Summer is almost over and your Summer Sales Spectacular has either given you a sense of satisfaction or you have learned several lessons along the way. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat for an Amazon Seller comes with the territory. Football season is upon us, kids are going back to school, and fall colors are preparing to make their annual appearance.
There is a lot on your mind and you are ready to conquer the next challenge that is ready to present itself. You may think that things are going well and your Amazon product page is chugging out orders like a finely tuned machine. Thatâ€™s great, but there is an annual opportunity around the corner, and as the saying goes:
Chance favors the prepared mind.
Chance favors the prepared mind. #plan for success Click To Tweet
PREPARE NOW FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON SALE
If you donâ€™t know it already, some of your competitors are getting ready for the annual Holiday shopping season and you should too. Every year online, sales during the holiday season increase and every year the Amazon market is expanding and growing. Itâ€™s your turn this year to capture a piece of that pie.
We are committed to your success and that’s why we put together a comprehensive list of 8 things that you can do now to prepare for the upcoming season that will give you more market share and more revenue. You will be glad you did.
1. FIRST, DO A REVIEW OF LAST YEARS Q4 HOLIDAY SEASON
Maybe this is your first year in the biz. If it is, you may as well do it right the first time. If you are getting ready for another season then take a look back at last year and re-examine what you did right, what you felt you did wrong, and of course what you would like to do differently this year. Below is a quick list of things to consider to help you set a new goal for this year:
- How many sales did you make last year?
- Did you meet your projections?
- What incentives did you offer last year to your buyers?
- How did you feel about your fulfillment process?
- What types of reviews did you receive?Â
- What can you learn from them?
- How did you feel about your product titles, descriptions, and photos?
- What sort of things did you see your competition doing that caught your eye?
Reviewing what happened last year will bring to the forefront your thoughts, things you did right, things you did wrong and prompt you to start strategizing on things you would like to do differently this year. Also, it will help to remind you of ideas that you thought of during the year that you would like to apply to Q4 of this year.
2. MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE
The Holiday season marketing plan is simply a sub plan of your overall marketing agenda. The only difference is your holiday season revenues may account for a high percentage of your overall sales this year so you may want to pay close attention to what you do and how you do it. Here are some more tips:
- Set up a Holiday season marketing plan
- Make sure you are up to date with your suppliers and manufacturers
- Set a goal on how much do you want to improve
- Is there another complimentary product you could add to increase revenues
- List your product on another shopping portal
- Get your retargeting plans in place (very important)
- Double check your to-do-list and get it up to dateÂ
While the retargeting plan doesn’t apply to Amazon, it does apply to those of you with a storefront. It is important that you have a highly targeted campaign in place. This retargeting plan will communicate to your customers the length and specifics of each sale. In fact, when you have a highly specific campaign (and you let them know how long until the sale is over), this will automatically increase your conversions.
Your customer e-mail list (and any other segmented list you have) is a vital component of your entire plan. So, use your list. Whether you get in touch with them through a software program such as Feedback Genius or through your current email service provider like MailChimp, let your customers know a sale is coming. And, to get higher conversions, offer something exclusive to returning buyers. Â
3. MAKE ROOM IN THE SLEIGH
Christmas season comes and goes in a flash. That’s why you should unload your slow moving inventory and unload it as quickly as possible without losing money. Many sellers think that it will be great to hang onto this inventory and put it on sale for the holiday season. Some may want to do that, but we suggest you consider this strategy.
Dump it now.
And then reinvest the money into your hottest selling items. Keep in mind your goal during the holidays is to sell as much as you can and to drive your revenue up.
One way to do this is to have a â€śClearance Saleâ€ť at some point in time. People are familiar with the term and it may prompt a sale to a customer that might otherwise not purchase the item unless it’s a clearance item. You do it, what makes you think your customers wouldnâ€™t?
This type of sale is not as common and is often overlooked in the marketplace and will make you stand out. Now, a â€śBonus Saleâ€ť on the other hand, is where everyone and their mother is going to be slashing prices. But, if you can add value without compromising any revenue, then it is a win-win.
Another type of sale to have is a â€śFlash Saleâ€ť which is a great way to get previous customers re-engaged with you. You offer a limited time promotion that encourages your past customers to purchase something right now. One thing a flash sale will do for you is it will bring the attention of your seller account to that client again just as the holidays are approaching.
