After the success of Prime Day 2015, merchant sellers on Amazon are getting over their initial apprehension and jumping in with both feet, according to an executive with a company that works with several hundred of them.
“Since last year was the first try, sellers were a bit apprehensive about what it meant for them,” said Michael Dash, co-founder and CEO of ChannelReply, which integrates marketplace customer service messages and data with CRM systems. “Now that the data shows that the event was real, they’re taking advantage. As a seller, if you follow the guidelines that Amazon suggests you can benefit greatly from the boost in traffic and optimize sales.”
Dash noted how Amazon was looking to position Prime Day as an annual sales event in much the same way that competitor Alibaba has created and grown Singles Day into a global phenomenon. Last July, Prime Day brought 179 million visitors to desktop and mobile sites of the top 25 U.S. retailers, according to SimilarWeb. That compares with 216 million on Thanksgiving, 219 million on Cyber Monday and 248 million on Black Friday.
“As a retailer there are ways to take advantage of that,” he said. “Amazon has scaled its internal marketing operations to make more sellers aware of the boost in sales and get them ready for the influx in orders.”
Amazon is doing a full-court press promoting Prime Day this year, with a larger budget to attracting even more visitors to the site. “They have increased the deals structure as well so sellers have more and better opportunities for providing deals that will display better in search results and even make it to the front page, which is the Holy Grail,” Dash said.
With an influx in orders from a mega event like Prime Day, sellers know that the spike in orders will inevitably be following by an increase in customer service requests. Dash said that’s what he’s helping customers prepare for.
Merchants also need to be prepared to address inventory and fulfillment issues that the boost in Prime Day orders creates. Dash said getting this wrong not only means lost sales in the near term but lost customers who may never come back – and a poor rating on Amazon.
“If you run out of inventory you will lose out on a ton of potential sales, and if you mess up fulfillment you will have a large amount of angry customers which will negatively impact your seller rating,” Dash said. “And if you’re not on top of your customer service inquiries you’ll lose out on repeat orders, see more chargebacks and claims, and again run the risk of damaging your seller ratings.”
While one of the knocks on Prime Day 2015 was that it at times appeared to be a “yard sale” of discount merchandise, Dash said it does present a great opportunity for sellers to clear out stale inventory during a generally slow time of year.
“They can absolutely mark down items and provide deals that can beat out the competition,” he said. “This will allow them to cash out while moving in better and newer products they can sell more of in the future.”