Merchants gear up for Amazon Prime Day

June 21, 2016 01:19 PM Inc. hasn’t yet announced when it will hold its second Prime Day this year, but given the success of the promotion last summer, experts are advising merchants to start preparing now for what is anticipated to be a mid-July event.

A spokeswoman for Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, confirmed that the event would happen again this year, but other than that, “we don’t have any details to share yet.” In a letter sent to merchants and subsequently posted to an Amazon sellers forum, Amazon encouraged merchants to submit by May 4 products for consideration in its Lightning Deals during this year’s Prime Day.

Amazon held Prime Day on July 15 last year and billed it as being bigger than Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving that is one of the biggest online sales days of the year in the United States.  Last year’s mid-summer promotion was in conjunction with the online retailer’s 20th anniversary, and it proved to be bigger than Amazon’s Black Friday 2014. Amazon’s sales on Prime Day were 18% higher than its Black Friday sales and 266% higher than July 15, 2014. The e-retailer did not release sales in dollars.

“Prime Day was a huge success for our customers,” says David Spitz, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps retail clients sell their products on Amazon and is the marketplace management vendor for 83 retailers in the 2016 Top 500. “Customers should be ready for a really big day of sales— almost Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) level.”

Despite Amazon not yet announcing a date for Prime Day, traffic volumes will be high and retailers should be preparing now, experts say.

“Prime Day will most likely have the same impact as Black Friday/Cyber Monday for sellers,” says Victor Rosenman, CEO of automatic repricing services platform Feedvisor. “Sellers should make sure they are ready to support the increased demand while maintaining their high level of customer experience,” by ensuring they have the appropriate amount of staff on hand to handle and fulfill those additional orders.

“The main levers a merchant/vendor can pull are optimizing content (such as product images, titles, and descriptions) to maximize discoverability in search results and conversion, investing strategically in paid search through sponsored products and AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) campaigns, and driving ratings and reviews through sampling programs or post-purchase email campaigns,” adds Keith Anderson, vice president of strategy and insight at Profitero.

Selina Heckendorf, director of marketplace performance for e-commerce services vendor CommerceHub, writes in a blog post that merchants should ensure their top-selling items are Prime eligible, that they have enough inventory on hand to keep up with the demand surge from shoppers and offering free shipping on non-Prime items.

“The deluge of deal hunters expected on Amazon on Prime Day will be happy to lap up a good deal, no matter if it’s Prime eligible or not,” she writes.




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