In this month’s newsletter, Buy Box Experts examines key topics on which brands on Amazon should focus on throughout the month of December.
What Shipping Delays in Mid-December Could Mean to Amazon Sellers
Shipping companies announced earlier-than-ever cutoff dates (UPS, December 15, and Fedex, December 14) for ground shipping orders to arrive by December 24. With so many retailers jumping into online sales this Q4, demand for last-mile delivery is higher than ever. But Fedex, UPS and USPS have not been able to grow enough to keep up with this demand. For Amazon sellers using FBA, they are fortunate to be supported by Amazon’s huge build-out of its own last-mile logistics network – now delivering more than two-thirds of all Prime orders in the US. However, Amazon fulfillment centers are full, and experiencing delays of three weeks for inbound FBA or 1P shipments to be received. For sellers dependent on FBA, there is low likelihood that they will be able to replenish FBA inventory quickly, should early December customer demand surpass available FBA inventory. Nonetheless, all FBA sellers need to be alert to replenish inventory as quickly as Amazon allows.
We encourage all FBA sellers to offer Fulfillment-by-Merchant options on their listings. This will require both a new FBM listing in Seller Central, and in-house warehouse or 3PL logistics capabilities to pick/pack/ship orders. We expect Amazon will be the primary consumer shopping destination in the two-week period leading up to Christmas, creating likely higher than expected demand across all Prime eligible offers. We expect many FBA sellers to run out of FBA stock faster than expected. Hence, the FBM offer is ideal, assuming the seller has a reliable last-mile delivery partner that can deliver packages to customers before December 24.
GS1 US is Now Offering Single GTINs that Can be Used on Amazon to Help with Production Identification
Ideal for brands that are launching a new product, the new single identifier will provide a low-cost option to uniquely identify products, and to streamline the process for getting items ready for sale across e-commerce channels. A GTIN is the unique product identifier encoded into a UPC barcode that is widely accepted by most retail systems, including Amazon! For the one-time cost of $30, a business can create a single GTIN, and manage related product data. As Amazon now verifies that new product listings have sourced UPCs from GS1 US, this is a critical step to getting one’s products set up in the Amazon catalog.
Brands selling on Amazon need to list their products using GS1-sourced UPCs. This new offer from GS1 makes it easier and less expensive for newer brands to get individual UPCs, without having invest in a full brand subscription that GS1 has historically offered. Check out http://www.gs1.org for more details.
Last-Minute Addition of a Video to One’s Product Listings Should Help Customer Conversion
According to Amazon, 1 in 5 Amazon visitors have made a purchase as a result of watching a video. If you are a brand that has been approved for the Brand Registry program, you can load a video on each of your brand’s product detail pages. While some brands develop individual videos for each product, a single video that tells customers about your overall brand story is more than adequate to satisfy the initial video need on each product listing page. Maybe in time, your brand will invest in individual product videos. But for the short-term, consider getting a brand video loaded onto all listings that don’t otherwise have product-specific videos in place. That brand video will help secure a better organic search score, and help with customer conversion.
We encourage all of our brand partners to double-check their listings to ensure at least some sort of video is in place. If they have listings missing videos, getting a brand story video loaded onto all of these listings should be worth the effort.
Last-Minute Upgrades to One’s Brand Storefront Can Create a Nice Improvement to Return on Advertising Investment
Amazon recently shared these data with Buy Box Experts:
- 78% of Amazon shopper queries are brand agnostic – highlighting the need for a diverse keyword targeting strategy
- 13%-20% increase in Click-Through Rate with the new Sponsored Brand layout
- 29% better Return on Ad Spend when Sponsored Brand ads are sent to the Brand Storefront instead of a product list page. Also seeing a 14+% increase in average number of items purchased and 61% increase in average order value when sending traffic to a well-designed brand storefront
We encourage all of our brand partners to develop a well-designed brand storefront. Eighteen months ago, we met in person with Amazon’s global head of advertising, who told us that Amazon envisions the brand storefront as the hub of all marketing and advertising.
Anticipate Higher FBA Returns in January
This holiday shopping season, there will be higher demand for Prime-eligible products. This year, Amazon has also extended its return period for FBA orders. So, by end of January, we expect that FBA sellers will experience more returns that ever before.
If you are an FBA Seller, there will likely be a lot more product returns to handle by end of January. It’s time to think through typical return rates, and the additional staffing for your warehouse that you may need to receive and grade returns in January. If your warehouse isn’t up for the job, it’s definitely time now to research and identify a 3PL partner that can support your returns management / reverse logistics needs.
We’re excited to spotlight eComEngine this month! We’ve been partnering with eComEngine since the early days of Buy Box Experts. Getting reviews on Amazon is critical to your success, and eComEngine’s FeedbackFive is designed to help you get more reviews and seller feedback while staying compliant with Amazon policies. RestockPro helps FBA sellers forecast demand, stay in stock, manage suppliers, and much more. MarketScout is an Amazon product research tool that provides the competitive intelligence you need to make informed sourcing decisions. Check out eComEngine’s software for Amazon sellers today to get the tools you need to continue growing your business!