiday shopper in early November. Walmart, Target, and Amazon teased shoppers with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals throughout the month to build anticipation.

Researchers projected that online sales would grow 14.8% for the 2018 holiday season and reach $124.1 billion. Amazon has declared Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 to be the biggest shopping days in history, with Adobe Analytics predicting it would bring in $7.8 billion on Cyber Monday alone. Amazon has confirmed that they sold over 180 million items over the 5-day holiday shopping period.

Finishing Out Q4

As a brand with an online presence in the digital marketplace, you've probably been thinking about how to get your share of that $124.1 billion. You've spent time creating an advertising campaign strategy for Q4, geared at the holiday shopper. You've carefully budgeted for your ad spend and increased bids on all the right keywords. Now it's time for you to wind down your year and enjoy the holidays, right? Not really. With this uptick in sales, there's still quite a bit of work to ensure you finish Q4 on top. Here are a few suggestions to help you get through Q4 and into Q1.

  • Brands need to be ready to respond to customer reviews immediately so that product ranking doesn't decrease. Just because a product has received a negative review doesn't mean that it necessarily has to have a negative effect on ranking. By responding to a review or question within 24 hours, you are providing good customer service and some buyers will increase a star rating on that fact alone. Be sure you to have someone on your team dedicated to following up on product reviews in a timely manner.
  • This time of year is busy for vendors so it could be easy to overlook product hijacking by third party sellers or counterfeiters. Be sure there is a dedicated team member checking on product copy to make sure that it matches the copy that your e-commerce or marketing team has created and that it complies with Amazon's standards.
  • In addition to copy violations, be sure to lookout for MAP violations. Minimum advertised pricing is important for brand integrity and brand profit margins. The easiest way to track MAP violations is through Pricebox ,  where you receive notifications whenever a third party seller is in violation.
  • Finally, as we close out Q4 and enter Q1, optimize the data that you have collected this year to drive growth in 2019. I'll be posting a step-by-step guide on how to use this year's data for next year's roadmap. Until then, here is a quick rundown. First, distribute product reviews from Reviewbox to your development team so they have an understanding of where improvements can be made. Second, run reports from Searchbox to determine if you are missing out on keywords that could help increase your SEO. Finally, run reports on Ad Station to determine your organic reach on keywords and map out your Amazon Advertising campaigns for 2019.

The key takeaways from this are to stay on top of your products through this busy sales season and to optimize the data you've collected through the year to make 2019 a year of growth for your brand.