Category Archives: App Reviews

JoeLister Review: How to Increase your Customers with Multi-Channel Fulfillment

We’re all looking to increase the amount of customers looking at our online inventory and boost our e-commerce sales, right? The more people who see your inventory, the more people will buy it!

One way to get more customers buying your inventory is to list that inventory on multiple sales channels. You can also use multi-channel fulfillment, where your inventory is listed on multiple channels but fulfilled from one channel. For example, you can list your inventory on both Amazon and eBay, but have the Amazon FBA warehouse fulfill your orders, regardless of whether the sale comes from Amazon’s website or eBay’s.

JoeLister is a third-party program that allows you to list your Amazon FBA inventory on eBay in just a few clicks per item. I’ve been using JoeLister for a few months now, and I’ve enjoyed the boost in sales I’ve received from having extra eyes viewing my inventory.

Since I’ve had a while now to get some experience with JoeLister, I want to share with you the reasons I like the program and a couple of my frustrations as well.

Let’s start off with the positives:

  1. Automated listing on eBay – Who doesn’t love automating your online business?! I love that with just a few clicks per item, I can create listings on eBay from my Amazon FBA inventory. Part of the reason I hadn’t tried multi-channel fulfillment before now is that I don’t love creating each individual eBay listing. But JoeLister makes the process of creating the listing super easy by importing titles, descriptions, and pictures from Amazon into the eBay listing.
  1. Smart pricing feature – JoeLister is able to make calculations based on both the Amazon fees and the eBay fees, and it gives you suggestions for your eBay price accordingly. It’s important that you know your numbers when you are setting your prices, and JoeLister makes it simple for you to make comparisons with your Amazon price and with other recent eBay listings of similar items. You can easily set your eBay price with your payout for that sale in mind. Note: Amazon terms of service require you to price your multi-channel fulfillment inventory at or above your Amazon price when you’re pricing on other platforms. You should not set your eBay price lower than the Amazon price when listing through JoeLister.
  1. Automatic fulfillment of orders – This is where JoeLister becomes even more exciting, in my opinion. When you list an item through JoeLister and an eBay customer purchases it, the fulfillment process for that order is completely automatic. JoeLister communicates between eBay and Amazon to set up the fulfillment order, have the item shipped from the Amazon warehouse to your eBay customer, and provide the tracking information. You just sit back and watch!
  1. Syncs with Amazon and eBay – Another cool feature of JoeLister is that it synchs your inventory amounts between Amazon and eBay. So let’s say you have your Amazon inventory listed on eBay through JoeLister, and you make a sale of one unit of that item through Amazon – JoeLister automatically syncs and adjusts the quantity available on eBay for that listing. It works the same way going the other direction – if you make a sale on eBay, JoeLister syncs to adjust the quantity available in your Amazon FBA inventory. You are never in danger of selling an item on one platform when it’s not truly available because you already sold it on another platform.

Frustrations with JoeLister:

Our business model includes a lot of shoes, and we’ve noticed a slight problem when we are automatically creating listings on eBay from our shoe inventory. When JoeLister imports the title of the product, it often takes the title directly from the parent ASIN of the shoe. That parent ASIN title doesn’t include any info about the size or color variation that I’m actually wanting to sell on eBay. When this happens, I have to then manually add the size and color for my variation to the title as I’m creating the listing. Kind of a pain, but not a big enough problem to be a deal breaker for me and JoeLister.

In general, I recommend double-checking all your titles when you are importing your listings from Amazon into eBay anyway. Amazon and eBay titles are two different beasts, and you want to make sure your eBay listings through JoeLister are optimized for eBay customers who are searching for the types of items you are selling.

Overall, we have enjoyed having JoeLister as an addition to our e-commerce business. We definitely saw the most benefit from using the service during the Q4 months, but we have continued to see enough sales in the early months of this year to justify using JoeLister.

