Q4 can be exhilarating and lucrative, but it does not last all year. The New Year is underway, and as the holiday season starts wrapping up, customer behavior changes and so does sales velocity. Therefore brands need a strategy to enter the New Year with a bang. Your Q4 sales may not rival Q1 sales, but you can implement a well-thought action plan to surpass last year’s Q1 sales.
Below we’ve listed a few tips that can help brands prepare their Amazon store for the Q1 aftermath.
#1: Perform a gap analysis and establish a roadmap
Before you hit the ground running, don’t forget to look into the rearview mirror. Take a look back at what your brand has accomplished in the past four quarter(s). Ask your Amazon expert to scour through all of the data, from new-to-brand sales to conversion rates and dig deep to look for spikes, dips, and anomalies. The answers you need to avoid pitfalls in the coming years can be found hidden in the path you’ve already traveled.
Don’t get too hung up on failures but make a list of corrective actions that need to be taken. Based on that, devise a strategy to achieve goals for the first quarter of the year. Planning is crucial because it helps businesses take stock of what goals have been achieved so far and what can be achieved in the coming year. Just be sure to smooth out the kinks and you will be ready for whatever 2023 has in store for you.
#2: Tone down your ad bids and daily budget
As we get closer to the New Year, conversion rates decline. When transitioning from Q4 to Q1, the first step should be to cut down on advertising spend. We recommend you gradually start to lower your bids after Christmas and normalize back to how they were before the holidays by New Year.
#3: Remove holiday-related keywords from your listing
Keywords such as “best gift for Christmas” or “holiday gift for her” can be removed from your listing. Any gift-related keywords that are geared towards the holidays are good to use in Q4, but their use ceases to exist as we move into the New Year. Instead, Amazon ad specialists should shift their focus to best-performing keywords that have worked for you before.
#4: Spin your products, so it fits into the “New Year, new me” spirit
With the New Year comes a wave of New Year’s resolutions. An effective way to keep the sales momentum going from Q4 to Q1 is to ensure that your products remain relevant enough to fit in a customer’s New Year’s resolution.
Spin your products and market them a bit differently, so your product line does not look out of place in the first quarter of the year. For example, if you are selling a dietary supplement that boosts energy, you can add a copy like “Take charge of your health this New Year!” to appeal to fitness-enthusiast shoppers.
#5: Revert back to your original creatives
Sellers usually dress their images for Q4 to get into the holiday spirit. Now that the holidays are over, you can edit them back to how they were. Remove any holiday-themed images, taglines and creatives from your advertising campaign, product detail page, and storefront.
#6: Double down your marketing efforts if you are selling any fitness-related product
If you are selling fitness, health, wellness, or self-care products, it is your time to shine. New Year’s resolution brings with it health kicks and an obsession to get fit and stay healthy. You can piggyback on the New Year attitude and pitch your products to fit into the “New Year, new me” mentality.
#7: Stay on top of returns
After the holidays, it is normal to see an increase in customer returns. According to a report, holiday returns account for 8% of all holiday sales. Instead of dreading returns, turn them into an opportunity to make lasting connections with your customers.
If you are using FBA, there isn’t much you need to do. Amazon handles the entire process right from collecting the item from the shopper’s place to issuing a refund on your behalf. However, be sure to keep a record of return notification emails received from Amazon. When a customer initiates a refund of an item ordered via Prime shipping, Amazon immediately issues a refund without waiting for the item to be returned. We recommend sellers to keep track of refunds initiated vs. items returned to the warehouse to ensure everything’s in order.
If you are using FBM, be sure to polish your return policy so shoppers can have a hassle-free experience. Ask customers why they don’t want to keep your product. Their responses can be enlightening. You might be able to improve product quality or make minor fixes in the listing to reduce potential returns for the same reason.
#8: Retarget your new-to-brand customers
If you’ve done everything right, your brand might have seen an influx of new “followers”. Now is the time to do something with it. You can reconnect with shoppers who have already bought from you by leveraging tools like Manage Your Customer Engagement. You can send them emails about new product launches and upcoming discount offers to keep your brand on top of their mind in the New Year and beyond. Rather than letting your brand faze into the hazy holiday memories, make efforts to compel customers back to your Amazon store.
#9: Fix what you couldn’t in Q4
Amazon is growing and evolving at a breakneck speed. There’s so much to do and so little time. Now the Q4 shopping frenzy is over and everyone’s back at work, you’ll have plenty of time to revisit the things that you were too busy to deal with in Q4. Get those listings optimized, new Premium A+ Contents created, storefronts built and images designed – you will have all the time in the world to fix and do everything you couldn’t during the Q4 shopping frenzy.
#10: Don’t compare your Q1 with Q4
Q1 is an entirely different ballgame. Buyers don’t have the same spending power in Q4 as they do in Q1. So do not base your sales expectation on the last quarter. Instead of comparing it with Q4, you can compare it with 2022’s Q1.
This outlook will keep your expectations in check and you will be able to set achievable goals for the coming quarter.
What you do in the first quarter will set a precedent for the rest of the year
Starting off on the right foot in the first quarter of a year can set your Amazon store up for success throughout the year. By taking all of these tips into consideration, you’ll be able to develop a robust post-holiday sales increase strategy for a smooth transition into the new quarter. If you’re finding it difficult to maintain the sales momentum into the New Year, we’re here to help. Our Amazon consultants, with their expertise and experience, can help you set up your business for success into the New Year and beyond.