There’s plenty of information out there about what to do in your Amazon FBA business during the lucrative fourth quarter of the financial year, but we’re here to tell you about some hugely important things not to do! In this episode, we talk about everything Q4, and hit on the most common mistakes that sellers make during these 3 amazing months.
This episode covers 7 major money, energy, and time-wasters that you need to ditch, not only to keep your journey on track but also to keep your mind clear and focused. We touch on strategy, price adjustment, and some valuable programs to help you on your way, as well as some great tips on maintaining a work-life balance and keeping your priorities straight. You’ll be so glad you joined us today. Tune in now to level up your game this quarter!
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Key points from Episode 109:
- A warning about obsessively checking your pending sales.
- How it’s definitely not the time to implement a new strategy.
- We explain why blindly lowering your prices is a big no-no at this time (and what to do instead).
- Two valuable programs you should be using.
- Some controversial advice around inventory that you need to hear.
- An ingenious way to use “hot toys” to your advantage.
- Comparison is the thief of joy; celebrate the progress you’ve made!
- Keeping the work-life balance and not neglecting the most important thing – family.
- And more!
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
- The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday course (only open for a limited time)
- Use code BFSALE to save $10 off the course
- BQool – Automatic Repricer
- Keepa – Amazon price and sales rank history tracker
- The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA
- Get the Full-Time FBA newsletter
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The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday
The secrets of successful Black Friday sourcing for Amazon resellers is no longer a secret. My friend Kristin Ostrander (the Queen of Black Friday) and I (Stephen) have created a course called The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday: The Fool-proof Strategy to Rock Black Friday Sales Every Year.
In this combination ebook and video master class, we will walk you through, step-by-step, multiple Black Friday strategies that you can implement in your own Amazon business model.
Here’s the cool thing: Kristin and I have completely different Black Friday strategies, yet we are both able to make a killing off of Black Friday sales. She likes to shop Black Friday sales in the stores, while I usually stay home on Black Friday… How can both of these strategies work? We can’t wait to tell you in the latest edition of The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday.
Right now, the cart for the Black Friday course is closed, but you can get on the wait list today! All you have to do is click on this link and you can sign up to be notified when the updated edition of the course is released. I’ll also be sure to send you a coupon code for the course as well.
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Episode 109 Transcript:
[0:00:01.8] 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. Now, your hosts of the show, Stephen and Rebecca Smotherman.
[00:00:21] STEPHEN: Welcome to episode number 109 of the Full-Time FBA Show. It is Q4, and with me today to talk about Q4 is my wife, Rebecca. What is going on, Rebecca?
[00:00:31] REBECCA: Well, Q4, that’s what’s going on.
[00:00:32] STEPHEN: That’s true. It is going on.
[00:00:33] REBECCA: I mean, that pretty much sums it up, sums up what’s going on in our business.
[00:00:36] STEPHEN: Yup. And guess what? Today we’re going to be talking about the things you should not do during Q4. There are so many people out there telling you what to do right now. We’re just going to tell you what you can avoid doing. You don’t need to do it, so that you can maximize your time and energy on the things that are important to do. We’ll talk about that on this episode today.
[00:00:55] REBECCA: So we’re going to get into talking about what not to do during Q4. If you’re like me, I love taking things off of my to-do list, rather than adding them to my to-do list. So I’m looking forward to discussing some things that we can say, “You know what? I’m not going to do that. I don’t have to worry about that. I’m just not going to do it.”
We’ve got so many opportunities to do lots of great things for our business right now, so many opportunities for ways that we can increase our profits during Q4. But let’s just get into talking about some things that are maybe a waste of time, a waste of our energy, and we just need to not do it. That will help us to be able to build our business better during Q4 and see the magic of Q4 happen.
[00:01:35] STEPHEN: Yeah, Q4 is very magical, and sometimes that magic transitions into sales. So the first thing that we do not do, we do not recommend doing during Q4, is to obsessively check your pending sales. I know there’s a way on Amazon and Seller Central. You can go check your sales, you can see which ones are pending, and you can see them just lining up, and people are buying stuff. But you know what? It’s good to check that every now and then. That’s fine. But, man, there was a time in my Amazon sales life where I’m obsessively refreshing every few minutes, just because, man, I guess I got a dopamine hit. Is that what was going on?
[00:02:12] REBECCA: Definitely.
[00:02:12] STEPHEN: Yeah. So I was obsessively checking it. You know what? That’s not the profitable use of my time. So don’t obsessively check your pending sales. Yes, check-in every now and then. But don’t obsess about it. You’re going to get the sales. It’s Q4. Sales are going to increase. You’re going to enjoy it, but spend time doing something else more productive.
[00:02:31] REBECCA: That one really hits home for me because this is the time of year when I love to check our pending sales even more obsessively than normal because, yeah, the numbers go up so much faster. You see the increase in velocity and the increase in the dollar amount of your sales so much quicker right now during this time of year. Yeah, it’s definitely a dopamine hit. So we can just decide right now, we’re not going to do that. We’ve got a better use of our time check in periodically.
