The fourth quarter, also known as Q4 on Amazon, is unquestionably the most critical time of year for all online and offline retailers. More specifically, the beginning of October to the end of December is called the “holiday season.” Q4 includes key dates in the e-commerce calendar, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
When it comes to the fourth quarter of the year, almost everyone is spending money on themselves and on gifts for others, so sellers must be ready and prepared for the season ahead.
In the run-up to Q4, there are several useful hacks to consider, many of which you may already be using. You must now up your game, elevate your existing strategies, and aim higher.
First, take advantage of the resources already available to assist sellers. Last year, Amazon released its own guide for selling during the holiday season, jam-packed with expert advice on what to do and when to ensure you’re ready for Q4 when it arrives. Here are a few tips for quarter planning on Amazon:
- Be Innovative
- Analyze your inventory data
- Start preparing early
- Make sure you have enough capital to increase your inventory
- Be prepared for shipment delays
- Keep an eye on inventory levels with your manufacturer
- Amazon advertising
- Prepare for Q1 as well
Now, let’s discuss each tip on a deeper level and show you how you can improve your quarterly action planning for Amazon.
Be innovative when it comes to making as many sales in 2023. Making Q4 successful is all about not getting too comfortable with your product catalogs.
Spend some time each day researching your competitor and the market in order to source unique products and discover new product lines that will generate revenue. There will always be trending products and changes in demand that you can benefit from if you arrive first.
FBA Sellers should always focus on expanding their offering. While Q4 isn’t the time to completely change your entire selling strategy, it is ideal for capitalizing on increased traffic to the Amazon platform by testing new products.
Analyze Your Inventory Data
Amazon sellers must plan their inventory methodically. Because storage space at Amazon’s warehouses is limited, you’ll have to pay more for stored inventory during the fourth quarter. This means that determining how much inventory you require during Q4 is critical, as you don’t want to end up paying much more for stored inventory while also not wanting to run out of stock items, as this would mean missing out on sales opportunities and can also hurt your rankings on Amazon and cause additional damage, as explained here.
Using historical unit sales to manage inventory accurately allows you to avoid “Long Term Storage Fees” that Amazon imposes if your inventory is overstocked or stays in their FCs for an extended period of time. Long-term storage fees, in addition to monthly storage fees, will apply to any inventory that has been stored for more than a year.
Start Preparing Early
In general, sellers typically prepare for Q4 in the middle of Q3. They don’t want to start too soon because they need to understand their inventory levels and which of their products are currently generating the most interest. However, supply chain delays and high demand for seasonal products could mean starting even sooner.
Make Sure You Have Enough Capital to Increase Your Inventory
Inventory funding is another major issue that must be addressed ahead of time. Obtaining the funds upfront is not easy. You should think about the various funding options for Amazon sellers. Inventory Boost, in particular, provides a risk-free inventory growth service for e-commerce sites, allowing you to earn more by selling more with no upfront costs.
Be Prepared for Shipment Delays
As you are aware, you are not the only seller gearing up for Q4, so expect shipment delays during this time. Getting your inventory in as soon as possible is critical to reduce this risk. Because of the high volume, Amazon-owned trucks are frequently delayed in Q4. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies here as well. To reduce risk, consider sending your high-priority ASINs in smaller shipments on a regular basis. The consequences could be severe if a large shipment is lost or delayed.
Keep an Eye on Inventory Levels With Your Manufacturer
To send products to Amazon, you must first prepare them for FBA at your facility. In general, receiving more inventory from the manufacturer during Q4 for top-seller items is always recommended. Add a 10-15% buffer to your estimated Q4 unit sales so you can keep some units for Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM) if you temporarily run out of FBA stock during the holiday season.
With Q4 being every seller’s biggest selling period, there’s no better time to take advantage of all paid advertising offers to increase your brand’s and products’ visibility in Amazon searches. Create proactive ad campaigns in the run-up to your key dates to get your products in front of people before your competitors.
In the run-up to Q4, you can test out different ad campaigns to determine which product titles, images, and keywords generate the most visibility, clicks, and conversions.
You can use current data from the Amazon Advertising interface to ensure your ad budget is spent wisely. Once your ad campaigns are live, monitor your keywords to identify any terms that aren’t performing well and mark them as negative to avoid wasting your advertising budget.
Close management and analysis of advertising campaigns are required to adapt your strategies over time. Therefore once you’ve nailed your strategy, you’ll see clear results reflected in your conversions.
Prepare for Q1 as Well
Amazon FBA Sellers must understand that they need to be prepared and make a plan for the whole year. Meaning when Q4 ends, January comes, and Q1 starts all over again. Q1 may be just as complicated as Q4, especially for sellers who rely on Chinese factories for their products because
China is gearing up for its longest holiday, the Chinese New Year, during this quarter. This holiday is typically observed between late January and mid-February, with the resulting disruptions lasting up to 40 days. This means that orders from this region typically take 60 days to fill and could take more than 100 days. Given this situation, it poses inventory challenges if you are not prepared.
To prepare for Q1, try to place orders as early as October and as late as late November. You should provide your manufacturer with an estimate of your expected stock needs. Request that your manufacturer order enough raw materials to meet your yearly requirements. This openness and planning will ensure they have everything in stock and reduce delays when you place an order.