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5 Tips to Increase Your 2010 Holiday Sales on Amazon.com

By Eric Best, CEO, Mercent

With signs of improvement throughout the US economy, overall industry analyst sentiment indicates the 2010 holiday shopping season is likely to drive high competition among retailers seeking to land the increasingly bargain-savvy online consumer.

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To help online retailers prepare for the 2010 holiday selling season, Mercent and Amazon hosted a dynamic and interactive webinar entitled “Top 5 Tips to Increase Your 2010 Retail Sales on Amazon.com”.

The second event in Mercent’s Mercent Retail™ 2010 Webinar Series, this session provided 2010 eCommerce forecasts and expectations for the holiday season, along with ‘insider’ tips on how retailers can maximize sales performance this holiday season on Amazon.com.

Discussion Highlights:

eCommerce Growth for 2010 Holiday Season

  • Analysts expect overall 2010 holiday sales to be comparable to 2009 results.  The one anticipated area of growth is online sales.  Analysts indicate 58% of consumers are extremely likely to purchase holiday gifts online in 2010 – a figure that represents the largest increase in history.  That said, consumers continue to be extremely price conscious in the current economic environment and will expect value for their holiday spend.
  • Consumers are shopping earlier in the season and leveraging product reviews as a major component of their shopping process.  92% of consumers report reviews play a critical role in consumer purchasing decisions.
  • Consumers will utilize a wide range of tools when searching for gift ideas.  Mercent research indicates 3/5 of consumers begin their gift giving search process through online search engines.  Google remains the engine of choice.  Search engines typically direct consumers to marketplaces and Amazon continues to be the category winner (demonstrating 58% year-over-year revenue growth for Mercent’s Tier 1 retailers in Q210).  Comparison shopping engines are of secondary importance to major marketplaces.  Only 10% of online consumers navigate directly to retail websites.

5 Retail Tips to Drive 2010 Holiday Sales on Amazon.com

1) Ensure datafeeds are accurate, timely and fully-populated.

Item Type Keyword is the most important piece of data you can attach to a product.  Amazon presents all products through a category structure, and the item type keyword determines the correct category products and whether or not a consumer will be able to find your product on Amazon.com.

Retailers must be certain products show as much information as a consumer needs to decide whether or not to purchase.  For example, if your products have model numbers, include them, as they are the search term that carries the highest intent to purchase.

Amazon’s item data requirements (i.e. images at least 500pixels per side) are complex and they vary from category to category.  As a result, integrating a large catalog onto Amazon’s platform may seem daunting.  Mercent Retail is specifically designed to convert large data catalogs into formats that drive optimum performance across any digital or eMarketing channel.  Additionally, Mercent has deep expertise and knowledge in sharing and maintaining best practices across all digital and eMarketing channels, especially Amazon.

2) Build customer reviews in advance of the holiday sales rush.

Customer reviews are the #2 factor in Amazon’s algorithm and search relevancy.  It is critical for merchants to pay close attention to their ratings at all times of the year.  A retailer’s rating on Amazon can impact their ability to win Amazon’s “buybox” and also has a significant impact on sales conversion.

Be creative when determining strategies to increase customer feedback.  For instance, Mercent recommends adding a note with shipped products thanking customers for their purchases and requesting a review.  This simple trick can boost seller feedback ratings by as much as 35%.

3) Optimize your product price and offers.

It’s important to have a very clear understanding of your product profit margin levels in order to effectively optimize your product price and offers.  There are two basic components to holiday sales: pre-holiday rush and post-holiday clearance.  Price optimization works in two ways : (1) in situations where high levels of competition exist, price optimization tactics can be of value and benefit in making you increasingly competitive; (2) in the situation where your products control the market, price optimization can absolutely augment base-line prices.  This is an excellent example where utilizing a platform like Mercent Retail™ enables large, brand name retailers to be increasingly responsive to market trends and enhances profitability across all the total SKU’s portfolio. 

4) Prioritize timely order fulfillment for clients.

On Amazon, you’re competing with a 2-day shipping paradigm (Amazon PRIME). Two day shipping delivers not only better conversion, it also provides additional selling days for vendors leading up to December 25.

Amazon’s PRIME customers account for more than 3 times the purchases of non-Prime customers.  Amazon FBA is a great tool for decreasing your shipping time. Increased customer confidence also leads to better conversion.  FBA also serves as a buybox tie-breaker between equivalently-priced offerings.  77% of surveyed FBA retailers indicate they realized an increase of unit sales, with an average increase of 25% using FBA.  Additionally, FBA Merchants get fast-track messaging (i.e. “Buy within XX hours/minutes to receive by December 24), which also increases conversion.

5) Roll-out targeted holiday promotional opportunities

During the holiday shopping season, retailers are trying to lasso consumer awareness at a time of many competing attractions.  Daily deals and lightning deals are game-changers during this period because they create a sense of urgency and everyone is particularly price sensitive during the holidays.  Targeted promotions are a great way to drive heavy shopper volume even without worrying if you lose a bit of margin.  Mercent can do a great job getting you integrated and creating test promotions across all Amazon channels.

In addition to these tips, the full Mercent/Amazon webinar is available thought the following link https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/994533970 .

Additional information regarding Mercent and its portfolio of digital advertising and eMarketing solutions, including Mercent Retail™, Mercent Retail™ Social shopping service, Mercent Performance marketing service, and/or the company’s complete list of online marketing channels contact Mercent at sales@mercent.com or (206) 832.3971.