Promotions are a critical component of any marketing strategy, helping to drive product sales, attract new customers, and boost visibility of your products and brand. They are also a great tool to build sales momentum and generate reviews for new product launches. A well thought out promotions plan can have a widespread impact on your Amazon catalog, helping you to get more page views which could ultimately lead to higher conversions.
These are time-bound promotional offers to have your product featured on Amazon for 4-6 hours on their Deals’ Page. This deal is available on both Vendor Central (VC) and Seller Central (SC). Lightning Deals display deal price, the percentage discount, percentage of claimed units and the countdown to when the deals end. It also includes the option to add the product to cart immediately. To be eligible for Lightning Deals, your product must have a minimum of 3 stars and must be Prime. These deals can cost around $150 per ASIN depending on the time of the year. Amazon also specifies the percentage of variations that must be included in the deal - it’s usually 60% or higher.
The trickiest part of Lightning Deals is catching the optimum window. While you are provided a schedule, you are only made aware of the window one week before the deal starts. If your deal runs during peak shopping hours, the Lightning Deal can turn into a very successful promotion. On the other hand, if it runs during the quieter periods, such as in the middle of the night, it can disappoint expectations. However, one of the interesting aspects of a Lightning Deal is the “halo” effect. This is the increase in customer discovery and sales both during and after the deal has run. The “halo” effect is attributed to the fact that on the day that the Lightning Deal runs, the Best Seller Rank (BSR) improves over that time period. This could lead to more views on your product pages, improved sales velocity and more product visibility as the product is featured on Amazon’s Deals’ page.
When it comes to the difference between SC and VC, Lightning Deals are quite different. In SC, Amazon must recommend your product to be a part of the Lightning Deal. Whereas on VC, you can set up your own Lightning Deal and do not need a recommendation from Amazon to run the promotion. On SC, you must meet Amazon’s requirements of a minimum price threshold and a maximum quantity threshold. On the other hand, in VC, brands can simply identify a product on their catalog and run the promotion. You just need to make sure that you are offering at least 50% off and that the inventory quantity available at the time of the deal is the highest level possible.
On the SC platform, sellers have the option to run flash sales or red line discounts. This is simply putting your item on sale for a specific period of time. A sale price can be added to the back end of your listing under the “Offer” tab. Enter your sales price and then choose a start and end time. Once the sale period is over, your item will return to the original price. For many categories, a flash sale is visible on the product page in red, with a strikethrough the original price and the percentage off indicated in parenthesis. We have noticed that for products in the grocery category, a sale price is just listed in red, with no indication of the discount in relation to the original price. Flash sales are a great promotional tool for specific holidays where customers are already looking for deals, and as a mechanism to move stagnant inventory.
Above: Screenshot from amazon.com
This promotion is one of the standard product page promotions and is available on VC and SC. For the Percentage Off promotion type, you can create a “tiered offer” that increases based on the amount of items a buyer purchases. For example: "Buy 2 bottles of shampoo, and save 10%. Buy 3 bottles of shampoo, and save 15%."
You can also use it as a cross-selling promotion. If you have a catalog of multiple products, it’s a great way to open up your store and expose customers to other items. One strategy to do this is to couple your best seller with a new or slower-selling item in a bid to encourage shoppers to try out that product. This is especially successful with loyal customers who already trust your brand.
The Percentage Off promotion can also be used to offer a product at a sale price. This is similar to the “Flash Sale” promotion but the visibility on the page is different. With this promotion, it can be visible under “promotions and other offers” and/or right beside the Buy Box. To offer a sale price this way, make sure the following boxes are selected from “Step 1: Conditions”.
Above: Screenshot from amazon.com
Buy One Get One Free
This is also one that is a standard product page promotion that offers the quantity discounts. It’s just as it sounds and is available on both VC and SC. You can run this promotion to give away a free item with the qualifying purchase of the same or a different item in your catalog. BOGO free deals are ideal for introducing new products to customers in a risk-free way. This is also a good option for lower-priced products that are frequently purchased by customers such as toiletries, household goods, grocery, cosmetics, etc. They are great for holidays as well when customers are looking for great deals to finish off their shopping lists. Due to the popularity of free items, make sure to use this deal wisely as you can move inventory faster than desired, or faster than you can afford. Test this promotion out first for a very limited time to see how the market responds. Alternatively, use this deal to move stagnant inventory if other promotional efforts have failed.
For non Prime seller, offering Free Shipping is a good promotional tool to level the playing field with Prime competitors. Sellers can choose to offer a variety of free shipping options, including: Expedited, Next Day, Priority, Second Day, Standard.
Amazon Coupons are available on VC and have been recently added to SC too! They are a great promotional tool to drive sales, increase traffic and brand awareness. Coupons garner a lot of visibility as they are displayed in multiple places across Amazon. Coupons are visible in search results, on the product detail page, the Gold Box Deals page and on their own Coupons landing page. Once a coupon is clipped, it’s instantly applied and redeemed once the customer checks out. Due to the broad visibility and easy application, coupons give customers a reason to buy now and leads to faster conversions. Brands can also create a unique URL of their coupons to use on their social media channels and email campaigns for more exposure. VC provides features to track the usage of coupons and its effectiveness. Yon also get to run advertising with the coupon and can have your product page display ad show your coupon.
New: Coupons on SC too!
In order to be eligible, sellers must have a feedback rating on Amazon of 3.5/5. Brands can choose to provide a coupon with a flat dollar discount or a percentage off discount. You can simply select the ASINs you want to create coupons for, choose the percentage or dollar off option, set the budget and timeline and choose your target audience. Amazon requires the discount to be between 5% and 80%. You can set a duration of up to 3 months for your coupons. An extremely useful option with coupons is the ability to target them to certain demographics. For example you can target moms, students and only Prime members.
Before launching a coupon campaign, sellers must set a budget which incorporates the $0.6 redemption fee. The coupon will be deactivated when the budget is depleted or if the coupon time frame expires, whichever happens sooner. Here is how to calculate your budget if you would like to offer 50 coupons, each for $5 off for a particular ASIN.
($5 * 50 redemptions) + ($0.6 * 50 redemptions) = $280
Above: Screenshot from amazon.com
Promotions should be part of your long term marketing strategy and ideally should be planned out months in advance. In order to maximize your return, consider the following tips:
- Plan your promotions using a calendar system to maximise key holiday times.
- Promote new products to improve BSR and encourage product reviews.
- Promote slow selling products with best sellers to boost sales.
- Plan aggressive promotions for stagnant inventory or last seasons products.
- Share your promotions with your email subscribers.
- Leverage your social media platforms and share promotions with your followers.
- Avoid long term promotions. Customers respond to limited time offers when they face the possibility of missing the offer.
- Look at your competitors pages’ and study the promotions they’re offering.
- Integrate promotions with PPC efforts.
- Consider creating a Storefront and add a promotions tab to drive traffic directly to products running a promotion
As a seller new to promotions, be sure to give each one a try and see how they perform. And remember to track their performance and gather as much sales data as possible. This will give you good insight into which promotions perform the best for your product.