Sometimes it’s inevitable. You’re not going to get the price you want for an item you’re selling. This happens all the time online and in retail stores. Even brick and mortar stores understand it’s a good idea to lower their prices in order to move inventory. Most retail stores lower their prices because they just don’t have shelf space for the few items they have left. Other stores lower their prices because of a change in seasons. As a reseller, we love it when they lower the prices and move these items to a clearance section. In fact, we usually capitalize on these clearance items. But the issue of lowering prices is a whole different story with Amazon resellers.
There are many different reasons someone might want to lower their price on Amazon. Some sellers are just not patient enough to wait for their item to sell at their price. They don’t know that some products sell hundreds a day and that they may have the sale sooner than they think. Other sellers have a business model that is mainly focused on the super fast sale. They want to get the sale as fast as possible and turn that profit back into more inventory. Some people think that if an item sits in the warehouse too long, then it’s wasting capital they can use to get better selling inventory. This type of business model is more focused on the fast nickel instead of the slow dime. If an item hasn’t sold fast enough, then they lower their prices in order to get the fast sale.
I think a better business model includes products that are both fast nickel as well as slow dime. A healthy FBA inventory will have both products that sell quickly and products that sell slowly.
I almost never lower price… especially with Christmas coming up. For most items (there are exceptions) I may lower my price if the product has been sitting in my inventory for over a year. A whole year’s cycle is a good snapshot to see if an item will sell. If it doesn’t sell in a year, then I may lower the price, but if the rank is good, then I probably won’t lower it to match the lowest current price. If the rank is poor, then I’ll lower the price somewhat. If the rank is really bad, then I will most likely lower my price to match the current low price (FBA or not).
I am usually a patient person. And being patient has, more often than not, paid off in my pocketbook. I look at the pricing trends on CamelCamelCamel and make educated pricing decisions. I know some items will sell for $20 in the summer, but will sell for $80 over the Christmas holidays. I can wait a few months for that kind of ROI (return on investment), especially when monthly storage fees are usually only a few pennies per item.
Another time I’ll lower my price is for the items that are subject to a long term storage fee. On February 15th and August 15th of every year, FBA conducts an inventory cleanup. On these dates, any inventory units that have been in a FBA warehouse for over 365 days will be assessed a fee of $22.50 per cubic foot. This is a HUGE fee and is to be avoided at all costs. The only nice thing about the long term storage fee is that FBA exempts one unit of each applicable product. This means that if you have 5 identical items that have been in a FBA warehouse for over 365 days, then you’ll only be charged the long term storage fee for 4 of those items. Around two months before the long term storage fees hit, I’ll search my inventory and find the items that might be charged with this fee. I’ll lower my prices to match the lowest price in the hopes that they will sell before the fee hits. Amazon is even kind enough to send you a few warning emails that this fee is approaching, along with a link where you can see what items you are selling apply for the fee.
There are currently only two times I pull certain inventory that has not sold. The first reason is if the sales rank is too high paired with the profit margin being too low. If I have a book with a sales rank of 7 million that I’ll only make a few bucks on, then I’ll have it sent back to me. The second reason I have items sent back is if they qualify for the long term storage fees (and don’t sell after I lower my prices, as stated above). Most likely, I’ll add these returned items to a box I keep at home for stuff I want to sell next time I have a garage sale.
So what about you? When do you like to lower your prices? What are your reasons? We’d all love to hear what you have to add to the conversation.