Category Archives: Online Arbitrage

Review of Tactical Arbitrage and OAXray

It has been a while on the blog since we have taken a dive into strategies for online arbitrage (OA), so I want to spend some time today talking about two products we use for finding profitable inventory from online stores to resell on Amazon: OAXray and Tactical Arbitrage. This article will include reviews of both products and a summary of who should consider each product (and when they should consider it), so it might get a bit more lengthy than our average blog post. But I wanted to put the information up here all in one spot, rather than posting several times on this one topic. Also, both products offer Full-Time FBA readers an extended free trial, so be sure to read thoroughly to make sure you’re getting the correct link for your extended trial period. 

About once a month in our Facebook group someone will ask a variation of these questions: “Has anyone used Tactical Arbitrage or OAXray? Are they worth the price? Which one is better?” My short answer to these questions: I’ve used both; they are both more than worth it; and it depends.

When I started doing OA, I depended on deal lists to streamline my sourcing process and help me to efficiently find great deals worth reselling. Eventually I wanted to buy more than I could find on my daily list subscriptions, so I started using OAXray. About a year or so after that I decided to try out Tactical Arbitrage. Today, Stephen and I maintain subscriptions to both OAXray and Tactical Arbitrage, mostly for the purpose of staying on top of how both products work. (Please do not hear me say that I think all sellers should subscribe to both. We blog about selling on Amazon and sourcing for products – we subscribe to both products so that you don’t have to!)

Since I started out using OAXray first, we’ll discuss it first in this post, and then we’ll dive into Tactical Arbitrage.

OAXray

OAXray is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to go to an online store’s website and scan a page of items to find matches in the Amazon catalog. OAXray has a long list of websites compatible with their software, some with UPC searches and some with title searches. From your Chrome browser, you can navigate to a page within an online store, click the OAXray extension, and scan the page to turn it into a spreadsheet of items with links to the Amazon product page, links to CamelCamelCamel and Keepa data, and columns of info on pricing, sales rank, profit, and ROI, among other things. OAXray also shows you if the item is selling on other websites, where you might get a better buying price. If you want to check out an extended free trial of OAXray, go through the link www.fulltimefba.com/oaxray. Using the OAXray extension saves literally hours each day of matching items from online stores to the Amazon catalog.

Training available? OAXray has an excellent YouTube channel with tutorials to get you started using the Chrome extension, or you can see a list of available videos on their website.

Features and functionality? OAXray lists many uses on their website for how you can use their program for sourcing items for Amazon. In addition to OA sourcing, OAXray allows you to upload a spreadsheet of UPCs and prices to check against the Amazon catalog; Stephen uses this feature on a regular basis in his wholesale sourcing.

Learning curve? Relatively low. The concept can seem intimidating at first, but if you watch the tutorials beforehand you should be scanning pages and finding profitable inventory in no time.

Time required for a scan? OAXray scans pages on online stores one page at a time; the length of time for the scan depends on how many items are on the page. You can set it up to search several pages simultaneously. I tend to use OAXray when I want to scan a smaller amount of items and produce a smaller amount of data in one sitting.

Can you use with a virtual assistant (VA)? Yes; you can save even more time in your OA sourcing by hiring a VA to do your scanning for you.

Who should use this product? I recommend OAXray for Amazon sellers who are new to OA, who want a less steep learning curve for an OA sourcing product, or who want a simple tool for scanning wholesale catalog spreadsheets.

Tactical Arbitrage

Tactical Arbitrage is online software that allows you to scan an entire category of a store’s website to find matches in the Amazon catalog, either by UPC or by product title. Tactical Arbitrage allows you to set up bulk scans of multiple pages and multiple websites to scan at one time, so that you can start a scan and come back to it later after it has finished. The results of a Tactical Arbitrage scan show you links to product pages on the online store’s site and Amazon, links to CamelCamelCamel and Keepa, and columns of info on pricing, sales rank, profit, and ROI, among other things. Tactical Arbitrage has other features and methods for doing reverse scans, Amazon flips, and more. The time you can save using Tactical Arbitrage adds up to hours per day. If you want to check out an extended free trial of Tactical Arbitrage, be sure to use the code FULLTIME10 when signing up at www.fulltimefba.com/TA.

