This post is a bit of a brain dump as I'm watching a healthy fraction of Amazon sellers quitting for no valid reason. If they're not quitting, they're panicking and pulling back on everything, virtually hiding under the covers.
See, some sellers - including me - see their online sales fluctuate wildly. There are some likely reasons for this, and they're cyclical and controllable, as I'll explain in a minute.
Here's some points, encouragement and help:
1.) If you're going to win at Amazon, you accept the lumps and find a way to adapt. Quitting is for losers. I love quitters. It helps clear the deck. This happened repeatedly over the years with eBay sellers. eBay would increase their fees ever so slightly, and some sellers threw a fit, stomped out of the sandbox and went to sell elsewhere (that didn't work out to well for them, with the exception of the folks who left for Amazon).
2.) If there is indeed a dip overall, it's temporary. Online product sales can tend to match a dip in the stock market. The stock market can be wonky, and when there's uncertainty, consumers tightening their belt and not buying as much. It's human nature. When things stabilize, their spending habits continue as if nothing happened.
3.) The time to buy inventory is RIGHTNOW. You're freaking out and guess what? Retailers (online and stores) are freaking out too and slashing prices. Are you or your virtual assistants checking clearance deals online daily? Physical retailers are clearing their shelves, too - have you been scouting at your local stores (do more than just follow the herd to the retail stores closing this year)?
4.) FREE inventory abounds. Do you look? Do you ask your local store managers' for extra discounts? Do you make the stuff come to you? Getting free/cheap inventory - especially books and media - help 'fill in the revenue holes' when sales are down.
5.) Your risk is incredibly low. Many independent 'mom-and-pop' online sellers like myself are very privileged to have Amazon/eBay for revenue. We start selling with nearly nothing, and we earn $10K - $100K+ per year with minimal overhead and sunk costs. Some of those who are considering quitting Amazon are also considering getting a $200K loan to open up a Chipotle franchise, where they pay it back over 30 years and have to show up to work every day for the first 5 years. I'm being serious - quitters panic and then they think the higher the dollar outlay for their next venture, the better chances for their success.
6.) Buy when no one else wants the stuff. If you're stumped at your low sales, are you getting more 'risk-tolerant' by sourcing products off-season for future holidays (next Halloween, next Christmas, etc.) where consumers lose their minds and buy everything under the sun? The time to do that is right now. Every year, I spend $5K to $10K in major name-brand Christmas merchandise via online and retail stores, and put it in a spare room. This nets me at least 100% return on investment when I sell it in the future respective holiday. The deals are there, you have to use elbow grease and be patient.
7.) Out of sourcing/product ideas? That's impossible. The amount of free/inexpensive information to help with (say) selling your own private label product has never been more abundant than now. So if you're convinced sourcing locally or via online arbitrage isn't helping you, try something different without losing a fortune (or your mind):
- Free: Scott Voelker of TheAmazingSeller gives away free advise in his podcast episodes that cover EVERY aspect of private label under the sun.
Things will turn around. Remember that Amazon keeps grabbing a larger share of consumer's online spending. You just need a little elbow grease, determination and less 'following the herd' to win.
BONUS: Revisit this post, and take action. Don't be a quitter!