The pricing options for the service range from 100 listings to an unlimited number of listings, and we have tinkered with different amounts during Q4 and afterwards. Everyone has a different strategy for how they want to use the service, so I recommend just trying it out for a while and seeing how it might best benefit your own particular business. You don’t have to import all of your Amazon SKUs to eBay with JoeLister, so you can play around with different combinations and see what types of listings work best for you with multi-channel fulfillment.

If you’re interested in trying out JoeLister, you can get a two-week free trial through this link. You can check out their website for more information on the types of plans they offer and for videos about how to use the program. If you do the two-week free trial of JoeLister, hopefully you will make enough in eBay sales during that two weeks to be able to pay for a subscription moving forward!

Have you tried JoeLister before? Have you tried multi-channel fulfillment of your Amazon inventory? We would love to hear your thoughts and questions on the topic in the comments!

Why I’m Using Poshmark to Sell My Amazon FBA Returns

Have you used the fashion buying and selling platform called Poshmark? It’s a website and mobile app where users can list their new and used clothing, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics for sale. I recently began using Poshmark as another platform (along with eBay) for selling my Amazon FBA shoe returns and shoes with boxes damaged in online arbitrage (OA) shipments.

Poshmark is super easy to use and geared towards the Instagram crowd, with lots of sharing, following, and liking of sellers and their items. Buyers can scroll through photos of fashion items arranged by brand, style, and people you follow. You can comment on items and @reply to other people’s comments, similar to other social media apps.

I decided to give Poshmark a try, since I have a stack of shoes in my office that I can no longer sell as new on Amazon, either because a customer returned them no longer new or because they arrived in an OA shipment with a damaged box or generic box (I don’t like to send higher end shoes to Amazon without a brand new, pristine box). I spent some time one afternoon setting up my account, snapping photos with my phone, and listing shoes in my new Poshmark closet. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results and wanted to share about Poshmark with you, in case you have Amazon returns in the apparel category that you want to try listing.

If you’re interested in trying Poshmark, you can sign up with the code UZGDS to get a $5 credit to your account (in case you want to buy something instead of just selling stuff!).

Here are few of the reasons I’ve been enjoying using Poshmark:

  • It is always good to have multiple selling platforms. While Amazon FBA is our number one way to make money selling shoes online, we like to diversify our selling platforms, so that we always have multiple methods of generating income, just in case. We recommend keeping an active eBay account in good standing as a seller, but it’s nice to have another alternative through Poshmark.
  • Poshmark has an extremely simple interface. Confession time: Setting up my Poshmark account was the first time I’ve learned a new selling platform on my own. I married into Stephen’s Amazon and eBay accounts. I was hesitant to set up an account on my own, but Poshmark is very easy to set up and navigate, both as a buyer and a seller. Seriously, I had several pairs of shoes listed in my Poshmark closet in way less than an hour.
  • The expectations for Poshmark photos make it quick and fun to list your items.  The layout of Poshmark is very Instagram-y (I know, that’s not really a word), and I found it a lot easier to make my photos look nice and conform to standards on Poshmark than on Amazon and eBay. No need for white backgrounds or a certain number of pixels. Poshmark asks sellers to use photos of items in attractive settings or styled the way you would wear them. I came up with a quick way to arrange my shoes for photos on our living room mantle with our everyday flowers and artwork in the background. Poshmark gives options for different filters on your cover photo for each item, so you can make an ordinary photo stand out a bit more. Listing shoes on Poshmark feels a lot more like making a social media post than working on Amazon and eBay listings.
  • Poshmark has set prices for shipping, paid by the buyer. Poshmark uses USPS Priority shipping, with a standard $6.49 shipping fee, paid by the buyer. Once you make a sale, Poshmark emails you a PDF of the label to print and attach to your package. I love not having to worry about trying to set up free shipping or any other shipping concerns! Sometimes they offer reduced or free shipping as an incentive to help you get more sales, which is another great feature.
  • Along with the shipping incentives, Poshmark encourages other incentives for buyers. So far I’ve felt that Poshmark does a good job of creating a fun atmosphere that encourages buying. They have theme “parties” every day, where certain styles or brands are promoted. If you have listings in that theme, you can share your items at the party and gain more eyes on your listings. They also encourage sales or percentages off if buyers create their own bundle out of your closet.
  • Poshmark is social, but it requires little effort to interact. One of the features of Poshmark is that you can “follow” other sellers. Unlike most social media platforms, which require lots of effort to build up a following, Poshmark seems to generate lots of followers without much work. I have no idea how, but within the first week I had 300+ followers. I’m making sales and getting likes and shares without much effort. I’m sure I would have more if I followed a bunch of other people so that they would follow me back, but for now I’m satisfied where I am. I think the fact that I have high quality, name brand shoes is what makes me stand out.
  • Poshmark has helped me get ideas for my Amazon FBA inventory. It’s so easy to get sucked into browsing Poshmark, much the same way you can get sucked into scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. I’ve really enjoyed flipping through other people’s closets and seeing which brands and styles are getting tons of likes and shares. It has helped me understand the apparel niche better as I’ve seen buyers interacting over the items they prefer the most.

