How to Crush it this Holiday Season

The holiday season is a big deal for any Amazon seller looking to generate more profit – just look at how categories such as toys, apparel and electronics have amassed between 8 and 17 percent in sales growth. Super Saturday alone raked in over $34.4 billion in retail sales, and FBA sales regularly spike by four times as much in November and five times as much in December. So, with more buyers avoiding the crowds and completing their holiday shopping lists on Amazon, how can we ensure they not only convert but benefit from continued communications after purchasing and leaving a positive review?

The key is to monitor the experiences of your customers, plan ahead using your data insights and trend knowledge, and deliver an uncompromising attention to detail. Keep customers in the loop; let them know you care, are there for them, and genuinely value their business. This requires not only polished listing content and a healthy seller reputation, but also an effective keyword optimization and sponsored ads strategy. The latter is easier than ever with streamlined tools such as Trellis that do all the work autonomously – and intelligently thanks to your seller data – with a single click. This way, your chances of accumulating reviews (positive ones, at that), which translates to further product awareness, can increase. 

In conjunction with the right automated software solution, the following elements are critical:

  • Effective, relevant listing title and description
  • High-quality imagery and video content
  • Sponsored Amazon ads
  • Review accumulation
  • Competitive pricing that respects your costs
  • Any applicable promotions/incentives
  • Brand marketing
  • Product inventory
  • Optimization that never stops

Today, let’s look at how to make this happen.

 

Content is King

Know what’s scary? A whopping 95 percent of Amazon product listings aren’t set up correctly, usually because of suboptimal content. Embedded user testimonials matter, as will high-resolution imagery and video content that shows what your products do and look like. The same applies for compelling value propositions, which should be included in the description for maximum effect, and a title that accurately reflects what you’re selling.

Along with this, you need to include keywords that make sense for your listing, helping place it higher in relevant search results to better engage shoppers who don’t want to waste their time.

Some other critical tips to consider:

  • Make it look professional; capitalize the first letter of every word in your title, product name, etc.
  • Provide specific and accurate measurements, weight figures, etc. with numerals rather than numbers spelled out (this keeps the content more concise and browsing-friendly).
  • Amazon recommends against using the following symbols: ~ ! * & $ ? _ ~ { } # < > | ; ^ ¬ ¦ (& shouldn’t be used unless it’s included in your company’s name)
  • Always focus your content to match the intent of the user (someone looking for a gaming laptop won’t be looking for a business-focused tablet, for example).
  • Keep your descriptions tight and “fluff-free,” meaning no unnecessary phrasing or drawn-out sentences.

 

The Right Title

Don’t forget that Amazon analyzes your page title to determine how high your listing will rank in search results. If you’re familiar with Google’s algorithm and SEO optimizations for regular web pages, this may sound similar, but it’s not the same thing. While SEO for Google is more about pushing the right information to the right audience, Amazon listing and PPC optimizations are useful for putting the right products – hopefully yours – in front of the right shoppers.

Some more critical points on titles to consider include:

  • Your title can be at least 140 characters long, including spaces. Use all of them to create the most compelling product description possible.
  • If it’s not clear in the title what you’re selling, it won’t be clear to prospects or Amazon’s algorithm. Don’t underestimate the value of clear-cut, no-nonsense messaging with just the right amount of description.
  • Avoid including promotions or pushing terms such as “best seller,” “top-rated,” etc. – it comes across as too pushy to prospects. Besides, Amazon already grants top sellers with badges that shoppers will sooner react positively to.
  • Want your product to better rank for specific keywords? Optimize the title to work them in, but don’t let it read like a Trojan horse stuffed full of spam – subtlety is key!
  • The right audience, clicking on pages relevant to their search queries, can lead to more relevant leads and possible conversions.
  • Despite the limited space, try to work in details that are important to shoppers instead of bots, such as product dimensions, materials or standout features, the colour and more.

 

Feature Bullets

Notice all those bullet points we just fired through? Easier to read and absorb, weren’t they? This is a great strategy you can apply to your description – again, the key is to keep your listings tight, fact-rich yet easy to digest. Bullet points are excellent for quickly, effectively communicating what makes your product unique to users, helping them understand whether it’s the right fit for them faster and without having to read through a wall of text.

 

Informed Keyword Optimizations

The prospect of targeting the right keywords can feel daunting if you’re new to the process. That’s why you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of keyword research, something we at Trellis are deeply passionate about! In order to improve your holiday sales, you need to minimize the number of potential keyword options, weed out the negative keywords that won’t be as useful, and prioritize the most lucrative ones for sensible bids.

Some Keyword Tips:

  • Include ideal, appropriate keywords for inclusion in your title and listing can help you leapfrog past relevant competitors in terms of ranking. Put the most lucrative keyword into your title to maximize your indexing potential.
  • Single keyword integrations per listing are often enough to help them rank.
  • Avoid keyword-stuffing your title, listing or otherwise. Shoppers are smarter than ever and will spot a spammy listing quickly.

 

Visual Elements

If you use high-resolution imagery and video in your product listings – and you should – it’s important that they are professionally shot and optimized for faster loading. A clean white background is mandatory as per Amazon’s seller guidelines; you want your product to be in the spotlight, not what’s behind it, and a noisy, busy photo or video is never as engaging as a cleaner one. It’s also a good idea to show what your product looks like from multiple angles – a pet carrier is the perfect example, as it shows how the user’s furriest family member will fit inside, how comfortable it will be (a great way to spotlight quality control), and more. Lastly, consider how your imagery is sequenced – the most straightforward and “overview-like” shot that draws your attention first should be the main image and, since you can use up to seven images and/or videos, you have plenty of space to take advantage of in your listing. Before-and-after images are also handy for showing what the process of using your product is like.

