The holiday season is undoubtedly the most important time of year for eCommerce merchants. Sales from Cyber 5 (the five days between Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) grow steadily year over year, with Cyber Monday 2020 breaking records to become the biggest online shopping day ever, up 20% from the year before.
In the context of a pandemic and global lockdown, experts predict holiday spending this year will be even higher. People are spending record amounts of time online and 50% of adults in the United States already admitted to increasing their online shopping.
Will the COVID-19 lockdown make this holiday season the biggest one ever for eCommerce? Absolutely. Let’s take a look in a bit more detail.
Black Friday is already here
For many online sellers, it may already feel like Black Friday. eCommerce websites surpassed Black Friday traffic levels every single day in April 2021. Overall, the month more than doubled the last year’s average. The unprecedented surge in spring shopping led many to dub it “Black Friday in April.”
Discounts are still a good idea
Here’s the best news of all. Shoppers didn’t appear to be motivated by discounts. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should forego them in the holiday season.
Discounts and promotions consistently remain at the top of shoppers’ holiday wish lists. 42% of 2019’s holiday shoppers made their purchases based on price, and 24% never pay full price online.
With unemployment at an all-time high, 2020 likely won’t be any different. Actually, shoppers may be even more price-sensitive this year.
Online merchants can cater to these customers by discounting their best-selling items. For those who sell on Amazon, an automatic repricing tool like Repricer.com will ensure your pricing is always set at the optimal level to win the the Buy Box and sell more while maintaining maximum profitability.
Shoppers shift from brick-and-mortar to online
When the pandemic first began to spread, shoppers flocked to online stores and that behavior continued as social distancing became the new normal.
eCommerce traffic and sales continued growing into Q2 of 2020, with eCommerce global revenues up 71% year over year.
What’s particularly exciting about the data, is that brick-and-mortars began opening up during the same time period — yet it didn’t appear to make a dent in eCommerce sales. In fact, the majority of consumers report shopping less in brick-and-mortar stores, and spending more time shopping online.
And they plan to keep doing so, too. More than half of Generation Z shoppers plan to spend the same, or more, on 2020 holiday shopping than they did in 2019:
Certain products are experiencing explosive growth!
Clearly, 2020’s eCommerce holiday season is going to be busy. It’s also going to look very different. The most notable difference will be in what products sell best.
Essentials have stayed popular throughout the pandemic, including products that shoppers previously preferred to buy in-person, such as food and beverage items. Household goods, healthcare, pet supplies, and electronics are all reliably hot product categories right now.
While interest in “must-haves” has certainly grown during the pandemic, that’s not to say shoppers aren’t still looking for “nice-to-haves.” Shoppers are also looking for products that make staying at home more enjoyable. That includes products like trampolines, apparel, furniture, and more.
When preparing your store for the holiday season, consider how you expand your product lines, or adjust your marketing spend towards the products most likely to be top-sellers this holiday season. For example, if you sell online apparel, invest in your fitness and loungewear vs. office clothing (sales of pajamas jumped 143%, while pants dropped 13%). Think about how your products can enhance the work-at-home and life-at-home experience for your shoppers and their gift recipients.
No time to pivot your product line? No problem. According to research from Bazaarvoice, nearly every product category has enjoyed the eCommerce lift from COVID-19. The only exception is travel goods.
Gift-giving goes traditional
Happily for eCommerce merchants, the trend of gifting experiences, like travel and entertainment, has declined during the pandemic.
Instead, people will return to traditional, physical gifts, predicts Natalie Kotlyar, head of the retail practice at consulting firm BDO. “In the past couple of years we’ve seen a significant shift to gifting experiences: sporting events, trips, concerts. This year we’re going to be moving away from that, back to more traditional gifts like electronics and toys.”
Being unable to physically see their loved ones may also contribute to an overall increase in gift-giving, even if families just send small gifts to each other.
For e-retailers, that means more orders for your store, whether you sell stocking stuffers or big-ticket items.
Holiday sales can happen anywhere
Shoppers are spending more time online, browsing the internet, shopping, and engaging on social media.
The more time they spend online, the more places they’ll be shopping online. People will be buying on your website, on Amazon, and on social media. 61% of retailers expect higher engagement and sales through social media channels in 2021, as a result of COVID-19.
Salesforce predicts 10% of mobile orders this holiday season will occur through social channels, reaching as high as 15% on peak days. 66% of Gen Z already reports purchasing something through social media during the pandemic.
Plus, people have started planning for the holidays earlier, too. New data from Pinterest reveals searches for “Christmas gift ideas” jumped 77% in spring 2021.
This year’s holidays start in October
The biggest reason the holiday season will be the busiest for eCommerce ever is surprisingly straightforward. It will be the longest one yet.
Typically, the Cyber 5 weekend makes up a major portion of holiday eCommerce sales, with additional sales healthily trickling in through the rest of December and Boxing Day.
