Amazon sellers are reeling from unexpected spikes and declines in sales as consumers stock up on items like food, toys, and fitness items while cutting back on non-essentials. During a webinar on March 19, Laura Meyer, the founder and CEO of Amazon-focused ad agency Envision Horizons, outlined steps sellers can take to survive turbulent sales. For sellers seeing spikes in sales, Meyer said she recommends buying Amazon ad formats like mobile video and sponsored brands that run in search results. Amazon is also halting third-party shipments of non-essential items through April 5. For sellers that move to fulfilling their own orders in the interim, Meyers suggested pulling back ad spend because items will not be eligible for Prime shipments. Click here for more BI Prime stories.
The past few weeks have been rocky for Amazon sellers. As coronavirus spreads across the US and orders for items like food, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper rise, some sellers are struggling to keep up with demand while other sellers are struggling to sell less-essential products like clothing. Laura Meyer, the founder and CEO of the Amazon-focused ad agency Envision Horizons, recommends sellers that are seeing extreme growth spend more on ads that zero in on keywords that are driving traffic to a page. But she warned sellers against placing higher bids for ads because it can hurt performance. "Open the budgets for what's working, don't limit them and be on top of any well-performing campaign that seems to go out of budget mid-day," Meyer said during a webinar with sellers on March 19. She said she's advising clients to use Amazon's mobile ad formats that show more creative than Amazon's core text ad formats. Meyer recommended clients buy Amazon's mobile video ads and sponsored brand formats that appear in search results. For sellers like grocers and food brands that are rapidly moving through inventory, Meyer recommended pulling back on ad spend to better manage demand. In addition to sales of household items, she said that products like toys, fitness equipment, and beauty products including hair, skin and nail are increasing from people who are bored and stuck in their house. "It's really varying across categories," she said. Meyer quickly polled webinar attendees about their sales during the webinar. 33% of attendees said that they have seen a significant increase in sales over the past week while 15% said that they have seen a significant decrease. Meyer's clients include Stomp Rocket, a STEM toy for kids, and Oxygen Plus, a wellness product that helps with breathing after workouts. Amazon's fulfillment changes will also change Amazon Prime for sellers On March 17, Amazon said that it would stop accepting third-party shipments of nonessential items to prioritize items like health and household products and baby products for sellers that used the Fulfillment by Amazon program. Amazon also plans to hire 100,000 warehouse workers to help get with the ordering surge. In the interim, Meyer said that non-essential sellers should consider Amazon's fulfillment by merchant program where sellers ship their own products, but said that pricing can be more expensive than the logistics contracts that sellers get from shipping items to Amazon's warehouses. Sellers that ship products on their own are also not eligible for Amazon Prime. Sellers like Amazon Prime because it helps promote products to a wide audience and offers consumers free shipping. Meyer said that conversion rates for ads that promote non-Prime items are typically lower than ads that promote Prime items and suggested that sellers who have to sell their own items in the coming weeks pull back on advertising. She also said that Envision Horizons is working with sellers to ship inventory through Amazon's small parcel program once the ban ends on April 5, which helps speed up how fast Amazon checks in products. Meyers said that she expects that check-in times for inventory will be long once Amazon starts accepting non-essential items again, similar to the check-in times for big shopping days like Prime Day and the holidays. "This is the plan B that we recommend for the time being," she said.SEE ALSO: Amazon to stop accepting all products other than medical supplies and household staples to its warehouses amid coronavirus crisis — read the memo it just sent sellers Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The rise and fall of Pan Am
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