4. WHAT ARE THE OTHER ELVES DOING?
Hopefully this goes without saying, but if you are not watching what your competition is doing – today is the day to start. It really is. There are numerous reasons why you want to watch what your competitors are doing. ÂIf you are not watching what your competition is doing - today is the day to start. #competition Click To Tweet
First and foremost is they may be doing everything exactly the same way as you except for one small detail. You need to see what that detail is and ask yourself if that is the secret sauce you’re missing to drive up sales. As you perform this exercise, you are likely to find several other details within your competition’s accounts and activities that will help you as well.
Also, many of your customers are expecting Labor Day sales, Halloween sales, and Thanksgiving day sales, leading up to Black Friday – and the official kickoff of the holiday sales rush. During this time, your competitors, as hard as they try, are always going to reveal at least one nugget that you can implement into your marketing plan.
5. ITâ€™S TIME FOR THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY PHOTOS
Every year families across the world go in to take family photos. Every year they strive to make them better than last year and you should do the same with your products.
In your mind you may already believe that you have great photoâ€™s and the product description copy is tight and clean. Well, take a closer look with a critical eye and ask yourself if this is the best it can be. Also, in regards to your product description, try reading it out loud. Does it sound smooth and conversational? Or does it sound sterile and clunky?
Another exercise you can do to improve your description content is use the recorder on the phone to start describing your product as if you were talking to your best friend. Donâ€™t go to your Amazon page and read what you currently have. Just do it freestyle. You will be surprised how adding what you speak to your existing copy will do.
This is where watching what your competition is doing can help with some ideas to spruce up your product descriptions or photos. This is especially helpful if you have been watching them for a while because you notice how they’ve changed their photos or text.
6. GET BUNDLED UP, BEFORE SALES GO COLD
Bundling or “kitting” is simply taking two individual products and combining them into one unit and selling them together. Shampoo and conditioner is a common bundling example. If you already have a high selling product you may consider adding another product that compliments it to help increase sales and revenue. You may want to consider a flash sale for this to see how it tests out before the real season begins. Â
7. WHATâ€™S THE FORECAST AND WHATâ€™S GOING ON IN SANTAâ€™S BAG
Now we are ready to reload the sleigh!
We need to know how much we are going to need. The first thing you want to do is to review what last years numbers were and also see what you have done historically over the holidays and then decide how much you want to increase this year. If you have introduced new products this year, look at that data as well, to make sure you have enough on hand for November and December. Â
Along the same lines as looking at recent data, take a close look atÂ your promotions over the course of the last year and examine what can be done during the holiday sales rush that will produce similar or better results.
As the holidays approach you will also need to check the overall feel for the marketplace. Are people spending money this year? What are the buyers trends looking like? A great place for this type of data is on any of the numerous industry blogs or websites such as eMarketer, for example. You essentially want to see what the demand is and adjust accordingly.
Without your inventory in place all of this is in vain. Make sure you are communicating with your suppliers, vendors, 3plâ€™s (third party logistical players). Â
You definitely want to get your orders in quickly before other retailers put in theirs and boost demand and potentially bring up the price, which ultimately reduce your profit. The last thing you want is to be waiting for product while your competition is strumming along taking what could be your sales.
You also want to make sure that you are tracking your inventory and sales efficiently across all platforms you are selling on. Make sure you can easily navigate and manage your inventory with the management tools you have in place.
8. TIS THE SEASON OF GIVING
It’s easy to focus on your customer and rightly so. But, the question of the day is, what is your customer going to buy the people on their Christmas list this year? Their dollar may as well be spent on your site and storefront. Â
Try offering gift cards and gift boxes!
If you have happy and satisfied customers, there is a high probability that it’s on their mind to share their happiness with others, and they would want someone else to have the same satisfaction they get while utilizing your product. Give it some thought!
YOUR CHRISTMAS BONUS
Once the huge rush is over, many people overlook the fact that a large percentage of holiday sales occur after Christmas day. In fact, many people receive gift certificates or cold hard cash that is burning a hole in their pocket; making them want to spend as quickly as possible. Put a specific sale in place to promote the post-Christmas shoppers.
Many of your competitors arenâ€™t strategizing about this and most are simply satisfied with pre-Christmas sales. If you put a strategic plan in place for a Christmas day sale, and sales that occur between Christmas and January 1st, you will be finishing the holiday rush strong, and finish the year knowing you put in great effort and got great results.