October 7, 2021

Although we’re not yet in the thick of the holiday shopping season, smart Amazon sellers are already getting their account ready for a successful Q4 2021. In addition, many savvy shoppers are planning to do their holiday shopping earlier this year, due to expected supply chain delays.

For sellers who want to ensure their shops are ready for brisk holiday sales, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Following is a checklist of how to evaluate if you’re ready and how you can avoid problems with your Amazon account that can lead to suspension and lost revenue.

Getting your Amazon store ready for the holidays

The most important item on your holiday to-do list is actually a “do not”—as in do not make changes to your Amazon banking account right now.

As we’ve previously covered, the simple act of updating your Amazon credit card and banking information can result in big complications. In fact, many sellers have been alarmed to discover their banking update triggered an account shutdown that took considerable time—sometimes months—to resolve.

What’s our advice if you want to update your banking information right now? In a word—don’t.

Though it’s not clear why Amazon is so sensitive about what is undoubtedly a routine update for many sellers, we suspect it’s connected to the company’s strict fraud controls, and that hypervigilance in this area helps Amazon protect their brand and stay out of legal trouble.

But the reason why doesn’t really matter. As a seller, your takeaway is to avoid poking this sensitive spot with Amazon by not to make banking and credit card changes at this time of year. Unless you’d prefer to spend the holiday season trying to get your account unlocked rather than making money, this is something to avoid in Q4.

If you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely have to make a banking update right now, we suggest enlisting the assistance of an online retail consultant or taking the following steps:

  1. Open a case with Seller Support and explain why you need to update your banking or credit card account.
  2. Wait for confirmation before you make any moves. If the reply asks you for more information, be sure to provide all details.

Make sure you understand how drop-shipping works

Drop-shipping is a fulfillment method where a third-party seller accepts orders from customers but uses another vendor to fulfill the order without ever viewing or interacting with the inventory.

Amazon is okay with certain types of drop-shipping, which can be quite handy when you run out of inventory—provided you and the fulfillment vendor (such as a manufacturer or a distributor) have a relationship, and as long as your shipping stats are in good shape.  Casual drop-shipping, where a third-party seller uses a retailer to fulfill the order, is specifically prohibited by Amazon, and for good reason. This is due to that fact that if you’re selling product you never see or touch, fulfilled by a vendor who ships in their branded packaging with their invoice and pricing, it can result in customer confusion, as well as damaged or defective products in the hands of customers. Here’s more about the ins and outs of drop-shipping.

Start gearing up for holiday promotions

If you’re currently running a sale or promotion, you should wrap up now and go back to standard pricing before you drop prices for holiday sales later in Q4.  Also, make sure you meet the deadlines for submitting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in Vendor Central and Seller Central. The deadline for submissions is October 8th, 2021, and the deadline for Early Black Friday Deals is 2 weeks before the event start date (weeks of Nov. 8 and Nov. 15), so it’s important to submit your Deals now for a chance to have your deal considered.

Most importantly, take advantage of the fact that a lot of retailers are having inventory and supply chain issues. If you are lucky enough to have stock saved up, or can get access to inventory from various sources, you will be able to reap the benefits of those who will buy from anywhere they can find product.

For FBA Selling Partners, keep in mind that inventory for Black Friday and Cyber Monday must be received at an Amazon Fulfillment Center by November 5, 2021.

Polish up your listings

Now is the time to make sure your online store is ready for bustling holiday business. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Are your product descriptions short but engaging?
  • Are you using sales-converting keywords and SEO phrases?
  • Are you availing yourself of all of Amazon’s tools, such as Brand Registry and A/B testing in Seller Central?
  • Do you have an advertising plan that includes PPC and social media?

The pandemic created a new generation of savvy shopper that knows how to search for the products they want. By ensuring your listings are SEO friendly and contain the additional graphics, videos and information that will attract a buyer to your listing, you can get a leg up in the holiday sales race.

Q4 Amazon is a critical time for online retailers. If you need help, contact Riverbend Consulting at 877-289-1017 or go here.