How To Find Out How Much Inventory Your Competiton Has in Stock

When you’re out sourcing, one of the things you need to consider is your competition. Say you’re out sourcing at Big Lots and come across an item with a great ROI. You research the item with your favorite scouting app and see that there are other FBA sellers selling this item. Do you join them? Or pass and look for other items with less competition? It’s something to consider when making reselling decisions.

In the past, some scouting apps were able to tell you how many of an item a certain seller had in stock, but Amazon changed the way these scouting apps get their information, and now it’s a complete mystery. Or is it?

know-your-compeitionWhen a scouting app returns the current data for a particular product, it will usually show you current prices, some of your competition, sales rank, and other pieces of information. Wouldn’t you also like to know how many of an item one particular seller has in stock? It could make a big difference in whether or not you decide to buy an item for resale. It could be helpful information to know if a few of the lower priced sellers have 5 to 10 of an item in stock before you decide to add yourself as a seller of that item. Even more critical is knowing how many of an item Amazon has in stock. With Amazon’s buying power, they could easily have hundreds or thousands of an item in stock at any given time. When Amazon has that many in stock, it’s often a good idea to pass on selling that item.

Here are the steps in how I find out how many items someone has in their current FBA inventory:

1. Go to the Amazon sales page for the item in question.

2. Click on the link that shows all of the current product offers (new, used, collectible, etc).

Amazon-Add-to-Cart3. Choose one of the current sellers and add their item to your cart.

4. Click on the “edit your cart” link.

999 in AZ cart5. Click on the quantity and change it to 10+.

6. Type in 999 (the highest number allowed) and click update.

7. If that seller has under 999 items, then it will state, “This seller only has XX of these available.”

There ya go! You now know how many of that item that particular seller has in stock at a FBA warehouse. This method works with 3rd party sellers as well as with Amazon themselves.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.37.39 AM8. I almost forgot! Don’t forget to remove these items from your cart. I once had almost $30,000 in my Amazon shopping cart when using this method. I wouldn’t want anyone to accidentally buy everything in their cart.

This information is not only good for when you are out sourcing, but also when you are pricing your items. If the three lowest priced sellers all have just 1 item in stock, then depending on the rank, you might want to price your item higher then theirs, knowing that they might sell out while your item is headed to a FBA warehouse. On the other hand, if you see that the lowest priced competitor has 100 in stock, you might want to price more competitively to get a quicker sale. It’s all about strategy and what works best for you.

Ok, now it’s time for you to put your new inventory research skills to the test! Here is an item that I want you to research. Take a look at the three lowest priced FBA sellers and let me know in the comments how many they each currently have in stock.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 3.08.51 PMProduct: Noodlehead Pawparazzi Pets – Toki The Pro Race Car Driver
ASIN: B009UIABAC 

 

Don’t peek below at what others are posting. Do the research yourself. In any case, you never know if someone bought this item on the same day as you are reading this blog post, and the inventory levels have changed.

 

 

 

Welcome to Full-Time FBA

arrow-blue-outline-rightWelcome! On this blog, we talk about our journey towards making FBA our full-time job. We give out free tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time, money, and resources. If you want to subscribe, just fill out the form over on the right side of the screen.

Seller Central Cover Mini x3To show you our appreciation, we’d like to give you a free download link to our newest book, Seller Central Tips: Reimbursements, Refunds, and How To Correct Other Possible Amazon Glitches. When you confirm your subscription, the download link will magically show up in your inbox.

By the way, we hate spam as much as you do, so we only send you stuff that will help you make FBA your full-time job! Let us know if you have any questions.

Stephen & Rebecca Smotherman

Cover Reveal For Our New Book

Married to Reselling_cover2S

Rebecca and I are excited to announce our latest book, Married to Reselling: Balancing Family Life With Your Online Business. The book will be ready this fall, but we’re too excited to keep it a secret any longer.

