Category Archives: Ideas

Top Benefits of Using Ebates in Your Amazon FBA Business

Let’s talk about Ebates. But first I want to give you a hypothetical sourcing scenario. Let’s say you have a BOLO list of great items to buy from Walmart, and all you need to do is get to the store and buy them to send in to FBA. You only have time and money to go to one Walmart today and get this shipment sent in, and there are two Walmarts equal driving distance from your house. Both stores have the exact same items in stock in sufficient quantities for you to buy and make a great FBA shipment. The catch: One Walmart has prices 5-10% cheaper than the other. Which store would you choose? No question, you’d choose to source at the Walmart with the cheaper prices.

Now, we all now this is a hypothetical situation because Walmarts in the same geographic area typically have the same prices, so set that component of this scenario aside. I’m just trying to get you thinking about this concept: if all other factors are the same, every one of us FBA sellers would choose to source items at a lower price. If we didn’t, we would be wasting money and leaving profits on the table.

This exact scenario is the choice you face every time you make an online purchase and don’t use Ebates as you complete your purchase. If you use Ebates, you can be earning a percentage of cash back on every purchase – so essentially, if you don’t use Ebates, you’re paying a higher price for your purchases than you need to.

How Ebates Works

Ebates is a cash back website that allows you to earn a percentage of money back on every online purchase you make when you visit websites through the Ebates link. Online stores pay Ebates a commission for sending customers their way, and Ebates shares that commission with you, the customer.

It’s so simple – you shop at your favorite stores (over 2000 to chose from), you accumulate cash back in your account, and you get paid through a check or PayPal once a quarter. You don’t need to do anything differently with your online purchases other than make sure you’re visiting online stores through the Ebates link. It doesn’t take long for your cash back total to start adding up to a nice Big Fat Check (the name Ebates gives the checks they send out once a quarter). Be sure to read to the end of this post to find out about a welcome gift for new Ebates users.

Benefits of Using Ebates

  • Increase ROI on OA purchases – For us, the number one way we earn cash back from Ebates is through our online arbitrage purchases. We do a significant portion of our FBA sourcing through OA, so we get a large chunk of cash back every quarter on those purchases. Earning cash back is one way to increase your ROI (return on investment) and make more money in your FBA business.
  • Cash back on your business supplies and travel expenses – Even if you don’t do OA as a sourcing strategy, you can still use Ebates to earn cash back on business expenses, such as office supplies and travel expenses. Rebecca uses Ebates to book our hotels and flights on websites like Travelocity and Priceline, and the percentage discount for our travel can add up quickly.
  • Cash back on personal shopping – We also use Ebates for our personal online shopping as well, whether we’re looking for clothes for the kids or gifts for various occasions. This time of year (November, as I write) is when Ebates can be golden – all your holiday gifts and Black Friday purchases can be earning you cash back!
  • Simple process if you use the Chrome extension – The Ebates concept is already pretty easy – just go to the Ebates site, search for the store where you want to shop, then click their link to begin shopping. But the process becomes even easier if you use the Ebates Chrome extension or Safari button. With one click of the extension, you can activate Ebates on your purchase directly from an online store, without having to navigate to the Ebates website first. What could be easier?!
  • Coupon codes when available – Ebates also does the boring work of looking up coupon codes for you. Once you’ve activated the Ebates extension and you’re getting ready to complete your purchase, Ebates will give you a notification if there are coupon codes available for that online store. You can save even more money with Ebates’ help with coupon codes!
  • Double cash back opportunities during special events or holidays – During certain times of the year, stores will offer an even higher percentage off for Ebates customers, as a way to encourage shopping on their site. You should be on the lookout for percentages as high as 15% cash back around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other big online shopping days.

There really is no good reason not to sign up with Ebates and start earning cash back now. The cash back process really works and is so simple. Our family loves earning cash back from Ebates and saving it to go towards our family vacation each summer. You can see a video about how we used Ebates to take our kids to their favorite vacation spot in the Davis Mountains last year. This summer we used our Ebates cash to take them on an unforgettable trip to the Grand Canyon.

Are you already using Ebates? If not, you should sign up today! Don’t let any more online shopping get by you without starting to earn cash back. As a welcome to the program, Ebates is offering a $10 gift if you sign up through this link. That’s free money on top of free money, and you can’t beat that.

Are you using Ebates? If so, let us know in the comments below how much you’ve enjoyed your Big Fat Checks!

