5 Ways to Navigate Your Highly Seasonal Selling Window
In our experience, capitalizing on sales opportunities means understanding not just why, but when a product sells most successfully. To cultivate that window, it is essential that you have prepared in advance. Here are 5 key factors you need to keep in mind...
1.) Stay Stocked
First, maintain adequate stock levels and prioritize your best sellers -- without the best sellers in stock, your listing will have low conversion. This starts with a buying strategy that may develop more than a year in advance. You will need extra time in your supply chain to accommodate any hiccups. In addition to FBA, it is crucial to have an FBM strategy in case you sell out.
2.) Dial in the Details
Make sure you get your product detail page and storefront dialed at least four weeks in advance of peak selling season to take advantage of bookend shoppers. Stay relevant: reevaluate your page again at least once in the early season and check the competition’s claims, then assess if your page should respond. Continually monitor seller feedback, product feedback, buyer questions, messages, and return rates. These metrics can point out issues you were unaware of, and if caught early, could be contained to minimize damage.
3.) Measurable Margins
Pricing and advertising can be brutal. Know your margins to assess how competitive you can comfortably be with price floors. Avoid starting with ASP too high, advertising too little, and leaving yourself stuck in this low margin, low velocity, selling cycle. We know it is common for sellers to get anxious and lower prices or run aggressive coupons. Try not to get caught up if you don’t have to! If you do need to improve your ranking, lowering your price to jump-start the algorithm is not a bad place to start.
You can always gradually increase and hopefully sell above the competition -- with less ad spend and preserved inventory -- by the end of the season because of earlier efforts and foresight. This approach will save you from sitting on too many units for another year while you wait for that next selling window.
4.) Keyword Cache
Track your top 20 keywords and phrases twice a week. Sales volume doesn’t illuminate the whole picture, and sometimes you might think your advertising isn’t making a difference. In order to gain organic ranking, you usually need to spend on those critical words. Assessing performance during that peak time period can help improve your positioning. That means looking beyond your ROI and conversion rate directly to ads. Focus instead on the compounding effects it is providing through boosted rank and growth of organic sales not attributed to your ad conversions. You can use software to track your organic keyword ranking or your total impression share on a group of important keywords, like the graph below.
5.) Evaluate BSR
Track your BSR daily, as well as five or six competitors to understand swings or changes. Your velocity may exceed or lag behind your forecasted expectations, but if competitors’ BSRs are following the same trends, then it may just be the reality of the current demand on the platform. If that demand is too low, then you’ll know it’s time to push harder on external marketing. To gain additional sales traction, have social media influencers and media outlets lined up to point shoppers in your direction. You can now track, and benefit from, Amazon's tools like Attribution Links and the Brand Referral Bonus to measure the impact of your external campaigns. Keep in mind, that the Amazon A10 algorithm is taking into consideration the amount of external traffic being sent to your brand's Amazon pages.
Note that if you plan on carrying this product every season, perform a competitive assessment around the midpoint of the season. The more consistent information you gather about your particular window, the better you can adapt and respond to both competition and opportunities in the Amazon marketplace.