Many people in the retail or e-commerce world will tell you that Q4 is the best time of year. There can be a big bump in sales, however, Q1 can also be a lucrative time.

My first Q1 was kind of a disaster or as some would say, “a learning experience.” After beginning selling on Amazon in Sept of 2013, I had focused entirely on sourcing product to sell in December. I sold ornaments, toys, gingerbread houses, games, and more toys. Did I mention toys? I bought at Toys R Us, Walgreens and more and easily made 100% ROI on most of my purchases. I was able to make the down payment on a new car for my husband for his Christmas present. Not just a new car for us but a real new car. Life was good. Then came January. I knew there would be a “dip” in my sales but I actually experienced more of an icy cold plunge. My first January payout from Amazon was around $100. I worked hard in 2014 to learn like crazy so that this type of sales dip would not happen in 2015. Here is a summary of my own experiences as well as some of the collective knowledge I’ve gained from the amazing community of sellers I’m in.

  1. New Years brings fitness resolutions to Q1. People buy sports equipment, clothing, socks shoes, and more. Start stocking those items as early as possible as stores start bringing in spring clothing soon and people still want their winter fitness wear.
  2. There are some major shopping holidays in Q1. A few of the items you can sell are party supplies, specialty grocery items (look for holiday limited edition flavors), decorations, wreaths (yes, lots of people put up Valentine’s wreaths), holiday themed clothing, temporary tattoos, makeup, decorative lights (make sure to check if they are ok to sell on Amazon), yard decorations, garden flags, table cloths, kids art projects, and plush.
    • Chinese/Lunar New Year – Jan 28th
    • Super Bowl Sunday – Feb 5th
    • Valentine’s Day – Feb 14th
    • Mardi Gras – Feb 28th
    • St. Patrick’s Day – Mar 17th
    • Easter – April 16th (Technically this is Q2 but start stocking up in Q1)
  3. Linens are big in February. Lots of big stores do their annual “white sale” or bedding sales this month. People have fixing up their homes on the mind.
  4. Trade show and conferences resume in Q1. Check your local urban conference centers for “off the beaten path” trade shows that are within a drive of your home and start there. Connect with wholesalers, white labelers and other professionals that can help you grow your business. Traveling to larger shows such as ASD in Vegas can be good too. Just make sure that you have a clear strategy when attending a show that will help you earn more.
  5. Expand your current relationships. Take the time in Q1 to personally call all of your wholesale accounts and connect. See what their thoughts are, how they are doing and if you can help them in any way. If their products provide you with a good chunk of income, an in person visit might be just the thing to cement your relationship and build confidence. Check to see if they will produce exclusives just for you to increase their bottom line and yours.
  6. Use your knowledge to create your own products. Whether you create your own information, print on demand merchandise, white label from another manufacturer, or private label your own brand, learn more and grow your selection of unique products.
  7. Analyze your data from 2016. See what products were the most profitable. Sometimes our perception of our most profitable areas and the actual data do not agree. Look at profit in terms of percent, dollars and time spent.

I hope these tips will help you smoothly continue to grow in the beginning of 2017. My Q1s have grown to be much more profitable than that first $100 one in 2014. I look forward to 2017 and what it will bring.

-Cordelia

What are your Q1 tips and fears? Please comment!