We’re starting to get into the thick of the busiest time of the year for an Amazon FBA seller – Q4, or the last quarter of the year. For the rest of the world, Q4 is typically October, November, and December, but for an Amazon FBA seller the busiest months are typically November, December, and January.
Q4 can be a magical time of faster sales and higher profits, but it can also be a time of great confusion and unmet expectations if you’re not careful. Many folks will try to tell you all the things you should be doing as an Amazon seller during Q4, but today I want to talk about the things you DON’T want to do during Q4.
If you do these things, you might end up hurting yourself and your business. If you avoid the things on this list, it should be easier for you to grow your sales, make more money, and be successful in your business and life.
Obsessively check your pending sales
Sure, it’s fun to check your sales during Q4 and see the pending sales adding up quicker than they do in other times of the year. Our brains are probably getting a dopamine hit of some sort every time we check sales and see new orders in our pending list – but is it the best use of our time? There are many more profitable ways to spend your time during Q4, so try to only check on your sales a reasonable number of times a day, not obsessively every five minutes. (This first item on the list is in honor of my wife, Rebecca. She is the first to admit this is her biggest downfall during Q4. Step away from the Orders page on the Amazon Seller app, Rebecca!)
Implement a brand new strategy
Learning how to implement a brand new strategy or sell in a new category is always a fun challenge for an Amazon FBA seller, but Q4 is not the time to start experimenting. You have nine months during the first three quarters of the year to play around with new concepts, tools, categories, or brands, but Q4 is when you need to double down on the things you already know well. You have so much more potential to make huge profits if you take what you know and just do more of it during Q4. You don’t want to get stuck trying to figure out something difficult about a new concept and waste time that you could be maximizing your profits by sourcing and sending in to FBA items that are low-hanging fruit for your business.
Stop sending inventory to the FBA warehouse
Some people get caught up in dates and deadlines too early in the season, and they stop sending inventory by late November or early December. Some sellers might stop sending anything at all to the warehouse, overlooking the fact that sales in January can continue to be fantastic – IF you have inventory in stock. Buyers might want to buy what they really wanted for Christmas (but didn’t receive as a gift), or they might want to use up all the Amazon gift cards they received. Keep sending in inventory, so you’ll have stuff to sell well into January.
Blindly lower your prices
There comes a point in the Q4 selling season where some sellers might start to panic and wonder if their prices are too high. Blindly lowering prices, however, isn’t the best way to handle that fear of missing out on sales. In many cases, supply will go down on the Amazon website, which means prices will go up – you don’t want to start lowering your prices just as other sellers are selling out and you can get a higher price for your inventory. Always check the stock levels of your competitors and check Keepa for sales rank and price history in previous Q4s, whenever possible. You can see our tutorials for checking stock levels at this link and for learning Keepa at this link.
If you’re wanting to update your prices by following a predetermined plan, then I highly recommend using the automatic repricer tool called BQool. With the right settings, BQool can save you tons of time, make you more profits, and even improve your IPI by getting faster sales. If you want to try BQool free for 14 days, then click here. And if you want my own personal repricing rules that literally doubled my sales during the first month of using it, then click here.
Spend time comparing yourself to others
If you’re in any Facebook groups for Amazon sellers, you’ll probably see other sellers posting photos of their latest retail arbitrage trips with several carts full of toys to sell, or you might see screen shots of crazy high numbers of daily sales on Amazon. It can be tempting to start comparing yourself to those sellers and wondering why you aren’t having as much success as they are. Don’t do that. Just don’t.
Comparing your business to someone else’s business isn’t a fair comparison, and it isn’t a good use of your time. You can’t compare your chapter 4 to someone else’s chapter 10. If you can’t help it, maybe consider stepping away from Facebook for a while. Keep pressing forward on your own goals, and don’t get bogged down in thinking how much greater someone else’s business might be. (On a related note, if you want to join our Full-Time FBA Facebook group, here’s the link.)
