As Q4 approaches, retailers are preparing for the most lucrative holidays of the year. With sales escalating, brands must anticipate and manage considerable demand. Effective Q4 planning occurs on both DTC and marketplace channels, aligning internal teams to strategize and consolidate initiatives. Preparations are comprehensive and include managing catalogs, merchandising, inventory, advertising, and marketing.

How can you maximize these areas to drive sales and revenue during Q4?

Content Strategies for Catalog Management and Inventory Planning

On this year’s July Prime Day, consumers searching for discounts and perks at accelerated rates were detected, with this trend expected to continue throughout the Q4 holidays. Meeting these demands requires refining product content to generate conversions. Since Amazon has prolonged the content approval process, updating content before the start of Q4 is crucial. This may include researching the latest keywords, modifying images and videos for new product launches, and highlighting promotional pages.

As Amazon becomes more profit-driven, brands have evolved strategies to optimize their catalogs and merchandise. As you develop content, consider promoting overstocked items on Vendor Central and DTC. This creates additional inventory space for next year’s new products, prompting Amazon to restock items. New product launches in previous years have focused on secondary items to initiate awareness. As retailers prioritize conversions, these launch tactics have shifted to promoting best-selling products for new customers, then advertising and selling auxiliary merchandise through DSP retargeting. Another profitable launch approach involves creating custom holiday bundles in advance to boost average order value. These offers should be supported with banner ads at the front of your Amazon page.

After finalizing your budget and forecasting promotional offers, restocking your inventory to support these strategies is vital. To avoid shortages and inbound restrictions, ship 20% more than your estimated inventory in advance. Incremental sales often arise from promotional initiatives like Buy with Prime and TikTok Shop, disrupting your warehouse operations, so acquiring temporary staff ensures you can anticipate demands and stay on top of shipping cut-off dates.

How To Maximize Your DTC and Marketplace Advertising Budgets

Brand loyalties are shifting, and with 82% of consumers switching retailers for preferred value, businesses must employ branded and conquest campaigns to protect market share and outperform the competition. This increased spending results in tight budgets for Q4 advertising.

So what techniques can you leverage to enhance advertising value on Amazon and DTC?

DTC platforms offer numerous advertising tools that brands leverage simultaneously at the start of Q4, leading to platform glitches and campaign collapses. Rather than waiting until the fall holidays to launch campaigns, run ads beforehand while developing your Q4 objectives. If launching a last-minute campaign, ensure that you monitor and recover the ads immediately. With longer shipping times, DTC sales decline by the second week of December, so driving purchases immediately following Black Friday guarantees a profitable Q4.

Brands are adjusting their Amazon advertising bids and budgets to compete with aggressive CPC campaigns. Once the holiday season arrives, analyzing campaign performance becomes increasingly challenging. Additionally, Amazon’s algorithms support frequently launched campaigns, so conduct testing before the holiday season to run campaigns successfully without interruptions.

Lifecycle Marketing Tips for Q4

According to Nicole Reich, Blue Wheel’s Chief Growth Officer, “73% of consumers expect brands to understand their unique needs and expectations.” Lifecycle marketing — including email and SMS campaigns — plays a critical role in customer personalization, encouraging repeat purchases and loyalty. These marketing efforts should drive 30% of your DTC revenue, so segment your audiences to target consumers through email suggestions, build personalized workflows, and establish exclusive deals for VIPs or engaged subscribers.

Repurposing Creative Campaigns for the Holidays

Nicole also notes that “41% of consumers find ads displaying relevant products or discounts most influential in their purchasing decisions,” so retailers must produce engaging, creative video content on TikTok and Instagram. For efficiency and relevancy, record one comprehensive video emphasizing product functions for use across DTC and Amazon. This video can be segregated into short-form clips for various promotions and discounts. You can also test multiple versions of the same campaign, revising and improving your strategy as you see fit.

With these tactics, you can create an extensive checklist to prepare your operations for a profitable Q4 holiday season.

