The fourth quarter of the year, or Q4, is the time most of us internet marketers are waiting for. It’s a prime shopping season when we can make a lot of sales.
Based on my own stats, 70-80% of yearly sales happen in Q4, especially between October and December.
You can relax, travel the world, or watch Netflix 24/7 at any time of the year – but not in Q4.
In this article, I’m going to tell you my story about selling print-on-demand products on Amazon during the high season last year.
I’ll tell you about what I did, how I did it, some tricks I used, the mistakes I made, and what I plan to do this year. You will find it all in this post.
What did I do to crush holiday sales on Amazon in the past Q4?
Actually, last year I was traveling in the US and Canada for two months, from September to October. I went there with my team, and we worked while we traveled.
I didn’t have much time to manage my print-on-demand business. As you guys know, the US and Canada have many amazing attractions but had to drive for many hours to visit a lot of those places.
It was a road trip.
My friends and I were on the road almost all day, every day, during those two months. We worked only when we got to our Airbnb.
But I was very tired and could manage Facebook campaigns for only a few hours. The trip was an amazing experience, though.
On the POD side, I rarely did anything. All I did was just select products and send them to the Amazon Warehouse.
If I’m not mistaken, I think I placed 20 boxes (I can’t remember the exact number), or around 720 coffee mugs in total.
That was it for on FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) side.
For FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant), my team was still listing 150 products a day for me while I was traveling. I think I had around 40,000-50,000 products in my Amazon account that that point.
So, there were both winning FBA products and thousands of FBM products in my account during the past Q4.
That’s what I did last year.
I had an Etsy account too, and I made my first sale very fast. But my account was suspended after that. I wasn’t sure why. So I didn’t have an active Etsy account in the past Q4.
This year will be different. 😉
What did my POD sales look like?
Print on demand products sell really well in Q4 because most of the products are gifts. People usually buy gifts for Christmas and New Year’s for people in their family or their friends.
So, if you have some products that display meaningful messages, there’s a chance that people will buy them.
Definitely, most sales come from FBA products, especially in December (because of last-minute purchases people make for someone they love).
If your product can be shipped within a few days (which FBA can do), you will enjoy the unfair advantage that non-FBA products lack.
That’s why FBA products well really well in Q4.
Here’s a one-day sales screenshot from last year:
I thought these numbers were pretty good – but not good enough, because my FBA products sold out very fast.
I could have made more than that if I’d ordered more boxes of products.
I didn’t have any FBA products to sell in the last week of December. That’s when most people buy the gifts and we can charge higher prices.
I was a bit disappointed about not being able to do this last year.
Anyway, it’s not just FBA products that sold really well. The FBM products were selling, too.
I had sales almost every hour during the peak days of November and December.
If you have many products in many niches, you’ll also have a good chance of making sales, too. There are many niches that have very low competition (such as some professions, some dog or cat breeds, etc.).
So keep listing new products every day. You’ll make sales from them in Q4.
Some tricks I learned from Q4
What I discovered last year was that even though I increased the price of my FBA products, I still made many sales.
Actually, this was not my idea. It was an idea from some people in the Low Hanging System group. I’ve learned a lot from them over the past few years.
I increased the selling price of my coffee mugs from $19.95 to $24.95, shot glasses from $12.95 to $16.95, and travel mugs from $24.95 to $29.95.
Most of them still sold well at that higher price. If you have 1,000 units, you can make an extra $5,000 easily on last-minute sales.
Another trick is to keep listing products in various niches. I have noticed that many of my sales come from different products. Most of them didn’t sell in Q1-Q3, but they were sold in Q4.
Many small niches have very low competition. Even if they have small traffic, the combined traffic from multiple small niches is enough to earn you tons of money in Q4.
What I have done this year?
I learned a lot about selling print-on-demand products in Q4 last year. I knew that I didn’t have enough FBA products, and that increasing the selling price won’t always drive customers away, etc.
Here’s what I’m going to do in my print on demand business to crush Q4 this year.
