One of the most important times of the year for an Amazon seller is Q4. It’s a great time to gain extra sales, with Amazon sellers reporting that a large proportion of their annual sales come from Q4 alone. As the quarter has just begun, we wanted to give you our top tips on how to get set for the holiday selling period.

Be Prepared

If you have no inventory, no supplies and haven’t prepared, you won’t get much success. Q4’s influx of sales means you need to be ready with all the necessary supplies in place. Make sure you have more inventory than you usually would to keep pace with demand. Also ensure that you have the necessary supplies at your disposal to last you through Q4, such as tape, labels and boxes.

Be Aware of Key Dates

You need to be mindful of the main Amazon deadlines for shipping for key events. While these have not yet been published for 2018, you can use the 2017 dates as a rough estimate, so you’re ready long before the deadlines. The below estimates are based on the 2017 guidelines and should not be taken as 100% accurate, but we will update them when the 2018 details are announced.

  • Inventory for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should arrive at the Amazon fulfilment centre before November 7th
  • Stock for Christmas should reach the Amazon fulfilment centre before December 1st.
  • Inventory for 2019 should be at the fulfilment centre before December 17th, 2018.

It is vital that you meet these deadlines to get sales in Q4, so make sure you prepare your inventory and shipping well in advance of these dates.

Know that Sales Don’t Automatically Stop After Christmas Day

For many businesses, the fourth quarter runs from October to December each year. As an Amazon seller, you should be expecting an influx of sales between November to January each year. Don’t be disheartened if your sales don’t increase as much in October, as you will likely get more during November to January.

January can be a great follow up to the highs of Christmas and can also result in a decent amount of sales. This is because many people will get gift cards for Christmas, and so will look to Amazon to buy new things in the January sales. For this reason, you need to check that you buy enough inventory and supplies to last through January.

Utilise any discounts you may have

You can save yourself money by knowing where to look for discounts and coupons. On SourceMogul, we have links to some great coupon sites within the app for you to take advantage of during Q4 on Amazon.

Pro-tip: Higher Sales Rank items sell faster in Q4

For most of the year, it’s a good idea to find items that have a low Sales Rank; otherwise, you aren’t as likely to get good sales on that product. However, you can source products with a higher Sales Rank during Q4, and they will still get a decent amount of sales as demand increases in the lead up to Christmas.

That doesn’t mean you should sell products that have never sold before. When sourcing a product, check how it sold during the previous Q4 as a guideline if the product has been on the market for a long time. This doesn’t guarantee you will get sales, but it’s a useful method of predicting what may perform well during Q4 2018.

You can easily see an item’s historical Sales Rank by looking at Keepa charts. Keepa charts show the market trends and Sales Rank of items.

Anticipate an Increase in Item Returns

Once you get some sales, don’t spend the profits the second you get them. With an increase in sales also comes an increase in items returned. This may be due to damage caused in the Amazon warehouse, or the customer is unsatisfied with the product. Also, be aware that if the issue lies with Amazon, you can ask for a refund.

Don’t Just Sell the Hottest Toys

It’s only natural that there will be more sales in Toys and Games during Q4 as parents prepare for Christmas. With that comes many lists of the best-selling toys by retailers, and you may be tempted to source those toys. However, it may be better not to sell the hot toys – these items will already be saturating the market, meaning you will have more competition. Instead, look for toys that are slightly harder to come by that aren’t best sellers. These are the items that are more likely to hold their price and have less competition.

Ultimately, the way you source during Q4, like any other time of the year, is down to personal preference. If you’re a new seller though, it may help to follow these guidelines until you settle into a strategy that works best for you.