Last year, Amazon’s total net sales increased by 21% to a whopping $87.4 billion in Q4. The company breaks its own sales record year-over-year in this 3-month window. So, if you’re selling on Amazon, Q4 is your opportunity to shine.
How can you prepare for a smooth and successful Amazon Q4 in 2020? It’s essential to start planning right away. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to set yourself and your business up for success—provided that 2020 doesn’t throw us any more curveballs.
Why Is Amazon’s Q4 So Important?
While Amazon was an e-commerce giant before COVID-19, orders have increased even more as more people enjoy the convenience of shopping online. This shift is significant for Amazon sellers—which is why it’s vital to prepare your inventory and optimize your product listings to reap the Q4 sales benefits.
This year will likely be no different, as Amazon has already surpassed its 2019 Q4 sales numbers amidst a pandemic. Revenue was up 40% to $88.9 billion in Q2.
Amazon also announced that Prime Day is later this year. It’s expected to be in October, but Amazon has yet to release the official US date. If this prediction is accurate, it means that each Q4 month will have a major sales event:
- October: Prime Day
- November: Black Friday/Cyber Monday
- December: Holiday sales
How to Prepare for Amazon Q4 2020
The first step to preparing for Q4 is planning. But the economy is rapidly changing due to COVID-19, so it’s even more important to get your ducks in a row heading into the holiday season.
Let’s explore some tactics you can implement to prepare for a record-breaking quarter.
1. Follow Trends and New Products
As a marketplace, Amazon is continually evolving. Those sellers who don’t regularly innovate and expand their portfolio won’t succeed.
If you’re hoping to expand your reach and increase revenue, expand your product line. Perform product research to monitor customer demands to net a decent profit.
Also, you must study new trends to decide which products to add to your inventory—and be ready to list them by October. Without positive customer feedback and reviews, your products won’t be as visible to customers. Product sales history, click-through-rates, conversions, and feedback all play into visibility.
If you need verified reviews, consider applying to Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program or the Amazon Vine Program.
2. Advertising on Amazon
Consider advertising the secret sauce of Amazon. Amazon’s ad revenues are expected to reach $38 billion by 2023, making it the fastest-growing area of the business.
Help your brand stand out, drive new sales, and improve your product rankings all through advertising. Carving out a budget to develop effective marketing strategies is essential to the long-term success of your Amazon brand.
Your buyers are out there; you just have to ensure that they see your products. Without utilizing advertising, it could take months (or years) to get visibility within Amazon’s search results. Q4 is approaching quickly, and you don’t have that much time.
Plan ahead, start your advertising campaigns early and manage them regularly. This strategy will enable you to track new or unused keywords and notice trends. From there, you can tailor your campaigns for better results.
Consider implementing Amazon PPC (pay-per-click advertising) so that you’ll only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Three fundamental advertisement types are available:
- Sponsored products: Ads that are keyword-targeted to allow you to promote individual products
- Sponsored display ads: Ads that send shoppers to Amazon product detail pages (only available to vendors)
- Sponsored brand ads: Ads that allow you to create a custom headline, add your logo, and include up to three products within your ad.
3. Use Repricing Apps
Keeping track of products is how shoppers and buyers score the best deals. Every day—often multiple times an hour—sellers will reprice items in an attempt to gain Buy Box ownership. Some do this manually, but most use apps to do this for them.
There’s a better way to do this than refreshing your browser every few seconds. Consider using a price tracking or repricing app to do this for you.
Types of re-pricers and their effectiveness vary, but more advanced options can make a huge difference in increasing your sales. But be mindful of which tools you use. Some apps promise the implementation of new features but never release them.
Only use apps that are authorized by Amazon and are well-established within the community. Search for price tracking apps in the Amazon Marketplace Appstore or the Amazon Web Services Solutions Finder.
How do these apps work? You can set your own rules or use default settings to start the repricing process immediately. First, you set a minimum and maximum price on each product. For example, you have a product that you need to sell for at least $5 to make a profit, so you’d set $5 as your minimum price.
You set a maximum price to whatever you want, or use rules to make it a percentage—never more than five times your minimum price, for example. Then the repricing software will aggregate data to reprice automatically.
4. Keep a Close Watch on Your Inventory
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, demand is skyrocketing.
For this reason, you need to up your game when it comes to inventory planning, especially if you’re an FBA seller. You’ll pay more for stored inventory in Q4, as Amazon’s warehouse space is at a premium.
You’ll need to determine precisely how much inventory you’ll need. If you’ve been on Amazon as a seller for a few years, you’ll be able to use historical data for this.
Generally, you’ll see a 30-50% rise in sales during Q4. While this figure isn’t set in stone, it’s an excellent place to start planning. Too much inventory, and you’ll lose money due to storage costs. Too little, and you’ll risk a huge money-making opportunity.
Partner with our consulting agency to facilitate inventory management. We will use sales projections and data to create accurate forecasts. This planning will help keep your inventory levels in check.
5. Optimize and Test Product Listings
Once you’ve honed in your inventory management, focus on your listings. Go through each of your product listings to be sure you’re targeting lucrative keywords.
As you review your listings, check your product descriptions and photographs. Run A/B tests to determine how to drive conversions before Q4 begins.
Continue to test listings with different featured images and titles and then choose the listing with the highest conversions.
Spend your time on your content and update descriptions with relevant information and features. Even better, tailor your content to the holiday season.
6. Sell Goods on Other Channels
Amazon is an e-commerce giant, but they don’t own the e-commerce market. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. If you do, you could be missing out on a significant percentage of potential sales.
When you build your own online store, you can drive traffic to your website and keep all of the profits.
By setting up a store outside of Amazon, you can take advantage of the following customer acquisition channels while also building your brand equity:
- Google Shopping
- Google Adwords
- Bing Shopping
- Bing Ads
- Comparison shopping engines
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Ads
- You Tube
Go With the Flow
Preparing for Q4 is daunting yet exciting. It’s essential to remember that, as a seller, there’s only so much you can do before you have to brace yourself for the season.
The final quarter presents tremendous revenue growth opportunities, but it’s also a hectic time.
As you plan, remember to go with the flow. Expect the unexpected. While this could be an excellent quarter for you, things don’t always go as we plan. Always ensure you have a plan B in place, just in case things go sideways.
Start Planning for Amazon’s Q4 Now
COVID-19 has introduced challenges and opportunities in the e-commerce space. Nothing is 100% certain, but selling on Amazon during the holidays can put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.
This year, customers will be shopping from the safety of their living rooms, and you’ll be helping to share holiday cheer across the globe.
Give Amazon Q4 2020 the planning it deserves. Envision your brand and products through a new lens. Play around with new advertising and marketing strategies and consider taking your store to new heights outside of Amazon. Now is the time to sit down with your team, develop new relationships, cultivate your goals, and cozy-up to your suppliers.
Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO and co-founder of 3dcart, an ecommerce software to build SEO-friendly online stores. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.