A seasonal product is a product that sells only or especially during certain seasons.
This is in contrast to a year-round product that sells regardless of the time of year.
Seasonal Products vs Year-Round Products
Spring-Easter eggs paint sets
Year-round-oil paint sets
As you can see, seasonal products are sold in all seasons.
Brick and mortar stores are crazy busy during the seasonal holidays. Big-name retailers like Walmart and Target, as well as major department stores like Macy’s, make huge profits during this time by selling seasonal products. Christmas tree companies generate over $1 billion in the USA every year!
And if you're not selling seasonal products, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity. You can leverage seasonal and year-round products at the same time and sometimes have the same product work both seasonally and year-round.
In fact, if you sell a non-seasonal product, there is a strong chance that you can build a seasonal version of it, and double your annual cash flow.
Step 1) Distinguish year-round from seasonal-products
A year round product is like a perennial tree, such as a pine. It stays green all year. It keeps making you green paper.
A seasonal product is like a deciduous tree, such as an oak. It sells strong while in season but goes bleak during wintertime.
There are two tools you can use to determine if a product is seasonal or not.
Tool #1: Google Trends
Google Trends shows you online interest in the product. It displays search, engagement, and share activity for any keyword.
Let's say you're looking at pumpkin cutters. It automatically displays the past 12 months of data and can be narrowed down to the past hour. The bigger time period you use, the more effective the data. However, narrowing your search down can help you find useful data.
Using this, we see a massive spike of interest starting August 11th until the middle of October. People are preparing for cutting their creepy and cool pumpkin designs. Then, we see it drop after Halloween. By January, almost nothing! Strange spikes of interest occur in the middle of the year.
Changing Google Trends to show the past five years reveals something else.
Interest piques every year in the fall. It's definitely seasonal. But, over years, interest has fallen. Each spike is smaller than the one in 2015. This means either that people are starting to use something other than pumpkin cutters to carve their jack-o'-lanterns or jack-o'-lanterns themselves are falling out of style.
If a product spikes at different times every year, that is a sign of an unhealthy market for that product. If a product has a steady, healthy rise over time, that is a sign of a great product. Fast, out-of-control spikes may indicate a fad, like fidget-spinners (remember those?) that crash down to selling nothing.
For your product—Is it slowly fading? Is it growing? Is it steady? This kind of data allows you to evaluate the risk and reward of creating a particular seasonal product.
Tool #2: Keepa
Keepa shows you buyer history on Amazon and is free to install on Google Chrome (paid version available).
How interested are shoppers in this product you are considering selling? Keepa shows a sales and price history for a product on Amazon.
The data is a little mind-melting at first, so to make it easier to learn and then apply to your product research, start by un-clicking everything except the "New" button. Keepa shows you the lowest price the product is being sold for when new, including third parties outside of Amazon.
When investigating the seasonality of your product, there are three segments of data you are going to dig into: New, Sales Rank, and Rating. Let's look at an example using the Hydro Flask water bottle.
Here we see a consistent price until September when it spikes. Either demand went up or the seller did some kind of promotion. Since it's not during the summer months, I doubt it was seasonal. We match this data with Google Trends to make sense of it. What I like here is that the price doesn't waver; it only spikes up.
Pro tip! consistent price history means a stable product with a strong year-round potential.
Sales Rank shows you the BSR (Best Seller Rank) for the parent listing. It helps you look at the demand.
Compared to all products under that category, the Hydro Flask goes all the way to number four in August. Only three products sold faster than theirs. And that's for a price of $44.95. Why? Because they built a brand. Just One Dime shows you how to build your own brand with our membership.
Rating tells you the number of stars the product has from reviews. Over the course of a year, the Hydro Flask consistently has 4.3 stars and goes up in August to 4.4 stars. The consistency of the star rating is a strong indicator not only that this seller did an outstanding job building this product, but that the seasons have little influence on the reviews. Why does this matter? Because most highly seasonal products are more susceptible to low star reviews during their peak season.
Use tools Google Trends and Keepa to quickly determine if a product is highly seasonal like the pumpkin cutters or year-round like the water bottle.
While Google Trends is looking at the searches, Keepa is looking at when the money exchanges are happening.
Step 2) Build year-round and seasonal versions of your product
No matter what season you are in, you still have a business and that business needs cash flow. Why not monetize the product you built from every possible angle? Just like your business, the tree that loses its leaves in the fall is still a tree.
Here are four tips for building a year-round and seasonal version of your product.
Tip 1: Create a toy-version of your product
Gloves sell on Amazon.
So do toy gloves.
Tools sell on Amazon.
So do tool kits for kids.
Clothing sells on Amazon.
So does dress-up clothing.
Kitchenware sells on Amazon.
So does play kitchenware.
If the demand is there, you have a built-in seasonal version of your product every fourth quarter (yay Christmas!). Some of our students have tripled their annual revenue using this strategy.
You already have the design. You already have the marketing engine.
The only differences are:
You are reaching a different kind of customer.
You need to make sure there is demand for this toy.
What's amazing about this approach is it reduces a lot of time and costs because you already have a supplier who could probably make it for you. It's just going to be smaller and cheaper.
Tip 2: Create a festival/party version of your product
This one requires imagination. It requires foresight and intuition to extract ideas from what you have, and turn it into something you do not have.
For example, if I am trying to make my candle seasonal, how do I know what seasonal version of that candle to create?
Look at your product. Sometimes you see your product so much that you stop looking at it. Really look at it from a different perspective.
What version of this would your shoppers use during Christmas?
One with a red ribbon. (Really? That's all? Yes, really!) And red ribbons are cheap! Even a picture of a candle with a ribbon on it will affect its conversion.
One with the scent of cinnamon rolls or mulled wine will sell better during Christmas.
Tip 3: Find year-round and seasonal keywords being searched together
See if your product's main keyword is ever matched with a seasonal keyword.
Let's say you are selling costumes.
You go to MerchantWords and start searching seasonal version of that costume. So let's see "snowman costume". 26,000 monthly searches.
If you're already producing costumes, your supplier will have no problems producing this seasonal variation.
Keyword Tool Dominator
Now let's drop that same phrase into Keyword Tool Dominator. What this does is pull all of the types of terms with "snowman costume" in it on Amazon.
Now you have an ocean of ideas for what kinds of snowman costumes to create.
What started with a single product, costumes, is now an open door to a fortune on Amazon.
You can apply this approach to almost any product! 😀