Start your Amazon Q1 off strong
Amazon Q1 2017 went better than analysts expected. With an increase from 29.1 billion US dollars to 35.7 billion, that’s 23% better than last Q1. Amazon is continuing to make improvements and expand into new territory. This provides sellers on the marketplace with many new opportunities to grab as Amazon Q1 2018 approaches.
Q1 is always viewed as a slow time for eCommerce – or any business for that matter. Sales are supposed to slow down considerably. Returns and refunds and complaints, on the other hand, are supposed to spike. The shift from the holiday rush leaves sellers depressed as they struggle with upset customers and not much cash flow to speak of. But your Amazon Q1 2018 doesn’t have to be all bad. It’s always going to look bleak in comparison to the 30% spike of Q4. You don’t have to fall into that post-holiday slump, however. You can still do quite well in Amazon Q1 if you know how to manage it.
Below are 5 tips to keep in mind as you prepare to crush the post-Christmas quarter.
Making an Entrance
Many sellers think that the best time to begin selling on Amazon is just before Q4 begins. Sure, you can make a killing right away if you pull of this grand entrance. However, getting started in Amazon Q1 has its advantages, too.
For one thing, you’ll have lots of time to figure out how things go in reality on the marketplace. There’s no substitute for experience, after all. This will help you to get all your sourcing and inventory management and customer service sorted out before the busy season. You’ll have plenty of time to gather metrics on what sells and prepare to ensure enough supply of the hottest items.
In addition, Amazon is always growing, so don’t wait for another Q4 to roll around. Get in there for Amazon Q1 and start selling. Much opportunity awaits you, even if Q1 might be considered a slow time for retail. You’ll learn a lot along the way that will help you have an even better Q4 than you could as a newbie. The most important thing is that you get started selling.
The man behind Amazon attributed much of the success of Q1 2016 to their efforts in India. Jeff Bezos reported a 75% increase in the range of Prime products available and a 26% increase in seller fulfillment capacity. Consumers have responded very well to the site and Amazon India already boasts the most traffic among online marketplaces. If you have a unique product to offer to this segment, this early stage is a good time to enter and make your mark in Amazon Q1 2018.
An Even Keel
As you go into Amazon Q1, whether you’re a new seller or a veteran, stay positive. Don’t let all the grumbles about how slow it is get to you. Most of this is just the impact of how different the numbers are from Q4. The disparity is real, but it’s not as bad as it seems when you look at it from the proper perspective. Amazon Q1 should never be compared to Q4. Sure, we all want to see continual growth, but expecting better numbers in Amazon Q1 will just get you depressed. Instead, take last year’s numbers as a benchmark and focus on improving that. Take a survey of the competition’s performance last Amazon Q1 and work on being better.
Time to Grow
Amazon Q1 is a great time to focus on the growth of your business. Your increased profits from Q4 can fuel a fresh round of sourcing for newer and better products to market throughout the year. Find them and test them to set aside the items that will sell in Q2 and Q3. Pick out the ones that will help you do better in Q4. Set up new suppliers and work on improving relationships with old ones.
Amazon Q1 is also a great time to streamline operations. Q4 is always a tough time, and it’s during these times that you can really test the mettle of your team. You have the time now to sit down and look at what went wrong, why, and how to fix it. Point out areas for improvement and lay out a plan for implementing changes in time for the net busy season. Your Q1 may not give you the numbers that you want immediately, but you will see how this time, efficiently spent, can make a notable positive impact on your business throughout the year and into the next Amazon Q1.
Every seller should always have an eye on opportunities for diversification. It’s not always the right time to branch out, but looking for good additional sales channels is an ongoing pursuit. During Amazon Q1, look at the reports from the past year and the trends for the coming year. A lot of valuable information will be coming out that can signal the best channels to invest in. You might find that Rakuten,Jet, Facebook, Etsy or Woot is the logical next home for your products.
Look at how each one has performed over time to get an idea of the one that will best suit your niche and goals. Take Amazon, for example. This retail giant has shown marked improvement year over year from the very beginning. This is why it is hailed by most as one of the best choices of platform overall for starting a new eCommerce business. Study your potential secondary channels the same way. Then and you’ll be ready to take it on when you’ve mastered Amazon and it’s time to tackle a new platform with a different learning curve.
Don’t forget, many consumers still have a lot of post-Christmas shopping to do. On top of this, there’s Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day to think about in Q1. These are huge opportunities that you can cash in on if you play your cards right. Start preparing right now. Be ready to collect from all the gift cards and self-gifting that happens the week after Christmas. Start sourcing and stocking all those items that you need to satisfy your customers on Chinese New Year and the day of hearts. And start preparing as well for the next big holiday – Easter. This normally falls within the beginning of Q2, but you will need the whole of Q1 to be primed for this single big holiday that will boost your Q2 profits.