I sold my first pair of shoes within a week of listing them, and since then I’ve had sales trickle in every 2 or 3 days on Poshmark – right now Poshmark is doing better for us than eBay for selling shoes!

I’m also considering cleaning out some items from the closets around our house and listing them on Poshmark, and I’ve browsed and found a few items for sale that I’m keeping my eye on. If you enjoy shopping for apparel for yourself and your family, you should consider checking out the deals on Poshmark. If you sign up and use the code UZGDS, you will get a $5 credit to get you started in your Poshmark account!

Have you used Poshmark, as either a buyer or a seller? Are there similar platforms you use for your Amazon FBA returns? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

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If you’re ready to step up your game with selling shoes on Amazon, check out our course, The Reseller’s Guide to Selling Shoes: Kick up Your Profits with New Shoes via Amazon FBA. It’s a combination ebook (100+ pages) and video course (over 4.5 hours of no-fluff content) that will help you avoid all the mistakes we made and get your shoe selling off on the right foot.

Easy Way to Track your Mileage for Retail Arbitrage Trips

Am I the only reseller out there who has ever done a great day of retail arbitrage and forgotten to write down my mileage?

I am? Really? Hmmm. I thought surely I wasn’t the only one who’s done this before.

OK, thanks for finally admitting it. You’re just like me…you don’t always remember to track the tiny details of your Amazon FBA business without a little assistance.

Tracking your business mileage may seem like an inconsequential part of your Amazon business, but in reality those miles can really add up over the course of a year. You don’t want to miss out on a single mile if at all possible! Your CPA or tax preparer is going to want to see those miles at the end of the year, and you need a way to smoothly record all of your business trips.

What qualifies as a business trip for an Amazon FBA seller? Any trip in your vehicle where you are adding miles for a 100% business purpose, including but not limited to:

  • Driving from store to store for retail arbitrage
  • Driving to the UPS store, FedEx, post office, or wherever you need to drop off packages for shipment
  • Driving to Staples or wherever to pick up office supplies
  • Driving to The Home Depot, Lowe’s, or wherever to pick up shipping boxes
  • Driving anywhere to do errands or tasks related to your Amazon business

Over time you can save a lot of money in your business by writing off the mileage on your tax return that comes from these business trips. Always speak with a CPA or tax professional to make sure that the types of trips you are recording qualify to be written off.

In the past I’ve used a number of different solutions for recording my mileage, some of which worked better than others. I started off by carrying a little notebook and pen in my car to write my details down for start mileage, end mileage, destination, and purpose of the trip – but who knows how many times I forgot to write it down over the course of the year! I even left a sticky note on my dashboard for years with the word “MILEAGE” in all caps, in an attempt to remind myself to record my trips. If I didn’t manage to remember, I would have to go to Google Maps and try to recreate my trip and estimate my mileage.

Then I progressed to using a couple of different smart phone apps to help me record mileage, and they were just OK. They were more convenient than trying to jot things down in a notebook, but they still didn’t help me solve my main problem: remembering to record my miles!

