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Q4 Masterclass: Last-minute Strategies to Get the Most Out of Your Holiday Season on Amazon

October 25, 2018

Q4 is getting into full swing, but there’s still more work to do before you sit back and watch sales roll in.

Whether you are a selling veteran looking for new tactics to implement or facing your first Holiday season and setting yourself up for success–we have the strategies for you!

Teikametrics has partnered up with Payability to bring you proven (last-minute) strategies from cashflow to inventory to advertising.

View the full transcription of the webinar here:

Hey, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us. We are excited to get started here and start sharing some strategies with you. So today’s webinar is our Q4 Masterclass: Last Minute Strategies to get the Most out of your Holiday Season on Amazon. We promised you ten strategies. We got a little carried away. We might have more, so get excited a lot of good information to share. If you haven’t previously attended one of our webinars, Moriah’s going to drop a link into the chat box right now where you can go watch recordings from prior webinars. We have another masterclass we did earlier this month that I’d highly recommend, especially going into the holiday season. So we’re going to drop that link for you. Check it out.

And then while you do that, my name I Gauri, I’m the manager of product education here. If you’ve been on webinars before, then you would have probably seen my face or my name if you read any of our articles, probably seen my head floating around. Really excited to have all of you join us here today. And then I’m joined by my colleagues, Krissy and Moriah.

Hi, everybody. I’m Krissy. I’m on the customer success team.

And I’m Moriah, and I’m an account executive on the sales team.

Yeah, so between Krissy and Moriah, they speak with hundreds of sellers each week, I would say, so they have a lot of good information and a lot of knowledge to share. We’re also really excited to have our partners Payability on this webinar with us, and we’re joined by Vicky Sullivan over at Payability.

Hey, thanks for having me, really excited.

Perfect. And then during the webinar today, we have a section for Q & A at the end, but you don’t have to wait until the end to ask your question. Any time you think of any questions, feel free to drop it in our question box there. We’ll try to address as many of them as we can live, but we also have our team members on the line answering questions as they come in.

Great. So the goal of our webinar today is to help you make the most of the last minute. And it sounds very strange talking about the end of October being last minute for holiday season on Amazon, but as everyone knows it takes a while to see results on Amazon. So if you’re thinking about advertising, you’re thinking about making some changes, you need to give yourself sufficient time for those changes to take effect. So now is the time to start thinking about your holiday strategies and getting those in place or you’re not going to see quite the results you would if you tried to do some of this in November/December.

For our agenda today, we have our intros. I have the strategies to share, and then at the end we’ll do little Teikaways, which is a little summary section, and then open the floor for Q & As, but as I said, keep those questions coming in any time. We will try to keep answering them live as we go through here.

So to get us warmed up, we’re going to start off with a poll right now. So our first poll question of the day, which of these areas of business do you most struggle with? So I’m going to launch that poll, and you can actually select more than one on this one. So let us know which one of these areas is difficult for you whether it’s maintaining inventory, avoiding stockouts, generating reviews, managing your advertising, just building your brand’s name and presence out there, or there are other areas. If there’s something that you particularly struggle with and maybe would like some insight or advice on, we’ll definitely try to help you with that, just drop us a question about that if there’s something on here that’s not listed that you’re struggling with.

So I’m seeing some responses coming in. I’ll give everyone a couple more minutes to cast their vote. But we’ll be addressing all of these areas in our presentation today, but like I said, if there’s something that you want covered that’s not listed on here, drop us a line and let us know. I already see a couple of questions coming in. We’d love to see more of those.

All right, so let me close out this poll and share results. So it looks like most of you struggle with building your brand’s presence and getting your brand name out there. There is a lot of competition in Amazon, so it can be difficult to make yourself seen and heard. So we’ll try to give you some advice around how you can get heard and how you can get your brand’s name out there. And then we’re also going to give you a lot of great ways you might not have thought of that can help you generate reviews and manage inventory.

Perfect, so without further adieu, I’m going to stop talking, and I’m going to let Vicky take the floor here.

Thank you. Super excited to be here. Great meeting everybody. So I’m Vicky. I’m from Payability. We are a financing company for Amazon and eCommerce sellers. And I’m going to take you through our products for a little bit, and then I will talk a little bit about how cashflow can really help you make those last minute changes that are going to make you really grow in Q4.

So as you may know or not know, two payments a month can be great during the rest of the year, but during the holiday shopping rush, that can be really challenging. So we provide a really simple solution for that. We have two products that help sellers like yourself get paid early and more often.

First is Instant Access, which is our daily payments product. So instead of getting paid every 14 plus days like you would on Amazon, you would get paid for 80% of yesterday’s sales today, every business day. And so the remaining 20% stays in a reserve to cover returns and chargebacks. And that’s released to you on Amazon’s regular payment schedule once we retrieve the money from Amazon that we’ve advanced to you.

We have a second product that’s relatively new. We just introduced that this years. It’s called Instance Advance, and we’ll give you up to a month’s worth of Amazon payouts or another marketplace in one lump sum so you can order inventory in bulk, take advantage of bulk discounts and really capitalize on seasonality like in Q4.

