For many Amazon FBA sellers, the summer months usually bring slower sales than normal. Nobody wants slower sales, so in this episode of The Full-Time FBA Show podcast, we discuss why sales usually slow down during the 3 months of summer.
We’ll also share with you multiple proven strategies to keep your sales consistently high during the summer months. After this podcast episode, you’ll never need to worry about slow summer sales anymore. Spoiler alert: some of these strategies will even boost your sales the other 9 months of the year too!
Listen on the podcast player below.
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Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
- Webinar: Garage Sale & Thrift Store Profits
- Webinar: Double Your Amazon Inventory with Retail Arbitrage
- Branching Out and Selling in New Amazon Categories
- How to Manually Reprice your Inventory
- How to Automatically Reprice with BQool (plus how to get my repricer rules for free)
- Amazon’s title character limit guidelines
- 5 Little-Known Facts About Keywords & Amazon Product Listings That Could Hinder Your Success
- The 3 Most Common (And Wasteful!) Mistakes Sellers Make With Their Amazon Listings
- The Book of Bundles – Use the coupon code FULLTIMEFBA and you will get $10 off
- The Bundle Idea Book: 10 Done-For-You Bundle Ideas – Get $10 off via the link to the left
- Road Trip Arbitrage
- Outsourcing Sourcing
- Back to School Profits for Amazon Resellers
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Announcer: Welcome to the Full-Time FBA show. In each episode, it’s our goal to help you turn part-time hours into a full-time income selling almost anything on Amazon. And now, your hosts of the show, Stephen and Rebecca Smotherman.
Rebecca: Hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of the Full-Time FBA Show. This is episode nine, and today we’re talking about how to avoid the summer sales slow down.
Stephen: Yeah, it’s July right now as we are recording this, and as you are listening to this, if you are listening to this when the episode first drops, we’re in Texas and it’s really hot here. It’s …
Rebecca: It’s summer.
Stephen: It’s … Yeah.
Rebecca: I mean, it’s summer.
Stephen: Yes. It is hot, but you know what? Our sales are still going strong, and so we’re going to teach you some of the tips and tricks that we’ve been able to do to avoid the summer slow down in sales, and how you can take these strategies and add it to your own Amazon FBA business.
Rebecca: And the things we’re going to talk about today are things that we’ve put into practice ourselves, because a few years back, we noticed that there was this big drop that we were experiencing every year during the summer. And Steven took really good notes on why he thought that was happening and things that we could try, and then we put that into place over the next few years. And we’re to the point now where we don’t experience a dramatic drop during the summer compared to earlier in the year and during Q4. I mean, obviously Q4 is the best.
Stephen: Right. Right.
Rebecca: It’s the best.
Stephen: Did I say obvi?
Rebecca: You did. The kids would be so rolling their eyes right now. They do not like it when we say obvi or adorbs. Anyway, totally off topic.
Rebecca: Okay. So Stephen, why do a lot of sellers typically experience a slow down in sales during the summer months?
Stephen: So, I know we experienced some slow sales, and I’ve talked with some other sellers out there who experience summer slow down in their sales, and there’s multiple reasons that come into play when it … That impacts your sales in a negative way, that slows it down. The first one is that there’s no really big holidays that are gift giving, go out and buy a bunch of stuff, holidays during the summer months. Now, you can look at summer months a couple different ways. You can see the summer months as when school’s out, June and July, part of August, or you can just look at the actual dates of summer, that …
Rebecca: Starting June 21st.
Stephen: Right, right.
Rebecca: Moving forward.
Stephen: And three months after that, and there’s no really big holiday. I mean, you got Valentine’s Day and Easter, Mother’s Day, they’re all before the summer. And then you’ve got …
Rebecca: And those are gift giving holidays.
Rebecca: You’re not saying there’s no holidays, there’s no gift giving holidays.
