The last two holiday seasons have been unpredictable for Amazon sellers. In 2020, we wondered how the pandemic would impact consumer spending, only to see the platform have its biggest holiday season ever. A year later, we questioned whether inventory scarcity would put a crimp on holiday purchases and watched as digital’s share of total retail sales fell for the first time year-over-year during a largely flat holiday season. As sellers prepare for their third holiday season of the pandemic era, everyone’s wondering what’s in store for Amazon in 2022.
Three Unknowns Will Shape the Holiday Season
If COVID was the wild card during 2020 and supply chain delays raised concerns in 2021, inflation is the flashing red light on the 2022 holiday season dashboard. While inflation dropped a bit in July from its June peak, it’s still unclear if this is a temporary blip or a promising ongoing trend. Even if inflation does continue falling, consumers will likely have a little less to spend this year than they have previously. But other factors could negatively impact holiday sales on Amazon.
This year, it’s rumored that the e-commerce giant will hold a second Prime Day event for the first time. While the online giant hasn’t announced an exact date yet, it has asked its vendors to provide potential lightning deals for a so-called Prime Fall event in October. This information has led many marketers to worry that a second Prime Day sale could take a big bite out of consumers’ already constricted budgets, leaving that much less for sellers to compete for when the holiday season rolls around.
A second Prime Day isn’t the only unusual competition Amazon sellers could face this holiday season. Thanks to those aforementioned supply chain delays, retail chains are overstocked with inventory and may be looking to unload it with deep discounts during the holiday season. If this happens, it could significantly compete for consumers’ limited attention.
Five Ways to Prepare Your Amazon Store
While we can’t predict the future, there are still many ways for Amazon sellers to lay the foundation for success this holiday season. Here are five tasks you can put into motion today.
1. Improve Your Presence
The first step every Amazon seller should take is implementing their Amazon Storefront. This is essentially a website dedicated to your brand within Amazon’s larger website, allowing potential customers to browse through your entire catalog without being distracted by competing products. Not only does the storefront provide you with more cross-selling and upselling opportunities, but it will also give your full product line a more consistent and branded appearance.
A critical component of building out your Amazon store involves implementing A+ content for all your listings, which are the image-heavy features on product detail pages. Not only will your products stand out more, but you’ll also likely see a jump in conversion rates after making the change.
2. Make Your Products More Shoppable
The Amazon ecosystem is crowded, so you’ll want to make your products easy for users to discover. You can use two strategies to accomplish this goal. The first is by implementing the parent-child relationship as a way of grouping similar products together. Think of a t-shirt as an example. The parent-child relationship enables users to browse through different sizes and colors of the t-shirt you’re selling without leaving the product page. Your goods instantly become browsable and may prompt some shoppers to buy multiple items at the same time.
Another strategy to make yourself easier to find on Amazon is to audit your product listings. Amazon won’t display something unless it features all the user’s search words somewhere in the listing. If you include every possible detail about your products and their features in the titles, backend keywords, descriptions and bullet points, there’s a better chance that Amazon will show your products to buyers. Remember, search terms can change with the season, so taking the time to audit your listings should be a quarterly occurrence.
3. Start Testing New Advertising Tools
Over the last few years, Amazon has launched several advertising tools to help sellers connect with buyers on the platform. For example, sellers can target audiences based on their purchase data using sponsored display ads. These ads appear on product detail pages and the Amazon home page, along with being featured on the Amazon Display Network, which follower users around the internet. Sponsored brand videos are also growing in popularity among Amazon sellers. The eye-catching ads offer first-page placement, which is essential because 40% of Amazon buyers never move past the first page they open.
If you haven’t already started using these advertising tools, it’s time to begin testing them out. However, as you plan your holiday advertising budget, remember that cost-per-clicks are rising across all platforms. In the second quarter of 2022, Amazon CPCs were up 30% year-over-year, and we expect prices to continue rising as the holidays get closer. You should be prepared to increase your bids aggressively. Otherwise, your visibility will drop dramatically.
4. Experiment with Product Bundling
Discounting is tricky and isn’t always appropriate for every product or brand. However, special offers are a proven method for turning search traffic into conversions. Bundling, which combines related products into a single product offering, is one discounting strategy that can be particularly effective during the holidays. Think shampoo and conditioner or video game consoles and game titles. When shoppers buy bundles, they feel like they’re getting more value for their money while you’re increasing average order value and exposing buyers to more of your products. Don’t forget, you’ll need to lock these deals in early because Amazon needs advance notice to set them up before Black Friday hits.
5. Explore Amazon Posts
The last step to take before the holidays is to begin building out your presence on Amazon Posts. In a bid to keep users on their site for longer, Amazon has started experimenting with a social side to shopping. Sellers build pages for their brands on Amazon and post just like they would on any other social media platform.
Amazon posts are really exciting for sellers because they appear on product detail pages and competitor product pages, making them one of the only free ways to get additional traffic on the Amazon platform. You can use the time leading up to the holiday to experiment with different creatives to see what resonates with users. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, either. Start by simply recycling the content you’re already using on Facebook or Instagram.
Sell With Confidence
Despite facing ongoing market uncertainties leading into the 2022 holiday season, one thing’s certain: Amazon will continue dominating the e-commerce landscape. Potential customers will gravitate towards this platform first. So sellers should focus on the basics, like ensuring products are more attractive and easier to find, to stand out from the competition. Once these building blocks are in place, you can confidently face an unpredictable market and achieve the best possible results this holiday season.
Micah Heath is the Vice President of Product Innovation at Logical Position, an Inc. 500 company headquartered in Oregon with offices nationwide. The agency offers full-service PPC management, SEO, and website design solutions for businesses large and small, and was ranked as the third best place to work in America by Inc. Magazine.