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.

How to Capitalize on Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping Price Change

Amazon just quietly changed the price for non-Prime members to qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping, a decrease from purchases of $35 down to $25. In other words, non-Prime members now have to buy only a minimum of $25 worth of Prime-eligible items in their shopping cart in order to qualify for free shipping. This can be an order containing a combination of items from every category.

This is not the first time Amazon has changed the price to qualify for free super saver shipping. In October of 2013, the price for free super saver shipping increased from $25 to $35 and remained $35 for almost 2 years. In early 2016, the minimum price increased from $35 to $49. In the middle of 2016, Amazon started to feel the impact of Walmart.com’s $25 free shipping threshold and responded by lowering super saver shipping from $49 back to $35. This week, Amazon has again lowered the minimum price back down to $25.

If you react correctly, then this change by Amazon will actually help your business. Here are some reasons to celebrate this change:

Amazon-Prime-Streaming-Video-Service-Bundles1. With this change, more people will be buying items that are Prime-eligible (this means items stored at FBA warehouses). With more people buying Prime-eligible items, there will be more people to buy your FBA products.

2. The more people who decide to use Prime shipping as a non-Prime member means that more people will be testing out Prime shipping benefits. More customers will fall in love with the free Prime 2-day shipping, and that will cause more people to sign up for Amazon Prime. The more Prime buyers, the more customers to buy your inventory.

It will take a little work, but those that react the fastest will win. I recommend doing some price changes quickly. Here is what I plan on doing with my inventory:

Price-Increase1. Price many items at $25. Search and see which inventory items I have priced between $22 and $25 to see if I should raise the price to $25. Based on my competition, this might be a great idea. This strategy will cause non-Prime shoppers to get free shipping on your items and they will choose your $25 item instead of a competitor’s item priced at $22 + $5 shipping.

2. Another “magic” price point will be $12.50. If the item you have could possibly be bought in multiple quantities, then this is a great price point for people who want to buy two. Two items at $12.50 total $25 and will qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping!

Of course there will be some exceptions to the above rules. Exceptions come into play when you look at other current FBA prices, how many items are being sold of that item, how the particular product category works, and more… but most of my prices will be updated with this thought process in mind! For more from Amazon on the Super Saver price change, click here.

So what do you think about the new $25 price point? How do you plan to react to these changes? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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

Using Feedback Genius To Generate Positive Product Reviews

Last time on the blog, I interviewed Karon Thackston about her new book, Review Advantage (she said her coupon code review10 is still live). In that interview Karon shared so many great tips and tricks (as well as what not to do) in order to get more product reviews for the items you’re selling on Amazon.

Now we know that getting multiple great product reviews is important to increase sales, but too many times the process of asking for those reviews can be time-intensive. Some sellers seem to think it takes so much time that they don’t even ask for reviews at all. If only there were a program that would automatically ask customers for product reviews for us! Spoiler alert: there is!

I wouldn’t recommend trying to generate product reviews for every single item you’re selling on Amazon. If you’re selling one-offs or items with lots of sellers on the listing, you can’t spend the time and effort to generate reviews for those items. It’s just not worth it.

But some types of items you might be selling on Amazon could really benefit from a few (or many!) more product reviews. Here are the types of items we think are worth spending time and effort generating product reviews for:

  • High number of multiples/replenishables – For me it would take at least 10 or 20 units of a very profitable item in stock before I would want to take the time and effort to increase product reviews.
  • Items that I can order wholesale – If I can easily restock an item from a wholesale source, it’s worth it to me to help that product get more reviews.
  • Items where I create a new listing – It seems kind of obvious, but I would definitely take the time and effort to try to generate reviews for new listings that I have created within the Amazon catalog. This would also include bundles or private label items.

As we discussed in our previous blog post with Karon Thackston, there is a right and a wrong way to go about generating product reviews. Again, I highly suggest you check out that blog post for Karon’s great insight on this topic.
Once you’ve decided you have a product worth your time and effort in trying to generate new reviews AND you’ve studied up on how to compose the right type of email asking for reviews, I suggest looking into automating the process.

One method I’ve used to generate product reviews on listings I’ve created is the service Feedback Genius. Now, in the past I’ve done blog posts about how I’ve used Feedback Genius to keep my seller feedback at 100% – but Feedback Genius is also a great way to send out compliant emails to generate product reviews without going against the Amazon terms of services.