Omnichannel eCommerce has gained widespread recognition and adoption in recent years as brands look to offer customers a unified experience. As these capabilities progress, content creation has emerged as a pressing concern for many brands — especially with the development of new digital platforms like TikTok — so altering your content strategy to meet audiences where they are is crucial for a valuable marketing campaign.

So how can you develop creative content for various digital mediums?

How To Establish an Omnichannel Content Strategy

Traditional content forms are designed to build brand equity using a comprehensive storyline or campaign. While typically long-form content, these productions can be deconstructed into shorter segments of the same concept and launched onto a single platform. Conversely, digital-first creative content extends beyond a brand equity approach and encompasses multiple channels to optimize the marketing funnel. This performance-driven method employs diverse content and advertising forms to focus on value proposition rather than brand equity.

What should you consider when optimizing content for digital platforms?

When developing an omnichannel creative strategy, you must align your advertising and marketing priorities with your selected channels. Lindsay Kean, Blue Wheel’s Senior Director of Creative Services, explains that a holistic omnichannel approach requires “looking at all of the different channels, their hierarchy of needs, and then being able to take those needs and put them into a full-funnel approach of what type of content, what part of the funnel, and what different channels are a priority.” It’s crucial to ascertain the ideal content for each platform. For instance, photography GIFS and short-form video content perform positively on TikTok. Soundless videos are best utilized on Meta, whereas platforms like YouTube are sound-dependent. Product-specific advertising can be executed on Amazon through lifestyle photography and holiday content promotions. No matter your content creation strategy or the platforms you leverage, each campaign must provide value to reach a diverse audience sifting through endless feeds of related content.

Optimizing Digital Content by Tapping Into Full Funnel Marketing

The marketing funnel is fundamental to driving engagement and conversions, and curating content for various stages of each digital platform’s funnel enhances your advertising efforts. Generally, the customer journey has three phases: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Product introduction and walk-through videos, UGC content, and brand anthems promote awareness by informing consumers of your brand. As customers consider your products, you can employ problem and solution approaches through unboxing videos demonstrating how the product solves a foundational issue. Promotional messaging, such as call-to-actions, encourage click-throughs and drive conversions.

Repurposing Traditional Content for a Digital-First Approach

Creative content often holds a high production value, so some brands are hesitant to transition to digital. But excess content from traditional campaigns can be recycled and employed in digital mediums. Instead of recreating content, you can combine assets, including previous photo and video shoots and UGC influencer content, to convey a cohesive story that aligns with brand goals and emphasizes digital-first.

An alternative strategy involves repurposing conventional social media ads to obtain a greater Thumbstopping rate, which measures audience engagement. Standard video ads are often lengthy, lack hooks, and have limited on-screen text, diminishing performance. An effective Thumbstopping video is five seconds and relays a captivating brand story that captures audiences’ attention within the first three seconds.

Reusing creative content requires careful consideration of digital engagement techniques and marketing funnel and channel goals.

Capitalizing on Digital Assets Through Iterative and Phase Testing

Since digital creative emphasizes performance-based metrics, understanding precise measurements and experimentation methods is crucial to success. Many of the same metrics utilized in traditional campaigns apply to digital creative, including KPIs, ROAS, and CPA (cost per acquisition), but differ based on funnel and channel objectives. Digital campaigns should also incorporate granular measurements to assess the rationale behind performance ratios. This may involve evaluating likes, follows, shares, and comments for organic social, helping you understand customer value and plan for future campaigns.

Testing is a key component of the creative planning stage and can be executed in two approaches: iterative and phase testing. Brands with a large monthly ad spend can produce multiple content iterations and compare them against each other to assess their performance. For instance, you can employ various personas within the same ad to determine audience interpretations. Additionally, developing different versions of Thumbstopping videos allows you to evaluate metrics on each one and adjust your approach based on the data. Phase testing is useful for brands with a lower monthly spend and entails releasing content following production, gauging its effectiveness, and tweaking or repurposing it according to the results.

