A data-driven approach to choosing Lightning Deals on Amazon


[Lightning Deal] Blog Post

The post-Prime Day glow is still fresh, so it might sound strange to point out that it’s time to start finalizing your Q4 deals. 

If you are planning to submit Lightning Deals for any of Amazon’s big sales events this fall, the deadlines are creeping up. The deadlines for Lightning Deal submissions are as follows: 

Fall Prime Event: August 11

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: September 1 

Only certain products are eligible for Lightning Deals. But if you do have a bunch of eligible products, the upcoming deadlines create a thorny question. Which products should you prioritize for Lightning Deals? Which will bring the most value to your company?

The answer is complicated, but one thing that helps you sort through it is good data. 

Having an organized approach to data management lets you quickly narrow down products based on stats like share of New-To-Brand conversions, item-level profitability, and more. 

Here’s how we at Intentwise think about Lightning Deals. 

Which of my products are most worthy of Lightning Deals? 

As you decide which products to submit for deals, here are some key factors to consider: 

Long-tail thinking. Generally, Lightning Deals should focus on your top-selling ASINs. These are your proven moneymakers. Giving them a discount can lure in a bunch of customers, quickly. 

It can also keep those top sellers from being eclipsed. Think about it: Q4 is the biggest sales quarter for many brands. If your competitors put their top products on Lightning Deals but you don’t, there’s a chance they could overtake yours in Amazon’s organic sales ranking or get more visibility on Amazon. 

That will hurt you throughout the rest of Q4. Not leveraging deals, in other words, can set you back at a critical time. 

It’s also important to consider the long-term impact of a Lightning Deal. The deals you run aren’t about the sales you get that day. They’re about the sales you get six months later. 

By increasing your revenue and conversion rate during a sales event, you can boost your organic ranking—and drive incremental conversions—for the long term.

Profit margins. The above tip is not to say you should just submit every top product for a Lightning Deal without thought. One big factor to keep in mind before you submit a Lightning Deal is your profit margins. 

Putting products on a Lightning Deal will inevitably eat into your margins. Lightning Deals cost upfront cash (typically between $300-$750 per deal). Plus, you are making less per product with each sale. 

The solution is to be realistic about what kinds of margins you can afford. 

Plenty of brands don’t mind breaking even on their Lightning Deals, in exchange for the promise of long-tail organic sales. But in this period of increased focus on profitability, lots of brands are leery of taking a big hit in their margins. 

Instead, prioritizing products with healthy profit margins for Lightning Deals makes the most sense. 

This is another place where data comes in handy. When you have an organized approach to your data infrastructure through tools like Intentwise, you can see, for example, your profitability from past Prime Days. 

That lets you quickly identify which products are the most profitable, and therefore which might make sense for a Lightning Deal. 

New-To-Brand (NTB) metrics. Beyond just your top-selling products, you might scrutinize metrics like New-To-Brand when deciding what to submit for a deal. 

Which of your products tend to be the major gateways for new shoppers? These aren’t always your top sellers. Sometimes, a mid-tier product can have a disproportionately high NTB share. Those are potentially the products you want to put front and center on big deal days. 

Seasonality. You should prioritize products that have a high degree of seasonality.

On one hand: By placing deals on products that lend themselves well to holiday gifts, or that have a specific winter tie-in (blankets, for example), you can build up your organic sales rank going into your most important shopping period. 

But fall deals are also the last time you can sell outstanding merchandise from your summer season products. Have excess inventory of beach towels or bathing suits that you need to sell through? A deal could be a great way to clear it out. 

There are other cases to consider

Product launches. Have a new product you’re excited about that needs some traction? A well-timed deal could be a good way to jumpstart sales and, hopefully, up your review count and your sales rank. 

Slow-moving ASIN. If you have a product that has yet to find its core audience, a sale could be a way to draw extra eyeballs to it. 

Liquidation: Once in a while, a brand has a bunch of discontinued products it wants to sell through at any given cost. Offering a discount slot could be a good way to get rid of excess inventory. 

Lightning vs. Coupons vs. Prime Exclusive? 

Not all of the deal deadlines for the fall are coming up in the next few weeks. The August 11 and September 1 deadlines are specifically for Lightning Deals. 

If you want to run Coupons or Prime Exclusive Discounts, you can set these much closer to the sales event.

How do you choose between deal types? 

Here’s the difference: 

  • Timeliness: Lightning Deals run only for 4-6 hours on a single day. By contrast, coupons run according to your custom timeframes, and Prime Exclusive Discounts can run for the duration of the event. 
  • Cost: Lightning Deals cost the most and have the steepest discount requirements. 
  • Visibility: Lightning Deals seem to be the most heavily promoted by Amazon. They also stick out the most to customers among a hectic page of search results. 

In general, because of their importance, Lightning Deals are for your focus products.

Meanwhile, you should reserve coupons for your non-focus products. Major sales events bring excess traffic across all of Amazon, including to your back catalog. 

While your high-margin, high-performing ASINs should be front and center with Lightning Deals, running coupons on the rest of your products can be a great way to turn those extra eyeballs into sales. 

Coupons, with their bright green banners, stand out in crowded search results.

According to Acadia, coupons make sense for pretty much every brand—except possibly new brands—on sales events like Prime Day.

Let’s say you have a good product, but you worry that, if you submit it for a Lightning Deal, you wouldn’t even break even.

Placing a small coupon on it during Amazon’s Fall Prime event could be a way to increase conversions without sacrificing all of your profit. 

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