For Amazon sellers, big and small, it’s that time of the year. Yes, we’re talking Q4! If stats from previous years are to be considered, this brief 3-month window is the icing on the cake for the eCommerce giant. Breaking its own sales record year after year, Amazon netted a whopping 87.44 billion dollars in Q4 of 2019 alone, and marketing pundits forecast the numbers this Q4 to go through the roof. Now, who wouldn’t love a slice of that humongous pie?
Despite the pandemic, or rather because of it, Q4 of 2020 looks more promising for eCommerce and Amazon. With most of the world switching to online shopping, and most bricks and mortar stores continuing to stay shut, eCommerce is expected to take a bigger slice of the holiday pie.
Q4 2020 kicks off with Prime Day, scheduled for October 13-14, followed by Black Friday (November 27), Cyber Monday (November 30), 12.12 (December 12), and Christmas. Sellers can expect a buying frenzy across all categories, and you don’t want to miss cashing in on this once-a-year opportunity.
So, how do you smash this Q4 and make it your best one ever?
1. Take Stock of Your Inventory
Get rid of seasonal products – summer wear, beach accessories – everything and sundry must go! Prime Day is the best time to unload them. Don’t wait for next July in the hope of getting a higher ROI. You’ll just end up paying more on FBA long-term storage fees. So, settle for break-even.
2. Streamline Your Products
Research trends – 2021 collections are already out in almost all sectors including fashion, tech, household etc. Check out what influencers are saying on social media. Amazon’s Bestseller List is also a great source for ideas on your next products. Jungle Scout is another good tool for product research.
Pro Tip: If you’re not inclined to product research, there’s one category on Amazon where you can never go wrong: Toys.
If you already have a private label, congratulations! Based on what’s trending in your category, launch new products, update existing ones, or consider brand extensions.
3. Restock Your Inventory
If you’ve been selling on Amazon for a while now, you can forecast your sales using last year’s figures. This is a good benchmark on which to base your inventory stock, especially if you have a private label. You don’t want to run out when your sales are just taking off.
4. Factor in the Storage Fees
While sales peak in Q4, so do storage fees. But this is no reason to switch to FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant). Stay with FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) because it guarantees more sales.
If you must do FBM, make the switch on Christmas Day or when long-term storage fees kick in. Better yet, opt for Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) instead.
Also make sure to factor in storage cost to your product pricing.
5. Pull Out Those Promotions
Promotions are your new best friend, especially during the holiday season. Shoppers specifically look out for promotions on big days. Even a simple “£5 Off” or “5% Off” will get you the eyeballs you need on your listing. If you’re already ranking well in generic niches, a small promotion could mean hundreds of units and thousands of pounds. No laughing matter this! So, click on Advertising > Coupons and add in those promotions.
This is also the time to open up your product to Amazon associates or influencers. They are on the lookout for discount codes to feature them in holiday gift guides. Here’s how you get to it – Promotions – Create a Promotion – Social Media Promo Code – Tick the box next to Amz Influencers and Associates.
6. Make Your Listing Visible
It is the face of your brand. Make sure it looks great, sounds trustworthy, and spells correctly. Most importantly, make sure it shows up in search results. Here’s how you can do that:
Use Professional-looking Images
You don’t need to hire a professional photographer. A camera phone that can take high-resolution photos will suffice. Capture your product from all possible angles, on a plain white background. Then, hire a graphic designer to create infographics and creative images for you.
When buyers search for products on Amazon, images are the first thing they see. The second thing is the product title beside them.
Optimise the Text on Your Product Page
Thousands of copywriters and SEO experts do this for a living. No need to waste your time studying the ropes when it’s possible to outsource the work. You can get well-written and optimised Titles, Bullet Points and Product Descriptions in 24 hours or less.
Pro Tip: Optimise your listing for all devices including mobile phones.
Exploit the Enhanced Brand Content Feature
If your brand is registered with Amazon Brand Registry, now is the time to add images to your product description as well. If your EBC page is already up and running, optimise the images and text content to match the holiday fervour.
Virtual Bundles Can Add to The Volume
Amazon introduced virtual bundles this year. This lets you put your products right up on top before Amazon’s ”Also Purchased” feature. This means your product shows up before all the others. Make the most of this bundling strategy since it is prime real estate – a great place to upsell new products or other best sellers and you don’t want to miss that. Click here to get started on creating those virtual bundles.
7. Product Launch
On Amazon, ranking is king. The higher your listing ranks, the closer you get to page one, which puts you in front of the competition.
The good news is that a product can rank for different keywords. It is advisable to run an Amazon PPC Campaign (more on this below) and a product giveaway as soon as your listing goes live. Either or both are surefire ways to boost your sales and, in turn, increase your ranking.
8. Promote, Promote, Promote
The bestsellers are on page 1 for two main reasons – sales and reviews. But they didn’t get there overnight. The road to page 1 is paved with:
Amazon PPC Campaigns
It’s impossible to succeed as an Amazon Seller without advertising on the platform. Sponsored Ads, if you’ve noticed, appear above Bestsellers and Amazon’s Choice in search results. Which means you need to pay to play.
Stuffing your listing with keywords is not enough. They only make your product page visible in search results. Leverage them instead by running PPC campaigns to increase your rankings. Start with both automatic and manual campaigns, identify high-converting keywords, and then bid more aggressively on those while marking the non-converting ones as “negative.”
Use tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs to boost your SEO and monitor the performance of your keywords using Helium10. Turn off automatic campaigns when your product starts doing well in the keywords you’ve selected.
Pro Tip: Start PPC campaigns early. Many sellers leave it for later, but your secret to success is increased sales in the lead up to the season. Higher sales propel rankings which in turn propel sales during the frenetic shopping season. So, get on the PPC bandwagon now!
While you can increase brand and product awareness among Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube users, they contribute little to your Amazon bottom line. However, social media is a great avenue for creating sales funnels that build email lists through ads. This is a valuable customer database that you can target during upcoming promotions, new product launches, and review building on Amazon.
A website is a good way to consolidate your branding and marketing efforts and you can showcase all your products here with more information than you can on an Amazon listing.
Pro Tip: Add a buy button to each ad, redirected to your Amazon product page listing.
9. Get Reviews
Feedback from customers makes a big impact on potential buyers. 5 stars encourage them to click the Add to Cart button in as much as 1 star turns them off.
You have a better chance of receiving positive feedback if your product is flawless. So, make sure you send for samples before ordering in bulk. Run multiple tests. Don’t skimp on the packaging.
Amazon now offers the Review Request feature. Use this to send a message directly to your customers asking them to share their buying and product experience with the Amazon community. Be mindful of Amazon’s Terms and Conditions (TOS) here. Offering freebies or discounts in exchange for positive feedback can get your account suspended.
Another way of getting verified reviews is to enrol in Amazon’s Early Reviewer Programme or Vine Programme. You can also try subscribing to an auto messaging platform like Mailchimp, Aweber, FeedbackWhiz or Zonmaster. They come with feedback request templates and can be connected to your Amazon account.
10. Always Adhere to Amazon’s TOS
We cannot overemphasise this. Gaming the system can, and will, get you into trouble. Amazon strictly implements its TOS on all areas including images, content, returns and refunds, review requests, and product quality. Crossing the line can get your account suspended.
Pro Tip: Seller forums are a gold mine of data and they keep you abreast of any major changes on the platform. It’ll pay to stay tuned.
Q4 is the most lucrative quarter for Amazon Sellers. So, plan your strategies carefully, expect the best, prepare for the worst and follow the tips given above to capitalise on the coming season.