The second thing we wanted to talk about that we should not be doing during Q4 is implementing a brand new strategy. If there’s some area of your business that you are looking at tweaking or learning something new and incorporating that into your FBA business, now’s not the time to do that. Wait until after Q4 is over. You really want to stick with your strengths during Q4 because there are so many opportunities within what you already know to make a lot of great sales, to find a lot of great inventory.
So don’t decide now’s the time I’m going to learn how to sell in a completely different category that I’ve never sold in before. That has variations, and I’m going to have to create new listings. But I don’t know how to create a new listing, so I’m going to have to learn how to do that.
The list can go on and on of the things that you could be trying to learn and implement, but wait until Q1 to do that. Now is not the time. Now is the time to just maximize what you already know and really ride your strengths.
[00:03:57] STEPHEN: Yeah, Q4 is three months of amazingness, so you want to take advantage of that and not be testing anything out. You have nine other months out of the year, Q1, 2, and 3, to focus on that, so just kind of put it off. If you have a brand new strategy you want to employ, wait till later.
Third thing that we recommend not doing during Q4 is blindly lowering your prices. I know if you send in inventory, especially if you send in high-priced inventory or maybe high-quantity inventory, and you’re like, “It hit the warehouse but it’s not selling, and the competitors are lowering their prices. Should I lower my price too?” No, no, no, no, no, no. It’s Q4. Most of the time, even if prices go down for a short time, they recover pretty quickly, and so do not blindly lower your prices. Be sure you are repricing your inventory wisely. You check a Keepa graph to see what happened last year during Q4.
Keepa, if you don’t know, is a program that tracks the sales rank history and pricing history of almost every item on Amazon. I will put a link in the show notes about that. But you can see how inventory items reacted last year during Q4, the prices that they sold out, and what maybe you can expect this year. So don’t blindly lower your prices. You might just wait a few weeks for the competition who are freaking out and lowering their prices to sell out. Then the price recovers, and you get a higher ROI.
If you have a repricer setup like BQool that we recommend, that can be taken care of automatically. You can let BQool take care of things, set your minimum, and be happy with a price that low, and set your maximum, and be ready for your prices to go up when the competitors sell out. So reprice your inventory wisely. Don’t blindly lower your prices. You’re going to miss out on ROI. Man, no one wants to do that.
[00:05:40] REBECCA: All right, so the fourth thing that we highly recommend you not do during Q4 is to stop sending in inventory to the FBA warehouses. A lot of times, you’re going to hear people asking or people advising, “Here’s the time that you should stop sending in inventory for Q4.” I mean, yeah, that makes sense if you’re wanting to sell something before a certain date. If you’re wanting to sell out of everything before Christmas. If you’re wanting to sell everything at that time, sure, find a cutoff date.
But I would imagine most of us who are listening to a podcast about full-time FBA are not going to be done at Christmas. We are going to want to sell stuff after Christmas. We want our items to continue to sell year-round, and so don’t stop sending in inventory.
Like Stephen was just saying, you definitely want to check Keepa graphs to see if there are certain items that might be seasonal, or if you might not get the ROI that you want if your item doesn’t sell by a certain time. But on the whole, you want to continue to send an inventory that you know will sell after Christmas, because people don’t stop buying once a certain magical date arrives in December. They’re going to still be buying your inventory. It might not be at the same velocity but it might also be at the same velocity.
Especially this year with all the supply chain issues, we just really have no idea what the buying patterns are going to look like going into the end of December and January. Because, people are going to have gift cards that they’re going to want to spend that they got for Christmas, because maybe grandma decided, “I don’t want to have to deal with supply chain. I know there’s no supply shortage of gift cards.” So keep shipping inventory to the warehouses. People will continue buying inventory after Christmas and into January and the rest of Q1. Don’t stop sending in your inventory.
[00:07:25] STEPHEN: Yeah. Actually, one of the best ways to have a really great January month is to make sure you’re well-stocked at the end of December. So continue to send inventory to Amazon.
The fifth thing we recommend not doing in Q4 is chasing all the hot toys. What I mean by that is that Walmart and Target, Amazon, so many different stores put together these little hot toy guys, these holiday gift guides, things like that where they’re promoting what they think are going to be the most popular toys this Q4. Guess what? Usually, most of the time, those hot toys are going to be high-priced toys. They’re going to be in the 50 to 200 dollar range.
Most of those retailers are not going to put a $10 toy or a $5 toy as a hot toy. So those toys are higher priced. Not only that, most stores are going to try to be well-stocked of these hot toys that they are advertising. So it’s very common that toys become not a profitable item on Amazon.
Now, 2021 with the supply chain issues, there might be some of these hot toys that sell out and can be hard to find. But in most years, the hot toys are going to be well-stocked in each of the stores. The better strategy, instead of focusing on the hot toys, is to look at the accessories that connect to the hot toys.
As an example, there was a VTech Smart Animals Zoo that was probably like 100, 150 dollars one year, and that was going to be the hot toy. Well, they came with little animals that sang and went in this zoo and played annoying noises, and it was crazy. But the little animals you can buy separately for like seven bucks. Well, the hot toy of the zoo was easily found everywhere. It was not profitable.
