Amazon deals and promotions: Creating Lightning Deals, Best Deals, coupons, Deal of the Day, and more

7 July, 2020
10 minute read

Many Amazon customers are in search of one thing: A good deal. Online shopping makes price comparison and bargain-hunting easy. Plus, with shoppers’ high trust in Amazon combined with the fast shipping benefits of Amazon Prime, Amazon is a great place for businesses to run deals and promotions. 

Amazon makes it fairly easy for sellers and vendors to run deals using Seller Central and Vendor Central. Creating promotions and tracking their success in one platform allows businesses to be deliberate about what they’re offering. This can be especially important during peak periods, such as Q4 (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.) shopping, and Amazon Prime Day. Typically, Amazon starts asking for deal submissions several weeks or even months before the shopping event. 

eCommerce Nurse’s team of Amazon veterans are well equipped to provide you with the knowledge you need for success. We’ve learned insider methods to help you prepare your promotional and marketing calendars. If you’re wondering how to create a Lightning Deal or when to schedule a 7-Day Deal, this article focuses on how to get the best out of year-round promotions on the site.

(The Today's Deal page on Amazon. Also sometimes referred to as the "Gold Box" or "Best Deals" page).

Promotion Options

Both sellers and vendors have a number of promotion options open to them. Each has its own benefits and requirements. Many of these deals are displayed on the Amazon Deals page, which is easily the most visited pages on the Amazon site. It was historically known as the Amazon Gold Box page. Customers can find your deal on this page by narrowing by category, price discount, active/upcoming deals, or more. Customers may also subscribe to a “Today’s Deals” email. This chart describes the basic differences between the deal types:

Amazon Promotions Chart ecommerce Nurse

Amazon Lightning Deals

Lightning Deals are one of the most well-known and popular deal types on Amazon. Lighting Deals are flash sales, featured for up to 10 hours on the Amazon Deals page. Lightning Deals are a great way to increase revenue over a short period of time. Many vendors (and Professional Sellers) will create Lightning Deals to drive demand and incremental sales, boost sales ranking, win back the Buy Box, or clear through inventory. Create your Lightning Deals to help maximise the traffic and sales opportunity that these deals can generate. Lightning Deals will incur a one-time flat fee that will vary depending on your locale. This will be invoiced after the deal runs and is based off the actual starting date of your promotion.

What are the best products to promote? 

  • A top-performing item that already has a large number of positive reviews, good conversion rate and a high ranking. Amazon will favour these items.
  • A product that sells as close as possible to the MSRP and allows room for discounting; both parties need to have margin. Amazon will not approve items that don’t meet their financial threshold.
  • A product that has a review rating of 4 stars or higher. Amazon does approve products with a rating of 3 stars or higher, but often a rating under 3.5 will have a negative impact on conversion.
  • Avoid promoting a slow seller, Amazon will not approve items with a poor selling performance or ones that do not meet their demand thresholds. 
  • Sellers can only set up Lightning Deals that have been recommended to them.
  • Vendors can set up Lightning Deals on any product, as long as it meets the threshold.

What discount to offer?

  • Amazon asks for at least 15%, we recommend between 30% to 50%.
  • A very high discount such as 60% or more can make customers question the original value.
  • The discount must beat the lowest price of the last trailing 30 days by at least 5%.
  • When deciding the discount, don’t forget to include the base merchandising fee, which runs from $150-$500 depending on the event. 

How many units to offer?

Vendors creating Lightning Deals have specific requirements when it comes to the units on offer:

  • Amazon will only accept offers that meet their demand threshold. In the past, it has tracked at $5,000 (units x deal price) but this can vary by category and time of year.
  • Amazon looks at each product’s data and applies a proprietary forecasting model to determine demand and potential sales.
  • If the quantity is too low Amazon will not accept the promotion and provide an error message. 

Sellers creating Lightning Deals will be able to see a list of eligible products in Seller Central.

  • Amazon will recommend a deal price, your price, a discount, a number of units, and a deal fee. This minimum amount of units must be met to run the deal.

Do we have to accept Amazon's recommendations?

  • The recommendations are automated based on previous sales history and don’t factor in inventory or margin. 
  • You don’t always agree with the recommendations; the items may not be products you want to push. They might be discontinued items, have low inventory or the items may not have the margin to offer discounts.
  • Vendors do not have to accept the recommendations and can create your own Lightning Deals. Amazon will not penalise you for not accepting certain deals or timeframes.
  • Sellers are only allowed to run Lightning Deals on the recommended products.