 

Inventory

If you’re gearing up for the holiday shopping season, you’d better not sell out of cat carriers or desk lamps on day one. Getting eyes on your products is one thing; attempting to meet spikes in demand is another challenge. This is especially true during busy online shopping periods such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That’s why even experienced sellers can struggle with sales forecasting and inventory management – you can’t have too little or too much, and it’s a fine balance to strike.

What we need to remember here is that Amazon performs inventory cleanups every month. This is done to meet customer expectations that they’ll have a smooth, fast and hassle-free shopping experience on the platform. Inventory that is left sitting for 181 to 365 days will result in the seller being charged long-term storage fees – an expense that can go against your profit potential, which may already be shrunk by your advertising cost of every sale.

On the other hand, if you run out of stock, several problems may arise including:

  • Dropped keyword rankings, which will worsen the longer that a listed product is out of stock.
  • Would-be shoppers checking out what competing brands are offering, possibly creating more conversions for them and none for you.
  • Damage to your brand’s sales history and a tarnished customer reputation.
  • Little to no search visibility when it comes to organic traffic.
  • The risk of Amazon removing your listing as a result!

Your best bet is to plan with the interests of your shoppers in mind – are they more likely to buy a bathing suit in December? Or would they sooner order cologne for a loved one as a gift? Tracking trends and managing your inventory in a reactive manner is critical. Keep inventory moving, don’t let it sit and stagnate, and keep your brand relevant – both in the eyes of shoppers and Amazon’s ranking algorithm!

 

Pricing and Promotions

Want to take advantage of Amazon’s popular Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Lightning Deals? Submission deadlines are usually in the fall every year, so bear in mind that advertising your products this way demands preparation in advance. Regardless, you can still create your own promotions and entice further sales with coupons, though the latter does involve extra seller fees per coupon clipped and used. That doesn’t mean you need to wait, either, as it’s possible to build momentum leading up to the busiest shopping season of the year with enticing incentives. 

Of course, when it comes to the holidays, making festive tweaks to campaigns may go a long way as well (holiday-themed keywords may drive engagement, for instance). Aim to provide the best possible value to consumers while ensuring you’re still making a decent income on every sale at the very least (we’ve covered this in detail in our Amazon Beginner’s Guide). And, as a general rule, keep a close eye on how your campaigns are performing.

 

Reviews

If you provide a high-quality product at a great price while still making income after covering your advertising cost of sale (ACoS) per unit sold, you’re in good shape. With luck and continued communication to keep shoppers invested in your brand, reviews are also important – and a crucial element you cannot afford to overlook. In fact, 79 percent of consumers will trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member, and 85 percent of them check reviews for local businesses. On top of this, 73 percent of them feel compelled to trust a company more if there are more positive, unbiased reviews. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to encourage real, trustworthy and positive reviews after every sale that will entice prospects to follow through and convert.

Negative reviews will also crop up – they’re inevitable – so you need to show users who check them first that you’re addressing the concerns head-on and doing your best to rectify the situation at hand. It’s always a good idea to engage with them, learn from missteps and show your audience that you want to help. If the reviewer is simply trying to make trouble, you can request that Amazon deletes the review in accordance with community guidelines.

 

What About Q4?

End-of-year sales can lead to either a glowing or grim outlook for the following quarter and year, which can be an utter nightmare if you have investors relying on your brand’s success. This is why empowering your campaigns with automated, data-driven optimizations is so important, especially as e-commerce competition continues to grow and thrive. 

Your shoppers have plenty of options, including other sellers, and you need to convince them that it’s worth sticking around and buying your products. Therefore, your campaign optimizations should already be implemented before the holiday season hits – before October is a safe bet in most cases. Why is this? Well, that critical data we mentioned takes time to accumulate, so the longer your revised campaigns are running, the smarter the optimizations will become, especially if handled autonomously.

Some more tips for boosting Q4 performance include:

  • Integrate campaigns with engaging, timely and relevant social media post scheduling to maximize reach.
  • Try bidding on competing brand names and your own; not only will you possibly draw in some of their shoppers, but you’ll be able to hang onto the retainer customers you have!
  • Consider influencer tie-ins in conjunction with your own dedicated social scheduling strategy, helping raise further awareness of specific products and promotions.

 

Sponsored Ads Strategies

If you haven’t started a PPC campaign for one of your products, act now before the holiday crush hits. The best approach is to increase your ad spend while ensuring you make money on every sale. If you don’t do this when Black Friday starts, for example, your current spend limit may be blown before the middle of the day – and that means you’re missing out on more sales since people won’t see your ads! You can also utilize the Amazon Sponsored Products Bid+ feature, which is like speed-dial for boosting keyword bids by up to 50 percent. You may benefit from temporarily higher-ranking listings this way, though sponsored ads should be maintained and kept active over time to ensure optimal sales potential. Speaking of which, at Trellis, we know full well how important it is to have well-optimized, future-facing Amazon advertising campaigns in place for your products. It’s why so many sellers are turning to our user-friendly, autonomous software to make smarter optimizations in a single click. Having a self-driving PPC solution like ours means you don’t have to be stuck at the wheel!

That’s a lot to unpack but, if you try these approaches yourself, it could mean more happy customers are unpacking products they’ve ordered from you on Amazon this holiday season! If you need help with optimizing your sponsored ad campaigns, Trellis is here to help by automatically consulting and making refinements based on your available data. Contact us today to learn more!