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The Amazon Files, hosted by Kristin Ostrander, Amazon business strategist and one of the founders of Mommy Income, hits the airwaves every Tuesday with the real truth about selling on Amazon. This show isn’t about sugar-coated reality. It’s real truth - the good, the bad and the ugly - shared with practical action steps and strategies to help both new and experienced sellers tackle the world’s largest retail sales platform.

Jul 19, 2021

Today I dig into one of my very favorite topics - Q4! This is the biggest selling season of the year for online retailers, and it accounts for at least one-third of our annual sales. Q4 is the holiday season, and it runs from October right through to December. On this episode, I break down how to prepare for Q4 so that you can maximize your profits and have a competitive edge over other retailers, who are busy lounging by the pool right now.


Of course, the first thing you can do to prepare for Q4 is join our Facebook group using the code word #Q4PREP. Next, you’ll want to register for our Q4 Jumpstart class, which I teach every year in July. This is going to help you prepare for your Q4, know what to sell, learn strategies for inventory planning, access a holiday shipping calendar, and plan for important dates and deadlines. You should also make sure to place your supply orders as soon as you can so that you’re ready to ship come October, and make sure you order enough to cover three months’ worth of inventory as these supplies are guaranteed to sell out closer to Christmas. Generally speaking, it’s better to order too much than not enough, because you can still sell the extra next year, liquidate, or bundle it - but you can’t sell what you don’t have. You can also take advantage of dating with wholesalers (no, not the Tinder kind), as well as buyback options. 


Today I’ll go through these, and so many other tips to help you prepare for a successful Q4, including not jumping on trends, keeping a schedule, and doing your research on last year’s top sellers. Remember, this is your business and no one else can do this prep work for you. You can’t start Q4 in Q4, and today’s episode will lay out exactly what you need to do now to make sure you have your most lucrative Q4 yet!


This week on the Amazon Files:

  • Q4 is one of my favorite topics - it’s the biggest selling season of the year (October, November, and December) and accounts for at least one-third of our yearly income
  • Yes, it’s only July, but preparing for the holiday season now will give you an advantage over your competitors as they lounge by the pool
  • Today is all about Q4 - how you can maximize your profits, and prepare for the holiday season
  • Now is the time to place your supply orders to be ready for Q4
  • The first thing you can do to prepare is join our Facebook group using the code word #Q4PREP
  • Second, you’ll definitely want to register for our Q4 Jumpstart class, which I teach every year in July
  • Inventory management is crucial - you need to prepare your inventory ahead of time because Q4 is very busy
  • Order enough supplies to cover three months’ worth as you can’t place another order in the middle of Q4 - everything will be sold out
  • 2021 is going to be different as Amazon has implemented storage and quantity limits
  • Pay attention to your shipping schedule
  • Look at one month’s worth of sales and add about 10-20%
  • It’s better to order too much inventory than not enough, because you can save it for next year, liquidate or bundle the extra
  • Save enough money for additional inventory
  • Take advantage of dating with wholesalers - place your Christmas order now, and make your payment in December
  • Many wholesalers also offer a buyback option - if you have not sold out your inventory by a certain point, they will buy it back from you at cost
  • Remember that Q4 is in addition to your regular inventory - don’t neglect those evergreen items
  • Shipping will be very busy this year, and it may take longer for your orders to arrive - shipping early is important
  • Create new bundles and listings early, and give them time to index
  • Example of Halloween items selling year round - Businesses like haunted houses need to stock up early, and that’s where you come in
  • Ordering early can also offer advantages like an early bird discount
  • Retail stores like Costco typically order their seasonal items on a one-and-done basis, so pick up your supplies as soon as they become available as they’ll be sold out later
  • Pay attention to which racks are empty, which items are hot sellers during the regular season, as they’ll be even more in demand over the holidays
  • Be aware that shipping is going to take longer during the holiday selling season
  • Avoid jumping on trends as they come and go quickly, and are unlikely to provide consistent, reliable profit
  • Don’t panic and start lowering your prices too soon
  • Pay attention to data points, do your research on last year’s top sellers, keep a schedule
  • Don’t let fear stop you from ordering a little extra inventory
  • If you don’t take a risk, there’s no reward


“If you make homemade anything, I'd be having all that stuff made and ready before October 1. So then all you have to do is ship, ship, ship.”

