Category Archives: Advanced

9 Reasons Why You Should Add Wholesale to Your Amazon FBA Business

The more you talk with Amazon FBA sellers from all walks of life, the more you understand why each seller prefers the sourcing model used in their business.

Some folks love the thrill of the hunt, and they thrive on getting out there and scanning to their heart’s content at garage sales and thrift stores. Other sellers enjoy working retail arbitrage into their daily routine, or they love the huge profits that come from RA during the Q4 selling season. Some sellers live in a remote area or their time is limited, so they choose to do online arbitrage (OA) or wholesale. Still others like all aspects of product development and marketing, so they dive into private labeling.

Today I want to focus on one method of sourcing for Amazon FBA: sourcing from wholesale suppliers. We’re going to have a couple more posts after this one, so stick with me to learn more about where to find wholesale sources and other wholesale time hacks. But for today, let’s discuss the top 9 reasons why you should consider adding wholesale sourcing to your Amazon FBA business.

1. Profit potential

We’re all in this business to make profits, right? Well, selling items sourced via wholesale has huge profit potentials. You can find items with great return on investment (ROI) for resale on Amazon because you buy them at a low wholesale price, compared to what other sellers are getting by buying from retail sources.

2. Go both wide and deep on inventory

Buying via a wholesale account gives you the opportunity to search their catalog for several different profitable items in one product line, and you can then buy larger quantities of those items than you would be able to if sourcing via RA or OA. Once you’ve done your research on the sales history data on CamelCamelCamel and Keepa, as well as researching how much your competition has in stock (we use the How Many? extension for doing this research), you can make an informed decision and buy as many of an item as you feel comfortable buying, rather than being limited to what’s on the shelf at the retail store.

But you don’t have to worry about making a huge wholesale order of only one item to meet a company’s minimum purchase requirement. You can order a few of several different items, test them out, assess the results of your sales, and make a decision about reordering and possibly going deeper.

3. Opportunity for consistent replens

“Replen” is short for replenishable. A replenishable item is one that is profitable to buy over and over again because you can sell through the item at a decent rate. Replens can be a lovely cash cow for your business, since all you have to do is order, send to FBA, sell, order, send to FBA, sell, and repeat, repeat, repeat. Finding a replen today saves you time tomorrow by not having to repeat your sourcing research once the item sells out. You’ve already done the research – now all you need to do is reorder and send that item in again. It’s a much more time-efficient process than the one-offs that come with RA, OA, garage saling, and thrifting.

4. Potential for less competition

If an item isn’t available from retail sources at a low enough price to resell on Amazon BUT you can find it at a wholesale source, you will have lower competition. If you’re sourcing items that anyone can find at a retail store and resell for profit, it’s often only a matter of time until a ton of sellers jump on that listing. Sourcing via wholesale opens the door of opportunity to find unique items that RA and OA sellers can’t source at your buy cost.

5. Predictable cash flow

Once you have found several replens through wholesale sourcing, you can get to a place in your business where you have more predictable cash flow. Often with RA, OA, and thrifting, you will see ebbs and flows with your sales throughout the year, depending on what’s going on in your part of the country or in the stores where you like to source. Wholesale sourcing can provide more stability when it comes to ordering products to sell consistently throughout the year.

6. Saves time

Like I said above, finding a wholesale replen saves you a ton of time when it comes to not having to constantly be out sourcing for more one-off items to resell. It could take you all day to drive around town and spend $800 on RA finds, or you could spend a couple of hours doing wholesale research and find a great replen, place an $800 order, and then just reorder when you’ve sold out.

Another way wholesale saves time is when it comes to prepping your inventory. Wholesale items won’t have stickers to remove, and they often (though not always) come already poly bagged. You also can save time in listing the items. Instead of having to list and price 20 one-offs from RA clearance, you could list and price one item with 20 multiples from a wholesale source.

7. Easier to scale the business

As your FBA business grows, you will need to find ways to scale the business. Scaling your business means being able to increase your output. There are only so many garage sales in your town every week, so unless you hire folks in other towns to source for you, you can’t scale an FBA business based on garage saling. Same with retail arbitrage – you only have so many hours in the day to drive to retail stores, so you will need to hire someone else to source if you want to scale your RA business. But with wholesale, it is much easier to keep your business simple, source large amounts of inventory, and process it without needing to hire help. In fact, if you use a prep and pack center to process your inventory, you can grow your Amazon FBA business even more through wholesale.

8. Protects your seller account

Many Amazon FBA sellers experience great anxiety over the thought of being suspended because of claims by customers, especially claims of inauthentic products. As of this writing, Amazon is accepting retail receipts as proof of your source for inventory, but it’s often more difficult to prove your case with Amazon using retail receipts than using wholesale invoices – not to mention, at any point Amazon could stop accepting retail receipts altogether. Adding wholesale sources to your Amazon inventory gives you a level of protection for your seller account.

9. Become a brand approved seller

Brand restrictions on Amazon can be tricky when you’re looking for good retail sources for inventory. There’s nothing worse than finding an awesome item for resale, only to discover you are restricted from selling that brand. But with wholesale sources, you have the potential to work with Amazon and the manufacturer to become a brand approved seller. It requires some time and effort to get approval, but if you’re successful, you have the potential to make even more profits with even lower competition.

Now you have plenty of good reasons why you should consider adding wholesale to your Amazon FBA business. Stay tuned because in our next blog post, we’ll share with you how to find profitable wholesale accounts.

For the longest time I had wanted to add wholesale to my Amazon business. I have actually gone through 3 different wholesale courses to teach me how to do it. Each time I went through a new wholesale course, I would try what was taught, and I kept coming up empty. It was extremely frustrating… then I scheduled a phone call with Dan, one of the guys behind The Wholesale Formula. That conversation opened up my eyes to things about wholesale I’ve never thought about before. I took his advice and began to find multiple wholesale accounts.

Would you have wanted to listen in on that conversation? Unfortunately, we didn’t record the call, but Dan and his business partner Eric recently recorded an entire video series that focuses exactly on adding wholesale to your Amazon FBA business. The best part? It’s free! So many people think that you have to have thousands of dollars or special connections to start selling wholesale items on Amazon, but that’s just not true.

In this free video series my wholesale mentors, Dan and Eric, will teach you exactly how to find profitable items to buy via wholesale so you can experience growth in your Amazon business.

Now here’s the deal. These free videos are only going to be accessible for a limited time, so you need to click here and watch today.

Have you considered adding wholesale to your Amazon business? Have you been successful? If you have not tried it yet, what’s stopping you? What’s getting in the way of you sourcing directly from wholesale suppliers? Let me know in the comments so I can best help you in our current wholesale blog series.

How to Use Inventory Lab to Track Supplier Profitability

Inventory Lab, Track, Supplier, Profitability

Let’s talk profitability, shall we?