We also recently introduced something called the Payability Seller Card, which gives you even faster access to your Instant Access payments, so it’s a lot of access right there. For example, Thanksgiving is coming up. And if you sell a bunch of stuff the day before Thanksgiving, on Wednesday, you will have access to 80% of those sales the following day, on Thanksgiving, or on a weekend for example. I guess Black Friday is a better example. So if you sold a lot on Black Friday, you would have access to those earnings on Saturday. You also get 2% cashback on all spends. So if you put your advertising spend on there, you’ll get 2% cashback on that, and you’re getting access to your payments faster, so it’s a win-win.

Perfect. And Vicky, we have a question here from Liz wanting to know what are the fees for using Payability? Is that something that you want to touch upon now or wait until the end?

Yeah, I can definitely touch upon that now. I’m sure a lot of people are wondering. So for Instant Access, it’s normally a 2% flat fee on gross sales. But for anybody who comes in with Teikametrics, which we’ll share that link later, you can start out at 1.5%.

Great.

And for Instant Advance, it’s normally 1% a week, with a max of 20 weeks. But with Teikametrics, it is .9%. So you’re going to get some discounts just from attending this webinar and being referred by Teikametrics.

All right, perfect. Great, so it’s really important to get your cashflow accelerated. Q4 tends to be the biggest quarter for most retailers, definitely traditional retailers, but even retailers on Amazon. So let’s go into now the benefits of having this consistent cashflow, Vicky.

Definitely. So I would say the number one benefit is avoiding or saying goodbye completely to stockouts. As you might have already noticed, you lose not only sales today, but you’re losing future sales too as a result of a stockout because Amazon will move that listing further towards the bottom of the page if there isn’t anything there to sell. You work really hard finding the right keywords and managing your PPC campaigns and really getting that listing further up the page. So don’t let all that work go to waste with a stockout. It’s one of the best use cases for both our products to really avoid stockouts and keep up with that unlimited consumer demand that we really see on Amazon every day.

Another big thing I would say is freedom and flexibility. During Q4, you want to really, really reinvest in what works really quickly and take away from what’s not working. So say you invested in a toy that isn’t selling, but now you see that this other toy is selling and you have a chance to pick up some of that inventory. You just cashout right away, and sell the toy that is selling, so that’s a great last minute change that you can make and that you can make quickly if you’re on daily payments because you don’t have to wait to get paid by Amazon in order to cover those inventory costs.

Perfect. Yeah.

Oh, sorry. Do you have a question?

Yeah, I was going to ask you what is a side effect that a lot of people are not aware of when it comes to cash or, I guess, lack of cashflow? What’s an impact that a lot of people haven’t considered?

So I would say the two biggest things that people aren’t aware of are a stockout issue. People don’t realize that they’re not only losing out on sales today, but they’re also losing out on future sales, and the importance of more inventory turns. The more you can turn your inventory, the more money you stand to make and the faster you can cashout or get access to capital, the faster you can reinvest in what’s selling. So those are the big things that people don’t really realized.

Yeah, and just to clarify for people listening who might not be familiar with inventory turns, it’s how often or how many times per year you sell out of your product. And the more times you can do that, of course, the better, because you’re just turning over inventory. It’s not sitting in storage for as long. As people might be familiar, especially those selling FBA, Amazon now charges longterm storage fees on a monthly basis, so making sure you’re liquidating and selling through products quickly and sending them the right amount as well is really important.

Yeah, absolutely, that’s a big one with the storage fees. And it even also brings you back to the next point here, which is consistent, constant growth. If you’re not getting paid consistently, you might have a big sales day and you have to wait to cashout that money. So this is a great way to keep the momentum going. You don’t find yourself without capital ever really so that you can really keep the selling momentum going, and again, reinvest in what’s working and divest from what’s not on a faster scale. And I… Oh, sorry.

No, keep going. That’s really good.

I kind of touched on this earlier, but seamlessly keeping up with demand is huge. As you’ve seen on Amazon and other marketplaces, there really is unlimited consumer demand that you’re able to tap into as a seller. And you can really get the most of that with a good, consistent financing solution.

Yeah, I think it’s having demand for your product and being at risk for sellout is almost a good problem to have, because of course, it’s good to be validated that your product has a market fit, people want it. But then actually stocking out, ends up hurting you in a lot of ways that people don’t understand because the effects are not always evident. So it could potentially be through a drop in sales rank, which I know we’re going to be touching upon soon. You could give up some of that real estate to your competitors who could then step into your shoes and start selling their product instead. So it’s really important… It’s nice to have a product that’s at risk of selling out, that’s so popular, but don’t actually sell out.

Right. You don’t want to lose that sales velocity because it takes a lot to gain it back.

Exactly.

Yeah, absolutely.

Which leads into our next slide, Vicky, on the hidden benefits of having good cashflow and accelerated cashflow.

So yeah, I just went over some of the more obvious benefits like inventory turns and reinvesting in inventory quickly, but there really are a lot of hidden benefits that we’ve done a study on and Marketplace Pulse has done a study on. And I’m going to share some of them with you today. It really helps the overall health of your Amazon business having faster access to cashflow. And I’m going to share a couple reasons why that’s important.

