Amazon Prime Day: 4 things CPGs must get right

If you're looking to drive online sales during Amazon Prime Day, here are 4 things your brand needs to get right to grab shopper attention.

Presented by: 
Josi Mathar2022

This post has been updated and was originally published October 2020

Every year feels like Amazon Prime Day starts a little earlier, doesn't it? But here it is: This year, Amazon is hosting a second Prime Day for the first time ever! 😨🤩

So, instead of summarizing 'everything-you-need-to-know', we'll home in on the 4 key things CPGs must do now to drive growth on the digital shelf (useful not only during Amazon Prime Day!).

What does Amazon Prime Day mean for shoppers today?

Increasingly, eCommerce is at the heart of people's shopping behavior. As economic hardship remains a backdrop for many and with the proximity to Christmas, shoppers will likely be looking for essentials at a cheap price and in larger quantities delivered conveniently — from pet food to toiletries — as well as items they can treat themselves with after a tough couple of years and in the foresight of Christmas.

So, what are the 4 things CPG brands must get right if they want to grab shopper's attention online? We’ve asked our eCommerce experts across the Customer Success team for their top tips.

1. Optimize your product listings for the digital shelf

“Great images are crucial, the main image should show an exact representation of what the shopper is buying and be of high quality. “ — Bill Wrightstone, Senior Customer Success Manager, North America

Optimized product pages are critical. You’ve read it before but we can’t stress it enough. Revamping your titles and descriptions to engage shoppers can make a big difference. Ensure that your brand voice comes through on the pages, track these changes with digital shelf analytics.

In a nutshell:

  • The main image should show an exact representation of what the shopper is buying and be of high quality. Additional images can give more detail and show features and benefits or lifestyle content.
  • A clear title, no more than 70 characters and only relevant keywords and descriptors, don’t overload it.
  • Use relevant keywords in your text content and optimized bullet points that are concise and informative product specifications, benefits and USPs.
  • Create memorable A+ content that highlights usage occasions, lifestyle imagery, product comparisons and rich content.

💡 The top half of your page should be optimized to CONVERT; relevant, informative and concise. The bottom half of your page is more about DISCOVERY; engaging, creative and memorable.

2. Boost your digital shelf search visibility

“Start with optimizing your keywords and search terms. It’s important to use the phrases and language that your customers will be using to find your products” — Steve Abram, Customer Success Manager

When improving your product listings, CPG marketing teams must ultimately ensure that products can be found. Prime Day might be seen as a good opportunity to sell off any over produced stock and trial different bundles of products (i.e. mixed flavour pet food bundles), but also promote some of your top sellers so they benefit from increased sales and improve seller rank longer term. These will require campaign specific keywords so get these implemented in time and checked against the competition. Digital shelf analytics will let you do just that with ease.

There will also likely be an element of shoppers treating themselves at the end of a tough year. Premium items such as make-up, fragrance and tech goods that are not in gifting boxes are therefore important to optimize for discoverability. Produce descriptions that are persuasive and tap into the ‘treat yourself’ positioning while factoring in the relevant keywords.

💡 Use social media to promote any involvement in "deals of the day" or "lightning deals" to raise awareness and boost findability.

3. Bump up your retail media ad spend

“Now is a good time to increase your retail media spend on Amazon sponsored ads. Make sure to pick the search terms that have high volume and relate to your products” Mandy Critchley, Customer Success Director

From bulk buying essentials to indulging in pre-Christmas treats, CPGs should boost some of their search visibility efforts with strategic retail media campaigns. Beware some of the pitfalls that can occur when teams don't align efforts. Mandy Critchley covers some of the usual mistakes brand owners make in our podcast on the ultimate guide to retail media & marketplaces.

Following on from boosting your findability, we suggest CPGs:

  • Sponsor premium products to encourage impulse purchase that is e.g. when looking at gifting for men, include women’s smaller impulse purchase items
  • Looking ahead at Christmas, apply ad spend to relevant categories as shoppers may attempt to get ambient product purchases done early “just in case” availability degrades. This can include anything from alcohol to fine dining ambient treats.

💡 While implementing #1-3, do check any negative shopper reviews that might affect the premium or treat experience positioning and adjust where needed.

4. Ensure availability of your inventory

“Be mindful of your pricing strategy as you will also need the availability in the warehouse to back it up!" — Gosia Ozimek, Customer Success Manager

As shoppers are likely looking for decent sized quantities in some categories, CPGs must ensure their big packs and Amazon only SKUs have plenty of stock and their listings are optimized. Items such as health and beauty for gifting, alcohol, fancy ambient food, toys and tech products will be sought after in the run up to Christmas so guaranteeing availability will be key.

This means:

  • Think about ranging gift packs or rarer or more in demand products e.g. high end spirits or special edition fragrances
  • Use this strategy to see what you should do on Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals etc and think about what products and price points might help you win for Christmas.
  • Keep on top of your SKUs by analyzing your availability with our digital shelf analytics in-built range reporting. Especially if you’re driving visibility and traffic with a mix of keyword optimization and ad spend as discussed in #1-3.

When asked how CPGs can prepare for the Golden Quarter during a Black Friday podcast interview John Maltman, CEO e.fundamentals commented

“Make sure you maintain availability on the digital shelf. It's a real brand killer to lose availability on core lines through this period, particularly when shoppers are online”.

And if that’s not enough: According to the e.fundamentals / YouGov UK Shopper Insights Report, 75% of online shoppers agreed that they’d switch brands if what they’ve been looking for was out of stock. You’d better guarantee that your warehouse can deliver.

💡 Factor in time for a post-event analysis. Interrogate your digital shelf insights, evaluate what went well and why and understand if anything significant changed due to Prime Day, what did your competitors do and did that have any effect on your sales.

How to use digital shelf analytics on Amazon Prime Day

Despite economic headwinds and some categories shifting, the first Prime Day of this year was strong. So, here are the 4 things our Customer Success team suggest CPGs focus on to drive their sales on the digital shelf for Prime Day (and beyond).

  1. Optimize your product listings for the digital shelf
  2. Boost your digital shelf search visibility
  3. Bump up your ad spend
  4. Ensure availability of your inventory

Prime Day typically marks the start of a long deal-season at Amazon and across online retailers globally. With the second Prime Day in sight and Black Friday just around the corner, it's time for brands to revisit their strategies for the digital shelf and implement the above 4 things to drive sales and category share online.

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