- Kristin Ostrander



“Q4 is literally the biggest selling season of the entire year. And so it needs much attention. Now I know what you guys are like, It's July. Why are we talking about Christmas? Well, because you're an online retailer. And when you're an online retailer, you order products earlier than even now for Q4!”


“Your competition are at the beach. They're boating. They're hanging out at the campground. They're vacationing. They're not preparing for Q4. And that's what you're doing, right? Because you're here.”


“If this is your first Q4, you can't miss Q4 Jumpstart. It is the class that you want to be able to take in order to kickstart your Q4! And yes, we're talking about it early. Because you can't start Q4 in Q4 - you have to do it now.”


“2021 is different than previous years because Amazon has implemented storage limits and quantity limits. So if you're anticipating selling a couple hundred [units] a day and Amazon's not increasing your limits, you need to manage your inventory properly. That means be ready.”


“Pay attention to your shipping schedule. Because as things start to sell, Amazon's going to lift the limits and let you sell more.”


“You don't have to sell as many units to make a good profit if you're selling based on margin.”


“You can’t sell what you don’t have!”


“It's better to have slightly too much than not enough inventory because not enough means you're losing money.”


“That's a great thing that you want to pay attention to using dating - ask your wholesalers if they offer any sort of dating for Fall and holiday items, and most of them will say yes. Also, don't forget to ask your wholesalers if they have a buyback option.”


“Shipping this year is going to be a hot mess, just going to be honest… Because of the pandemic more and more people who weren't really shopping online, are now shopping online even more. And so that has increased the time it takes for your stuff to arrive. So shipping early is really important.”


“If you have Halloween stuff, send it now. No joke, send it now. Because while everyone else is waiting to the last minute, you're going to get the early sales. Order early.”


“Look at those catalogs, pay attention to the early ordering deadlines because there's advantages to ordering early. It doesn't mean you can't order now. It just means that some things might be sold out. And they usually offer an early bird discount.”


“This is about being prepared. This is your business. No one else is going to do this prep work for you. So you need to get on it and do it soon.”


“Pay attention to where the empty racks are and say, Oh my gosh, if this toy or this product or these things are trending now, they're going to be even bigger for the holiday selling season.


“Be aware that shipping is just going to take a little bit longer, and it's always longer during the holiday selling season.”


“You don't want to stake all of your claim on a trend.”


“Shiny objects won't pay the bills long-term. So you just have to pay attention - trends are trends, they come and they go as quickly as possible. So look for steady, consistent profits and not necessarily trending.”


“Don't panic and lower your prices. Items sell after holidays. They also sell right up until the holiday. So don't be stuck with that - there's a lot of people that are last-minute, they will actually pay whatever price is available, because that's the item that they need.”


“There's something worse than having extra inventory leftover. It's called selling out and losing money that way.”


“Regardless of how free-spirited you want to be, your business still needs attention. That means schedule a plan. Because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”


“Running out of stock is like the worst Q4 problem.”


“And you know what, schedule yourself a little break in January, when all the hoopla has died down and your sales are great. You'll probably have a little bit of extra jingle in your pocket. So maybe January is a time that you can then, I don't know, come visit me at one of my workshops because I usually do several in January.”


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Grow Your Amazon Business!

Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Amazon Files, the show to help Amazon sellers along their business journey one step at a time with Amazon expert and your host, Kristin Ostrander. If you enjoyed this episode, head over to Apple Podcasts, subscribe to the show and leave us your honest review. Don’t forget to share your favorite episodes with your friends on social media! Use the codeword #Q4PREP to join us on Facebook. Each week, Kristin hosts a live discussion on how to grow your Amazon business. Don’t forget to check out our website and subscribe to our mailing list for even more resources.