Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all of November and December bring jaw-dropping sales for Amazon sellers. With over $1 billion in Amazon Black Friday sales in 2017*—more than double the marketplace giant’s daily average of about $488 million†—most merchants can expect a major spike during this time.
But with great sales come massive workloads for online sellers. If you aren’t ready, the holidays will overwhelm your team and run you out of stock in no time. Here’s how to prepare for an Amazon Black Friday:
1) Stock Up
Most sellers should plan for at least double their normal sales. Stock up well in advance of Black Friday, especially if you use FBA. You usually have to build weeks into your timeline to get fresh stock from your supplier to its final Amazon Fulfillment Center. If you still haven’t ordered your Black Friday inventory in October, don’t put it off a minute longer!
The last thing you want to do is run out of stock. Not only would this mean lost sales, it could ding your performance metrics if you have to cancel a purchase. You could lose your selling privileges if that happens too many times.
All this goes beyond Black Friday. Amazon runs sales throughout the month of November, and sales are even higher on Cyber Monday than Black Friday§. Then come the following weeks in December, when there are increasingly frantic gift purchases as Christmas draws near.
This is a serious risk for multichannel sellers who have to track sales and stock not just for Amazon, but for sites like eBay and Walmart as well. You can save time and prevent this kind of stockout by using inventory tracking and management software like Zentail.
2) Start Packing
Double the normal sales mean double the normal shipments. If you don’t use FBA, you must prepare to send out truckloads of boxes every day. Consider buying software and equipment that will let your current employees get more done faster. Just make sure you provide ample time for your staff to learn any new tools before the rush begins. You don’t want to try figuring out how the new label-printing system works while orders are pouring in!
Hiring temporary workers can help lighten the workload, but get started on this early. Others may be doing the same thing, which means finding temps might be harder or more costly than usual. This is a good option for those with simple workflows, as temps provide less return on the time invested in training in their limited time spent with your company.
3) Answer the Call
Black Friday means madness for anyone in customer service. Brace for deal-frenzied customers who need answers RIGHT NOW. And Zeus help your support team if you run a Lightning Deal.
Build up your email templates so you can answer common questions fast. Better yet, integrate Amazon with a helpdesk using ChannelReply. Then you won’t even need to type in details like the customer’s name—you can have them filled in automatically. Plus, you can manage Amazon messages, eBay messages, normal emails and more from one platform.
4) Get Competitive
Don’t count your chickens before your eggs are hatched! If you spend all your time and money getting ready for double sales, your competitors could sneak in and steal all your sales. You need to work at least as hard as normal on beating the competition.
Fight for the Buy Box now, and get ready to compete with lower prices. Using an intelligent Amazon repricer will help tremendously with both of these challenges (and is another area where Zentail can help your business gain a competitive edge).
Offer gift wrapping. It might mean more work at a time when you already have a lot to do, but come on. It’s the holidays! People will choose you over cheaper competitors to save time on wrapping.
Finally, if you have the inventory, try to get in on special Amazon Black Friday deals. Lightning Deals can haul in a lot of buyers. They come with a fee, but even if they leave you with the slimmest of profit margins, the boost to sales history and brand awareness can be worth it. Plus, they’ll take sales away from your competitors!
Get ready for high sales volumes by making sure you have extra inventory, supplies and staff ready to go. Position your brand and products so they stand out against competitors on Amazon. Keep your efforts focused on the Buy Box! And remember, use infrastructure like Zentail and ChannelReply to multiply your team’s effectiveness and save on temp workers.
Every minute you spend getting ready now will pay off throughout Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire holiday season. Don’t get caught unprepared!
ChannelReply connects eBay and Amazon messaging with top helpdesks like Zendesk and Freshdesk. Spend less on support while providing better customer service.
*Business Insider, “Amazon seizes half of all online Black Friday sales in an ‘eye popping’ show of dominance,” November 24, 2017
† Statista, “Statistics and Facts about Amazon,” n.d.
^§^ USA Today, “Cyber Monday: Biggest online shopping holiday in the U.S. pits Amazon vs. Walmart,” November 27, 2017