The fourth quarter is the time for any retailer to make super profits. That applies every bit as much on Amazon as in the mall; there’s a huge spike in both searches and sales. There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa; lots to look forward to!
But to make the best out of the fourth quarter you’ll need to be properly prepared. That means getting your inventory into the warehouses, and focusing on your most profitable products. It might even mean getting some part time help, or outsourcing part of your business so you can cope with a higher level of sales.
First off, Q4 won’t be the same for all your products. The ones that are proving a little bit problematic to sell, or that don’t get the buy box, or that have strong competition, are only going to see their problems worsen in Q4. You might also have products that sell well, but after a number of price cuts are only marginally profitable. There’s no point trying to sell more of those; you’ll get plenty of sales but little profit.
Instead, pick your best selling, strongest and most profitable products. These are the ones to promote in Q4. If you don’t have enough inventory right now, put your restocking order in right now or you won’t have time.
If you have a multi-product portfolio you’ll also want to see that the products you pick all enhance your brand and will sell well together.
You might not want to put all of that inventory into Amazon, though. Remember that storage costs go up in Q4 and it’s not just a small rise in costs – Amazon will quadruple your storage fees! (In fact if you have products you’re going to discontinue, this is a good time to use some deep discounts to get rid of them, or liquidate your last stocks. Time for some good housekeeping!)
You don’t have to have seasonal products for Q4 to be big. However, it’s worth considering whether you could run relevant promotions or change your product page, or have a ‘holidays’ tab on your storefront. For instance, “gifts for cat mums and dads” could promote your cutest products during the holiday season, or you could run a promotion “Is your turkey too big for your dish?” coming up to Thanksgiving to sell kitchen equipment.
You might also want to ring the changes on the keywords that you’re using to advertise. Your ‘garden lights’ can become ‘Christmas tree lights’ and your regular scented candles can become ‘Christmas gift scented candles’. Of course, you won’t be the only seller to have this idea, so look for long tail keywords, and expect to pay significantly more per click for your advertising.
Ask influencers you know if they’re having particular promotions around Q4 big dates, like ‘Top gifts for artists and craft-workers’. You might want to feature some of your top products, or offer a coupon. Get your own social media working hard too.
If you really want to make Q4 work, start reinvesting your profits right from the beginning of the quarter. Keep spending on ads and promotion, keep your inventory well supplied, and even spend a bit of money on getting part time help or a freelancer working on your ad campaigns if you need to. You can take time off in January!
If you can keep advertising and feeding more inventory into Amazon all the way through the quarter, you’ll find you can build up really fast. While you may end up with a bit too much inventory in January, at least Amazon will be charging you the usual rates for it.
However, if it’s your first Q4, it might be a bit early for you to go all-out. If that’s the case, you might want to take a bit less risk. That’s fine – but even so, max out your sales this Q4 using some of the tips we’ve given and you’ll have more money to invest in growing the business in 2023.