In our new book, we’ll be discussing how our online business (whether full timers or part timers) impacts our family life… and vice versa. When you work at home, learning how to properly balance your family life with your online business is key to success for both.

To get your free PDF download of the first chapter of the new book, just click here.

Decoding the Electronics Amazon Sales Rank Code

photoMost resellers rely on Sales Rank when making purchasing decisions. For reasons known only to Amazon, the category of Electronics (sometimes called Consumer Electronics) often does not provide a category wide sales rank. Many times when scanning an Electronics product, a scouting app (like Profit Bandit or ScanPower) will return a sales rank of N/A (Not Available or Not Applicable). In almost all other categories, a rank of N/A really means that the sales rank is zero. To read more about why an item would have a zero sales rank, click here. Sometimes, however, the scouting app will return a numerical sales rank, but be very careful what you decide to do with that number.

PB Buy AllWhen an Electronics sales rank number is given, it’s almost always the rank of an Electronics subcategory. One time I was out scouting and found multiples of an item that showed a rank of 92 in Electronics. The store clearance priced them at only 50 cents each! With over 27 million items in the Electronics category, 92 looked like an amazing rank. I bought a few of those items and brought them back to the house. I was preparing to send them in to FBA when I noticed that the sales rank was now showing N/A. I looked back on my scouting app and it still was showing a rank of 92. I did some more research and found out that the item I had was not ranked 92 out of the 27,000,000+ items in Electronics, but was ranked 92 out of 120 in the subcategory of Electronics > Accessories & Supplies > Blank Video Media > Minidiscs.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 4.49.30 PM

I was curious if this item could still possibly sell well on Amazon. I went to check CamelCamelCamel to see what information they could provide about this product. CCC is a website that provides sales rank and pricing history for most Amazon products. Their data is not perfect, but it can give the reseller a good idea how often and for how much an item might sell. When I checked CCC, there was no current sales rank or pricing history, so that was a dead end.

Since CCC lead me nowhere, I decided to look at the reviews on the item’s sales page on Amazon. At first, things looked good. This item had over 100 reviews, mostly 5 star, but then I noticed that the most recent review was from 2009. The review before that was from 2008. The bulk of the reviews came from 2006-2007. Even a well-reviewed product might not still be selling today.

I concluded that this item was not worth sending in to Amazon. I now do this research (checking CCC and product reviews) on almost every electronic item I might purchase to sell. Needless to say, I was glad I only bought a few of these items as they quickly were added to my garage sale pile.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 4.50.23 PMOk, now it’s your turn to try this out. I’m going to give you an Electronic item, and I want you to do the research yourself. Check out CamelCamelCamel, the product reviews, and anything else you might think would help, and see if this is an item you would like to purchase for resale.

Product: Adonit Jot Pro Fine Point Stylus – Silver
ASIN: B00931DHKM
Clearance price at Target: $3.94
Total available for sale: 20
 

No really, don’t just keep reading. Do the research. I promise… it’ll only take you a few minutes and will help you tremendously in the future when you are sourcing and come across electronic items. Bonus points if you practice doing the research on your smart phone instead of the computer.

In the comments below, let me know if you would buy the item, how many, and why. I can’t wait to read what you have to say. And no cheating! Do your own research before reading what others have to say.

FBA Aged Inventory Notification (or How to Avoid Long Term Storage Fees)

amazon-warehouse-5If you’ve been selling on Amazon at least 11 months, then it’s possible you recently received a FBA Aged Inventory Notification email from Amazon. Twice a year, (February 15th and August 15th), Amazon charges a long term storage fee for all items that are being stored in a FBA warehouse for 365 days or longer. To allow flexibility, Amazon is kind enough to exempt one unit of each MSKU from being applied to the long term storage fee. This means that if you have 5 items that have been stored in a FBA warehouse for over a year, only 4 will actually be charged the fee.

