The fourth quarter (October 1st- December 31st) is the most important part of the year for Amazon sellers (and anyone in e-commerce for that matter). The best Amazon sellers know this.
How you prepare and perform in the 4th quarter can dictate your success for the entire year.
To help you prepare, I asked the 26,000+ members of my Facebook group (FBA Today, click here to join) for their best tips.
Here they are!
1. Don't be fooled by low sales ranks
“Toward the end of Q4 don’t be fooled by artificially low sales rank numbers. Check Keepa to see what sales ranks you should expect for that item after Q4. This might impact how deep (how many) you go on an item. Toward the end of December, sales ranks still take about a month to normalize. Keepa is your friend and will help save you from bad buys.”
Michael Flanagan expanded on this point...
“Also remember that sales rank numbers mean different things in Q4. For example, if you have an item that has a rank of 50,000 in toys that you have been selling all year at the rate of 100 a month, that same 50,000 rank in December could result in sales of 500 a month. So as Stephen says - you can raise your minimum rank requirements for Q4.”
2. Don't be afraid to plan one Q4 ahead
“As you go through Q4, make a calendar of the sales that interest you the most for next year. Several stores stick to a similar schedule of sales each year.”
3. Don't underestimate how many sales will be made
“You can pretty much sell dog poop q4. You need to stock up like mad. Odds are no matter how much you stock up, you’ll sell out.”
Editor's Note: Don't actually sell dog poop please 🙂
Two other members said the same thing.
4. Use your cash back cards for all those purchases!
“For the sake of free vacation, please use a rewards credit credit.”
5. Try bundling if products under perform
“If your ‘Hot Toy’ isn’t as hot as you thought, consider creating or looking a bundles with that toy.”
"Make a spreadsheet to track your inbound items. Like the items that you ordered to be delivered at your house. And then make sure you're getting everything delivered. Last year I had almost 10% of all of my inventory go missing before it even got delivered to me."
6. Be ready to optimize your productivity
“Life management during Q4.
- Cook meals a month ahead of time and freeze them, or get very familiar with food delivery options.
- Start November with clean laundry, then just buy more underwear and socks when you run out.
- Caffeine. Lots of it
- Dry shampoo is miraculous.
- Consider hiring a housecleaner, dog walker, and outsource any big chores like gardening or gutter cleaning
- More caffeine”
Editor's Note: Don't ignore your family 🙂
7. Expect long shipment times and longer check in delays
“Expect LONG inbound shipment times and even longer check in delays. If you want your product to be available the first week of November, you should be sending it in NOW! For product that is expected to sell only during Nov/Dec (think Christmas specific items), be sure that they are on their way to Amazon no later than the second week of Nov. Even that is risky, but I wouldn’t guarantee that product sent the 1st week of December will be available for sale before the end of the month. If you have items that are selling fast and you are running out of inventory, then plan on switching to MF for the remainder of the month of December for those items. Which means that you should be stocking up on shipping supplies and procedures now to be prepared.
8. Don't panic if prices tank
“Don’t panic the first and second week of December when you see sellers tanking prices. Scared Money don’t make No Money. You will see new sellers (and unfortunately long time sellers that never seem to learn) start dropping their prices as they are afraid they will not sell their items before the end of December. This is flawed in two ways - First, is that sales continue to improve as you get closer to the end of the month and inventory levels drop fast. Those low priced sellers will be out of stock long before the end of the month and prices will appreciate. Second is the thinking that sales somehow stop the end of December. Couldn’t be further from the truth. The people who have bad Januaries are the people that don’t have enough product to sell in January. Make sure that you keep good inventory levels going into January and watch the sales continue.”
9. Prepare for the grind
"1. Don't panic 2. get some good warm gear if you're going to be working outside or in place with no/little heat, 3. comfortable shoes, 4. buying socks and underwear is usually easier and faster and cheaper than doing laundry. 5. And this is the big one, yes, it is going to suck. Lots of sh*t will go wrong, you will be tired/hungry/irritable etc BUT try and have fun. Think about what you're really doing, how hard you're pushing yourself and you can look back at those massive numbers whatever it is and whatever scale you're on and know I/we did this. And we fucjing killed it.
10. Check and possibly adjust prices when your shipments arrive
"Check prices on items in shipments that haven’t been received yet at a warehouse. Prices go up sometimes before your inventory goes live and you can lose money."
11. Make sure that your inventory is actually arriving!
12. Don't trust store inventory reports
"Remember that store inventory is not always right and that you may find items in store that are listed out of stock. Keep a list of sourcing items to look for. That 2am trip to Walmart could be worth $$$$"
13. Befriend your UPS driver, hire prep help and optimize productivity
"If you aren't best friends with your UPS driver yet, you need to be. Things will often get shaken up, but if you have their phone number and they're cool with you, if you text them on their day off they'll still make things happen so you get the pickup that you need.
If you haven't hired prep help yet, and you foresee having more capital and inventory opportunities than time to source, hire help.
To save time, this may sound extreme; but invest in some disposable plates, cups, and cutlery. I now do it year round, because it saves so much time when I feed my employees at the warehouse. Pizza delivery also is great. Subscribe to emails from all of the pizza places in your area and take advantage of sales. Pizza and beer for lunch and dinner (when the prep runs late) are great for morale.
Things are going to take longer for delivery, and that will affect the purchasing of supplies such as boxes and polybags. At the beginning of November, stock up.
Call your credit card companies, and see if you can get your credit limits increased."
Do you have more tips for Q4? Leave them in the comments!