AF204 - Common Mistakes to Avoid in Q4

amazon fba q4 Jul 24, 2021

Continuing with our series about the very exciting and fun Q4 holiday season, today I’ll be discussing some of the mistakes I’ve made in Q4 so that you can learn from them and avoid leaving money on the table like I did. I start with not ordering enough inventory, and share the story of my first Christmas tree bundle kit. I ordered conservatively, and of course, they sold out in three days! I lost a ton of profit because it was too late to order more supplies. Other mistakes to avoid are not preparing your seasonal products early enough, shipping late, focusing on toys, not selling on multiple platforms, and lowering your prices in a panic. Join me as I go into each of these blunders in great detail, and offer plenty of tips and tricks for what you can do instead to maximize your sales and profits in Q4, including using Amazon price alerts, paying attention to the numbers, focusing on evergreen items, and so much more.

One of my favorite mantras is that failure is better than regret. Remember that it’s always better to take that leap and see what happens than to sit back and wonder what could have been. But luckily today’s episode gives you all the tools you’ll need to avoid common mistakes your competitors are not even aware of, and get the Jumpstart on your most successful Q4 yet!

If you want to learn more about exactly what to sell in Q4, and gain access to selling strategies, holiday action calendars with important dates and shipping deadlines, and join the Live Q&A session with me, the Bundle Queen, register for our Jumpstart class on July 28 at 8pm at MommyIncome.com/Jumpstart. And if you’re ready to take your business to a whole new level, visit MommyIncome.com/Coach to schedule your one-on-one coaching call today. Finally, don’t forget to join our Facebook group with the code word #JUMPSTART, where you can learn from sellers helping sellers and participate in the conversation. Thanks for tuning in!

This week on the Amazon Files:

  • We’ve got another Q4 episode for you in this series
  • It’s a crazy, busy time, but it can also be very stressful and today I’ll share mistakes I’ve made in the past so that you can learn from them
  • Join our Facebook group with the code word #JUMPSTART, where you can learn from sellers helping sellers and participate in the conversation
  • You can also register for our live Jumpstart webinar, which takes place July 28, 2021 at 8pm
  • One of the first mistakes I’ve made in Q4 is not ordering enough inventory
  • Failure is better than regret - I would rather jump in and see what happens than sit back and wonder what could have happened
  • My story about a small Christmas tree bundle - no one else was selling these, and we were not sure whether they were going to be successful
  • We were scared and only ordered 24
  • We sold out in 3 days and couldn’t order more supplies
  • Don’t be afraid to order plenty - even if you have inventory left over, you can still sell them next year
  • Look at the data and trust the facts
  • Tip: Tablecloths and centerpieces sell very well for Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • My second mistake was under-ordering inventory for a tablecloth and centerpiece set
  • We took a chance on ordering retail arbitrage, and it arrived December 27 - we were stuck with it until the following season
  • Ship early and order enough inventory to get you through the season
  • Timing of specific inventory is essential
  • As things open up after the pandemic, events will start again, which opens up a whole world of products you can sell
  • Another mistake to avoid is focusing on toys - we think because it’s the holidays, that the biggest sellers will be toys for kids, but most products people buy in Q4 are not for children
  • Tip: Don’t forget about New Year’s Eve as a holiday people will want to shop for as well (new clothes, decorations, party supplies)
  • Another mistake is not selling on multiple platforms - open your sales up to Etsy, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark
  • Sometimes people pay more on eBay than they would on Amazon because they’re not checking other platforms, especially when it comes to “new old stock,” items that have been discontinued that someone has just rediscovered
  • Avoid chasing trends and focus on evergreen items
  • Pay attention to pricing - if you have the only luxury item left, people will pay whatever you’re asking and it’s okay to mark up your price slightly 
  • This is not price gouging - it’s business
  • Use an automatic repricer, check your prices regularly
  • Do not lower your price -  many people panic in Q4 if items are not selling and they end up selling them at a loss
  • Hold out for the big spenders - there will always be someone out there who is willing to pay what you’re asking if they want that item badly enough
  • Raise your price when it comes to supply and demand
  • Pay attention to little details that your competitors are not keeping an eye on
  • If they run out of supplies, you become the only one with that inventory and you can control the price

“If you have inventory left, you have an asset you can sell, even if it's a breakeven. So a mistake to avoid is to look at the data, do the research on the comparables, trust the facts.”

