With Q4 lasting between October to December and encompassing a heap of key dates, this busy period is undoubtedly the most critical time of the year. Since we’re nearing November, it’s safe to say we’re already in the thick of it. If you haven’t already, it’s now or never when it comes to getting things sorted to set yourself up for sales success.
This is the season when just about everyone is spending more money than usual, buying for themselves and loved ones, making this time the sweet spot for sellers to make the most of. Last year, Amazon exceeded their own expectations, generating over $80 billion in online sales. With 2022’s Q4 set to be the biggest yet, let’s get your strategy right and set you up to make some serious money so you can finish the year on a high note.
Planning is Key
In most cases, charging full steams ahead is never wise, and this applies to selling on Amazon, hence why first things first, planning. If you plan well and in advance, you catapult your chances to reap the rewards of the busiest e-commerce time of the year. Keeping track of critical Q4 dates ensures you have plenty of stock, relevant promotions to launch and a plan of action for order fulfilment. Some important dates to note are:
- 31st October, Halloween
- 5th November, Bonfire Night
- 24th November, Thanksgiving
- 25th November, Black Friday
- 28th November, Cyber Monday
- 1st December, The start of last-minute Christmas shopping
- 26th December, Boxing Day Sales
- 31st December, New Year's Eve
Although not all these key dates will prove relevant to your brand’s catalogue, noting those that do apply will encourage you to be proactive. This is advantageous since allowing enough time to launch advertising and marketing campaigns gives potential customers time to notice you, think about their potential purchase and make the final buying decision.
Keep Stock Fruitful, All Q4-Long
Don’t limit yourself to key promotional deal events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Selling out on events like these can stint your growth further down the line. Although offering promotions, discounts or bundles on Black Friday allows you to cash in on increased demand, you may run into problems if you end up with limited stock and no budget for the rest ofQ4, which is why it’s imperative to maintain an abundance of inventory throughout the entire holiday season.
Optimise Your Listings
With nearly every seller pulling out all the stops in Q4, optimising your product listings is one way to stand out from the crowd and maximise your chance at success. You must optimise your keyword listings to rank your products in the Amazon search results.
Carry out plenty of keyword research to ensure the right customers are heading to your listing pages. Oh, and don’t forget to include relevant keywords in your product titles and descriptions and that all your product photos are high quality. We’re talking e-commerce, so don’t leave anything to the imagination with your product images and show customers how your product will enhance their lives!
You ideally want your keywords to have a chance of being indexed over time since changing keywords throughout listings means that Amazon cannot build sufficient historical data to check whether you perform well. As such, we recommend you integrate seasonal Q4-related keywords within your copy and stick to it unless data shows that things need to be changed pronto. If you’re unsure where to find seasonal keywords, perhaps using keyword research tools can help. We suggest Helium 10, Data Hawk, Jungle Scout or Keyword Tool (free).
To wrap up this portion of optimising copy, we’re saying that heading into and throughout Q4, your listings should be optimised, but avoid repeatedly tweaking things where you can.
Let’s face it, we live in a world of impatient customers, and if we’re being honest, we’re no different, so what better way to entice more buys than to deliver products in rapid time? Fast shipping is more important in Q4 than ever, with many consumers panic buying gifts at the last minute and relying on speedy delivery to carry out present duties on time.
Since FBA sellers benefit from the prime badge and not having to pay additional shipping fees on top of the FBA fee, prime customers are able to enjoy fast delivery, especially since FBA sellers do not need to worry about picking, packing and shipping their products, due to Amazon’s fulfilment centres handling this.
However, if you are not an FBA seller, wherever possible, offer free shipping during Q4 to stand out against competitors, as this is often a deciding factor in the number of product clicks and buys.
Keep Prices Competitive
As you can imagine, the price of products massively determines a consumer’s purchase decision. The bottom line for Amazon is providing the best user experience they can, so when it comes to competing in the Amazon search results, Amazon is keen for sellers to offer their customers the most competitive prices. This explains why one of the main ways to rank and achieve the Buy Box is to provide consistently competitive prices.
One way to keep on top of this is to use an automatic re-pricing tool that eliminates the need for brands to manage their pricing and analyse the level of competition, demand, and Buy Box opportunity. Re-pricing tools adapt sellers’ prices as needed to provide potential customers with consistently unmatched low prices to optimise product visibility and sales significantly.
PPC & Advertising
There’s no more opportune time than Q4 to go all out on paid ads. Proactively create ad campaigns in the run-up to your relevant key dates to get your products seen before those of your competitors.
Bravo if you split-test your ad campaigns as we approach Q4 to pinpoint types of images, product titles, keywords, and all the others that generate the most conversions.
Remember to keep an eye on keywords to identify any that aren’t performing well to mark these as negative to avoid wasted ad spend.
Advertising campaigns require close management and analysis to adapt strategies over time, but once your strategy is on point, there will be no stopping your conversions.
What is the key to achieving a successful Q4 sales strategy? Inventory management. It is arguably the most important determining factor of a brand's Q4 success. If your stock runs out, prepare to miss out on potential sales, but ordering too much may leave you with outdated and void stock that comes with unwanted high storage fees.
How to calculate the right amount of stock? Look at the previous year's sales to help determine how much you need. Although running out of stock is never ideal, you certainly want to avoid having stock sitting in a warehouse, racking up expensive fees.
Perhaps Q4 is the time to consider utilising Amazon's FBA fulfilment program. Consider which categories your products fit into that you predict to be in high demand, and make sure inventory reaches FBA centres in time for Christmas and other relevant dates to your brand.
Amazon check-in times can become very long in the run-up to and during Q4. Stock sent in via pallets after October may not even be checked in before Christmas, so we strongly advise sending in stock as soon as possible. For any late stock, we recommend using smaller parcel delivery with Amazon's Partner Carrier (UPS), as this is the fastest way to check in stock. With strict cut-off dates for inventory to be delivered in place, it's a good idea to be organised to make sure everything runs smoothly.
It's also worth sending one unit per carton, rather than mixed cartons, as these have a quicker check-in. Another important note is to ensure all labels are correct and the boxes are marked with their contents, as any mistakes can lead to significant delays.
Adhere to Budgets
With Q4 presenting loads of sale-generating opportunities, it’s imperative not to lose track of your budgets and how much you can afford to invest in new stock and order fulfilment. FBA storage fees are not fixed and will vary depending on demand, so make sure to look out for that and consider Amazon’s variable fees around November and December.
And there you have it! Now you know the ins and outs of what it takes to be a Q4 selling superstar, it’s time to put your Q4 strategy in gear and sales, in motion…
Feel free to get in touch with the Sitruna team today so we can have you coming out on top by the end of Q4!