Smart Ecommerce Strategies for Competing on Amazon During the Holidays

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: December 15, 2017
Photo credit: Claudia Davizia/Shutterstock

Competing with Amazon during the holidays can be scary. By following these strategies, though, you can come out on top.

If you're an ecommerce retailer, the decision to sell on Amazon may seem like a no-brainer.

While Amazon may not release exact numbers, we do know that third-party sales on their ecommerce platform were "record-breaking" during last year's holiday season and that Amazon captured 30.9 percent of U.S. online spending over Cyber Weekend alone.

Yet, as more ecommerce retailers see the allure of Amazon Marketplace, the more competitive it becomes. To capture more holiday sales this year, you may need to rethink your current ecommerce strategies.

Ready to boost holiday sales and thrive on Amazon Marketplace? Here are a few strategies to help you outperform the competition this season.

Understand Amazon's sales model

To maximize your holiday sales on Amazon, you first need to understand its strategies. Amazon has dominated the marketplace for years, largely due to an effective selling model that is designed to outpace its competitors in the long term.

Let's take a quick look at Amazon's four Ps of marketing:

Product

Amazon originally started as an online bookseller and later expanded into other product categories, from pet supplies to consumer electronics. Today, you can find just about anything on Amazon, and the company has released its own share of products, such as the Kindle and Fire Phone.

Price

In the beginning, Amazon's standout "P" was price. The online retail giant adjusts its prices to undercut the competition, making it the first site online shoppers visit to find the best deal.

Today, Amazon's competitive prices still play an important role in its success. However, it has made the online shopping experience so fast and easy that many consumers are choosing to shop on Amazon more for its convenience than its low prices.

Promotions

In the early days, Amazon relied mostly on word of mouth to promote products. In recent years, the company has used television commercials and web-based marketing to run its promotions.

These promotions, like Prime Day, which set a new sales record for the company in 2017, have been hugely successful for the company. This year, the corporate giant launched its Black Friday "Deals of the Day" promotion on November 1, offering deep discounts across a variety of categories.

Placement

Amazon began online, and consumers around the globe can order products from the ecommerce giant. Thanks to strategic warehouse distribution centers, Amazon is able to maximize its distribution efficiency while keeping costs low.

Now that we've covered Amazon’s marketing strategy, let's discuss some ecommerce initiatives that can give you an edge in Amazon's marketplace.

Boost the visibility of your product listing with paid search ads

Amazon Sponsored Products (Amazon's pay-per-click program) is a great way to capitalize on the increased holiday traffic and give your listings greater visibility. Recently, Amazon released Headline Search Ads, which appear above search results.

Leveraging Amazon's paid search ads is key to putting your products in front of holiday shoppers this year. Just be sure to monitor ad campaign performance and adjust as necessary. Also, track and measure your return on ad spend (ROAS) to ensure that you are at least breaking even with your marketing ROI.

Leverage historical data to optimize your listings

When it comes to the holidays, data-driven insight is vital to driving more clicks and sales. This year, leverage your metrics to boost your ecommerce store's performance and capture holiday revenue.

For instance, if you have already dabbled in Amazon's advertising solutions, then you already have access to Amazon search query data. Take advantage of this by noting which keywords customers are looking for and which ads are most effective. By analyzing this data early, you can adjust your ads in time for the biggest spending days of the year.

Use real-time insights to manage orders and inventory

Inventory can run out fast during the holidays, and the last thing you want is to accept an order that you can't fulfill. This will increase your order defect rate (ODR) and hurt your chances of winning Amazon's Buy Box. For the uninitiated, the buy box appears to the right of the product listing, and it is your best asset for winning sales in the platform. Amazon awards sellers the buy box based on complicated algorithms, so you’ll want to be in prime position to meet Amazon's eligibility requirements.

An easy way to ensure you maintain a plentiful inventory is to connect your ecommerce store with Amazon to keep inventories in sync and always up to date. That way, you won't have frustrated holiday shoppers due to poor inventory management.

Present an omnichannel experience

Amazon may dominate online sales, but with only a handful of physical stores, its omnichannel strategy isn't as strong as it could be. If you own a brick-and-mortar store, this is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition by giving holiday shoppers an omnichannel experience.

Of course, this isn't easy for many retailers. It requires leveraging your marketing data to create a seamless shopping experience that is personalized and unique to each customer.

Still, it's worth the effort. A customer who sees your Amazon product listing can visit your physical store and be delighted with in-store personalized customer service. By meeting your customers however they shop, you offer unbeatable convenience, which is one of the four Ps in Amazon's marketing mix.

Set your brand apart

When it comes to distinguishing your brand from the competition, the smallest details matter the most. To capture more sales on Amazon, here are three strategies that can help your brand stand out this holiday season:

  • Coupon codes. If you're in a highly competitive market, coupon codes are effective for growing sales and winning over holiday shoppers searching for the best deal.

  • Enhanced brand content. This is the top echelon for detail pages available to Amazon third-party branded sellers. It allows your business to add additional information, like descriptive text and extra images, which can drive conversions.

  • Use branded packaging. This tactic strengthens your brand identity and makes the purchase more memorable, which can increase your chances of repeat business after the holidays are over.

Amazon has become a formidable force in the ecommerce market and is poised to dominate the holiday season. If you aren't selling on Amazon during the holidays, you could be missing a big opportunity to get more visitors to your online store. With these effective strategies, you can capitalize on the urgent holiday mindset and drive more holiday sales for your ecommerce store.

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