The way Feedback Genius works is you set up the service to send out automated emails to customers who buy your items on Amazon. If you’re trying to increase your seller feedback, you set up an email with links for leaving seller feedback to go out to anyone who buys from you on Amazon. But you can also set up the service to send out an email when you sell a particular ASIN, and that email will include links for leaving a product review. Pretty cool, huh? One automated system for emails, two different types of results.

For example, we had a source for the 4th edition of a book that was selling really well for us. After several months of selling on the well-established product page for that book, the 5th edition of the book was released. We decided to go to the effort of creating the product page for the 5th edition, knowing how well we had done on the previous edition – the new edition should do equally well, right?

Well, after a couple of weeks, we started to see sales trickle in, but we weren’t getting any reviews on the book on the new product page. We also noticed that even if we typed “5th edition” into the Amazon search bar, the 4th edition was still coming up at the top of the search for that book – possibly because the 4th edition had way more product reviews than the newer one.

We decided to set up Feedback Genius to generate product reviews for the 5th edition of the book, and sure enough, within a short time we started seeing lots of 5-star reviews coming in. The 5th edition also moved up to the top spot in Amazon searches for that book. Success!

We knew going into the venture that the book has a history of being well-received, and we knew it would be worth the time, effort, and money to send out the emails to generate product reviews. We had a source to keep replenishing our stock of the book, and we enjoyed the increase in sales once it had more reviews and landed in the top spot of searches.

If you have a product that fits the criteria we listed above and you think it could benefit from some extra product reviews, check out Feedback Genius for generating reviews. Signing up through our Full-Time FBA link will get you a free 60-day trial with 500 free emails. That’s a lot of free emails!

So if you combine the lessons you learn from Karon Thackston’s wisdom on how to get more product reviews with the automated services of Feedback Genius, you should start seeing more reviews on your products…which should lead to more sales!

Now, we’d love to heard from you! Which items in your inventory could use more product reviews? Have you tried to seek reviews from your customer’s yet? What strategies have you used (that are within Amazon’s guidelines)? Let us know in the comments below.

How to Know What to Do Next in Your Amazon FBA Business

what-to-do-nextInformation about selling on Amazon is everywhere… Blogs, Facebook groups, YouTube, eBooks, video courses, and even live conferences. There is such a vast amount of information available, both free and paid, how can you ever filter through all the noise and decide on your best course of action?

I wish I could just tell you exactly what to do next, but that would not be the best advice to give you. Your situation, your finances, your time, your skills, and your passions are all unique to you, and therefor what you need to do next is also unique to you.

While I can’t give you a simple step by step process on exactly what to do next, here are 5 things you need to think about that will help you see your next steps with much more clarity.

manage-time1. TIME – I think the first thing you need to do is to consider how much your time is worth to you… If you have a TON of time available, then it’s not a bad idea to look for as much free information online as you can. If you don’t have a lot of free time, then I recommend purchasing a quality course/book/conference so you can streamline your time and get focused information all in one place.

banner-quality2. QUALITY – Of course, you want to be sure that the info you learn from (either free or paid) is of top quality. The best way to do this is to put what the person teaches to the test. For paid content, see if the author has a lot of free content to consume first… then if you see the quality of the free content, purchase the paid content, since you know it’ll be good. If you have to pay to find out if the information is high quality, then make sure there is a refund policy, and then get your money back if it’s not up to your standards.

trust3. TRUST – You want to be sure you can trust the person teaching you. Again, if you can put any author’s teaching into action and get good results, you can trust their other material is good too. Trust can also come from the teacher showing you their results and proving that what they teach has worked for then. For example, here on this blog it’s our goal to help you turn part time hours into a full time income with Amazon FBA… and that’s exactly what we do. I spend about 20 hours a week on Amazon FBA and our disbursements pay our bills. We are full-time FBA sellers and from that I would think you could trust us.

photo-sep-12-11-27-57-am4. FOCUS – This is the big one… I love the acronym for FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful. I even have that phrase on a Post It Note on my desk. It’s so easy to think that some new strategy or book will be the answer… but if we have not followed through on strategy #1, then why would we think strategy #2 or #3 will work better? Here’s a question: Who do you think finds success faster? Person A or Person B? Person A works on learning RA on Monday, learning OA on Tuesday, learning Wholesale on Wednesday, learning Private Label on Thursday, and learning Merch on Friday… or Person B who learns ONE STRATEGY on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Of course the person who FOCUSES will find success faster.

follow-your-passion5. PASSION – Passion is the fuel that pushes you forward and helps you avoid burnout. What strategy do you feel passionate about? Which one gets you most excited? Follow that strategy until successful, and then you can look to add another strategy once your first strategy gets put on autopilot. If you’re passionate about the idea of sourcing from home via online arbitrage, then focus on that… if you love the thrill of a retail arbitrage treasure hunt, then focus on that. If you love making T-shirts, then focus on Merch. Pick something you’re passionate about and see it through.