Training available? Tactical Arbitrage has a great YouTube channel with tutorials to get you started using the program.

Features and functionality? Tactical Arbitrage is an (almost overwhelmingly) powerful tool, allowing you to search entire categories on a website in one scan. You can also upload a bulk list of categories from multiple websites to run in one scan, producing hundreds or thousands of potential buys at a time. Tactical Arbitrage also includes tools for wholesale spreadsheets scans, Amazon flips, reverse lookup, and library search for books. I’ll be real honest – I haven’t used half of the features of Tactical Arbitrage, but I still find it worth the price for the features I do use.

Learning curve? Much steeper than OAXray. Tactical Arbitrage is an extremely powerful tool, and it isn’t super intuitive at times to learn it. Watching the YouTube tutorials helped me a great deal; so did just getting in there and playing around with it and fiddling with the filters.

Time required for a scan? Depends on how many items are in the category you are scanning and whether you are scanning a bulk list. Tactical Arbitrage is designed for you to set up a scan, walk away from it, and come back when it’s finished so you can analyze the data. That might be a half hour later or the next morning, depending on how much you included in your scan. I love that I can have the program send me a text when my scan is finished, so I don’t have to continually check the progress.

Can you use with a virtual assistant (VA)? Yes; you can save even more time in your OA sourcing by hiring a VA to do your scanning for you.

Who should use this product? I recommend Tactical Arbitrage as a more advanced tool for OA sourcing. The learning curve is steep, and the results can be overwhelming. I personally would not have wanted to use Tactical Arbitrage when I first got started in OA (in fact, I might have given up on OA if I started out with it), but I love it at this point in my OA journey.

More Points to Note about Both Products

You may have noticed I don’t talk about price on either of these products. My reason is that currently both products are comparably priced, and I want to have this post remain relevant if either product decides to change their price in the future. Be sure to do your due diligence and check out the pricing of both products and the available free trial.

Also, many sellers who are just starting out in OA get frustrated with a seeming lack of results from using a program to scan entire pages of online stores. Many sellers will say, “I scanned thousands of items and didn’t find anything to resell. These programs aren’t worth it.” Almost without fail, these sellers have their filters set to only find items with 100% ROI or higher. OA is different from thrifting and garage saling (and even RA to an extent) in that you need to be looking for items with a lower ROI. If your business isn’t at a point where you have the financial capital to source items with a lower ROI, it probably isn’t the time yet for you to invest in these OA tools.

If you do decide to do a free trial of either OAXray or Tactical Arbitrage, I highly encourage you to make sure you are prepared to spend a significant amount of time during that trial learning the software and scanning websites. You don’t want to sign up right when you are going out of town on vacation or right when you have a busy week of doing some other task. Make sure you can spend several hours going through tutorial videos and practicing what you are learning. If you dedicate the time to learning the software during the trial, you should be able to find enough items to resell that you can pay for at least a month of subscription for the service.

Also, don’t forget that both products offer an extended trial period to Full-Time FBA readers. For an extended trial of OAXray, be sure to go through this link. For an extended trial of Tactical Arbitrage, be sure to use the code FULLTIME10 when you sign up.

We would love to hear any questions you have about these products in the comments. Have you used OAXray or Tactical Arbitrage before? Do you have anything to add related to the features of either product?

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!

 

Using the CamelCamelCamel and Keepa Google Chrome Extensions

hqdefaultToday’s blog post will be short on written text so that we can point you directly to a screen capture video. I’ve put together a video walking through the process of researching 5 products from the Amazon catalog, using the Camelizer and Keepa Google Chrome Extensions to help make a smarter sourcing decision.

In the video I will show you how both of these handy extensions work for researching the sales rank and price history of items you might be considering for Amazon FBA. I’ll also discuss my thought process on whether or not I think each of these items would be a good buy.

