Amazon Prime Day 2018 will start on Monday, July 16th, 2018 at 3 pm EST, and run for 36 hours until 3 am EST on July 18th.
By now, you’ve either been notified by Amazon that some of your listings are eligible to partake in Prime Day 2018 Lightning Deals, 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.
That means that Prime Day 2018 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 2018: What you need to know
Prime Day will most likely take place the third week of July starting on Monday the 16th at 3 pm EST.
Unlike last year, when Prime Day started at 6pm on Monday and then ran for the full 24 hours of Tuesday, this year gives shoppers 36 hours to enjoy Prime Day, six more hours than in 2017.
Why it’s not over if you weren’t invited to offer Lightning Deals
Last year, Amazon wanted sellers to price at least 20% less than the lowest offer from the past 60 days for Lightning Deals, and the Deal price must have also been the lowest Amazon price in 2018 for each item being sold.
Plus, for each deal, sellers had to ship at least $5,000 worth of products to fulfillment centers, making the investment in each Lightning Deal massive at a minimum. And that’s not all.
To participate in Prime Day 2017 Lightning Deals, sellers had to shell out a $500 per Lightning Deal fee to offer Lightning Deals during the 30 hours of Prime Day and $300 per Lightning Deal to run them on any other day during Prime Week.
That makes participating in Lightning Deals a risky proposition, since you must throw down a ton upfront and charge the lowest prices of the year just to qualify. If you don't sell enough to offset these costs, Lightning Deals could wind up being a major waste of time — and money.
But Prime Day and Prime Week 2018 can still work wonders for Amazon sellers without Lightning Deal eligibility because of the huge influx of traffic to the marketplace that week.
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.”
So, even if you’re not selected to be part of the official Lightning Deals program this year, you can still price your products accordingly to take advantage of the massive boost in Amazon traffic in order to generate more sales than you normally would.
It also 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 2018 tips for every fulfillment type
Source additional inventory
Due to the increased volume of shoppers during Prime 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.
Run Amazon promotions (for MFN sellers)
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.
Create unique bundles
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).
More Prime Day 2018 tips
You can also tap into the power of sales velocity repricing for your bundles that face no competition to help your hit your target number of sales during Prime Week and beyond.
On top of that, Amazon Sponsored Products can help increase visibility for your listings and Prime Day 2018 deals to the huge influx of shoppers during Prime 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, such as using long-tail keywords in product descriptions, 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 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 Week presents a good opportunity to try to liquidate older merchandise by applying strategic marketing to your website.
Prime Day 2018 prep: The bottom line
In order to make the most of Amazon Prime Day 2018 and Prime Week 2018, 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 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 Lightning Deal fees cut 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 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 this helps, especially if you were concerned that being excluded from Lightning Deals would have a negative impact on your Amazon Prime Day 2018 success. Thanks for reading, and best of luck out there breaking your previous Prime Day sales record!