Planning is especially effective when involving the entire organization. This ensures all digital assets are arranged and in alignment with business goals. Blue Wheel’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Nicole Reich, stresses the importance of company-wide participation, “So I have found in some companies that the more you pull in other teams early on to plan, the better… But then also having someone take the lead and saying, ‘I’m accountable for knowing that we have all the resources, the assets that we need, and I know who to go to understand their wishlist.’”

To capitalize on digital assets, you must plan your productions, determine the content you need to produce and the platform to advertise on, and develop messaging unique to each content form and channel.

With Amazon as the leading digital marketplace, brands are looking to optimize sales on its platform. Historically, sellers have developed separate budgets, goals, and advertising strategies for Amazon and DTC, creating silos and cementing the reputed digital divide between channels.

However, “Over the last six months…36% of the Amazon users going to product detail pages actually come from offline sources,” says Blue Wheel’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Nicole Reich. This indicates that consumers are either directed to Amazon by influencers or start their searches on other websites.

So how can you integrate your Amazon and DTC efforts to develop an omnichannel strategy that enhances the customer journey?

Leveraging Marketing Efforts and Customer Lifecycles To Optimize Your Omnichannel Strategy

Merging Amazon and DTC channels helps establish comprehensive marketing tactics that maximize visibility on both sites. Segregated advertising limits your efforts to one channel, hindering sales and compromising storage and revenue. Tayler Carpenter, Blue Wheel’s VP of Advertising, speaks to the significance of combining strategies: “By having one large macro marketing calendar and one large macro budget and marketing initiatives, we can start putting together the pieces that will make up the larger plan that allows you, as the brand, to have more control and an understanding of what’s going on in…your marketing, business, and omni-commerce.”

Customer lifecycle data is a valuable DTC marketing tool for cross-promoting Amazon products. For instance, when DTC customers sign up for your email list, and you capture their mobile numbers, you can send text messages to promote new product launches, deals, and inventory restocks on your Amazon site. One in three shoppers prefer receiving texts to emails, and 73% have made a purchase after obtaining one; leveraging DTC communication helps grow your Amazon brand.

How Brands Can Utilize TikTok To Promote Products on Amazon

TikTok is dominating the social media landscape, and many younger consumers begin their searches on this platform, making it a fundamental advertising tool. Maximizing product discovery requires regularly appearing on numerous “for you” pages — a user’s curated algorithm — by including the hashtag Amazon on each video. When you optimize videos with appropriate hashtags, TikTok categorizes them to display relevant content related to individual searches.

The ultimate goal when advertising on TikTok is to become viral, boosting conversions and sales on your Amazon site. Yet this can lead to inventory shortages, so it’s crucial to incorporate DTC with your Amazon store as an alternative for fulfilling product demands.

How Buy With Prime Helps You Combine Amazon and DTC

Amazon’s Buy with Prime option is evolving to accommodate omnichannel capabilities. When employing this program on your DTC website, consumers can purchase products using their Amazon information and receive two-day shipping, creating a familiar and seamless customer experience. Additionally, Buy with Prime enables brands to leverage Amazon fulfillment centers to fulfill both DTC and Amazon orders, thereby consolidating multiple channels. A Buy with Prime strategy may increase conversions by 25% and drive additional traffic to your website.

By recognizing and forming a correlation between DTC and Amazon operations, you can acquire additional customers and boost sales to expand your business.


As Amazon’s yearly performance continues to skyrocket, brands must develop new measures to keep up with increasing marketplace demands and evolving conditions. Recently, Amazon has placed limitations and prices on 3P seller services, and paid media and customer acquisition costs have risen both on and off the platform. All of this is compounded by inventory shortages, which hamper advertising efforts, decrease conversions, and compromise overall brand success.

So what trends can you observe from Amazon’s 2022 season, and how can you prepare for what lies ahead?