Finally I found the MileIQ app, and I landed on an automatic solution that saves me time in recording my mileage and (more importantly!) saves me from having to remember to record it.

The way the MileIQ app works is by running in the background as you drive to different destinations throughout the course of your everyday life. The app tracks each trip you make in a vehicle, logs it, and learns how to categorize it.

The app knows when you start and stop a trip, and all you have to do is review your trips at the end of the day and tell the app whether it was a business or personal trip – all with one swipe classification. Swipe one direction for personal, the other direction for business. After a while, the app will start to learn which destinations you usually classify as business, and it will automatically classify those trips for you.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, just like I did at first, what happens if you’re riding in someone else’s car? Does MileIQ know the difference? No, it doesn’t know the difference and will still track the mileage even if you’re not in your own vehicle, but you can easily cancel those trips during your review of your mileage. You can also choose to turn off tracking if you want to… just remember to turn it back on when you’re back in your own vehicle.

Another handy feature of MileIQ is that at the end of each month you receive an email from them with your stats for the month. At the end of the year you can quickly download a report with your mileage numbers for the year, and all you need to do is pass this report along to your CPA and presto – you’ve efficiently tracked your business mileage without having to remind yourself to log any numbers!

I’ve been using the app for almost a year now, and the app hasn’t been a battery hog for my iPhone. It’s always running in the background, but it doesn’t affect my phone’s usage in any way.

If you go through this link, MileIQ offers a free trial of 40 drives per month and a 20% discount off an annual subscription if you decide to upgrade. The subscription comes out to a few dollars a month, but it could add up to hundreds of dollars saved by logging miles you would otherwise forget.

The MileIQ app has been extremely helpful for my business, and I hope you find it helpful too!

Any other MileIQ users out there? Share with us in the comments if you love the app as much as we do.

Monitoring Prices on Your Replenishables – StockUp Review

stock-up-titleOne of the most frustrating aspects of selling on Amazon is when your competition comes in and begins to lower the prices of an item that you were once consistently selling. When an amazing source of profit seems to dry up, we often decide to sell out as fast as we can so we can reinvest that capital into inventory that will bring profits much faster. Usually once the price of a formerly profitable item has “tanked,” we don’t think about that item again.

But what if we’re missing something? What if the price goes back up? How would we even know?

Do we ever actually go back and see if the price has recovered? Usually the answer to that question is “no.”

search-computerFor a long time I searched and searched to see if there was a tool out there that would track the prices of items on Amazon and would automatically notify me when those items reached a certain higher price point, but never found one. I love using Keepa and CamelCamelCamel, but those services only notify you automatically when the prices of items on Amazon fall to a desired price point. I  just couldn’t find an easy way to keep track of prices when they go back up.

Sure, I could probably create a spreadsheet with a list of ASINs I wanted to track, then then copy and paste the ASIN in Amazon to see if the price has recovered. I could try to remember to do that once a week or once a month… but honestly, I don’t have time for that. I needed a tool to do everything for me.

online_toolsSince there was no tool, I decided to reach out to my buddy Christopher Grant who has created some awesome tools like revROI (an easy tool to maximize your cash back on OA purchases) and BrickSeek (if an item is sold out online, this tool will show you where you can buy it locally based on your ZIP Code). I told Christopher about my frustrations and my idea for a new tool and he said he thought he could make it happen. After a few months of working with developers and beta-testing, and the StockUp tool is ready!

StockUp – the only tool that will automatically notify you when the price of an item goes back up to the price you want.

stock-upWith StockUp, all you have to do is go to the Amazon product page for the item you want to track, click on the StockUp extension, put in your name and email address (don’t worry, we aren’t keeping these for later), then choose a price, any price. The StockUp tool will then check Keepa for you once an hour and if the price goes up to the level you choose, then StockUp will send you an email to notify you. There will even be a link you can click on to take you to the Amazon product page so you can double check and make sure the price really has recovered. Then, all you need to do is go and buy it again from your source. So easy! I’ll show you a video in a moment, but here’s what it looks like:

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-1-49-11-pm

StockUp is a Google Chrome extension that you easily install into your Chrome browser. If you don’t use Chrome, the web browser is a free download and super easy to use. In fact, I formerly used Safari for my online browser, but have since moved to Chrome as it’s so much more user friendly (as well as all the amazing extensions you can install).

