Preparing for Prime Day 2019

May 25, 2019

Amazon’s Prime Day is unquestionably one of the most significant shopping events of the year. More than 100 million products were purchased during Prime Day in 2018, with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that sell on Amazon bringing in more than $1 billion in sales. This year, it is expected to be even bigger.

While Amazon has not yet announced the date for Prime Day 2019, it’s expected to take place mid-July as it has in previous years, occurring over a 36-hour period or longer. With nearly half (48%) of current Prime members planning to make a purchase during the global shopping event this year, 31% of non-Prime members are expecting to do the same. Sellers and brands must proactively prepare a strategy to capitalize on the holiday-driven surge in search and sales volume, and ultimately ensure that this year’s Prime Day is both successful and profitable.

While the May 10 deadline to apply for Amazon’s coveted Lightning Deals promotion for Prime Day has already passed, it is certainly not too late to implement other strategies to capitalize on the momentous holiday. The following highlights a few key areas to focus on in order to maximize your brand’s presence on Amazon.

Prioritize Prime Eligible Products

For a holiday designed specifically for Prime members, utilizing the proper fulfillment method for your business is key to capturing Amazon’s most loyal customer base. Indeed, 83% of Prime members said that free two-day shipping is the program’s most compelling benefit, with more than two-thirds saying Prime eligibility is a key factor they consider before purchasing a product on Amazon. That being said, sellers ought to consider utilizing Prime-eligible fulfillment methods like FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) or SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime), given Prime members tendencies.

aNine recommends prioritizing a core set of products to list for Prime Day, somewhere between four to five items, into your warehouse workflow to be prepared for processing and shipping those items in time to meet Amazon’s Prime requirements. However, this can be challenging during periods of high volume orders. To help alleviate the pressure, we recommend listing your core set of items at the top of your product list workflow, which will give warehouse managers a clear-cut view into your Prime Day orders. Shipstation is a great tool we highly encourage our clients to leverage to streamline shipping capabilities. This platform allows you to tag and filter products, which allows warehouse employees to view only Prime Day orders to help prioritize order processing.

Assign Automation Rules

To further keep track and manage your core set of Prime Day products, we suggest utilizing automation rules, which are available through most shipping platforms. Through these rules, you can assign Prime products to specific pickers and packers in your warehouse and avoid disturbing the rest of your workflow while additional orders are coming in through other sales channels. If this is the case, your automation rule can be designed to prioritize Prime orders over those arriving from other marketplaces, which would typically have a larger processing timeframe compared to Amazon’s Prime requirements.

Automation rules can be utilized as a part of your regular process or they can be set up for a specific date range. However, if you are strictly setting up an automation rule for Prime Day, you should factor in additional time for days leading up to, and the days following Prime Day, as order volume will continue to rise before and after the global shopping event is over.

Your automation rule can also provide alerts for new orders, whether it is for a single Prime order or for large orders, such as 50 products. These alerts will help keep your warehouse on top of every order and will avert a bottleneck of workflow. Given the high volume of orders anticipated over Prime Day, it is important to also consider Amazon’s limit to just 30 API calls per hour — which was problematic for many merchants during Prime Day 2018, as they were unable to get notifications to Amazon about their Prime orders until the following night, thus impacting the timeframe in which an order was shipped.

Batch processing is designed to prevent this. For example, should 50 orders of the same product arrive in a short timeframe, batch processing allows you to move all of these orders into a single batch and, therefore, requires just one call to Amazon to generate the shipping labels and fulfill the orders, which prevents throttling on the backend. By prioritizing a core set of products, utilizing automation rules to streamline your workflow, and taking proactive steps to prevent bottlenecks, you can optimize your leverage of the high-volume holiday.