Stephen: Yes. There’s not a holiday out there where someone’s going to go rush to Amazon to buy something for their friends or loved ones or anything like that. So Valentine’s Day and Easter, those are really big gift giving holidays. Mother’s Day is a huge one, you know, and then after the summer you got Halloween and Christmas. Now, Father’s Day is in there in the summer. That’s the one and only time, but that’s just if you’re looking at the kids are out of school summer dates. That’s not even … Father’s Day doesn’t even fall into the technical summer dates. Anyway, but there’s no really big reason for people to go out and buy stuff. And so that’s going to slow some sales on Amazon.
Stephen: Another couple of reasons why summer sales are slow, it’s summertime. Kids are out of school, people are on vacation. And so they’re … Again, they’re not at their computer. Customers are not at their computer as often, buying stuff on Amazon. They’re on vacations, and they’re just not doing anything. And on the flip side of that, as a … From an Amazon seller, the third reason summer sales slow down is because hey, kids are out of school and there’s a lot more going on and you’re on vacation, and you’re out there hanging out with friends, doing cookouts or whatever. And you’re not spending as much time finding inventory, sourcing inventory because you’re spending the time with kids or loved ones or doing things during the summertime.
Stephen: And so when you’re spending less time on your Amazon business, and customers are spending less time shopping on Amazon, combined with the fact that there’s no big holiday, that’s going to … That’s a calculation for a summer slow down in sales. And so if you’re experiencing this, just know you’re not alone. This is normal. But even though it’s something that’s normal, it’s something we want to combat, and something that we want to overcome. And so I’ve got some big tips for you, to help you overcome come those summer slow down in sales.
Rebecca: So before we get into those, I know you have a few different topics that you are wanting to cover, are the things that you’re about to say in any particular order? Are you wanting to emphasize this first one as more important? Are you doing like a top 10 list where you’re starting with the least important, working towards the most important? How are you doing this?
Stephen: So the way I’ve ordered things is from most important to least important, and that’s just generally. So what we’re going to be talking about, the first thing that I’m going to be talking about, that’s going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. If you spend your most time on the top three or four items that we’re going to be talking about, those are going to be the most important. The final ones are also good to do, especially if you’ve mastered the first few. But all these things will give you a kick in your summer sales, and help increase your profits. But the first thing that we’re talking about, those are the ones you need the focusing on the most.
Rebecca: Okay, so let’s get into it. What is the first way you want to talk about how to beat the summer sales slow down. That is so hard to say.
Stephen: It is a tongue twister. The summer sales slow down, sister. Okay, sorry.
Rebecca: Okay. What’s the first one?
Stephen: Number one, feed the beast. Now, Amazon … In the Amazon world, feed the beast means continue to send inventory to Amazon. Amazon is a beast, and the beast is happy when you continue to send inventory. So obviously during the summer, if you’re not sourcing as much, your inventory is going to go down. And so you want to make sure your inventory levels remain pretty high. In fact, for most people, the more inventory that they have in stock, the more items they’re going to sell. So feed the beast, and also, when it comes to Amazon sales, Amazon rewards people who continually send inventory to Amazon. If you take a little break and you don’t send inventory to Amazon for some reason, that actually can impact the buy box algorithm. And if you continue to send inventory to Amazon, they’ll give you a little bit more time in the buy box. So that helps you.
Rebecca: Yeah, and that’s pretty much anecdotal, but a lot of people say that. And we’ve seen it too, that when we send in inventory … If we are experiencing a slow down, whether it’s the summer or some other time, the next time we send in a shipment and it starts to get checked in, not only do we start selling those items again, but all of a sudden some inventory that we’ve … Might have had there for a while now, months, weeks, whatever, it starts selling too. So there really is something to be said for how feeding the beast affects your time in the buy box. Somehow.