To see StockUp in action, check out this video where I walk you through just how easy it is.

Save today with coupon code!

Here’s the deal… right now, StockUp is available at a one time fee for a lifetime of use. Plus, if you use the coupon code SMOTHERMAN then you can save $8 off the price of the extension. Right now, we’re working on adding a texting notification as well, but that’s still in the planning stages… once the texting capabilities are in place, we’ll definitely be raising the prices on the extension. In fact, the StockUp extension might end up going to a monthly fee as we continue to add more features… so now is the best time to get this tool.

Can you imagine how awesome it will be when the price of one your replenishable items comes back up and you can add it back to your inventory again? Talk about easy sourcing!

 

Our Favorite Amazon FBA Sourcing App

Favorit eSourcing App

Like we said in our last blog post, there seems to be a huge debate among Amazon FBA sellers about whether to use the Amazon Seller app for sourcing inventory or whether to pay for a third-party scanning app. Check out the comments on that post to see that some people feel pretty strongly about the Amazon Seller app’s benefits.

maxresdefaultIf you’ve heard us here at Full-Time FBA talk on Periscope or YouTube in the past, you know that we prefer not to use the Amazon Seller app for sourcing. Today we’re going to share with you the reasons why we love using our favorite sourcing app: Scoutify by the makers of Inventory Lab. (Read to the end of this post to see which app is our second favorite.)

Benefits of the Scoutify sourcing app for Amazon FBA:

  • Photo Apr 06, 4 00 52 PMGives an easy-to-read summary of the basic info you need to make your sourcing decisions: name of item, picture, category, size tier, sales rank, number of offers, and pricing for new and used offers by Amazon, FBA, and Merchant Fulfilled sellers.
  • Links to Amazon sales rank and pricing history graphs (CamelCamelCamel and Keepa). I cannot stress enough that one of the biggest factors for us in using a third-party scanning app is the ability to quickly and efficiently access sales rank and pricing history while we’re sourcing. We desire to always make smart sourcing decisions when doing retail arbitrage, and the only way we can avoid buying inventory that is destined to have plummeting prices and skyrocketing sales ranks is to do the research on sites like CamelCamelCamel and Keepa while sourcing. The Amazon Seller app does not provide those quick links, which is a deal breaker for us as a scouting app.
  • Links to pricing info on Amazon and other websites. In addition to a quick link to each item’s product page on Amazon, Scoutify includes quick links to the Amazon Prime offers to compare FBA prices, to BookScouter.com, to eBay, and to Google. It’s super quick and easy to do a little extra research on how an item is priced across multiple e-commerce platforms before making a buying decision.
  • Allows you to see both gross and net profit on items you’re scanning. Scoutify will show you the gross profit of an item based on shipping fees and FBA costs deducted by Amazon. You can then enter more information about your cost of goods and other costs associated with prepping, packing, and sales tax, giving you your net profit. Again, the more information like this you can see up front, the better sourcing decisions you can make while out doing retail arbitrage.
  • Photo Apr 06, 4 10 05 PMAllows you to create a buy list with your buy cost for each item, supplier (if you have more than one person sourcing for your business), and date purchased. You can then use this information in Inventory Lab to keep track of how quickly items sell, how much commission to pay your sourcers, how much wiggle room you have for repricing and still maintaining a sufficient return on investment.
  • Comes priced in a package with Inventory Lab listing software. We’ll talk more in a future blog post about why we use Inventory Lab to list our products for sale on Amazon. We really love the fact that Scoutify and Inventory Lab come together for one package price of $49/month. When you sign up for Inventory Lab you can get your first month free.
  • Available for iPhone and Android. You can download the Scoutify app for free for both iPhone and Android smart phone platforms, but you will need to log in to use it with your Inventory Lab account info.
  • Has bluetooth capabilities if you use your smart phone with a device like a Scanfob. We don’t use this feature, but we know some Amazon sellers swear by using bluetooth scanners.
  • Super fast bar-code scanning. Out of all the sourcing apps I’ve used, Scoutify scans the barcode the fastest. We all know every second counts and this one is a big deal to me.

