Amazon sellers should expect that the Q4 of 2020 will be a lot different than those of the preceding years. With the COVID-19 pandemic lurking in the background, 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 26); Black Friday (November 27); Cyber Monday (November 30); Hanukkah (December 10–18); 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 economic resumption of various countries, consumers worldwide are still apprehensive in renewing their “old, normal” shopping habits. The COVID-19 pandemic is recognized as the number one catalyst for the surge of online shopping this holiday season.
Although the majority of the physical store outlets, malls, and department stores have already resumed their operations, in some instances, consumers would rather turn to the internet for their gift picks for Q4, 2020.
In Tinuiti’s Holiday Shopping Trends Report 2020, it was revealed that more than 45% of respondents will shop more online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another factor for increased online shopping this holiday season is the self-imposed guidelines for social interactions by some consumers. Since mass gatherings are discouraged in most cities, states, and countries, only a few consumers may plan to attend holiday gatherings.
This coincides with the data presented in the aforementioned report detailing that 18.2% of shoppers plan to have their gift picks delivered instead of handing them personally to recipients.
Since certain population segments are restricted from traveling or chose not to travel amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, travel, accommodation, and miscellaneous expenses are likely to be lessened. Hence, providing more financial leverage for consumers to shop online.
Top Challenges Amazon Sellers Might Encounter This Peak Season
Since consumers will have extra reason and cash to order online, it is expected that online shopping will spike this holiday season. For that matter, Amazon sellers should take precautionary measures to immediately resolve or even avoid some of the potential challenges in retail for Q4 of 2020.
To give sellers a preview of the potential shopping issues and other unprecedented concerns, here are some of the challenges to anticipate.
The Q4 of 2020 could be extra-challenging for Amazon sellers and the rest of the retail industry. With the ever-fluctuating consumer demand and the disrupted global 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, complaints are a normal occurrence, as there are so many avenues for something to go wrong. Anticipate that holiday shopping may bring the worst out of an individual, which is why it is good to technically prepare for any service challenge and customer complaint ahead of time.
What To Do:
Not known to a lot of Amazon sellers is that the impact of a customer complaint is largely determined by the seller response. 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. 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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The increase of online orders as the holiday season approaches as well as the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a recipe for logistical disaster. Even without the pandemic, logistics can be an issue for most retailers during the peak season.
What To Do:
Despite the high risk for logistic issues this Q4 of 2020, Amazon sellers may still perform certain tasks to minimize impact.
Amazon sellers should make sure that their items being shipped to the Amazon warehouse for their Fulfillment are ready for shipping. This will help avoid unnecessary fees and time-consuming improvements that Amazon will have to apply to your improperly prepared inventory.
Similarly, try to evaluate whether an item and its destination are worth sending via FBA or FBM.
In dealing with logistics this holiday, sellers should be flexible to make necessary changes to their delivery methods. Choose the logistic method that makes more sense in terms of effort, time, and monetary consumption.
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 automatic 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 BuyBox 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.
If you are running a marketing campaign via other websites, downtime can affect your sales. Every minute your landing page is down or one of your marketing websites 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.