Stephen: Right. So, take some time finding more inventory to sell on Amazon. I think most people have inventory somewhere in their house that they’ve put aside. They’re like, “I’ll send this in later.” If that’s you, send that stuff to Amazon. It’s not making any money just sitting in your house. Send it to Amazon, go find some more inventory. I got a couple, few training webinars I’d love to share with you. If you are interested in garage sales and thrift stores, if you go to fulltimefba.com/garagesalewebinar, I’ll walk you through how you can find more inventory with garage sales, because summer is an awesome time to find lots of inventory from garage sales. And … But if you know what retail arbitrage is your thing, I’ve got a webinar teaching you about how to get more inventory via retail arbitrage. Fulltimefba.com/rawebinar, We’ll tell you how you can find a lot of inventory via retail arbitrage, but feed that beast and you will be rewarded.
Rebecca: Okay. So what is the next strategy that you’re wanting to share with us about how to beat the summer slow down?
Stephen: So, the second strategy is to start selling in new categories. Most people, when they start selling on Amazon, they get into a comfort zone, and they might just … They might sell just in the book category, or just in the toy category, but there are currently over 30 main categories to sell on Amazon. And so I encourage you to get out there and try some new categories. Your comfort zone is going to … It’s comfortable, but that’s not where the magic happens. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone. And so you can go and find new inventory in new categories and that will help you increase your inventory, which again will lead to more sales.
Stephen: So sometimes when I’m walking through a clearance aisle at a store, my strong suit is sourcing toys. And so it’s so easy for me to look at toys, pick them up, scan them, and see what’s profitable, but there’s other categories of stuff in that store too. And so I might gloss over. If I see diapers, or if I see a kitchen faucet, or something like that in a clearance aisle, I might gloss over that because that’s not where my strengths lie. But if you branch out into new categories, you might find a new category that you find that’s really profitable to get more inventory. And so you are sourcing more items and scanning more items and finding more items that increases your inventory and helps you with your Amazon sales during the summer, and throughout the rest of the year, I might add.
Rebecca: So what would you say … When it comes to selling in a new category, it is daunting sometimes to think about learning a new category, especially certain categories in particular can be confusing, and there’s a couple that stick out to me that are a little bit more difficult to … There’s more of a learning curve with them. So what would you say to people who might be interested in learning a new category, but are a little bit hesitant or fearful?
Stephen: Yeah, I totally get that, because you’re right. Each category is different. Each category on Amazon has their own personality. And so when you branch out into a new category, you want to do your best to learn that and see what the personality is, so you can best source items in that category. And so as with anything, when we talk about overcoming your fears, you want to make sure that the truth overcomes that fear. And so just knowing that it’s not a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket or in one category, and diversifying your inventory will really help you have a more balanced inventory that will keep balanced sales throughout the year. And if you find new inventory in a new category, you might just have found a really profitable niche that you can sell, and that you really love. And like I talked about before, if you’re able to know more categories and learn them, be able to find more inventory, you’re not going to be passing up profitable items that you would have in the past. And so you’re going to find more inventory to sell.
Rebecca: I know for me, this is something that I’ve seen in the past, and the summer is a really good time to learn a new category for the reasons that you’ve been talking about, about how it impacts your inventory, makes it more balanced, and also helps to just provide more sales throughout the year, but also this time of year is great for learning a new category. Learning something, a new skill, if you’re wanting to … Whether it’s learning how to use a new piece of software, whatever, but in particular learning a new category this time of year is great because you’re not in the middle of Q4 with all of the pressures of trying to hustle, and having just a lot of pressure to get a lot done real quickly. This is the time of year where you might have a little bit more time to spend on learning, and to spend on reading or trying out new things and experimenting with scanning new items, whatever it may be that you need to do to learn that category.
Rebecca: And I know for me, a couple of categories that came to mind when we started talking about this … The grocery category for us was something that we had to overcome our fear when we were learning it, because of dealing with expiration dates, and how do you handle sending in inventory, multiple items on one MSKU that might have multiple expiration dates, and just how do you handle expiration dates in general. And then also learning how to do shoes and clothing because of the whole variation factor in selling in that category. And in both of those … I know for sure with shoes and clothing, I’m not sure now looking back what time of year it was that we started with grocery, when we first started learning it …
Rebecca: But I know with shoes and clothing, we started in the summer because there was just a lull. There was not a whole … It’s not the beginning of the year with all of the excitement, and all the things you’re trying to put into place at the beginning of the year. It’s not the end of the year when you’re just trying to buy toys and send in as many toys as you can. And so it’s a perfect time to spend a little bit of extra time learning something new, learning a new category.
