08 Sep How to Prepare for the Q4 Sales Rush
As the busiest and often most profitable time of the year, the holiday season is a balance of excitement and dread for sellers. While most expect some sort of revenue spike in Q4, the effects of the pandemic on the market make financial planning a little murkier than in years past. Not to mention, with labor shortages on-high, the customer service demands mixed with the supply chain disruption pose myriad mental burdens for entrepreneurs.
But truth be told: even pre-pandemic, there’s never been a perfect formula for Q4 success. There are, however, a few things you can take control of now to put the odds in your favor, pandemic or not. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the 2021 end-of-year sprint.
1. Optimize Your Product Listings
E-commerce traffic is at its highest during Q4, which means high potential for qualifying new leads, and equally high competition. If you’re selling via a marketplace such as Amazon, do an audit of your keyword strategy on your product listings and evaluate how much you can invest in PPC. If you don’t already have an SEO plan in place, it’s time to make one, or to partner with a platform that will elevate your listings for you, such as Perpetua.
Beyond keyword-optimized descriptions, posting high quality photos can also make a world of difference. If you’re still using stock photos, we highly suggest you level up. When shoppers are scrolling and making quick decisions, a captivating image will be the catalyst that draws them to click on your product.
If you’re an Amazon seller, we take a deeper dive into listing optimization in this blog post. But whatever platform(s) you’re selling on, make sure you give extra attention to your mobile-view site, as this is where most people are likely to make purchases around the holiday rush.
2. Start Ad-Campaigns Early
Even if you aren’t running any special deals or launching new products ahead of the holidays, build brand awareness in the final weeks of Q3/early weeks of Q4 to attract potential customers and accelerate traffic to your site. By getting ahead of the rush (when consumers are planning their end of year shopping lists), it will be a much easier sell once the holidays roll around and they are primed to pull the trigger.
3. Revive Your Email List
That said, you don’t necessarily have to put all your energy toward drawing in new leads during Q4. In fact, now is the perfect time to revive the contacts who may have gone cold over the past few months. Nearly everyone becomes an active shopper from Black Friday through the new year, so if there is someone who was sitting on the fence about your product, now is the time to chime in and try to get them over the edge.
4. Prep Your Customer Service Team
Lots of web traffic unfortunately also means lots of potential for technical error. If you’re running an independent site through Shopify or another host, make sure your web developers are well-staffed and available to be on call Sunday-Monday.
Having ample customer service members to address any transaction or shipping concerns can also mean the difference between a repeat buyer and a negative review. While certain things are out of your control, having the requisite staff on hand to make sure any issues are addressed in a timely, human manner is a failsafe against unforeseen obstacles.
5. Expect Inventory Shortages
It’s well known and dismayed: the supply chain is in crisis. While that’s not great news for sellers, it also doesn’t have to mean a death wish for your shop. Expect that there will be inventory shortages, and plan for that ahead of time. Schedule your holiday inventory shipments now, and don’t be conservative with your stock.
Know that shipping and container costs are also skyrocketing (and will likely keep rising around the holidays) and consider if accepting growth capital to fund your inventory or to keep on hand as liquidity may be in your best interest to keep momentum.
6. Invest in Your Business
Q4 is actually a great time to accept capital, as your investment is likely to yield a much faster return than in slower seasons. Increasing your ad spend, adding seasonal customer service members, or outsourcing quality photos may also be costs more easily deferred to fresh capital than revenue alone. Still, they are worth the investment to keep up with the peak competition.
Thankfully, there’s a capital solution tailored specifically to e-commerce sellers with a partner network and Seller Success program to assist with all these initiatives, and/or whatever else you have in mind for Q4. Learn more about Yardline’s non-dilutive growth financing options here.