Amazon’s Holiday Recap: KPIs and Growth Metrics

Amazon’s growth fluctuated throughout 2022, with peak performance observed during Prime Day and the Q4 holidays. The platform experienced an overall sales growth of 20% from the previous year, mainly attributed to fruitful Prime Day deals. Comparably, holiday sales increased by 19% year-over-year. On the business side, Amazon’s 1P sellers grew by only 7% during the holidays, whereas 3P vendors saw a staggering 28% growth rate.

While these KPIs seem to indicate success on the platform and profitable opportunities for brands, conversion rates and advertising performance experienced major setbacks. While traffic increased by 20-30% yearly, conversion rates decreased by over 14%, and click-through rates and cost-per-click declined by 8% and 14%, respectively. These measurements resulted from inventory shortages and suppressions at the end of the year, causing brands to redistribute their ad spend in a short time span.

How has this data affected brand performance in 2022?

Brands that incorporated holiday promotions into their advertising budgets observed greater exposure off Amazon, leading to higher conversion rates. Likewise, businesses who monitored their inventory and product SKUs during the December shortage could withdraw their ad spend and promotions before depletion, thereby increasing ROAS.

Amazon Growth Expectations in 2023

With 3P seller central becoming increasingly prevalent, Amazon is placing restrictions on inventory and restructuring capacity. This means that brands can view both their capacity for the month and the estimated capacity for the near future. While this appears to enhance inventory planning and replenishment for the holiday season, sellers must bid for additional space, so profitability and sales remain uncertain in 2023.

Following 2022’s reduced advertising performance, budgets are projected to increase by 25%. Nicole Reich, Co-founder and VP of Marketing and Sales at Retail Bloom, attributes this inflation to a “need for omnichannel reports and insights, meaning that as people continue to invest in digital ad spend, they want to understand where those ad dollars are going and what’s impacting the ROI.” These data-driven decisions on ad spending are essential to offset the costs of 3P seller services and drive conversions.

How To Drive Consistent Performance on Amazon in 2023

3P seller conditions and ad spend allocations are major factors influencing brand profitability, so driving traffic from other marketplaces is paramount to success. One way to accomplish this is through Amazon Ads. Some of these ads — like sponsored display videos — allow you to promote your brand both on and off Amazon by targeting various products, categories, or audiences and expanding your reach.

For a more data-driven approach, you can analyze your performance on Amazon, develop KPIs for targeting consumers on different platforms, and measure the resulting ROI. Regardless of your chosen method, consider how each performance metric impacts your budget and structure it accordingly to streamline success.

When the pandemic hit, Amazon brands across categories saw a huge drop in sales. The following year, sales skyrocketed as the world adjusted and people rapidly embraced online shopping. Now, brands in the fashion and apparel categories are seeing conversion rates go up by 29% compared to the previous year. However, there are still common challenges restricting apparel brands from reaching their full potential.

So, what are the best ways fashion and apparel brands can improve their Amazon strategy and drive growth?

Content Optimization Best Practices

The first step to optimizing content is planning out your strategy. You need to think about what will make the biggest difference in sales conversions. Nicole Reich of Retail Bloom suggests starting with product availability and profitability: segment your evergreen, seasonal, and discontinued products, and arrange them from highest to lowest margins. From there, you can focus your strategy on products with high retail value, which will most likely be your evergreen products.

Next, ensure you’re in the right category. Execute a competitor analysis to see which top-level category you should be in. Why is this step important? Sometimes, Amazon will place you in a category that doesn’t make sense, which could significantly impact your ranking on Amazon

Once these steps are complete, you can begin implementing your content optimizations. Take those high-profit products and optimize for SEO, back-end attributions and subcategories, imagery and video, and product merges.

Leverage Product Merges

According to Nicole, product merges may be the most useful hack. “You don't want it to be overwhelming, where you just merge everything,” Nicole says, “but there is a lot of opportunity to look at your catalog as a whole and start to decide how you want to merge like products.”

NYDJ, one of Retail Bloom’s clients, is a large brand in the women’s denim category. In their Amazon listings, they have a specific style of pants called the “Sherry.” Within this style, they have slim, cropped, and flare jeans, among other variations. NYDJ had different product detail pages for each style variation, which led to fewer ratings and challenges with new styles and colors getting buried.