So if you’re wondering what you need to do next in your Amazon business, you can think about the above points and see which strategy/book/blog/course/etc stands out to you… and then follow it through until successful. If you’ve started a book or course and then are tempted to jump ship to some “shiny” new strategy, just calm yourself down and finish that book or course until you can see results. If you find something that you’re passionate about and see it through until the end, you will thank yourself for the results, and you’ll continue on your road toward success that much faster.

I hope these five tips will help you find direction in what you need to do next in your Amazon FBA business. Now, I’d love to hear from you. What methods or strategies have you found to be helpful when deciding what your next step needs to be with your Amazon FBA business?

8 Tips for Making the Most of Amazon Prime Day 2017

Prime Day for 2017 will be July 11… and here is how to make the most of it.

In 2015, Amazon decided to celebrate its 20th birthday with a huge day of sales called Prime Day. Amazon promised its Prime customers would see even more deals on Prime Day than on Black Friday. The sale ended up living up to the hype as Amazon reported selling 398 items per second (source) that day. In 2016, Amazon brought back Prime Day in July, and again, it was a huge success eclipsing the sales numbers from the previous year.

This year, on July 11th, Prime Day will be back. Amazon is promising even more sales than the year before. In fact, they are going to start with early exclusive Prime deals starting well before Prime Day and every day leading up to the big day. With these pre-Prime Day deals, I think Amazon is basically “priming” their customers to buy even more on Prime Day (see what I did there?).

Prime Day is a day that Amazon has strategically created for multiple reasons. One reason is to get more people to sign up for a Prime membership. I love being a Prime member and all of the benefits it provides. If you’re not a Prime member yet, you really need to consider joining. As a Prime member, I’m able to do a better job selling items to Prime customers because I understand their mindset. (Plus, my wife wants to add, “Where else can I stream Downton Abbey?!”)

Another reason Amazon has created Prime Day is to bring in millions of new and return customers to Amazon. They know that if they provide the big deals, the customers will come. This huge increase in customers coming to shop on Amazon creates an incredible way for you to get a big bump in sales. The customers will come for the big Amazon deals and will stay to shop for other items they want to buy…. hopefully buying your inventory!

For the rest of this blog post, you can either scroll down and keep reading for the top 8 tips to make the most of Amazon Prime Day, or you can watch the video below for a more in depth look into my top 8 tips.

Prime Day is going to be filled with some amazing deals. If you’re prepared, you can maximize your Prime Day profits. Here are some timely tips on how to make the most of Amazon Prime Day 2017:

1. You might be tempted to buy some of the Prime Day deals to flip right back on Amazon. Don’t forget that it’s against Amazon’s rules to buy items using Prime shipping that you intend to resell on Amazon. This is a rule that many new Amazon sellers don’t know, but could get you in a lot of trouble if broken.

EBay_logo.svg2. Even though you can’t use Prime to buy inventory for Amazon, you can still use it to buy inventory to sell on other platforms like eBay, craigslist, or anywhere else you can make a profit.

3. Search the Prime deals for items you can use in your business, like shipping supplies, office supplies, a new processing laptop, or anything else you can deduct as a business expense.

4. Last year, other stores responded to Amazon’s plan for Prime Day with special sales of their own. Be sure you look at other online stores to see if they have special deals going on that day. I know Walmart had a big sale last year in response to Prime Day. I’m sure they (and other stores) will be doing so this year, too.

LC_OFF_Body_NLP5. In preparation, right now is a good time to reprice some of your inventory. With more people shopping on Amazon on Prime Day (as well as the days leading up to it), there is a greater chance for you to get increased sales. Be sure you competitively reprice your items to maximize your profits. Here is a post on how to manually reprice your inventory and another post with some smart repricing strategies to bring in quick sales.

