So a subject that keeps popping up at the moment is ‘How to prepare for Q4 and Christmas’.
Many people are asking this question and want to know the best way to prepare. So I have done a little checklist, along with some top tips to get you ready.
Decide now what you are going to need to fulfil your orders, get your prep material so you are ready! I’m talking packaging tape, labels, boxes, the worst thing would to have all your stock and no way of getting it to Amazon.
If you use a prep service contact them and ask them how long lead times will be on the run up to Christmas. Just imagine what these guys are going to be like during this period! Do you really want your stock sitting in their prep centre?
Think about prepping yourself over this period, you are in way more control and if needed employ someone to help.
This is so important, on the run up to Q4 and Christmas it makes perfect sense to try and build up your inventory, but don’t do this if you are going to stretch yourself financially, only do what your business can afford.
I see many people whacking huge amounts onto their credit cards to build up their Inventory and this is just CRAZY! DON’T DO IT! Build your stock with in your budget.
REMEMBER although Q4 is historically great for most people it may not be for you! It’s not a cast iron guarantee that everybody will see a huge increase in sales. If you use huge sums of capital which you can’t budget for, you are taking a massive risk!
With Q4 comes massive returns in January, yes sales can be great in Q4 but they can comeback at bite you in January.
Make sure you have the funds available! I would suggest about 5% of your Q4 sales to be on the safe side.
Your Seller Account
Is your seller account in good stead?
Have you set up your account correctly with the right entity?
The worst case scenario would be to get blocked by Amazon right in the middle of Q4 after buying all that extra stock!
Check your account make sure you are setup as a business not an Individual, check your seller feedback metrics are they good? If not get them better! Just make sure your account is as clean as it can be.
Check the Christmas guidelines for selling in toys, make sure you qualify, New sellers and sellers with low metrics may not! Search Amazon for this information, it hasn’t been released yet for 2016.
Source products that can be replenished during this period, so avoid one off purchases if you can, they are fine for the odd sale at this time of year, but over the Christmas period we really want replenish able stock.
We want to invest our time and money into stock we can keep getting.
Its far better to have 20 SKU’s of a great selling product that we can replenish than 160 SKU’s of odd products.
Try and source products with good ROI’s this will help with your cash flow and more importantly will give you room to move on your price.
Don't source products with a 25% ROI in the hope it will increase to 80% over Christmas!
Not all products go up in price at Christmas and I think this year in particular we will see a lot BB wars.
So give yourself room to move on your price, the last thing you want is to get stuck with stock.
Ok so that’s the planning etc. out of the way and you should now have a rough idea if you are ready for Q4, so let’s look into the next steps sourcing and what to buy!
Keepa is such a great tool to use and during Q4 and Christmas it is an essential piece of kit.
Why? Because you can see historical information on products. You can see exactly what a product was selling for last year, can you source that product now at a great price knowing it will rise in Q4?
Is the BSR as good now as it was last year? For example, PIE Face sold like crazy last year in Q4 and prices went as high as £39.99.
You can source this product now for about £11, it still has a great rank so will it sell as well at Christmas for a higher price? Well I don’t have crystal ball so can’t answer yes or no but I would guess it will sell for way more than the £11 you currently source it for.
Use Keepa to determine price increases, look at the historical data and you will find some great products to sell.
Ok, so I mentioned a toy in the previous point, but don’t just source toys everyone does!
Look at different things you know will sell at Christmas. Home & Kitchen items, Grocery products, Beauty.
Yes, toys sell really well at Christmas, I’m not saying don’t do them, I’m just saying source other products too!
It’s now coming up to August and you will start to see many retailers and manufacturers advertising products on the Internet, TV and Magazines etc.
Start researching the products they mention can you find them at a good price? Do you think they will be another Pie Face or Minecraft Story Mode (Now that product brings back good memories for me last year). Again crystal ball comes into mind!
But we can use our common sense too! Pokemon Go! Is huge right now and you can get a watch that is already impossible to buy, so come Christmas will it still be as difficult to buy? I'm sure it will so Can you Catch Some!!!!
Scroll through the internet and see what products are going to be hot, Argos just launched their list and others have too. Try and get ahead of the game!
Another great resource is to check out what movies are coming out during the run up to Christmas.
Movies can be a great way to find hot products. Here are just a few: Finding Dory, Trolls and Moana, they will all be big hits and there will be lots of merchandise around them! My Pick Trolls!
OK that should give you some idea of what to do during Q4 and how to prepare, enjoy Q4 but PLEASE don’t over stretch yourself financially, your Amazon business works 365 days a year not just 90! Think about it.
Plan your actions.
Don't stretch yourself financially.
Be prepared for high returns in January.
Get you Seller Account metrics good.
Find Replenish-able stock.
Source products with good ROI
Use Keepa to find products
It's not all about toys.
Search for whats hot.
Check out the latest Movies
Buy Branded products.