It’s that time of year – we’re all trying to stay on top of all the Q4 year end things to do and at the same time, trying to lay out plans for 2019. If you feel like it’s becoming more of a struggle to drive traffic and sales to your site or platform, you’re not alone. This article will focus mainly on your Amazon 2019 planning, but there are a few hints for your overall ecommerce planning.
Embrace Some Automation
One way to help get started on planning is embrace some automation. Your website may be up and open 24/7, but you aren’t. Creating some workflow automations can streamline your team and help free up time for those tasks that do need a more personal touch. If you have both a web storefront as well as sell on other marketplaces, like Amazon, a tool like SEMrush can help you research your competition, analyze traffic, create ads AND it can help you plan your entire year and assign tasks using it’s Marketing planning calendar.
Check Amazon Features And Updates
Also keep an eye on Amazon’s new features and updates. Alexa skills for shopping, their new Voice of The Customer (login required) features, and even their brick and mortar expansion. As with most things, Amazon’s focus is on improving the customer experience (not really the seller’s), so anything you can do to improve your buyer’s experience will help. Planning simple reminders and tasks to be easily able to follow with any questions, comments, out of stock warnings, etc. can all improve customer experiences. Zapier is a great tool for this.
Set Timelines And Goals
As you work through your plan, think about having clear timelines, and include appropriate key people in those deadlines. For the year, have short and longer term goals, and figure out what you want to accomplish over the next 3-6-9-12 (and maybe 15) months.
Reach Out To Potential Partners
Compile a list of what you will need to accomplish those goals.. What resources will you need – are they internal, external or a combination of both? Everyone is working on their plans, so if you want to collaborate with a partner, share a blog post, collaborate on a webinar, etc., now is the time to reach out. Think about how to build your audience and customers and what to do to attract them.
SellerEngine often partners with TaxJar near key tax dates to be able to share their expertise throughout the year. Look through your list of potential partners and try to schedule something to talk about future in quarters.
Plan Your Advertising Strategy
You should be finalizing your advertising strategy for 2019. Take a look at what worked last year, what didn’t, and why. How did your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales perform? Did you sales drop quickly afterwards? Do you know why? All of your ads, creative and other materials for 2018 Black Friday should be completed, approved and (if not already running) queued up.
You should have your advertising plan in place for 2019. Sponsored products, headline ads and ‘Amazon Choice’ products now take up almost all of the above the fold space. You need to be sure to allocate a portion of your budget for Amazon advertising: “…revenue from selling banner, display and keyword search-driven ads known as sponsored products category surged by about 130 percent to $2.2 billion in the first quarter, compared with the same period in 2017.” (New York Times, September 08, 2018).
Look At Shopping From Your Customer’s Point Of View
Think about key dates in each month, and what you want to do to plan for them. For example, in January, people start thinking about the following holidays and events: Superbowl Sunday, Presidents day sales, and Valentines day. Help your buyers plan ahead by having your deals ready. We’ll have our 2019 Date calendar available soon, but you can visit our video calendar of important dates for 2018 now. Don’t forget – Valentine’s Day isn’t always about a “valentine” – people buy gifts for family members, friends and colleagues. Furry friends like gifts too. Look a month or two ahead for holidays and events, and think about how to drive sales of your products.
Take Stock Of Your Stock
Finally, as you look at your inventory, think about what is likely to sell, but also think about what has been in your inventory for a long period of time. If you’re selling FBA, keep an eye on any slow moving inventory. With the introduction of the Inventory Performance Index by Amazon last June, it’s more important than ever to plan (at least as much as you can) when to start discounting items. There are a few tricks you can use to boost your IPI, and when combined with repricing rules to set those dates, you can avoid any major overage fees. With our repricer, Sellery, you can set rules, pricing updates and other options to match Amazon’s IPI key dates. Set a reminder to remember those key dates, and perhaps start discounting those items. As your storage costs go up, so does your potential for selling at a loss.
As always, our experts at SellerEngine are here to help with your questions about how to improve and prepare to be successful on Amazon. Just reach out and schedule a time to chat!
Trish is digital and social media expert, who not only understands the technical aspects of today’s platforms, but also how (and when) to use these tools and technologies. She also rocks at content curation / management. Trish is the Partnership Director for SEMpdx and the Portland Chair for SEMPO Cities. She also enjoys traveling, wine tasting and spending time with friends.