We are in the middle of November, thus brands and sellers have spent the last weeks and months getting ready for the fast-approaching holiday season. The last quarter of the year (also known as Q4) is from October to December and is the busiest time for e-commerce around the world, due to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and sales events like the well known Cyber Week. People are eager to buy presents and embrace the festivities. Question for you: is your business ready for Q4? With our Amazon Q4 Readiness Guide we will help you check and monitor your business setup to make the most of Holiday Season.
The importance of the Q4
Many sales relevant events like Christmas take place during the fourth quarter of the year, with two events worth highlighting: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. People are in shopping mode and Amazon surpassed sales expectations year after year. In last year’s Q4 Amazon reported over $100 billion in revenue and recorded a new all-time high. The trend for more people shopping via their smartphones and computers at home has been going on for years plus the Covid-19 Pandemic also did did its part. With more people are buying online, the importance of Amazon Amazon has been profiting from this.
Q4 Readiness – What does it mean?
The “Amazon Q4 Readiness” is basically a concept, businesses should follow for a successful last quarter of the year.
Every year, Amazon vendors and sellers have to make sure their products are in stock, that they are looking flawless on the digital Amazon shelf and that their promotions have been planned and setup correctly. An important thing to keep in mind is that all vendors and sellers have to apply to participate in Amazon’s prominent sales events. The due date to hand in their lighting deals or best deals was as early as the 8th of October, this year 2021. Our Tipp: set a reminder on your calendar, already for next year so you do not miss that important deadline.
Amazon Q4 Readiness – preparation is key
The first question you must ask yourself is: what is your objective during this period? Do you want to create brand awareness, sell more, or attract new leads and costumers and what are your winng products for this season?
Like with every event you must establish a strategy with a clear marketing or sales purposes. With a smart goal you will be able to prepare more effectively and also later evaluate your success more clearly.
Planning, monitoring and optimizing are the steps for you to have a higher Return on your Investment (ROI). But let’s take a closer look to how we can get you prepared and beat your competition.
In the planning phase, keep track of the deadlines for submitting your deals per product. Otherwise Amazon will not accept your deal, and you cannot participate in the deal event. Also important is to understand what you are going to sell. Managing your inventory is paramount, in order to not run out of stock when it is most important. As a seller, do not forget your lead time to replenish products within the (Fulfillment by Amazon) FBA-program, as it is the busiest time around the year and Amazon will take longer to get all your shipments and put them in stock. As Vendor make sure Amazon ordered enough of your products to support your deal calculations.
In general, larger shipments of inventory will take longer for Amazon to process, then smaller shipments. So think about this when you are sending the inventory to Amazon.
Our Hacks to get you through Amazon Q4 Readiness
Let us start by saying, that there is not one right strategy for Amazon Q4 Readiness. Each business is different and the awareness that people have towards a specific brand might also influence the outcome. The goals businesses have on Amazon might also have implications towards the result of the last quarter. With that in mind, we gathered some hacks you can use to be ready for holiday season and increase your clicks and conversions. Let’s take a closer look at them:
Prepare your Inventory
We cannot stress it enough: your inventory must be ready for a hectic season. Insufficient products, that do not meet the demand of consumers, will lead to less sales. Too much products in stock will lead to high storage costs. Specially if you are using the Fulfillment by Amazon (also known as FBA), it basically means that you use Amazon Storages, and they ship your products as soon as someone buys them on the e-commerce platform. But this will cost you money, especially around this time of the year, when prices to keep products in Amazon Storages just keep rising.
You also might want to consider the shipment methods you are going to use. Always have alternatives and a plan B. In case Amazon cannot fulfill the demand and deliveries take longer than expected. It is always good to have alternatives.
Optimize your Products Listings
Optimization of your current listings is also a great opportunity to improve the number of clicks and conversions you can achieve. During these times you can even add a touch of holiday season to your descriptions and photos. More importantly is the need to use keywords in your product content that are relevant search terms! Make sure you are using them in the title, description and also bullet points. This will help customers to find your product in Amazon’s organic search.
If you are a verified brand and can create A+ Content, utilize it and provide more relevant information through pictures and videos (if available).
Pro Tip: Run A/B tests before this period when optimizing your portfolio, for you to check what works better and what is accepted more efficiently by the client. You can also set up A/B-test during the Q4 season to achieve strong insights which content pieces really trigger sales. During Q4 more customers will visit your detail pages which make the results even more robust for future usage.
