September 29, 2015
Have you looked at a calendar lately? It’s almost October and that means eCommerce and Amazon sellers are scrambling to get their products, pricing and sales strategies in place so they can capitalize on the major profits that come rolling in during November and December.
Toys are always a huge seller during the holiday season for obvious reasons, but many Amazon sellers approach this category with a hit-and-miss technique that leaves a lot of profits behind. That’s why I caught up with Amazon heavy-hitter, Jessica Larrew, to talk about fourth quarter (Q4), toys and how to drive more revenue by year end.
KARON: Hi Jessica! Thanks for taking time to help us get our Q4 profit strategy ironed out.
JESSICA: Sure thing! My pleasure.
KARON: Fact or Fiction? Everything goes up in price during fourth quarter (Q4) on Amazon and it is dead simple to make a killing.
JESSICA: Fiction! This is actually a huge misconception about the 4th quarter. People say it all the time and I feel like it leads to a lot of lost revenue because of monies tied up in bad products. What I find is that sales VOLUME goes up across the board. So you will sell more of most things, but the price may or may not go up. At The Selling Family, we focus on trying to find the products that have proven they are profitable, never speculating that they will be.
KARON: Oh, yeah… good plan. This is definitely not the time to waste time or resources on products that are only so-so. So, is the best strategy to just send products in (whatever you can get your hands on) or to pick a few categories that do better than others and stay within those categories?
JESSICA: We spend almost the whole month of October doing research for what we will sell during November and December. It is definitely best to spread your risk across many products and categories rather than having everything tied up in one. You just never know what could change in the market. We do our best to avoid that, but it is inevitable that a few items won’t do nearly as well as we think.
KARON: If you could only choose one category to sell in for Q4, what should it be?
JESSICA: Toys. I just feel like it has the most potential and the volume of sales makes it feel like we can make as much as we want during this season.
KARON: I can easily see how that could be, but isn’t the Toy category gated? Is there still time to get ungated AND start selling in order to make lots of money during Q4?
JESSICA: That is a great point. The toy category is semi-restricted during the holidays. But it’s not as bad as it sounds! Amazon restricts newer sellers from being able to sell Merchant Fulfilled during the holidays, but the restriction does not affect selling toys using FBA. Honestly, if you are JUST starting on Amazon, it would be pretty overwhelming to try to fulfill all those orders yourself. If you want to be able to sell toys via Merchant Fulfilled, your first sale had to happen before Sept. 18, 2015 and you have to have 25 sales total by Oct. 1 (not necessary for FBA).
KARON: According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, in 2014, 47.6 percent of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children. That means almost half the population doesn’t have a little someone screaming for the latest toys at Christmas. How would they know what the hottest sellers will be in 2015?
JESSICA: My first years selling during Q4, I didn’t have a little one asking either. I share a lot of tips so that anyone, no matter if they have kid experience or not, can feel comfortable buying toys. For instance, you can do research using toy lists, current ads, movies, TV shows and even product placement in stores. Our goal is to make you feel like an expert by the end of the year. Oh, and to make sure you are profitable beyond your wildest dreams too.
KARON: Sounds incredible! I’m sure there are some bumps and bruises along the way for people who try to tackle fourth quarter without a plan. What’s the biggest mistake sellers make when it comes to selling during Q4?
JESSICA: One of the biggest mistakes is buying based on prediction or the misunderstanding we talked about before that everything goes up in price. We see sellers who stock up heavy on items hoping that they end up doing well. But when that one doesn’t, they are pretty much spent for the year and left missing out on the really profitable stuff.
KARON: Can you offer any help for folks who want to make fourth quarter a toy sales-a-palooza, but are nervous about trying it on their own? Aren’t you starting a new extended training in a couple of weeks that focuses on selling toys in Q4?
JESSICA: Yes! Amazon FBA seller fourth quarter training is a course that’s pretty heavily focused on toys because that is our main category during Q4.
It made up over 50 percent of our sales from November to December in 2014 (more than $50,000 just in toys). There is great potential in other categories as well, and I talk about a few of them in the course, and you get coaching, too. If you’re looking to make a lot of holiday cash selling toys, this is for you.
There are three options to choose from depending on what you want and need. They include a combination of videos, eBooks, spreadsheets and more.
Karon Thackston is president of Marketing Words Copywriting Agency helping Amazon sellers, eCommerce site owners and content marketers rank higher, convert better and make more sales.