Chase all the hot toys
The catalogs and magazines tell you what’s hot, so all you have to do is go out there, chase it down, and resell it, right? But chasing hot toys can quickly become the fast track to frustration with large numbers of competitors and ever lowering prices. Very rarely does a hot toy lead to great profit margins. The stores and manufacturers typically do the research to know what’s going to be hot, and they’re usually well prepared and fully stocked.Instead of buying hot toys, you want to be looking for lesser known items that are selling really well with fewer competitors, or you want to look for accessories for the hot toys – those smaller items that buyers will need to add to their cart to go along with the hot toy, like refills or cases.
Neglect your family and friends
I would imagine none of us do this last one consciously, but it does end up happening at times if we’re not careful. The Q4 selling season is also the busiest time of the year for holidays involving spending time with family and friends. It could be so easy to get caught up in the idea of all the profits to be made on Amazon during November and December, and we can lose sight of the people in our lives who are the most important.
Please don’t let your Amazon FBA business take over every waking moment so that you miss out on making memories with your family and friends. You need to take the time to savor the holidays and focus on the most important relationships in your life. Businesses can be here today and gone tomorrow, but your family and friends are lasting – don’t let this holiday season go by without making sure they know how important they are to you.
I’ve found in my own life and business that when I stay away from these 7 things, I have a healthier work-life balance and more success in the long term at my Amazon FBA business. I hope this Q4 you find tremendous success and amazing profits!
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Now, I’d love to hear from you. Can you relate to any of these non-helpful actions that can take away from having a successful Q4? What other things do you try to avoid this time of year? Comment below with aspects of life and business that you try to stay away from in order to make the most of this amazing Q4 opportunity.
*Updated for 2020
Hi Stephen, Found these great tips in my email over coffee! Thanks once again for the solid advice. No. 3 & 4 are my favorites because they are both pieces of advice I learned through trial and error.
Thank you for these great reminders. I need to keep in mind that while this is an important time of year for business – it’s not the only time of year. As I’ve heard so much about people making 50% of their annual income during this time, it’s quietly made me put more pressure on myself for this season. Thanks again.
Hermie VG says
Thanks again for this great advice! I always want to make sure I read your blogs because I always get to pick up several golden nuggets. But this time these are humongous nuggets! Thank you for what you do!
Thanks Stephen, You are a wealth of knowledge!
Really great advise, esp about the comparing to others. Posts of sales….ugh! Sales do not equal profits! notice how I rarely see people posting their actual profits.
One of my challenges is always the opposite of number 4, how much to raise prices. I am lucky enough to have had items where all the lower priced sellers go out of stock. My sales pick up from zero and I slowly raise prices. This happens even on Items that Amazon sells and I have no way of knowing whether competition will return. How far do you raise prices, already above MSRP? I realize this is a good problem to have.
Great example is Yeti Ramblers. One year I stumbled upon them just before stock went out in a lot of stores. Grabbed all I could and merchant fulfilled given no idea how long the spike would last. There were hundreds of sellers at times and prices went nearly 3 times retail ($90)! I opted for quick profits and not chasing the price all the way up. One thing to remember is that returns spike and the return period is extended. I had only one return and sold it again before tge price collapsed. Bad feedback can also occur if folks think they have been ripped off.
I raise prices slowly until sales slow down… I also look at past sales prices on Keepa. For more on Keepa, check out this free training video: https://www.fulltimefba.com/readkeepa
Good post thanks for always passing on good info
I have learned my lesson about letting up on sending inventory. When I have slowed down my sales go to nothing right after Christmas and it’s hard to get enough sent in to have a decent January of you don’t keep sending since everything sells so fast right up to Christmas..
I totally agree. Those are things not to do.
I see comments from 2017 but the article is dated this month.
Stephen Smotherman says
Yes – at the very end of the blog post we have the text: “*Updated for 2020” so some of the comments are from when the post was originally posted, but the content is all up to date for 2020. We try to keep most of our blog posts up to date with current Amazon guidelines and best strategies.