Q4 is undoubtedly the most critical time of year for not just Amazon sellers, but every retailer both on and offline. Running from the start of October to the end of December, there is a reason people call it ‘holiday season’, with Q4 encompassing key dates in the ecommerce calendar including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
When it comes to the final quarter of the year, practically everyone is spending money, on themselves and buying for others, making it essential for sellers to be ready and prepared for the season ahead.
Last year, Amazon excelled themselves generating over 80 billion dollars’ worth of online sales. Amazon doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing their success; sellers and consumers can access a full report on the earnings of each quarter. With the COVID-19 pandemic further catalysing the sure set move from brick-and-mortar shopping to ecommerce, Q4 of 2020 is set to be the biggest yet.
To help prepare sellers for what’s to come, Repricer.com are here to share a dedicated Amazon seller guide highlighting all the key components to achieving a successful Q4 in 2020.
Get your strategy right, and Amazon sellers all over the world are set to make some serious money to brighten up what has been an unexpected and dreary year so far.
How to Achieve a Successful Q4 in 2020
There are several valuable hacks to consider in the run-up to Q4, many of which you may already be implementing. Now though, you need to step up your game, elevate your existing strategies and aim higher.
First, make use of the resources already out there to support sellers. Amazon released its very own guide to selling during the holiday season last year, jam-packed with expert advice on what to do and when to make sure you are prepared for Q4 when it rolls around.
1. Plan Ahead (But Don’t Over-Do it)
The first step in our Amazon seller guide is arguably the most significant. Preparation is essential – the saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ applies to Amazon selling too. Don’t ruin your chances of benefitting financially from the busiest time of year in ecommerce by failing to prepare in advance.
When it comes to planning, have Q4’s critical dates in mind to make sure you have plenty of stock, relevant promotions to launch, and a plan of action for your order fulfilment. Some potentially important dates to put in your diary:
- October 13-14 – Amazon Prime Day
- October 31 – Halloween
- November 5– Bonfire Night
- November 23 – Thanksgiving
- November 23– Black Friday
- November 26 – Cyber Monday
- December 1 – Last-minute Christmas Shopping begins
- December 26– Boxing Day sales
- December 31– New Years Eve
Although not every holiday date will be relevant to your brand’s catalogue, noting down key dates that will benefit your selling strategies is essential. That way, you can be proactive and not reactive with your promotions. Don’t wait to start marketing your seasonal or discounted products until a day or two before the big date – your competitors will get there first.
Advertising and marketing campaigns should be planned, created and launched in plenty of time to give consumers time to notice you, think about their purchase and make the final buying decision.
2. Don’t Gamble on Key Dates
Next up in our Amazon Seller guide is not putting all your eggs in one basket. Dates like Black Friday and Cyber Monday present incredible opportunities when it comes to selling but don’t let them impact your profits further down the line.
With Black Friday in the US becoming increasingly competitive and aggressive to take part in, many consumers are now choosing to opt-out in an attempt to catch the sales closer to Christmas. Having promotions, discounts or bundles on offer for Black Friday allows you to cash in on increased demand, but if you end up with limited stock and no budget for the rest of Q4, you will be limiting yourself long term.
For this reason, Amazon sellers need to have a well-stocked and fruitful inventory to offer throughout the entire holiday season, not just for the one week of the year.
3. Optimize Your Listings
Every seller pulls out the big guns in Q4, so if you don’t stand out or grab attention in some way you will get lost in the background. In the run-up to the busiest time of year for Amazon selling, make sure every product listing is fully optimised to give yourself an optimum chance at success.
If you want your products to rank in the Amazon search results, your listings need to be optimised accordingly. Carry out plenty of keyword research to make sure your listings target the right keywords with relevant search intent behind them.
As well as including the relevant keywords in your product titles and descriptions, make sure all your product photos are professional-quality. Leave nothing to the imagination with your product images and aim to show potential customers how and what your product will add to their life.
4. Fast Shipping
Another way to optimise your listings and distinguish your products from that of your competitors is fast shipping. With ecommerce quickly taking over as a preferred way to shop, consumers are becoming increasingly impatient, wanting their products delivered the same day in some cases.
With many consumers finding themselves in a buying-frenzy the week before Christmas, offering speedy and reliable shipping is never more important.
Where possible, offer free shipping during Q4 to stand out from your competitors during the peak season. Free shipping is a deciding factor in how many people click on and buy your product making it more critical than ever for sellers to prioritise their order fulfilment processes.
