A blog series on vendor promotions | Part One
Amazon is very good at leaving vendors to run their own business. When it comes to Vendor Central tips and help, Amazon takes a very hands-off approach. Vendors are expected to do it all, but many simply set up their accounts and then desert them, thinking it will all run (and generate successful sales) by itself. But vendors cannot be hands-off. To have a successful retail account, you need to nurture your listings and also run promotions to push sales and to manage your overstocks.
This series of blog posts will provide help with running promotions in Vendor Central. With these insider tips, vendors can set these up on Amazon to optimize sales and make sure you’re not overstocked. Use these promotions during Q4 to boost sales, improve your ranking in search and browse, clear out inventory in January, or maximize your performance year-round with increased page views and orders.
Coupons and vouchers in Vendor Central
First up is one of our favorite promotion types: coupons/vouchers. In typical Amazon fashion, they haven’t decided on one universal name for this type. It is either called a coupon or a voucher, depending which country and platform you sell in. But don’t be confused, they refer to the same type of promotion.
Coupons and vouchers have many benefits. They are popular with customers as they’re easy to add to the basket. They are also great at improving conversion because they show on search and category pages to draw customers into viewing your product instead of your competitors’. Exposure from a coupon will also drive additional traffic to your listing, as they get exposure on Amazon Vouchers page and deals emails.
(Notice the green highlighted voucher discount. This is eye-catching for customers and draws attention to your products).
Coupons/vouchers are one of Vendor Central’s self-service tools, so vendors don’t need prior approval to create them. They are also easy to set up. Amazon have recently quoted that Vendors will see on average an 11% uplift on their sales when they apply this type of voucher. Unlike other Amazon promotions (such as Lightning Deals), there is no big setup fee for vouchers, which makes it accessible for all vendors.
“Vouchers generate awareness: vouchers typically produce 84% of clicks from outside the product detail page, which indicates that customers interact with your product when they were not actively searching for it. Furthermore, vouchers increase awareness through better search ranking and exposure,” says Amazon.
When setting up your coupon/voucher you can target it to specific Amazon groups, like Amazon Family or Amazon Prime customers. We’re hoping that in the future, Amazon will expand on this targeting, but for now it’s a simple approach.
What you need to know
Categories that are enabled for the voucher functionality are: Apparel, Baby, Beauty, Consumer electronics, Drugstore, Furniture, Grocery, Home, Home Improvement, Jewellery, Kitchen, Lawn and Garden, Luggage, Musical instruments, Office, Pantry, PCA, Personal Computer, Pets, Photo, Shoes, Sports, Toys.
Vendors should plan their budget in advance for the promotion, but this is just an estimate. Amazon will hold you liable for everything sold during the promotion time and you can’t pause, edit or end it once it’s gone live.
We suggest you add a buffer/safety net when you’re doing your calculations. However, you will only be charged for what was redeemed by customers, so if it’s less, it works in your favour. Fees also vary by locale.
In the US:
Standard Fees: $0.17 per unique clip, $0.08 per redemption.
Amazon Family Coupon Fees: $0.25 per unique clip, $0.08 per redemption.
Q4 Fees (i.e. for coupons uploaded from October to December).
$0.21 per unique clip, $0.08 per redemption.
Amazon Family Coupon Fees: $0.25 per unique clip, $0.08 per redemption.
In the UK:
Standard Fees: £0.45 per redemption.
Because these vary by season and category, please check Vendor Central. Amazon will also raise and issue a contra-cogs agreement which will be deducted from your invoice.
There is a 21-day lead time from setup to going live. The lead time is to allow Amazon time to prepare for the increased demand and to adjust inventory levels accordingly, so keep an eye on your orders. This is another reason to be planning your promotions a quarter in advance.
How to create Vendor Central offers
- Select Vouchers from the Merchandising Drop Down.
- As this is your first voucher, select “Add voucher with spreadsheet.”
- Download the Amazon template for vouchers spreadsheet.
- The spreadsheet will then open with red and orange cells, red are mandatory and orange are optional.
To populate the spreadsheet for your particular offer, use the following guidelines.
- Cell C2 is your overall campaign name to collate all the offers your adding. Like “Spring Offers” or “March Vouchers.”
- Rows 6 & 7 are examples of how to complete the cells.
- Column A is your voucher name as it will appear in your promotions dashboard, so go to town with the description. To keep it something you can remember, we recommend adding the month and product ASIN.
- Column B is the customer-facing title, Amazon recommends just adding the product name, but we suggest you test this and find what works best for your brand. It can’t include the discount amount and must include the product. It must have between 1 – 250 characters, truncated after the 40th character.
- Column C – this is where you can add a reference for your internal accounts department and how to track this promotion on Amazon invoices. If you don’t need this, you can leave this field blank.
- Column D – add either one or multiple ASINs.
- Budget – you have two options, please note this is either / or not both.
- B4 – this is where you add what the budget is for all the vouchers on the spreadsheet. You’ll get an alert when it reaches 75% redemption. When it reaches 85% Amazon will terminate the voucher. But those who have redeemed but not checked out will still be able to do so with the offer.
- Column E – add the budget at voucher level.
- Columns F & G are where you add the dates you’d like this voucher to be visible during.
- There are two discount options, a fixed discount or a percentage discount, please note this is either / or not both.
- Column H – this is the fixed discount the customer will get when they apply the voucher.
- Column I – this is the percentage discount, this will be variable if the price changes during the promotion.
- To get the best exposure for your voucher we suggest you leave columns J&K empty, but if you’re keen to test then add ASINs into these columns, but be aware that exposure and redemptions will likely be lower.
- Column L, if you’d like a customer to be able to return and redeem the offer a second time set this to “False.” If you’d like to limit this to one per customer select “True.”
- D4 – decide if you’d like customer to benefit from the voucher when they sign up to Subscribe & Save.
- F4 – select this if you’d like to limit to which Amazon customer segment can see this offer. Note that this will limit your exposure and redemption. (Selecting an option here will also override anything you selected in column J or K)
After you’ve finished filling out the spreadsheet, check that it’s the way you want it and then save the spreadsheet to your computer.
- In Vendor Central, select your file and upload it.
- We suggest you make a cup of tea while it uploads and processes (this can take a while.)
- IMPORTANT: You need to go and approve the agreement either on the promotions homepage or by clicking the email link which will be sent to you.
Metrics and how well your coupon/voucher performed
Now that you’ve setup and run a voucher, how did it do? Vendors should check their performance to understand how the promotion did and implement learnings for the future. To check this:
- Navigate to the Offers homepage (Merchandising -> Vouchers)
- Read the results and decide what you can take away.
These metrics allow you to test what discount works best for your products. Sometimes a small promotion like $1 or £1 is enough to get extra exposure and sales. On new lines or recently launched products, it can be good to start with a bigger discount and reduce it each month once there is traction on the sales. Vendors can also test if fixed or percentage works best for your brand and product type.
Because these are relatively simple to set up and monitor, coupons/vouchers are a great promotion to trial in your Vendor Central account. Do you need more help? Vendor Society is great at helping our clients succeed when it comes to promotion types and account management. Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions, concerns, and personalized help.