We are less than three months away from Q4, the biggest selling season in e-commerce! Q4 brings the much-anticipated joys of the holiday season, making it the busiest quarter for e-commerce sellers as people go on shopping sprees to prepare for the festivities. In 2020, fourth-quarter e-commerce sales reached almost $207 billion, a 32% increase from 2019, as per the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce’s report. And the fourth quarter of 2021 is predicted to be much better!
Q4 is a cash cow, and as a seller, you want to make the most of it. Here are 6 ways to prepare for a smooth and successful Q4:
Plan in Advance
It’s never too early to start planning, and for a quarter as hectic as Q4, you want to be prepared. Consider the extended lead periods throughout the holiday season and begin your marketing and advertising efforts before the fourth quarter.
Review market trends, prepare your budget, keep your inventory ready, explore your fulfillment options, and plan your ad campaigns. If you are an Amazon seller, make sure you are eligible for prime delivery to reap its benefits, as it can greatly increase your potential sales. With the right strategy, sellers can earn up to half of their annual revenue in just one to two months of Q4 alone!
Analyze Market Trends
The e-commerce market is dynamic and constantly evolving. To stay relevant, you must be innovative and seek ways to improve or expand your product line. Doing product research and understanding your customers’ changing demands can go a long way.
This is no different while preparing for Q4. Because the fourth quarter occurs between October and December, it will always coincide with major holidays like Halloween and Christmas. Toys, gift items, costumes, and festive decorations tend to be bestsellers during this period.
Study new product trends by looking into product sales history, click-through rates, conversions, and customer feedback. Use your studies to decide which products to add to your inventory so you can be ready to list them by October.
Keep an eye on your Inventory
This is a no-brainer! Sales during this quarter generally increase by 30-50% and skyrocket during November-December. You want to ensure that you are fully stocked and ready to meet the increasing demand. At the same time, you don’t want to overstock and end up with unsold inventory, which will bleed money due to storage costs.
If you will be handling your order fulfillment internally, make sure to stock up on packing materials like boxes, tape, and labels as you’ll go through them a lot more during the fourth quarter than you do the rest of the year. Revisit your inventory trends from previous years to get a good idea of how this year will turn out.
Forecasting inventory requirements will be crucial if you want to reap the rewards of the Q4 craze. The good news is you don’t have to manage your inventory alone. Partner with consulting agencies, fulfillment companies, and if you sell on Amazon, sign up with Amazon’s FBA to enjoy its benefits.
Optimize your Product Listings
The next step in preparing for Q4 is to perfect your product listings. Examine all your listings to ensure you’re targeting the correct keywords. Regularly update your product photos and descriptions with the latest information.
Optimize your listings by running A/B tests to determine their conversion rates and select the combination of keywords and pictures that bring in the most clicks. Holiday-themed listings tend to attract users, so you should consider customizing your content for those shoppers.
With the emergence of online shopping services such as Google Shopping, Instagram Ads, Facebook Ads, etc. more people are buying on social media, and more businesses are providing immersive aspects to make it feel like you’re shopping in a physical store. Test your site’s infrastructure, speed, integrations, optimize the checkout page and enable cart abandonment notifications to make your page as efficient as possible.
Don’t forget to be mobile-ready. According to a report by Episerver’s Dot-Com Report, 50% of online traffic comes from smartphones, compared to the 41% from desktops, so spend effort improving your product listings so that they are mobile-friendly.
Prepare your Marketing Campaigns
The best way to ensure that you emerge out of the holiday season with a healthy profit margin is to plan your promotions for the major sales events. Integrate the festive spirit in your marketing campaigns!
The sooner you start driving out promotions, the more equipped you will be to compete throughout the season. One great way to boost your sales is to create holiday-themed product bundles. Product bundles benefit both customers and sellers.
Consider using sales promotion tools, coupon codes, gift guides, social media ads, custom packaging, and set up a holiday dashboard to prepare for your biggest Q4 yet.
Define your Order Fulfillment Strategy
Inventory management and delivery of goods will be much harder during Q4, as it is accompanied by increased demand. Finding the most effective fulfillment option to get your goods into the hands of your customers is crucial.
E-commerce businesses generally have two options for fulfillment, the first being self-fulfillment. This strategy is a great option for businesses still receiving low-volume orders or would not be able to profit from third-party fulfillment.
If your business is running into inventory and shipping issues, you should consider outsourcing your order fulfillment. Partnering with a fulfillment company that can take care of your warehousing and shipment duties will give you the time to focus on other important activities like driving website traffic, supporting your loyal customers, and improving marketing strategies. Outsourcing your order fulfillment need can make your business run seamlessly.
If you are unsure of how to pick the right partner, always look for a team that is willing to collaborate on a solution unique to your needs.
At Fulfyld, we provide solutions for all your e-commerce fulfillment needs ranging from storage, packing, and shipping to subscription box services and Amazon FBA prep. Contact us today for a free, customized pricing proposal! The holidays will be here before you realize it, and we recommend that you start a conversation as soon as possible so that you are ready for orders when the time comes.
The final quarter can be hectic and preparing for it may feel like a daunting task. It is also an exciting time and presents tremendous revenue growth opportunities. With the proper strategy, Q4 can be a seller’s largest payday. May this holiday season be an excellent quarter for you. Happy Selling!