Amazon Deals, Discounts & Promotions: 2019 Update

In 2017 brands on Amazon witnessed a shift in the promotional opportunities allotted to them through Seller Central: the tide in promotional parity was changing.

Fast forward 24 months and the shifting tide has only accelerated, transforming into a tidal wave of change. There is once again a significant disparity in available promotional opportunities between Vendor and Seller Central. Seller Central has emerged as the predominant platform, offering both a greater breadth of deal types and superior reporting.

If you have not yet marked your calendars for September 27th, now is the time: this Friday is a key date for both Vendor and Seller-run promotions, marking the submission deadline for inclusion in Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals.

Whether you’re scrambling to execute your holiday plan or seeking to supplement your Q4 strategy with additional deals, ARMR has curated a platform comparison for the deal opportunities on Amazon.com.

 

Promotion Type Seller Central Vendor Central Best Experience
Public Discount Code Yes Yes, Requires Approval Seller Central
Individual Discount Codes Yes No Seller Central
Price Discount Yes Yes, Requires Approval Seller Central
Multi-Buy (BXGY) Yes Yes, Requires Approval Seller Central
7-Day Deals Yes No Seller Central
Best Deal No Yes, Requires Approval Vendor Central
Lightning Deal Yes, Invite Only Yes, Requires Approval Vendor Central
Deal of the Day Yes, Invite Only Yes, Requires Approval Vendor Central
Giveaways Yes No Seller Central
Coupons Yes Yes Seller Central
Subscribe & Save Yes Yes Seller Central
Prime Exclusive Discounts Yes No Seller Central
Discount Codes

Sellers have been effectively using Discount Codes as an effective marketing tool for years. Brands can assert control on the product, discount, visibility, timing, and redemption policies. With options to arrange discount codes as group-claim or single-use codes, brands can limit financial risk. Additionally, discount codes can have display precedence set, or be hidden from detail pages altogether.

Sellers can also create Social Media Promo codes, which can be shared with Amazon Associates members to increase exposure.

Advantage: Seller Central

Price Discounts

While not a true promotion, Sellers have the benefit of adjusting their Sale Price (found in Product Details) to execute a price reduction almost instantaneously. This promotional strategy helps with click-thru rates in search via the competitively displayed price, however there is no indication of a sale price or discount off MSRP, nor does this qualify for deal-based merchandising placements.

This promotional strategy is not recommended, but does serve as a last-ditch effort for brands scrambling to implement promotions during Q4.

Advantage: Seller Central

Multi-Buy Discounts or BXGY

Designed to give customers a buy one (or many) and get one free opportunity – Sellers can use this promotional type to increase sell thru on a given product or generate interest in a new product.

Similar to Discount Codes, Sellers can choose single-use or group codes, adjust detail page display, and select specific purchase parameters for customers to qualify for the promotion.

Advantage: Seller Central

Best Deals & 7-Day Deals

Limited to Vendor Central, Best Deals are multi-day promotions that leverage similar merchandising opportunities to Lightning Deals, but without any merchandising fees.

Best Deals may run up to 14 days, allowing products to accrue sales velocity. Discount expectations are more accessible than Lightning Deals: the minimum discount is 10% Q1-Q3, rising to 15% during Holiday.

Amazon recently launched “7-Day Deals” on Seller Central to provide parity with the Vendor Central. 7-Day Deals have identical discount expectations to Best Deals but have a set seven-day time limit and additional associated merchandising fees, ranging from $300 to $1,000 per deal.

Minimum qualifications apply to products for both platforms for deal eligibility.

Advantage: Vendor Central

Category Specific Lightning Deals (CSLDs)

These time- and quantity-bound deals have been a characteristic promotion for years on Amazon. Available on both platforms, brands can execute offers which will be prominently displayed on the Today’s Deals page, qualifying event and category homepages, and in search results. Amazon levies merchandising fees on Seller & Vendor Central, ranging from $150 to $500 per deal.

The minimum discount is 15% for Q1-Q3, increasing to 20% for Prime Day & Q4. Amazon also levies minimum requirements for products to be eligible for CSLDs: product rating, traffic, and sales thresholds are minimum qualifications to submit a CSLD.

Lightning Deals are ranked according to performance, which can greatly influence the outcome of your promotion. Amazon supports deals that are performing well and suppresses those that have little traction. It's critical to set promotional discounts and available units to maximize your promotional performance to retain visibility.

Advantage: Vendor Central

Deal of the Day

Deal of the Day (DotD) is Amazon's premier limited-time offer. Deals of the Day are plastered all across the platform and featured in customer-facing email campaigns. While technically available to both Sellers and Vendors, Vendors are able to submit or nominate products where Sellers are at the mercy of Amazon recommendations.

