Q4 is short for Quarter Four, or Fourth Quarter, and is the term describing the final 3 months of the year: October, November, and December. And simply put, is the most amazing time of year to be an Amazon seller.
The best method for preparing for Q4 is to have as many quality items in stock at Amazon as you possibly can. The more you have in stock, the more you can sell. I’ve heard of some Amazon sellers selling out of their most profitable stuff somewhere in the middle of December. You do not want this to happen to you. Since Christmas decorations have already been displayed in retail stores for some time, people are already starting to think about buying their gifts for the upcoming holiday season. And as an Amazon seller, you’ve got to start thinking about the holiday season now without letting another day go by. The earlier you can start figuring out your Q4 strategy, the better equipped you’ll be when it hits.
Q4 in the business world is understood as the final three months of the year (October, November, and December) and I want you to know the method I (and many other successful online resellers) use to maximize my profits during the last three months of the year. It’s called the Q4 Snowball.
The Q4 Snowball
Right now, your job is to feed the beast as fast as humanly possible. It’s your number one goal to have as many quality items at Amazon as soon as possible so you can get the Q4 sales. Once the sales come in, it’s wise to reinvest as much as you can back into more inventory and create what I call a Q4 Snowball.
You see, when you have a lot of items at FBA, you’ll see a big increase in sales and, obviously, in your disbursement. As your disbursement increases, you have more capital to source with. The sooner you buy and send in more inventory, the sooner you get even more sales and an even bigger disbursement. The system continues to repeat itself and culminates during the final weeks of December when the Q4 snowball has become gigantic!
Speed and hustle are key to Q4 momentum
It’s going to be hard work, but it’s worth it. The faster you can source, and the faster you can send your inventory to Amazon, the faster your Q4 snowball will grow.
Think about how a snowball gains momentum rolling down a snowy mountain. If there is no more snow on the mountainside to pick up, then the snowball will die out… but if you keep adding more and more items to your inventory, the Q4 snowball will grow and grow!
On the other hand, if you take your time with sourcing more inventory, and you are slow to get it all in to Amazon warehouses, then your Q4 snowball will not be as big as if you had hustled.
What if I have a full-time job?
If you have a “normal” 9-to-5 job, then I understand how this might be harder for you, but it’s not an excuse to not do your absolute best with the time you have. Maybe consider taking a few vacation or sick days in November or December to source, prep, and ship inventory to Amazon. Now, I don’t mean fake a sickness, but if you have paid sick days, and your job is ok with you taking them off, then take advantage of that as the year draws to a close. Again, these “off” days should only be used when you are closer to the end of Q4, when time is ticking away. I’m just telling you right now so you have time to think about how to best use your time.
Outsourcing makes this easier!
Another strategy is to outsource your prepping and packing to an Amazon prep center. The prepping and shipping aspects of your Amazon business can be accomplished by almost anyone, and that’s why you should not be doing it.
You need to have a CEO mentality for your Amazon business, especially during Q4 when time if of the essence. Can you imagine a CEO peeling price stickers off of inventory? Or a CEO packing inventory into boxes to send to Amazon? No! That’s why you need to find someone to do this for you that will be happy with a fair wage. Outsourcing will free you up to have more time to source profitable inventory.
You can hire some help locally to help you with prepping and shipping to Amazon, or you can totally outsource it by hiring a quality prep center to do it all for you. Here are my thoughts on why using a prep center is so valuable to an Amazon FBA business, and how to pick a quality prep center (plus my own recommendations). Just be sure to sign up for a prep center soon as many prep centers stop accepting new clients the deeper we get into Q4.
Smart Sourcing Decisions
Of course, be wise in what items you buy to add to your inventory. Just having more inventory in stock does not automatically mean more profits, but if you buy more of the right inventory, then you can massively increase your sales and profits as you continually reinvest your profits during Q4.
The best way to make smarter sourcing decisions during Q4, and throughout the year, is to use Keepa to help you know what to expect when it comes to the pricing and sales ranks during Q4.
Consider expanding your sales rank comfort zones when searching for profitable items to sell. During Q4, items with higher sales ranks tend to sell more often than the rest of the year which could potentially give you more opportunities for finding more inventory items to sell on Amazon. But be sure to double check Keepa graphs to make sure the item will sell well sometime soon. If you want a free training video on how to understand Keepa graphs, click here.
Do I reinvest everything?
It’s totally up to you. While the more profits you reinvest into more inventory gives you more items to sell, it’s not taking into account the all important “take home” pay. For each seller, there is a “sweet spot” where it’s time for you to stop reinvesting everything, and start taking home some of your profits. Each seller has their own “sweet spot” that makes the most sense to them.
