Tag Archives: Seasonal

Lowering Prices vs. Pulling Items From Amazon Inventory

0809_LowPriceArrowSometimes 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.

price-cutAnother 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.

FBA Pricing Tips on “Out of Season” Products

Earlier this week, we talked about selling seasonal items via FBA. Seasonal items don’t just sell during their “proper” season; they sell year round. Getting seasonal items to an FBA warehouse as soon as possible is the smart (and profitable) thing to do. You don’t make any money with products sitting at your house. With this knowledge, it’s important to think about specific pricing strategies.

How do I best price this Charlie Brown Christmas DVD?

How do I best price this Charlie Brown Christmas DVD?

If the goal of your business is to have super fast turnaround (i.e. the item sells very quickly after arriving at the FBA warehouse), then you will probably just want to price your item like you usually do. But if you want to make the most money from selling your seasonal product, you’ll need to gather all the pricing information to pick the best price possible. With this info in mind, you want to price your seasonal item as if you were going to sell in season.

CamelCamelCamel is a website that (among other things) tracks the price changes on millions of Amazon products. Multiple times a day, CamelCamelCamel records the current low new price, current low used price, and current Amazon price.

Searching for price history on CamelCamelCamel is easy. Just enter the UPC number, ISBN, AISN, or even the Amazon URL in the search box and click “Find Products.”

Since Amazon adds hundreds of new product pages a day, not all of the items on Amazon are currently tracked by CamelCamelCamel. If your search results on CamelCamelCamel return a message stating, “We don’t have enough data to chart. Please check back later.” — then you are the first to search their site for that product. From this point, CamelCamelCamel will now start tracking the product and will have pricing data soon.

CamelCamelCamel does not tell you the price that an item sells for, but what price was the lowest. Most of the time we can assume that when the price changes on a CamelCamelCamel report, it’s because either a sale occurred or someone is now offering it at a lower price. Sometime in the future, we’ll do a more in-depth blog post on how to best use CamelCamelCamel (sales rank history, price drop alerts, and more).

For now, let’s see how to best use CamelCamelCamel data for pricing seasonal items. As you might assume, seasonal items sell for higher prices during their season. Check out the price history of A Charlie Brown Christmas on DVD (pictured below). The blue line indicates the lowest new price at each point in time, and the red line is the lowest used price.

CamelCamelCamel price change history of A Charlie Brown Christmas DVD

CamelCamelCamel price change history of A Charlie Brown Christmas DVD

Let’s say you’re sending in the item and pricing it this week, August 2013. If you wanted to make the most profit for this DVD and were to price it by looking only at the current prices on Amazon right now, then you just might price this item too low. If you look at CamelCamelCamel for the price history of this item, then you can choose a much higher price and, most likely, get the higher price sale.

As you can see, the lowest prices for this item are much higher in November and December (in season) than compared to the lowest prices in August. If you had a new copy of the DVD and only used the data from August, then you might price it for $8.00. On the other hand, if you looked at the price history, then you know that you have a pretty good chance of selling this same item for $25.00 in December! I don’t mind paying FBA storage fees of a few pennies a month while I wait for the price to go up so my item can sell at its most profitable price.

If you have any seasonal items sitting around the house, send them in to FBA today. Check out CamelCamelCamel and find the best price for your item. The crazy thing is that sometimes when you price an item for the season it’s “supposed” to sell in, it still might actually sell at the higher price out of season. This happens all the time and could happen to you too.

Selling Seasonal Items on FBA

Valentine's Day Barbie

Valentine’s Day Barbie

It’s August, and you just found some Valentine’s Day themed toys at a garage sale that should bring a nice profit come February. Do you wait until January to send them in to FBA? At another garage sale, you find a profitable Halloween themed children’s movie. Do you send it in now or wait until October? Don’t you need to worry about FBA storage fees if you send these items in “too early”?

The bottom line is this: products that are stored in your home are not making you any money. Get these items to an FBA warehouse as soon as possible! Don’t make the assumption that these items will not sell until their season. The truth is seasonal items sell year round.

Some FBA sellers see multiple sales of Christmas items in the summer because of “Christmas in July” parties. Just because it’s 100 degrees where you are doesn’t mean that someone else in the world isn’t looking for a snowblower. And even though you’d never buy a Thomas the Train Inflatable Lawn Decoration in May, someone else probably will.

Do you want proof? Below are examples of items I have sold very recently.

The 365 Kittens-A-Year 2013 Wall Calendar
Bought at a thrift store on February 26 and sold on August 7 (with only 4 1/2 months of 2013 left).
 
Victoria’s Secret Limited Edition Valentine’s Day Glam Wristlet
Bought at a thrift store on February 27 and sold on May 3.
 
Nickelodeon Jimmy Neutron Holiday Christmas Ornament
Bought at a garage sale on May 10 and sold on August 9.
 
Barney’s Halloween Party (VHS Tape)
Bought at a garage sale on May 22 and sold on June 10.

Christmas Sales before Christmas 2012

 

I could easily keep going with examples of items that are sold outside of their season. In fact, I’ve captured a few screen shots of my sales reports of selling only Christmas themed items. The first image shows Christmas items sold in 2012 that were sold well before “Christmas time.”  The image below shows many of the Christmas themed items I have sold in 2013. I’m not showing you the report of Christmas items sold in December because that page would go on and on. As you can see, I sell Christmas items almost every month!

Christmas Sales since January 2013

Christmas Sales since January 2013

The only drawback to sending items to FBA as soon as possible are the storage fees. Yes, you might have to pay for 6 months of storage fees if your Super Mario Ornament doesn’t sell until December, but it’s just pennies a month per item. If one or two cents per month are cutting into your profit margins, then you really need to find items with a higher return on investment.

So if you’re wondering if you should send something in to Amazon now or sit on it until the “proper” season comes, then I hope by now you are convinced to send it in. Remember: products that are sitting at home are not making you any money!

Now, I’d love to hear from you.  What items have you sold that were “out of season” that surprised you? Be sure to leave a comment with your story.

NEXT blog post in the Selling Seasonal Series: FBA Pricing Tips on “Out of Season” Products.