It’s Time To Prepare For The Holidays – Here’s My 2016 Review

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It’s hard to believe, but holiday season is right around the corner. If you haven’t already started, it’s time to get prepping.

I thought I’d make a post going over some of my 2016 in review, complete with “ahas” I learned, stats, and general lessons-learned that may be beneficial to you.

I’m going to be completely transparent about…

  • My monthly sales numbers for Amazon
  • How much of my yearly revenue was earned during the holiday season
  • Which products sold best
  • Things I did – and did not – well

My hope is that this helps give you a nice point of reference. You may have different results, but I find it’s always helpful to have some kind of basis of comparison.

Quick disclaimer: this post is covering my print-on-demand Amazon income only. It isn’t covering Etsy, eBay, private label products… or even my information marketing courses or warehouse earnings, for that matter.

I wanted to stick with what would likely be most beneficial to you.

Time sensitive: If you want to supercharge this year’s holiday sales, click here for a very “limited time only” package.

That said, let’s start the review…

Here are my 2016 Amazon sales details: 

From January through June 2016, I was earning anywhere from $2k-$7k a month, pretty passively.

When June rolled around, I launched Low Hanging System and showed people what I was doing. Everyone’s excitement got me even more motivated; plus I wanted to have more case studies to update the course with, so I added in more products.

From there, income (mostly) went up month after month.

The cool thing this is all mostly passive income that adds up as you make more and more designs:

July 2016 – $10,644.39: 

It's time to prepare for the holiday season and review your 2016 sales!
August 2016 – dipped down to $6,310: 

It's time to prepare for the holiday season and review your 2016 sales!
September 2016 – $9,257: 

It's time to prepare for the holiday season and review your 2016 sales!
October 2016 – $12k: 

It's time to prepare for the holiday season and review your 2016 sales!
November 2016 – $36k: 

It's time to prepare for the holiday season and review your 2016 sales!
December 2016 – $115,795: 

It's time to prepare for the holiday season and review your 2016 sales!

Here’s how much the holidays accounted for compared to total sales…

Below, you’ll find a *mostly* accurate breakdown of what the percentages were for the items I sold during the four months closest to Christmas in terms of my total 2016 sales.

(I say “mostly” accurate because going through Amazon reports is very time-consuming and there may be some slight deviations. I spent a good deal of time on this until the process turned into a major headache. But you get the gist.)

September – 4.51% of total sales

October – 6.5% of total sales

November – 17.56% of total sales

December – 56.24% of total sales

Crazy, right? 73.8% of total sales were made in November and December.

The 80-20 Rule In Effect

Based on the percentages above, you can see that the 80-20 rule is (mostly) in effect, with November and December equaling 73.8% of my total sales for the year.

Here’s another example of the 80-20 rule: 19.197% of my products were responsible for 79.6% of my sales.

Product Breakdown:

Of that 79.6 sales percentage, here’s what my product breakdown looked like:

  • White mugs accounted for 74.31% of those sales;
  • Black mugs accounted for 21.10%;
  • Shot glasses accounted for 2.75%;
  • Color-changing mugs accounted for 1.834%.

The percentages for black mugs, shot glasses, and color-changing mugs may seem low, but I have FAR more white mugs — accounting for around 90% of my inventory — so the other products may actually sell at higher rates if I were to look at the sales ratios.

If we look at how much each product accounted for top sales, we see a different story:

Of the top 10.64% of sales (sold by .75% of total product inventory), they were  50% black mugs, 25% white mugs, and 25% shot glasses.

Of the top 19.45% of sales (sold by 1.5% of total product inventory), they were 62.5% white mugs, 25% black mugs, 12.5% shot glasses.

For the top 20% of sales in 2016, I found this VERY surprising, but 12.5% of the top 20% were text-only. Another 37.5% included text with a very simple image.

Don’t take that to heart, though – Of my top 10 products sold in 2017 so far, 70% are text-based.

What I did well…

The main thing that I did well was actively adding new SKUs and designs to Amazon. In February 2016, I had 48 mugs listed. And by December of last year, I had 946 products.

Adding new SKUs and designs is really important for Amazon because the more you add, the more Amazon rewards you. The more you list, the more sales you make.

What I wish I did better…

Last year, I didn’t do anything during the Christmas season! All of this was passive income. Working 36-hour shifts, I was absolutely losing my mind at the warehouse while we 12xed the business. I basically lived at the warehouse from November 8 (because of the election) until Christmas.

We were totally over-worked and under-staffed and it got to the point where I was basically placing Craigslist ads and hiring people on the spot. I actually had to fire one person because he came in to work drunk! But I was in no position to be choosy.

That said, I did nothing for my Amazon business because of all the craziness. But here’s what I wish I’d done differently to increase my sales:

  • Added in more designs
  • Tried my hand at promotions
  • Included additional types of products besides mugs – e.g. In 2017, travel mugs and pillow cases are selling like hotcakes. Last year, shot glasses did really well, but I barely had any for sale!
  • Sent more to FBA – FBA handles shipping for you and it makes things a lot easier (NOTE: There is a deadline for this so if you want to send some in, I suggest doing it NOW!)

Also — I haven’t told anyone this before — but I actually lost my account for a few days right before Christmas last year. The warehouse was totally nuts and I was prioritizing customer orders over my own, so I lost my account and had to appeal.

Thankfully, though, I was able to get my account back pretty quickly. But had I not gone through that and had I been able to fulfill all of my orders, I never would have lost my account and my December sales would have been higher.

This year, I’m definitely more prepared. We have a huge staff on-hand and we’re more experienced. Plus, we have better systems in place. So we’re in a far better position to do really well and I’m excited to see how things go now that we’ve had a chance to process our mistakes and learn from them. :-)

Here are some additional suggestions for how you can improve your ecommerce sales during the holiday season:

  1. Make your call-to-action obvious
  2. Offer a guarantee
  3. Bundle products together (covered in LHS)
  4. Offer discount codes
  5. Most importantly – get as many designs up as possible

Hopefully this helps give you a nice idea of what you might expect, although obviously everyone’s experience may vary.

Over the next few weeks I’ll add in some more holiday content so you can be as set up for success as possible.

If you liked this post, please leave a comment – I’d love to hear what you thought of this post, if you got any “a’ha”s, or if your results matched up with mine percentage-wise.

And one more thing…

Do you want my help for this holiday season?

I’ve made a Holiday Jumpstart package for a limited number of people. It’s a high end package where you get everything you need to make this holiday season incredible. It includes done-for-you designs, free mugs shipped to Amazon for you, GearBubble credits, planning resources, laser coaching, access to a software I recently created that helps you find hidden gem niches that have many searches but few results on Amazon, accountability, and some behind-the-scenes looks at advanced strategies I’m testing out.

If this is something you’d be interested, click here to learn more. It’s available for a very limited time only, so make the time to go through that ASAP if you’re at all interested.

BONUS! Find this helpful? To download this post as a PDF, click here!

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