Preparing for Peak 2020 – Part 1

Monday October 12, 2020 | Posted at 5:03 pm | By Paul Dicken
October 12, 2020 @ 5:03 pm

In this first post of a two-part series, we talk about how you can maximise your Q3 bets for an optimal Q4, concentrating on Amazon.

Tomorrow is day 1 of Amazon Prime ‘Day’, the 48-hour marketplace binge that’s usually held in July, but this year has effectively brought forward the kick-off of the peak season. It used to get going on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, then it gradually stretched into all of November, even taking in Halloween as well. Add to the mix a most unusual 2020, with more consumers than ever before primed – pun intended – to shop online, shop early and shop often, the stakes could not be higher.

Last quarter, as we saw the Q2 COVID ecommerce spike level off at rates more than 20% higher than 2019, you placed your bets and invested in your stock to be ready for the big one, Q4 2020. Now you’ve got to put your best foot forward and give yourself the best chance of success.

In many ways, our advice for peak is the same advice as we would have given for Amazon Prime Day: one, focus on your data quality to make sure you maximise your chances of being found and bought, paying particular attention to titles, descriptions, images and supporting information or instructions; two, invest in judicious promotions to increase your conversion rates, which we’ll come back to later; three, offer the best possible shipping terms to an audience that might be blessed by choice; four, make sure you have enough inventory cover of your popular items and allow yourself time to re-order; five, live inside your reporting data so you can see what’s working and improve or adjust quickly.

Speaking of Halloween, there’s not going to be too much house-visiting trick or treat going on, but there’s still plenty of demand for inside the house activities. Tamebay reported on some eBay published search data for the scary period to give you some of the last minute purchase trends:

  • Window projectors to elevate the Halloween spirit beyond the homestead
  • Pumpkin spices for those home-brewed pumpkin lattes
  • Balloons, the perfect indoor season decoration
  • Sweets, enough said about where you can consume these
  • Costumes, you can still dress up at home, music to the ears of Volo fancy dress customers

Returning to everyone’s favourite marketplace named after a South American jungle…Amazon is set to have a monster Q4, so how can third party sellers do the same? By getting cute with SEO, advertising and product targeting seems to be the answer.

With Amazon promotions you can look at sponsored products, sponsored display or sponsored brands. We should point out that you need to be registered with the Amazon Brand Registry and sell in eligible categories to use sponsored display and sponsored brands.

With sponsored products, you target either by the product itself or by keyword, and your ad appears in the consumer’s shopping results and on the product detail page. Sponsored products are the more established promotional technique, whereas sponsored display and sponsored brands are newer.

With sponsored display, you can also target by product, but also by category, to help push consumers down the awareness-consideration-purchase route. Sponsored display is automatically generated adverts where you can customise the headlines and the logo.

As with sponsored products, front of mind reinforcement is your reason for doing this, since a very low percentage of browsing consumers will buy straight away. They may also do a number of searches and there may be a lag between first searching and actually purchasing. Think about your own buying habits.

You can use sponsored display for your own product detail pages, as well as the pages for products which might go in a bundle with yours. The advantages of sponsored displays is that the displays often appear in prominent, above-the-fold positions and the customisation aspect we recently mentioned. 

Sponsored brands are like sponsored products in that you target by product or keyword and the ads appear in shopping results or on the product detail page. A sponsored brand ad shows your brand logo, a range of your products and a headline you can customise like with sponsored display.

Unlike the other two ad forms however, sponsored brands can use video content and capitalise on the high understanding and conversion levels that the medium provides. Videos are generally very short, need to show the product very early on to be effective, and can work with or without audio. They will also loop until the consumer moves away from the screen.

An added bonus of all ads is that they don’t show if you’re showing a product as out of stock or you’re not winning the buy box. Amazon automatically revises your bids and you pay a cost per click fee when someone clicks on your ad.

If you are going to indulge in Amazon advertising for this period of sustained elevated traffic levels, we and Amazon offer the following tips:

  • Set your campaign goals and budgets in advance
  • Add as many of your products as you can to your campaigns
  • Identify your best campaigns (if you’ve done them before or are doing them now)
  • Experiment with and refine your campaigns
  • Make sure you have enough budget to stay live so you’re not missing out on a bunch of impressions
  • Measure how you did against your goals and adjust for the next time


Peak may be about to start, but it’s not too late to capitalise. Contact us for an introductory discussion.

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