Coronavirus affected the Amazon marketplace big time. The global virus pandemic forced the world to adapt to it, thus Amazon as a global e-commerce company also encountered problems in daily operations and execution. This situation made sellers act fast and adapt to changes.
Many Amazon retailers had to change their strategies. As the percentage of people who shop online has grown due to many stores closing, their ad spend increased. Besides, first and third party sellers both encountered problems with products out of stock and product supply.
One thing is sure, coronavirus affected the Amazon marketplace big time. Here are some of the main problems that sellers who advertise on Amazon had to overcome:
Problem number 1: Products out of stock
Different brands that sell their products on Amazon had a problem with suppliers. This is because many factories have been closed due to state of emergency which was caused by coronavirus. That resulted with lots of products being out of stock.
Since Amazon has a functionality to pause sponsored ad campaigns if promoted items go out of stock, advertisers could have a piece of mind but the problem of product availability still remained.
Problem number 2: Product supply
Basically over night, products categorized as ,,non-essentials” had significantly longer delivery times which also had an impact on sales. In reality, those items got to customers faster, but that kind of information on the product page led customers to decide to buy items which had shorter delivery time.
That’s why sellers had significantly lower conversion rates. This happened because people who clicked on their product had cost them money and didn’t place the order when seeing how long they had to wait to get to their wanted product. In short, some brands didn’t sell products which, in normal circumstances, they would sell.
Problem number 3: Growth of advertising costs
One of the problems was also the growth of advertising costs since campaigns started to ,,catch” a lot of different search terms that advertisers didn’t bid on. Terms such as “30 days food supplies”, ”bread”, “medical face masks” were the reason for higher spending on advertising accounts.
In response to the crisis, Amazon did restrict bidding on certain kinds of keywords like “face masks”, “hand sanitizer” and “surgical gloves” but this couldn’t stop the customers from searching. Coronavirus brought a lot of attention to these products which resulted in high search volume and higher advertising costs for sellers.
Why have some brands managed these problems better
Some brands made a great profit out of this situation. On one hand they had enough supplies to fulfil market demand and a clear strategy during the pandemic. On the other hand some say that the higher profit was a matter of luck since these brands sell products that people needed more in this specific situation. Either way, these are the main reasons some brands succeeded to manage these problems better:
Shorter delivery time
This depends also on how organized is their supply chain and which type of product they are producing. It is clear that this is the main factor which can result in higher profit and beating the competition. Sellers who managed to have a shorter delivery time have won this battle since buyers decided to place an order of the product they didn’t have to wait for a month.
In this situation, there was a high demand for products like home fitness equipment, pet supplies or video games. So brands specialized for this kind of items had their sales hit the roof. This was lucky since no one predicted people will be stuck at home in isolation and have a higher need for products like these.
In the future, we can expect that some sellers cut their advertising budgets while they get back on track. Meanwhile, others who have managed to resolve the problem of product supply and fill their warehouse with items, will aim to sell as much as they can through paid ads. One thing is sure, brands will have to continue embracing upcoming changes and adapt to any situation that comes their way.
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About the author
Emilija Kovačević is a Content Writer and Social Media Manager at Sellers Alley. She has been involved with Amazon PPC for a year now. Before, she was working on content and social media strategies for different clients in the FMCG industry.