We’ve already discussed how your Amazon PPC campaigns should change during the Coronavirus epidemic, but today we’re going to dive into some general business strategies that you should keep in mind during this time and some news around the Amazon universe.
The Current State of Amazon
It’s safe to say that almost every aspect of the American economy has experienced a major change in the last few weeks, and Amazon isn’t exempt.
Searches on Google for “Amazon” are at levels only previously seen during the holidays, and the company is adding 100,000 new jobs to keep up with increasing demand. Amazon is also partnering with Lyft to transition ride-share drivers into delivery drivers during the epidemic.
For Amazon workers, the company has invested $350 million globally and will increase wages for U.S workers by $2/hr. In addition, the overtime structure for Amazon employees has changed. After working 8 hours in a day, employees will receive double their hourly wage as opposed to the traditional time and a half.
While the increases and pay and job security are surely appreciated by most Amazon employees, some are threatening to strike due to Amazon’s lack of precautionary health measures for delivery drivers and warehouse employees.
Managing Your Inventory
With major manufacturing markets in Asia attempting to reopen their economies and strict regulation still in place in the United States, many Amazon sellers are having issues with their supply chains.
One new problem that’s recently emerged is longer lead times from when Amazon receives your product to when it is dispersed to fulfillment centers and appears “in-stock” for shoppers.
For one seller in our Facebook group, Amazon received their items on April 1 but wasn’t listing the product as in-stock until April 10. The campaigns you’re running for these products may still be delivering ads and sending buyers to your page where they are unable to purchase the product. Keep an eye on this and make sure to pause your campaigns until the item is available for purchase.
Another interesting tactic that has helped some sellers is diversifying their supply chain by using different suppliers for the same parts and products. One seller on our forums has avoided any major delays by having two suppliers, in two different regions of the world, supply them with the same parts. This strategy takes into account the hidden cost of risk at the expense of margins.
In a “normal” time, when both suppliers are able to meet the seller’s needs, the cost for parts is higher than it could be, but by using two suppliers the risk of being without a part for an extended period of time is mitigated.
If you don’t know how to calculate your ideal order when it comes to inventory, use this formula:
Pay Attention to Your Product Listings
From the outset, making sure your product listings are optimized for SEO and conversions is especially important right now. Many people are moving to Amazon as their primary source for buying items on a day to day basis, and you don’t want to miss out on that traffic.
With this increased traffic, the competition between you and your competitors will also heat up, so make sure you’re putting yourself in the best position possible with an optimized product listing.
Another piece of information to keep in mind: Don’t be a jerk.
If you’re the person who decided, “Hey, I’m going to double the price on *insert essential item here* and make a ton of money,” then you’re a jerk. This could also get you in trouble with the law. If you sell items that are essential, just be thankful that you still have demand for your product and you get to help people out right now.
When it comes to product listings in particular, you don’t want to mention Coronavirus or COVID-19 ANYWHERE on your listing. Your product will immediately be removed. This will also happen if you sensationalize your listing, so don’t say “these shoes will help you outrun the flu” or some other bad joke like that.
Consider Switching to FBM
What is FBM? Fulfillment by Merchant.
Shipping any non-essential item with Amazon is a crapshoot right now. For a while, some products weren’t getting shipped for weeks and even months. This seems to have gotten better and more accurate ship times are available for FBA products; however, some products are getting flagged as “non-essential” while their competitors have “essential” status on Amazon.
Amazon isn’t going to fix these labels anytime soon. Delivery dates are expected to go back to normal sometime in April, but in the meantime FBM might be a good avenue to look into.
We recommend having two skews. One for FBA and one for FBM. Your FBA skew will win the buy box at a much higher rate, but if you run out of Amazon inventory your listing will say “Shipped by Company XYZ,” and you can still convert from your Amazon product listing. You would just have to handle shipping the product.
There are also other fulfillment centers and companies that will ship products across the country, so that might be another option.
Everything is changing at a very rapid pace. By the time you’re reading this surely a new development has already emerged, but what has remained constant over the last few weeks is that we must see this challenge as an opportunity to grow. To quote the old adage, “Tough times make tough people.”
If you can stay on top of your business through this, just imagine how much easier it will be when the world settles down. Use this as an opportunity to become a better Amazon marketer and, more importantly, a better human being.
Stay safe out there.
Discover Us on our PPC Den Podcast
If you enjoy supplementing your long reads with audio, we cover this topic on our podcast as well.
Listen to it in the episode below or find us on your favorite streaming platform, like Apple, Google, Spotify, and more!
- 2:20 Intro
- 6:25 Amazon news
- 12:55 How to manage inventory
- 19:00 Optimizing product listings
- 22:40 Consider switching to FBM
- 30:10 Closing thoughts
Watch Mike & Stephen on YouTube
If you enjoy supplementing your long reads with video, well, hot diggity dog, you’re in luck! We cover this topic on our YouTube channel too.
Watch it below and please don’t forget to ‘like’ and subscribe.