If this is your first time preparing for the fourth quarter, you may be surprised to realize that now is the time to prepare.
Q4 is almost always 50% bigger than every other quarter. Last year was the biggest year Amazon has ever had - in fact, 2020 Q2 alone was the size of 2019's Q4. Sales skyrocketed even further, from just under $90 billion to $125 billion for Q4.
No one knows quite how big this year will be, but there's no question Amazon is trending in only one direction - up. Here are the things to consider as you plan for your timeline.
Not all days are created equal. Technically, Q4 starts October 1st, but we're certainly not telling you to have everything in stock by then. The real day to prepare for, unsurprisingly, is Black Friday.
The graph on the right (courtesy of Jungle Scout) shows the amount of sales on a given day compared to normal in 2018. The first big jump comes on 11/25 - Black Friday, where sales peak at almost twice the normal rate. Sales rise each following day until Cyber Monday, when sales peak at 2.5 times a normal daily amount. After all the big spending, you can expect people to take a few days off early the next week.
When do sales stop? Remember that Prime buyers will be counting on shopping until the very last minute. With two day delivery, and deliveries happening through December 23rd, you can expect plenty of orders to take place up through December 21st. That gives you nearly a full month where you can expect to double your normal daily sales.
Working this timeline will be more important than ever, since Amazon has recently been shrinking inventory limits for sellers. You'll probably need to have inventory sent out the first week of November, at the latest, to be ready for Black Friday, and you'll need to balance how much faster your products sell with how much longer it takes shipments to arrive at Amazon's warehouses.
Long before that day comes, you need to answer the biggest question of all.
Are you sticking with the same items you always buy? Do you know what the trending items are this year? Are you going to zig while everyone else zags? If you need some ideas, you can always use SmartScout to search for underrepresented brands and subcategories. If you want to jump on the bandwagon of trending items you can look through some of these sites:
This is the real reason you want to start preparing now: getting these products lined up and ready to go for the end of the year takes time. If you're launching a new product, you need to know your supplier can handle demand, that the product works as intended, and that customers actually like it. You need to know that listings and ads are optimized, that any traffic you're sending from outside Amazon is effective.
All of us only have so much money, and Amazon is restricting how much we can all send in, so use these coming months to pick out what your most effective products are so you can maximize your ROI.