Amazon Q4 is around the corner and it’s time for sellers to start planning for the holiday season. Q4 is Amazon’s cash cow and every seller wants a piece of the pie. The e-commerce giant breaks its own sales record every year in this brief 3-month window. In 2019, Amazon generated total net sales of 87.44 billion U.S. dollars in Q4!
If you’re an expert seller, you’re already familiar with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Now, with Prime Day most likely set to happen later in Q4, the rush to top is only going to get harder. How can you prepare for a smooth and successful Q4?
We’re glad you asked.
How to prepare for Amazon Q4
The holiday season, unsurprisingly, is the most lucrative period for an Amazon seller. With COVID-19 taking over the world, consumers have shifted their purchasing habits. While traditional brick and mortar stores have borne the brunt of the pandemic, online retail has grown substantially. While US retail spending is expected to drop by 10.5%, consumers are expected to spend 18% more on e-commerce purchases!
Sellers now need to be poised to handle the extra demand, along with the selling frenzy of Q4. There are a few common mistakes that sellers make when planning for Q4. Watch this video to find out how you can avoid the most common pitfalls.
Now that you know what not to do, let’s look at what you need to do to prepare for a record-breaking Q4.
8 hacks to ace the holiday season
- Plan ahead
Always have a plan ready for Q4 and start planning ahead. Start working towards your Q4 strategy at least in July. Take into account the longer lead times during the holiday season and kick-off your marketing and advertising campaigns before Q4!
The global supply chain is already affected due to COVID-19. Expect that to get worse during the peak shopping season. Get in touch with your supplier about the additional inventory that you will need, and take into consideration the longer freight and lead times.
You should also be looking into your fulfillment strategy for Q4. Being an FBA seller comes with the bonus of being eligible for Prime delivery – that can be a massive boost for sales. While storage fees are higher during Q4, it can be circumvented with proper inventory management and planning. If you are wary of the added storage fees during Q4, you could take care of packing and shipping yourself. Keep in mind, if you’re not eligible for Prime, you will miss out on a ton of potential sales.
- Optimize product listings
Once you’ve chalked out a plan and ensured you have enough supply, you need to work on your listings. Go through all your listings and make sure you’re targeting the right keywords. Check your product photographs and descriptions and run A/B tests to find out how to drive clicks and conversions before Q4. Keep testing product listings with different main images and titles before you settle on the listing with the highest conversions.
If you’re a brand registered on Amazon, spend time on your A+ content and update them with relevant branding information and features. You could even tailor your A+ content to match the holiday season.
Don’t forget to optimize your listings for mobile devices as well!
If you’re new and need help optimizing your product listings, the SellerApp team is just a call away!
- Explore new trends and products
Amazon is a constantly evolving marketplace. To succeed, you need to innovate on a regular basis and expand your portfolio. If you’re looking to increase your reach and revenue, you should look to expand on your product line. Great product research can help you keep up with changing consumer demands and net you a decent profit.
Study contemporary trends to figure out new products you can add to your inventory. Make sure you’re ready to list them before October. The last thing you want is an unoptimized listing during Q4. Give yourself room to A/B test your listings before D-Day.
These trends keep changing, so make sure you keep up. The best way to figure out what is popular in real-time is to check out Amazon’s best-sellers list. Filter the list by category to get a better idea of what is popular in each segment. SellerApp’s product ideas feature is another great way to keep up with the trends and discover great new products.
You also want to make sure your products have a good number of reviews before October. Your product’s visibility depends on customer feedback and reviews, click-through-rate, conversions, and the product’s sales history among others. You can sign-up for Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program or the Amazon Vine Program to get started and get some verified reviews. You can also have a look at our cheat sheet to learn how you can get legitimate reviews from customers!
- Start PPC campaigns early
With the rapid growth of the e-commerce marketplace, it has become more and more difficult for sellers to stand out. Luckily, Amazon PPC gives sellers the opportunity to market their products on and off the online retail platform.
