The year in Amazon always starts rather quietly. The holiday season all the way from Thanksgiving and Black Friday to Christmas and Kwanzaa has been busy, and then sales begin to fall back as the new year arrives.
That’s actually great news. You could take a breather, but your time might better be employed if you regard the first two quarters of the year as your best time to take strategic decisions about your business, and particularly, to research and source new products.
You won’t be sourcing anything new in January though if you’re supplied from China; 22 January is Chinese New Year, and the celebrations can cause a multi-week lockdown. This is a good time to look at how you performed over the holiday season, check which keywords and ad or social media campaigns worked well for you, and research new products.
It might also be a time for looking at the shape of your business and your finances, and setting some targets for this year. Those might include expanding the number of products, increasing the average sales price, increasing your margins, or spending a bit more on promotion.
If you’re in some sectors of course you’ll want to think about Valentine’s Day and Super Bowl Weekend on 14 February, and Mardi Gras or Pancake Day on the 21st. Then in March it’s St Patrick’s Day on the 17th and Mothers’ Day in the UK on the 19th. But if you sell vitamin supplements, dog leashes, or baby diapers, you probably won’t bother.
April has the big date you must not miss: get your tax filing done by April 18th or you’re in trouble. It’s probably best to try to get your figures done well in advance as much as you can; that not only means you’ll make the deadline, but it also really helps you think about tax saving moves. And your accountant is not going to be too busy in January and February to give you a bit of advice on that front.
April also holds both Ramadan (March 22 – April 22 Eid al-Fitr) and Easter (April 7-9).
In May we have Mothers’ Day in the US. That’s a big one if you’re in cosmetics, chocolates, jewelry, accessories and so on. May is also the beginning of the wedding season and it’s when you need to get your summer products ready to go. Hiking, sport, kayaking, all get going now if they haven’t already. And it’s time to think about holiday products for the summer.
June 18 has another big event with Father’s day. DIY, novelty tee shirts, pocketbooks, key fobs, all kinds of Dad products are going to sell well.
And the summer will also likely feature Prime Day. This was mid-July in 2022, and though Amazon does sometimes like to mix things up, most people are betting it will be June or July this year too. You’ll have to wait to nearer the date to find out, but make sure you have stock availability for mid-summer.
July also sees the back-to-school season getting into full swing for those of you who sell educational products, stationery and backpacks. It’s also possibly a great time to sell aspirin for all those parents with multiple headaches (just kidding).
Then you have a little bit of a lull in terms of events over the summer. That makes it a good time to take stock, and finalize your plans for Q4, concentrating at the moment on sourcing, and on planning your social media. Don’t forget there will be Amazon cut-off points for lightning deals and other promotions, so if you want to do any of these in Q4, get in there quick. Also, don’t forget Amazon’s storage charges go up in Q4 so get rid of any obsolete products and slow sellers unless you think they’ll sell in the holiday rush.
November 1 is the cut-off date for Black Friday inventory, though Black Friday and Cyber Monday don’t come till the end of the month (24-28 November). November also sees Thanksgiving on the 23rd, so you’ll be busy.
December 1 is the cut-off date for Christmas inventory, and December 14 will be National Free Shipping Day. Then you just have up to the New Year to sell, sell, sell!