You’ve likely heard us mention that we use the Inventory Lab software package to streamline our process of listing inventory on Amazon FBA and for sourcing inventory through the Scoutify app. Today we want to share with you another feature of Inventory Lab that we’ve come to depend on: the ability to track supplier profitability through Inventory Lab reports.

175_InventoryLabSometimes it’s easy as a reseller to get caught up in the rush of sourcing for inventory, sending it in to the FBA warehouse, and seeing the pending sales in Seller Central. Honestly, isn’t the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the sales one reason we all do this business?

But if we stop and dig a little deeper into those sales, would we still be as excited about the raw numbers? Sales numbers can be deceiving at times, and if we don’t take the time to look at and think about our actual profit, then we don’t really know if our business is as successful as we want it to be.

Inventory Lab allows you to enter the total cost of an item when you list it on Amazon. Inventory Lab then takes that cost, your sales price, and associated fees to calculate profit and return on investment (ROI). You can see the projected profit and ROI for a batch when you’re listing through Inventory Lab, but you can also run reports to show you the actual profit and ROI based on payments from Amazon for your inventory items.

Supplier Profits

The circled area is where you input the data to help Inventory Lab calculate supplier profitability. Some areas of the screen shot have been blurred out for business privacy.

Prices may change from the time you enter a batch to when the item actually sells – it’s fun to think about a batch having 150% ROI when you send it to the warehouse, but it’s more useful to look at the ROI when you are actually paid for the sale of those items. From time to time we need to stop and analyze our numbers and ask ourselves, “Am I making the ROI I want/need on my inventory? How do I need to tweak my business to get the ROI I want?”

You can take the profitability question a step further by entering not just your total cost for each inventory item, but also the supplier. Then the question becomes, “How do I need to tweak my sourcing from each supplier to get the ROI I want?”

We currently use the supplier profitability report in several ways:

  1. To track how much commission on sales we need to pay our helper who sources for us
  2. To track the profitability of our online arbitrage subscription services
  3. To track the profitability of our retail arbitrage sources
  4. To track the profitability of our wholesale sources

Enter Supplier ProfitsIn order to run the supplier profitability report, you will first need to enter a supplier at the time of listing an item. Inventory Lab comes with many retail sources already listed as options for supplier, but you can easily add your own. For instance, we use our helper’s initials as the supplier when we’re listing items she has sourced for us. We use other abbreviations for tracking each of the OA subscription services we use (e.g. Cyber Monkey Deals is CMD, Gated List is GL, OAXray is OAX, etc).

After this info is entered and enough time has passed to have generated some sales, you can run the supplier profitability report by following these steps:

  • Go to the top menu on Inventory Lab.
  • Click on Reports.
  • Choose Supplier Profitability.

(Note: You will see there are several other useful reports you can run to analyze your inventory’s profitability.)

The default selection will be for the last month, but you can click Advanced Search to choose more date range options. You can choose within the last 1, 3, or 6 months or the entire date range since you started tracking. You can also choose a specific date range from a drop down calendar.

Reports menu

Once you’ve pulled up your report, you can sort by supplier, units sold, revenue, % of revenue, profit, ROI %, and on hand (number of units currently on hand in your inventory).

Suppliers all dates

Depending on the circumstances, each of the fields might carry a different weight for you as a seller in your decisions for how to adapt your business to improve those numbers. Some sellers like to have 100% ROI on everything they sell; others have a business model that supports 50% or even 30% ROI. The point of running these reports isn’t to compare your numbers to someone else, but to look at your own results and see if they meet your own business model’s criteria.

Let’s look now at practical ways that we use our supplier profitability report.

  1. To track how much commission on sales we need to pay our helper who sources for us

At the beginning of each month, we run the supplier profitability report and look at the line with our helper as the supplier. We look at the dollar amount for the previous month under the Profit column, and we pay her commission out of that amount.

  1. To track the profitability of our online arbitrage subscription services

We also look once a month at the lines for each of our subscription services as the supplier. First, I look at the profit and make sure it’s more than the amount we’re paying for the subscription. This is an easy way to put solid numbers together to show yourself whether or not it’s worth it to pay for that particular subscription.

roiI also will look at trends as far as profit and ROI go. I don’t rush to cancel a long-standing subscription if I randomly have an off month, but I do look at whether a service seems to be deteriorating for me over time and make my decision whether to keep subscribing or not.

I also don’t rush to cancel a subscription if I think that I’m the problem rather than the service. For example, a while back I saw in my monthly report that my units sold and ROI for OAXray were not what I would prefer. A quick look back over my schedule for the previous weeks reminded me that I hadn’t been spending the same amount of time using OAXray each day as I had in the past. Of course those numbers are going to go down! If I’m not prioritizing my time to use the product as often as I should and actually send in items I sourced with it, the problem is me, not the product. So I made some adjustments to my schedule, made more time each day to use OAXray, and the numbers the following month were back up where I wanted them.

We’ve also started using Inventory Lab to track supplier profitability for retail arbitrage sources as well as our wholesale sources. Are there other ways you use the supplier profitability report in Inventory Lab? We would love to hear your ideas and experiences in the comments!

Overcoming Your Fear of Buying High Ranked Items

Fear of High Ranked ItemsI’m like any other Amazon FBA seller out there – if I could source and sell only low ranking, fast turning items at 100% ROI (return on investment) or higher, I would choose to do that every day, all day. That’s what we all want to do, right? Maximize our ROI and maximize the speed with which we get that return back in our bank account.

Today I want to share with you 5 times that I don’t shy away from buying high ranked items to resell on Amazon. Through careful research and critical thinking, it is possible to turn high ranked items into big profits on Amazon FBA. In some instances, you don’t have to fear that a high ranked item lacks potential value for resale.

First, let’s talk through a few points related to sales rank so that we can get on the same page for the rest of the conversation:

  • Product DetailsThe sales rank (also known as BSR for “best seller rank”) of a product on Amazon is number that represents a snapshot in time of how recently and how many units an item is selling compared to other products within the same Amazon category.
  • A low sales rank means more sales. A #1 best seller is selling really well.
  • A high sales rank means fewer sales.
  • Low ranking items are more likely to sell faster than high ranking items.
  • Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.20.05 AMSales rank is relative to the number of items in a category. A rank of 1 million in books is in the top 2%, which is very different from 1 million in toys, the top 15 or 20%. (Be sure to subscribe for our free sales rank chart in your email inbox every month, so you can keep track of the sales ranks for each Amazon category.)
  • High sales rank might mean fewer sales, but don’t skip over one crucial piece of information in that statement: An item with a high sales rank has had sales. If something sells once, it could potentially sell again.

So back to our topic for today…here are the 5 times you don’t need to be afraid of buying high ranked items to resell on Amazon:

1. When an item’s sales price is artificially high

Many times when an item on Amazon is priced artificially high,the sales rank also becomes very high. By artificially high, I mean those items that you pick them up, you scan them, and your jaw drops at how incredibly high the sales price is. I know, that’s not a very specific definition.