In order to participate the featured item must exceed minimum qualifications including product rating, discount amount, sales forecast, and detail page traffic – all of which vary by category. These standards can be particularly challenging on high-traffic days like Prime Day or Cyber Monday.

All submissions must be manually reviewed and approved by Amazon.

Advantage: Vendor Central

Giveaways

Released in 2018, Amazon Giveaways are a sweepstakes deal type available exclusively to Sellers. Brands can use their products, or other eligible items, as the prize for a no-entry-required instant-win contest for Amazon shoppers.

Brands and Authors can opt to include a required action, such as following the author or watching a YouTube video prior to entry, helping to drive brand awareness and product recognition.

Giveaways are setup as instant win based on the Nth entry, but the key is the follow-up promotional opportunity: brands can elect to offer a discount code (up to 40%) towards a future purchase to non-winning entrants.

Advantage: Seller Central

Coupons

There has been parity on coupon integration since Q4 2017. Both platforms offer performance metrics in the form of clips, redemptions and revenue associated with the promotion, however the cost attribution model and timing are different between the two platforms.

Seller Powered Coupons (SPCs) work solely off redemption, with Amazon charging $0.60 per redemption. As a seller you’re only liable to fund the promotional discount and redemption fee. In terms of timing, Sellers can submit same-day coupons.

With Vendor Powered Coupons (VPCs), Amazon charges for both a unique clip fee and redemption fee. Standard fees (Q1 through Q3) are $0.17 per unique clip and $0.08 per redemption. During Q4 Amazon increases the clip fee to $0.21 per unique clip.

If your coupon redemption rate is below 40%, the cost of running a Vendor Powered Coupon will be higher than running the same coupon in Seller Central.

In terms of timing, Vendor Central states "…the start date must be at least 28 days after the current date…" requiring Vendors to submit their coupons nearly one month in advance.

Advantage: Seller Central

Subscribe & Save

Both Vendor & Seller Central offer the Subscribe & Save program. Seller’s need to have a minimum record 90 days of FBA selling, meet performance criteria, and remain in-stock to be eligible.

The difference between Vendor & Seller Central is the accessibility to data. Seller Central provides historical reports and Subscribe & Save forecasts in their Inventory Reports menu.

Advantage: Seller Central

Prime Exclusive Discounts

Amazon’s shiniest new promotional toy. Prime Exclusive Discounts (PEDs) are deals available only to Amazon Prime members, that display strike-through pricing and messaging in search results and on detail pages. During Prime Day, unique badging was applied to product detail pages.

The standard minimum discount is 10%, increasing to 20% for Prime Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

There is a list of eligibility requirements, including offering the lowest price in the trailing 30 days, a minimum 3-star product rating, and of course, Prime-eligible fulfillment.

Advantage: Seller Central

What Should I Know About Funding Promotions?

It’s important to know the promotional levers available to your brand, but equally as important is the financial model that applies to your product.

Selling direct to consumer through Seller Central means that your discount will come directly from your retail price. The Amazon commission associated to your sale is reduced based on the final purchase price to the consumer. Any merchandising fees are then deducted from your account balance before being remitted back to you.

In Vendor Central, the promotional discount on the retail price is reduced from your cost price to Amazon and this is charged back to you in the form of an accrual.

Since Amazon doesn’t share in the funding of your promotion, and doesn’t alter their accruals program – your brand is liable to fund the promotional discount, normal account accruals, and any additional merchandising fees

Have Additional Questions?

Whether you’re new to selling on (or to) Amazon or want additional context on the types of promotions above, a great resource is ARMR’s Amazon Promotion Glossary.

If you have questions about your platform strategy, promotional calendar, or want more insight on how successfully capitalize on increased Q4 traffic, the ARMR team is available to help.

--Anders

Anders Palmquist
Vice President & General Manager
Have a question? Please reach out to us at info@getarmr.com

Trade Show Best Practices

Trade Show Best Practices

Happy New Year! It's officially trade show season across the US and as our team prepares to attend some of the larger shows this year, we thought it was selfish not to share. Whether you're an exhibitor or attendee, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you stay organized and minimize your post-show follow ups.

Refining Your Elevator Pitch

While we're sure this doesn't piece of advice doesn't come as a surprise, we wanted to provide additional insight into what we've found to be the most relevant talking points to think about when revamping your elevator pitch:

What's the product?

Be clear--it's not always readily apparent to someone new to your field or industry.

Who is it for?

Clearly articulate the product's intended audience or target market. New moms? Kids 8-12? Executives? Professionals? This information can help determine appropriate fit just as much as the product's intended use.