But there were some of those little accessories, the little animal accessories that became very profitable that we could sell for three to four times on Amazon. Sometimes, looking at the accessory that’s connected to the hot toy might be a better strategy. So don’t chase all the hot toys this year in Q4.
[00:09:23] REBECCA: You just caused me to have flashbacks of Mary the monkey in the back of the minivan.
[00:09:29] STEPHEN: Yes. Every time we went over a speed bump, that little monkey would start singing, and I had to convince myself that’s the sound of money. That’s the sound of money.
[00:09:35] REBECCA: It was kind of annoying.
[00:09:38] STEPHEN: Kind of. That’s an understatement.
[00:09:39] REBECCA: Okay. The sixth thing that we want to advise you not to do during Q4, and this is one actually that we think works really well all year long but especially now, is don’t compare yourself to others. Other FBA sellers, other sellers online, or other people that you know who are doing some sort of business right now, don’t compare yourself to their progress, to their profits.
If you see posts online about people saying that they made X number of dollars at this store, or they bought this amount of stuff, and they’re going to be able to sell it all for X amount of ROI, don’t look at your own numbers and say, “Why am I not doing as well as they are?”
For one thing, you don’t know the whole story. You don’t know how far into debt people are having to go to buy that inventory. They’re paying for it with cash or not. You don’t know whether that inventory is a good sales rank and is actually going to sell. You don’t know anything about their sales numbers. Sales and profit are two different things.
There are so many factors that you don’t know when you see these posts online, or you hear people talking about these big stories of how successful they are. All you know is what you have done and what you can compare yourself to is you previously. You can compare where you are now with where you were last month or last year, and you can see the progress you’ve made.
That is a great way to track how you’re doing, because another quote that we really love to share, I think I’ve said this in a recent podcast, Stephen, is comparison is the thief of joy. So if you are comparing yourself to somebody else, all the progress that you’ve made is almost negated in your mind. You can convince yourself so easily, “I’m not doing as well as I thought I was.” When if you had just compared yourself to yourself, you would have great joy at how far you’ve come.
So be sure to remember not to compare yourself to others but to compare yourself to your own journey and to just enjoy how far you’ve come and enjoy the progress that you’ve made. Because Q4 is a great time to see, wow, this can be a really successful business. Q4 really is a magical time for seeing great progress in your business.
[00:11:41] STEPHEN: Yup. Plus it gives a lot of hope for the future because you think, “Well, I’ve learned so much during this one. Next Q4 is going to be even better.” You can find joy in that as well. So the last thing we’re going to talk about today of the things you do not need to do in Q4 is this. Don’t neglect your family and your friends. There are so many opportunities with selling on Amazon and during Q4 especially, that it can be really easy for us to become so obsessed with finding more inventory, focusing on sending inventory to Amazon, making sure it’s priced competitively, making sure that everything’s taken care of, and finding more inventory and then find even more inventory. That sometimes your family and your friends might get the idea that Amazon is more important than they are.
We want to make sure that you don’t neglect your friends and your family. Make sure they understand they are number one in your life, above your Amazon business, and that will go a long way with relationships and with your life and really have a lot of work-life balance that way.
[00:12:39] REBECCA: Yeah, I think that’s truly the key to happiness at this time of year, is making sure that you are keeping the most important things, the most important things.
[00:12:45] STEPHEN: Absolutely.
[00:12:46] REBECCA: All right, so that wraps up the seven things that we wanted to share with you today about what not to do during Q4. We really hope that you are off to a great start this Q4 and that you have several more weeks of great sales and great excitement during this Q4 period ahead of you. We hope you focus on what you should be doing during Q4, rather than what we hope you see that you should not be doing.
[00:13:10] STEPHEN: Yeah. So in this episode, we’ve given you seven things to take off your to-do list. We like taking things off our to-do list. I have one thing to put on your to-do list and that is to join our email newsletter. Every week, we have a newsletter go out, and it gives you all the updated tips and tricks. We share coupon codes. We share videos. We share so much different things that will help you turn those part-time hours into a full-time income.
So you just go to fulltimefba.com, and there’s going to be a link there to join our newsletter. At least once a week we’ll send something out that is helpful for you to grow your Amazon business. We’ll also send you some freebies. We got some free ebooks and some other free PDFs that you can get to help your Amazon business grow just for signing up for the newsletter. Again, fulltimefba.com is where you find that.
[00:13:58] REBECCA: Thank you so much for joining us for this week’s episode of the Full-Time FBA Show. We are so glad that you are here. Just a reminder, as always, you can find any of the links that were mentioned and the transcript of this episode at the show notes. For this episode, that is at fulltimefba.com/ 109 because this is episode number 109.
[00:14:18] STEPHEN: Next week on the show, we’re going to talk about how to understand the suppressed Buy Box on Amazon, the times when the Buy Box disappears, and there’s not a Buy Box. We’ll also talk about things that you can do to regain the Buy Box, and we’ll break that down next week on the show. We’ll see you there.
[END OF DISCUSSION]
[00:14:37] 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. 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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