If you’re looking for more info on how to use CamelCamelCamel and Keepa, check out our recent blog posts:

The Most Harmful Amazon FBA Sourcing Decision You Could Ever Make
How to Read & Understand CamelCamelCamel Graphs
How to Read & Understand Keepa Graphs

I want to encourage you today if you’re making sourcing decisions without using historical sales rank and pricing data from CamelCamelCamel and Keepa — there is a better way to buy Amazon FBA inventory! You can make smarter sourcing decisions. Your business will hugely benefit if you take the time to learn how to use these powerful free resources.

Book & DesktopTo find out how to use both CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to make smart sourcing decisions, be sure to check out our brand new course, The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions. This course is a combo ebook and video course where I walk you through everything you need to know to make sense of both Camel and Keepa in ways you’ve never thought of.

How about you? Do you use the CamelCamelCamel or Keepa Extension while sourcing? Do you have a favorite? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Find Better, Faster Selling Amazon FBA Inventory

keepacamel-ipad800Has this ever happened to you? You go sourcing for inventory to sell on Amazon and find some good stuff… I mean, the prices are good, the sales rank is good, but once you finally get these items to Amazon, the prices for many have either tanked, or they just never sell. You check in with these items later and see that the sales rank is now horrible, and if you decide to match the lowest price you might actually lose money. What’s going on here?

Today, I’m excited to share with you how I’m able to find inventory that not only sells quickly, but sells at the high prices I expect it to sell for. No matter if it’s retail arbitrage, online arbitrage, or even wholesale, when I’m sourcing for inventory, I’m confident that the prices will hold strong and sell soon.

How do I do it? Here’s a hint… I use the data from two free services: CamelCamelCamel and Keepa. If you’ve heard of these services then you know just how important they can be to making smart sourcing decisions. Most people only know the basics of Keepa and/or Camel, but I think it’s time that everyone knows just how powerful these two free tools can be. If used correctly, they can revolutionize your Amazon business.

Book & DesktopWith this in mind, I’m excited to announce that my brand new course, The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions is now available!

The course is a 130+ page ebook and 30+ module video course that walks you through both the basics and advanced strategies to use both CamelCamelCamel and Keepa. To find out more about the book and to read the testimonials of those who have already read/watched the course, then click here.

 

 

Online Arbitrage Strategy: Troubleshooting

Online Arbitrage TroubleshootingBy now you should know how much we love using online arbitrage (OA) as a sourcing strategy for our Amazon FBA business. Today we want to talk with you about the flip side of all the wonderful benefits we’ve seen from using OA in our business.

If we only told you that doing OA can lead to big profits for your business, but we didn’t tell you about the potential drawbacks, we wouldn’t be teaching you thoroughly. We want to keep it real. OA can be awesome, but there are also some headaches associated with it.

We have found that taking a few simple troubleshooting measures can help alleviate some of the difficulties. Rather than just listing out the drawbacks to doing OA, we want to give you strategies for dealing with the problems that can arise from OA.

Damaged-GoodsProblem #1: Receiving damaged goods — It’s super disappointing to receive an OA shipment, open the box, and find that the goods inside have been crushed or damaged during shipping. With buying shoes online, sometimes the shoes may have made it to you just fine, but the shoebox was crushed during shipment.

Solution: First, it’s key to have a good mindset when you receive damaged OA goods. UPS isn’t perfect, nor is the person who packed the shipment perfect. Getting angry at other people isn’t a good use of mental energy. Just know that there will be times that shipments are damaged and you’ll need to return them or get a refund; it’s unavoidable.

As such, you must be responsible to know an online store’s return policy before you place an order with them. Some stores won’t do returns or exchanges on clearance items. Some stores will only do returns or exchanges if you bring the item in to a brick-and-mortar store. Some stores will only do returns or exchanges if you pay for return shipping. For our OA business, we keep a running list of stores we’ve had bad return experiences with, and we avoid shopping with them again.

wrong-sign_463x347Problem #2: Receiving the wrong items — Again, the people packing your shipments aren’t perfect, and sometimes you will receive the wrong items in your OA shipment. You may receive a completely different item (like the time we ordered baseball equipment and received a hockey goal), or you may receive a slightly different item (like the times we’ve received a different edition of a board game than the one we ordered).