Why would someone buy your product? What purpose does it serve?

What need does your product meet? What niche does it fill? Why did you develop it and why is it important to you? Are there any "off label" or alternative use cases?

Where can consumers purchase your product?

Describe your distribution. Is your product still in development? Are you only selling direct to consumers through your website's online store? Do you work with a distributor? Are you in local, regional or national brick and mortar stores? Are you on Amazon or eBay? How's it going? Are any channels over- or underperforming relative to the rest?

Are you ready to ship?

Is the product ready to ship tomorrow? Are you still prototyping or garnering interest and funding? Make sure this is information is readily available and keep in mind that when it comes to product deadlines, under promise and overdeliver: don't push up the availability date if you're not confident production can keep this promise.

Help us gauge the size of your business: how sophisticated are your operations and logistics? Do you have product in warehouses across the country? Are you packing products by hand to fill customer orders?

Managing Business Cards

For any event where you plan to hand out business cards, label your business cards with the name of event -- whether you stick on a printed label or just write it on the back of the card, this eliminates the post-con game of "When did I talk to XYZ? What was the context of our conversation?" and ensures that anyone who ends up with your card can immediately identify when and where you met.

If you're on the receiving end, the same idea applies: if the name of the show or conference isn't already present, jot it down on the back along with any other notes from the conversation. The next step is following through on these connections as soon as possible--we really can't stress expediency enough. We know how crazy these shows can be and it's not unreasonable to be concerned about getting lost in someone's inbox backlog, but just like thank you notes, timeliness is key.

Making Connections

The old adage of "You never know who you're talking to" is not often more relevant than at a trade show or conference. We're not talking about being kind to strangers--we know you've got that down-- but about making connections in the least likely of places.

Make friends with neighboring exhibitors--even competitors. Yes, even the competition. Whether it's having someone to watch over the booth so you can walk the show for a few minutes or a future co-packer, you never know who has a connection you'll need to leverage down the road.

---

Now, go get 'em, tiger!

--Kelsey

Kelsey Ganes
Manager, Client Experience
Have a question? Please reach out to us at info@getarmr.com

Content 101: Product Titles

Product Titles (aka Item Name or Product Name) are like term papers: thoughtfully organized, focused on the topic at hand, concise, and informative.

Product titles should include essential product attributes. What do we mean by essential? Pretend that all of the product images on Amazon disappeared overnight. If customers only had the name of your product available, would they be able to make an informed buying decision? There are specific details you absolutely need to know before you place your order, right?

Let's look at an example: a sweater. Which brand is it? Is it for Women or Girls?  Is it a Small, Medium or Large? Is it Red or Blue? Does it have a particular style? Is it made from a specific material or fabric? "Sweater" definitely doesn't give us enough information. Even "ACME Sweater" doesn't come close! "ACME Women's Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater (Red, Small)" on the other hand, provides a succinct description of the product's key attributes.

It's important to remember that the Product Title is a catalog attribute and not a marketing vehicle: unless they're part of the product name, search terms and keywords should not be included. Going back to that sweater, details like "hand-woven on Mars," "dry clean only," and "perfect for layering" are relevant to customers--but they should be iterated in the bullet points or product description, not the Product Title.

Here are some basic guidelines for how to structure this content and which details should be included:

  • Keep it short: 80 characters or less is our rule of thumb
  • Begin with the brand name
  • The actual name of the product, the way it would be described in a sentence--no superlatives or slogans
  • Include variation or critical attribute information:
    • Model Number/Compatibility
    • Color
    • Size
    • Flavor
    • Material or fabric (i.e. Stainless Steel, Cashmere)
  • Include distinguishing or value-added features--would knowing this impact whether or not a customer decides to buy your product?
    • Waterproof
    • Organic
    • Solar-Powered
    • Remote-Controlled
  • Quantity (if applicable)
    • 3-Pack
    • 24-Count
  • Physical Dimensions (if your product or similar products come in multiple sizes, this is essential)
    • 16oz
    • A4 paper / 8.5x11 in

Content 101: Content Optimization

When it comes to e-commerce, the product details must be as compelling, informative, and thoughtfully crafted as the product's packaging. Your Amazon detail page should be designed and optimized for two unique audiences: future customers and Amazon's A9 Search Algorithm

Optimizing for Customers

Your product page is the e-commerce equivalent of your "shelf presence" and physical packaging. Because consumers don't have the ability to experience or inspect the product in person, you need to communicate all physical details through richly-written descriptive content and high-quality images. A+ and EBC also allow you to provide additional content and media to give customers a better understanding of your brand's origin story, why your product matters, and how your company or product differs from the competition.

