Autumn signals a time for preparation, getting ready for the biting winter ahead. For retailers and advertisers selling on Amazon, fall also signals a time to prepare, but not for winter, for the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend adorably entitled by Amazon, “The Turkey 5.”
In 2017, ecommerce Turkey 5/Cyber Weekend (the days between Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) sales totaled $19.6 billion, a 15.2% increase from 2016. Black Friday brought in $5 billion while Cyber Monday hit $6.6 billion. Amazon owned a significant share of those sales and continues to grow as it becomes the dominant ecommerce retail source during those shopping days.
As families ready their Thanksgiving plans, retailers leave the cooking to others as they ready their own plans for a successful week of holiday selling.
Below are a few steps and recommendations to help you have a record breaking week of sales and make sure you don’t get left out in the cold during the biggest ecommerce retail days of the year.
1. Start planning early. Two years ago, this was our top tip and it still remains the most important one. Gather last year’s data and analytics from as many sources as you can. Pull from Amazon sources, your own brand and any other brands you can get access to. Note and analyze trends in spending and sales leading up to and on the big week. Historically, the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving have CPCs rising with consumers spending less, but for some brands, revenue stays consistent. Use the lookback data at your disposal and plan accordingly for the strategy you think is best for you and your brand.
2. Decide on your KPIs. Discuss holiday goals internally and with your digital agency partners. Is revenue a priority? Or do you want to focus on ROAS? Each KPI utilizes a different strategy and understanding your goals will influence your approach and planning.
3. Confirm your budget. If you haven’t already, establish if there is any holiday incremental spend to use. You should already have a daily budget and pacing established prior to the holidays, but often, incremental spend will be freed up. Utilize this extra spend to push keyword bids up and competitive with emerging higher CPCs.
4. Gather inventory lists. Decide what items and inventory your brand wants to feature. Ideally these ASINs have a review count of over 15 reviews, feature 3.5 stars or higher and most importantly have high inventory levels. The last thing you want to do is run out of a great selling items on Thanksgiving Day. (If you would like to know more about being retail ready, be sure to download our white paper - The Amazon Imperative.)
5. Build your campaigns. Now that you have your strategy, know what you’re selling, and have your KPIs and budgets, it’s time to build out the campaigns. Make sure your campaign titling is categorical and organized throughout your campaign builds.
For Sponsored Product Ads: If creating new campaigns from scratch, utilize current well-performing keywords that are in similar campaigns and research terms specific to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to add as well. Submit these as a draft, so they will be ready to turn on when you’re ready. Also, schedule similar campaigns to pause for the time you are running your holiday campaign to avoid keyword competition.
For Sponsored Brand Ads: Create new copy for campaigns that are specific to the holiday. Submit your copy for Sponsored Product campaigns early. Better safe than sorry. Amazon has specific guidelines for copy that could cause them to reject your copy and not approve your campaign. With a typical 2-3 day approval turnaround, your ad may not have your campaigns running in time. Once the campaign is approved, you can pause it and turn it back on when you want it to run.
6. Utilize Amazon’s lead up sales. Most retailers will price drop items and drive up spend on ads, but they don’t take full advantage of some of the internal sales Amazon has. In 2017, for example, Amazon had a week of deals leading up to Thanksgiving. The same is true for this year. Amazon also features a deal of the day, lightning deals and other options that will get your products a badge or give them preferable placements on their site.
7. Last and most importantly: Be adaptable. The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and whether it’s a last-minute budget change, a new KPI or retail fluctuation, make sure you set yourself up in your original planning and builds to be able to make necessary changes.
The lead-up to and week of Turkey 5 is going to be stressful at times, but with preparation, fortitude and lots of strong coffee, it’s going to be successful. So, here’s to Turkey 5 and don’t forget, the holidays are right around the corner.