During ChannelAdvisor Connect, the exclusive, live, global gathering of forward-thinking e-commerce and marketing professionals held in September, Senior Product Manager Alison Held and Client Strategy Team Lead Waed Ramadan shared a detailed overview of what types of activity the marketplace giant has experienced over the last several months and what exciting new developments will be rolling out to its sellers. 

Here are a few highlights from their session.

The Latest

First, the latest statistics. 

In 2020, sellers on Amazon sold $300 billion in goods — an amount that would, if Amazon were  a country, place it in the top 45 countries in the world according to GDP. 

More recently, in Q2 2021, sales totaled $113 billion, a growth of 27%. Third-party seller services grew 34% year over year, and third-party volume involved 56% of total units, the highest it has ever been. 

Prime Day, held June 21-22, grew 5%-10% compared to last year’s event, which was held in October 2020. Notably, growth was heavier in the EMEA and APAC regions than it was in the Americas. 

Amazon has also indicated its capital expenditures have increased over the past year, primarily due to investments in increased capacity for FBA and Amazon Logistics.

New Programs

The future of e-commerce continues to evolve with Amazon’s latest programs. 

Amazon is offering sellers a variety of options designed to boost brand awareness, expand customer bases and build sales. In the session, Held discussed Amazon Business, Amazon Advertising videos, Amazon Brand Performance Reports and Amazon Blank Box. 

Amazon Business

Amazon Business can broaden sellers’ customer base to include business buyers through a specialized program that offers features such as quantity-tiered pricing. Amazon provides solutions for every business, from the enterprise level to nonprofits, widely expanding potential audiences for your products. Seller participation requires filling out a basic template, which Held reviewed during the Connect session — and sellers are encouraged to leverage the Amazon Repricer and monitor sales through Order Tags to fully take advantage of this opportunity. 

Amazon Advertising Videos

Amazon Advertising video ad types offer sellers the ability to increase engagement with their buyers. This popular new tool allows sellers to create and present videos highlighting the key benefits of their products, showcasing their brand story and/or offering clear instructions on how to use specific products. To participate, sellers must be brand registered.

Amazon Brand Performance Reports

Brand performance reports are available via Seller Central and in ChannelAdvisor. You’ll be able to view breakdowns of brand performance metrics via weekly and monthly views and schedule them at regular intervals. To access these reports, sellers must be brand registered.

Amazon Blank Box

Amazon Blank Box is a new feature that could have a huge impact on seller distribution capabilities into the future. This program allows sellers who participate in the FBA program to leverage their inventory for non-Amazon channel sales. Sellers send inbound inventory designated for Blank Box specifically and can plan to scale inbound quantity with off-Amazon demand.

ChannelAdvisor’s latest product release includes support for this program. It’s only available in the US for approved sellers and is currently in beta. Seller Central contains information for how interested sellers may be able to participate.

Cyber 5 Preparation

Cyber 5, the five-day period from Thanksgiving through the following Monday, has long been known as one of the busiest periods in retail. Heavy e-commerce activity now takes place throughout the long holiday weekend — and brands and retailers must be ready.

Fulfillment

For many in e-commerce, fulfillment tops the list of challenges within this holiday season. Ramadan offered a few tips to prepare inventory and fulfillment operations for the Cyber 5 rush. First, assess your inventory levels, examine potential shipping challenges and adjust buffers as needed. Staff according to your anticipated needs, and set your expectations with your teams according to expected increased order volume. For non-Prime items, change your handling times as appropriate and, above all, communicate your shipping and delivery timelines clearly with your consumers. 

If you use FBA, take note of the key FBA selling dates listed in Seller Central. You’ll want to be as proactive as possible to do your part to ensure your items are in stock and ready to sell ahead of time. Review your Inventory Performance Index score to prioritize your best-selling SKUs, and replenish your FBA inventory early and often. 

Pricing

Pricing plays a central role in Cyber 5 sales. Shoppers are actively looking for deals and are ready to be enticed into a purchasing decision. To prepare, review your profitability margins and analyze your pricing opportunities. You may need to build or restructure a repricing strategy, as your competitors will also be highly active during this time period. Schedule strikethrough pricing early so you can focus on other tasks during that week.

Advertising & Promotional Campaigns

To understand potential activity this year, look at historic sales from previous years during the Cyber 5 timeframes. Use that information to set advertising budgets, prepare campaigns and decide on any promotions. If you decide to use coupons in your promotions, conduct A/B testing to determine what coupon type will hold the most appeal for your target consumers. 

For more details about Amazon, specific advertising strategies for Sponsored Products, Sponsored Display Ads and Sponsored Brand Videos and an essential checklist of Cyber 5 activities, check out Held and Ramadan’s session via the on-demand Connect session

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