This week we have Brianna Moller Greene from Elite Product Sourcing (EPS) – a premier product sourcing service for Amazon FBA and other online marketplaces. She is an active member in the community, you can see the EPS Facebook group and website further down in this blog post.
If you’ve already been selling on Amazon for some time now, you might be considering the addition of Online Arbitrage to your business model. While wholesale, private labeling, bundling & retail arbitrage are all fantastic models for selling via Amazon FBA, online arbitrage is also a valuable method for acquiring quality products to sell & for expanding your Amazon business. Below you will find a “crash course” in getting started with online arbitrage. From locating products to improving product ROI’s, I’ve summarized a list of the most important factors that will aid you in launching into OA.
The Benefits of OA
There are various reasons for implementing OA as a major strategy for locating quality products to sell through Amazon FBA. And one of the most significant reasons is to save time. Some product sourcing strategies such as RA (Retail Arbitrage) take a significant amount of legwork. From driving store to store, scanning aisles upon aisles of products to removing price stickers & prepping products for shipment, while profitable, RA can be quite time consuming. Online Arbitrage allows you to find items in a fraction of the time – in fact, a full day’s RA haul can often be ordered online in a matter of an hour or two. No standing in lines, no answering questions, no loading & unloading of a vehicle or trailer. Another benefit of OA is that it makes sourcing possible for just about anyone. Whether you live in a rural area with few stores, are a stay at home parent, are disabled or aren’t even a U.S. resident, OA allows those who don’t have the time or capability to source, to still sell products on Amazon.
There are a variety of online tools & software available to aid you in online arbitrage. Many are free, some are paid but each shortens the time you’ll need to spend researching & sourcing products.
Free Tools/Chrome Extensions
Online Arbitrage Top Ranking Chart – Amazon category ranking chart that is continually updated
Invisible Hand – Notifies you if the product you’re shopping for is available at a better price from another retailer
Price Blink – Finds lower prices & money saving coupons while you shop
Keepa – Allows you to access price & rank history for products selling on Amazon. You can also set price drop alerts.
The Tracktor – Allows you to access price & rank history for products selling on Amazon.
Camelizer – Allows you to access price & rank history for products selling on Amazon
Price Zombie – Allows you to access price & rank history for products selling on Amazon. Also allows price tracking.
Walmart – Price Comparison https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/walmart/bmelcnhnemihidpaehodijpamdaeeglh
Target – Price Comparison
Amazon FBA Automated Profit Calculator
Paid Tools, Extensions & Software
Oaxray – Google Chrome browser extension that you use on your favorite web retailer websites on any category or search page. With one click, you’ll get a color-coded spreadsheet with ROI, Net Profit, Sales Rank, and much more to help you make buying decisions
RetailAzon – A Google Chrome browser extension that speeds up the process of Online Arbitrage
HidePrime – A Google Chrome browser extension that allows you to hide prime listings and identify products that no other FBA sellers are selling
Jungle Scout – A browser extension that will help you make decisions based on actual data, not intuition. With the click of a button, see a product’s estimated monthly sales, Best Seller Rank, revenue, or other criteria that is critical in identifying profitable opportunities. Filter, organize, and export to CSV to aggregate and organize key data points to accelerate and inform your Amazon product research.
ASINspector – Streamline your product research with this browser extension. Extract rank, sales volume, estimated revenue, find out where products are being sold on other sites & more
Cashback Sites, Gift Card Sites
While product sourcing there are many ways to improve your profit margins. Two of those ways are through cash back sites & the use of gift cards. Cash back sites are portals of entry for online retailers. Access stores through their site to receive an advertised amount of money back for your purchases. Most sites mail you a cash-back reward check a few times a year and also provide you with promotional codes and coupons to utilize on your purchases. You can also purchase heavily discounted gift cards to popular stores to apply to your inventory purchases. Incorporating cash back sites & discounted gift cards can take an average product find to spectacular by shaving off a significant amount of money. Below are popular cash back sites, gift cards sites & chrome extensions.
Cashback Cat – A browser extension allowing you to search offers from various cash back sites to determine who is offering the greatest rewards
Evreward – A website allowing you to search offers from various cash back sites to determine who is offering the greatest rewards
Main Street Shares – A cash back site
Ebates – A cash back site
Top Cash Back – A cash back site
Fat Wallet – A cash back site
Shop Your Way Personal Shopper (Kmart/Sears Rewards) – Rewards site
My Points – Rewards site
Raise – Discounted Gift Cards
Giftcard Granny – Discounted Gift Cards
Further Improving ROIs With Free Shipping Promotions, Coupon Codes, Store Rewards & Credit Cards
Shipping & Coupon Codes
When purchasing products via online arbitrage it is imperative to carefully calculate your ROI. You must consider factors such as sales tax, shipping costs (to you or your prep center) in addition to normal considerations such as oversize fees, warehouse fees & shipping fees from you to the warehouse. The good news is that more often than not you can locate free shipping codes for nearly every online retailer (and if not, you’d factor that shipping cost into your buy price). In addition, you should make promo code hunting a habit – load up your cart & browse the sites & browser extensions below for the best coupon codes. A little secret about some stores…….. if you’re not able to find a free shipping promotion, pile the items in your cart and wait a day. Many retailers will note the full cart and tempt you with a free shipping code.
Honey – A browser extension. Click on the Honey button during checkout and Honey will automatically apply coupon codes to your shopping cart
Price Blink (as mentioned above) – A browser extension that automatically finds promo codes to try
RetailMeNotA website that provides coupons & discount codes for thousands of stores.