Payability customers do increase their rank for obvious reasons. They’re not stocking out. So according to this study, Payability customers’ ranks went up by 26.4%, while people getting paid every two weeks, their rank actually went down. So that’s really just a huge testament to the power of not stocking out and keeping that consistent inventory.

Yeah, as an Amazon seller, your inventory is probably your biggest investment. You don’t have the overhead necessarily of warehousing. So your product is where you would probably have the biggest capital tie-in and biggest investment, so it’s important that you’re using that wisely and trying to get as much more of that as possible.

Absolutely.

Perfect, and that leads us into the next hidden benefit, which is increasing inventory. So could you speak to that a little bit, Vicky? What is increasing inventory?

So Payability customers, according to this Marketplace Pulse study, not only increased the amount of inventory of their current products, but they also increased their overall catalog of products. Again, because they’re able to reinvest faster in what works and grow their business that way.

We have one client called Elevate Nutrition, which is a vegan body building shake. They’re two vegan body builders that they were looking for a great vegan alternative and couldn’t find one, so they created one themselves. And the product did amazing on Amazon, they could not keep it in stock. So they started out with Payability and switched to daily payments. And not only were they able to keep their vegan shake in stock, but they also introduced new flavors and new products as well to their line just from having that consistent cashflow.

That’s perfect. And that’s an interesting point, Vicky. I think I’ve asked you this question before in our previous conversations. As far as investing in your inventory, would you say as a newer seller on Amazon, someone that’s just getting started, or maybe this is their first holiday season, would you say you should be considering investing in growing your product catalog, or do you think the best thing to do is to invest in product development and improving an existing one?

Yeah, I would say introducing your product is really important, but I would say do that once you’ve perfected your current product. Once you feel that you can sell that product in your sleep and really perfected that, that’s when I would suggest investing in a new product. Otherwise, just focus on your current products. And if you do have a product that’s selling, in addition to obviously ordering more product, try out a different color. I think that’s a big kind of obvious thing that is kind of not so obvious sometimes when you’re in this marketplace because you’re just so concerned with winning the buy box or reinvesting in inventory, so you don’t think to ask your supplier for anything more than a discount. But yeah, ask for a different color.

Yeah, I think sometimes having some of those little exclusives where maybe you’re one of a handful of people that carries a particular color can be a good way to get an edge, especially if you’re a reseller.

Yeah, absolutely.

Perfect, and then with launching products of course, the next question that comes up is how to get more reviews. And based on our earlier poll, a lot of our sellers on today do struggle with generating reviews. So how is your cashflow going to feed into that?

Yeah, having consistent cashflow leads to, like I said before, fewer stockouts, which leads to a better customer experience and better products because you’re able to reinvest in your product and reinvest in product development faster. So you’re getting better products, you’re getting more reviews. It’s also an overall better customer experience. Having constant access to cashflow every day really can save you a lot of time so you’re not constantly worrying about, “Okay, I’m going to put this much inventory on this credit card and then wait 14 days and pay it off.” You’re not playing that guessing game all the time, “Where is my inventory coming from? Where is my funding coming from?” You’re focusing more on creating better products and getting them to your customers faster. So you’re getting better product reviews.

Perfect. And then you have a couple of additional pro-tips here to share here as well. So tell us a little bit about this first one, Vicky, on paying your suppliers early.

So this is something that we find that a lot of Payability customers are doing to not only get discounts but kind of get leverage on top of the competition and really build those relationships with suppliers. I know paying your suppliers earlier, or paying anybody early goes against your business instincts and what they teach you in business school, but it’s really worked for a lot of our customers, and that’s how a lot of people are leveraging their daily payments and instant advances. They’re telling their suppliers, “Hey, if I pay you today, can you get me free shipping?” Or, “Can you get me 10% off this inventory?” And oftentimes they do because they’ve never had anybody else say, “Hey, I want to pay you early.” A lot/ are probably asking them for even longer payment terms.

This also is going to make you stand out among the competition, which chances are probably ordering from the same supplier. And you better believe if you run out of inventory the day after Black Friday that they’re going to take your call and that they’re going to do everything that they can do to get you more inventory for the rest of the holiday season.

Yeah, this is almost like a little bit old fashion, just building that personal relationship even though we are in eCommerce and dabble there. It’s still good to have that personal relationship with your suppliers.

Yeah, absolutely. It’s also one of the biggest assets in your business, the relationships you have.

Yep, absolutely. And then what happens after the holiday season? So we’ve talked a lot about prepping for the holiday season, but there is a time after, right? January. So what’s happening then?

Yeah, you’re going to want to keep the momentum going well into January. And in 2019, I think a lot of us in retail, we think of January as just about returns and trying to figure out what you’re going to do with all that returned merchandise. But I think nowadays that really isn’t the case. People are really eager to spend the cash on Amazon gift cards they got for the holidays. I know those cool things that are on my list. So you want to make sure that you have enough inventory to fill those orders, that you aren’t stocking out once the holiday season is over because you do have great potential there with people shopping for themselves, so this can help you keep the momentum going.

