5 Tips for the Navigating the Amazon Holiday Shopping Rush
by Matt Ellis
The time has finally come: online shopping is predicted to overtake in-store shopping for the first time in history during the 2017 holiday shopping season. According to a Deloitte study, respondents planned to spend 51% of their shopping budget in online stores throughout Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared to 42% in brick-and-mortar stores.
That puts even more emphasis on optimizing your Amazon store for the Thanksgiving weekend, as if it weren’t already a priority. But don’t worry! There’s still time to make sure your Amazon store is ready. Follow these five Amazon holiday selling tips and you’ll be sure to have a merry Q4 and a happy new fiscal year!
1. Stock Up
First things first — make the physical preparations for the holiday shopping rush. Ensure that your inventory is fully stocked, not just for the holiday weekend, but the entire holiday season! Early November is crucial for stocking enough inventory to last you through the beginning of January.
There are a few good reasons to think ahead when stocking up early for the winter. First, it’s better to err on the side of too much; if your store does better than expected during the Thanksgiving weekend, you won’t lose business or new customers due to the dreaded “out of stock” message. (Just be careful you don't overstock too much or long term storage fees may apply.)
The other good reason is last-minute shoppers. Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") same-day delivery is a holiday miracle to some on Christmas Eve, so by the time December 24th rolls around, you’ll be glad you planned ahead with enough inventory — and so will your shoppers, as other stores may have sold out by then.
Amazon recommends getting Black Friday and Cyber Monday stock into fulfillment centers by November 7, which is fast approaching. If Santa’s elves can create all the toys for everyone in the world, you should be able to loosely hit this deadline.
2. Stretch Out Thanksgiving Weekend to Two Weeks
To be clear, Cyber Monday and Black Friday will most likely be your biggest online selling days…but not your only shopping days.
Holiday deals are starting earlier and earlier, with promotions beginning on average around five days before Thanksgiving. On top of this, there are always the late shoppers that miss out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Add these together and you get a heightened holiday shopping period of roughly two weeks.
You want your marketing to play into this, not against it. Reward early shoppers with the same holiday deals so that you don’t risk losing them to another seller, and don’t punish later shoppers for being late to the party.
3. Free Shipping: A Gift for Your Customers and Yourself
‘Tis the season to be giving…and when we’re talking about Amazon sellers offering free shipping during the holiday season, it truly is better to give than to receive.
One of the biggest obstacles to maximizing your Thanksgiving weekend profits is competing against other sellers. Everyone brings their A-game to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend sales, so you’ll have to go the extra mile to win over some customers.
In addition to perfecting your sales, promotion, and product deals, free shipping is the ideal icing on the cake. After all, free shipping is what online shoppers want most. You can offer free shipping when fulfilling orders yourself, and if you are selling your inventory through FBA your items are already qualified for free shipping through the Amazon Prime program.
4. Generate More Buzz than a Bumblebee
Like a Christmas caroler in the back row, you have to be loud if you want to be noticed. Generate as much buzz as you can about your products and promotional deals weeks before Thanksgiving to build up a healthy demand by the time the sales start.
First, you want to modify your content marketing strategies around the holiday season. Think about what your shoppers want to read about now versus the rest of the year. Gift-giving guides, product reviews and buying guides are especially popular in November and December as people search for advice on gift-giving.
You should also invest more in advertising. Take advantage of Amazon’s inherent rise in traffic during the holiday season by advertising on-site. How to choose the best advertising methods for your own goals and budget is a topic worthy of its own article, so you may want to refer to this comparison guide for the 3 types of Amazon ads.
5. It’s Okay (and Profitable) to be Trendy
There’s a fine line between standing out from your competition and giving your customers what they want. Shopping patterns vary between what people prefer to buy online versus in-store, what they look for on Amazon versus other eCommerce sites and what product categories they look for most on Thanksgiving versus Black Friday versus Cyber Monday.
Luckily, there’s enough data from previous years to safely predict some general trends. According to DealNews, you can pinpoint the most popular product categories for each of the big shopping days during the Thanksgiving weekend:
- video games
- Android phones
- computer data storage
- travel purchases
- beauty items
But if you’re uneasy relying on guesswork and data from previous years, you can always use MarketScout to find accurate and up-to-date data on any product. This product research tool for Amazon merchants tells you everything you need to know about a product before you choose to source it: product rank, fees, whether Amazon is a seller, potential profitability data and more. Claim 100 free credits now, no credit card required.
What's Your Approach?
What’s your marketing strategy for the Thanksgiving weekend holiday rush? Share your thoughts below in the comments section now.
Originally published on November 6, 2017, updated August 26, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.