Q4 is a critical time of the year for any business. It’s the last chance to make a big impact on the bottom line and set yourself up for next year’s success.
As part of Carbon6’s Q4 Ultimate Kickoff weekend, Wizards of Ecom and founder Carlos Alvarez hosted Amazon leaders to provide insights on how to make the most of the quarter. The speakers’ strategies and tips will be especially effective for Amazon ecommerce success in Q4 — but aren’t limited to the last quarter of the year.
Here’s a recap of key points from the event that you can use to plan for Q4 and beyond.
Amazon ecommerce listings can feel limited to a brand’s identity, so sellers need other ways to connect with customers. Andrew Morgans, founder of brand accelerator Marknology, points to the value of using influencer content to drive sales.
Today’s commerce landscape is almost entirely virtual, making it challenging for a business to build trust and a positive reputation without physical, in-store customer interactions. Customers are turning to their virtual communities to gauge a brand’s reliability and a product’s quality.
Influencers, however, remove the need to convince a customer to purchase from a listing page alone: Customers tend to trust influencers to the point of not even asking questions.
With Marknology, Morgans emphasizes how customers have emotional connections with everything they buy; they ask how it will make them feel. Connecting your product or brand to an influencer piggybacks off the customer’s existing emotional connection with that person. In this case, Morgans argues, the influencer’s story is the product’s value.
Influencer and user-generated content (UGC) feel real to customers, even if they’re ads, which helps gain trust and create an emotional response. If you’re unsure about content creation, Morgans highly recommends partnering with those who are already successful in that sphere.
As one example of how influencers can impact business, Morgans showcases Golf Daddy, which went from rank 140 to 7 in just two weeks by using influencer content on TikTok.The content sent customers to a Shopify landing page and then to Amazon, allowing them to effectively track the traffic.
Partnering with an influencer might feel like giving away a part of your brand, but the traffic, social shopping conversions, and reputation you immediately get from the connection are worth it.
Morgans’ advice? Don’t get too hung up on your own emotional connection to your product or brand. Instead, focus on communicating that emotional value to your customers.
While we can never fully understand the way the Amazon algorithm makes its calculations, there are several ways to bolster your restock limits, including:
Inventory expert Chelsea Cohen, founder of SoStocked and Carbon6 partner, imparts her wisdom on the reinstated Amazon restock limits — and how to avoid a Q4 restock disaster.
First, your sell-through rate is one of the most important factors affecting both your inventory performance index (IPI) score and Amazon’s new restock restrictions. We are fast approaching the biggest shopping days of the year, so you should plan for at least a month or two in advance for peak seasons. With new restrictions in place this year, you’ll need to manage your inventory smarter to increase your restock limit.
The biggest problem that sellers face is when Amazon, a freight forwarder, or a 3PL lose their inventory. Cohen’s golden rule: Never let anyone have all your stuff!
If you rely solely on one method of transportation, you risk stocking out and jeopardizing all of your hard work. Cohen suggests, as an example, ordering additional inventory, but holding it in storage at the manufacturer. Then, if the worst happens and a whole shipment is lost, you can send the additional inventory by air.
Sellers are often overwhelmed with things like inventory management because they don’t trust a virtual assistant (VA) to do it correctly. It becomes significantly easier to trust a VA, Cohen says, when you implement min/max restocking to set limits of the highest and lowest quantities of inventory you want to hold at Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA). When inventory drops down to the minimum, automatic alerts let you know how much you need to order to “top up” your inventory to the maximum level, which helps prevent stockouts and keeps you in a favorable position on Amazon.
Cohen’s final point is that inventory and marketing should communicate effectively. Having a proactive approach to inventory-minded marketing means that your inventory team can keep up with demand if, for example, the marketing team releases new influencer TikTok content that massively increases traffic and conversion. On the flip side, marketing can help promote an item if a slow seller is clogging inventory. Communication and collaboration between these two areas is crucial for Amazon Q4 success.
To learn more about preparing for the end of the year, read Cohen’s 8 Best Practices for Managing End-of-Year Amazon Inventory Turnover to mitigate seasonal headaches and keep stock flowing steadily.
Before making any changes for Q4, Mike Zagare, founder of PPCEntourage and Carbon6 partner, says you need to do one main thing: reanalyze data from last year’s Q4.
Look at what worked and what didn’t. Use Amazon’s and PPCEntourage’s pay-per-click (PPC) data to assess past wins and losses and strategize about this next quarter and beyond.
Setting your goals for the quarter is crucial, according to Zagare. Is your goal to build brand awareness? Maximize profits? Clear inventory? Or just celebrate? Plan your strategy using data to set your business up for immediate and long-term success.
Zagare suggests that, whatever your ideal outcome for Q4 is, you should update creative to match the coming holidays or sales event, including seasonal badges, videos, and gift suggestions.
While you’re focusing on ways to boost your seasonality, read PPCEntourage’s article on Why Amazon Sellers Should Have An Independent PPC Audit Performed to learn about the benefits of branding and advertising audits.
Brandon Young, founder of Seller Systems and an Amazon Private Label expert, believes that the foundation for any business is new business. New business — whether for a fledgling or a seasoned brand — either comes from launching new products or attracting new customers to old products.
Launching new products is rife with struggles, for both experienced and new sellers. Young identifies some of the key reasons products fail:
On top of these problems, picking a successful product is also a challenge. You need to understand if it’s a fad, trending up, trending down, or seasonal — then plan accordingly.
Young’s solution is to follow data for everything. Amazon ecommerce and Private Label selling are fast-paced, ever-changing marketplaces. Every day there’s something new to learn and do for your business. Using detailed data analysis and keyword search can help you keep up with your competitors, and see where they’re lacking. If you can understand how they are succeeding, you can beat them.
But Young also admits that data isn’t the only way to be successful. His method is to think about who the target customer is first, then think about what they would want. Young echoes Morgans’ point about not getting emotionally hung up on a product you designed: Remove any ego and deliver what the customer wants.
One of Young’s key pieces of advice is to think three wholesale orders ahead of where you are now. Consider the cash flow, and plan to buy two for every one item you sell.
If you want to learn more about other “profit killers,” read The 3-Step Approach to Restoring Profitability in Your Business. If you’re looking for ways to get closer with data, take a look at ManageByStats, a tool to easily scale and manage your business with its integrated, data-powered software suite.
Tim Jordan, founder of Private Label Legion and Carbon6’s CSO, says that attendees were at the event not to learn how to be better sellers, but rather to make money. It doesn’t matter if you’re a successful seller who made software, or diversified into logistics, Jordan says, the ultimate goal is making money.
A big enthusiast for taking risks, Jordan talks about how there’s more support for sellers than ever before. Today, there is community support, events like Wizards of Ecom, and tech to help businesses evolve and adapt to industry changes and global developments.
Thanks to this support, Jordan argues, sellers should feel empowered to take risks. When fidget spinners first came on the scene, Jordan didn’t order because he didn’t see anyone else selling them online. Now, he recognizes this as a missed opportunity and advises that sellers shouldn't be afraid to take risks and invest in something they feel pulled to — even if no one else is.
While the main focus of the Wizards of Ecom event was to bring Amazon ecommerce leaders together to talk about Q4 strategies for success, the advice and insight they gave will have much longer-lasting effects.
From straightforward advice, such as Zagare’s tip to add a seasonal graphic to listing photos, to more complex solutions, like Young’s suggestion to commit to data, the tips offered at the event are great for sellers looking to boost sales all year round.
If you’re looking for more ways to simplify your success, explore the complete Carbon6 ecosystem of ecommerce.