Do not forget the Amazon Marketing Strategy
Marketing is essential for Amazon and for your business to sell on the platform. It is even more important for the Amazon Q4 Readiness. It is also a way for your brand to stand out and drive new sales.
Start with setting up a budget. That should be higher for the last three months of the year, because more customers will be on the platform but also expect an increase in competition. Meaning, advertising is an important option to increase your visibility.
Amazon offers several self-service and managed marketing options, that will boost sales and visibility. Depending on your need and budget size, you can chose between the following:
Self-Service advertising through Amazon ads:
- Sponsored Products: shown on Amazon search result pages, detail pages and category pages
- Sponsored Display Ads: shown on most Amazon pages
- Sponsored Brand Ads: shown on Amazon search result pages and detail pages
- Sponsored Brand Video Ads: shown on Amazon search result pages
- Ads through Amazon’s Demand Side Platform (DSP): shown everywhere on and outside Amazon, only for brands with larger resources
We recommend working closely with Amazon’s Sponsored Products and Brands in order to generate sales during Q4. If you are looking more for brand building you might want to explore Sponsored Display or even Amazon’s DSP with a large bucket of sophisticated targeting options. Sponsored Brands Video Ads are a good compromise between brand building and generating sales, since the video sits within the search results for your keywords and generates a lot of attention.
Prices for advertising will be higher during Q4 due to the higher level of competition. But if you monitor your budgets closely , the results can be really good. As discussed above, deals and promotional offers are a useful tool to increase your sales. If you are offering a discount you can tell customers about it through Sponsored Product Ads.
Promotions: a needed boost
Use all the possible promotions there are to sell more products. Take full advantage of it and you will see how it will boost your sales. There are three types of promotions that are available.
- Deals: Under Deals it is understood events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where during one day costumers can get a hold of all different types of deals.
- Promotions: Discounts that are set on specific products.
- Coupons: Can have a higher price to create them, but also drive a lot of consumers to your Amazon page.
- Lightning Deals: Normally are up for 12 hours or until the inventory is completely sold out.
Read our Black Friday Blog article to better understand the different promotions and what you can do.
From the success stories of our clients, we created our own checklist to get you ready for Q4:
Bear in mind that our Amazon Q4 checklist is a high level recommendation and you might want to adapt it more closely to the needs of your business. Feel free to reach out to us for help.
Analytics Hub – helping you to get ready
All steps mentioned above might need adjustments to your individual business. Furthermore, for brands just starting to sell on Amazon it might be even more complicated, due to the lack of experience and understanding of the platform.
emax digital makes Amazon Analytics easy. We create our own Tool focused on data from Amazon with the goal of helping you understand it more easily. It is the ideal tool for Amazon Vendors and Sellers. We put out several reports for you to understand the status quo of your Amazon Business. You can easily analyze which products sold the best of the past months or year and how much profit you can make out of it. With that information you can quickly calculate how much you want to invest in Amazon Ads.
Our Event Calendar reminds you about some of the most important Amazon events that are going to take place in Q4, e.g., Black Friday and Halloween, Year-End-Deals or Cyber Monday. Based on these events, our Analytics Hub gives you data-driven recommendations how to plan and spend your advertising budget to match your planned RoAS and increase your sales and revenue.
Q4 is a hot sales period for your business and all other Amazon vendors and sellers. If someone undercuts your price for your products, you will be notified through our tool, so you can react quickly to price changes and protect the BuyBox.
The Analytics Hub will help you get ready for Amazon Q4 and to understand your business a lot better. With our tool you will gather all relevant Amazon data in one place, with graphs to make it even easier to understand and that help to be more successful on Amazon.
The last stretch of the year is just around the corner, so make sure you are all prepared and have planned everything in advance. It is a stressful time and requires a lot of planning, that must be started as soon as possible. Relevant data and monitoring systems can ease the planning process and can be a game change during the most important season of the year.
What events are happening in Q4?
When talking about "Amazon Q4” you should be familiar with the following events: Black Friday and Cyber Monday, taking place in November, as well as everything related to holiday season, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What does Amazon Q4 Readiness mean?
Amazon Q4 Readiness just means keeping in mind the importance of this last quarter to your yearly revenue. It is important to be prepared to embrace on of the busiest times of the year regarding sales.
Is there a one-fits-all strategy for Q4?
Each business is individual and has specific requirements. However, there are some main topics every brands should consider: early on planning, preparing your inventory, optimizing your product’ content, as well has having a product level marketing plan ready to execute.