Peak season is fast approaching, which means it’s time for brands to prepare for the busy holiday season. Here are six steps your brand can take to ensure a successful Q4:
6 Steps to a Successful Q4
- Optimize your listings: Now is the time to optimize listings with seasonal keywords that are perhaps not utilized during the rest of the year. For instance, if your brand sells assorted teas, consider adding keywords like “gift set” to your listing to boost your ranking in search results and get views from shoppers who are looking for holiday gift ideas.
- Create your ad strategy: Beginning in early October, build momentum with a robust, brand-specific growth strategy by resetting your ROAS (return on ad spend) and total advertising cost of sales goals with the competitive Q4 landscape in mind. We recommend increasing advertising budgets to take advantage of increased holiday traffic to Amazon. (Pro tip: Competition for ads in Q4 increases dramatically, so utilize off-Amazon advertising in tandem with Sponsored Search to take advantage of increased traffic while aggressively fending off competitors in your category. Plus: Use Amazon Sponsored Display and Sponsored Brand videos to boost brand awareness leading into the holiday season.)
- Monitor FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) storage limits: In the last few years, Amazon has imposed stock quantity limits for items Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) each holiday season. It’s important to understand the changing inventory controls guidance and diligently monitor your account’s storage limits, specifically when it comes to Standard and Oversize inventory, so lean on your 3PL (third-party logistics) provider to keep you abreast of changes. Note: During the peak season, increased Amazon receiving times may impact inbound shipments (especially freight (LTL/FTL) shipments, so be sure to account for this when planning your stocking and restocking strategies for the holidays.
- Focus on inventory readiness: Identify any special holiday bundles and special inventory prep requests (i.e., kitting) in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Deadlines will vary depending on your 3PL provider, so be sure to check with them in advance.
- Transparent forecasts: Speaking of your 3PL provider, it’s critical to communicate transparent shipment forecasts so your team (and theirs) can work cohesively to ensure all your brand’s demands are met. Consider updating your shipment forecasts biweekly leading up to Black Friday.
- Track key dates: Peak season is busy, so make sure you and your team stay on top of important fulfillment and advertising deadlines. This includes shipment forecasts, inventory receiving in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon content updates, and carrier cutoffs to have packages delivered in time for Christmas. Check with your 3PL to know specific deadlines and be sure to mark your calendar accordingly.
In sum, Q4 is the busiest season of the year for many so it’s important to prepare early and stay sharp so your brand can meet (and exceed) your customers’ expectations. Need help developing a winning Q4 strategy? Whitebox is equipped with leading advertising experts and demand planning technology, plus a national high-volume, low-defect fulfillment network. Reach out to us today!