4th Quarter is here, now what?

October 15th, 2014

We are coming up on the best time of year to be an online seller with the Christmas gift buying season quickly approaching.  There are currently 70 days until Christmas, and that means somewhere around 55-60 days to have items shipped into amazon warehouses to be available for last minute buyers to purchase Christmas gifts.  I haven’t seen amazon officially release the shipping deadlines for 2014, but they should be in line with the 2013 shipping deadlines, which required customers to order by December 22nd for 2 day shipping, and the 23rd for one day shipping to have items delivered on or before the 24th.

We all know that the next 70 days are some of the best to be online sellers, but how do we best take advantage?

In a perfect world, some of this would already have been done, but there is still time to take advantage of the season.  In preparation for the Christmas buying season, I have already placed several large wholesale orders for items that I expect to sell well throughout the season.  In addition to that, I have someone hired to help me ship my products, and also have an independent contractor on board who is going to be doing both sourcing and shipping on basically a full time basis.

Beyond the preparation that has already been done, my plan is to devote significantly more time to sourcing product than I have been the past few months.  This will be a combination of retail arbitrage, online arbitrage, wholesale, and liquidation sourcing.  I also have made sure to have plenty of all of the supplies I regularly use on hand so that I won’t create any unplanned delays as we get closer to peak time.  My plan is to source and continue shipping products into amazon well through Christmas, as people don’t stop buying products.  I have been analyzing some trends on certain lines of products, and doing some predicting of which items I believe will be good sellers.  At this point some of this is guesswork, and I will simply be tracking prices of items to see if they reach a level that would be profitable for me.  If they do, I will purchase them to sell, and if not, I will analyze why I was mistaken in my initial thought so that I can learn for future years.

So, the oversimplified version of my plan for the remainder of Q4 is to source a lot, and ship a lot.  I believe that doing this will lead to November and December being my top 2 months of the year in terms of both sales and profits.

I have a couple other updates to share quick, before I wrap this post up.  Later this week I will be speaking at the ecom Chicago conference.  If you will also be attending please find me and say hello.  I will be driving to Chicago from Minnesota, and plan on doing some retail arbitrage along the way at stores that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to source at.

Also, I will be on Barrington McIntosh’s Spreecast on Wednesday October 15th at 7:00PM ET / 6:00PM CT (which is tonight if you are reading this post the day it was published).  We will be discussing my transition to selling online full time as well as some of the things I have learned along the way.  If you are interested, HERE is the link.  If you are on live, you will have the opportunity to ask questions via chat, and if at the time you are reading this the Spreecast already happened, the aforementioned link will go to the replay.

Overall, my goal with this post is to share that I have a plan for Q4, but it isn’t all that elaborate besides spending significantly more time related to selling on amazon.   Am I alone in this regard? What’s your plan for Q4? Please share in the comments below!

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19 responses to “4th Quarter is here, now what?”

  1. Andy Slamans says:

    I will be shopping, listing, labeling, packing, shipping I wI will be shopping, listing, labeling, packing, shippingill be shopping, listing, labeling, packing, shippingI will be shopping, listing, labeling, packing, shippingI will be shopping, listing, labeling, packing, shippingI will be shopping, listing, labeling, packing, shipping…..lol

  2. Mike Brehm says:

    I’ve been busy trying to get my replen stock built up so that I can focus more on the one offs as the come up. Some of them are selling pretty fast and I have one that is a hot gift item (based on the gift notes in the orders) already so I’m thinking that will only increase.

  3. grace says:

    i swore after 4th quarter last year this year I would be hiring seasonal help. Well I’m not….and I hope I regret it 😀 To be honest, I’m putting Amazon mostly on autopilot for the rest of the year and focusing more on eBay and Etsy.

  4. Alex says:

    sounds like a good plan man. I see a bunch of other people using spreadsheets to track different product they think are going to be hot this 4th quarter. Do you have some kind of template you are using or are you using your own version?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey Alex,

      I have my own version that I am using. It’s nothing too elaborate, but tracks the items I think have potential and the information that I need to check the current pricing info.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  5. Pedro says:

    I’ve been kicking around the idea of either quitting my day job or taking a week off to source for the impending holiday shopping rush.

    I figure if I hustle and source as much inventory as possible within the next month, I’ll be set for the holidays. The day job keeps me busy from 9am-9pm most days so it puts a serious damper on my ability to source.

  6. Since this is my first Q4 selling on Amazon, I’m going to be in “test” mode. I don’t have a good grasp of holiday items that sell well, so while I plan to send some items into FBA, the bulk of my Q4 plans will revolve around merchant fulfillment.

  7. Chris says:

    Hello Ryan,

    I just heard about you after coming across your Interview (#103) on the Scavenger Life website.
    I am just starting out with Amazon FBA and it was encouraging to hear you speak about your successful results.

    I have one question about scouting apps as I have been researching these and looking at Profit Bandit, ScanPower and Inventory Lab’s app, Scoutify.

    I’m interested to know why you are choosing to use the ScanPower scouting app ScanPower Mobile but are not using the other part of their package, ScanPower “List”.

    Instead you are using Inventory Lab for the accounting and tracking side of your business, but not their scouting app “Scoutify”

    I’ve signed up on your email list and look forward to re-visiting your website.

    Cheerio for now,
    Chris.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Chris,

      This is a very valid question. For now, I believe Scanpower’s scanning app is more reliable than Scoutify. I do plan to eventually transition to Scoutify as my main scanning app, but I don’t think it’s quite ready yet for my needs. Once they make it just a little more reliable, I will plan on switching to it as my main scanning app.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  8. Chris says:

    Hello Ryan,

    I have a question about the individual product labels on FBA items.

    I know that Amazon wants you to use a Thermal printer on the items so that the labels don’t smudge so I’m going to chose the DYMO 450 label printer. However Amazon also wants the labels to be REMOVABLE.

    I don’t see any removable labels for the Dymo 450 Thermal printer. I often see the refill label rolls stating “Strong Adhesive”!

    Can you suggest a specific removable label product for the Dymo 450 printer?

    Maybe this is not the correct location to ask a question like this. If not, please let me know if you would like questions asked in another location on your website.

    Thank you Ryan for sharing all your great information.

    Cheerio for now,
    Chris.

  9. Chris says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Okay! I got my question answered. There are removable labels made for the Dymo Labelwriter 450 Thermal printer.

    “Dymo Compatible Removable LV-30252 Labels”

    Cheerio for now,
    Chris.

  10. Chris Amson says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I’d be very interested to hear your opinion on this question of mine…

    I found a product that was advertised in a clearance sale in a major store but the product did not have a Product page on Amazon.

    So, I can go ahead a create a new Product page by using the UPC code from the product etc.

    Is the fact that an Amazon product page currently doesn’t exist an advantage or a disadvantage when it comes to me selling the product FBA.

    Cheerio for now,
    Chris.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Chris,

      It’s a bit of both. It’s an advantage since you will be the only seller of the item. The disadvantage is that you have to create the listing, as well as drive traffic to the listing. So it really depends on how good you think the opportunity is to see if it’s worth the time investment.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

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