Profit Bandit AppOur second favorite sourcing app is Profit Bandit.

We love using Profit Bandit for many of the same reasons we love Scoutify:

  • Links to CamelCamelCamel, Keepa, eBay, Google, etc
  • Shows all FBA offers
  • Highlights who has the BuyBox and highlights Amazon’s offer
  • Calculates your profit based on 15 factors
  • Has a buy list feature
  • Has bluetooth capabilities

Profit Bandit is powered by SellerEngine. You can download the Profit Bandit app for free for iPhone or Android, but to use the app for more than 5 or 10 test scans you will need to sign up for a subscription of $10/month. The main reason we switched from using Profit Bandit on a regular basis is the fact that Scoutify and Inventory Lab come together as a package for $49/month. We like the fact that we can get our scanning app and listing software for one package price.

A big part of scaling an Amazon FBA business is the ability to reduce the number of times you touch your inventory and to reduce the amount of time you spend on each item while sourcing. Every second counts when you’re standing in an aisle of a retail store with hundreds of items to scan. We love how quick and easy Scoutify and Profit Bandit are to use for doing solid research before buying inventory.

What is your favorite app to use while you’re sourcing? What makes it your favorite? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below.

The Amazon Seller App – Pros and Cons

Amazon Seller App Pro ConYou don’t have to talk to Amazon FBA sellers for too long before you know their opinion about which sourcing apps they prefer. There seems to be a raging debate about whether the Amazon Seller app is sufficient for sourcing products to resell or whether you should pay for a third party scanning app.

Today we’re going to talk through the reasons we love the Amazon Seller app – as well as the reasons we don’t think you should rely solely on that app to make smart sourcing decisions. In our next blog post, we’ll talk about our favorite third party scanning app, as well as which app runs a close second, so stay tuned.

Best uses for the Amazon Seller app:

screen322x572Check your disbursement amount – Super handy way to quickly check the amount for your next disbursement, so you can make cash flow decisions on the go.

Check your orders – This can be addicting, especially during Q4. Use with caution. Please do not check pending orders while driving.

Reprice inventory – If you check your orders and notice a fast moving item is selling for lower than you would like, you can quickly reprice using the app.

Check status of FBA shipments – Once UPS picks up your shipment, you can then track the shipment in the app. You can see if your boxes are in transit, processing, or have been completed.

Check and return emails to customers – You can keep your response time as low as possible (and keep your account health in good order) by checking and returning customer emails from the app if you’re away from your computer.

Photo Mar 26, 4 20 41 PMCheck for hazmat items – Unlike third party sourcing apps, the Amazon Seller app will let you know if a product is hazmat and ineligible for FBA.

Check for other selling restrictions – Again, only the Amazon Seller app will let you know if an item is restricted to you as a seller (either because you aren’t approved to sell in that category or you aren’t approved by the manufacturer for that item).

What is lacking with the Amazon Seller app:

Photo Mar 26, 5 27 26 PMNo links to CamelCamelCamel or Keepa – It’s impossible to make the smartest sourcing decisions without checking CCC or Keepa for price and sales rank history. Amazon Seller app does not provide a quick link to show you this data.

Only shows you (on the results screen) the lowest new and used price – There  are so many reasons why I want to see as many of the lowest price offers in order to make my best sourcing decision. What if the lowest new price is $10, but the rest of the offers are at least $25? I’d source an item knowing the price will go up to $25 once that one seller sells out of their item priced at $10.

Only calculates the profitability of the lowest priced new and used offer – Again, I want more options. Many times I’ll want to see the profitability of selling my potential inventory item at a different price. Maybe the Amazon seller app is showing you the profitability of the lowest price used item, but that used item is merchant fulfilled. I know that I can sell that item at a higher price selling it via FBA, therefore I want to also see the prices (and calculate the ROI) of as many FBA offers as I can.

