Preparing for Prime Day

by David T. Griffith

Our new favorite eCommerce “holiday” is fast approaching – Amazon Prime Day<. It’s a promotional event designed to offer exclusive deals to Prime members and build membership, not unlike similar practices employed by traditional brick and mortar retailers over the years.

Each year since its inception, Prime Day has been second only to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period that kicks off the Christmas shopping season. In fact, it’s well on the path to overtake the infamous November weekend here in the U.S. According to Amazon’s self reporting – as they do not publish sales figures – Prime Day 2017 was the biggest sales day in company history, that is, until Cyber Monday 2017 rolled in. There’s no reason to expect anything less with Prime Day 2018 as vendors are now receiving instructional emails to prepare for participation in the big event.

It’s worth noting that Prime Day has been evolving each year. This year sees a furthering of Amazon’s self-service approach as they ask vendors to submit Lightning Deals that are specified for Prime Day using Vendor Central. In the past, vendors would submit a few ASINs for consideration through their vendor managers and coordinate bulk purchases of the product to boost inventory. Now Lightning Deals require per unit funding that is applied if the deal appears on the page, and that is only if, Inc. ("Amazon") has approved the deal for Prime Day inclusion.

Review Your Product’s Price History

With this new process in mind, there are a number of criteria your products must meet when setting up the Lightning Deal for Prime Day participation:

  • The deal beats the lowest price offered since January 1, 2018.
  • The deal price must be at least 15 percent lower than the lowest price in the past 30 days.
  • The deal is a 20-percent discount or better off the original listing price.

If your ASIN can meet these pricing criteria, you have passed the first step.

Clean Up Reviews and Ratings

Ratings and reviews matter too, so submit products with ratings over four stars. If you have an ASIN you feel would be a great promotional item for your brand and the rating is teetering at four stars, spend some time on improving it. Respond to low customer reviews to address any potential problems and ask the customer to reconsider their rating. Request removal of irrelevant poor ratings where possible; sometimes a negative rating could be due to something completely out of your company’s control.

Check Your Supply

Next, check your inventory and forecasts. Make sure your supply chain can support the potential high demand. If this looks questionable for the ASIN you’ve selected, it’s time to consider another item that can meet the demand and pricing requirements. Usually selling out is a good problem to have, but you don’t want to deplete inventory in the first few hours of Prime Day and frustrate potential customers.

Improve the Product Detail Page

Once you have identified the ASIN that meets the previous steps, look at your product content. What’s missing or can be improved? Add updated photos, product videos, and further develop the A+ content. Make sure the title and bullet points accurately represent the product. Even though you are offering your best price of the year, you still need consumers to trust that they are buying what they want. Additionally, many Amazon customers are possibly seeing your product and brand for the first time. This is a major opportunity to develop new customer relationships. The more thorough and authentic your content is, the more likely a customer will search for your brand in the future.

Stay Open to Opportunity

Once you have worked through these steps, submit away. Make sure to work with your vendor manager to see what other opportunities you can obtain in the Prime Day promotions, such as special ad buys and inclusions in editorial features. Whatever you end up doing, don’t let this potentially historic eCommerce event pass you by.

Originally published on May 9, 2018, updated June 20, 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.