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You can get a clearer definition of an artificially high sales price by looking at the CamelCamelCamel or Keepa data for an item. If the historical data for an item shows that the sales rank is much lower when the item is priced much lower, then you know that the current high price is artificially high. Customers aren’t willing to buy it at the higher price, and it may or may not ever sell again at that high price. If I can source the item at a low buy cost and still make a good ROI by lowering the sales price back into a reasonable range, I am not afraid to buy this type of high ranked item.

2. When an item is out of stock on Amazon

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 5.43.57 PMAgain, the longer time passes from an item’s last sale on Amazon, the higher the sales rank of that item will go. If an item is out of stock or “currently unavailable” on Amazon, the sales rank will continue to creep upwards until it might eventually go back to N/A or zero sales rank. If I can source an item with a high rank that is currently unavailable on Amazon and the data on CamelCamelCamel shows that it was once selling at a good rank and price, I will buy that item in a heartbeat!

3. When Q4 is approaching

CCC Q4The closer it gets to Q4, the more I’m willing to expand my sales rank parameters when sourcing for Amazon FBA. Sales velocity during Q4 increases to such an extent that higher ranking items will sell at a faster rate than they will during other times of the year. A toy that sells once a month throughout the rest of the year could sell once a day during Q4. Once again you will want to look at CamelCamelCamel for the historical data in Q4 of previous years to see if you can expect the sales rank to pick up at that time of year.

4. When the product page needs improvement and it’s worth my time to improve it

116_1409831933There are some really crummy product pages in the Amazon catalog. Sometimes the reason an item has a high sales rank is because the picture stinks, the title is awful, the product description is nonexistent, or the keywords are pathetic. One or two little improvements can make a huge difference in how quickly a product will sell on Amazon. For an outstanding resource on creating and improving Amazon product pages, check out Amazon Advantage by Karon Thackston.

The key in making a smart sourcing decision in this situation is to decide if it’s worth your time to attempt to make those improvements. Sometimes a product page can be easy to change, and other times it can take a lot of back and forth with Seller Central to make the change. Sometimes you need to submit multiple photos and screen shots in order to get approval for a change. If you find a high ranked item with an outstanding ROI or you find multiples of an item that will bring you a hefty profit, go for it with making those product page improvements! (If it’s a one-off item with low ROI, I would pass.)

5. When I can source the item for free

If I don’t invest any money in an item and I only have one that item to sell, I will only need to pay pennies per month for storage at the Amazon warehouse. I’m willing to wait it out for these type of items to sell if their rank is high.

Note: I do not send in multiples of high ranked items because I want to avoid long term storage fees.

Hopefully these 5 scenarios have given you some ideas of high ranked items you should not be afraid of finding while you’re out sourcing. I want to emphasize that in general I prefer to source low ranking items; the scenarios above are exceptions to my usual sales rank parameters.

Also, many people ask what I consider to be a “good” sales rank for FBA sourcing and, conversely, what would constitute a “high” sales rank. This is a question that each seller needs to decide for themselves based on their experience, their available capital, how quickly they need to make their money back, and several other factors. Some sellers like to stay in the top 1% of sales rank for a category. Others prefer 3% or 5%.

Do you have any other scenarios you would add to our list above? Are there other times that you would buy a high ranked item to resell? Let us know in the comments!

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Sales rank is easily the most misunderstood aspect of selling on Amazon. What is a good sales rank? What does a sales rank of zero mean? What do I do with sales rank for sub-categories?

Why does sales rank have to be so confusing so much of the time?

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way! You can finally get the clarity you need on the issue of understanding Amazon sales rank numbers. We at Full-Time FBA have launched a mini-course called The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank: Understanding Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Maximum Profits. The mini-course is a combination ebook (30+ pages) and video course (almost 2 hours). 

Check out The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank mini-course to see how you can master the concept of best sellers rank and be on your way toward smarter sourcing decisions for your Amazon FBA business!

Our 9 Favorite Chrome Extensions for Online Arbitrage

If you’re going to do online arbitrage (OA) in your Amazon FBA business, you want to have the right tools to make the process as efficient as possible. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing subscription lists for OA deals in the past couple of blog posts, and today we want to spend some time sharing with you another tool that’s helped us build up the OA side of our FBA business: extensions for the Google Chrome web browser.

It may be possible to use a web browser other than Chrome to do efficient OA purchasing, but I’m not aware of it. When I first read Chris Green’s comprehensive book Online Arbitrage, I hadn’t even downloaded Chrome on my MacBook yet. I was a Safari girl all the way. But now, I use Chrome on a daily basis for my OA purchases, and I get annoyed if I find myself trying to shop efficiently from Safari. It’s just not as easy to do without my favorite Chrome extensions.

So without further ado, here is my list of my 9 favorite Google Chrome extensions for Online Arbitrage:

keepa-21. Keepa – Amazon Price Tracker

Hands down, my most used Chrome extension. I look at the data from my Keepa extension first thing every time I pull up a potential OA buy. The extension puts price tracking data right on the Amazon product page, below the product title and picture, and lets me see at a glance whether Amazon is in or out of stock on an item, as well as sales rank and price history for Amazon and third party sellers. I seriously get annoyed now when I pull up a product page on another browser and don’t immediately see my Keepa data. I’m completely spoiled by this extension.

camelizer-chrome-screenshots-amazon2. The Camelizer

This one runs a close second place to the Keepa extension. When I’m on an Amazon product page, the Camelizer allows me to quickly pull up an abridged version of that product’s data from CamelCamelCamel. I can see the price history for Amazon and third party sellers at a glance. If I want to see a specific time frame of price history or see the sales rank history, there’s a quick link to go to the product’s full page on CamelCamelCamel. Simply put, I cannot make solid OA buying decisions without looking at the data from CCC first. The Camelizer extension saves me valuable time opening tabs in the browser and copying and pasting the ASIN. Every second and every click counts!

photo.jpg3. Amazon Assistant

Another way to save steps opening tabs is by using the Amazon Assistant. When you’re looking at a product on a retail store’s website, click on the Amazon Assistant extension to bring up potential matches for the product on the Amazon website. Easy peasy. (Notice I said potential matches. As always, do your due diligence to make sure items are a true match.)

ebates-logo-300x1564. Ebates Cash Back

Cash back for online shopping is one of the huge perks of doing OA. The Ebates extension makes it super easy to remember to get cash back on your OA purchases. When I first got started doing OA, I tried to be rebellious and just do it without all the extensions. Why, why, why? I was always forgetting to go through my cash back websites first, and I was leaving money on the table by not getting a percentage back. With the Ebates extension, when I first start my shopping session on a retail store website, I click the button at the top of the browser to activate my Ebates account and get cash back without having to navigate to a separate website first. So helpful for forgetful old me. Sign up through this link to get a $10 bonus for signing up.

