SMBs Scramble to Capitalize on an Early Amazon Prime Day

Small and mid-size businesses saw record-breaking sales during Amazon’s Prime Day in 2020, with an increase of nearly 60% year-over-year. But with so much of the retail space currently in transition and an early Prime Day on the horizon, SMBs are scrambling to ensure they can take advantage of the corporate holiday this year.

Blame it on an earlier-than-usual Prime Day, rising supply chain issues, or simply increased competition. SMB sellers on Amazon see a tougher road ahead as they rush to meet Prime Day deadlines, and many merchants are scrambling to find a strategy for 2021 that will be as successful as last year’s approach.

From product listings to keyword research and online display advertising, SupplyKick CEO Chris Palmer says there’s a lot that brands on Amazon should be thinking about this month in preparation for Prime Day on June 21st and 22nd. 

At SupplyKick, Palmer works with small and mid-size merchants as a strategic marketplace partner for navigating Amazon and developing long-term growth strategies. He says that when Amazon made its official Prime Day announcement on June 3, the company emphasized the importance of supporting SMBs, with a full-on campaign for Prime Day shoppers to shop small and a curated small business storefront.

“Only time will tell if Amazon actually ends up pushing SMB support during the event,” Palmer says.

Inbound shipping cut-offs for vendors in the U.S. and deadlines to submit Amazon Coupons have already passed, and inventory sold through the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program should have already arrived at Amazon’s centers earlier this month. But Palmer says the real work for SMBs has only begun. The earlier event date this year has kept retailers of all sizes and other marketplaces that hope to run competing promotions, like Target and Walmart, scrambling to shift plans ahead of schedule. An earlier Prime Day may also usher in an earlier back-to-school shopping season.

“A June Prime Day pushes the event to the end of Q2 versus the typical early Q3 time slot. Besides Father’s Day gifting and outdoor activities, June is generally a slower season on the U.S. retail calendar,” Palmer says. “But with the end of quarter being a busy time for many, this can put added pressure and stress on SMBs who are already rushing to prepare for Prime Day.”

Inventory Obstacles

The biggest hurdle for SMBs has to do with inventory. Amazon officially announced this year’s Prime Day dates just three weeks before the event. Palmer says a three-week turnaround is an especially tight timeline, as it can take weeks for inventory to be processed, received in fulfillment centers, and appear in stock on Amazon. As a result, it’s likely that what’s in stock now for SMBs is all they’ll be able to have on hand for Prime Day. 

This year more than ever, Palmer says strategic advertising during Prime Day is a must. 

“There’s going to be a lot more traffic on Amazon than usual at this time, which means you need to be prepared for higher CPCs,” Palmer says. “Prime Day is a high-competition event for advertising, so daily campaign budgets should be increased by 2x to 3x their normal daily allocation.”

With Prime Day ads, SMBs need to act quickly and get them running at least two weeks in advance to earn sales history, increase authority within Amazon’s platform, and optimize where and when needed. Palmer says sellers should also consider driving traffic from social channels, influencer marketing, and other sites to their Amazon stores and product listings as a way to energize sales during this peak shopping period.

“Prime Day anxiety is real for many brands, and it’s easy to get lost in the chaos,” Palmer says. “But taking the time to check in on how your products are performing leading up to, during, and after the big event will not only ensure Prime Day success but pave the way for success on Amazon during other peak seasons.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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