This fee is something to take seriously, as it’s currently $22.50 per cubic foot. As an example, I currently have 83 aged units of inventory which (if none of them sell or are removed) will cost me $291.82 in long term storage fees. That’s a charge of over $3.51 per item. These are just my numbers and yours will vary. You may be paying less per item, but you could also be paying more.

ifOUVAvNfA60Amazon charges this fee to make sure of two things: 1) to encourage sellers to keep our inventory priced competitively, and 2) that their FBA warehouses aren’t used as a dumping ground for products that might never sell. Before long term storage fees, you could send in 100 of a $50 book ranked at 5 million, and only pay pennies a month for storage per book. Maybe you sell one book a year, but what do you care? You’re making a profit and FBA stores all the books for you. Meanwhile, Amazon is seeing thousands of other sellers doing the same thing. FBA warehouses don’t want to be a long term storage solution for you. They want to be a short term storage facility that holds your item for a short time until it sells. To make sure that Amazon sellers are motivated to get all of these multiples sold, they have instituted the long term storage fee.

How do we find out what items are going to possibly be charged this fee? In the email that Amazon sent you, there was a link to their recommended removal page. This page will tell you what Amazon says you should remove in order to avoid this fee.

So what are our options to avoid this fee?

LC_OFF_Body_NLP1. Reprice the items that are affected by this fee. Depending on the rank, you’ll want to either match the current low price or beat it. If the rank tells you that this item sells often, just price-match the lowest price, but if it looks like this item only sells once a month, then you’ll probably want to be the lowest price of all your competition.

2. Use Amazon Promotions to offer your potential buyers an incentive to buy your item.

3. Use Amazon Sponsored Products to advertise your item. This will cost you, but may cost less than the long term storage fee if done correctly.

EBay_logo.svg4. Use multi-channel fulfillment and see if you can sell these items on eBay (or other sites) and then use Amazon to ship the item to your buyer.

5. Don’t just reprice your item once. Go back often and make sure that the item is still priced competitively. Remember, you might not be the only seller of that item who may be hit with long term storage fees. Other seller are going to be lowering their prices too.

6. When all else fails and your item is still not sold by August 15th, then you could set up a removal order to have your inventory returned to you. Then you could try to sell it on eBay, or perhaps sell it in a future garage sale. If that doesn’t work, donate it to a worthy cause. You can even arrange with Amazon to automatically remove all items that are affected by this fee.

7. If you don’t think that returning the items to you is worth the hassle of selling it on another platform, at a garage sale, or even donating it, then you could set up a removal order and have Amazon dispose it.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 11.53.12 AMRemember, almost everything I tell you has exceptions. If the item you are selling is a rare, high-priced item, perhaps you are fine with being charged a long term storage fee. Perhaps you have a rare toy that is ranked 1 million, but you are certain that you’ll get $250 for it… then maybe paying around $3 for long term storage fees don’t matter to you. Also, you might have a situation where you’d prefer to pay a $3 long term storage fee rather than lowering your price by $10. Each product will require you to decide what is best and what will maximize your profits.

But for 95% to 98% of items in our inventory, you’ll probably want to choose some of the options above in order to avoid these fees.

If you did not get this FBA Aged Inventory Notification from Amazon, then congratulations! You don’t have any items that are subject to this upcoming fee. But just to be sure, you can go to Amazon and see your recommended removal report (sign-in required).

So what are your plans to avoid long term storage fees? I’d love to hear how you handle Amazon’s FBA Aged Inventory Notification and make the most of this situation.

Today is our 1st bloggiversary, but you get the gift!

One year ago today, we launched the Full-Time FBA blog with the article, “So What Do You Do For a Living? It’s been an amazing year filled with more than 50 blog posts, over 350 comments, and an ebook focused on Reselling Board Games. We’ve come together on this blog to talk about numerous FBA-related topics, with your input providing an important component of the discussion.

Full-TimeFBASign1Some of our most popular posts include:

The Full-Time FBA Quiz – Are You Ready?
Dealing With Frustrating Amazon Changes
The Most Frequent Question I’m Asked
How to Get FREE Money For Sourcing
Garage Sale Tips Series
Our Liquidation Store Experiment

 

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining my wife and I on this Full-Time FBA ride. We look forward to another year filled with helpful articles, new ebooks, videos, and — especially — challenging questions from you.