Swagbucks-Logo5. SwagButton

This one works the same way as the Ebates extension, but for cash back in the form of Swagbucks. Some retail stores (Walmart and Disney Store, for instance) tend to give a higher percentage back if you go through Swagbucks than if you go through Ebates for your purchase. The percentages can change from day to day, so check the information that pops up at the top of your browser window before you choose which one to activate for your purchase.

honey-find-coupon-codes-with-one-click6. Honey

The Honey extension works by automating the process of applying promotional codes and coupons to your online purchases. You could Google to find those codes and manually input them to see if they’ll apply to your purchase…or you could click the Honey extension before you check out and let Honey do the work for you. I’ve saved tons of money and tons of time by letting Honey search and try codes for me.

PRICEBLINK-LO-FF7. PriceBlink

Whether you’re on an Amazon product page or a retail store website, Priceblink will attempt to find a better price on the item you’re looking at. It’s a good practice to always glance at Priceblink and see if you could be making your OA purchase for less money at another website.

logo-oax8. OAXray

This one is the only paid extension I have in my list, but at this point I couldn’t meet my OA spending goals without it. If you’re just getting started, by all means learn the ropes of OA with the free extensions and build up enough sales to justify paying for a monthly subscription to an extension like OAXray. But once you’re ready to start spending more of your sourcing budget per month on OA, you might find that a scanning extension like OAXray is indispensable. I know it saves me hours of my valuable time clicking and comparing products on Amazon and retail websites.

CyberMonkey-lg9. Scanalyze

Since first writing this post, I’ve started using the Scanalyze extension and find it very helpful. When I am looking at an Amazon product page, Scanalyze adds a box below the product title with the sales rank and sub-sales rank, saving time from scrolling down to the bottom of the page to find this information. Every second of time counts when you’re clicking through dozens of products every day, and I’ve really come to depend on having this information more easily accessible. Additionally, within that same sales rank box I can click “Scanalyze” to go to a separate page where I can see the lowest prices in FBA, new, used, and collectible; the Keepa graph; link to CamelCamelCamel; and (probably my favorite) a clickable FBA calculator to easily refigure my potential ROI based on the various prices listed. Scanalyze comes to you from the folks at Cyber Monkey Deals for $9/month, and it’s well worth it.

So that’s my list. Yours might be different. If it is, let us know. What are your favorite Chrome extensions for OA? Do you use a different browser than Chrome? Let us know in the comments.

How to Get the Most from Your Online Arbitrage Subscriptions

OA Subscriptions
I want to follow up on a couple of posts I’ve written about using online arbitrage (OA) in our Amazon FBA business. If you haven’t seen them yet, you should check out The Perfect Online Arbitrage Starter Kit and How to Take Online Arbitrage to the Next Level.

In these posts I talk about my favorite online arbitrage subscriptions: Cyber Monkey Deals for general online buys, Gated List and Your Sourced Inventory for online buys in the gated categories of shoes and clothing, and the OAXray Chrome extension. When I first got started with OA, I had some reservations about paying money to get daily deal lists or a Chrome extension:

  • Is it really worth the money?
  • Will I really find enough items to purchase from these subscriptions?
  • Will these lists be sent to so many Amazon sellers that anything I buy from them will increase in competition and decrease in selling price?

1f48f1fAs I’ve gained experience in using deal lists and extensions, I’ve developed a way for deciding whether or not a OA tool works for me as a reseller. I’ve tried out more lists and more paid Chrome extensions than the ones mentioned above, but these four products are the ones I’ve stuck with and received the most benefit from.

Each time I try a new OA tool, I follow the same set of guidelines so that I can make an objective decision about whether it is good for our Amazon FBA business. I’ll share my steps with you below, but know that your own guidelines may vary. The great thing about selling on Amazon is that you can conduct your own experiments – you’re your own boss, so decide what you want to try and how you want to try it, play around, and have fun!

Here are the ways that I get the most out of my OA subscriptions:

free_trial1. Use free trials when they are offered.

Most subscription services offer a 3-day or 7-day trial or a money back guarantee period. If they don’t offer one, ask for one. If they still don’t give it to you, that’s a red flag for that service.

The great thing about a free trial period for a service that provides you with leads on items to resell is you can use the money you make from those items to buy more months of the subscription. If you can’t find enough during the free trial period to pay for your next subscription plus plenty of profit, then you know that particular service isn’t for you.

Calendar2. Subscribe for a month to test the tool even further.

Free trials are great, but 3 days or 7 days still isn’t that long. If you subscribe for one month, you’ll get a better sense of what the product offers on a regular basis. This isn’t like signing up for a cell phone contract — you won’t be committed to subscribe for two years. Just try a month, see how it goes, and make your decision on whether you want to keep subscribing. Don’t forget to set a reminder in your calendar to assess the situation when it gets close to time for the month to end.

parameters3. Set strict buying parameters for yourself.

Every list service has different parameters for the deals they provide: the minimum net payout, return on investment (ROI), sales rank, etc. Find a list that most closely resembles your buying parameters, but then don’t get caught up in the excitement of buying off the list and throw your own guidelines out the window. I keep a piece of paper with my minimum ROI, net payout, sales rank, favorite shoe sizes, maximum number of color variations, etc, near my computer while I’m sourcing OA, so that I remember to stick with it. A deal list is only helpful if YOU already know what types of deals you’re looking for.

Decision-Making-Image-2-YoYo4. Use filters within the list to help your decision-making process.

Another way to help you stick to your buying parameters is to use the filters provided by the maker of the subscription list. The very first thing I do when I start looking at a list each day is filter out items below my minimum ROI requirement. I also filter out items from certain stores I’ve had trouble with in the past. If I can eliminate a few items right off the bat, I can save myself time in not having to look at them and keep myself from being tempted to buy something that doesn’t fit my guidelines. You know how you’re tempted to buy something, anything, just to keep from walking out of a store empty-handed when you’re doing retail arbitrage? The same phenomenon happens with OA, but you can prevent it by using your filters well.

laptop_letter_pen_200474214-0015. Keep detailed notes about your free trials or test months.

You won’t be able to make an objective decision at the end of a free trial or a test month of a subscription if you don’t pay attention to what you’re actually doing with that subscription during the trial. Keep a notebook or spreadsheet with notes about how many items you purchase, how much money you spend, how many items sell, how quickly they sell, and how much the selling price differs from the time you sent it in.

6. Follow rabbit trails.

The great thing about deal lists is that they set you off in the direction of deals…but then you’re on your own! You have the freedom to buy the exact item on the list, or you can buy other items similar to it. If you’re only buying the exact items on the list, you’re limiting yourself as a reseller. Spend the extra time to do some research on the rabbit trails, and you may find even better deals that no one else knows about.

7328ec013a198ac1044a70aef5d37d247. Don’t get lazy about going through your deals each day.

The worst thing to do with an online subscription list is ignore it. Set aside a specific time each day to work through your list or play around with an extension like OAXray. If you don’t put it on your calendar, you’re much more likely to forget it or slough it off. Be consistent and you will develop a habit of doing solid OA each day. Most lists are released at around the same time each day, so figure out when it will be in your inbox and set a reminder on your phone to look at it as soon as possible after it’s released.

