Businesses are recovering following the pandemic’s impact on the global economy and the consumer industry. The retail sector, in general, is showing significant activity, particularly in light of the World Health Organization’s declaration last May 2023 that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer considered a global health emergency.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, online sellers, especially newbie Amazon sellers, should see to it that important preparation checklists are taken care of during this quarter’s holiday season.
Some of the highly anticipated holidays of most eCommerce platforms include but are not limited to Halloween (October 31); Thanksgiving (November 23); Black Friday (November 24); Cyber Monday (November 27); Hanukkah (December 7–15); Christmas Eve and Day (December 24–25); Boxing Day (December 26); New Year’s Eve (December 31).
The Catalyst for Increased Online Holiday Season Shopping
Despite the global economy’s fragility and the looming threat of a recession, the retail and eCommerce industry has been recovering from logistical challenges and inventory issues. As the holiday season approaches, online sellers should anticipate a surge in eCommerce activity along with the challenges it entails.
To address challenges that may arise, those selling on Amazon should pay attention to typical Amazon seller problems. In particular, newbie sellers should get their Amazon listings ready and maximize available Amazon seller tools to enhance customer satisfaction and Amazon business performance during peak consumer spending period.
As per eMarketer, global retail spending for this year is projected to reach approximately 1.3 trillion dollars. Moreover, the 2023 Holiday Shopping Trends Report by Celigo also highlighted that 75% of consumers intend to do most of their holiday gift shopping online.
It is also worth noting that nearly 50% of holiday shoppers have indicated that they plan to start their holiday shopping no later than October, and the shopping activity will continue through Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas season.
Top Challenges Amazon Sellers Might Encounter This Peak Season
Since most consumers intend to spend more and shop early this holiday season, online shopping is expected to spike before the year ends. For that matter, Amazon sellers should take precautionary measures to immediately resolve or even avoid some of the potential challenges in retail this Q4 of 2023.
To give sellers a preview on potential shopping issues and other unprecedented concerns during the holiday shopping spree of online consumers, here are some of the challenges to anticipate this Q4 of 2023.
Many sellers encounter communication overload during the holiday season. Communication overload often leads to poor customer service and decreased overall business performance.
Too much information can overwhelm new sellers and their teams, potentially causing them to overlook or neglect critical messages or urgent tasks. One contributing factor to this communication overload is ineffective information filtering or organization.
What To Do:
You can employ several strategies to prevent communication overload within your eCommerce business during the holiday season. Simply organizing and filtering your messages will enable you to readily access and address the most pertinent and urgent communications.
Furthermore, you can mitigate or even eliminate communication overload by effectively assigning and collaborating on tasks with your team. This approach enables the distribution of workloads and leverages team members’ expertise and skills.
Lastly, you can also consider using software tools to help you manage communications and delegate tasks. It helps ease communication overload and enhances the overall efficiency of your business operations.
Supply Chain Disruptions
During the holiday shopping rush, the supply chain can be a nightmare for online sellers, especially in the latter part of the logistic process involving inventory management, warehousing, order fulfillment, and last-mile delivery.
Amazon sellers have to keep track of many things, and the influx of customer engagements and orders makes it more challenging to manage the business, leading to supply chain disruption.
What To Do:
It is essential to establish suitable contingency plans to safeguard your business operations from the impact of supply chain disruptions. Prior to the fourth quarter of 2023, you should assess your supply chain and implement any required adjustments.
If you rely solely on one shipping method, such as Amazon FBA, it would be best to create a backup plan in case the Amazon warehouse or fulfillment centers get overwhelmed with customer orders.
It would also help you secure an additional labor force to enhance your operational efficiency during the peak holiday shopping season. By doing so, you can avoid negative reviews or complaints from Amazon shoppers.
Moreover, choose the logistic method that makes more sense regarding effort, time, and financial resources. Evaluate whether an item and its destination are worth sending via Amazon FBA or FBM.