There are a few different strategies you can use to deal with the Q4 snowball:
- Reinvest everything into more inventory until December 1st and then take a % of the overall profits from the sales from the rest of December as your Q4 “take home” pay. The other % can be the capital you use to continue sourcing in December to insure you still have inventory for January sales.
- Reinvest everything into more inventory until after the first week of December and then take a % of the overall profits from the sales from the rest of December as your Q4 “take home” pay. The other % can be the capital you use to continue sourcing in December to insure you still have inventory for January sales.
- Reinvest everything into more inventory until after the second week of December and then take a % of the overall profits from the sales from the rest of December as your Q4 “take home” pay. The other % can be the capital you use to continue sourcing in December to insure you still have inventory for January sales.
- Reinvest everything into more inventory until after the third week of December and then take a % of the overall profits from the sales from the rest of December as your Q4 “take home” pay. The other % can be the capital you use to continue sourcing in December to insure you still have inventory for January sales.
Of course, the longer you wait to take your take home %, the more potential profits you’ll get, but the less time you’ll have to sell those items to get those profits. Also, the later you wait to stop reinvesting means the less capital you’ll have to reinvest into more inventory for upcoming January sales. It’s a delicate balance and one that you need to consider carefully.
I would suggest being conservative with the timing of your first Q4 snowball (#1 or #2 from above), and then if things go well, take what you have learned and apply it to next year’s Q4 snowball. Over time, you’ll find your Q4 snowball sweet spot and know exactly how to handle it in the future.
*This post was updated for 2021
Now, I’d love to hear from you. What other tips and tricks do you employ in your business in order to make the most profits during Q4? Do you already have a plan in place? What does it look like? Comment below and let us all know.
It’s not too early to start thinking about next year! In fact, if you wait until January to start planning for the new year, then you’re setting yourself up to be left behind. I don’t want you to miss out on any opportunity that will come your way, which is why I wrote The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Plan For a Profitable Amazon Business.
Imagine knowing exactly what to expect in your Amazon FBA business every month of the year. Imagine what it would feel like knowing you were not missing out on any of the opportunities that will come your way in the last months of the year and beyond. Imagine working on your Amazon business knowing exactly what your priorities are, what you need to avoid, and what you need to accomplish during each month!
Find out more about The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business today. The package includes a 220+ page ebook, live webinar trainings throughout the year, and 4 special bonuses.
Great article and I love your book.
Well over the past few weeks I have been working on securing a deal with a wholesale supplier and as of last week the deal has been sealed. And because of that deal we have sent in over 300 items in a week. We have seen our sales skyrocket. We will be doing about 300 items or more a week throughout Q4.
Our plan is the same, get as much items into Amazon as possible. Thanks to your book we started strategizing and implementing.
However, we have been told to not to buy so much inventory in December do to having our books show assets at the end of the year. How do you handle your inventory in December?
Great game plan! Thanks for the kind words about my book.
All year long I send in inventory to sell. I don’t worry about having assets at the end of the year. Sales in January are awesome, but you have to have the inventory there to make the sales. For me, the end of the year inventory is not something to worry about.
The board games I’m selling are selling at high prices because that’s what the market is currently paying… I can look on Keepa and see what prices I can get for board games (and other items) come November and December. For most, it’s just harder to find board games, but some are just really popular.
Greg Johnson says
Good advice Stephen… we are going on a 4-day R/A sourcing trip starting tomm and hope to have everything from this weekend on it’s way to Amazon by Monday, then just rinse and repeat until close to Christmas.
Great article! This will be my first Q4, so I’m excited. I’m looking forward to your Black Friday guide. Will you be releasing one this year? I know stores are starting Black Friday events much earlier this year, especially Walmart.
Stephen Smotherman says
The Black Friday guide for 2021 will be released November 1st… Get notified when it goes live here: https://www.fulltimefba.com/blackfriday
Your material is great. The biggest hurdle for me is sourcing right now. Even using software like Tactical Arbitrage is not finding many great items, some due to needing to get ungated. But I am considering buying a leads list. Any recommendations?
Stephen Smotherman says
1. When you see you are restricted, do you attempt to apply to see if you get auto-approved? Many times that will happen and you’ll be able to sell it. Also, if you get denied, reapply again in 3-6 months. The longer you sell, the more brands and items will open up for you to sell.
2. We love buying from lead lists… here is a list of our favorites: https://www.fulltimefba.com/deallists
I have bought the leads list and that has helped. I always apply and have been auto undated for one product. I have also attempted to submit the receipts or invoices of other products I have purchased but they get denied. I assume it’s because I am buying them from the wrong source?
Stephen Smotherman says
Best source is directly from the brand,