I hope these tips can empower you to try a new online arbitrage service and find success in this aspect of your Amazon FBA business. Do you have any tips you would like to add? Please let us know in the comments.

How to Take Online Arbitrage to the Next Level

Online Arbitrage Next LevelRemember how I said in a post last year that I’m a recovering online arbitrage skeptic? Well, I can officially say that I’m fully recovered. My name is Rebecca, and I’m in love with online arbitrage. (Don’t worry, Stephen knows he will always be my one true love.)

If you haven’t read my previous post on OA, you really should check it out for my review of Chris Green’s book Online Arbitrage and the list service Cyber Monkey Deals. It is now 7 1/2 months later, and I still refer folks to the Online Arbitrage book and still love checking my Cyber Monkey Deals every day.

But in the past few months I’ve added some more weapons to my OA arsenal to take our online sourcing to the next level: two lists in gated categories and OAXray.

When I wrote the first blog post about the Perfect Starter Kit for the OA Beginner, we only budgeted a few hundred dollars a month for our OA purchases while I was still learning the process and gaining confidence. Now that I’m several months down the road, we have a weekly OA spending goal instead of a monthly one. It would be impossible for me to reach my weekly goal if I had to do all my online sourcing without my daily lists and the OAXray extension. I use these tools on a daily basis, and I’m excited today to share with you the reasons why I’ve come to depend on them so much.

gatedlistlogo2Gated List

This shoe deal list comes with several subscription options ranging from 5 days a week to a la carte. We’ve used the 5-day plan and the 2-day plan at different times and have found great shoe buys on both. The lists are capped at 25 clients, and they come in the form of a Google spreadsheet. You can find out more specifics about their features and pricing on their website.

Gated List offers invaluable information on their website about setting the correct expectations for selling in the shoe category. They give specific amounts for how much you should be able to budget for shoe sourcing before you decide to purchase one of their lists, which I found incredibly helpful. I mean, I want to make sure I’m getting my money’s worth out of a list, but sometimes it’s hard to know what exactly is “my money’s worth.” I appreciate that they actually put a dollar amount to it for me. Their website helped me and Stephen talk through our spending goals and our sales goals in the shoes category so that we could make better buying decisions.

logo-oaxOAXray

OAXray is an extension you use with the Google Chrome web browser to enhance the online arbitrage process. One click of the extension when you’re on a search page within a retail store’s website, and you get a spreadsheet with links to the products’ matches on Amazon, the sales rank, the potential ROI, potential net profit, and links to important data on CamelCamelCamel and Keepa.

I seriously cannot stop talking about how much I love the freedom I get from OAXray. I love my daily deal lists, but OAXray opens up so many more doors for me to buy inventory online. I’m not limited by a number of deals per day. I can scan page after page after page on a growing number of websites (OAXray adds new websites to their supported list all the time) and find way more deals than I have the time or money to buy. Even better, Stephen has been using the CSV feature to upload spreadsheets from wholesale contacts to quickly analyze product catalogs, saving hours and hours of time.

OAXray has an excellent YouTube channel with videos about the extension’s features, as well as walk-throughs of how to use the extension on the various retail store websites they support. I highly recommend taking the time to watch these videos before you get started, to help flatten the learning curve a bit and make sure you’re taking advantage of all the extension’s features.

Note: OAXray has generously offered Full-Time FBA readers a 10-day trial of their product, if you click to sign up through this link.

Education is Key

Hopefully you noticed something each of these products has in common: education as a component of what they offer. For each of these services, I’ve come to depend just as much on the education and advice offered by the owners as I have on the service itself. For me as a reseller, it speaks volumes when someone who offers a service also offers the resources to get the most out of my investment in their service. I’m able to increase my ROI over and over because of the information I’m learning from them as I use their tools to make OA purchases. The fact that the owners are committed to helping their customers grow as sellers by providing education is a huge part of why I started using these services in the first place and a huge part of why I want to recommend them to others.

The price of these services can seem pretty steep when you’re just getting started with OA, but the time I save by using them is worth so much more than the monthly fees. It would be impossible for me to purchase the same amount of inventory without these services. If you’re at a point where you have more money than time to spend on your Amazon FBA business, I recommend trying one or more of these services to ramp up your OA inventory.

Note: The Clothing and Shoes categories require approval from Amazon in order to sell these items. But the good news is that the approval process is fairly simple and painless. We have a free download walking you through the steps for getting ungated in Shoes (the same steps can be followed for the separate Clothing category). Click here to get the PDF with the steps for ungating!

Do you have a favorite online arbitrage tool that you can’t do without? Let us know in the comments! We have two more OA posts coming up soon about how to get the most out of OA subscriptions and a list of my favorite Chrome extensions for OA, so be on the lookout for them.

Overcoming Your Fear of Creating Listings

Adding A ProductFor many online resellers, one reason we transition out of selling on eBay to selling on Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) is so we don’t have to constantly be creating listings. The number of items in the Amazon catalog runs in the millions, so it’s possible to spend your entire FBA career not creating a single listing but still raking in the profits.

But what do you do if you find a great deal on an awesome product that sells on other platforms for a pretty penny…and it’s not available on Amazon? You’ve searched by the UPC, you’ve searched by the product title, and you’ve even searched Amazon’s out of stock items. Nothing. You have a way to buy multiples of this item and make great profits, if only it had a product page on Amazon.

What’s stopping you from creating that listing yourself? I know for me personally, I was afraid to create listings for a variety of reasons, but those fears have all slipped off to the wayside now that I’ve had a little practice. Generally, when we’re doing retail arbitrage we still prefer to find products that already have product pages, just to save ourselves the time and effort. But in some cases it is totally worth it to put our fears aside and just make that product page ourselves!

Here are my top three fears when it comes to creating product listings on Amazon:

manage-timeFear #1 – I’m afraid it will take too much time. 

Truth – It definitely takes more time to create a quality listing than it does to just scan in an item that already has its own page in the Amazon catalog. The picture requirements are stricter than with eBay, so you’ll likely need to do a little photo editing (or hire someone to do it for you), rather than just plunking the item down on the kitchen table, snapping a photo, and calling it done. BUT if you have an item that’s going to bring a high ROI (return on investment) and you have multiples of it, the time spent on creating a solid listing for the Amazon catalog can be very profitable.

You might want to ask yourself a few questions before you consider purchasing items that will need you to create a listing:

  • How much profit will I make from selling one of these items?
  • How many of these items can I buy to resell now?
  • Will I be able to buy more items to resell in the future?
  • Will other people be able to buy this item and join my listing, or will I likely be able to keep this listing to myself?

If you can’t answer these questions in a way that justifies the time and effort involved in creating a listing on Amazon, perhaps you should consider selling the item on eBay or Craigslist or at a garage sale instead.

right-way-wrong-wayFear #2 – I’m afraid I’ll create the listing the wrong way. 

