August 16th, 2022
If you’re an Amazon seller, preparing for Q4 can feel like getting ready for a first date. We do our best to look good and get prepared, but nerves are inevitable. After all the anticipation, the building buzz, and the chaotic preparation, this momentous time is almost upon us.
There is no such thing as being too ready, so it’s imperative to prepare your inventory and ensure your account is in top-performing condition to enjoy the benefits to come. After all, the sales rush is inevitable. Are you ready for it?In 2021, net sales increased 9% to $137.4 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $125.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. Each year they break their own sales records during the last three months of the year. This year will likely be no different, and could potentially generate higher sales than ever before. Although US retail spending is expected to drop by 10.5%, consumers are expected to spend 18% more on ecommerce purchases in 2022. So what’s the best way to reap the benefits of Amazon’s exponential growth?
It’s imperative to prepare your inventory and ensure your account is in
top-performing condition to enjoy the benefits to come.
7 Strategies to Implement to Prepare for Amazon Q4
Ecommerce is continuing to grow substantially with the shift in consumer spending from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online retail options like Amazon. While many of the same tactics will still be relevant for Q4 in 2022, there are some unique areas that businesses will need to focus their attention on.
1. Create a Plan
In order to effectively execute your Q4 sales strategy, you need to have a solid plan, and that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to get organized this year.
All inventory should be in stock, promotions strategies should be ready for execution, and product listings should be optimized. Getting all this done may sound like a lot, but with the right strategy, sellers can finish out the year on a high note.
2. Set Efficiency Protocols
Set up processes to help streamline your entire Amazon business, from obtaining products to finding the best shipping options. It’s important to be efficient with your time, organized with your inventory, and effectively market your products in order to reap the benefits of Q4.
Write it down. Whether you are a pen and paper kind of person or you prefer spreadsheets, record every step along the way. Sometimes it really helps to work backward. Make sure you take into account the time it takes to acquire or restock inventory if you are utilizing Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Don’t forget to factor in the amount of time it takes to get your products sent to an Amazon fulfillment center. Last but not least, account for the time you or your Amazon consulting team need to set up and optimize your product listings and advertising plan.
In order to be efficient and effective, you need to plan ahead. Not only does proper preparation stave off last-minute panic, it puts you in the driver's seat of your own destiny. Let’s face it, hiccups happen and there are things we don’t have control over (i.e. shipping delays), so being on top of the things you can control is crucial.
If you find yourself wondering how to set up a step-by-step plan that covers fulfillment options, listing optimization, and advertising, schedule a 30-minute consultation with a member of our team. Having the support and insight of our experts can help reduce your workload and get you ready for Q4.
3. Create an Inventory Management Strategy
Being organized and keeping track of your inventory is a huge part of your business. You have to be strategic to make sure you have the inventory you need ready to go. After all, if your product isn’t in stock, it certainly can’t sell.
If you are utilizing FBA, check your inventory limits. Log into your account and go to Inventory > Inventory Planning > Restock Inventory to see how much you are allowed to send into the Amazon warehouse.
As a backup to your FBA program, consider having FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) set up and ready to go. That way, if your inventory runs out in an Amazon warehouse or they haven’t received the new inventory you sent in, you can still maintain and fulfill orders utilizing FBM.
Knowing how much inventory you should have comes with careful planning. Look at your sales data to determine what products have done well during Q4 in the past. This should give you a starting point to be able to estimate how much you need to have stocked.
Any lag in inventory gives your competition a leg up. To thrive in Q4, it’s important to get a handle on what you have, what you need, and what you expect based on previous years.
4. Determine Your Best Fulfillment Option
How are you going to get your product into your customer’s hands? Which shipping and fulfillment method is going to give you the quickest shipping time? What is cost-effective for your business? To excel during Q4, asking the right questions and investigating their answers is a make-or-break step.
