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5 steps to succeed on Amazon amid COVID-19

Online grocery sales are growing fast, which underscores a longer-term shift toward e-commerce selling.

We know your brand is being impacted by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now is a great to time take a hard look at how you're selling product. Although brick-and-mortar sales might be solid right now, the increase of online sales could point to a more permanent focus on selling through e-commerce and retail delivery services.

So how can you set your brand up for online success, especially through Amazon? Right Side Up and VMG Partners hosted the webinar Shifting to Online Amidst COVID-19 to help support your brand whilst navigating this shift. According to them, here are five things you need to do right now to increase your chances of succeeding on Amazon.

Please note the landscape is subject to change quickly, so it's up to you to discern if these are best practices for your brand right now.

1. Send Amazon at least five weeks' worth of inventory

Amazon is currently prioritizing pantry staple items, which as of now includes grocery items and extends into health and personal care, medical and pet supplies. With such high order demands, it's taking about two to three weeks to check inventory. Because it's unknown when or if Amazon will change its guidelines around what constitutes a "staple product" and therefore what it will accept with regard to inventory check-ins, it's best to err on the side of caution and send at least five weeks' worth of product so your brand's inventory doesn't run out on the platform.

2. Extend shipping lead times

The demand for grocery items is high right now, meaning the increase in daily Amazon deliveries is equally high. With the landscape changing daily, it's simply impossible to guarantee customers short delivery periods. It's most likely packages will take more time than normal to ship, so increase your shipping guarantee to three to five days. Transparency during this period can go a long way and keep customers happy.

3. Increase your budget for Amazon ads

Amazon ads are performing really well right now, so this is the time to increase your budget for ads (sponsored products, sponsored brands and sponsored display). However, the key is to make sure you have enough inventory to fulfill any orders associated with said ads. If you're experiencing out-of-stocks on Amazon, first pause any ads that feature these items so as not to cause any confusion with customers. Then, set up new ad campaigns with only one product per campaign—those you do have in stock.

The other point to consider is what you're spending per click. Click prices have recently increased, so monitoring about once per day is sufficient to make sure spend is within budget.

4. Actively monitor competitors' inventory

If you're a smaller brand—or even if you're a seasoned seller on Amazon—it's important to track how your competitors are performing. Use a tracking software such as Keepa or Zoof to monitor other brands' inventory. These softwares will notify you when a competitor's products are out of stock on the platform. When this happens, you can turn on branded campaigns using competitors' main ad keywords and pick up sales the competing brand cannot fulfill.

5. Optimize your channel

Now is the time to really hone in on optimizing your Amazon pages, especially if you're unable to send inventory for the time being. It's important product images are professional and capture your company's branding. First impressions really do matter on Amazon, so optimizing your images ensures that customers are hooked from the get-go.

Revisiting any copy on the platform is also a good move right now. Do your headlines and product descriptions grab customers? Is the copy descriptive and written in a unique on-brand voice? These details might seem subtle, but customers can quickly determine what's worth clicking on and what isn't.

For more tips about how to succeed online right now, watch the Shifting to Online Amidst COVID-19 webinar replay here.

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