Order more boxes of FBA products
Last year, my FBA products sold out quickly, so this year I’ve ordered more. I’ve already placed new orders for about 40 boxes in total.
I also have a few boxes left over from Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They hadn’t sold because they arrived at the warehouse late, so few people purchased them.
So I have a total of almost 2,000 units of coffee mugs, shot glasses, and travel mugs in my account for this Q4. They are all at the warehouse.
I can’t place more orders, because I currently have an inventory problem. Because the products arrived at the warehouse too early, my inventory performance index on Amazon is very low.
Amazon sends me notifications encouraging me to clear my inventory fast. If I don’t, I may need to pay much higher inventory fees.
I think I’ll leave it at that. I won’t order more FBA products right now. Anyway, I think I have enough. If I don’t, I’ll place more orders later in October. Hopefully, my supplier will be able to make and ship them before the end of the year.
List more products on Etsy
As I said, last year my Etsy account was suspended. I’d seen people making hundreds of sales a day on Etsy, and it seemed like they were doing better there than they did on Amazon.
But I could only watch them crushing it. (So sad!)
This year is gonna be different!
I have just registered a new Etsy account with a new identity. I created the new account using my iPhone and used a cellular network to avoid the IP address problem.
Some people have tried to create new accounts using the same PC and internet network. They were suspended automatically.
Actually, I also did this. I created a new account with my MacBook. I used a different internet browser, but it didn’t help. My new account was automatically closed.
So I did it all using a new identity this time.
I’m not sure why my account got suspended last year, because Etsy support didn’t give me any reasons. They just closed my account.
I have two assumptions:
- I had listed many products on Etsy, very fast – over 100 products a day. (I have thousands of products on Amazon, so I can push them to Etsy easily.)
- I traveled to multiple countries (a multiple IP address problem?). I created an Etsy account and started listing products when I was in Thailand. I kept doing it and got the first sale when I was in New Zealand. My account was suspended *automatically*.
This time, I listed my new products very slowly. Just 1 or 2 products a week. And when I access my Etsy account, I’ll do it only when I’m in Thailand.
I made my first sale after I’d listed 10 or 11 products (I can’t remember the exact number, but it was very small).
And my account is still active. (YAY!!)
I’m still not sure why I was shut out, so I’m still listing new products gradually.
My second sale came in the next few days, and my account was still safe.
So I think I’m gonna be fine this year.
But I don’t want to do this myself (you already know I’m super lazy, especially when I have to do the same thing over and over).
Hiring virtual assistants isn’t a good idea, because Etsy doesn’t like accounts that different people have access to.
So I’ve asked my programmer to create a system that could help me list products automatically.
It works pretty well. I can upload product information in bulk and let the system create new products in my Etsy account once a day (I’m still listing slowly).
I ought to have almost 100 products in Etsy before December. It might not be enough to make many sales, but I plan to use it more aggressively next year (if my account is still active).
That’s a wrap
So that’s what I did for my print on demand business in Q4 last year. I mainly sell FBA products on Amazon (that’s the easiest part and I made lots of sales), and I still let my team list FBM products.
This year, I’ll do the same thing, but more aggressively. I have more listings in my Amazon account (almost 100,000 products now) and I’ve already sent many more boxes of coffee mugs, shot glasses, and travel mugs to Amazon’s warehouse.
I also have my small Etsy account. Hopefully it’ll still be active at the end of the year.
That’s my story. Now it’s time to write yours.
Let’s crush Q4! 🙂
Bank “No Sleep during Q4” K.
P.S. I had a lot of questions about my “automated system” after I mentioned it in my previous post. It seems like a lot of you are interested in it.
That’s no surprise because it not only saves time when you’re listing products. It also reduces staffing costs.
But the system’s not ready for prime time yet. It’s currently used only by me, my programmers, and some of my friends who can live with the “errors” that still pop up in the system.
We’re working to fix it.
Anyway, if you’re interested in the system, we’ll be opening it up to a few folks on my list soon. You can join the waiting list here.