Co-Founder + CRO for Marketplace Valet, a DTC agency + Amazon Optimization company providing global marketing, sales & fulfillment services
High expectations are the headline of the 2020 quarter-four shopping season. With the holidays right around the corner, now is the time to think about what you’ll have available for the customers who come your way.
Why start thinking about your inventory now? Since March, Amazon has lagged on receiving inventory. What began as a shift to essential products because of the novel coronavirus emergency has turned into a domino effect of delays. If you’re not thinking about your Q4 inventory planning today, tomorrow might be too late for your Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) shipments due to new rules like inventory restrictions.
Here are some steps to consider adopting as you get ready for the holiday crunch.
Five Of The Best Ways To Manage FBA Needs In Q4 2020
The first step you should take this year is to watch consumer trends. Although people are itching for a return to normalcy, half or more of households in America’s largest cities are experiencing financial difficulties, according to a survey by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (via The Denver Channel). When you can focus your inventory shipments on the goods expected to sell fast, profits can push higher when the click-to-buy surge happens.
Once you have an idea of what to expect, here are the additional steps to take to gear up for your FBA sales push.
1. Stock Up On All Of Your Supplies
You should purchase anything you need for your product shipments in October (or as soon as possible). That’s because the items you want available for Black Friday or Cyber Monday should be in the warehouse by Halloween if possible. With everything happening in 2020, it’s a better idea to take an ASAP approach to your FBA duties.
If you need anything to prepare your items for shipment or FBA disbursement, get it right now. Stock up on your tape, boxes, poly bags, labels, bubble wrap and similar supplies. Stocking up on some of the bigger containers to ship more items to the warehouse may also be useful.
2. Get Your Workspace Organized
The Q4 crunch at Amazon tends to make everyone disorganized to a certain extent. You’re managing higher inventories and sending more shipments. Now is an excellent time to organize your essential supplies so that you don’t waste time looking for specific items.
It helps to keep everything you regularly use within reach of the seat used to manage your business. This step also works for your primary packing area to send your holiday inventory to Amazon’s warehouse.
If you have a significant inventory surge, consider creating an assembly line with your people to get things packed and out as quickly as possible.
3. Listen To Your Gut
Most years, the best advice for better Q4 FBA results is to track what happened the previous year. That likely won’t work in 2020. You should collect information about the shopping trends you see, but it will also be essential to listen to your instincts.
Peaks and valleys in sales and consumer interest happen each year. It can be easy to get caught up in the emotion of it all. I’ve found that even FBM sellers often transition to FBA for their inventory up until Christmas Eve to maximize their sales. If you move in strong with your plan in mid- to late October, the results should happen.
4. Keep Up With Your Selling
Although this truth doesn’t apply to every seller, many stock shelves for increased sales and higher prices while disregarding their current inventory. That strategy may have worked in previous years, but it is not likely to be a successful option in 2020.
Here’s why. With financial difficulties affecting many countries and about half of households, people may be shopping now for the holidays. By buying a little with each paycheck or unemployment benefit they receive, their goals for the season can stay within reach.
Having some extra liquidity right before the holiday surge also helps ensure your sales efforts have some additional flexibility.
5. Optimize Your Listings
October is the time to prepare your listings for customer views. Take some time to review your targeted keywords, item images and overall description. When shoppers are rushing to find great deals, it only takes one typo for someone to go from your product page to the competition.
Keep testing your listings with different titles and images until you find the sweet spot where conversion rates work well with the attention you get.
If you plan on having an Amazon pay-per-click (PPC) campaign during Q4, get started by fine-tuning your foundations now.
Will 2020 Be A Lucrative Year For FBA Sellers?
The post-Thanksgiving shopping holidays will likely look different in 2020. Although some regions may see customers lining up to snag some first-through-the-door deals, many consumers are already switching to an online shopping philosophy, according to research from Selligent (via DigitalCommerce360). Some retailers may launch sales two or three weeks before the holiday.
If you want to take advantage of Q4 as an FBA seller, being proactive now is in your best interest. Get your items shipped and stay on top of your inventory to have an excellent season.
Forbes Business Development Council is an invitation-only community for sales and biz dev executives. Do I qualify?