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Q4 Inventory Management: Prepare Your Amazon Store for the Season

by Liz Fickenscher

Sean and Liz from eComEngine presented with Marc and Natalie from Feedvisor on Q4 Inventory Management Musts - and how to ready your business for a busy Q4. In this webinar you'll learn:

  • How to decide which products to reorder, and which to avoid
  • IPI and storage privileges, sales and more
  • Strategies to reduce excess inventory, increase sales velocity, recover stranded ASINs and increase your in-stock rate
  • Why automation might help you improve your IPI

Watch the video above and let us know if you have questions!

Here is the webinar recap, written by Jeanne Croteau:

It’s hard to believe, but it's just about that time of year. Q4 is almost here, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to buckle down and get ready. Did you know that nearly 75% of Amazon Sellers see up to half of their total sales for happening on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Prime Day alone?

It takes some hard work, but preparing for this busy season can have a major impact on your success. Do you have a plan in place?

Feedvisor hosted a webinar called “Q4 Inventory Management Musts: How to Prepare Your Amazon Store for the Holiday Season” along with eComEngine’s inventory management experts, Liz Fickenscher and Sean Shanahan. It’s well worth your time, as being proactive about Q4 can help you take full advantage of the spike in demand over the holiday season.

In just under 40 minutes, you’ll learn about the actionable steps you can take to prepare your catalog, maximize sales and maintain a healthy Inventory Performance Index (IPI). Want a quick overview of what to expect? Keep reading!

What To Buy (And What Not To Buy)

Every year, Amazon sellers are seeing record-breaking sales on Black Friday. It’s the busiest and most significant selling period, but it can also be overwhelming. While low stock can lead to a loss of sales, having excess inventory can be costly. How do you decide what to buy or restock and how do you know what to skip?

As Marc Dunn, Strategic Account Manager at Feedvisor, explained, “80% of sales come from 20% selling SKUs” and “up to 40% of revenue comes from the top 10 selling SKUs.” What this means is that you’ll want to prioritize the key players and customize a strategy around them. Focus on replenishing your best-performing items all year round, but especially during Q4.

You can also use this time to liquidate stale inventory. FBA storage costs are at their highest this time of year — Amazon more than triples the cost during Q4. You don’t want to pay that much to hold on to the hot Halloween costumes from last year that no one wants. Identify anything that’s not selling and clear them out.

Year-Round Inventory Management

By now, you’ve probably heard of the Inventory Performance Index (IPI). Amazon generates this single metric by combining your last three months of sales, inventory levels and costs. Maintaining an IPI of 350 or greater will give you unlimited storage for standard-size, oversize, apparel and footwear items. If your IPI falls below 350, you may face storage and/or carryover limits.

The goal is to practice smart inventory management year round to avoid being penalized with storage limits. Having adequate storage is essential to preventing inconvenient stockouts and other complications from interfering with your Q4 sales and overall seller health.

Increase sales by keeping popular items in stock and managing your inventory based on demand. Pay very close attention to your Stranded Inventory page, and fix stranded listings immediately to ensure your inventory is buyable. As Fickenscher noted, you can increase sell-through and reduce inventory by thinking about pricing, promotions and what you can do to balance your inventory weeks of cover.

Use the Right Inventory Management Tools

Inventory management can be a full-time job in itself, which is why so many business owners hire someone to oversee it. During Q4, it’s more important than every to pay attention to your sales velocity and profitability to keep popular items in stock. Monitoring everything is challenging, but there are ways to make it easier.

You don’t want to risk running out of stock on the things that people really want to buy, and keeping track of spreadsheets and market research can be exhausting. Fisckenscher suggests that you “automate the processes when you can. If you don’t use an inventory management tool, now is a good time to start.”

RestockPro is a flexible and easy-to-use inventory management tool for FBA sellers. Stay in stock, manage supplier relationships, build kits, maximize profits, create purchase orders, print stickers and more with this powerful tool.

Preparing for Q4 can be time-consuming and intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from leveraging the spike in demand for your own success. You don’t want to miss out on what could be your highest-earning quarter of the year. Do the research, focus on your IPI, review the webinar — and watch the sales roll in.

Originally published on August 16, 2019, updated August 22, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.

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