Seller Central Cover MiniIn appreciation of you, I wanted to give you a bloggiversary gift! I think the traditional first-year bloggiversary gift is a free ebook (I made that up just now). So without wasting any more time, I give you the link where you can download our newest ebook, Seller Central Tips, Reimbursements, Refunds, and How To Correct Other Possible Amazon Glitches.

Here is the Table of Contents of your new ebook:

Introduction
Tip #1: How to Check if “Returned” Items are Actually Returned to FBA
Tip #2: How to Get Reimbursed for Unfulfillable Inventory
Tip #3: How to Handle FBA Inbound Shipment Problems
Tip #4: How to Check for Reimbursable Lost Items
Tip #5: Fixing Stranded Inventory 
Bonus Tip #1: How to Manually Reprice Your Inventory
Bonus Tip #2: My Top 6 Manual Repricing Strategies
The Full-Time FBA Blog: How We Made FBA Our Full-Time Job
Seller Central Printable Checklist

 

If followed, the instructions in this ebook will help you not only maximize your FBA profits, but will also get you back some of the money that Amazon owes you due to their own mistakes. Over the past year, I’ve personally been able to recoup over $1,000 following each one of these Seller Central Tips. I hope you can have similar results.

If there is ever anything I can answer for you or share my opinion on, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can leave a comment below, or drop me an email (stephen@fulltimefba.com). You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to get even more access to what Full-Time FBA has to offer.

Ready to download the book? Click here to get it!

New Ebook Alert: Book Sourcing Secrets (Plus a FREE Bonus Book!)

When I first got started reselling on Amazon, books were a bulk of what I sold. Reselling books is one of the best ways to start learning all about how selling on FBA works. You can find books at so many places and for such little investment… and the best part is that you can make a lot of money simply selling books.

 

Book Sourcing Secrets CoverIf you’re just getting started in selling on FBA, or if you’re wanting to up your book selling game, then I highly recommend you check out this brand new ebook from FBA expert, Peter Valley. Peter did over $130,000 in sales selling used books on Amazon, so you know he knows what he’s talking about. He writes all about where he gets his inventory (over 40 sources), how he sells the books for maximum profits, and all his “best practices” that make the whole process easier. Book Sourcing Secrets contains 110 pages of actionable information.

 

Recycling Riches CoverAs an added bonus, Peter will also include a mini ebook (31 pages) titled, Recycler Riches. In this book, Peter interviews another full-time book seller who explains how he regularly picks up books by the truck-load for pennies each and sells $25,000 a month in gross revenue. It’s a fascinating interview.

 

After reading both of these books, I couldn’t help but wish I had these resources when I first got started with FBA. I’m confident that Book Sourcing Secrets will help you and your FBA business. I honestly think that this book will pay for itself very quickly.
If you’re interested in this book, all you need to do now is click here.

 

Interview with a New Full-Time FBA Seller

dream-jobFull-time selling through FBA. Being your own boss. Setting your own schedule. Earning your own profits.

For many who read this blog, full-time selling through FBA is at least a consideration as a possibility in your future, if not your active goal as a reseller. Today we want to bring you an interview with someone who is in the process of making the transition from part-time to full-time on FBA. Brian, an active contributor to the online FBA seller community, recently announced to the wide world that he’s given notice at his day job and is striking off on his own as a full-time reseller. We thought our readers would enjoy and benefit from hearing his story, so without further ado, here’s our interview with Brian from Canada!

To start off, tell us a little about yourself and how you got started with reselling.

10176072_10154098924105651_5920972786082785737_nThanks for reaching out to me. The first thing I tell any of the other sellers is that I am Canadian. I live in Nova Scotia with my wife and 7 year old son. The business of reselling things has me hooked. I love the thrill of finding opportunities, and the opportunity with Amazon FBA really makes this a viable full time business.