Rebecca: Okay. So give me a strategy about beating the summer slow down that really has nothing to do with finding more inventory to sell. So far, we’ve talked about going out and finding inventory to feed the beast, and then learning to sell in a new category and finding inventory items in a new category. What’s something that we can do that just really has nothing to do with sourcing?
Stephen: Well, I’ve got two strategies for you that have nothing to do with sourcing for more inventory, and those strategies focus on the inventory you already have in stock in Amazon right now. And so the third strategy of avoiding summer slow down is to make sure that your items at Amazon are competitively priced. Just … A lot of times when we send inventory to Amazon, we’re just pricing it that one time. Right when we’re sending it to Amazon, we’re picking the price. The inventory is sent off to Amazon. It takes a week or so to get there and go live on Amazon, and maybe your inventory is not priced competitively anymore. And so being able to reprice your inventory, whether it’s bringing it down just 50 cents or something like that, just to be able to get the next sale. It’s not going to eat into your ROI too much, but you can reprice your inventory to be able to stay competitive.
Stephen: I’ll put a few links in the show notes about how to manually reprice your inventory, and just some reviews of repricing tools, but if you go to fulltimefba.com/9, because this is episode nine, I’ll give you some of those links. But when you reprice your inventory and have the competitively priced, you’re going to get faster sales. And those faster sales will help you get that money back to reinvest into more profitable inventory, and then you just repeat that process over and over again. Faster sales, put that capital into more inventory, faster sales, more inventory, and it just snowballs over time, and really helps you avoid that summer slow down because you’re actually gaining momentum leading into Q4, which is October, November, and December. But that momentum can actually start during the summer.
Rebecca: Okay. I love that one, because repricing really is a fast way that you can start getting some sales right away without really having to do a whole lot except make a few clicks on your computer. That’s awesome. So, what is another strategy? You said there was more than one that has nothing to do with sourcing, but can lead to a boost in your sales.
Stephen: So this next strategy is to review your listings. And this is mostly focused for people who have high quantities of items, because you know what? There’s sometimes where the title of a product page on Amazon, it’s not a really good title, or the picture’s not very good, or the keywords are not very good. And so you can actually go in and update those to make sure that the keywords are optimized, that the images are high quality images on a white background, that you’ve got really great titles.
Stephen: In fact, recently Amazon has started to say they’re going to suppress titles that are longer than 50 characters, and there’s a few, categories where they will allow more characters in the title but they’re going to start suppressing those items. Suppressed items mean no sales. And so I’ll put a link in the show notes about the current rules on the title character limits, and which categories that you’re allowed to have more. But if you have a high quantity of a certain item, you might want to improve that item so that it will help customers find it better, and that will lead to more sales.
Rebecca: Okay. That’s a really good point, especially what you said at the end, if it’s an item that you have a high quantity of. Now, you’re not going to necessarily want to go through on something that you’ve got a one off, go through and spend a lot of time updating listings, but if there’s items that are high priced or you have a large quantity, definitely be taking a look at your listings from time to time. So, these have all been really good. I’m looking at the time that we’ve spent so far, and are there some other ways that we wanted to talk about maybe in less detail about how to kick up our summer sales?
Stephen: Yeah, there’s four more ways that I think are really good. We’ll just mention this really quickly. The fifth strategy that works really well is to create bundles. Bundles are awesome. A lot of times, you can create unique items where you’re the only one who is selling that item, and you’re able to serve a customer who is just wanting to have an all in one place where they can buy an item. And so you create a listing on Amazon where it’s under a certain theme, and those items all connect to each other. And that really helps to drive sales, by having a unique sales page for the bundle that you created. Another strategy that you can do is to go on a road trip. Road trip arbitrage is totally real, and I love doing it. And summer is a great time to do it, to plan a road trip.
