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How Important Is Prime Day This Year for Non Essential Brands?

Prime Day has historically taken place in July and it helped kick off a great start to the second half of the year for Amazon, the brands they sell, and for their customers who were looking to get a head start on their holiday shopping.

Last year Amazon extended Prime Day to a 48-hour sales event that surpassed their 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined with over $7.16 billion in products sold in just 48-hours!

This year, it was rumored that Prime Day was going to be pushed to August, but more recently the rumor is that Amazon’s annual Prime Day tentpole sales event is now going to be in October.

There’s still no question that Prime Day 2020 is going to be that big push for non-essential brands who have experienced challenges meeting company sales goals.

Our VP of Client Success here at Channel Bakers, Sarah LaVallee, identified some areas where Amazon was on the right track for what they did deem essential and non-essential. Not just in obvious categories like cleaning supplies and groceries, but also with making categories like toys, puzzles, Nerf guns and video games essential (big thanks from all the parents out there).

We understand why Amazon had to shift priorities and deprioritize purchase flow of certain categories. However, they did come through with their promise to place purchase orders for non-essential products a little earlier than they said they were going to. Initially it was a full stop on non-essential PO’s until early April. 

According to Sarah, “We did start to see a lot of clients begin to receive POs that were in non-essential categories. Also around that time, shoppers were beginning to receive their non-essential item deliveries a little faster than previously promised.”

With 145MM new online shoppers since COVID-19 and with Amazon still being the #1 eCommerce site in the United States, non-essential brands may want to continue to leverage Amazon’s unique shopper purchase behavior data to develop strategies that will help their company hit their overall corporate sales goals, not just their Amazon sales target.

Having said that, with that unique data set and Amazon’s ability to tie advertising closer to the point of sale, it’s critical that non-essential brands continue to invest in staying top of mind with the other 197 million shoppers who have already been buying on Amazon prior to COVID-19.

Last year Amazon invested over $100MM dollars to drive traffic to their Prime Day sales event.

For those brands with non-essential products, a huge focus this year will be to get in front of Amazon shoppers and offer highly competitive price points to take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Day push.

Tyler Speer, Channel Bakers’ EMEA Director of Business Development had this to say about those brands whose products were deemed by Amazon as Non-Essential – “Prime Day is going to be the best opportunity that you’ll likely have all year long to get back on track to hit your company’s sales goals by getting in front of the shopper where they are shopping the most.”

We’ll be keeping an eye on watching how other retailers respond to this shift of Prime Day to October. We’ve already seen Walmart cancel Black Friday opening on Thanksgiving. It will also be interesting to see how shoppers respond to three straight months of deals versus the traditional peak buying season starting Black Friday and Cyber Week being the primary time of year to buy gifts.

If you’d like to view Channel Bakers’ full discussion on how brands can “Prime the Pump” in preparation for Amazon, visit this link. To learn more about next steps for non essential brands towards Prime Day, contact our Advertising experts at Channel Bakers. 

Why You Should Be Paying Attention to Amazon Attribution

An essential element for any effective Amazon brand strategy is advertising, and pushing your products to be seen by a broader audience. Nowadays, most brands drive traffic to their Amazon listings through various platforms. Measuring the performance of the multiple traffic sources from a brand’s inbound campaigns is where Amazon Attribution is a powerful tool for identifying what’s working and what’s not.

Why Amazon Attribution Matters

Before joining Channel Bakers as our VP of Client Success, Sarah LaVallee worked for multiple brands. She commented that from a brand marketer’s standpoint, Amazon Attribution was helpful in overcoming one of the main challenges she faced trying to determine what traffic levers to pull and when.

Some questions her team had asked themselves were…What digital ads are we going to use? (Search or Display, etc.) Where are we going to send them? What is the message? 

According to Sarah, “It’s always a challenge with traditional media of understanding what’s working and what’s not working. Throughout the history of media, we’ve found ways to fudge this with a coupon code or a one day sale. And so that we can do back of napkin marketing math to determine what’s been effective.”

The nice thing about Amazon Attribution, when it comes to sending people to Amazon product detail pages, is that it takes the guesswork out. For Sarah’s team, they used Amazon Attribution through email and social, driving people to Amazon. Afterwards, they ran AB tests to see which creative message resonated with folks more, asking themselves in the process…

Is it more branding forward? Is it more deal forward? Is it convenience? 

Once people started heading to Amazon, her team was able to see exactly what was working, and what wasn’t working. The main thing was to leverage the database of people who are highly valuable to the brand, how they’re communicated to, how often, where they’re sent, etc.

“It was great for us to measure the efficacy of our efforts and help us understand what resonated most with consumers” says Sarah.

