Ensure Your Q4 Success! How to Kick Ass During the Most Lucrative Selling Period of the Year
Q: How do you ensure your success for this year’s Q4?
A: Simple. Make sure you have a solid, time-efficient plan in place for Q4’s biggest selling dates: Black Friday (November 24), Cyber Monday (November 27), and the Christmas shopping season which kicks off on December 1.
Your sales revenue has the potential to increase by as much as 1,000% during these key dates, so it is absolutely imperative that you have a sound plan and strategy in place to maximize profits during this lucrative season.
Three Keys to Success:
1. Get your inventory to Amazon on time. Timing is everything. The first thing that you have to ensure is that your inventory for Q4 gets to Amazon in timely fashion. For Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your products should already be at Amazon fulfillment centers by November 7. For the Christmas shopping season, your target date is December 1. In addition to these key dates for Q4, make sure that you start planning your inventory for the 1st quarter of 2018. Keep in mind that the Chinese New Year is also a big selling date on Amazon. You can start sending in your inventory for 2018 by December 17.
2. Make inventory management a top priority. Proper inventory management is one of the most important aspects of your FBA business that you need to focus on to guarantee that you stay profitable. Keep in mind that shoddy inventory planning often results to stock outs, overstocking, and additional storage fees to pay, and these negatively affect your sales, cash flow, and profits. Remember, the goal of proper inventory management is to have the right amount of inventory that will allow you to:
a.) Accommodate all product orders from your customers
b.) Avoid paying additional storage fees
c.) Have enough leeway for product replenishment
Having the right amount of inventory this Q4 that allows you to do these three things is absolutely important as the movement of products is very fast, the possibility of shipping delays is high, and storage fees for your products are steep during this period.
This Q4, inventory management should remain at the top of your priorities because of two main reasons:
First, Amazon recently announced a significant increase in storage fees – Amazon has repeatedly emphasized that their facilities serve as fulfillment centers and NOT warehouses. To reinforce this point, they have implemented a whopping 267% increase in storage fees for standard sized items (from $0.64 to $2.35 per cubic foot) and a 167% increase in storage fees for oversized items (from $0.43 to $1.15 per cubic foot). This increase became effective last October 1, and will continue to be in effect at least until December 31, 2017.
Second, your Q4 sales and Seller Metrics – your ability to manage your inventory not only reflects on the number of direct sales you make, but also on product reviews and seller ratings, both of which, by the way, have a significant effect on the rankings of your products.
Take Action NOW
Maximize Amazon’s offer of free removals and get rid of your excess inventory – For a limited time period, Amazon is offering you to the opportunity to remove your stale or excess inventory that would be subjected to higher storage fees for FREE. This offer actually started last September 19, and it would be in your best interests to take advantage of this as soon as you can since Amazon can pull the plug on the offer at any time. Now, keep in mind that in this offer, while Amazon will be waiving its usual fees for inventory removal, you will still be shouldering the cost of having the items shipped back to you, and processing the removals may take more time than the usual Amazon timeframe of 10-14 days. Moreover, it is important to take note that you may not ship any of the ASINS you include in the removal orders you make under this offer until January 1, 2018. (or when the level of your inventory for a particular ASIN dips below Amazon’s two-month projection of your sales). Using Amazon’s Excess Inventory Tool will allow you to pinpoint stale and slow-moving inventory and have them removed at a much lower cost. Aside from making you dodge higher storage fees, doing this also gives you room to replenish. To access this report, log on to Seller Central, hover your cursor over “Inventory”, and select “Inventory Planning”. Then, click on “Manage Excess Inventory”.
Replenish your top-selling ASINS. Make sure to utilize Amazon’s Restock Inventory Tool to identify your best-selling products and ensure that you will have enough them in stock to accommodate all customer orders. This tool can help you project demand and plan your pricing strategy more effectively. Keep in mind, however, that factors such as fluctuations in price, shifts in consumer demand and your competition must always be considered when restocking your best-selling products. To access this report, log on to Seller Central, hover your cursor over “Inventory”, and select “Inventory Planning”. Then, click on “Restock Inventory”.
3. Employ an efficient pricing strategy to control the buy box. Control of the buy box is
absolutely vital to your success this Q4 as almost 90% of Amazon purchases occur there. Take time to read our blog post on formulating an effective buy box strategy and the 3 most common repricing errors FBA sellers commit to help you become more competitive in your bid for buy box control.
Keep in mind that in the system Amazon implements, sellers with excellent seller metrics are rewarded quite generously. Aside from being more competitive in the fight for the Amazon buy box, in the Amazon A9 search algorithm, sales and inventory are factored in the rankings, and the products of sellers who maintain exemplary performance levels are ranked much higher. This, of course, lead to more sales, and naturally, bigger profits.
We hope that this blog post was able to impart the necessary knowledge and directives you will need to take to manage your inventory more efficiently not only in Q4 but also in the long run. Questions, comments and suggestions are most welcome!
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