In an effort to avoid shipping delays and dreaded out-of-stock notifications, many retailers are starting their holiday sales much earlier. Retailers like Target are “stretching out the savings” and offering holiday discounts as early as October.
How can sellers sustain demand during an extended holiday season? By changing up their promotions on a regular basis, retail managing director Marie Driscoll told The Washington Post. “The deals will start in October, and retailers will re-up week after week — they’ll have one limited edition on week one, and week two it’ll be something else so they can get consumers to keep buying.”
2021 is going to be a bumper year for eCommerce holiday sales. The sooner you’re ready, the better. Stock up on products, coordinate with your carriers, and ensure you’re set up for success with the best eCommerce help desk software.
Did you know that over 60% of US online retail purchases were made through Amazon last year? Amazon’s hold over eCommerce is well established, with 9.1 million active Amazon sellers worldwide and an average of 66 thousand orders per day. Newer sellers may be wondering how they can get more sales on Amazon in such a competitive environment.
The truth is, they absolutely can because with Amazon’s booming market share come many opportunities. We’ve assembled this digestible list of 14 quick wins and strategic moves, to help you up your game and sell more on Amazon.
1. Do keyword research
Having the right keywords can be one of the most important tactics in reaching your target audiences. Using the keywords that are common to searches for your products is the objective, but search engine optimisation (SEO) is a constantly evolving game. That means that keywords used successfully in the past may not be as effective with updated search engine algorithms today.
The terms used by customers to find products change daily and are affected by seasonal, cultural, and economic factors. Hence, it’s important to stay on top of the latest SEO trends and make sure you cast a wide net when implementing keywords for each product listing.
Each product should be optimized with as many relevant keywords as possible – into the hundreds! This gives you the best possible chance of getting your products found by customers, helping you sell more on Amazon.
Amazon keyword research tools like Helium 10, SellerApp, Jungle Scout, and AMZ One can help by generating a list of related keywords with search volume, competition level, and other useful metrics, making it easier for you to choose the best keywords for your product listing
2. Use a repricing tool to get more sales on Amazon
When it comes to sealing the deal and making a sale, price is a main deciding factor for many customers. As an Amazon seller, you always want to make sure you’re pricing your products competitively, but equally, you don’t want to lose your margin!
This is something that using repricing software can help with. Repricing software automates the pricing process in real-time, ensuring your prices stay in line with those of competitors, and with market fluctuations, while you get more sales on Amazon.
Repricing software also has many customisable features that allow you to set prices at optimal levels to help drive sales, without compromising profit. It’s worth taking a trial to see how it can help lift your sales.
3. Get more Amazon reviews
Online reviews are important to spread confidence through word of month and for building credibility for your brand. It’s also a fact that 72% of shoppers won’t buy until they’ve read reviews of a product from people like themselves – people they trust.
Even a strong product with great marketing behind it still has to overcome the fear of the unknown if there’s no social proof. Plus, positive reviews are a significant factor in deciding which products win the Amazon Buy Box.
4. Provide great customer service
Customer service is absolutely essential in eCommerce. Offering top-quality customer service not only adds value, but helps retain customers. A big part of making a sale is assuring the customer that they can trust you to deliver, and that trust is hard earned but easily lost. Providing good eCommerce customer service is critical, and committing to providing great customer service is all the more so!
As an Amazon seller, you need to be on top of your customer service. Responsiveness, a friendly manner and quick and easy resolution processes are all ingredients that make for a winning approach to great customer service.
But it can be confusing trying to streamline it all. Thankfully, there are all sorts of tools available to make this job easier, like helpdesk software to keep all your customer interactions in one place. This helps you to respond quickly and accurately to customer inquiries when they come in, so that your customers always know you’ve got their back.
5. Leverage Amazon seller tools
The best part about being an Amazon seller is that you don’t have to go it alone. There are numerous tools available to help you maximize your business and get the most out of selling on Amazon, whether third-party or FBA.
From repricing tools, to help desk software, to review software and even shipping assistance, many tools exist on the market today that specifically help Amazon sellers optimize their listings, prices, feedback, shipping, customer service and even their taxes.
There are many different seller tools available, so it’s worth reading about options and making an informed decision about the right ones to choose for your business. With the right tools, you can grow your business more than you ever thought possible.
6. Get more sales on Amazon with ads
Running ads is almost guaranteed to help you get more sales on Amazon, but it’s easy to just throw money at them and hope for the best. You can do better! Pay attention to your advertising cost of sales (ACOS) metric, the figure for how much ad spend you need in order to make a sale.
By advertising more efficiently, you lower your ACOS and ensure you get more bang for your buck. Over time, you’ll learn what works and you can employ a strategy with regards to how you run your ads. Taking an insight-driven approach to Amazon ads results in a more profitable Amazon business!
7. Optimise your product pages
The old saying goes that 80% of readers never make it past the headline of any piece of content. That means once you’ve written your product title, you’ve effectively spent 80 cents of your dollar.
