A short sprint at the end of the year and Q4 a.k.a. the Holiday season accounts for as much as 40% of annual retail sales, according to the US National Retail Federation.
U.S. retail ecommerce spending rose 16.6% to $123.73 billion in 2018.
A typical UK household spends over £500 more in December compared to other months.
With so much at stake, now is the last possible moment for Amazon sellers and retailers in general to make preparations for a successful holiday sales season.
There are 5 important lessons that we'd like to share with you which have a huge influence on the success of your holiday sales.
This is essentially a checklist of important tasks that you can run through for each product that you sell.
Here are 5 areas you should be focusing on based on recent shopper surveys and eCommerce experts.
#1 Revisit your inventory management
Your first priority is to make absolutely certain that you won't run out of inventory any time between October and December.
💡 PRO TIP: Turn on Amazon real-time out-of-stock notifications available from a free Bindwise account.
In other words, Amazon inventory planning is your number one preparation task for the Holiday Season. Independently either you're Amazon FBA, reseller or Private Label seller.
There is nothing more painful than seeing a competitor clean up with sales while you sit on the sidelines with empty shelves.
Theoretically, for your non-seasonal products, you can expect an increase in sales.
This is assuming all things remain to stay on par with the rest of the year, and the lift in sales will come naturally with the increased traffic that Amazon sees.
As a business person, it's your obligation to understand what your manufacturing and importing times are, and what your sales velocity is. Taking into account that you will sell significantly more between Black Friday (end of November) and Christmas Eve (December 24th).
💡 PRO TIP: Here's the simple yet powerful idea of how to plan inventory for the Holiday season. If Amazon doesn't impose storage limits on your product, assume that you will have enough inventory to last you through mid-February, at your normal sales velocity.
By doing so, you will ensure that you stay in stock through the surge in holiday demand, and you will not incur additional Amazon storage fees because your product will be moving off the shelves.
Bonus: For your reference take a look at the United States holiday calendar 2019
#2 Set up promotional giveaways
In Nov, lot of people search for a good deal.
November is where we see a spike related to deals - November Offer related queries rose by 20% month on month in 2017 and 2018. This helps the retailer in their pricing strategy, bundling.
November represents 40% of discount related queries in the three months of Oct, Nov, Dec, and users are increasingly searching for deals on their mobile devices as those represent 60% of all deals related queries.
We've already covered 3 growth tactics for the Holiday season in one of our previous articles.
No doubt you know that one way to stand out from your competition is by setting up product promotions to incentivize a customer purchase.
This especially works when the main shopping quarter in the year comes along, because customers love to find a good bargain!
💡 PRO TIP: Offering a Buy One Get One deal of some sort is a great option, as is bundling, because though you have a lower profit per unit sold, your overall profit is increased.
You can set up promotions that offer a monetary discount, a buy one get one, or bundle it with other products you are selling.
Money-Off Promotions promotions are probably the most typical that you see in the Amazon Marketplace.
You can find the promotional options in Seller Central here:
#3 Sell at the optimum price
Starting in early September, it would be nice if you took as the habit and hone in on your pricing strategy.
What do I mean? Finding the upper limit of a customer’s willingness to pay, without lowering conversion rate, is tremendously important to boost your profits.
You will want to position your pricing thoughtfully, depending on what type of niche and customer you are targeting. Adjusting your price up or down by 10% is a good place to start.
There is an art and science to finding the perfect price for your product. The “art” aspect comes from thinking about your product positioning, how it compares to competitive alternatives, and how it fits into your product listing overall.
The “science” part of pricing is far more important!
#4 Focus on improving your Best Seller Rank before the Holiday Season
We spoke to a few merchants in various industries about how they approach the Holiday season.
Here is a major tip they shared.
Starting in October, they run promotional giveaways for all of their products. Their goals are twofold:
- Generate more product reviews (side note: we'll soon be launching review monitoring, so stay tuned on our FB page)
- Improve the sales velocity heading in to late November
Both of these goals have a direct impact on the Best Seller Rank of your products.
And the better your BSR, the more likely your product is to appear for the main keywords that you're targeting.
They have seen for the past few years that there is a direct correlation between sales (even if at a discount), and improved Best Seller Rank, and the effect is only magnified once the increase in traffic and sales hits in late November.
#5 Revisit the content of your listings and ASIN health
Here at Bindwise, we track our customers' listings for suspensions so they can quickly recover them in case Amazon blocks ASINs.
We see that at least a few of our customers' listings are blocked by Amazon every week. It's unacceptable.
You cannot afford to have inactive ASINs during the holiday rush.
Another thing that should remain under your locus of control during the holiday season (and the rest of the time) is the content of optimized lucrative product detail pages.
What we typically see among our clients? Well, the pictures of their products had been changed to similar but fake poor images. The same thing happens but with the descriptions.
Even the listings within the Brand Registry are vulnerable to unwanted changes.
Our 3,500+ registered Amazon sellers rely on Monitoring & Alerts Feature which provides 24/7 surveillance for an unlimited amount of ASINs and listings. You’ll have the ability to monitor your entire FBA inventory. You’ll rest easy with the assurance that all your products are safe day and night.
Prevent the sale of fraudulent products that may cut into your profits or devalue your Amazon brand with Bindwise Monitoring & Alerts.
Bonus: What are the 2019 U.S. holiday season key trends?
- Unique, experience-driven commerce will drive more conversions
- Brands will find more ways to personalize the shopper experience
- Retailers will get smarter about online/offline connectivity
- Targeted campaigns will be favored over a one-size-fits-all approach
- Brands will need to meet higher customer service expectations
- Smart retail partnerships will help brands stand out
- Brands not using video will already be behind the curve
- The anti-consumerist and sustainability movements will continue to grab headlines
- Reviews will continue to make or break sales
This is according to Big Commerce and 14 industry experts sharing their opinions on 2019 Q4.