Absolutely, and we always encourage, as far as holiday prep, we always encourage our sellers to do almost a cohort analysis. What that means is when you get a return in January, you actually want to deduct it from the day that the sale happens. So if you sold it, say December 22nd, and someone returns it January 7th, you actually want to deduct that as having happened December 22nd. Otherwise, what that’s going to do is make your January look really anemic. And it looks like you did no business at all, so when you’re using it for forecasting purposes, you’re almost certainly going to under-order for how much inventory you need in January. So it’s important to make sure you have the best representation of the sales that you generated in January by deducting those returns from the time that they happened. So that’s really important as well, and that’s going to help you with forecasting and ordering more for the next season.

Yeah, that’s an excellent point. Great advice.

Perfect, so speaking of holiday season. It’s time for our second poll. We just want to know if this is your first holiday season or whether you’re an old pro who has done this before. So I’m going to launch the poll there. For some of you, it might be your first holiday season period. For some people it might be the first time you’re doing this on Amazon. Some people have probably done this a few times. But with a marketplace like Amazon, things change so much from year-to-year. There’s so many different factors. Almost certainly more competition every year, so you still have to adapt and re-strategize, even if you’ve had seven holiday seasons. They’ve probably all been completely different from one another.

So I’m going to give people a couple of minutes to vote in here and then we’re going to give you, if this is your first time, some strategies to be as successful as possible with this one. I’m going to give people a couple more minutes there. Voting coming in, perfect. So I’m going to close the poll and share some of these results.

So it looks like most people have been through one holiday season, and some people who have done that more often. Not a lot of brand new people to the holiday season. So we have a good mix here, so the strategies that we’re going to share should apply across the board, and certainly the strategies that Vicky’s already shared apply to everyone because no matter how many holiday seasons you’ve had, you need inventory, and you need to have it available to sell.

For sure.

All right, perfect. So holiday season really kicks off with Cyber Week, right Krissy?

Yeah, no, absolutely. So Cyber Week, for those that don’t know, we’re looking at Black Friday, Cyber Monday, so lots of spend there. And this is really the best time, and we say, “Wrap it up,” it’s the best time to get ready for the holiday season itself. So a few different ways that you can do that, not only do you want to increase your ad spend, but you also want to price test. There’s a few different ways that we can do this, which we’re going to go into in different slides too. But some of the ways we’re looking at is launching seasonal campaigns, really pull together products that you know are going to be great gift ideas or convert really well too. Create campaigns that are just focused on that, so that way you can control that spend, be a bit higher, be a bit more aggressive with it, to really gain that exposure.

And while at the same time you’re doing that, test those prices. See what’s converted, what’s working, what’s beating the competition. Those are definitely lots of good ways to get into it. And then we can talk further about how are we going to really make these campaigns stand out from other ones based on how consumers are searching.

Yeah, exactly. And something super important to remember is that you’re going to want to start to ramp that up at least in mid-November, noting that Black Friday is on November 23rd this year. And then keep those campaigns running, continuing to bid aggressively, spend aggressively, until the conclusion of the holiday season.

Yeah, it’s important to keep in mind too, if you’re projecting sales you want to do in November, sales you want to do in December, the only way to hit those sales numbers is to make sure you have enough products to sell, so that’s part of this forecasting is making sure you know exactly how much inventory you need to have on hand. And I don’t have the exact deadline in front of me, but sometime in November is the deadline for when you have to have your inventory in Amazon for it to be eligible to sell on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so keep that deadline in mind as well as you’re planning your marketing and as you’re planning your pricing strategy.

And as sort of the counterpoint to this is if you’re trying to maybe throttle sales for a little bit because you’re waiting for inventory to land and you’re trying to prevent that stockout and completely zeroing out your stock, you could also consider increasing your prices for a little while, which will curb your sales volume a little bit, but it will prevent you from stocking out.

Yeah, and definitely start early. The earlier you start the better, not only for planning ahead, but anytime you launch a campaign, it takes time for that sales velocity to build, so just keep that in mind.

Which leads us into holiday advertising campaigns, right Moriah?

Right. So get on it. Holiday ad campaigns that begin in October have a 7% increase in ad impressions, a 12% drop in cost-per-click, and a 20% decrease in CPM, which is actually going to be cost-per-thousand impressions. And that’s compared to every other month in the holiday season.

And this is part of why we are calling our October webinar a last minute webinar because there is a lot better ROI you can get here by getting started in October than if you were trying to launch the same campaign in November or December, right?

Exactly.

So testing your pricing. We’re going to mention this a couple of times today because it’s really important and one that is easy to neglect because you have so many other areas you need to be focusing on as an Amazon seller.

Exactly, and prices just so important in Amazon. So not only do you want to be competitive, but you also want to price based off your goals that you have for yourself. So obviously, the lower your price, the more you’re going to get exposure, the better you’re going to convert. But that doesn’t always work with your bottom line too. So when we were talking about price testing, if you’re trying to improve sales rank or you’re launching a new product, that’s when you’re going to want to try to start, target a lower price point than where you would normally be at.

