One month of Q4 has passed… Time flies, huh? Have you already noticed any increase in your sales?
Yes? Awesome! Halloween worked well for you!
No? Then you are in the majority of sellers whose sales haven’t soared just yet.
There are sellers who have started freaking out about that: complaining about “dead sales”, making posts in facebook that the end of a business on Amazon is here, some even blame the elections for such low sales.
Calm down, Guys; it’s absolutely normal that October and the first half of November are pretty slow. Have a look at this Calendar – Key Holiday Shopping Dates 2016 – it will clear the whole Holiday Season picture for you.
If you’re selling toys or Christmas-related products, then it’s just too early for holiday shopping now. Not many people start preparing for Christmas so far ahead of time. Sales will start to pick up as Thanksgiving comes closer.
People shopping now are looking for the best deals, and right now Amazon has the best deals since they started Black Friday sales a bit earlier this year. Wait until Black Friday passes, then you can expect things to start picking up. But your best sales will most likely come in December (probably the second week of December, before last-minute purchases, which will continue through the rest of the month).
Also, your sales performance really depends on your pricing strategy. If you start lowering your prices early, you may make a bunch of sales, but they won’t be the best you can do. In this case, you may sell out of your most popular items and not be able to restock them in time. Closer to the end of the month, it becomes more and more challenging to check in your inventory through FBA. Consequently, you miss the best profits..What you can do now, during this waiting period, is spend time on inventory sourcing (check out a list of My favourite Free tools for selling on Amazon and don’t neglect them during this Q4). November is a great month to source for profitable inventory to sell during the higher sales season. Amazon warehouses are not as busy in November, so right now is the time for ramping everything up:
- If you have items that are selling pretty well already – get more of them.
- If you find new items that you foresee will be good sellers – get them and send them to FBA warehouses.
Time is running out, and we’re getting closer to the crazy, hectic period when transferring and checking in inventory to Amazon will take weeks. So you’d better spend that sourcing budget for restocking right now, rather than keeping it for later.
Although, even if you do run out of inventory during the busiest season – when everything flies off the shelves, Amazon warehouses are overwhelmed with inventory coming in&out, and you don’t have time to wait until Amazon receives your products – you still have an alternative:
Means shipping the sold items yourself. This is a great way to avoid long Amazon warehouse delays, save money (you are not paying FBA fees), and reduce some risk. If you are doing retail arbitrage, keep your receipts and once the holiday season is over, you can return leftover inventory for a refund!
Also, if you’re a newbie seller, this year Amazon has a new restriction policy:
If you are a new seller and you haven’t shipped anything to FBA before October 10, 2016, you won’t be able to use the FBA service until December 19, 2016.
So if you fall into this category, selling via merchant fulfillment is perfect for you. Here is a very helpful calendar with all of the important holidays and shipping deadlines from FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
However, not every new seller gets this notification (so far it seemed to be applied randomly), so every new seller out there shouldn’t be terrified by this news. Moreover, if you fall under this category and were notified that you can’t use FBA, merchant fulfillment is not the only option.
- Partner with someone near you who is FBA approved. There is a free service – The “Stick a pin in the map” program – that allows you to find fellow Amazon sellers near you to arrange partnerships during this year’s Q4. With this program, you literally just stick a pin in the map near where you live and it shows you other nearby sellers. You can watch a video here to see how it works.
This program is actually a great opportunity for international sellers – you can negotiate and find someone who you can send your inventory to and have it shipped for you!
- Use pack & prep companies instead of FBA.
- Ebay is another alternative (and an additional source of income as well). This is a great e-commerce platform that you shouldn’t neglect. If you’re still on the fence about starting to sell there too, check out this free guide: eBay the Easy Way: How to Make Serious Money Selling on eBay.com. The guide gives simple step-by-step directions with clear images and screenshots.
So there you have it – a few options to consider instead of FBA, if you are temporarily banned or if you want to try out something else.
I hope this blog post will eliminate some confusions, worries, and anxieties you might have about your sales not rocketing up just yet. And now you know what to expect further into this high sales season, and how to respond to and overcome Amazon’s new restriction rules. Have a wonderful and lucrative Q4 season, and don’t forget to enjoy the upcoming holidays.
Good Luck & Keep Growing,
Frank Aaron Florence