In the holiday shopping season, it is anticipated that competition will increase, making it more challenging for sellers to rank on Amazon’s organic search result page. Numerous sellers will likely venture into eCommerce to leverage the holiday season’s increased consumer demand.
What To Do:
Your primary objective this holiday season is to stand out within the competitive Amazon marketplace. Numerous methods exist to achieve this, including the use of product research tools to help you discover unique and potentially successful products.
You can also enhance your listing’s images and product descriptions to captivate shoppers’ interest. Simultaneously, this optimization can boost the visibility of your listings in organic search results.
Additionally, you can also improve your marketing campaigns. If possible, increase your budget for advertising and promotions to reach more audiences during the holiday season.
Lastly, you can also optimize your listing price to make it more appealing to customers. Nevertheless, when making price adjustments, it is essential to do so cautiously without compromising your profit margin. Typically, Amazon sellers use an AI repricer to automate price changes while ensuring a sustainable profit margin.
The Q4 of 2023 could be extra-challenging for Amazon sellers and the rest of the retail industry. With the ever-fluctuating consumer demand and the disrupted supply chain, inventory management can become an issue during this peak season.
What To Do:
The best possible holiday preparation and proper inventory management could make a huge difference. Investing in a dependable inventory management software will help improve inventory management and avoid stock-out situations.
What makes these latest inventory management tools a must are their capabilities to provide online retailers real-time stock levels and shipment locations.
Former managing partner at Retail Systems Research, Nikki Baird, stated that such tools give retailers “more flexibility and take the pressure off because they don’t have to do as well at making the right guesses about how to allocate stock.”
During a peak season, Amazon reviews or complaints are a normal occurrence, as there are so many avenues for something to go wrong. You should anticipate that holiday shopping may bring the worst out of an individual, which is why it is good to prepare for potential issues and customer complaints ahead of time.
What To Do:
Many sellers may not fully realize that the way they handle a customer complaint can significantly impact their business. If a single complaint is handled poorly, the customer may withdraw, give negative feedback, and even encourage others to withdraw from your business.
By understanding customer rights and responsibilities, sellers can avoid customer complaints or even gain positive reviews. Each platform has its own unique set of guidelines and responsibilities for customers to observe, and these include warranties, refunds, and guarantees.
Moreover, developing your own customer complaint handling policy in consonance with Amazon’s guarantees and guidelines will also help decrease negative feedback and turn potential agitators into loyal customers.
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It is inevitable during the peak season for Amazon sellers to enter into price wars. As sellers try to outbid other sellers for a spot in the Amazon Buy Box, it is normal for sellers to change their item prices in a frequent interval.
What To Do:
There are various ways to approach an Amazon price war. However, the most effective and efficient method would be using a reliable Amazon repricer, such as Seller Snap.
Seller Snap is not just your ordinary automated Amazon repricing tool, it is an advanced AI repricer. With the help of an AI repricer, sellers can achieve a dynamic repricing strategy.
The software will automatically change the price to suit the current market situation and your competitors’ repricing strategies. Since Seller Snap is based on the Game-theory principle, the repricer will attain your fair share of the Amazon Buy Box at a higher price point.
For Amazon sellers promoting their Amazon store and products outside of Amazon, such as in the form of a landing page, it would be best to prepare for potential website concerns.
Downtime can affect your sales if you run a marketing campaign via other websites. Every minute your product pages or landing page is offline, your business is losing money. In order to avoid such a scenario, sellers should first check the reliability of their hosting service or hosting plan.
Similarly, upscaling your data infrastructure and investing in uptime monitoring tools may also lessen website issues. Additionally, employing a stress-test on infrastructures also helps in identifying potential pitfalls once peak hours actually happen.
Prepare for it Today
Benjamin Franklin once said that “by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” For that matter, it is of great importance for Amazon sellers to prepare for the upcoming Q4 holiday season.
In terms of preparation, you should not only prepare physically (processes & inventory), technically (tools & technology), and financially. You should also prepare your mental state for the upcoming challenges of this holiday season.
Anticipate all potential concerns to the business, and create a mental outline on how you should respond to any issues.