Solution: Again, make sure you’re familiar with the store’s return policy and you know how to report the wrong items. Most stores are extremely apologetic and helpful when it comes to replacing or refunding wrong items received. We’ve even had some stores give us gift cards or free shipping and a discount code for future purchases as a way of making up for the trouble.

Before you rush to return or exchange a wrong item received, however, you should consider whether it’s even worth your time to deal with the problem. Can you resell the wrong item you received and at least break even? Would it be easier for you just to sell the wrong item and recoup your capital, rather than messing with a return?

manage-timeProblem #3: Time lag to send inventory to Amazon FBA — The great thing about retail arbitrage is that if you buy inventory today, you could theoretically send it to Amazon today, if you hustle to prep and ship it. With OA, it can take a few days or over a week for your purchases to reach you. By far the top complaint we hear from Amazon sellers who don’t like OA is that by the time their inventory goes live on Amazon.com, there’s more competition and the price has “tanked.”

Solution: We don’t deny this problem of increasing competition and lowering prices on some OA inventory. But the way to overcome this problem is to make a better buying decision in the first place. Before you click “confirm my order,” double-check the CamelCamelCamel price and sales rank history. Check the Keepa graph to see if Amazon is only temporarily out of stock on this item. You can’t always make a perfect decision, but if you’re making informed decisions with the help of price tracking graphs, you can lower your buying risk. Look for items that have a consistent price and sales rank history, not just ones that are temporarily inflated. You cannot make good buying decisions based on only today’s price and sales rank; you have to look at the history.

too-many-choices1Problem #4: I don’t know how to find good OA inventory — The number of BOLO lists and OA services is growing every day. How do I know which ones are the best?

Solution: We’ve covered in a previous blog post some strategies you can use to get free trials or pay for a test month of a service and collect information on whether it will work well with your business. You can search in Facebook groups for Amazon FBA sellers to see if people have posted reviews of services. Sometimes, though, it just takes good old trial-and-error to find out if an OA list or service is a good fit for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

bannedProblem #5: I’m afraid an online store might ban me as a reseller — You may hear other Amazon sellers talking about stores blocking their accounts because of their OA purchases, and you don’t want to risk it.

Solution: We’ve been doing OA for about a year now, and we have not once had an order cancelled, much less had our buying account blocked for being a reseller. We think there are two factors contributing to our success thus far: 1) We break up our purchases into smaller chunks. We will buy enough to get free shipping or meet a discount code requirement, but if we want to buy more, we make a separate purchase. If you spend upwards of a thousand dollars at a time, yes, there’s a big red flag for that online store. 2) We have everything shipped to our house, not a prep center. When your billing address and shipping address don’t match, it’s a potential red flag. When several people are making purchases with that same shipping address, that’s another red flag. Lots of people use prep centers for OA, so it’s definitely doable — but do your due diligence to find out best practices before you jump in feet first with this strategy.

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts on online arbitrage and have found them useful. Let us know in the comments if you have any more questions that we could cover in future posts!

Online Arbitrage: How it Can Help Your Amazon FBA Business

Online Arbitrage Positives

Over the past couple of weeks, we have covered a few topics related to online arbitrage (OA):

Today’s post will cover the basics of why you should consider using OA as a sourcing strategy for your Amazon FBA business. In our own business, we started out slowly adding OA as a strategy, but we have reached a level now where our online arbitrage sourcing equals or surpasses our retail arbitrage (RA) sourcing.

Now that we’ve seen the benefits of doing OA, we want to share with you a summary of our thoughts on the strategy. Don’t worry, the next post later this week will cover the ways we’ve learned to deal with the setbacks you might encounter while doing OA. As with most things in life and business, OA has its pros and cons, and we want to equip you to enjoy the positives and correctly handle with the negatives.

8 Benefits of Adding Online Arbitrage as a Sourcing Strategy

clock_PNG66411. OA saves time. When we do online arbitrage as opposed to retail arbitrage, we don’t have to spend time driving from location to location looking for inventory to purchase, nor do we have to spend time standing in line to check out. Plus OA can be done with the help of time-saving Google Chrome extensions that make the process go even more smoothly. Time is the one resource we can never get back once it’s spent, so we do what we can to save it whenever possible.

gallery-1456231397-odometer2. OA saves wear and tear on our vehicles. I don’t know about you, but we’ve put tens of thousands of miles on our vehicles over the past couple of years from doing RA. Of course, those miles are deductible when it comes to filing our taxes, but I still would rather not have to replace my vehicle so quickly. Once Rebecca started doing mostly OA last year, the number of miles she was putting on her car for business purposes dwindled down to almost nothing.