About 4 years ago I was feeling like I wasn’t making my income work hard enough. I had a decent job, as did my wife, but we really were not getting ahead. So I started researching money, ways to save, invest, passive income… I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey, and it just clicked with me. I slowly convinced my wife we needed to get rid of debt, budget, and build emergency funds.

A year into that process I bought a book that Chris Green had written an article in. He wrote about combining discounts, parting out items such as power wheels and tool kits, and that really clicked with me. I joined his Facebook group and learned about selling on Amazon FBA.

I started dabbling in resale…when I needed a remote for my Xbox. I bought an Xbox lot and pieced out the rest of the gear and made a nice profit and got a free remote. I [sold] used video games, consoles, and parts for a while on eBay, and then moved to yard sale collectible items on eBay, and then cell phones, and now Amazon with mostly toys.

What was your criteria for deciding now is the time to resign your full-time job?

I have been doing Amazon FBA since October 2012, and for most of that time [I've been] considering doing this full time. In January of this year, I received notice at my work that I would be laid off in April. I knew this may be my opportunity. So back to the Dave Ramsey teachings, I knew I had to stop paying extra on our house [and] halt our retirement savings because we were headed for a possible emergency. At that time we had 5 months household expenses banked, and we started adding more. We added another 4 months’ worth.

Profit-graph-260x259During the first 3 months of the year, I noticed my sales didn’t drop off like I expected they would; now they were higher than non Q4 months of the previous year. I was feeling like [selling full-time] was possible and was looking forward to being laid off. But April came, and we got extended another month, and then finally the notice was withdrawn. I now had 9 months emergency funds, and I had received another [6 months' worth of salary] for stock I had owned and refund from my taxes. I [worked up] a budget based on a lowered take-home per month…and I knew this was a number I could achieve.

Also around this time, we found out that we were having another baby due in December. My wife, who was somewhat accepting of my plan, gave me the final push when she said it’s now or never.

How long did it take you to get to where you’re comfortable with resigning?

I had been doing this part time for almost 2 years. In my mind it seems things really change around Christmas time; that is when my business made the largest advance. It may have been possible before this time, but I am pretty cautious about these things and want to make sure that I am not putting everything in a major risk.

What excites you the most about making this transition?

1545038_10153760819500651_282658628_nI love to travel, even if it is 3-4 hours away, so I am looking forward to hitting the open road in search of treasure. Also, ever since my wife has been a teacher, I wanted to spend more time with her and my son. I guess in Canada you spend so much time in the house hiding from the bad weather, when summer hits it is really important to enjoy it as much as possible. Lastly, doing this part time I always felt rushed in the stores, never having more than 1 hour in a store. Hopefully I can find even more opportunities now.

What are your fears going into this transition?

I need to fear the possibility that this model is not viable sometime in the future or that I am somehow prevented from being able to do it. These scenarios may not be probable, but I think it would be foolish not to acknowledge them. I also fear getting tired of this business and wanting to move on to something else.

Are you making any major or minor changes to your business model or strategy during this transition?

Retirement-Diverse-portfolio-a-plus-71MH9FE-x-largeTwo things I am thinking of, predictability and diversification. On the predictability side, I want to have more items that I know will sell at a given rate each month, so I am looking for items where I can sell 5+ of each month, rather than going from homerun to homerun. Also in this direction, I am looking for wholesale opportunities. In terms of diversification, I am looking to add eBay [as a sales channel] and brainstorming other income ideas that I can add to protect myself in the future.

How has your family responded to your decision?

My wife is happy to see me doing what I enjoy, but is not completely sold on me making less income. I just told my son this week, and he seemed to be happy that if he got sick during school, he could stay home with me. I really believe that if this works, it will be so much better for all of us and that there will be many benefits that we will enjoy because of this.