When writing product titles, stick to the formula of:
- Brand name
- Product name
- Features (size, colour, gender etc).
This lets you include the right keywords in the right order to immediately tell shoppers that this is the product for them.
Moreover, making sure to visually design your product pages so that they’re clean, simple and easy to read will also help win over shoppers. No one wants to read through a cluttered page. The more straightforward (yet informative) and the cleaner you make your design, the more likely you’ll be to win over those elusive eyeballs!
8. Win the Amazon Buy Box
The quickest way to get more sales on Amazon is by ensuring that your products show up consistently in the Amazon Buy Box (the area in the top right of a product page, where shoppers can ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy Now’). This is because over 82% of sales happen through this highly sought after space.
Although the exact formula to win the Buy Box is unknown, there are a few things that we know are essential. These are mainly metrics that prove the seller is providing a good customer experience. Customer reviews play a big role here. The more positive reviews a seller can amass, the likelihood of winning the Buy Box increases.
In addition to reviews, something else that’s obviously very important to Amazon shoppers is price! By using repricing software, you can automatically set your prices at the optimal level to win the Buy Box and maximize profit, even if you’ve got an enormous inventory.
9. Amazon account health rating
The Amazon account health rating (AHR) is a new feature that helps you monitor your account health based on its adherence to Amazon seller policies.
It considers both negative factors (such as the number of unresolved policy violations on your account) as well as positive factors (how your account positively impacts the customer experience through its selling activities).
Each account will be given a rating, which is regularly reviewed as Amazon monitors the performance of its sellers. If your account is off-target, you will be notified so that you can improve your performance. Conversely, a good AHR rating will work in your favor, helping assure customers that they’re doing business with a compliant seller.
10. Maintain your Amazon SLA
A big part of being a seller is cultivating trust with your customers. That means showing them that you operate in an above-board manner and that you’ll make good on your promise of fulfillment to them. One way of doing that is by making sure your Amazon store has a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This is a promise to your customers that they’ll receive their orders on time. When it comes to fulfillment, the SLA is based on the capacity to fulfill open orders and on-time shipping and delivery.
SLAs help manage customer expectations by defining standards and outlining circumstances under which you as the seller won’t be liable for unfulfilled promises (e.g., natural disasters preventing shipping, etc).
eDesk’s customer service solution is designed to alert you when your SLA is expiring, so your business is never caught without one. Having a current SLA helps you maintain transparency with customers, thereby building trust which helps ensure customer loyalty.
11. Focus on products that already sell
Most ambitious business owners want to try new streams of revenue, but it’s important not to lose sight of the things that are making you money now.
By doubling down on the products that already provide your Amazon store with a reliable revenue stream, you not only deliver to market demand but ensure that you have the financial runway required to take risks on innovative new products, if need be.
Review your financial statements every quarter and look at the items that are performing best in your store. Think about how you can continue to market these with ads, SEO keywords and upgraded images to maximize their selling potential in your online store.
12. Sync your inventory
Inventory can be a delicate balancing act. Hold too much inventory for too long and you need to pay over the odds to store it. But hold too little inventory and you lose out on vital sales, or even customers, due to an inability to fulfill. Amazon can also penalize you if your inventory performance isn’t up to standard.
Stock control is something every seller needs to understand and have the capability to manage for optimal results. Smart inventory management is an under-appreciated way to increase your Amazon sales and profit margin. Fortunately, there are tools that can help. Investing in the right tools and software can help sellers take the stress out of balancing supply and demand.
13. Expand into new Amazon marketplaces
Amazon currently has 20 marketplaces around the world, which include the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Australia and more.
You can scale your brand by moving into some of these marketplaces. This can involve doing market research to find out which products are popular in each market and then uplevelling your shipping operations in order to be able to ship globally.
But expanding into new markets also means you’ll need to take language into consideration and localize your listings so that they feature each marketplace’s local language and SEO keywords in the appropriate language. Multilingual customer service is also needed in order to be able to service customers across various marketplaces in their local language.
Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be. eDesk’s help desk solution is designed to support customer service and workflow in multiple languages, so you can expand your business without investing in the overhead of hiring a global team.
14. Spy on your competitors
Ok, maybe “spy” is a bit of an exaggeration, but profitable sellers are always on the lookout for what their competitors are doing. You want to make sure you’re offering the right inventory for your market at the right prices. Repricing software will monitor this for you, taking the guesswork out of pricing at the right levels.
Using data gleaned from helpdesk reporting can also help you gather valuable insights and feedback from your customers, which will help you to better understand what customers want and need. Acting on analytics-driven insights from easy-to-read reports means you’re always one step ahead of the competition.
The quest to increase your store’s Amazon sales doesn’t need to be an uphill struggle. There are many resources available to Amazon sellers today to help them optimize their store and develop a healthy sales pipeline.
By staying in touch with how the Amazon platform grows and using the right tech tools to drive your business, you can continue to do what you do best: building a great brand, winning customers, retaining existing customers and improving your bottom line.