We have heard it before. Q2 and Q3 are the slowest quarters of the year. Q4 is the only time of year worth putting effort into your Amazon FBA business.
Persuaded by understandable, yet slightly misguided sentiments like these, you might feel like declaring a summer break on your Amazon FBA business too. A kind of reverse hibernation where you wait out the summer for winter.
Summer still means profit
We can’t deny that taking a few months off to stretch out on the beach, doesn’t sound like a bad idea. However, we would like to propose something a little different.
If there’s one thing we wish we could tell everyone interested in Amazon FBA, it’s that there is always an opportunity somewhere. Summer is no different! By following our advice in this article, you can prepare your business to take full advantage of the summer months.
Summer will feel sunnier and brighter than ever now that you can improve your cash flow all year round. Maybe you can even save a bit of extra money to splurge on the holiday season when it finally comes!
So, let’s get your FBA business it’s proverbial “summer-bod.”
What’s so great about selling in summer?
Summer break is where Amazon shakes off a bit of its Q2 rust, and the gears start turning again. The kids are home and looking for something to help them enjoy the school break. In general, people have more time (and reason) to shop online. This will become clearer as we progress through this guide.
Lower warehousing and shipping fees
Quite understandably, Amazon’s shipping and warehousing fees are tuned according to the time of year. The festive season in Q4 is the e-commerce equivalent of a level 9 earthquake on the Richter Scale. The only way Amazon can stimy uncommitted sellers from completely overrunning their infrastructure (and, let’s face it, make more money) is to up their fees. You can see the full fees schedule here.
As we mentioned, September-October is Amazon’s peak season. The rest of the year still sees a lot of money generated, but Q4 generates almost twice what any other quarter does and more than a 3rd of the total yearly revenue. That means there’s a lot less noise to drown you out which is particularly welcome if you are a newer seller. That being said, Q3 (June-September) is the second highest revenue generating month of the year.
Every part of the year comes with its own unique opportunities when it comes to selling on Amazon. Winter has the festive season, autumn has winter fashion, and spring has fashion as well as its many holidays. Summer is the time to target outdoor activities, back to school sales as well as the end of school functions like prom and graduation.
Know what to sell in summer
“Stuff” seems like the appropriate term to use when it comes to all the possibilities when it comes to the merchandise you can sell for summer. The list is a long and varied one. The beach is one of the first things all of us think about when it gets to this time of year. We can’t wait to go down to the coast with the whole family for some quality fun in the sun.
Here are some of the items that sell well during this time:
- Sunscreen or aftersun: Any kind of UV protection sees a jump in sales during this time. However, sunscreen is a very common product sold by big brands that will make competing difficult. There is some space to maneuver if you create your own product that has some kind of special twist like organic sunscreen.
- Beach toys: Remember how you were able to entertain yourself for ages building sand castles on the beach? Kids’ beach toys are HUGE during this time. Think of sand castle building sets like this. You should also be able to relatively easily source generic products on a wholesale basis or sell them through retail arbitrage.
- Beach tents/umbrellas: Same goes here. You can find manufacturers for generic versions of these on sites like Alibaba. You might even cash in on a great local sale.
- Waterproof it: Everyone today owns personal digital devices, and most of us are willing to take the risk of bringing them with us to water activities. Waterproof cell phone, tablet bags, and cases are easy to source.
- Beach towels: Beach towels that are decorated and sand resistant are becoming more and more popular. It’s also easy to source, and you might even be able to design your own.
- Cooler bags: No one likes a warm beer. Once again, these items are easy to source cheaply and very popular during this time.
Sports & Fitness Gear
We’re in a bit of a fitness renaissance at the moment. No matter what time of year you are talking about, there is a way to market fitness gear. Whether it’s for New Year’s resolutions, getting fit in Spring for a “beach bod,” avoiding winter fat, etc. People still want to go out and get a good sweat in.
Summer is no different. However, with beach season already here and the weather being all-around conducive to these types of activities, outdoor sports gear takes more of the limelight. Although the golden window to sell fitness gear has passed, the outdoor activities scene should be good for a while more.
You can take your pick. There are so many outdoor activities; we can’t hone in on one or two. You might have some trouble sourcing gear, although you can source plenty of smaller accessories easily from Alibaba, for instance.
Summer is also wedding season. It starts building momentum all through June and peaks somewhere in July. This opens up a whole range of opportunities from wedding decor, fashion, photo booth props even wine as of last year.
Back to school
Most schools also start at the beginning of September. None of us needs to be told what a potentially huge time to sell this is. We have all grown up over the decades with yearly “back to school” sales from nearly every office supply outlet there is.
There might be some unique retail arbitrage opportunities available, although you should ideally have your own merchandise ready to sell at the start of August. Don’t run out of stock as you can expect a rush of last-minute sales during the last week of summer break as well as the first one or two weeks of school.
Don’t forget university textbooks as this can be an extremely lucrative niche.
All the obvious items are all winners, including:
- School supplies
- Lunch boxes/water bottles
Other important dates
- Father’s Day (17th June): Although technically a few days before the official start of summer, Father’s Day is regarded as a summer day. You probably know best what the father figures in your life would want which makes it easy to choose items to sell and label as father’s day packages. BBQ and party sets can also be targeted for this observance.
- Independence Day (4th July): Anything patriotic or American will do just fine. Picnics, festivals, and group parties are a popular way to celebrate this public holiday. So, get creative in that regard.
Preparing your business for the rest of the year
Since things are a bit on the slower side (unless you really try every angle to make the most of summer), it’s a good time to get your business in shape. Hectic as things were (and are going to be) during the festive season, sellers often get behind on everyday tasks like accounting, managing stock, and preparing for the next high season.
So, if we’re talking business first, pleasure second; it’s a good time to get your books up to date, assess your taxes, renegotiate with suppliers, improve your business processes, etc., etc..
Think about what brings awareness to your account
Sellers doing retail arbitrage can find a lot of joy in this season. Summer is when many outlets, both online and offline, have huge clearance sales to meet what they call their Annual Target sales before they stock new merchandise. If you keep your eyes open, you will be able to spot some great deals that you can profit from later or sell right away.
You should also think about running some of your own clearance sales if you plan to make a massive sales push over Christmas and New Year. Remember that warehousing fees almost quadruple during this time and you want as little stock as possible dragging your profits down.
If you followed our advice on what to sell in Q2, this might be a good time to create sales for any excess stock.
Which brings us to the last point: Sales are a great way to bring awareness to your seller account. You could also invest some time in money in a little marketing to get as many interested eyes as possible on you before the end of the year. This is a time when inches make all the difference.
When should I start getting ready for summer?
A general rule of thumb for selling on Amazon by targeting specific dates or times of year is to have the related merchandise in stock and ready to sell at least a month beforehand. Most of the sales for a given date happen in this window. Remember that people buy stuff in advance in preparation.
Depending on where in the U.S. we are talking about, a lot of the summer activities are already enjoyed during spring. Think of summer break that already occurs in April and draws hordes of people to the beach.
Actually, most of your summer items should start selling around this time in anticipation of this season itself. Only back to school items won’t be of much use until well into summer.
When we are talking about precise dates like the last day of school, Father’s Day, Independence Day, and the start of the school year, you can expect a rush of sales in the previous week leading up to the event. Sales should still be alright a few days before as prime members will still be able to get their products at times and as celebrations continue on a smaller scale afterward.
Are you ready for summer?
We hope that this guide helps you prepare for summer. If you go into it after the back of a good Q2, it will be that much easier. Any season brings its own opportunities to the table for the Amazon FBA seller that’s willing to look for them. Good luck, and happy selling!