So, Retail Bloom took all of these evergreen variations and merged them together, placing them on one product page with different thumbnails so that consumers can easily browse other style variations. This product merge boosted views overnight for all of the Sherry products and improved product rankings overall.

Making the Most of Your Advertisements

Brands should make it a priority to refresh advertisements and creative assets consistently. Look at SEO and keyword trends to help you set up ad groups and campaigns. Additionally, you should update campaigns by season and use branded terms to promote new product launches.

If you want to increase ROI, sponsor display campaigns are the way to go. DSP has specific KPIs and can be expensive, but sponsor display campaigns give you the ability to target on or off Amazon, get creative with lifestyle imagery, and work with products that have many variations.

Retail Bloom’s New Local Selling and BOPIS Tools

Fulfillment options can be tough with various SKUs and outliers. What do you do with products that don’t make sense for FBA?

Retail Bloom’s local selling and buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) tools can help. The BOPIS tool is great for brands who don’t want to be on Amazon for fear that they’ll drive traffic away from their brick-and-mortar store. With this tool, brands can generate traffic on Amazon but still direct consumers to physical stores.

Available for both 1P and 3P brands, the local selling option gives brands the ability to set up one-day or two-day delivery options by region. Sellers can leverage their own delivery trucks or 3P carriers. This is a great solution for getting your entire catalog live without putting all products in FBA.

Taking on these tasks alone is a lot of work. That’s why Retail Bloom is providing tools like these to help brands plan, scale, and improve the customer experience.

Is your brand still reeling from last year’s supply chain issues, hiring challenges, and rising product costs? To help you eliminate these obstacles and achieve your goals in 2022, we’re reviewing valuable lessons from Q4 and taking note of the trends, updates, and opportunities that are on the horizon for the year ahead.

How to Create a Winning Amazon Advertising Strategy in 2022

Key Takeaways From Q4 Advertising Results

For brands across categories, 2021’s holiday season was dampened by ongoing inventory issues due to the pandemic. With worries about stock levels and shipping delays, consumers started their shopping earlier in the season — creating a rise in traffic on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Cost-Per-Click (CPC) shot up a whopping 38% during Thanksgiving for sponsored products, while ad spend declined on Cyber Monday for the first time ever.

Key Takeaways From Q4 Advertising Results

So what does this mean for you? Ultimately, Q4 showed signs of optimism with consumer spending on the rise, but smaller brands still had to be savvy when budgeting for their sponsored product ads. If you want to break through all of the fierce competition on the Amazon marketplace and make the most of your advertising budget in 2022, it may be time to adjust your approach.

New Campaign Opportunities for 2022

While many of the same obstacles from 2021 are predicted to persist in the new year — from supply chain issues to increasing advertising costs — there are some new and notable opportunities that eCommerce brands should be taking advantage of.

To start, Ben Ryan Schwartz from Pacvue suggests keeping your eye on shoppable video, which would allow clickable ads directly in your videos. He also notes the benefits of Amazon’s new and improved display capabilities — including updated audience targeting for Amazon DSP — and different fulfillment models, from brick-and-mortar to click-and-collect.

How to Build an Up-to-Date Advertising Budget Based on Your Goals

How to Build an Up-to-Date Advertising Budget Based on Your Goals

As Amazon and eCommerce advertising continues to evolve, the question remains: how do you leverage these updates and opportunities for your unique brand? According to Nicole Reich of Retail Bloom, the first step to determining how much to spend on advertising is to identify your strategy. Whether you want to drive awareness, expand your audience, or focus on profitability, there are different campaigns for each goal.

As Nicole says, to create winning (and on-budget) campaigns, you have to align your advertising budget and goals with your overall Amazon strategy and sales. She advises taking your approach to the next level by reviewing benchmarks in your category, understanding which campaigns and keywords connect with your goals, and maxing out the bottom of your funnel before moving up.

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