But of course, if that product already has velocity, it sells pretty well, and you’re really just trying to increase your profits, then you want to target a higher price point. But really, like you said, try to keep these pricing in line with what your strategy is and what your objectives that you’re trying to meet for that season.

Right, and what Gauri and Vicky were discussing earlier, something to be mindful of would be not to always launch new products during the holiday season when you’re still testing that pricing.

Right.

Yep. But if you are thinking about it, now would probably be a better time to do it. Try selling it maybe 10% below your ideal selling price, and then go up from there. There is a little bit of experimentation involved here. It would be nice if we could give you just prescriptive notes, but there is a little bit of testing, a little bit of experimentation to see what works and where you can find the best balance between having demand and still maintaining margins.

Right.

And then one way to do that really is not just by decreasing your price, but by adding on a promotion or a coupon right, Krissy?

Yeah. There’s so many promotions and coupons that Amazon offers, it’s really great and it really does pull in a whole different audience that you may not had before. Lightening deals are great. I’m sure everyone’s seen those pop up before. It’s a really great way to increase your exposure. And also if you, after the holidays too, if you had too much inventory, this is another great way to release a lot of inventory.

Subscribe and Save is great. You get the 5, 10% discount, but you also have a loyal customer who you know is going to keep coming back. Coupons, awesome, so if you don’t want to lower that price, but you want to hook them, offer them a coupon and it’s going to be great, especially for launching products. If there’s not a ton of reviews, they’re going to see this coupon, and then it’s going to give them more incentive to purchase.

Yeah, it’s about improving your perceived value. You could drop your price from $10 to $5 or you could add a coupon so the shopper is getting a deal, $5 off. Sometimes that has a better impact on sales and getting people interested rather than just seeing a lower price.

Yeah, absolutely. That’s a good point.

Perfect, so that leads us into our next section. We’re going to go into advertising. But before we do that, time for our last poll, which is what kind of advertising you’re planning on running during holiday 2018. So I’m going to launch that, and I apologize, I think Adam mentioned that you could still see the poll results in a couple of our previous slides. I apologize for that. I’ll make sure to close this one out quicker. So going to wait for people to chime in.

So there’s a lot of advertising options available on Amazon today than were even available at this time last year, definitely the year before. So you have everything from sponsored products ads, which are probably the most familiar to people. Sponsored brands, which is previously known as HSA or headline search ads. You have the option for promotions and coupons. And then there’s a lot of people also dabbling in off-Amazon advertising. And a lot of people at the beginning told us getting their branding out there was a struggle. And this kind of ties into this is how do you get people to your Amazon store from somewhere that’s not Amazon?

I’m just going to give people a couple more minutes to vote here, a couple more seconds rather. I’m going to close this out. Perfect, so it looks like promotions and coupons and sponsored products ads are the most common forms, which is not surprising. Sponsored products ads are what people are most familiar with, the ones that have been using for the longest. But there are ways even with those to re-strategize and test out new ways of structuring campaigns. You really have to be more adaptive to keep up with the increased competition in the marketplace.

And then with promotions and coupons, people use them to different results. Some people see really good results with promotions and coupons. Some people don’t get quite the traction they’re looking for. So it comes back to testing. If your buyer isn’t reacting well to a promotion or a coupon, maybe you need to position your product differently or test out a different pricing strategy there.

So perfect, so keeping that in mind, and keeping in mind that a lot of people have already run sponsored products ads, what additional strategies can you supply, Krissy, for people running sponsored products ads?

Yeah, so circling back on running targeted campaigns, we mentioned a little bit before, this is a really good way to hit where those people are searching. How are they searching? I am so guilty of this. I literally type in “gifts for dad.” So making sure you have keywords in there or your listing showing things like you know this is a great gift. You want to pull all of those products into that campaign so you can control that spend. You can control keywords. You can make sure you pop up for searches like I do. Because it would be really helpful everybody.

But at the same time, when you’re thinking about advertising, you don’t just want to advertise the things that you think people are going to purchase for gifts. You want to make sure you’re advertising all of your products because, again, I’m guilty of this, but I shop for myself all the time when I’m shopping for other people. So make sure that you are letting people see all of your products because you never know when it’s going to convert.

You’re going to get a lot of new people looking at your products that maybe wouldn’t have previously, right?

Exactly.

If I’m looking for something that my dad wants because I’m trying to give him a Christmas gift, it’s almost certainly not going to be something I would have bought for myself. So it’s going to be a product that I need to learn more about, which plays into your product listing page we’ll touch upon later.

Yep.

So I’m going to be educating myself as I try to shop for this other person. So the amount of information that I require as a new person buying your product versus someone who is a regular shopper of yours is going to be different and you need to cater your holiday strategy towards them.

Right. And the more information on your listings like Gauri is saying, the better your automatic campaigns are going to run too. Because you want to make sure you’re casting that wide net and increasing that exposure. And that’s going to happen through the auto-campaigns. So keep those running. Keep the spend up. And make sure your listings are showing that information that those new buyers are going to need too.

Yeah.

Yeah, that’s fine.

No, go ahead Moriah.

