4th QTR Ecommerce Sales Preparedness
Take a moment, if you will, and picture in your mind where you want to be with your business going into the holiday season. You may be thinking to yourself that the 4th quarter is long ways away. With the end of the 1st quarter upon us, the holiday season is a short six months from starting.
Now is the best time to start preparing for 4th Qtr Ecommerce sales. You have time now to plan, organize, order, test, fail, get back on the horse and try again, evaluate, adjust and improve when it will hurt you the least.
The best time to begin planning was actually at the end of December. Business is a revolving cycle and as such repetitive. The best way to keep from making the same mistakes is to sit down at the end of the holidays and make yourself a shortlist.
Those of you that work from a yearly marketing calendar may already have the process moving forward. Does it not make sense to get this stuff done early and get your ducks in a row to prepare for 4th Qtr Ecommerce sales success?
1. Source New Products
Thinking of expanding your offering or moving into a new category? Now is the time to start looking, researching networking so that by the time fourth quarter approaches, you have your orders placed and already on their way to you. If your products are coming from overseas, add in extra time for receiving them
2. Evaluate Inventory Levels and Storage Space
The worst thing a seller can do is run out of product midway through the holiday season. Keeping an item in stock can be a tricky thing. Running out may give your competitors the opportunity to take away any competitive advantages that you may have built up.
Make sure that you have enough stock to make it through the holiday period. Consider staggering deliveries to keep storage costs at a minimum. With the significant increase in FBA storage fees, consider renting a small storage unit with another seller to stagger deliveries to FBA and keep the costs low.
Another option would be to use a 3pl Fulfillment (3rd party logistics) to store your products and they would replenish Amazon when necessary and fulfill any other non-Amazon marketplace orders
3. Diversify Across Platforms
Were you one of the unlucky Amazon sellers barred from selling via FBA during the 4qtr of 2016. Amazon flooded the other platforms with new applicants due to their rule change. We received numerous calls from sellers asking how fast we could get them on Jet.com.
Selling on Walmart is faster but still not overnight. Consider diversifying now so that you are established, comfortable with the platform and have all of the kinks worked out.
4. Back Office, Staffing & Automation
Did you find yourself so burdened by processing and filling orders during Q4 that you had no time to manage the business? For this reason, we should start the planning exercise now. Every minute you spend planning is one less minute you spend reacting when your minutes are limited.
Take a step back now and look at the processes involved. Ask yourself what did I do that was so time-consuming that I can pay to have automated or pay someone minimum wage to do.
If you find yourself burdened by such tasks, you are wasting time and money when you could be tackling top-level issues like driving more traffic. What is the easiest way to control your costs? Increase sales!
5. Research, Optimize, Test, Evaluate, Adjust, Repeat
Now is the time to look at your listings in-depth. Show me any seller dominating their niche, and I will show you that they know their demographic, know how to trigger the emotion to purchase and optimize their listings in-depth. Listing optimization should be a three-prong approach.
- 1Who is the demographic that purchases the product? Have you created accurate Buyer Personas and Avatars of your potential buyers? Where do they congregate? What other interests pair well with your product for your typical customer? Knowing this information enables you to target your marketing to very specific audiences allowing you to drive traffic to your listings. Understanding the Buyer Journey from start to finish is a big factor in the decisions that you will make. Hint: The buyer journey never starts on amazon
- 2What particular emotion needs to be triggered to spur this demographic to purchase? It could be something as simple as scarcity of product. Now is a good time to test out different bundles to see which works the best. Pay attention to the spot on your Amazon listings that says people who bought this product also purchased... You are receiving the recipe for a potential bundling idea.
- 3Using the data gathered in sections above. and using marketplace specific optimization guidelines, apply what you have learned to tweak your listing and gain a more productive experience for your buyer. Optimize the title, bullets & description. Understand that the placement of different sections on a page affects the weight it carries in a search.
Keep in mind during this time you are also always optimizing for Google search. Optimization rules seem to change regularly across the board. Think of your listing like a car needing regular oil changes. A successful seller with longevity knows how to optimize a listing inside and out.
In conclusion, the little things that you start now will pay off well for you down the road. Set it and forget it does not work for long or consistently in eCommerce. Something is always new on the horizon changing how we do business. Stagnation leads to other's success.
Check back often as we go in-depth by marketplace examining optimization trends and tactics. Next time, we will cover knowing your competition.
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