What advice do you have for anyone contemplating this transition to full-time selling on FBA?

imagesI am a firm believer in being financially prepared, paying down debt, [saving] emergency funds, and living off less than you make before jumping. I base my decisions off what is happening now in terms of my sales rather than banking on an increase in sales due to being full time. One thing I think is really important and probably was the key to us being successful in paying off debt is unity. Once my wife and I were in agreement to how we’re going to approach money, it was so much easier. On my decision to do this full time, we are both in agreement, and hopefully over time we will both increase our resolve that this is the best idea.

Also with me, I was sitting at a desk of what most people would call a decent job, daydreaming of being out looking for profits. It just seemed like a waste to everyone involved. If you do truly love this business, I would suggest you start planning your exit.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Brian! 

Want more info on how to make FBA your full-time job? Scroll up, look at the right side of your screen, and subscribe.

 

How to Make the Most of Amazon FBA Split Shipments

Split ShipmentsLast month, we talked about Amazon Split Shipments and the options you have between Distributed Inventory Placement (DIP) or Inventory Placement Service (ISP). Today, we’re going to take the conversation to the next level and talk about how to make the most of whatever placement decision you make. For most of us, this decision should not be a one time decision where we set things up and forget about it. A lot of time and money can be wasted if you don’t have a strategy in how you choose to react to Amazon split shipments.

The following are different shipping situations I have found myself in. I’ll do my best to explain how I have dealt with Amazon split shipments and why I felt it was the best decision to make.

Note: When I mention BNA3, PHX6, RIC2, etc, I am referring to the code names of individual Amazon fulfillment centers that are spread throughout the country.

A. Shipment contains 250 items.

138 → BNA3
  70 → PHX6
  42 → RIC2

I leave this shipment with Distributed Inventory Placement (the default). There are more than enough items in each individual shipment to warrant the shipping costs. It’s not worth it to pay $0.30 per item to send them all to the same FBA warehouse.

B. Shipment contains 30 items.

26 → BNA3
 2 → PHX6
 1 → RIC2
 1 → ABE2

You have four options with this situation:

1. You can send the items in under Distributed Inventory Placement, but you’ll overpay in shipping costs to send only two items to PHX6, one to RIC2, and one to ABE2. This option might cost you about $15-$20 more than it needs to cost.

2. You can turn on Inventory Placement Service and pay around $0.30 per item. This will make sure (most of the time) that they will all go to the same fulfillment warehouse. In this example, you will be charged a fee of $9.00 ($0.30 x 30) for all 30 items to be sent to the same FBA warehouse.

3. You can send in your shipment of 26 items to BNA3, and then delete the other shipments. Maybe next time you enter them in, they’ll all go to the same fulfillment center. Important: I do not recommend deleting shipments on a regular basis. This will hurt your seller metrics in the long run, and should only be used in rare circumstances.

4. You can go ahead and send in your shipment of 26 items to BNA3, but leave PHX6, RIC2, and ABE2 open. While leaving these shipments open, you can add more items on a future date. Once you have enough items (maybe 8-10 items or 8-10 pounds worth of items), then you can proceed with sending them in.

The tricky thing about Inventory Placement Services, is that you need to turn it on before you even start a shipment. If you want to use ISP, then the most likely situations when you would need it would be: 1) if you had a small amount of inventory to ship and/or 2) if you had a smaller shipment with multiples of the same SKU. When you have multiples of the same item, Amazon likes to spread those out at different fulfillment centers. Most likely, these two circumstances would be the times that you would consider using ISP. Just don’t forget to turn IPS off when you’re about to start a new, large shipment.

cardboard-box-open-lgPersonally, I don’t think it’s a wise financial decision to pay $0.30 – $0.40 per item to send them all to the same warehouse. If I have a shipment of 50 items where Amazon wants to send 48 items to Indiana and 2 items to Arizona, I am not going to pay $15 just so that I’ll avoid paying an extra $10 to ship those two items to a Arizona. To me, it’s just not worth it. Most of the time, I’ll simply leave the smaller shipment open and wait until I have enough items to make a full box which, overall, makes the shipping cost lower.