6. Not only should you reprice your inventory to get more sales, you might want to reprice the inventory you have that will be charged a Long Term Storage Fee (LTSF). Remember, in one month Amazon will be charging you a LTSF. If you need some help with this, here is how to find out what items (and exactly how much) you’ll be charged come August 15th, and seven tips on how to avoid the Long Term Storage Fees.

7. Set a reminder on your calendar for July of 2018 and be sure you are ready for Prime Day next year. 2017 will be the third consecutive year Amazon has planned a Prime Day, so it’s a good bet it’ll be back in 2018. You want to be sure and be prepared each year to take advantage of this opportunity.

8. Have realistic expectations for Prime Day sales. An increase of sales is expected, but overall it will most likely be a nice bump in sales. While some people might have a day filled with tons of amazing sales, that probably won’t be the norm. Don’t get caught up with checking your sales every 10 minutes to see if you have any new sales. And don’t fall into the trap of comparing your sales with others who are posting online. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. Just enjoy the nice bump in sales and then get back on track with your overall goals for your Amazon business.

If you have any more suggestions about how to make the most of Amazon Prime Day, then leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

The Top 9 Ways to Use Your Q4 Income Wisely

q4-income2As I’ve stated before, the fourth quarter selling season on Amazon almost always brings your highest income possibilities of the year. Many Amazon sellers find that their sales sometimes multiply ten-fold from what they’re used to during the other three quarters. How you handle your increased profits can possibly help propel you into even more profits in the year to come.

In the rest of this blog post, I’m going to share some of my top ideas on how to wisely use your Q4 income. Please don’t assume I’m telling you to use your money on all of the following ideas; rather read them through and pick a few that most resonate with you and where your business is currently. Here are some ideas:

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When buying a shrink-wrap machine, I recommend the 16 inch impulse sealer.

1.  Invest in time saving equipment – What are you doing now that can be done much faster with the help of some new equipment? Now is the time to research quality tools that can lessen your work load. A few years ago I purchased a 16 inch shrink-wrap machine and heat gun. Two years ago I purchased a box re-sizer and a newer laptop. Think about what tools can help you speed up your current work process. Could you be in the market for a Bar Code Scanner or Scan-Fob? Maybe you’d like to get a Dymo label printer. There are so many tools out there that help save time and money.

2. Invest in time saving programs – Maybe you’ve been listing your items directly on Amazon and are ready to save some time by signing up for Inventory Lab or other listing tools. Or maybe you want to cut your online arbitrage sourcing time dramatically with tools like OAXray or Tactical Arbitrage (use code FULLTIME10 to get an extended 10-day trial of TA for only $1). These programs can help save a lot of time in many other areas of your business too (like repricing, financials, etc).

IMG_84833. Purchase more inventory – In the weeks leading up to Christmas, many stores start to put toys and other gift items on sale at really great prices. If you wait a little longer, right after Christmas, many stores start mega clearance sales. You’ll find sales in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. If you don’t want to get out and source inventory in the cold weather, you can find many great sales at stores online. In store and online, there will probably be more items you can buy for resale than you have money for. Amazon sales in January are still really good as people have Christmas gift cards burning a hole in their pockets, so it’s wise to keep stocking up your inventory into the new year. Just be sure to look at the Keepa graphs to make the best sourcing decision possible.

4. Purchase supplies in bulk – What items do you buy for your business all year long? 3-inch Packing tape, shipping boxes, Dymo labels, and printer ink are just a few of the items that I buy all year long. It would be wise to buy these items in bulk now (at much better prices per item) instead of spending more money to buy them later in smaller quantities. Click on the following links to see more about the supplies I use in my processing desk and shipping station.

5. Invest in Your Mind – Is there an Amazon FBA related book, course, or program that you have been interested in buying? This might be the best time to buy FBA training materials so that you can learn how to improve your current Amazon business. You are the number one asset to your business. Invest in yourself. The more you can learn, the more you can earn!

6. Treat yourself – Sometimes we can be so focused on work that we forget ourselves. Getting too wrapped up in work can lead to burnout. If you can, give yourself a Christmas bonus and treat yourself to something fun.

debt-picture

7. Pay off debt – As Dave Ramsey says, “Debt is not a wealth building tool.” If you have any debt, the wisest thing you can do is to pay it off as fast as you can. Imagine giving yourself a raise by doing the same amount of work you do now! When you are no longer paying debt interest fees, that’s money that you can use for your business. If you are in debt, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. For more information on getting out of debt, check out his book The Total Money Makeover.