If you want to acquire the coveted Amazon Prime badge, look at Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA. Many consumers look and filter their search results to only include those which ship Amazon Prime. The Prime badge is a marker of trust to many and symbolizes easy returns, fast shipping, and exceptional customer service. This fulfillment and shipping option can give your sales a considerable advantage and get you seen by a vast audience of buyers.
Fulfillment by Merchant or FBM is another option that many businesses turn to. Some also use FBM in tandem with FBA. Amazon FBM is where the Amazon seller is responsible for fulfilling orders. This option can be managed by the seller directly or by using a third-party logistics provider.
Your final option is Seller Fulfilled Prime. If you play by the rules, this option gives you the benefit of the coveted Amazon Prime badge. You are in charge of delivering orders directly to customers from your warehouse, and you are committing to fulfill orders within the two-day delivery at no additional charge for Prime members. Amazon does give you access to transportation solutions to help fulfill orders if you use this option.
Case Study: Switching to FBA Increased Sales by 200%
It's not always easy shipping out of your own warehouse. Shoppers have come to expect fast shipping times and Amazon FBA gives them that peace of mind. So, when this industry leader in Kona coffee came to us looking for a strategy to increase sales we identified shipping FBA being a priority for growth. Within the first month of switching from FBM to FBA the client saw sales soar 200%! Read more.
5. Start PPC Advertising Early
Now that shoppers are primed to buy (no pun intended), you need to make sure they are seeing your products. The goal of any advertising campaign is to increase awareness. Traditionally, without advertising, it could take weeks, months, or even years to get your product on page one of Amazon search results. We don’t have that time to waste.
With advertising, it’s critical to plan ahead, start your campaign early, and manage your campaign regularly. By doing so, you’ll notice trends and be able to track new keywords or unused keywords to better understand your demographic and tailor your campaign for the best results.
A great advantage to utilizing Amazon PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is that you’ll only be paying for the clicks you actually get on your ads. There are three fundamental ad types that are available through Amazon PPC:
- Sponsored Ads
- Sponsored Brand Ads
- Sponsored Display Ads
- Sponsored Display Ads
6. Prepare for Promotions
Promotions are a great way to garner new interest in your products and also give an incentive for the customer to make the purchase. Promotions breed appreciative and loyal customers and show potential buyers that they can turn to you for a great deal. There are three options to consider for Amazon promotions while you are preparing for Q4.
- Lightning Deals: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are known for Lightning Deals. Sellers have to submit their deal by a predetermined deadline set by Amazon. Be aware, this is not a guaranteed promo opportunity. Even if you submit a deal, it does not necessarily mean your deal will be displayed. Deals with the best price, quantity, and inventory are awarded the best time and position on the Amazon Deals page.
- Promotions: If you are looking to move more products, a promotion is an excellent option. They are typically used to offer a multi-unit or tiered discount on your products. This option is also great to use in conjunction with external marketing and advertising campaigns.
- Coupons: Coupons are seen from the search results and are great for driving consumers to your page. There is a fee associated per coupon clipped and used.
7. Stay Focused on Customer Service and Reviews
Q4 is traditionally a busy time of year and provides a good amount of sales for most Amazon sellers. With that in mind, don’t forget that customer service and quality reviews are important for continued success on Amazon and your ranking.
Amazon respects and gives advantages to sellers who take their customer service seriously. Don’t forget to quickly answer buyer questions and respond to customer service queries. Also, allocate some time to focus on ways to get reviews. Being responsive, compassionate, and helpful can make all the difference for customers. Never forget, with Amazon, the customer always comes first!
Getting prepared may feel like a daunting prospect, but if you follow these tips you’ll be prepared to benefit from the sales opportunities in quarter 4. To get organized and cut down your workload during this pivotal time, consider turning to our seasoned experts. Our full-service management team can help guide you through the planning process leading up to quarter 4 to increase sales and get you seen by buyers far and wide. Get started today with a free consultation.