Rebecca: Yes, we love summer road trips.
Stephen: We do.
Rebecca: Especially for arbitrage, but for whatever reason.
Stephen: Yeah, so you can plan a sourcing road trip and be able to find more inventory at a new place, maybe some new stores that you’re not used to sourcing. That’s another great strategy to help boost your sales. Another thing that you can do is to outsource. If you’re doing everything in your Amazon business, that means that the time that you’re spending packaging up a box is taking away time for you to find more inventory. And the time that you’re spending dealing with the Amazon backend and customer service with trying to repair feedback, those types of things are taking away from you finding more inventory. And so the more you can outsource your Amazon FBA business, the more you can find time to source for more inventory.
Rebecca: And that’s another good thing that I was talking about earlier, this summer being a good time to learn something new. Outsourcing is a skill that you have to learn. And a lot of times … I know for us, it really was a learning curve just to get to … Well, it’s easier for me to just do this task then to learn how to outsource it, to learn whatever system I need to learn, how to train somebody else, to learn how to communicate with somebody else about how to do this. And so we put it off, and put it off, and put it off. But the summer can be a great time to learn how to outsource.
Stephen: Absolutely. In fact, if you’re subscribed to the Full-Time FBA Show podcast, next week we’re actually gonna be talking about outsourcing. So we’ll go into outsourcing in more detail. I sent out an email to our email list, and we asked them what are the things you want to hear most about selling on Amazon? What do you want to hear about … Us talk about on the podcast? And outsourcing was one of the top hits that we got. And so we’re going to be talking about outsourcing next week, so be sure you’re subscribed, and if you have not subscribed yet, do it. Do it, so you don’t miss out on this upcoming episode.
Stephen: All right, and the final tip of getting over your summer slow down is to finish the summer strong by looking into back to school sales. I don’t know if you know this, Rebecca, did you know that back to school sales are the number two … Right after the holiday sales, the number two selling season on … Just in retail?
Rebecca: I did not do that, but it makes a lot of sense.
Stephen: Yeah. Back to school for elementary, middle school, high school, back to school for college is a huge industry and a huge opportunity. And so you can look into trying to find out what people are buying for back to school, and be sure you’re stocked up so that toward the end of the summer, you are finishing out summer strong by focusing on back to school sales.
Rebecca: And along with that, just know that back to school for your area is possibly a different time of the year than back to school in other areas. I know for us, our kids go back to school in the middle of August, the second week of August, which is crazy early to me. A lot of other people don’t go back until after Labor Day in September. So just because you feel oh, it’s already … Back to school is almost here, it’s not. There’s still time.
Stephen: Yeah. Or if you think back to school, that’s just a week or two of potential sales. No, it could be potentially two months’ worth of sales. And so that’s something to look into. And so we’ll have some helpful links in the show notes to help you out with a lot of the things that we’ve talked about. Be sure to go to fulltimefba.com/9to get the show notes and links for all the things that we’ve talked about today.
Rebecca: All right, well that wraps it up for this episode of the Full-Time FBA Show. We’re really glad that you are here with us. As always, go to fulltimefba.com/leaveareview. If you would be able to leave us a review, leave us a rating, that would be awesome. It would help more people be able to find this show, and to get help with their FBA business. And we thank you so much for listening. Look forward to bringing you that show on outsourcing next week.
Stephen: Have a great day, everybody.
Announcer: That’s all for this episode of the Full-Time FBA show, so head over to fulltimefba.com/podcast, where you’ll find the show notes and links from this episode. While you’re there, subscribe to our newsletter where you’ll get several free downloads of our popular and helpful Amazon FBA resources, including a free ebook. Now, take action on what you’ve learned today, so you can find success at turning part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.
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