I was going to say, and one other strategy that you can use on ads, everybody knows Prime Day 2018 was huge. One strategy you could actually be able to look at the performance of your campaign spend, be able to apply it in terms of your spend, analysis across your campaigns, your keywords to see how they would perform this holiday as well.

That’s a really good point. So your holiday targeted campaigns don’t just have to be for the holiday season. If you sell a product that’s a good idea for a Mother’s Day gift, a Father’s Day gift, birthday presents, whatever the case may be, these are strategies you could implement moving forward. And this is a little bit different than what we normally have told people on webinars for just mirrored campaign structure, so you have an auto, you have a manual, and so it’s two campaigns essentially per product. But in this case, this is an additional campaign, probably manual. You could start with automatic in this case as well, which is just to capture holiday searches, so it’s more targeted toward a particular type of search rather than just your product.

So it’s a slight departure from what we normally talk about with campaign structure.

But one other way, and this is… Targeted campaigns is getting really specific here, but then the opposite of that is casting a broader net here and getting more exposure, which is sponsored brands. So sponsored brands, you might be more familiar with the term headline search ads or HSA. Amazon just recently made naming convention change. So sponsored ads is really more top of the funnel. It’s more about getting great exposure and making people familiar with who you are as a company rather than a specific product. So it tell us a little bit about sponsored brands advertising, Krissy.

Sure. Sponsored brands is definitely a really effective way, like she said, to get your brand out there and make yourself known. This is also going to tie into a few other things that we’re going to talk about coming up. But when you’re thinking about making your, I want to say your headline search ad, when you’re thinking about making your brand, you really want to think, “What are your top converting products? What gives the people the best glimpse into what your company is what you guys are about, what represents you the best way, the way that you want to be represented? Because the conversion rate on those ads that are advertised there, I don’t have an actual stat, but I know it’s very high. So take some time to think about what’s the right picture that you want to paint? And this is just a really great way to get yourself out there and increase sales too.

Yeah, just telling your brand story.

Yeah, and if you think about a traditional advertising funnel or advertising cadence compared to this, your sponsored brand ad would probably be like your television commercial. You’re getting your brand name out there. You’re giving people a place to learn more about your products and buy your products. And then once they get there, then they’re going to find a specific object they might be interested in, but you need to get people hooked by what your brand is and tell that story here.

Right. And if you don’t know what products are going to convert best for you here, test some things out. Let them sit there, not sit there, but advertise them for two weeks, see the results, change it up if you’re not happy, and keep trying that until you find that right mix.

Yeah. Because with these types of advertising as well, you get to be more creative and you have a lot more control than a sponsored products ad which is based purely on searching and clicking.

Right.

So test out your copy. You have control over that. Test out the images you use. You could include your logo rather than product images. Sometimes those have better results. Get some of that lifestyle imaging in there. So it’s a way to maintain your customer experience a little bit better. As Vicky was mentioning earlier, having the cashflow to invest in the customer experience, and this is one way to do that.

Right.

But when they come to your product page, that’s still going to be what converts or doesn’t convert a buy right? So what are some ways, some things I guess, the seller needs to look at to optimize their listings, Moriah?

Yeah, so obviously, you want to take into account images especially for a sponsored brand, it’s very visual. You’re drawing in the customers through your images. So ensuring that there’s at least 1,000 pixels on the longest side using alternate images, again, just getting creative, making sure they’re professional images as well. Bullet points and descriptions, you want them to be brief while also descriptive, and just tell the story of each one of your products.

A strategy there is also going to be to utilize search terms from your automatic campaigns just to enhance your listings as well, optimizing your product titles, and then enhancing your brand content. And also one thing that we want, obviously, these are ten strategies to optimize Q4, if these are gift-able items, you want to include that in your listings as well.

Yeah, and you want to make sure that you’re reviewing all this content and it’s basically a way for you to prevent customer buyer remorse later. That you don’t want them to return the product. I know this happened to me recently. I was trying to buy a new trash can, and it’s one of those fancy ones where you wave your hand and the trash can opens. But it had the wrong type of battery listed on the product page. So when I bought my trash can, the batteries, actually wasn’t actually able to use the full functionality because the page had directed me towards the wrong type of batteries, so it wasn’t really an ideal customer experience for me. But making sure that you have the right information that can anticipate those kind of questions and needs and answer them as well.

Right. And not only that, too, you have to think about how much competition there is out there. So your listing has to be better than your competition’s listing in order for it to convert. It doesn’t just come down to price and reviews, but if the picture is lifestyle pictures then is it super descriptive? Are there lots of things to go through? Can we get a clear understanding of what this product is. If there’s any confusion, people are more apt to just not purchase.

The shopper has all the options. They can easily just go back to the search page and click on the next result.

Exactly, exactly.

So everyone has this same toolbox that you’re working with. It’s about how you use it and make sure that it’s converting into a sale for you. So there’s a lot of traffic to be had during holiday, during Cyber Week. So Amazon’s going to do that for you is to drive people to Amazon, but then it’s your job to convert those people that are on your page by making sure all of these listing items… Because some of them might seem like a small thing, but having all of those in place helps you better convert and take all of this traffic and turn it into sales volume for yourself.