We get errors when submitting a Lightning Deal

This section applies to vendors who are submitting their own deals. Sellers will not get errors, as they are only eligible to submit the recommended Lightning Deals.

  • If you are getting errors, make sure you have completed all the required fields.
  • If all the fields are completed and you still get errors, this may be because the financial or demand thresholds are not being met. Try increasing the funding and quantity to see if this helps.
  • If the item is a poor seller with a low review rating, the system may still error out even with a high quantity and large funding. Try selecting another product. 

Lightning Deal considerations and tips

  • Amazon retains the right to reschedule or cancel the promotion at any time.
  • 14 days prior to the start date of your Lightning Deal and up until 24 hours before the deal goes live, Amazon will notify vendors if the per-unit funding for your Lightning Deal does not support a low enough price.
  • A top performing item with a high discount has a greater chance of being approved and getting a peak time slot, when traffic is high.
  • Vendors only: If you allow Amazon to consider placing purchase orders at a lower product cost instead of paying per unit sold, Amazon may buy more inventory than it sells in the Lightning Deal. This means if the deal is not as successful as hoped, Amazon has still purchased the inventory. Be careful with this option if Amazon has full returns rights.
  • Lightning Deals can have a halo effect on other products in the range. Look into offering coupons and price discounts on other products.
  • Ensure all product listings are optimised for conversion; titles, bullet points, additional images, videos and A+ Content.
  • Run sponsored ads, headline search ads and display ads throughout the duration of any promotional event e.g. Prime Week or the weekend of Black Friday through to Cyber Monday to maximise the traffic to the listings. Be prepared to be more aggressive on the bids. 
  • Also be aware that you cannot control when the Lightning Deal goes live. Sometimes, you will get a less-than-ideal time when traffic is low (such as 2 a.m. on a weekday). Other times, you may get a peak time.

Other Amazon deal types

Lightning Deals may be the most well-known type of Amazon promotion, but this option is not always available. Should you miss a submission deadline or want to incorporate other discounts and promotions during non-peak periods, Amazon has options that are free and relatively easy to set up. There are many reasons why businesses should utilise these types of promotions, including:

  • Driving brand awareness 
  • Increasing traffic to listings
  • Boosting sales on certain products (seasonally, for inventory reasons, etc)
  • Getting legitimate reviews and ratings
  • Incorporating into your year-round marketing strategy

All of these points can potentially help with relevancy and rankings in search and browse and drive sales year-round to your catalogue of products. However, they can also be detrimental if not executed properly. Some common errors when running promotions are:

  • Timing: Don’t run promotions too short or too long. You need to create a sense of urgency but also run it long enough to have an effect on sales. Promotions should feel exclusive and not be available forever.
  • Failing to budget correctly. Be sure to create a plan to ensure your margins will be positively impacted by your promotion choice and dates.
  • Not setting up the promotion correctly. While Seller Central or Vendor Central walks you through the process, the amount of choices can lead to errors and mistakes. Incorrectly setup promotions can lead to businesses not getting the boost they expected or even losing money as they sell product at a loss.

The Best Deal or 7-Day Deal promotion

If you like the idea of a Lightning Deal, but want a little more flexibility and longevity, there are the more generic 7-Day Deal (for sellers) or Best Deal (for vendors) promotions. These deals are a time-bound, promotional offer where an item is featured for a limited number of days on the Amazon Deals page, as part of a range of the best deals across the site. 

To be eligible for 7-Day Deals, you must be a Professional Seller with at least five Seller Feedback Ratings per month and an overall rating of at least 3.5-stars. Additionally, products must meet these criteria:

  • Have a sales history in Amazon stores and at least a 3-star rating
  • Include as many variations as possible
  • Not a restricted product or offensive, embarrassing or inappropriate product
  • Prime eligible in all regions
  • New Condition
  • Compliant with customer product reviews policies. To know more, refer to Customer product reviews policies.
  • Compliant with pricing policies. For more information, see Amazon Policy on Reference Prices.
  • Compliant with deal frequency policies.

To encourage customers more, products running 7-Day Deals will also receive a “Limited time deal” badge in Amazon search results. This can drive more visibility to the deal and to a brand overall. 

