Category Archives: App Reviews

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!

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?