Amazon Q4 Dos and Don’ts: Sellers Edition
We’re right in the thick of Q4 now and for Amazon sellers, we all know what that means! It’s officially the busiest time of the year for us and with all that’s happened this year and the UK now being in its second lockdown period, we know that this will probably be the craziest Q4 ever – unlike one we’ve ever experienced before.
Keeping that in mind, this is my sixth Q4 since starting my Amazon business in 2015, and I have learnt a hell of a lot along the way. Of course, none of us knows exactly how this Q4 is going to pan out but there are some tried and tested ways that we can make this period easier for ourselves, that I’ve picked up through my own experience.
Here are my top dos and don’ts for Amazon sellers during Q4. I hope they’re able to help make this selling period easier, smoother and happier for you.
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1. Understand your rate of sales and your replenishing systems
Knowing your stock levels and replenishing systems is critical when it comes to managing an e-commerce business – especially so on Amazon during Q4.
In Q4 however, the rate of sales increases, sometimes quite drastically. We have Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season in general. Additionally, now that we’re in lockdown as well, online sales are going to pick up massively again.
It is VITAL that you know your replenishing system inside out, and that it is a system that is effective and efficient. From purchasing; knowing your lead times; knowing the prep times to how quickly Amazon can get your products out the door, the more you know your replenishing systems, the better.
I highly recommend you take some time to have a discussion with your team and ask yourself the following questions:
- How are we replenishing right now?
- What systems are we using?
- Do we have scalable systems that can handle extreme volume?
Also, check out the following video which shows you exactly how we do things here at Life Success Engineer:
2. Focus on your inventory management – especially waste
Inventory management isn’t just replenishment, as we spoke about above. Your inventory management includes everything: unfulfillables, stranded items, defective items, warehouse damaged items and returns.
Focus on your inventory management and make adjustments where necessary. Look at your customer concessions reports and see why customers are returning items – this can help you to make changes in terms of your sourcing.
Q4, for me, is all about maximising profits and minimising time, which means you need to take some time with your team to figure out where the waste is in your business and come up ways to eliminate it as quickly as possible.
Doing this will certainly help to maximise your profits.
3. Expand your sourcing
Many Amazon sellers I speak to tell me how they’re going to try something new once Q4 is over. But to that, I say why wait until then?
Don’t be afraid to expand your sourcing and the different models you’re utilising right now.
Now is the time to explore FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) on Amazon if you haven’t already. Now is the time start sourcing in a new category, or to get ungated in a category that you’ve been wanting to get ungated in for a while. And when it comes to wholesale, if this is an idea you’ve been toying with, now is the time to start reaching out to potential suppliers.
Never stop optimising the fuel to your business. Don’t put it off until Q1. Start now.
1. Don’t get into penny battling scenarios
…instead, have a sophisticated pricing system.
Across the course of my journey on Amazon over the last six years, I’ve seen so many products go from being amazing money-makers to not being profitable at all. Sellers don’t know their pricing strategies and so end up getting into penny-battling scenarios, leaving them with very little or no profit at all. DON’T BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.
Set up a sophisticated pricing system and switch to optimising your sourcing of products, your inventory management and your replenishing systems; scale your business out to have more and more stock.
The goal is to be profitable and the more stock you have, the less you’ll see penny battling.
2. Don’t be blind to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across your business
A key tool that we have as business owners is our KPIs.
Especially during Q4, utilise the use of these by being aware of your KPIs and tracking where you’re failing, maintaining or exceeding. This allows you to make any necessary changes needed to, again, maximise your profits during the Q4 period.
A tool I’m currently working with to really help me in this area is DataBox which allows you to connect your business to Google Sheets. This displays your KPIs on a data board with graphs and numbers and provides a really clear and great overview of your business. It’s been super helpful for me, and I’m sure it could be for you too.
3. Don’t purchase without having a purchasing documentation system
You don’t ever want to be in a situation where you don’t have evidence of where you’re getting your stock from. This is why it’s massively important that you have a purchasing documentation system.
Anything that you purchase needs to go into your purchasing documentation system. Use a master sheet that is referenced and make sure you’re saving all your documentation, receipt and invoices and storing them in your system where they are easily accessible.
With Q4 being so busy, you need to have all your documents logged and in one place, so that should a situation ever arise you’ll be able to resolve it quickly and easily.
A few extra tips
The above dos and don’ts, if implemented, could really make a huge difference to your Q4. But before I sign out, I wanted to share a few extra points to lighten your load in this busy period:
- Become part of a community/mastermind of Amazon sellers – this could help you in so many expected and unexpected ways. Join our private Facebook group here
- Don’t focus on the things you can’t control. Only focus on the things you can control.
- Don’t forget to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Check out this blog post on how to avoid overwhelm and exhaustion in Q4
With all of that being said, whether it’s your first or your tenth Q4, I really hope that you have an incredible season of selling. Q4 is truly a unique and thrilling time of the year, and my Q4 wish is that you enjoy it as much as I do!
Here’s to your massive success!