Truth – We all have to learn somewhere and try something for the first time. Sometimes that involves making mistakes, but if other people can create successful listings, chances are so can you! If you do a little research up front, you can avoid making some of the more obvious errors, and you can be off to a great start creating listings that could bring in big profits.

Amazon does have rules regarding adding products to their catalog, and if you’re going to create a listing, you should read those rules before getting started. It’s pretty easy to tell when a seller from eBay has created an Amazon listing — their photos will not conform to the pure white background requirements, or they’ll be too small; their titles will be in all caps; they will include condition notes in their product descriptions. None of these things are acceptable with Amazon, and all of these things are easy to read in their guidelines. Seriously, read the rules. That’s the best place to start with learning how to create a listing.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 6.38.13 AMA side fear related to creating listings is a fear of the dreaded flat file. When you’re first getting started learning to create listings, though, there’s no reason to use a flat file. The “Add a Product” feature in Seller Central is easy to follow step by step. Just log in to your seller account, and under “Inventory” click on “Add a Product.” From there you can follow each step to add the product’s title, description, images, etc. If you enter any information incorrectly, the system will give you a handy little red notification, which can be quite helpful in figuring out how to enter the correct information.

customers_wantedFear #3 – I’m afraid I won’t get any sales on my new listing, and my time will have been wasted. 

Truth – If you have an awesome product to sell and you create an awesome listing, you’re bound to get sales. Sometimes you might need to promote your product with ads, but often you don’t even need to go that far before your product gains momentum and the sales start coming in. We have never promoted any of our created listings, and in some cases we’ve seen sales start coming in within a matter of a day or two once the products go live.

The key to creating a successful listing? Keywords. Keywords are key.

We’ve had a couple of great guest posts by Karon Thackston in the past, and we still stand by everything she has to say:

I have pored over Karon’s book Amazon Advantage: Product Listing Strategies to Boost Your Sales, and I just can’t recommend it enough if you’re wanting to create a listing. We have used her advice to boost current listings, and we’ve used it to create a listing for a replenishable item that has no FBA competition, gives us 100% ROI, and sells about once a day. If only we could find more items just like this one!

Now, this blog post is about addressing our fear of creating listings, but I would be remiss if we didn’t discuss the times when it’s best to reconsider creating a listing:

  • If you can only buy one of an item, the ROI is low, or the dollar amount of the sales price is low
  • If it’s a collectible item better suited for eBay
  • If it’s a generic product (i.e. not a popular brand name; not an item you are selling as your own private label product)
  • If the item already has a product page, but you want to create a duplicate listing with a different UPC. This is against Amazon rules. Don’t do it.

So, are you ready to try creating your own listing? Or have you already tried it and have some insight to share? We’d love to hear from you about your experience with creating listings on Amazon.

The 3 Keys to Growing Your FBA Business Into a Full-Time Income Generating Machine

Keys to Success

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is this: Is it really possible to make a full-time income from selling on Amazon? And my answer is always an enthusiastic “YES!” 

If you’re not familiar with my story, here is a really quick summary. In 2011 I was recently divorced, unemployed, and clueless about where my life was headed. I needed to find a way to financially support myself and my four little boys. While I was looking for a way to turn my eBay hobby into a full-time income, I stumbled across Amazon FBA. I bought Chris Green’s book Retail Arbitrage (now updated and titled Arbitrage) and devoured every last page. In late 2011 I sent in my first box to an Amazon FBA warehouse and I’ve never looked back. 

In 2013 I married Rebecca who is not only an amazing wife and stepmom, but has also become my business partner. Fast forward to today, and I’ve been making a full-time income via FBA for over 4 years, and my sales keep growing year after year. It requires hard work, patience, and dedication, but making a full-time income with Amazon FBA is very possible. 

Today, I’m excited to share with you the 3 keys that have helped me grow my FBA business to making a full-time income with only part-time hours

SMART-1-articleLarge1. Always be sourcing. You can find profitable inventory everywhere. Be on the look out and you will find it. It’s everywhere. Seriously, I’ll run out of money before I run out of inventory to find. Where do I find my inventory? How about garage sales, thrift stores, retail stores, clearance stores, liquidation stores, online arbitrage, grocery stores, at the airport, and even at my own house. I’ve found inventory on Facebook, Craigslist, Freecycle, and more! Profitable inventory can be found both online and locally

2. Always be learning. Learning is a huge part of finding success, but there is an art form to learning. In today’s world, there is so much information out there (both paid and free), that you could literally spend all day learning. Here is my advice when it comes to leaning. Pick only one Focustopic to learn at a time. Then, once you master that topic, move on to the next. Remember the acronym FOCUS – “Follow One Course Until Successful.”

Imagine a FBA seller who wants to learn about online arbitrage, buying wholesale, and selling grocery on Amazon. Which seller do you think will be more successful in a shorter amount of time? The seller who reads about online arbitrage on Monday, studies about wholesale on Tuesday, and then reads about how to profit on grocery items on Wednesday… or the seller who commits to learn all about online arbitrage this week until they feel comfortable putting their knowledge into action? Of course, it’s the seller who is focused. Always be learning, but follow one course until successful. If you’d like some ideas on what to learn next, check out our resources page

3. Always be outsourcing. Jim Cockrum (from the Proven Amazon Course) says “Only do what only you can do and outsource the rest.” When you find people who can do the easier stuff, that will free you up to do the harder, more profitable actions for your business. Think about it this way: How much money do you think you make per hour with selling on Amazon? Maybe $50 per hour? $75 per hour? If you could make that amount per hour working, why would you do any tasks that you could pay someone else $10-$12 per hour to do for you? 

Did you know that almost every part of your Amazon FBA business can be outsourced? Imagine having other people do most of the work for you, and you are free to focus on the most profitable aspects of your business. Now, that’s freedom! Here are some examples of what you can outsource:

3d-cover1-738x1024A. Retail Arbitrage – It’s possible that you might know someone you could hire to focus on garage sales, thrift stores, and other retail arbitrage sourcing in your area. Some people are afraid of training potential competition, but there are ways to avoid that. A great resource for leaning how to find, train, and hire quality people who can source inventory for you is Ryan Grant’s book Outsourcing Sourcing. I highly recommend it as it answers every question you may have about hiring someone to source in your local area. 

B. Online Arbitrage – There are many different ways you can outsource your OA. Some people hire VAs (Virtual Assistants) to source for them. They train a VA to find items online that meet certain sourcing parameters. Then the Amazon seller decides which items to actually buy. Other online sellers pay for a shared VA group and get daily sourcing lists. We currently use Cyber Monkey Deals for many of our OA finds and are trying out some other services as well.  

brownbox2C. Prepping, Packing, & Shipping (PPS) – Not only can you hire someone locally to prep, pack, and ship your items to Amazon, but there are also many reputable companies around the country who will do all of that work for you. They can remove price stickers, poly bag, shrink wrap, etc. Then once the items are prepped for Amazon, they can pack them and ship them off to Amazon for you. Some PPS companies (like My Inventory Team) are set up so you can ship your online arbitrage buys directly to them and they will prep, pack, and ship it for you. If you live near a PPS company, see if they will allow you to drop off your retail arbitrage items at their local warehouse. 

