Consistency is Key: Evergreen vs. Seasonal Products



Halloween is coming up and you’ve been thinking about selling some spooky, scary, plastic skeletons because that’s a must have for everyone for the holiday, right? While it is true that everyone absolutely needs the spooky, scary skeletons and life is largely meaningless without them, is it really a good idea to decide to sell them? Considering at the time of writing this it is the end of August, the answer is a resounding no. Let’s take a look at why.


Timing

This is the obvious first thing to look at considering how I ended the introductory paragraph. You can’t decide to sell a seasonal product a month before sales start. That leaves you with absolutely no time to figure out the logistics of the product, get it to Amazon, if you’re using FBA, and have it shipped off to customers. If you’re going to be selling Christmas decorations, you have to start figuring out all of the parts for selling in April. Time is your enemy when it comes to trying to sell seasonal products. There is, by its very nature, a looming deadline for everything you do if you’ve decided to sell cornucopias for Thanksgiving or heart shaped things for Valentine’s Day. You may see a huge spike in sales if you time your seasonal products just right, but if you miss you’ll be stuck with a ton of product and nothing to show for it.


Consistency

There is no consistency in selling seasonal goods, which is obvious, it’s right in the name. What that means is that you have to plan around your peaks and your valleys in a way that you just don’t need to at all for evergreen products. If you’re viewing e-commerce as a potential investment it is definitely the safer option to pick an evergreen product entirely based on the consistency. With an evergreen product, assuming you’ve done the work that you need to do and you’re filling a need your product will continue to grow and bring in steadily increasing sales, up to a point.


Risk


The risk of seasonal goods is tied into the previous two points: If you miss your timing you’re just left with a bunch of green things because you got your St Patrick’s Day stuff on Amazon on March 18th. If you don’t plan for inconsistency you won’t have product for the spike in demand next year. The potential reward is high, but it’s because the risk is so much higher than with an evergreen product. Unlike with an evergreen product where you have consistent revenue coming in all year, with seasonal stuff you get your spike in need for pool noodles in the late spring through the summer, then you’re left with a bunch of pool noodles if you didn’t move them all through the winter, and you have to ensure that you are ready for the next spike. In order to be a seasonal seller you need to keep track of so much more than you need to do with an evergreen product.


Conclusion

It could be my own need for consistency wherever I can get it in my life, but it just seems to me that seasonal products aren’t worth it. The hassle and the chaos of selling seasonal products can become overwhelming and if you start to fall behind on your timing it can snowball until you end up with your back to school supplies listed on Amazon in early October. If you’re looking to get in and get out with something you can certainly do worse than seasonal products. It requires a lot of foresight and effort to be certain that you get the products where they need to be and ready to go when the increase in demand comes, and you’re significantly less likely to be able to build a listing for future success, but if that’s not your concern it’s a reasonable thing to do. However, if your goal is to build an investment that is future facing you should be looking into evergreen products. People are cooking every day of the year and they will need a spatula to do that. People are only barbecuing when it’s warm, and likely won’t decide to buy BBQ tons in January.

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