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Final Thoughts for Q4

Selling1

As we come into October, it’s time to hunker down, because it’s the busiest time of the year for most eCommerce sellers.

With Singles Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday coming, not to mention something called “Christmas”, it’s going to be pretty busy. I’m here to try and reassure you – It’s ok, you can handle this. The only way is up.

Christmas

How do I know this?

I know this because so many of you have made the right preparation, and I know that because we talk to you and hear that. The team at eBusiness Guru talk to so many sellers that we help, either directly, or through our Linnworks Apps. We also met hundreds of you last month at Linn Academy, discussing your worries, your successes and plans, your needs and wants.

So I just wanted to look at some last minute ideas, because you’re busy people, and things slip between the cracks sometimes.

I’ll note in advance that some of the things I mention are specific to Linnworks, or eBG products – That’s because it’s what I’m working with, and on, a lot of the time, so it’s representing what my colleagues and I think works best for people, but I’ll try not to be TOO bad!

Shipping

So, everyone knows that shipping gets pretty hectic at this time of year. Coupled with the volume of orders, there is the weather. And if you’re in the UK, you now have an impending Royal Mail strike to complicate matters. So, have you got yourself ready? Did you get a Plan B lined up, so that if, heaven forbid, your primary carrier drops the ball, you have someone waiting to pick up the pieces for you and minimise the impact on your ratings and accounts?

There are a lot of players in the shipping market right now hungry for business – Not just the traditional Royal Mail, Fedex, DPD, and others – There’s the new crop of carriers like Whistl, and companies that are looking to provide the perfect set of services at a great price from more than one carrier, like RouteGenie. It’s insurance, and as a responsible Business owner, you have insurance, right?

Inventory

With the busiest time of the year ahead, the warehouse has been cleared up, cleaned out and reordered. Santa’s elves they may not be, but your guys have a grip on where everything is, and when they book stock in, they’re keeping track of where it is. This makes Picking quick and efficient, speeding up dispatch and reducing mis-picks and customer complaints while helping you to keep to 1 day dispatch targets even as your order volumes increase.

Inventory

If there’s still room for improvement, and you’re using Linnworks, have you looked at our Warehouse Plus App?  Great for booking in stock quickly and effectively, and convenient on your phone at all time, it means you have the answers to questions in your pocket, on your phone. If there’s a query about the quantity, you can quickly and easily look it up and correct it. No bits of paper, or other steps.

Selling

You have your plans ready and in place for the last quarter, but I’m going to ask a question. Are you still selling on the same old channels and places? Amazon? eBay?

Selling

Is this a good time to look into some additional markets? The Scandinavian markets are stable, mature, the people are well educated and are hungry for new products, and especially new bargains! Try talking to Fyndiq or Coolshop, who are looking for new sellers at the moment. Many sellers make a significant portion of their annual profits in the next few months, so why not increase that a bit, and also give you a stronger baseline for the rest of the year by selling in more places? It can only make you stronger, and reduce your reliance on the 2 main marketplaces, as they become more and more strict on what they will and won’t allow.

Optimisation

While demand is still ramping up, it’s worth considering the performance of your listings – We want people to find your listings, so they can buy from them!

It’s worth checking for small details that make the biggest difference – Mis-spellings in brand names and colours (Especially where they are very specific to the item/brand like ‘Shining Gold’ or ‘Pacific Blue’), as these may cause issues with searches not matching up. Also ensure that, if using Linnworks, all of your Extended Properties are correctly spelt and capitalised, as otherwise a configurator may not pick up that Property.

If selling on Amazon, consider trying our AMZ Peak App. This will analyse your listings to help identify ways to improve performance and visibility.

Dead Stock

Just a final thought for you. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Most sellers have some items that just don’t sell, or that are left over, maybe you undercounted stock and found a few odds and ends during a stock take or clear out. Normally it’s cleared out in the new year, or at some point when you have some time. Why not try and get shot of it now – Get back more space for stuff that sells, free some extra cash for Christmas stock, and just feel better that it’s gone.

You can either sell it at a bargain rate, or you can look at a bundle deal. Bundle the items in with other things for a group price, leaving people feeling like they got a deal, and your bank balance feeling a lot better! If nothing else, it’s a free/cheap present for their Secret Santa!! Everyone wins… You most of all, though.

Conclusion

I hope that this was useful to you, and gave you some ideas to pursue. At this time of year, every extra sale is valuable. Small changes can have large effects on the overall returns you see.

A little time now, will hopefully rep large returns in the months to come. I won’t wish you good luck, though. Luck is for those who don’t prepare!

Mark Canty
Mark Canty
As a Multichannel eCommerce Consultant, Mark works with clients and partners to listen to their needs and match that with the technology and training to make their lives easier and more efficient. He applies a wide range of experience in eCommerce and Retail to help you get the most from eBusiness Guru!

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