Doesn’t calculate all the fees involved – Even if not being able to calculate multiple offers doesn’t bother you, then maybe the fact that Amazon doesn’t include all possible fees in their fee calculation might make a difference to you. At the bottom of the screen Amazon states that “Fees displayed may not include all expenses related to selling on Amazon or FBA.” This is a big deal to me.

unnamedYou might have other reasons you like/dislike using the Amazon Seller app. Please let us know in the comments! We use the Amazon Seller app on a daily basis, but we do not use it for our sourcing app. Be watching for our next post to see which third party scanning apps we use – and why!

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Looking to try out a robust sourcing app that gives you direct links to CamelCamelCamel and Keepa so you can make smart sourcing decisions straight from your phone? Check out the Scoutify app that comes bundled with InventoryLab!

App Review: Shopkick

Today’s post comes from Stephen’s wife, Rebecca, who works alongside Stephen in their full-time FBA business.

We’ve posted in the past about ways to get “free money” to use for sourcing, and I’ve also posted about how I incorporate sourcing into my day-to-day schedule running a household with four kids. Today I want to share an app I’ve been using during my regular sourcing and shopping for the family that is earning us gift cards at popular locations: Shopkick.

shopkick-largeThe basic premise of Shopkick is that you use the app on your smartphone to “walk in” as you enter stores or to scan items within the store, earning points called “Kicks” for every walk-in or scan. Once you’ve accumulated enough Kicks, you can redeem them for gift cards. The gift card options include stores like Target, Starbucks, Old Navy, JCPenney, Macy’s, Lowe’s, and ToysRUs.

Since I do most of the shopping for our family as well as helping with sourcing at stores around town, I’ve found that Shopkick is an easy way to earn rewards doing something that I’m already doing anyway. Different stores participate in different cities, but in our area of town alone (not including other parts of town where we also shop) I can earn Kicks just by walking through the doors of Target, JCPenney, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Kohl’s, Home Depot, or Albertson’s. These are stores where we regularly source or do our family shopping — it takes a matter of seconds to check in as I enter, so why not earn rewards while I’m at it? The rewards can rack up even faster during the before- and after-Christmas clearance shopping when we’re sourcing at retail stores even more than other times of year.

shopkickI’ve found that checking in is the easiest and most time-efficient way to earn points on Shopkick, but I’ve also done a little scanning to earn extra Kicks when I have a minute to spare. Within the app, each participating store has a list of products that you can find and scan to earn Kicks throughout the store. For example, right now at my local Target I could scan a wide variety of items including toilet paper, air mattresses, men’s and women’s clothes, food products, and health and beauty items.

For me the key to making the most of scanning items in Shopkick is to pick only products that earn a high number of Kicks and products that include several items on the same aisle. For instance, yesterday at Target I scanned three different types of toilet paper and three different types of hair care products that each earned a high number of Kicks. I skipped going to find the two clothing items in the list because one was in men’s and one was in women’s, and both of them were relatively low earning.

Stephen also pointed out to me that scanning items for Shopkick could be a way to get you out of your comfort zone in your regular retail sourcing and put you in an area of the store where you’re more likely to notice a good resale item that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. If you always head straight to the toy clearance at every store, scanning Shopkick items on another aisle might help you find a new resale item in the health and beauty category, for example. You never know!

shopkick_app_logoIf you use it strategically, Shopkick could help you earn “free money” while doing something you already do anyway — shopping. You could easily waste a lot of time running around a store searching for items for Shopkick, when you could be focusing your energy doing something more productive and profitable — so be careful. But if you’re already going to a store and you’re already on the aisle scanning other items anyway, it could be worth it to spend a few seconds “walking in” or scanning products to earn some rewards.

To find out more about Shopkick, just click here and download it to your iPhone or Android device. If you follow the above link, you’ll get 50 Kicks just for joining!

Have you used Shopkick? Have you found it to be useful or a distraction?