If you’re looking to supercharge your sales in Q4, make sure you have an advertising strategy ready and running a few months in advance. You need to run both automatic and manual campaigns to fine-tune your ad campaigns before October. While automatic campaigns are not always the most efficient when it comes to ACoS, it is a great way to find high-converting keywords for your products.
It takes time to get relevant data and optimize your ad campaigns, so it is important that you start early.
Once the data starts coming in for your campaigns, you need to do a few things to optimize them. The first thing you need to do is identify non-converting keywords and mark them as ‘negative’ to reduce your ad spend. If you find great, high-converting keywords in your automatic campaigns, move them to your manual campaigns to optimize them.
Want to learn more about optimizing your PPC campaigns? In this video, our Customer Success Head, Ankitha Nagaraj, will take you through the strategies you can use to meet your goals.
- Enhance brand awareness
If you have a private label, brand awareness should be a key part of your PPC campaigns. A Sponsored Brand ad will feature your brand logo, a custom headline, and up to three of your products.
You need to be aggressive with your marketing strategy and bid on your competitors’ brand names. This will help your products show up when consumers look for your competitors’ products. You can also direct ads targeting your competitors’ ASINs.
While you try to poach costumers from your competition, you also need to safeguard your customer base. This means bidding on your own brand name! This also helps increase audience interaction with your brand. Launch campaigns targeting your best products and advertise your underperformers to keep customers hooked to your private label.
Social media is another space you should explore when building your brand. Chart out a social media strategy for Q4 and tie-up with influencers to market your products. If you’re going to have holiday or Prime Day promotions, let your social media followers know.
- Manage your inventory
With demand expected to skyrocket amid the pandemic, you need to keep a close watch on your inventory. This is all the more important if you’re an FBA seller. Storage space at Amazon’s warehouses are a premium, so you’ll have to pay more for stored inventory during Q4. It is important to find out how much inventory you need, keeping in mind the higher demand. Luckily, if you’ve sold on Amazon for a few years, you have valuable data that can help you.
Q4 generally sees a 30% to 50% rise in sales. This is not written in stone, but it is a good place to start. Check your sales history in 2019 during Q4 so that you can make an educated decision about how much inventory you will need in 2020. Amazon’s inventory reports are a great place to start.
Forecasting how much inventory you’ll need is key to reaping the benefits of the Q4 mania! Too much inventory and you’ll bleed money due to storage costs. Too little, and you’re staring at a lost opportunity. Running out of inventory can also seriously hurt your Amazon sales rank and your chances of winning the Buy Box.
- Keep your promotions ready
The only way to ensure you come out of the holiday season with great margins is if you plan your promotions for the big sales events. Consider your margins when creating promotions.
You need to keep this in mind when preparing holiday bundles as well. Bundles are a great way to move products and boost your sales. Plan early and release your bundles a few weeks before the relevant holidays so that they have time to gain traction.
- Expect the unexpected
As a seller, there is only so much you can do to prepare. Q4 is an incredible opportunity, but it can get hectic. The most important thing that sellers need to keep in mind, is to expect the unexpected. The fourth quarter is usually the window to a seller’s largest payday. But, things don’t always go according to plan, so make sure you have a plan B.
Q4 is the most exciting season for an Amazon seller. With over 120 million products listed on Amazon, it can get pretty stressful trying to stand out. While you prepare for this holiday season, don’t forget to spread the holiday spirit. Spend time with your loved ones and happy selling!
Learn How to Master Amazon Q4 from Industry Experts
Let us know how you are preparing for Q4 this year in the comments section below.
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PS: Seller App is an Amazon analytics tool aimed at E-commerce Sellers to sell better.
Customer Success Head at SellerApp
Customer success leader with expertise in coordinating between cross-functional teams in product development and strategy, professional services, sales, marketing and content to deliver excellent customer experience and accelerate growth within the company by ensuring clients’ success.