Assume that the customer is utterly ignorant of both the product and the category or family of products it belongs to. To deliver the best possible customer experience, and ensure there is no confusion or misunderstanding once the product arrives at their door, it's essential to state exactly what the product is, its purpose and functionality, and precisely what customers can expect to find when they open the box. Does it include any accessories like a carrying case? Is there an essential accessory that is not included, like a charging cable or batteries? Are there any other products featured in the images or video that aren't included with their purchase?

Optimizing for A9: Amazon SEO

At a high level, A9 is the Amazon Search Algorithm that powers customer search within the Amazon ecosystem. Just like making sure your products are correctly categorized, it's imperative to optimize detail page content for A9 indexing. The first thing to keep in mind is that A9 doesn't index all of the detail page content; it only looks at the first 500 characters of the Product Title and Bullet Points and all priority keywords should be included in these attribute fields. How do you include all of these additional keywords without it looking like alphabet soup? Diversify your language. Instead of reusing the same words or phrases, use synonymous terms to maximize the indexable real estate. 

Content 101: Anatomy of an Amazon Detail Page

Content organization is crucial. In a perfect world, every customer would scroll down the detail page and view your meticulously crafted A+ Content or Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), but the reality is that the majority of customers don't scroll down at all. This certainly doesn't mean that A+/EBC content is unimportant, but understanding that many customers may not see that content means that the content they will see must contain all of the information they need to make an educated purchasing decision.

These critical placements are referred to as Above The Fold (ATF)--the 'fold' being the bottom of the browser window, the visual cutoff point when a customer first lands on a product's detail page. This content includes the product title, product images or video, bullet points, variation information (sizes, colors, flavors), and of course, the buy box.

Placements that fall Below The Fold (BTF) are anything you have to scroll down to see: Product Details and Technical Specifications, Warranty Information, Product Description, A+ and EBC.

Above The Fold

Brand, Product Title, Ratings & Rankings

Brand Name, Product Title, Ratings, Reviews, Question and Rankings

Brand

The brand is always immediately adjacent to the product title. You provide this information during Item Creation or New Item Setup (NIS) and can be edited at any time in Seller Central. The name is hyperlinked to your Brand Store (Storefront)-- if you do not have a brand store setup, Amazon search results for that brand name.

Product Title

Also known as Item Name or Product Name, the product title should include your brand, a succinct description of the product, and any variation details like color, size, and quantity.

Ratings, Reviews, Questions & Ranking

The product's star rating is an aggregated metric based on customer reviews. Customers can also ask questions about the product, like "Does the printer include a toner cartridge?" or "Is this product vegan-friendly?" These questions are published to the product's detail page where you (the seller or brand owner) and other customers can publish a response. If a product is top-ranked within a category or subcategory, a "Best Seller" badge will display to let customers know that this is a super popular and relevant product.

Images & Video

Thumbnails for additional images and product videos will display either to the left or directly below the primary product image (depending on the product category). It's critical that images are large enough to enable Amazon's zoom function, at least 1000px or larger on one side; there's a direct correlation between "zoomable" images and increased sales.

Buy Box

You're probably already familiar with the basic Buy Box appearance and options, so we wanted to take a moment and explore some of the more specialized formats.
Lightning Deal or CSLD Buy Box

Lightning Deals

Often abbreviated as CSLD (Category-Specific Lightning Deal), Lightning Deals are 4-6 hour deals, offering a significant discount on a specific, predetermined number of units with a strict quantity limit of one unit per customer. Did you know CSLDs have their own Buy Box? While the deal is running, the normal Buy Box is replaced by the CSLD offer, which displays both the time remaining on the deal and what percentage of the available units have already been claimed or purchased. What's the difference between "claimed" and "purchased?" From the time a customer adds a CSLD to their cart, they have 15 minutes to check out; if they don't complete their order during that time, the unit is removed from their cart and becomes available to other customers.
Subscribe and Save
 

Subscribe & Save

Often abbreviated as SnS, Subscribe & Save is just what it sounds like: an automatic subscription program for products you regularly order--and by committing to future orders, you'll also receive a 5% discount.

Inventory & Fulfillment

Inventory and Fulfillment Options

Displays a product's inventory status (In Stock, Temporarily Out of Stock, Currently Unavailable), who is selling the product (Amazon.com for Retail offers and the seller name for FBA or MFN), and how customer orders are fulfilled (Fulfilled by Amazon or directly by the seller).

For FBA offers, this will display as "Sold by [Seller] and Fulfilled by Amazon." and include a link to the seller's profile.

Twister & Variations

Bullet Points

Below The Fold

 

Special Offers & Promotions

Product Details

Product Description

A+ Content / Enhanced Brand Content