Some of our Channel Bakers clients deal with Amazon specific budgets, ecommerce budgets, and marketing teams that have their own budget. For example, removing Amazon out of the equation, assume there are two different functions, two different teams, with one marketing department that looks at everything available to help grow the brand, tell the brand story, and help influence sales. The question is…What do you do? How do you know what’s working? 

According to Sarah, “Measurability is huge. Measurability accountability. We need to be able to understand what is working, what tools are working, what messaging is working. All of these little things are crucial to marketing strategy”.

Using CPG grocery as an example, it’s very difficult to say, “We’re going to run these digital ads in Kroger’s footprint, and we are going to take a look at if there was any sort of impact on Kroger’s sales.” It’s hard to measure that, unless you’re actually giving people a coupon, which 99% of people are not going to clip. Versus Amazon Attribution, where the brand can say, “Let’s drive to eCommerce, to a place of purchase, and then we can understand exactly which of our branding marketing budget buckets are working to achieve specific objectives like getting more folks into the brand versus purchasing the product.” It’s about those sales versus awareness metrics that matter, then looking at their individual efficacy, and testing again based on those metrics.

History of Amazon Attribution

As marketers, we always want to know what’s working and what’s not working. The Amazon Attribution program is really powerful in helping us identify, whether it’s email, or traditional search like Google, or other display targeting like Facebook, what levers are working in closing the sale and/or driving traffic.

So why did Amazon go down this path and what platform did they do this with? Amazon wanted to identify and help the advertiser and brand figure out what their role is in the marketing stack.

Meaning, is Amazon contributing more from a performance standpoint, whether that be click through rates, return on spend, or sales? They want to be able identify how Google and Facebook compare when driving traffic to Amazon. But the history of this goes back a little bit further. 

Around 2013, Amazon opened the door for non-US based brands to sell on Amazon. For manufacturers and for many of those seller based brands that were overseas, they didn’t have access to all of the advertising tools that Amazon made available to US based manufacturer brands. Display advertising was the primary piece of what was not readily available to a seller brand.

The best practice for those overseas based seller brands was to leverage Facebook, and leverage Google. Rather than drive to their own websites (because they didn’t have one) in the US, and because they didn’t have a US corporation set up, they would always send their non-Amazon search and display traffic to Amazon.

While they were sending that traffic to their products on Amazon, they didn’t get any sales metric type data to be able to say, “This is working from a conversion rate standpoint and cost per acquisition standpoint.” Looking at that, this was a tool that was launched initially in seller central for seller based manufactured brands. 

Amazon Attribution Best Practices

Today, Amazon recognizes the best practice of leveraging other ad platforms to drive to traffic to their site. In response to the inbound traffic they were getting from those platforms, they developed the attribution tool to better help brands define the success of those campaigns.

Amazon also wants to help overseas seller based brands figure out how much of their budgets should be spent towards Amazon Advertising versus other ad platforms based on the metrics provided with their attribution tool. That’s the underlying tone. 

At the end of the day, Amazon is looking at giving you access to tools to help you identify more data points along the consumer decision journey, with various different ad platforms that exist out in the market.

Testing and learning is also critically important in the digital marketer landscape. This helps you identify what’s working and what’s not working, but also leveraging this data to build to new audiences and tests. This helps the marketer not only know just what lever to pull and when, but also which audience each lever works with best.

In Sarah’s experience having worked for multiple manufacturer brands, she intimately understands how very protective they are of their brand enthusiasts and fans. With Facebook or their email database, brands are super sensitive about giving their audience the perception that it’s their intention to “sell them, sell them, sell them”. 

That’s really where AB testing messaging sprints come into play. If we’re going to communicate to these people and send them to a place to purchase, we need to understand what will work, and we’re not just pushing their products on our loyal followers and customers.

Key Takeaways

The key takeaway here should be that leveraging Google or Facebook to drive traffic to Amazon is a best practice. Focusing on which ad levers, platforms, products, and tools to drive traffic with, to where, and with the right message is critically important.

Amazon Attribution now helps marketers with all of those critical touch points and the message conveyed along their decision making process by giving the ability to measure and test with a goal of being more relevant to those audiences the brand is trying to reach.

CB Cares: Together We Rise: Disney Days

Channel Bakers team members recently capped a memorable day at The Disneyland Resort as chaperones for foster youth in coordination with Together We Rise, a non-profit organization working with thousands of volunteers, social workers, CASA advocates, and other partners to transform the way kids experience foster care.

Each year Together We Rise reunites foster children & foster siblings in Disneyland. This program not only reunites foster siblings, who have been split up into separate foster families, but provides a common sense of normalcy and lifelong memories with their friends and family.

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