To go one step further, why not benefit from the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program throughout Q4? FBA allows sellers to benefit from Amazon Prime, having a clear badge on your listing that differentiates you from all the brands not part of the program.
5. Competitive Pricing
Another crucial factor to optimising your product listings and competing in the Amazon search results is pricing. Amazon wants to provide its customers with the most competitive prices; hence one of the main ways to rank and achieve the Buy Box is to offer consistently competitive prices.
While those just starting with Amazon selling may prefer to manage their pricing strategy manually, it is simply not as effective or efficient. Automatic repricing tools eliminate the need for brands to manage their pricing, analysing the level of competition, demand, and Buy Box opportunity to adapt sellers prices where needed.
By putting your faith in an automatic repricing tool like Repricer.com, you can provide potential customers with consistently low prices and hugely optimise both visibility and sales.
6. Be Innovative
If you’re happy with your product listings and are confident that each product is optimised to rank, you can start to think innovatively. Making a success of Q4 in 2020 is all about not becoming too comfortable with your product catalogues.
Spend some time each day carrying out a thorough competitor and market research to source unique products and find new product lines to generate revenue. There will always be trending products and changes in demand that you can benefit from if you get there before your competitors.
Professional Amazon sellers should always focus on expanding their offering and while Q4 isn’t the time to change up your entire selling strategy, its ideal for benefitting from the increased traffic hitting the Amazon platform by trialling new products.
You can use the updated Amazon Bestsellers list to continuously keep track of new trends and products that have made their way onto the scene before they become oversaturated.
7. Amazon Advertising
With Q4 being every sellers peak season, there’s no better time to utilise all that paid ads can do for boosting the visibility of your brand and products in Amazon search. Create ad campaigns in the run up to your key dates that are proactive and get your products in front of people before your competitors do.
Split test your ad campaigns in the run up to Q4 to pinpoint the types of images, product titles, and keywords that generate the most visibility, clicks and conversions.
You can use real-time data from the Amazon Advertising interface to educate future campaigns and ensure that you are investing your ad budget in the right ways. Once your ad campaigns have been launched, keep an eye on your keywords to identify any terms that aren’t performing and mark these as negative to avoid wasting you’re advertising spend.
Advertising campaigns require close management and analysis to adapt your strategies over time but once you’ve nailed your strategy you will notice clear results reflected in your conversions.
8. Inventory Management
The key to nailing your Q4 sales strategy is to manage your inventory in the right way. Inventory management is arguably the most important factor in determining how successful a brand is throughout the Q4 period. Fail to stock enough of a product and you will miss out on potential sales, but order too much stock and you can be left with obsolete stock and high storage fees.
For experienced sellers that use Amazon for their main source of income, running out of stock is simply not an option. Not only can it limit your revenue but your organic product rankings can be affected and you can end up losing the Buy Box due to having low stock.
When it comes to calculating stock and sourcing products, consider the previous year’s sales to work out how much you will need. Don’t limit yourself but don’t be too ambitious either – it’s far better to re-order stock than have too much stock sat in a warehouse as you will end up paying high storage fees.
When it comes to inventory management, Q4 can be the ideal time of year to benefit from the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program. Consider which categories your products fall into that will be in high demand and make sure that all your inventory is delivered to the FBA centres in time for Black Friday and Christmas.
Amazon has strict cut-off dates for inventory to be delivered to their fulfilment centres and with postage being especially busy during the holiday season its important to plan ahead and be highly organised to risk missing out.
9. Be Strict on Budgets
Last but not least to conclude our Amazon seller guide is to be strict with budgets. Though Q4 can present tons of opportunity for generating sales, it’s important not to lose track of your budgets and how much you can afford to invest in new stock and order fulfilment.
The FBA storage fees are not fixed and will vary depending on demand. Don’t neglect to take into account Amazon’s variable fees around November and December when analysing your budgets for this season.
Get Ready for Q4 with Repricer.com
Now you have a strong idea of what to prioritise as a seller in the run-up to Q4, its time to start putting your Q4 strategy in motion.
Repricer.com allows sellers to offer consistently competitive prices across multiple marketplaces and webstores.. The automatic repricing software analyses product demand, competitor prices, Buy Box opportunities and more to ensure sellers are staying ahead of the competition. You can try repricing free for 14 days, no credit card needed.