- Kristin Ostrander

WATCH:

LISTEN:

Quotes:

“I wanted to share with you some of my mistakes that I've made during Q4 that I don't want you to make because they cost money.” 

“I honestly believe that failure is better than regret. That is really just my mantra right now.”

“We're like, Okay, we're not going to spend that much, we're not going to break the bank on these things. It's a new bundle. We sold out in three days. And we couldn't get more.”

“So mistake to avoid - don't be scared to pony up. Because here's the other thing: Not only did we have two full months of Q4 left, but we could have sold them a year afterwards.”

“Sometimes the reward is better than the risk.”

“There's always ways to get rid of inventory, but you can't sell what you didn't buy.”

“Numbers tell the truth. And if there's not a whole lot to compare it to because you're doing a fresh new bundle, then trust all the numbers surrounding it and make a good decision. Never spend more than 20% of your budget on any one thing.”

“The moral of that story is ship stuff early and buy enough inventory to get you through the season. Make an educated guess, based on the data.”

“It's one of those things where you’ve got to get that stuff in early, thinking about when the customer is going to use it and how long do you have to send it in? So timing of specific inventory is essential.” 

“Early on in my Amazon selling career, I specialized in toys… I left so much money on the table because I just didn't pay attention to other products. I was just all about the toys, all about the trends, all about the characters, all about those different things. And it took me several years to realize...most of the stuff I personally buy for the holidays are not for children.”

“Don't think for a second that if you don't sell toys, you're somehow missing out on Q4, because there's a boatload more things to sell than that.”

“If you have things to sell that you're trying to get rid of, or just even used items, if you're not cross-listing popular or rare items on multiple platforms, you could be losing a lot of money.”

“Make sure that you're cross-listing, cross-promoting and giving yourself an opportunity to sell wherever you can.”

“You don't price gouge on gasoline, or hand sanitizer during a pandemic, or food or toilet paper, those kinds of necessity type items. But when you're talking about a luxury toy item, there's no such thing as price gouging. It's called Supply and Demand. If you have the only inventory left, it's called Name Your Price.”

“It's Supply and Demand. My price goes up when the demand goes up and supply goes down. So if you have the lion's share of the supply, you get to control the price.”

“Set up pricing alerts and keep up with pricing alerts on Amazon. So something that’s like, Notify me when this goes out of stock.”

“Most people in Q4 panic and they start lowering their prices thinking, Oh my gosh, I have a hundred of these left and I'm not going to sell them, and they start lowering their prices. And all of a sudden, they sell them all at a loss when you don't have to.”

“Hold out for the big spenders.”

“So people will pay. And people pay big money and spend big money during Q4, because sometimes that's the only time a year they really ever give gifts to people, and they want to be high rollers.” 

“I raised the price of that item 10 more dollars than what I was selling for before. Why? Because Supply and Demand. My other competitors didn't order enough inventory. They ran out. They didn't anticipate this supply issue. And I got to make 10 more dollars.”

“Y'all, I don't want to make a quick dollar. I want to make a slow million.”

“So again, upping your prices, not panicking and lowering prices, selling on multiple platforms, not focusing all on toys for Q4. You don't even have to sell one toy. Don't get late shipments and don't chance it or risk it when it comes to that.”

 Related Content:

Grow Your Amazon Business!

Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Amazon Files, the show to help Amazon sellers along their business journey one step at a time with Amazon expert and your host, Kristin Ostrander. If you enjoyed this episode, head over to Apple Podcasts, subscribe to the show and leave us your honest review. Don’t forget to share your favorite episodes with your friends on social media! Use the codeword #JUMPSTART to join us on Facebook. Each week, Kristin hosts a live discussion on how to grow your Amazon business. Don’t forget to check out our website and subscribe to our mailing list for even more resources.

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