3. OA saves wear and tear on our relationships. Because OA saves so much time compared to RA (see #1), we’re left with more time to spend with our family. When I’m gone from 7 am to 7 pm to pick up a big RA haul, I just don’t have as much time to spend with my wife and kids. Rebecca and I still enjoy an occasional RA adventure, and we plan to do some more baseball traveltage. But on a regular basis, I would much rather be at home to have lunch with my wife and see my kids after school.

open24hours4. Online stores are open for business 24/7. Some brick-and-mortar stores don’t open until 10am and then close at 7pm. Some aren’t open on Sunday mornings. This can be a huge limitation for folks trying to do RA when they’re not at their full-time job. With OA, anytime of the day or night that we feel like shopping, we can work at sourcing for FBA.

5. OA allows us to source at stores not located in our geographic area. We don’t have a Kmart in the Fort Worth area, but I can shop online at Kmart if I choose. Same goes for many other retail stores across the U.S. In RA I’m limited by the number of stores within a certain radius from my home.

brownbox26. OA provides free shipping boxes for our Amazon FBA shipments. When we receive an OA shipment from a retail store, we’re often able to ship the items out to the Amazon warehouse in the same box. We can save time and money by not having to make trips to Home Depot or Lowe’s to buy shipping boxes.

7. OA provides free dunnage for our Amazon FBA shipments. Dunnage is the stuff that goes in the empty spaces of a shipping box you’re sending to the FBA warehouse. We can reuse the air pillows, paper, and even small cardboard boxes that come in OA shipments as dunnage in our Amazon shipments, saving time and money from having to get that dunnage elsewhere.

ebates-logo-300x1568. OA allows you to save money by shopping through cash back websites. We typically shop through Ebates and Swagbucks to get cash back on our online purchases, but there are other sites that have similar programs. Your purchases cost the same amount by going through their link to shop, but you get a percentage back on every purchase. The percentage varies by store and can change from time to time, so do your due diligence to figure out how to get the best percentage. Another bonus with Ebates and Swagbucks is that they both have a Google Chrome extension you can activate with one click after you’ve already started shopping, rather than having to navigate to the cash back website before you start filling up your online cart.

I hope we’ve been able to show you some reasons why OA can be a great strategy to implement in your Amazon FBA business. I know it’s not for everyone — some people much prefer the thrill of the hunt in thrifting or RA, and I get that. In our next post we’ll cover a few of the negative aspects of OA and how we deal with them in our business.

One last thing…. a great OA tool that we recommend is called Tactical Arbitrage, and you can check it out at this link. We’ll have a blog post review of Tactical Arbitrage coming in the future!

Are they any benefits to OA we left off this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Our 9 Favorite Chrome Extensions for Online Arbitrage

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

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

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

keepa-21. Keepa – Amazon Price Tracker

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

camelizer-chrome-screenshots-amazon2. The Camelizer

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

photo.jpg3. Amazon Assistant

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

ebates-logo-300x1564. Ebates Cash Back

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

Swagbucks-Logo5. SwagButton

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

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

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

PRICEBLINK-LO-FF7. PriceBlink

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

logo-oax8. OAXray

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

CyberMonkey-lg9. Scanalyze

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

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

How to Get the Most from Your Online Arbitrage Subscriptions

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

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

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

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

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

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

free_trial1. Use free trials when they are offered.

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

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

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

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

parameters3. Set strict buying parameters for yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

6. Follow rabbit trails.

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

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

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

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

How to Take Online Arbitrage to the Next Level

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

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

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

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

gatedlistlogo2Gated List

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

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

logo-oaxOAXray

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

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

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

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

Education is Key

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

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

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

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

The Perfect Starter Kit for the Online Arbitrage Beginner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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