The Q4 holiday season on Amazon is around the corner and it is time for sellers to start prepping for the same. The e-commerce giant breaks its records every year during this brief 3-month period. Amazon generated a total net sales of 87.44 Billion U.S. Dollars in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The fourth quarter (October-December) is a massive opportunity for Amazon sellers to maximize their revenue potential. With Prime Day getting pushed to October this year, the opportunity for sellers to rake in revenue is only getting bigger. The flagship event clubbed with Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the holiday season is set to create a whopping sales record, and businesses must be prepared in advance.
In this article, I examine key factors to consider to win big this holiday season:
Stock up on inventory to cater to the massive surge
Generally, Q4 sees a 30% to 50% rise in sales compared to Q3 for most sellers on Amazon. With the demand expected to skyrocket this time, you need to aggressively plan inventory to keep up with the uptake in sales.
- Q4 history and inventory forecast – To make an educated decision, you need to analyze previous years’ Q4 sales history, various marketing initiatives, and demand surge. Forecast inventory requirements and ensure that the shipment is received by Amazon on time. Amazon has set 11th September as the deadline for delivering inventory to warehouses for Prime Day. In the past few months, several sellers reported large delays by Amazon in inbounding their inventory, despite delivering on time to the warehouses. To avoid such issues and missing out on the sales window, inventory management becomes extremely crucial for success in Q4.
- Storage space and fee optimization – For FBA sellers, remember that Amazon’s storage fee increases dramatically during Q4. Create removal orders for unfulfillable and stranded inventory. This will help you use the storage space more optimally, especially as Amazon continues to put storage limitations on many accounts and products. You need to ensure that you are not paying excess storage fees by storing large amounts of inventory. Smaller and more frequent shipments will help cut down the fees.
A well thought out pricing strategy can lead to unparalleled results
A well-planned pricing strategy is a must for raking in revenue during this time. It will help surpass competitors and attract more customers.
- Effective competitive pricing – You need to keep your product pricing competitive to not only lure more customers but also to win the Buy Box/Featured Offer, which leads to increased sales. Analyze the pricing and deal trends of the rivals to understand the most enticing price for the product category. Competitive pricing strategy enables additional cash flow which allows you to capitalize on new opportunities and establish stronger negotiation power with suppliers.
- Monitor pricing changes just before deal days – Price changes in 30 days before the event need to be closely monitored as it will act as a benchmark for prices on the event days. Price drop/increase decisions should also be matched with the inventory at hand. For example, if you are left with a substantial amount of your original inventory after Cyber Monday and Black Friday, plan to drop prices accordingly. Even if the margin is tighter, this will prove to be profitable than spending excess storage fees or costly removal of the left inventory.
Decide on how aggressive your approach needs to be, whether that means reducing prices to win the Buy Box or taking a step back by maintaining a certain price.
Optimize your product listings to make it specific to the event
Make sure your Amazon product listings are optimized and contain all the bells and whistles. Before the arrival of the Q4 season, you need to utilize the rest of the year to understand the strategies that work best for your products.
- High-conversion photos and descriptions – You should test listings with different images and titles before settling on the one with the highest conversions. Upload high-resolution product photographs and descriptions that meet the Amazon guidelines. Make sure to optimize the listings for mobile devices as well.
- Targeted content – Thoroughly analyze your listings to ensure that you are targeting the right keywords. Tailor your A+ Content to meet the demands of the holiday season. This can be done by identifying product features and benefits to highlight seasonal relevance and gifting opportunities.
Finetune your ads strategy to budget for the holiday season
An efficient, targeted ads campaign strategy can bring your products to the attention of customers and help increase traffic as well as overall conversions. During this time, the cost increases massively, therefore, you need to spend your ads budget wisely.
- Keywords and search placements – I recommend bidding more aggressively on the relevant topical keywords and focusing on top search placement to drive more impressions. The holidays are also about diversifying spends. Explore placement in core competitive categories. Increase spends on sponsored brand and product campaigns during peak season as they drive better conversions.
- Product prioritization – Decide which of your products work best for this season. They must be apt for holiday shopping, have a considerable number of product reviews, have a 3.5-star rating or above, and should lead to appealing product detail pages.
- Advanced Ads campaign- To supercharge your sales during Q4, make sure that your advertising strategy is ready and running a few months in advance. It takes time to get relevant data and then optimize the ads campaign, so it crucial to start early. To fine-tune your ads campaign by October, it is essential to run both automatic and manual campaigns. Automatic campaigns will help you identify high-converting keywords for your products and then you can move these keywords to your manual campaigns to optimize them.
Competitive deals and promotions strategy for enhanced reach
You need to create robust deals and promotion strategies to increase the visibility of your products and attract more customers. Deals are featured on high traffic pages leading to greater product promotion.
- Amazon’s gift guide – Amazon FBA sellers should apply to include their products in Amazon’s gift guide. For categories such as electronics, health, beauty, personal care, handmade items the sellers should strive to get their products featured in the gift guide. This will increase their brands’ appeal in the eyes of the customers. Keep in mind the deadline for the same and prepare for the application in advance.
- Participation in sales events and offering promotions – I recommend participating enthusiastically in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to increase the traffic and conversions. Amazon has cut-off periods for promotional offerings and thus, it is critical to keep track of this. They are already open for this year. Additionally, coupons increase visibility by placing your products on Amazon’s coupons pages, which are among the highly visited during this time as people are on a look-out for the best deals and offers.
All in all, the Amazon Q4 season requires a lot of preparation. With scores of products competing for the same position, it can be quite overwhelming for sellers. The season may be a month away, but sellers need to start preparing for it right now to make the most of it and stay ahead of the competition.