Right. And definitely think about how Amazon’s algorithm works. How does the auto-campaign work versus the manual? The autos are really just going off of your content in there and your description in the titles. So if there’s not enough content for Amazon to place you, you’re just not going to get that visibility that you need no matter how much you want to bid.

Exactly, absolutely, which takes us into the next section that’s kind of building off of advertising your product pages because the next big trend with product list in particular is video advertising. And a lot of sellers are concerned with advertising off Amazon as well, based on our poll. So Moriah, what’s happening with these sellers?

Yeah, so we found this quote from Marketing Dive, “Retailers said they were directing 35% of their spend to Google search and display, 18% to Facebook, and 15% to Amazon. They also plan to focus 15% of their budgets on video ads during the holiday season.”

So this is a lot of percentages, but this is important right? From looking at this, it makes me think that people are actually putting a smaller portion of their budget towards Amazon advertising. That doesn’t mean it’s less important or less worthy of investment. It just happens to be that buying sponsored product click on Amazon right now is just cheaper than buying a sponsored product click through Google. So it is younger, the pay-per-click advertising on Amazon, so it is still actually a better ROI investment for you because it is cheaper versus Google Ads where you have to spend more money to get that same click. So that’s something to keep in mind as well, but I’m sure when you look at this same slide next year, these percentages will have shifted based on what kind of results and returns advertisers are seeing from this holiday season.

Right, definitely.

And we speak with sellers across the board, brands across the board, small ones, big ones, and no matter how big a brand is, how big the company is, figuring out Amazon advertising and how to invest your money is still something people are struggling with and something that we want to help you with today and then also capture some of that traffic that’s off Amazon and driving them to your storefront.

Yeah, so one of the main things we want to get across here is get heard. There’s a lot of places you could put your ads, put your product, so you should be putting them everywhere and then you should be utilizing it for particular reasons. Use social media, use Google, use these other platforms to drive traffic to your Amazon store.

Yeah, you have probably heard us use this word flywheel, the flywheel effect, which is each aspect of your Amazon business impacting the other. So stocking out means lower sales rank, which means less visibility, which means less sales force. On the other hand, cashing in on your sales volume give you better sales rank, drives more people to your page, getting those people to convert. So all of those go hand-in-hand. If you don’t have inventory for instance, advertising isn’t going to do you much good. If you don’t have a product listing page that’s been optimized driving a whole bunch of people to that page, won’t do you any good. So you want to work on all of these aspects at the same time to get the best kind of result.

Right. Don’t just think that because you’re advertising and spending a lot that it’s going to convert. You have to look at the full picture definitely.

Absolutely. And diving back to driving traffic to Amazon using social media though, this is something that’s becoming really popular and something that I get a lot of questions about as well. So there’s two different ways to do this. You could buy just ad space and do some of those re-targeting ads or spend more marketing on Google. But there’s also other ways. You can reach out to influencers because a lot of people who are making their careers out of promoting products on Instagram. So you need to spend some time getting to know these influencers in your area.

I think this works especially well with fashion, apparel, health and fitness. There are a lot of dedicated people on Instagram who post about it, who review products, and these are people you should be reaching out. So it is pretty manual. There isn’t really an easy way to do this. So you just have to reach out to these people and see if they’re interested in partnering with you and promoting your products. That’s one way to do it. And really invest in the right areas. So this might not be re right for every product. It needs to be a product that looks good on Instagram that people want to buy.

Right, definitely. And then there’s also promoting your brand on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and just utilizing those platforms to drive traffic to your Amazon store specifically. And what you can also do is, again, you’re going to optimize those pages with holiday content. So you can actually advertise your promotions, whether it be your lightening deals, buy one get one, and use your Instagram page, your Facebook page to do that. And then also using relevant hashtags with holiday content will drive that as well.

Or even offer like a coupon code if someone saw it on Facebook and then purchases on Amazon.

Yeah, exactly. Obviously, the majority of shoppers are starting their searches on Amazon, so why not manipulate other percentage and drive those to your Amazon storefront as well.

Absolutely, so that kind of wraps up some of our content for today. Like I say, we have a quick little summary section here, and then we’ll open up the floor for Q & A, so keep those Q & A’s coming. And while you do that, we have a couple other pieces of information and offers to share with you. So Vicky, would you like to speak to this offer a little bit?

Sure, so like I said before when we were talking about the fees. You are going to get some discounts and a $250 sign-on bonus for being referred by Teikametrics. So head to go, that’s G-O, .payability.com/teikametrics. And it can get you a discount on our fees and the $250 sign-on bonus. If you just need this seasonally, like if you just need this for Q4, we do have a 30 day cancellation policy, no cancellation fees or penalties or anything. So if you know you just need this for Q4, sign up and cancel it the same day, and you’ll get your daily payments for 30 days, get you through your busy season, and then you can come back again when you need cashflow.

Great. And Moriah just dropped a link for that in the chat box. Thanks so much, Vicky. And then we have a new product that we’re launching. It’s called Teikametrics Flywheel. We’d love for you to get a demo of that. Moriah is going to drop that link in as well. So sign up for a demo today and then someone from our team will reach out very quickly here, show you the new product, and help you get set up there so you can get a holistic view of your business. So with that being said, let’s switch back into content here and do a quick summary, Krissy. So things that we’ve covered today.