D. Household Cleaning and Lawn Maintenance – This might not be considered part of your business, but the same philosophy applies. Why would you stop your $75 per hour job selling on Amazon to clean your house when you could easily hire a quality maid service for much less? Same goes for taking care of your lawn.

il_340x270.508952328_rrmq4. Always be thankful. (Yes, I know I said there would be 3 keys, but it’s those who go above and beyond what’s expected of them that truly succeed). Remember to be thankful for the flexibility and freedom that selling online provides. Be thankful for the help of others, and give back. Be thankful for the mistakes you make so you don’t repeat them. Be thankful for all of the Amazon FBA seller related books that help straighten out the learning curve. Be thankful for the amazing opportunity this business model presents. 

Those are the 3 (actually 4) main keys that have helped Rebecca and I find success with our FBA business. Are we perfect in all of these areas? No, but we aim to do our best, learn what we can, apply what we’ve learned, and share those lessons with you on this blog. 

Yes, it’s totally possible to make a full-time income selling on Amazon, and I’d love to help you meet that goal. Be sure to scroll up and sign up to follow this blog. You’ll get a newsletter about once a week with helpful tips and strategies to turn part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What are your keys to FBA success? Please share with everyone so we all can learn, grow, and succeed! 

How to Find Out Exactly Which Items Will Be Charged Long Term Storage Fees

LTSFUPDATE: Amazon has recently updated their Inventory Age report, and this post is now outdated. What I teach below still works, but there is now a much easier way to find what you’re looking for. 

Click here see my latest training report on how to find out exactly which items will be charged a Long Term Storage Fee

————————————————————————-

If you’ve been selling on Amazon at least 6 months, then it’s possible you have recently received a FBA Aged Inventory Notification email from Amazon. This notification from Amazon is to warn you about upcoming Long Term Storage Fees (LTSF). To read more about what the LTSF are, why Amazon charges them twice a year, and some timely tips on how to avoid these fees, then click here

Most Amazon sellers would be wise to find out which items in their inventory will be charged the LTSF and how much they’ll be charged. Unfortunately, Amazon does not give you this information directly, but there is a way to find out using one of Amazon’s reports found in Seller Central. 

Here is exactly how you can find out which items in your inventory are going to be charged a LTSF on August 15th (and how much you’ll be charged per item):

1. Log in to Seller Central.

2. Hover over Reports and click on Fulfillment.

3. On the left side of the screen, under the Inventory heading, click on Show More.

4. Click on Inventory Health.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.56.16 PM5. Click on the Download tab.

6. Click on the Request Download button. 

7. After about 60 seconds (or possibly longer) the report will be generated, and you’ll be able to download it.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 12.22.10 PM

This is the text file version of the report. I copy this data and paste it into a spreadsheet so it’s much easier to understand.

8. After the report downloads, open up the file in a spreadsheet. My download automatically opens up a Text file, so I just copy and paste it into Excel. Based on your computer’s available programs, you should be able to open up the file (or at least copy/paste the text) in your computer’s spreadsheet program. 

9. The text in the file contains many columns of information that you really don’t need in order to assess your long term storage fees. You can keep the ones you want, but I delete all of the columns in the file except the following:

sku
asin
product-name
qty-to-be-charged-ltsf-12-mo
projected-ltsf-12-mo
qty-to-be-charged-ltsf-6-mo
projected-ltsf-6-mo

10. To make the chart easier to read, I change the names of the last 4 columns to:

12mo
12mo$
6mo
6mo$

11. To make the data easier to read, I also do the following (this is just a personal preference, so you may want to skip this step):

Change the document page setup to landscape.
Center align the last 4 columns.
Change the size of the last 4 columns to be smaller.
Change the size of the product name column to be bigger.

12. Select all of the text (CTL-A for PCs or Command-A for Macs)

Now, its’ time to sort. In Excel, you can sort by clicking on Data from the top menu bar, and then select Sort

13. Sort the 12 mo column and choose descending

14. Sort the 6 mo column and choose descending

15. When I’m done, my spreadsheet looks more like this:

The image is blurry on purpose. It’s so you have an idea what the spreadsheet looks like after the changes above.

Now, your spreadsheet will show you on the first pages which items will be charged a LTSF, how many will be charged, and how much the charge will be. My next step is to print out the document, but I only print out the pages that contain the information about LTSF. If I printed the whole document, then I’d waste a lot of paper as most of my inventory is not affected by the LTSF. 

Now, it’s important to know how to read and understand the data in the spreadsheet. Under the 12mo and 6mo columns, you’ll see how many items will be charged in the upcoming LTSF on August 15th. In the 12mo$ and 6mo$ columns, you’ll see the total amount that will be charged if that item is not sold or removed from your inventory. 

For example, your chart might read something like this for an item:

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.39.18 PMThe above example shows that the My First Pad item will not be charged a 12 month LTSF, but will be charged a 6 month LTSF of $8.32. Since you have 7 of these items that will be charged a LTSF, you can do the math and see that it will be a charge of about $1.19 per My First Pad. (Remember: one unit of each SKU is exempt from LTSF, so you actually have 8 of this item in stock, not 7.)

The next step is to decide what you want to do with the inventory that is affected by LTSF. In a previous blog post, I’ve discussed all the ways you can avoid Long Term Storage Fees, but for the rest of this post, I’ll only discuss the most popular method of avoiding the fee: lowering your price to get the next sale. 

LC_OFF_Body_NLPLowering the price might indeed get you the next sale, but there are more important aspects to consider. Remember, in our example above, you’ll be charged $1.19 for each item for the LTSF, so if you lower the price by over $1.19, just be sure you don’t think you’ll ever sell the item for the price you want over the next 6 months. If you do some CamelCamelCamel (CCC) research and see that you’ll probably get your original price come Q4, then maybe pay the fee, and then wait for the sale to come during Q4. On the other hand, if you don’t think you can sell this item for the price you want, then it might be a good idea to lower the price and avoid this fee. 

Again, with our example, say you have the item priced at $19.95, but the current low FBA price is $11.95. If you  lower your price by $8.00 to $11.95 to share the Buy Box, you might indeed get the next sale… but lowering 7 items by $8 each, you’ll be losing out on $56.00 in order to avoid a $8.32 fee. Is this worth it? Well, we’ll need to check CamelCamelCamel to see if we think the price will go back up during Q4. If CCC shows that the price will probably go back up in Q4, then maybe it’s a good idea to pay the $8.32 fee in order to make the profits come Q4. On the other hand, if CCC shows that the price will probably never again go up, then maybe it’ll be a good idea to lower your price in order to sell out before August 15th. As always, different items will require different actions, so do your research and make the best decision for your inventory.

amazon-warehouse-5

Note: Amazon does not want to be your long term storage solution.

