By Lauren Carter
Preparing for Q4
Every year the holiday season seems to come around a little earlier. As an Amazon seller Q4 is the biggest money making period but you need to be ready to put in some extra work and prepare. As we approach Q4 you need to start thinking about your goals for the quarter and how you can prepare for the season.
Plan Your Budget
Everyone’s budget for stock investment varies, work out how much you can afford to spend on stock and when you can afford to buy. If your budget is reasonably unlimited think about how much you want to earn. If you want to earn £60,000 and your average ROI is 100% then you’ll need to spend £20,000 on inventory. If this is your first Q4 and you are a relatively new seller then you might not have any idea how much you can expect to earn, that’s okay, just work out a spending plan and stick to it. Allow a little wiggle room so you can be flexible if you find a great opportunity but remember to be realistic.
One technique might be to get as much inventory listed now as you can so you can get more profits back to invest in more stock as quickly as possible. This will create a snowball effect and allow you to buy even more stock so that you have as much stock as possible ready for when it really counts. This is obviously dependant on you selecting fast selling inventory now. It’s no good spending your entire budget on products now which won’t sell for a month or more. You need a fast turnaround to really make this work.
Start Looking For Trends and New Products
Keep watch for newly released products and toys which are expected to be big sellers this holiday season. It helps to have some idea what you are looking for when sourcing products. If you know that a certain electronic toy is supposed to be popular this Christmas then you can look out for accessories for that toy or similar but lower or higher priced versions of the product. Competition on the predicted big sellers is likely to be fierce towards the end of Q4 as sellers try to get on board the trend, if you can think outside the box a little you might be able to find some great sellers with less competition. We’ve all seen in the news queues of parents trying to get hold of a “must-have” toy which is sold out everywhere. If you can stock up on these early you might be able to charge a premium for them later.
Certain product lines are more of a sure bet this time of year, think of classic gifts and holiday essentials which never go out of fashion and will always be strong sellers. These can act as a great back-up in case your more speculative investments don’t work out but they can be highly competitive especially if you go for the most obvious products.
Plan Your Time
If you are selling merchant fulfilled and are already at your limits with the time you put into the business you need to think about whether you will be able to cope with extra orders. If you know you’ll need to be working overtime at your day job or you won’t be able to package any more orders daily you’ll need to think about whether you can get anybody to help you out. You might also want to consider switching to FBA even if you just do so for some product lines for a few months. It’ll take some of the work out of your hands and keep your stress levels down. You don’t want to reach the end of the quarter and find you’ve got A-to-Z guarantee claims, negative feedback and cancelled orders because you couldn’t keep up with dispatching orders. You need to safeguard the long-term health of your seller account.
Think About Which Tools Can Help You Out
If you have been putting off getting a repricer or inventory management software now might be the time to trial one. If you think that a software solution can save you time then it’s worth trying, you want to free up as much time as possible so you can focus on sourcing products and shipping orders if you’re selling merchant fulfilled.
Make Sure You Have Enough Stock
The more stock you have the more you can sell; it’s as simple as that. You don’t want to sell out of your best selling products at the beginning of December with not enough time to restock and miss out on the pre-Christmas rush. Do your research, have a look at CamelCamelCamel data from the same period last year to get an idea of how much you can expect sales to increase. Remember that for many products selling prices on Amazon will increase in the weeks leading up to Christmas. For products where you have limited stock it may be worth listing at a higher price and waiting for other sellers to go out of stock so that you can maximise your profits.
I’ve already mentioned that using FBA is a great way to manage the extra orders without taking up all of your time. But FBA has another big advantage, especially towards the end of Q4. Many Amazon shoppers from mid-December onwards will be looking for fast, reliable delivery. If they’re buying presents they want to be certain they will arrive on time. By using FBA your products will be Prime eligible and eligible for free delivery, this massively boosts their attractiveness as customers seek products they can get quickly without forking out a fortune on shipping.
Remember to Enjoy Yourself!
Q4 can be a stressful time for Amazon sellers, remember to take a little time out to enjoy yourself. Always remember that the extra work you’re putting in means extra profit at the end of the quarter! Selling on Amazon can and should be enjoyable, when you see the balance on your Amazon account at the end of the quarter the extra effort will have been worth it.