8. Invest in your future – What if  you could make 2018 your best year ever? You don’t have to spend another year frustrated that you haven’t achieved all you know you’re capable of. Instead, you can enter the new year with the clarity you need to reach your full potential and make this your best year ever. All you need is a plan. Find out how by checking out The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month my Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon FBA Business.

9. Give generously – If you have yet to discover the joy of giving, I challenge you to try it this holiday season. There are so many worthy causes and organizations that need your financial help. Remember to find out if the money you are giving is tax deductible or not. If it is, be sure to keep receipts for your tax records.

Q4 GrowthSo what about you? How do you best use your Q4 income to help you and your business succeed? I’d love to hear your ideas, so leave a comment below.

How To Find Which Items are Out of Stock on Amazon

It really happens. Amazon, from time to time, goes completely out of stock on items that sell often. Not only does Amazon go out of stock, but sometimes the 3rd party sellers also go out of stock. When nobody is in stock for a product, Amazon usually hides that product page from customer search results. Amazon is all about providing the best customer experience, so they don’t want customers to find product pages of items that are sold out (sold out product = unhappy customer).

But what if you, as a seller, need to find an item on Amazon, but it’s hidden because no one is currently selling it? Also, what if you wanted to find out which items are sold out on Amazon so you can go source those items yourself and meet the demand (for a pretty penny, of course)? How do you find the items on Amazon that are out of stock?

Here’s how to do it:

  1. On Amazon.com, enter in the search bar the item you are looking for (Note: this works on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or the full Amazon site on your smart phone’s browser app).
  2. Scroll through the first few pages of results to see if you can find your item.
  3. If you can’t find it, scroll up to the top of the page and pick a category to narrow your search results. Pick the most likely category.
  4. After you pick a category, a new search button will appear on the left column. Near the bottom of the “Show Results For” section, you can click the button for “Include Out of Stock.”
  5. Now you can scroll though the results again and see the items that are both in and out of stock. The out of stock items will not have a price listed with the image. You might find what you are looking for.

91cjwABNIVL._SL1500_Let’s run this tutorial through with a real life example. Imagine you are out at a thrift store and find a brand new Masters of the Universe Castle Grayskull. You scan the barcode on your smart phone, but get no results. You try a keyword search on the Amazon app, but you still get nothing. Here’s what to do next:

  1. Open the browser app on your smart phone and go to Amazon.com. If it shows you a mobile version of Amazon, be sure to click on “Full site.” In the Amazon search bar, type: “Castle Grayskull” 
  2. Scroll through the first few pages of results to see if you can find your item.
  3. If you can’t find it, scroll up to the top of the page and pick a category to narrow your search results. For this item, the category will be Toys & Games. 
  4. Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 9.20.56 AMAfter you pick a category, a new search button will appear on the left
    column. Near the bottom of the “Show Results For” section, you can click the button for “Include Out of Stock.”
  5. Now you can scroll though the results again and see the items that are both in and out of stock. Remember, the out of stock items will not have a price listed with the image. 
  6. This is what your search results look like at the bottom of the first page:

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You found it! Now you can do some CamelCamelCamel research and see if this item is something worth selling.

Here’s a tip: If an item has been out of stock for a long time, then obviously the rank of that item will be very high (or zero), but don’t let that stop you from considering selling it. It may have sold well in the past, and if it’s a toy, it might sell come Q4. Remember this blog post on why I bought a toy ranked over 1 million? That toy sold very quickly. Rank is not always an indicator of sales velocity.

Another tip on discovering if an item will sell quickly is to look at the Amazon product reviews. If people have posted multiple recent reviews, then it should sell fairly quickly. 

IEBay_logo.svgf CamelCamelCamel does not contain enough data for you to make an informed buying or pricing decision and you still need help getting more information, then another tip is to look on eBay. You can use the Advanced Search link on eBay to see what buyers are paying for that item. Basically, do as much research as you can to make a smart sourcing decision. 