On the other hand, just because it’s not worth it to me, doesn’t mean that Inventory Placement Service isn’t a good decision for you. You may not be able to wait for a larger shipment to send your inventory in. You might not have the storage space to hold even a few items at your house, or the item you just bought might be a super hot toy item that needs to get to FBA ASAP. In that case, do the math and see if Inventory Placement Service is right for you. If you decide that inventory placement is a long term solution for you, then be sure you include that in your costs when you are out sourcing an item for resale.

So what do you think about using inventory placement service? Is it worth it to you? What other split shipment situations have you been in? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

Why I Bought a Toy Ranked 1.2 Million for Resale

When it comes to sales rank, every Amazon seller has their own idea of what a “good” sales rank is. For me, I’ll almost always buy a toy that is consistently ranked under 150,000. I’ll even buy a toy that is ranked much higher, as long as the number of competing sellers is low and the ROI of the toy is high. But a toy ranked over 1 million? What reseller in their right mind would buy a toy ranked over 1 million? Well… me.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.38.21 PMDo I buy up all toys ranked over 1 million? No, I don’t. Sales rank is just one part of the decision process I go through to when I’m making my buying decisions. I’ll blog soon about my own personal checklist when it comes to buying decisions. As you spend more time selling on Amazon, you begin to realize that sales rank is just a number that signifies how recently a particular item has sold. A toy with a really low sales rank (1-1000) sells possibly many times per day, whereas a toy with a higher sales rank could possibly only sell once a week, once a month, or even once a year. A low sales rank does not ever guarantee that a particular item will sell. It only states how recently and often an item has sold.

About a month ago, I was walking through a local Goodwill store when I came across an electronic “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” handheld game. It was still brand new in its original packaging. Goodwill was asking $2.00, so I picked it up and scanned it. The information that was returned to me told me that this toy was ranked over 1.2 million, and had no current sellers. I checked camelcamelcamel.com and it did not have any pricing or sales rank history. Many times, I would have put this toy back on the shelves and kept on sourcing, but I just couldn’t let it go.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.35.01 PMI knew that “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” was a popular game. I had sold a few of the board game versions in the past with great success. I didn’t know that they made an electronic handheld version. I had also had some success with selling electronic handheld games, but that didn’t mean that this game would be guaranteed to sell fast.

I started to think… Since this game had no current sellers, it’s possible that the rank was so high because it had been so long since it was even available to be sold on Amazon. The longer an item has no sellers, the faster its sales rank will rise, until, at one point, the sales rank might disappear all together.

AppIcon_eBay_Dec_2013I decided to investigate how well this toy was doing on other selling platforms. I opened up the eBay app on my phone and decided to check out the most recent completed auctions. There is a search feature on the eBay app that lets you look at the most recent completed auctions. I was happy to see that the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” handheld electronic game was selling a few times a month on eBay.

When I saw the success that some eBay sellers were having selling this game, I decided it was worth buying. The completed eBay sales also told me that buyers were spending around $10.00 to $15.00 (shipping included) for this toy. I decided to buy the toy and list it on Amazon for $19.99. This was more than eBay sellers were selling it for, but I had a plan. If it didn’t sell within a few months, I’d start to lower the price a little.

I bought this item from Goodwill for $2.00 on May 25th. Two days later, it was on it’s way to an Amazon FBA warehouse. I’m happy to inform you that yesterday, this toy sold at my $19.99 sales price. Now, I’m wondering if I should have priced it even higher. In any case, I turned a $2.00 investment into a $20 sale. I’ll take that any day, and all it took was one minute researching the eBay app to see how it was selling on that platform.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.34.18 PMUpdate: As of yesterday, the sales rank for the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” electronic handheld game jumped from 1,267,961 all the way to 96,151.

So what about you? What other things do you think about when you making your buying decisions? Have you ever taken a gamble with an item ranked super high? How did it turn out for you?