Getting primed for Prime Day: Is your brand ready?

June 10, 2021
Sandy Skrovan
Written By
Sandy Skrovan

This Prime Day could be another record breaker. As the country begins to open up, so too are shoppers’ pocketbooks. Prime Day will take place this year on June 21 - 22, and the anticipation is building. Profitero’s May survey of more than 1,300 U.S. consumers found that 64% of consumers are planning to shop on Amazon on Prime Day; More than a third will be seeking deals across other retailers too.

Screenshot 2021-06-10 120952

Source: Profitero consumer survey, May 25, 2021; n = 1,317

Deal or no deal, be prepared

Each year brings more activity around Prime Day. This underscores how important it is for brands to prepare and put their best foot forward, whether running a deal or not.

For brands running Prime Day deals, this means having plenty of product available, and spot-on pricing and promotions. But even those not running deals must think about upping your product content game and earning high placement in search results — now. You want to head into Amazon’s big event ready to leverage the huge demand and traffic spikes it generates.

So with less than two weeks to go, how can brand marketers prepare? Below are some insights and tips from the eCommerce experts on the frontlines.  

First, is it even worth investing in Prime Day? You bet here’s why

The number of Amazon Prime members ballooned during the pandemic, growing from a reported 150 million in 2020 to 200 million by April 2021. As Beth Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO at VMLY&R Commerce puts it: “That’s a large installed based of consumers brands could have access to during Prime Day.” It’s the promise of all those eyeballs, impressions and shoppers in discovery mode (which can be tapped later for retargeting purposes) that’s worth investing in. The flip side? Not investing has its consequences.

  • Andrea Leigh, VP of Strategy at Ideoclick: Anytime Amazon puts corporate marketing dollars behind an event, and drives traffic to its site, brands should consider participation. There’s also a cost of not participating, or at least a cost of not increasing ad spend during these promotional times. That’s if competitors advertise instead and convert customers to their products versus yours, and brand switching occurs.
  • Anthony Vitro, President of Sage Tree: It’s worth investing, but important to do so thoughtfully based on your sales objectives. There are amazing opportunities to drive new consideration through Prime Day events. I like to see brands focus deals on new innovation or products that are a gateway into the brand so we can retarget later.
  • Beth Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO at VMLY&R Commerce: Strategically, brands that allocate budget for post-Prime Day activations can leverage different aspects of the Amazon Advertising ecosystem to re-engage shoppers that purchase within a category. This allows brands to capitalize on repeat purchases during the months following the event. 

Ways to capitalize on Prime Day beyond promotions

Prime Day or not, brands need to consider the full consumer journey and experience they provide for shoppers online. This means investing in search so shoppers can find your products. Prime Day is not the time to skimp on your paid ad budget. Andrea Leigh, VP of Strategy at Ideoclick suggests that brands start increasing ad spend at least two weeks before Prime Day and then gradually ramp up.

Also make sure your product content is in order before heading into the big event. As Nancy McLaughlin, Sr. Director, Search & Enterprise Services at Tinuiti says: “Use all the tools available to you: Ensure that your store is up to date with any Prime Day exclusives. Treat your storefront like the homepage of your website. Ensure your product detail page creative is compelling, and that it showcases your brand in an engaging way.”

  • Brian Martinez, Director of Client Strategy at Channel Key: Brands need to focus on advertising and being found in search. Prime Day sees bids increase, so to compete you must also raise your bids and monitor budgets throughout the day and adjust.
  • Amy Lanzi, Publicis Groupe: Prime Day is a great opportunity to leverage Amazon Audience data. Brands should think about Prime Day like they would other major tentpoles like the Super Bowl — focusing on breakthrough creative that resonates with precise audiences.
  • Amanda Wolff, CMO of OneSpace: Prime Day promotions mean nothing if your product detail pages aren’t optimized for search and conversion. Make sure your product content effectively communicates the item’s key features and benefits, and addresses any consumer questions. Optimize your content even if you aren’t running discounts.
  • Melissa Burdick, President at Pacvue: Live streaming is hot, and Amazon is capitalizing with Amazon Live. So, brands should leverage it. TikTok is also a great way to build awareness of deals in advance of Prime Day. And unboxing videos are always a hit.

What to expect from a Prime Day in June

An early Prime Day could concern some brands still grappling with pandemic-related supply chain issues and product availability. For others, a June Prime Day could be a welcome relief to dispose of excess inventory caused by the slowdown in demand during the pandemic. And much like Amazon pulled up the holiday season last year by hosting Prime Day in October, there’s a good chance back-to-school gets pulled up with Prime Day in June.

  • Andrea Leigh, VP of Strategy at Ideoclick: This year, brands may need to focus on deals and driving demand towards products that have been less affected by supply challenges. It’s never a bad idea to focus deals on items that are a bit overstocked.
  • Robb Powell, President of Advantage Ecommerce Services: A Prime Day in June means brands that offer seasonal products can recapture some of the sales they likely lost during the delayed Prime Day last year.
  • Melissa Burdick, President at Pacvue: Brands may want to be slightly more conservative in their promo planning given widespread supply chain constraints many are still dealing with, and the earlier timing of this year’s event in case there is a Q4 Prime Day. This could mean smaller deal quantity, a different deal type or smaller discounts — which still lets brands participate in Prime Day and drive brand awareness during a key pulse period, but also keeps options open for bigger deals with potentially deeper discounts during Q4.
  • Nicole Reich, Co-Founder and VP of Sales & Marketing at Retail Bloom: For sellers struggling with new FBA [Fulfilled by Amazon] category storage limits, we are recommending you use Prime Day as an opportunity to sell through stale or aged inventory versus potential product launches. We’re hoping Prime Day will be a good avenue to sell down slow-moving products and increase space for new product launches or Q4 prep in the coming months.

What about another Prime Day later this year?

We can’t rule out anything for Amazon these days. A second Prime Day later this year makes sense for a couple of reasons: 1) Amazon successfully pulled the holiday shopping season up into October last year. Why not do it again? 2) A second Prime Day would put a favorable spin on Amazon’s year-over-year comps too.

  • Melissa Burdick, President at Pacvue: Amazon is able to use Prime Day like a pawn to pull forward demand to help with quarterly sales growth. Last year’s October Prime Day was hugely successful for Amazon, so it is likely that we’ll see Amazon use a deal-driven event in the fall again to capture early Q4 demand. We’re also beginning to hear rumors of a quarterly Prime Day-style event. So brands, you want to ask your Vendor Managers if that’s true, and if so, begin planning ahead.
  • Beth Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO at VMLY&R Commerce: In 2020, Prime Day in October set the stage for the holiday shopping season. The shift opened up the promotional environment to extended durations and a new retail holiday calendar. Amazon will continue to be a catalyst and major player during the holidays, so the assumption is it will lean into a second event in the Fall.
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