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Off-Season Tactics to Stay on Top During Slow Selling Seasons

This is a guest post from the team of BellaVix.

Seasonality on Amazon is a major challenge for eCommerce brands, particularly those selling in categories like apparel, novelty, and garden. Low demand on the digital marketplace doesn’t have to mean no sales though. Unlocking basic techniques and strategies is key to sustainable success as an Amazon seller.

Understanding the Amazon Best Sellers Rank (BSR)

The number-one factor to consider when measuring seasonality (or any product) is Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank (BSR). The BSR is a crucial metric for sellers, as it reflects the sales performance of a product within its specific category. The BSR is updated hourly, with recent sales carrying more weight. The lower the BSR, the higher the sales volume, which suggests greater product popularity. Amazon assigns BSR by category, subcategories and marketplaces included. See the example below on the same 7-in-1 Instant Pot Duo in the U.S. versus the UK marketplace.

U.S. Instant Pot listing

UK Instant Pot listing

A common misconception is that BSR influences ranking or ad sale, or even sales velocity. This is false; BSR is only an indicator of a product’s sales velocity and popularity. Products with stronger BSRs enjoy greater visibility, leading to increased sales. However, external factors can influence the BSR, such as changes in Amazon’s algorithm or competitor actions. Consider anything that may discourage shoppers from purchasing your products as a way to impact BSR.

Sellers must closely monitor their product performance, analyze competitor strategies, adjust pricing and promotions accordingly, and stay informed about Amazon’s policy updates and algorithm changes.

Impact of seasonality on BSR

BSR is a dynamic metric that changes constantly. It’s updated on an hourly basis and is directly impacted by category demand. During slow periods, you can expect your BSR to weaken due to low demand or less competition. When demand picks up, you should see improvements in your BSR as sales increase and more competitors enter the market to compete in your category.

Understanding your product’s seasonality can help you plan and strategize effectively. To stay on top of seasonality, sellers must identify and capitalize on relevant trends and events, adjust marketing strategies, offer promotions or discounts, and optimize product listings to target seasonal keywords.

Pay attention to your product category when monitoring your BSR. A broad category will see the largest swings since other items in different subcategories that are less impacted by seasonality will improve their BSR. Check the Best Sellers page and look for similar items to ensure you’re competing in the best categories for your products. Below is an example of Best Sellers for the sunscreen category:

Off-season tactics to maintain BSR

Sellers can employ several tactics during the offseason to maintain their BSR, including:

  • Offer bundle deals or product variations: Combining complementary items or selling multiple versions of the same item can increase perceived value and attract buyers.
  • Run targeted ad campaigns: Both on and off Amazon, this strategy broadens your audience reach.
  • Evergreen advertising strategies: Identify relevant keywords that you want to rank higher for when in season and continue to advertise modestly to maintain a strong BSR year round, making ramp-ups more efficient and edging out the competition.
  • Optimize product listings: Include relevant keywords and updated content to improve search visibility.
  • Leverage social media and influencer marketing: Social media excels at generating buzz and driving traffic to product listings.
  • Engage with customers: Take advantage of Amazon’s Manage Your Customer Experience tool or Amazon Posts to encourage repeat purchases.

Here’s an example of an effective seasonal bundle strategy by Sun Bum:

Sell throughout the seasons

Expanding your product offering to cover different seasons can protect your profit margins. For example, consider adding a winter-related product to your portfolio if your primary product is geared toward summer. This diversification helps maintain consistent sales throughout the year.

Quicksilver is a brand that’s successfully bridged the gap between seasons. They have winter and summer apparel lines targeting surfers and snowboarders. They also update their stores based on the season, which earns them consistent sales year-round.

Leveraging seasonal keywords

Amazon’s search engine aims to provide customers with the most relevant product results based on their search queries. For example, a query for “jacket” has a different set of relevant documents in winter than summer. However, with a limited context and an open-ended query like “jacket,” the onus is on the search engine to show more seasonally relevant documents, or at least not become over indexed to the user behavior recorded during the preceding season.

Therefore, it’s important for the search engines to be seasonally aware and incorporate that information into rankings. Using seasonal keywords in your product listings can increase your product’s visibility during specific seasons or events, potentially boosting sales.

An example of this is how, when someone searches for “jacket,” Amazon search results will display winter jackets in the winter, and summer jackets in the summer:


Analyze Amazon seasonality

Closely monitoring seasonality trends on Amazon is crucial when planning your sales strategy. If you understand your product’s performance during the previous season, you can better prepare for the upcoming season. This includes stocking up on inventory before the start of the peak season and setting up Amazon PPC ads accordingly.

Manage seasonal campaigns

Sellers must structure their campaigns to adapt smoothly to seasonality. This could mean advertising for seasonal products aggressively during the on season and bidding on your seasonal keywords. Alternatively, it could involve including seasonal keywords and targets in regular ads but increasing bids on them when the season arrives.

Budget for seasonality

Budgeting plays a crucial role in managing seasonality. Sellers must proactively adjust their budgets based on anticipated changes in demand. This could involve increasing bids for all seasonal keywords as demand for seasonal products rises. Alternatively, sellers could monitor their Amazon reports for signs that the on-season is about to begin and adjust their budgets accordingly.

The influence of external factors on BSR

External factors, such as changes in Amazon’s algorithm or competitor actions, can significantly impact a seller’s BSR. Sellers need to monitor these elements closely and adapt their strategies accordingly. That could entail adjusting pricing and promotions, analyzing competitor strategies, and staying informed about Amazon’s policy updates and algorithm changes.

For example, in 2022, the FDA banned Benzene, which heavily affected sunscreen manufacturers and their ability to sell products on Amazon.

Operational efficiency and BSR

Efficient inventory management ensures consistent product availability, minimizing the chances of running out of stock and negatively impacting BSR. Streamlined order processing and fulfillment procedures also help maintain fast shipping times so you consistently meet customer expectations, which leads to positive reviews and repeat purchases.

Wrapping up — Turn seasonal lows into selling highs

The fluctuations of seasonality can be challenging for eCommerce sellers. However, with a strategic approach and a keen understanding of how it affects their profits and operations, sellers can effectively manage and boost sales of seasonal products on Amazon even during periods of low demand. The key is to stay adaptable, proactive, and informed by employing a combination of strategies to maintain a strong BSR and drive consistent sales growth.