Best Deals are great for driving traffic to your products and can be very useful for brand awareness, clearing through inventory, and more. Only vendors are eligible for Best Deals; this promotion type can be set up in Vendor Central. Best Deals last up to two weeks and will be featured on the Amazon Deals page.

  • Must feature a price reduction of at least 10% off the Amazon website price.

What is Amazon Deal of the Day?

The Deal of the Day on Amazon is a single item or small set of closely related items that is discounted for one day only. They are displayed at the top of the Deals page for the entire day in which they run, and are called out prominently with a badge. 

Amazon Deal of the Day example

How is Amazon Deal of the Day chosen? Neither vendors nor sellers can apply specifically for Deal of the Day. These deals are selected somewhat cryptically. Out of all the Amazon deals, these are typically submitted by Amazon vendor managers and chosen by the deals team as the Deal of the Day. Sometimes there are multiple deals run per day. If you are a vendor or Professional Seller, you may be contacted by Amazon with the opportunity to submit a Deal of the Day. There is no guarantee that your deal will be selected or run at any point in time.

Running coupons/vouchers

This type of promotion is either called a coupon or a voucher, depending on whether you are in the US or the UK. These are popular with customers because they are clear to see and easy to add on before checkout. The coupon also shows up on search and browse pages with a green highlight, guaranteeing visibility whenever you run them. Coupons also show up in Amazon Deals, Brand Stores, search results, detail pages, in the cart/basket, on the offer listings page, and in Sponsored Product ads. 

Coupons can be set up as a percentage off, or an amount of savings off the retail price. Customers “clip” them when the product is added to their cart/basket.

Amazon Coupons and Vouchers example

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. According to Amazon, Vendors will see on average an 11% uplift on their sales when they apply this type promotion. Unlike other Amazon promotions (such as Lightning Deals), there is no big setup fee for vouchers, which makes it accessible.  The cost for these is as follows:

In the US:

  • Standard Fees: $0.60 per redemption.

In the UK:

  • Standard Fees: £0.45 per redemption.

Because these vary by season, category and locale, be sure to check Vendor Central or Seller Central for specific clip and redemption fees.

For vendors, 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. 

This is a good promotion type to trial because it’s relatively straightforward to create and monitor. Even a small discount can increase conversion, such as $1 off on inexpensive items. Metrics are also available after you run this promotion type to see how your coupon/voucher performed.

What are Prime Exclusive Discounts?

Prime Exclusive deals were rolled out just before Prime Day 2019. Prime Exclusive Discounts are for sellers. This type of discount is offered on Prime-eligible products sold through FBA. This makes these deals only available to Prime members and perfect for giving an extra boost to eligible items. These are also free to create. Products with this type of deal will show a strikethrough price, plus a savings message in search and near the Buy Box. 

Eligible products will meet the following criteria:

  • Prime shipping eligible in all regions in the US
  • New condition
  • No rating or 3+ star rating
  • The discount must be 10%-80% off of your listed price.
  • The discount must be the lowest price in the past 30 days.

To create a discount, click the Advertising tab in Seller Central and select Prime Exclusive Discounts. These won’t always be available, but are often used during holiday or promotional events, such as Amazon Prime Day.

Prime Exclusive Deals are easy to create, require no fee, and can either be set up as percentage-off or amount-off. You can provide a minimum discounted price floor for each product. They can run for up to 4 weeks, providing incremental lift for your brand. If this type of discount is available to you, it’s a great idea to try it out.

Why run deals on Amazon?

Running deals on Amazon should be part of your long-term marketing strategy as a vendor or seller. Not only does it provide visibility on the products on deal, it can result in a halo effect and increase sales across your brand or products. Showing up on the Amazon Deals page can increase visibility and help grow your business. Deals also can be a relatively cheap way to drive sales, as instead of a large up-front cost, deals allow you to sacrifice incremental margins for a bigger benefit. Deals also create a sense of urgency, as many are time-bound or have limited redemptions. 

This blog outlines some of the basics to consider when planning, running, or setting up deals on Amazon. If you need more help creating deals or an overall Amazon marketing strategy, please get in touch with eCommerce Nurse experts by contacting us.

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Katy Luxem

Katy Luxem

Katy Luxem is the senior content manager for eCommerce Nurse and Vendor Society. She has worked for Amazon in both Seattle and London, delivering results for multiple different teams and product lines across the U.S. and Europe. Katy's experience is centered on making sure customers have a best-in-class experience. She enjoys helping businesses and brands succeed and grow with next-level content.

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