It’s that time of year – textbook sales are done until the second semester, and it’s the pre-Christmas retail season. I don’t know about you, but my sales have slowed significantly from what they were in mid-August to early September. Meanwhile, everyone on FBA forums and Facebook groups is talking Quarter 4 strategies. What’s a girl to do when Amazon book sales are slow?
1. Reprice Slow-Moving Inventory. This past week, I’ve been repricing 5-7 pages of inventory items a day. Some of these items were the first books I bought for FBA in April of this year, and I knew a lot less about sales rank and pricing. Some of these books will be great to have in stock for the second semester buying coming up in December-January. If I’m the only FBA seller, I’m willing to sit tight. If I’m on the third page of results for a 1 million rank item, I’ll drop my price so I show up on the first page of Prime-only offers.
2. Process All Backed-Up Inventory. Most of my inventory purchases are sent to Amazon FBA, but I usually have a pile of stuff that I chucked in the corner because it was too time-consuming to deal with on a day I wanted to get things done. Either I need to create a listing for the item (which I often procrastinate on), I need to find a weird-sized box, I need to send it to a different fulfillment center by itself, or I need to put it on Ebay because I messed up and it can’t be sold on Amazon. When my sales are slow, I want to make sure every single inventory item has the potential to make me money, which means I need to list it somewhere, whether that’s Amazon, Ebay, or Craigslist.
3. Stock Supplies You’ll Need for the Q4 Rush. This week I’ve devoted some funds to purchasing extra tape, boxes, labels, and poly bags I expect to need until the end of the year. I’ve also ordered extra shipping labels from UPS.
4. Look Into Other Product Lines To Complement Your Book Sales. I get a lot of book inventory at thrift stores. Recently, thanks to reading Stacy McCafferty’s Amazon Mom blog, I’ve been picking up plush I find unique stuffed animals in very good condition with the tags on. Plush is plentiful at thrift stores, too, just like books. Here are two of today’s finds, a Beethoven Dakin dog with the tags still attached (paid $1.97, will list for $49.95) and an Aramis Bear (paid $1.97, will list for $35).
5. Make Some Money With Regional Grocery Items. Selling grocery items via Amazon FBA or Amazon Merchant-Fulfilled is another way to supplement the slow book season. I focus on selling food items available only in my area. Around the holidays, people get nostalgic for home and the foods of their youth. You can capitalize on that by offering niche food items through Amazon. Although I’ve had to create my own listing for regional food products I’ve picked up, it’s often paid off. I tend to merchant fulfill until I get a few sales, then switch to sending the items to FBA. To creat the listing, I take at least two photos, one of the front of the box and one of the ingredient label. I purchased a tri-fold, white, three-sided cardboard display at the dollar store, and placed a white piece of foam core under it to make a box. Set the item inside the box and take your photo in natural light (I used my iPhone).
6. Continue to Buy As Much Inventory As You Can. When sales are slow, it’s difficult to convince yourself to spend the available money on inventory. But when the money begins to roll in, so will the holiday crowds. If you source books at thrift or retail stores or even library book sales, you might find yourself getting frustrated by the traffic and the shoppers. Invest in inventory purchases you feel sure will sell now so you can stay out of the stores later.
7. Make Time for Self-Education & Goal Setting. Recently I invested in Chris Green’s Online Arbitrage book. I haven’t cracked it yet, but I’m going to be using the extra time I have this week to develop new strategies for growing my business in 2015. And now that I have 6 months of selling Amazon FBA under my belt, I’ll be setting strategic goals for my 2015 business.
EDIT: The Beethoven plush sold for $45, less than 3 weeks after posting! I had to create my own listing, which I don’t like to do for a one-off item, but I’d say it was worth it. Cha-Ching!