If you do all this searching and don’t see the item you are looking for, then you could potentially have a very high priced item on your hands. You can either create an Amazon product page for that board game or consider selling it on eBay. If you want to create a product page on Amazon, then here is a resource that can 116_1409831933help you create and optimize it for quick sales:

Amazon Advantage: How to Create Product Listings That Sell

BONUS TIP – If you found an item so rare that both Amazon and eBay are not
selling it, then here is a tip that might make you a lot of profit. If you are patient and don’t need to make a quick return on this item, then I would price it at least
four times what I assume I’d actually be able to sell it for. Since you are
the only person offering this item, you could possibly command a huge price. If, after a month or so, you don’t get a sale, then I’d start to lower the price by about $25 a month until it amazon12-1finally sells. Remember, if you only have one left of an item in stock, Amazon puts that information on the sales page, so it’s very likely that someone will want to pay a high price for this very rare item.

Now it’s your turn. See if you can find this exact Lion Pillow Pet on Amazon following my instructions above. Let me know in the comments if you were able to find it. 

Note: This toy is currently ranked 162,000 in Toys & Games so it might not be sold out for long! 

FBA Sourcing + Road Trip = Free Vacation!

It’s summer, and the perfect time to plan a sourcing road trip! Combining a road trip with FBA sourcing is a great idea that combines the fun of a vacation with sourcing in new and exciting places. Imagine driving to a location far from home and stopping at rural Walmarts along the way to find clearance items you can’t find anywhere else. Imagine the possibility of finding new “honey holes” for FBA inventory. Think about how much fun it could be to source at your favorite stores in a new town and find even more of the items you’ve already sourced in your own hometown. The possibilities are endless.

In 2014, Rebecca and I planned a three-day sourcing road trip to Kansas City, Missouri. We live in Fort Worth, Texas, and both thought it’d be fun to take our sourcing on the road. We booked two nights at a hotel in Kansas City and left Fort Worth on a Friday morning.

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I’m not saying we’re a good luck charm, but the Royals did go to the World Series the year we went to see them play.

When we got to Kansas City, we checked into our hotel and headed for Kauffman Stadium to see the Royals in action, just a few months before they made it to the World Series. Rebecca and I are both fans of baseball, and it’s been my dream to visit every Major League Baseball ballpark. What better way to liven up our sourcing trip than to work in two baseball games on the road?

Friday night we watched the Royals beat the Angels thanks to an Omar Infante grand slam.

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It’s so much fun filling up multiple carts!

On Saturday morning, we got up early and began to source. Before our trip, I made a map that included many of our favorite sourcing stores. We sourced all morning and found some really great inventory items. Come lunchtime, we headed back to Kauffman Stadium for another baseball game. This time, Rebecca and I went to the stadium early and toured the Royals Hall of Fame and walked all the way around the stadium. It was a lot of fun for both of us. The game began, but the clouds started rolling in. Before the sky fell, Rebecca and I decided it was time to go. Sure enough, the rain came hard, and the game was delayed.

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Rebecca asked, “Are we going to have enough room in the back for our luggage?” Maybe next time we’ll rent a trailer.

While the game was under a rain delay, there was no time to waste for Rebecca and me. We went back to sourcing and continued to find some amazing deals at stores all over Kansas City. We filled up our van and headed back to the hotel for the night. Bright and early Sunday morning, we packed up all of our things and made the drive back home to Texas.

That road trip to Kansas City was awesome. It was a lot of fun sourcing in a new city and watching the Royals play at Kauffman Stadium. It didn’t hurt that the Royals were also giving away free hats at one game and free bobbleheads at the second game. I sold those freebies on eBay and it helped pay for the game tickets and stadium parking. Not a bad deal.

If you’re looking for a fun way to get some vacation time in while still working some on your FBA business, a sourcing road trip might just work out for you. As long as sourcing (or other work-related activities) are your primary objective, then you would be able to write off the mileage and expenses. I know from experience that it is possible to make a trip like this profitable, even after all of the travel expenses.

Yes, we actually peeled stickers in the hotel room!

Yes, we actually peeled stickers in the hotel room! Click on the image above to get your own Scotty Peelers. They’re awesome!

Rebecca and I have gone on many sourcing road trips and have really found it to be both refreshing and a fun challenge for our business. One night, after coming back to the hotel room after a huge rural Walmart haul, we were so excited about all the inventory items we found that we actually took off all of the price stickers in the comfort of our hotel room. That’s right. We actually brought all of the items into our hotel room. You should have seen the faces of other guests as we loaded up the bellhop luggage cart with bags and bags of Walmart items.