You might be thinking that this requires a lot of work and thought, but the LTSF is something to take seriously, as it’s currently $11.25 per cubit foot for items stored over 6 months, and $22.50 per cubic foot for items stored over 12 months. Currently, my LTSF would be over $100, but I’ve been keeping track of my potential LTSF for over a month now. If I didn’t use these tactics to avoid long term store fees, then the fee would be even higher.

So how about you? What are some of your strategies for dealing with these Long Term Store Fees? I’d love to read them in the comments below. 

The Perfect Starter Kit for the Online Arbitrage Beginner

My name is Rebecca, I’m a recovering online arbitrage skeptic.

OA KeyboardLast year when Stephen and I started hearing a lot of buzz about people switching to doing more online arbitrage (OA), less retail arbitrage (RA), we had so much going on with our business that we just tucked away the idea of OA in the back of our minds.

Fast forward a few months, and Chris Green released his latest book, Online Arbitrage, amid much fanfare in the reseller community. Again, Stephen and I questioned, is OA really all that great? Do we really need to try it out? I took one look at the book’s price tag (whoa, that thing’s pricey!), another look at the calendar (it was a few weeks from Q4, do we really want to invest in learning a new skill?), and I convinced Stephen not to buy the book right away.

Fast forward another several months (I promise this story is going somewhere). The adrenaline of Q4 subsided, and we were deciding where to focus in the new year. We love setting goals and learning new skills, and we tossed around the idea (again!) of becoming serious about OA. The idea of sourcing from home was definitely appealing, but I was still struggling to overcome my biggest hangup computer-frustrationwith the concept of OA: hours and hours of clicking on websites, with one or two purchases? No, thanks. Spending the time and effort to find and train a virtual assistant? Huh-uh, don’t want to do that either. We weren’t wanting to dedicate a massive portion of our sourcing capital towards OA, just enough to experiment — it didn’t seem like there was an easy way to get our feet wet without investing a lot of time and money.

Until we heard about Cyber Monkey Deals (CMD)So, we took the plunge and got a subscription, as well as a copy of Chris Green’s Online Arbitrage at long last.

OA Starter KitRemember how I said I’m a recovering OA skeptic? Seriously, I’ve been the one all along who has told Stephen I didn’t want to do OA, I didn’t want to spend money on a pricey book, I wasn’t interested in getting another monthly subscription, blah blah blah blah.

But now that we’ve been doing CMD for a few months and I’ve finished reading Online Arbitrage, I’m hooked. I’m the one who looks through our CMD list of deals each day, I’m the one responsible for making our OA purchases, and I’m the one quoting sections of the OA book to Stephen. I can’t say enough about how this combo of resources — Cyber Monkey Deals combined with my Kindle copy of Online Arbitrage — has given us a boost in the direction of doing solid OA sourcing.

First, let me give you a few reasons why I’m glad I finally got around to reading Online Arbitrage:

OAcover800– Online Arbitrage spells out exactly how to set up your browser to maximize your time doing OA sourcing. Seriously…exactly. Which browser works best, which extensions to use, what order to look at things each day. Time is precious, and if you follow his instructions and just practice on a regular basis, you will pick up speed and keep from wasting hours on needless tasks.

– If you aren’t well versed in how to read graphs for sales rank and price, he’s got a lot of great tips for making sense of those numbers. This is crucial not just in doing OA, but in any type of sourcing for FBA. The skills I’ve honed while practicing what I’ve learned in OA have carried over while I’m doing retail arbitrage, and I’m able to make sourcing decisions more quickly and confidently when I’m out scanning in stores. To me, that was a huge boost.

– If you get the Kindle version of OA, you’re getting a multimedia OA course, not just a book. Some days you feel like reading, some days you feel like watching and listening — the Kindle version has both (you’ll want to read/watch on a Kindle tablet or on a Kindle app on your phone, tablet, or computer). The paperback version is great, too, but you’ll have to use the links to watch the extras on a device.

– Like other books I’ve read by Chris Green, Online Arbitrage has more than just skills outlined in it. You also get a look into the mindset of a business expert — and when you spend time getting to know how someone else thinks, you learn more than just skills. You learn the root of what makes people successful at their work, which is priceless. It’s not just knowledge; it’s wisdom.

CyberMonkey-lgNow, with that knowledge base, Cyber Monkey Deals has become one of my favorite ways to source each day. Because we weren’t wanting to invest a ton of money or time in OA to begin with, I’ve found that the deals on CMD are just perfect for us, for the following reasons:

– Ten deals a day is a good amount for me to look through. Getting a virtual assistant to send me a whole spreadsheet of deals would be overwhelming. We only want to spend a few hundred dollars a month on OA right now, so I don’t need to get bogged down in dozens of potential deals a day.

– The parameters of what constitutes a good deal on CMD work well for us and are constantly being fine-tuned by the admin. We’re on our fourth or fifth month of our subscription, and we’ve seen improvement over time in how many deals are worth a second look. Now, ten deals a day doesn’t mean that we’ll get ten deals that we buy each day. Some days we may get five deals worth taking action on, and other days none. But it evens out over the course of a week or so, and we’ve had a constant flow of inventory showing up on our doorstep since getting our CMD subscription.

– Again, using the CCC and Keepa graphs linked to each CMD deal I’ve been able to get faster and more confident at making good buying decisions, which has greatly impacted my sourcing in all areas of our business.

– Over time CMD has helped me fine-tune the types of items I’m looking for and the categories I want to sell in, whether I’m doing OA or RA. Consistency of practice is key in improving any skills, and that includes scanning and sourcing. I’ve been working with Stephen at our FBA business for a couple of years now, but I have a lot of other work responsibilities and endless work around the house — never have I sourced as much and as regularly as I have since getting our CMD subscription. Now I look at items and practice making buying decisions EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Without leaving the house!

IMG_2976I could gush on and on about how exciting the past few months have been for me as an online reseller learning the world of OA. Stephen is, by background and gifting, the serious business person in our relationship — I’m the one who has come into doing business more reluctantly and timidly, having to take steps out of my comfort zone all along the way. Reading Online Arbitrage and looking through Cyber Monkey Deals each day for the past few months have given me the perfect Online Arbitrage Starter Kit. Both resources have helped me grow into a new role as the one responsible for our business’s OA branch. Who knows where things will go from here, but it’s been an exciting start for me!

Note: Chris Green’s book, Online Arbitrage is available in full color, black and white, and even a 3 chapter preview mini-book. It’s also been updated with all new information.

What’s been your experience with online arbitrage? If you haven’t tried it yet, what’s holding you back? If you have experience with OA, what’s been your favorite thing about it? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Want to learn more? Check out this blog post we did on how to take online arbitrage to the next level. In that post I talk about how I use daily deal lists and the OAXray software to speed up and automate the process of finding OA deals to buy and resell.