Planning for a new year on Amazon demands an understanding of your product’s trends, busy seasons, and the buyer’s mindset- if you want to ensure that every sale is captured.
Don’t confuse planning out a new year with planning for New Years. While your product may be most in-demand during the end of year rush, it takes a whole year of analyzing and understanding to make sure that you can meet your buyers when they are searching for you without running into unnecessary expenses. That’s why your “year” starts now.
Begin planning your Amazon year
The best way to look forward is by looking back.
Collect the previous year’s Summary and Profit report to begin understanding what went well, what went poorly, and what needs to be adjusted. This is a key Amazon business step to understand how your expenses and net profit were spread throughout the year and where you can improve. This can be easily achieved by clicking on ‘Payment’ then choosing a full year for the date range.
Did you have enough inventory? Was ad-spend what you expected? While you review, keep three four questions in mind at all times:
1. What went well ?
2. What didn’t?
3. What could have been foreseen?
4. What was a total fluke (did your shipment get waterlogged with no explanation? Lightning strike?)?
Reduce Amazon management expenses
There’s a lot of logistics to consider when selling on Amazon. Once you know which product you’d like to sell, think about how you want your Amazon business to be managed, how responsive vendors are, and how willing your partners are to work around your needs.
Here’s my key checklist to consider:
1. Pricing – Is your pricing competitive or is it scaring away buyers? This does not only apply to over-priced items. It can be that an under-priced item can raise questions about quality, reliability, and safety. Conduct thorough competitor analysis to understand where your pricing should be and see if there are any potential red flags in your listing. As a bonus, try to think of what a buyer’s questions will be and address them right in the product description.
2. Shipment– Are you using the best method that works for your product? We tend to agree to terms that come with convenience but don’t hesitate to shop around and consider alternatives. A few dollars here and there can make a big difference when operating on a wholesale level. When it comes to storage, since Amazon has storage limitations in many cases. It is recommended to use both Amazon warehouse and an external warehouse to support FBM sales and send inventory to Amazon warehouse quickly whenever possible.
3. Box size – Choose the correct box size for your item. All Amazon shoppers have experienced receiving a pencil in a box meant for a refrigerator. Beyond seeming to not care about being eco friendly, it is costing you on shipment and storage. Check if a smaller box is possible without harming the retail packaging.
4. Paid campaigns – PPC results are a large investment in getting people to see your product and make a purchase. Remain familiar with each of your campaigns, ensuring they fit your Advertising Objectives and your budget. This is trickier than it seems since Amazon frequently rolls out new PPC features. Keep checking these new features and optimize campaigns and maximize ROI.
5. Inventory planning– This is a big one. Let’s give it its own section.
Amazon inventory planning
Planning inventory goes beyond shipping times and keeping the warehouse well stocked. Consider annual events such as holidays, seasons, school vacations, and other events that may see demand for your product rise. Now think, how long does it take from placing an order for more products to reaching an Amazon distribution center? This should include the time it takes to produce the product, get the packaging, deliver it to your facility, turnaround time, and delivery time to the Amazon facility.
I suggest two points:
1. Be the one who’s inventory is in stock when others are out
2. Expect the unexpected. 2021 brought us supply chain squeezes, chips shortages, and delayed delivery times by air and sea. Take all into consideration and plan ahead.
Modern business, whether building cars or selling on Amazon, demands efficiency and automation. To automate processes and spend more time focusing on what matter, consider:
1. Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) – Once you have a routine process down for recurring tasks and necessary redundancies, find a VA who you can delegate to so you can focus more on your business.
2. Utilize an inventory planning tool – There are some great products out there that help you make the most of inventory management. Use them!
3. Amazon account monitoring – Pay attention to your account health and listing status on Amazon (that’s what the Seller Metrics are for!). Delegate what you can and try to automate the things that keep your account health in place.
4. Amazon business monitoring – Create your own dashboard or use an add-on tool to track your sales and profit and make sure you catch trends on time – for example – sales drop and react fast to treat them.
Amazon Marketing Plan
Now that we’ve analyzed, cut costs, and delegated all we can, it’s time to think ahead.
The best way to begin this process is with a holiday calendar. Begin with the easy ones such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Easter, Passover, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and any other holidays that are relevant to the region you are selling in.
Then move on to other days that are relevant. Is spring break big for you? How about the 4th of July? What about August 1st as the unofficial kickoff to school buying season? And of course, don’t forget Amazon holidays such as Prime Day!
Think of your audience and check last year’s trends to understand what you’ll need for the year ahead. Plan each quarter, look at important dates, and being considering:
– Promotions & deals
– Landing page on the storefront
– Amazon posts
– SEO listing optimization and backend keywords adaptation for better product indexing
– Relevant advertising considerations – budgets and bids, seasonal search terms, preparing holiday related graphics, etc.
– Deals and Promotions
Here’s an example of the start to my 2022 marketing calendar:
And here’s Amazon’s take:
Remember, there’s no “set it and forget it” here. Start taking steps to meet the needs of each calendar event, be prepared when others aren’t, and track your results.
Plan the work and work the plan
It is vital to keep your finger on the pulse of the market and your storefront. I help clients remain as top products by remaining true to the plans that I put in place. Research is crucial but is ongoing.
The best thing to do is become a constant tracker!
This means you should always:
- Analyze results and implement what you’ve learned the next time
- Note which promotions, sales, and coupons worked best
- Conduct a full review to see if promotions were profitable and hit targets
- Review the landing page’s conversion rate and compare against earlier campaigns
- Focus on what worked for getting desired Amazon post reactions
- Dive deep into advertising and PPC results, new search terms, and anything where you want to see direct ROI on investments.
Conclusion – Your Amazon year begins with lots of planning and reflection. Understand the previous year’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Use a calendar to visualize what lies ahead in the year to come and when you should take action to be sure you are always positioned to sell.
Planning management and inventory in advance will allow you to identify places to cut costs and optimize operations. That will leave the opportunity to invest more in PPC, packaging, and any other aspect of your business including hiring a VA to take care of key tasks. Your inventory planning tool and monitoring account health can position you to take advantage of market fluctuations and complete additional sales when competitors are sold out.
Finally, ensure that you are grabbing the attention of potential buyers by including proper keywords in your listing, using promotions and deals, and being aware of PPC feature updates to continuously optimize campaigns.