Maybe a sourcing road trip is just the thing to help give you and your FBA business the kick it needs to get out of your comfort zone and source new places – or your normal places in new cities. Take a look at a map and see what surrounds you. See if there are any non-work-related activities you can combine with your sourcing trip. Maybe combine a sourcing trip with white water rafting… or a sourcing trip with camping at a beautiful state park. Maybe you could source on your way to and from a national landmark you want to visit…or to and from a city or state on your bucket list. The possibilities are endless.

ontheroadThere are a few really great resources that can help you make even more out of your sourcing trips. The books Amazon Autopilot: On the Road and Traveltage: Use Your Smartphone & FBA to Make Money, Travel, & Create The Life You Want are both good resources that walk you through everything you need to know (and more) about combining travel with working a successful 81+-bbgb+VLFBA business. When you go on a sourcing road trip, you really need to know all the ins and outs on how to make the most of your time, energy, money, and resources. Both Amazon Autopilot: On the Road and Traveltage help you gain the knowledge you need to make each and every one of your sourcing road trips a big success.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Have you been on a sourcing road trip? Where did you go and what did you do? Have any tips to add for a successful sourcing road trip? Comment below and share your story.

The 3 Most Common (And Wasteful!) Mistakes Sellers Make With Their Amazon Listings

This blog article comes from my friend Karon Thackston. You might remember her from this popular guest blog post last year about keywords in listings. Karon is back again with even more helpful insights into creating quality Amazon listings that bring in more customers and more sales. 

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The 3 Most Common (And Wasteful!) Mistakes Sellers Make With Their Amazon Listings

You only have to write so many product listings before you start to see a pattern. That’s how it has been at Marketing Words over the last few years. I thought it would be helpful to outline some of the most common mistakes we’ve seen when it comes to writing your listing and using keywords.

Mistake #1: Not Using Keywords Correctly

Amazon isn’t like Google. With Google, there is a certain amount of repetition of keywords and phrases. On Amazon, however, you do not need to repeat keywords throughout your listing. Because they don’t understand this, many sellers are ruining the way their copy sounds as they try to rank higher on Amazon. Use the keyword once and Amazon’s got it.

That includes your Search Terms fields. If the keyword is in the title, brand, manufacturer and UPC, you do not need to include it in your search terms. It is a waste of space that could be used for additional, traffic-driving keywords.

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Last, we see countless folks inserting keyPHRASES into the search terms fields instead of keyWORDS. Amazon doesn’t work with phrases. They use literal keywords. Putting something like:

natural dog treats
100% wholesome dog treats
beef dog treats
dog treats made in the usa
nutritious dog treats

… leaves lots of wasted room that could accommodate other keywords. Because we don’t need to repeat keywords and we do need to use individual keywords (not whole phrases), this should be reworked to this:

natural dog treats 100% wholesome beef made in the usa nutritious

That’s 50 characters in the first field and 14 in the second. With five fields at 50 characters each (a total of 250 characters) that leaves you with 186 characters. If we remove any keywords that are included in our product name (aka, title) we’ll have even more room. Here comes more traffic!

Mistake #2: Not Differentiating Your Products From The Competition

Think about your own shopping experience on Amazon. You show up on the site to search for olive oil and vinegar sets. I just did a search for that term and here’s what came up…

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When I was scrolling down the page, it didn’t take me long to figure out that they all appear pretty much the same. What if they gave some additional information or used words that were more enticing?

Here are some examples of how just a minor tweak can make a big difference. As a shopper, I would be more likely to click these search results:

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The simple words “ribbed,” “Italian collection” and “lead free” made my eyes perk up. I wanted to know more.

Mistake #3: Not Answering The Question “So What?”

With so many duplicate products on Amazon (especially when dealing with private labeling), you simply must fall back on a long-standing rule of copywriting: Answer the question “So what?”

When customers scroll down a page of search results looking at your title, or they click to your product page to learn more, you have to set yourself apart from all the other options. Maybe this means having more positive reviews. Perhaps it is the lowest (or highest) price. But, more often than not, that task depends on the bullets and product description.

Here are 30 ways to differentiate your products from the pack so you stand out and get more sales.

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By correcting these 3 common mistakes, you eliminate the wasted space in your search term fields, bullets, and product description while setting yourself apart from the competition. And that always leads to more sales!

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116_1409831933Want more in-depth help with developing product listings that drive traffic and get more sales? Karon’s ebook Amazon Advantage: Product Listing Strategies to Boost Your Sales walks you through her best-kept secrets of creating product copy that earns you more money. Get your copy today!