This post was co-authored with insights from Publicis Commerce and Pacvue.
2020 is the year of time with no meaning. Months seem endless, days fly by, suddenly the Summer is over and we are talking about Holidays. In the world of eCommerce, certainly, 2020 has compressed the growth of five years into five months, with sales projected to hit 14.5% of all U.S. retail sales by end of year, according to eMarketer, “US ECommmerce 2020”, June 8, 2020.
Pacvue has found for every 100% gain in impressions (doubling) on Amazon, brands see an almost equivalent gain in units sold. As more shoppers continue to turn to eCommerce, many of whom are first-time shoppers in the channel, capturing Share of Voice (aka Digital Share of Shelf) is crucial, and with one of the major sale drive periods, Prime Day, happening so late this year (expected around 10/12), it is all the more imperative to plan Q4 diligently and prepare for what is sure to be a wild few months - or is it years? - in the eCommerce space.
Holiday deals start in October in a typical year, with the anticipation that consumers will be ready to buy and manufacturers will want to build and sustain that growth through the Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Holiday time period through December. With Prime Day kicking off this sales cycle early, Amazon announcing Black Friday deals every week beginning October 26th and with so much traffic already in the Commerce channels, we recommend starting Holiday deals as soon as possible after Prime Day, certainly no later than November 1. Manufacturers should be ready with plenty of inventory, a steady fulfillment plan and a back-up plan for 3P or drop-shipment in case of any issues with marketplaces fulfilling orders on your behalf.
Beyond timing and readiness factors, we also have a few best practice media methods for success during this Holiday, post-Prime, Period:
Take Advantage of Deal of the Day Flexibility
In 2020, Amazon is allowing more flexibility around Deal of the Day. Brands can re-run the same product after 2 weeks as long as the deal is still the lowest in the previous 365 days. This should make it easier to run the same hero products for both Prime Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday and should affect promotional pricing planning accordingly.
Activate Search Campaigns Now
For products that manufacturers expect to run with discounting on holidays, begin running search campaigns now to build up keyword relevancy scores on your listing. You can further this strategy with audience targeting through Amazon DSP by building audiences based on competitor and search term views to drive sales early and build relevancy.
Combine Pre-Holiday ASINs with Mid-Holiday Retargeting
Cross-selling strategies are exceptionally important this year. Promote hero ASINs on Prime Day and early holiday and follow through with retargeting to complementary products for later holiday.
Use Brand Stores and Sub-Pages to Capture New Customers
Capitalize on all of these potential customers coming through Amazon aisles; use brand stores and sub-pages as a top-of-funnel tactic to drive new-online and new-to-brand consumers to your product line. Optimize your content for search and conversion, remember, this is your aisle now that shoppers have moved online.
With so much uncertainty surrounding Q4 this year, agility is going to be key. Specifically, budget fluidity – or the ability to move budget flexibly and quickly without layers of decision makers across platforms, based on just-in-time information – will be critical. Make sure you have a champion in your organization to lead or support your recommendations across unexpected shifts throughout the holiday season. Monitor the right KPIs, from Share of Voice to sales, set aside budget for test and learn opportunities, ensure you have backup plans (especially around fulfillment), and plan cohesively across marketplaces.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the holiday season, especially in 2020, but those who plan ahead, start early and stay nimble, can see success.