Store Rewards & Credit Cards
Credit cards are just another way to improve your ROIs when purchasing inventory. Many credit cards offer cash back rewards on all purchases or on purchases in certain categories so shop around when researching companies to obtain business credit cards from. There are also benefits to opening store only credit cards as well. Stores like TJ Maxx, Target & Kohl’s offer discounts available to card holders only or provide hefty rewards in the form of cash back coupons, etc.
Also look for store rewards programs as well. Many do not require the use of a credit card but will allow you to accumulate points towards gift certificates or discounts on future purchases. Some even offer a permanent discount on all purchases made through that particular retailer. Finish Line & Toys R Us are two stores that offer free rewards programs that reward you for making purchases by issuing gift certificates.
Where Should I Begin Sourcing?
Now that you armed with an arsenal of tools, where or how on Earth do you actually begin sourcing? While much knowledge will be required through extensive searching and trial & error, I recommend starting with stores that are familiar to you. Do you frequent the Target clearance section for RA? Why not hit the online clearance section for OA? Do you buy your groceries at Walmart? Why not browse certain areas of grocery at their online site. Starting with familiar sites and utilizing browser extensions will often lead you to new sites that you haven’t encountered before – like 888 Lots for example, they offer brand new liquidation merchandise sorted by the pallet or individual item at wholesale prices. Begin keeping a list of sites where you’re finding profitable products – subscribe to their emails, create a free account and sign up for their rewards programs.
Once you begin receiving store emails, scan through them each morning to see if anything catches your eye. Look for special promotions, flash sales, new clearance markdowns and holiday sales. Hop over to those sites and visit their clearance sections, deals center or special promo pages looking for possible products. Also visit cash back sites such as Ebates each day for sale alerts and special cash back promotions you can take advantage of (they usually coincide with large sales). Also use those limited time sales that are advertised on cash back sites to venture off the beaten path a bit. Explore some of the unique, lesser known niche sites to possibly find items where you may have less competition & higher profits than those you find on heavily sourced big box store sites.
In addition to keeping a list of your favorite stores there are other documents and lists you should create to keep yourself organized. The first should be to create a store sales calendar. Include dates for holiday sales, store markdowns, semi annual clearances or seasonal clear outs that you run across consistently at your favorite stores so you can prepare in advance for future sales. It’s also imperative that you keep a spreadsheet of your purchases. Many sellers specializing in OA create a document that includes the product title, ASIN, buy cost & current Amazon selling price. They also include the store name and quantity of each product ordered and they mark whether the correct number of items were received. This spreadsheet is valuable not only for monitoring product price changes while your orders are shipping but for ensuring you are receiving the correct number of products and for documenting COGS for tax purposes. This can also be useful for keeping tracking of replenishable items and placing future orders for items that sell well.
Taking Things Even Further
There are a multitude of services, tools and groups you can utilize to take your OA game even further. Don’t be afraid to join Facebook groups specializing in online arbitrage. There’s a wealth of free information available including individuals willing to share tips & techniques they use for OA. You also may want to consider joining a product sourcing list. The simplest of reasons is time = money. While you may quickly become proficient in OA, there are only so many hours in a day. So many sellers find product list subscriptions helpful not only for saving them time but for providing them with rabbit trails (following a lead can lead you to other product finds), introducing them to new websites they have never encountered, teaching them when, where and how to source (good lists will identify the best promo codes for you and you’ll begin to see patterns of when and where they source) and for interacting with other list subscribers (in a small Facebook group style list you often have the ability to solicit the opinion of other members, make connections with other sellers and even “group source” an online store together to save time).
Should you have an interest in scaling your business with a product sourcing list, feel free to join Bob Steele, Jeremy Wilson and I in our free Facebook group EPS Elite Product Sourcing Amazon Product Finds: https://www.facebook.com/groups/eliteproductsourcing. You can also review and subscribe to our paid product sourcing services at www.eliteproductsource.com.
Once you decide you’d like to automate your business even further, you may want to delve into hiring your own Virtual Assistant through a site such as Upwork. You can hire and train a VA to help you locate profitable products to sell on Amazon, once you’ve mastered the art yourself. You can also employ the services of a prep center as well. Prep centers are an amazing way to “never touch” your inventory. You can place orders online and have them shipped to a prep center where they are processed, bagged, labeled and shipped into the warehouse for you. While neither a VA or a prep center is recommended for someone brand new to selling on Amazon, both are certainly excellent automation options you should consider implementing down the road.
In addition to the tools mentioned previously there are an endless number of apps, software and websites out there to aid you in the growth of an OA-based Amazon FBA business (and many are helpful for other business models as well). Below are two examples.
Paribus – Accesses your email account to review your product purchases & initiate refunds on product price drops, on your behalf
Slice – Tracks and organizes all your purchases & shipments for you by accessing your email account. Also monitors your purchases for price drops
In summary, Online Arbitrage is an amazing way to source for profitable products to sell on Amazon. Whether you are just starting out on your Amazon journey or whether you’re simply looking to add another layer to an established business, OA is a viable option for providing powerful opportunities for knocking your annual Amazon sales figures out of the park.
To get in touch with Brianna Moller Greene you can visit her Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/eliteproductsourcing or her website – www.eliteproductsource.com.
Disclaimer: The information and views presented in this blog post are the opinions of the guest author, and not necessarily those of 888 Lots.