Marketplace Tips

How to Best Prepare for Amazon Prime Day 2017 (Even if You’re Not Invited to Offer Lightning Deals)

Amazon Prime Day 2017 falls on Tuesday, July 11th, with Prime Day Week running from Monday, July 10th through Sunday to July 16th.

By now, you’ve either been notified by Amazon that some of your listings are eligible to partake in Prime Day 2017 Lightning Deals (you must be logged into Seller Central to view this page), or you’ve been left in the dust.

Don’t sweat it, though: Even if you weren’t invited to be part of Amazon Lightning Deals, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to take advantage of the perks of Prime Day.

After all, Prime Day 2016 was Amazon’s biggest sales day ever. It surpassed Amazon’s previous biggest sales day ever, Prime Day 2015, by more than 60% worldwide and more than 50% in the U.S.

That means that Prime Day 2017 is on pace to break Amazon’s sales record. And whether you’re FBA or MFN, you can capitalize on this major shopping day by preparing as best as possible.

Here’s how to do it.

Amazon Prime Day 2017: What you need to know

As Amazon just announced, Prime Day will take place the second week of July on the 11th.

What’s different about Prime Day 2017 (aside from Amazon’s brand new Prime logo) is that it will officially start at 6pm on the evening before Prime Day and then run for the full 24 hours of Prime Day. That gives sellers six extra hours to maximize sales for a total of 30 hours of selling action.

Amazon also hinted that there may be a “Prime Day Week” extravaganza with deals running throughout the entire week of Prime Day, as you'll see in a screenshot later in this article of an email Amazon sent to sellers invited to participate in Lightning Deals.

Old vs New Amazon Prime logoThe old and new logos for Amazon Prime

Why it’s not over if you weren’t invited to offer Lightning Deals

For Lightning Deals, Amazon wants sellers to price at least 20% less than the lowest offer from the past 60 days, and the Deal price must also be the lowest Amazon price in 2017 for each item being sold.* (More on this below.)

Here's a look at the most recent email Amazon sent to sellers with the updated criteria for setting a Lightning Deal:

Prime Day Email with Lightning Deals Criteria Update

(*Originally, Amazon's criteria for Lightning Deals was slightly different, as you'll see in the screenshot of the original email they sent to sellers pictured further down.

Before sending out the above email on May 16th, Amazon had required sellers to base the discount of at least 20% off the lowest price in the past 30 days and for the Deal price to be the lowest in the past 90 days.)

Plus, for each deal, sellers must ship a minimum of $5,000 worth of products to fulfillment centers, meaning the investment in each deal is huge.

So, even if you’re not selected to be part of the official Lightning Deals program this year, you can price your products accordingly to take advantage of the massive boost in Amazon traffic to generate more sales than you normally would.

According to David Cooley, Marketplace Channel Analyst of CPC Strategy:

“It can’t be emphasized enough that all sellers, whether they are participating in Prime Day promotions or not, should anticipate a higher level of orders than usual and should adjust their inventory levels appropriately.

"Most sellers we worked with last year during Prime Day saw a boost in total volume even if they didn’t have a Lightning Deal or other type of promo going on at the time due to the massive bump in overall Amazon traffic.”

And that’s not all.

Take a look at the original email Amazon sent to sellers who were invited to participate in Prime Day 2017 Lightning Deals (which is so long we had to break it up into 3 screenshots!), as it includes details about fees and the submission process that were not mentioned in the email pictured above with the updated criteria:

Original Amazon Prime Day 2017 Email, Part 1

Original Amazon Prime Day 2017 Email, Part 2

Original Amazon Prime Day 2017 Email, Part 3

If you read that closely, then you probably noticed the $500 per deal fee tacked on to sellers offering Lightning Deals during the 30 hours of Prime Day, as well as the $300 per deal charged to sellers running them on any other day during Prime Day Week.

So maybe it doesn’t matter that Lightning Deals are only open to FBA and Seller Fulfilled Prime sellers, since MFN sellers can still make moves by offering free premium shipping and expediting their shipping times—without having to shell out hundreds (or thousands) in fees just to offer steep discounts.