Yeah, so starting off is maintaining consistent cashflow. This is going to help avoiding stockouts, maintaining that rank, and getting more positive reviews. Again, that’s something Payability is going to help you with. You also want to get ready for Cyber Week. So it’s earlier you get started the better. Plan ahead, make sure you know what strategy you’re going with. So this is going to give you time to test them, make sure they’re working, so that you’re totally ready for the holiday, testing pricing, make sure you got those promotions and those coupons running, and again, figuring out what those targeted holiday campaigns, and along with those, optimize those listings. So make sure you’re using the holiday content, gifts for dad, perfect gift for your brother, whatever things you-

If anyone has any ideas, please drop that in the question box.

And then of course, you want to use other aspects to drive people to your Amazon store. Social media, when it comes to Instagram, Facebook, adding those coupons, show people who are following you who have a Facebook page, show them your loyalty. Offer them something else and bring them to Amazon.

Absolutely, perfect. So with that, I’m going to open up Q & A. So I have a question here, I guess more thoughts from here around running promotions versus coupons. He’s found out promotions don’t work necessarily as well as coupons do. And that’s an interesting point. I’ve noticed recently, this is just as a shopper, that I’ve seen a lot more coupon offers.

Me too.

As I’ve been shopping, where you can… So like the checkbox to add a coupon. So it’s kind of an opt-in situation. But I have seen a lot more sellers using that feature rather than just a percentage off or a price discount.

And I agree, I’ve seen the same. I feel like maybe when there’s a percentage off, it’s not as visible as that green coupon that pops up on the listing.

Yeah, because the coupon as well, you can see on the search results page, right?

Yes absolutely.

It’s not something you have to click in to find out. But then of course sometimes there’s a catch to it where you have to sign up for Subscribe and Save.

Right, that too.

So that’s a really good observation, something I’ve noticed as well.

I think they’re probably going to be more effective closer to the holiday season though as everybody is starting to cut prices. You’re going to see a lot more like, “Oh, okay, let me just click into this. This is an amazing price.” So still, I wouldn’t rule it out as a good option.

Yep. And right now, this time period tends to be bigger for window shopping so people are seeing what’s out there, and everyone is waiting until the deals to actually make a purchase. I know I’m guilty of that. Keep adding stuff to my cart that I’ll get back to later.

Yeah, lots of click traffic too right now.

Like click traffic. Yeah, Krissy, you manage a lot of campaigns for sellers, so you probably have the best knowledge of this. Have you seen an increase of clicks? Have you noticed any trends there?

When I’m launching new products or sending out targeting ones where we’re trying to offset from slow season, moving into that, definitely any time I start launching something I see a ton of impressions, a ton of new clicks. And it’s really going to vary through category, though. For instance, if you’re selling bags, people are more often to want to click on five listings versus if you’re selling something that you don’t necessarily need to look at the competition or see different styles like, I don’t know, a storage bin. Like your click traffic and your click amount is going to be much lower. So there’s a lot of different trends that you see. As for now, because people haven’t necessarily started ramping up completely, I think we’re going to see a huge increase in ad spend and clicks in the next few weeks for sure.

Absolutely. Nick has a question around does Amazon allow lifestyle pictures. I was given the impression they want pictures with white background. That’s a great question, Nick. You can use lifestyle imagining with enhanced brand content. So you could include that onto your product listing page if you do have EBC or enhanced brand content. And that’s a good way to tell your brand story on Amazon, similar to how you would tell it on your website or through Instagram ads and kind of continue that same customer experience all the way through. That’s a really good question.

And then as we mentioned earlier, we’re also starting to see videos on product pages and video is a good way, especially if it’s a technological product or one that’s more complex, that’s a good way to tell that story and clarify your product offer.

Perfect. And then we have a couple of people asking if we were recording this webinar. We will be sharing that in a couple of days, so look for that recording coming from us. And any other final thoughts that you want to leave our sellers with, Moriah and Krissy?

Plan ahead. There’s a lot of potential in the holiday season. There’s a ton of potential advertising on Amazon and using sponsored products. So make sure you’re not just focusing on those campaigns, but focus on those listings. Figure out how people are searching for your product and really take advantage of that because there’s a lot of money to be made this season and a lot of growth that you can accomplish if you’re planning ahead, doing the right things, and really investing that time in it.

Yeah, definitely, and obviously, researching the category that all of your products… and being knowledgeable about their performance in the holiday season. And again, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Oh, wisdom from Moriah.

Vicky, anything else you’d like to add? Some final thoughts for our sellers?

Sure, yeah, I would just say don’t stockout. You spend a lot of time working on these ads and really perfecting your audience and finding your place within Amazon, so don’t let that work go to waste. Make sure you have a steady stream of inventory.

Absolutely. Thank you everyone for joining us today. We were excited to speak with all of you. If you’re interested in the recording, look for that in a couple of days here. And happy holidays!

Happy holidays!

Thanks, everyone. Get heard.