MFN sellers can also create their own promotions (you must be logged into Seller Central to view page) outside of Lightning Deals, which we’ll touch upon more later in the next section.

Prime Day 2017 prep, strategies, and tips for FBA and MFN/SFP sellers

Due to the increased volume of shoppers during Prime Day Week, sellers should prepare by sourcing additional inventory. And not just for Amazon, but for every marketplace they sell on.

For MFN sellers, having more of your most popular products on hand (or items you believe will be big-sellers) will be crucial. After all, you don’t want to be backordered when a massive influx of potential buyers comes around.

MFN sellers should also consider running their own Amazon Promotions (again, separate from Lightning Deals; you must be logged into Seller Central to view this link), such as buy one get one, free shipping, or one of Amazon’s other promotional options.

These special offers can seriously bump up your average order value and lead buyers to different sections of your product catalog. Just make sure you understand the anatomy of Amazon promotions before you run one.

Another strategy that sellers can use, whether they use FBA or MFN, is to create unique product bundles. This can help move more products at once across multiple categories (as long as the bundled items are related) and even boost profits if you price your bundles at a premium compared to how the items are priced individually (and, yes, this can be done in the right circumstances).

On top of that, Amazon Sponsored Products can help increase visibility for your listings and Prime Day 2017 deals to the huge influx of shoppers during Prime Day Week. This goes for sellers offering Lightning Deals and those trying to compete with them.

Sellers should also update their product listings and use Amazon SEO best practices to rank higher in Amazon search results. Just be sure not to include terms that aren’t allowed in listings, such as “on sale” and “Prime Day deal,” lest you incur the wrath of Amazon and get your listings removed—or worse, you face suspension.

Don’t forget about other online marketplaces

During Prime Day Week, Amazon won’t be the only online marketplace offering exceptional deals.

That’s because history has shown that Prime Day causes a “halo effect” that positively impacts rival online retailers.

Be sure to pay attention to the likes of Walmart and eBay in order to capitalize on consumers looking for products they may have missed out on during the flurry of shopping on Prime Day.

You can also use SEO tactics on your own eCommerce website to try and steal away shoppers from Amazon. While this is tricky and may not be highly effective, Prime Day Week presents a good opportunity to try to liquidate older merchandise by applying strategic marketing to your website.

Prime Day 2017 prep: The bottom line

In order to make the most of Amazon Prime Day and Prime Day Week 2017, sellers don’t have to be part of the exclusive group who were invited to offer Lightning Deals.

While it’s great to have the chance to offer these special promotions during Prime Day Week, it costs between $300 and $500 per deal just for the privilege of offering a steep discount of at least 20% to potential buyers.

How this cuts into your margins depends entirely on your sourcing and shipping costs, in addition to any fulfillment fees and other costs built into your business.

That said, sellers who were not invited to participate in Lightning Deals and even those who aren’t Prime-eligible can still benefit from the massive increase in Amazon shopper traffic by doing the following:

• Creating their own unique promotions outside of Lightning Deals, such as BOGO, percentage off, discounts, and offering other external benefits

• Using Amazon Sponsored Products and SEO best practices to boost the placement of your listings in Amazon search results. Also, make sure you’re using beautiful product images, as visuals make a serious impact on potential customers.

• Offering free premium shipping if you’re an MFN seller

• Listing unique product bundles with one extremely popular product and other items you have trouble selling to help move additional inventory

• Stocking up more than usual in order to meet the increased demand that Prime Day always brings in

• Remembering that other online selling platforms, such as Walmart Marketplace, will also experience increased action during Prime Day Week, and they may be running their own promotions to stay competitive. Shore up your inventory and listings on the other marketplaces you sell on in order to take advantage of Prime Day everywhere you can.

We hope Prime Day 2017 leads you to break your previous Amazon sales record!

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Appeagle offers a free 14-day trial to new users, so you can test it out before Prime Day to see if our repricer is worth signing up for.

Just click the image below to learn more and get started with your free trial:

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