Category Archives: Online Arbitrage

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!

Online Arbitrage Tips for Black Friday

Not everybody wants to go out and bust the doors and brave the crowds on Black Friday or any of the other big shopping days of the season. Actually, you count me in that number – I am not a huge fan of the big Black Friday crowds and just don’t want to have to deal with them. But I also don’t want to miss out on the amazing opportunities to find great items for resale, and I’ve come up with a few ways to take advantage of Black Friday deals without leaving my house.

We all know Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and there is great money to be made buying up deals on Black Friday and flipping them on Amazon. What some people forget is that stores also have awesome sales the week before Black Friday and the week after. The stores want to keep the money flowing all throughout this Q4 season, and they are eager to have enticing sales over the course of a few weeks, not just on one particular day. When it comes to online arbitrage (OA), you can find amazing sales at dozens of online stores for weeks around the time of Black Friday – but you want to be sure and maximize your time and efforts at OA sourcing during this time period, as well as maximize your profits.

In the rest of this blog post I want to give you my top three tips for OA on and around Black Friday. Here we go!

1. Stay informed on all the Black Friday deals. 

This first point might seem obvious, but if you miss this one, you are missing out on a ton of potential profits. You have to stay informed about upcoming sales or spur-of-the-moment sales on all your favorite online stores.

I recommend using a dedicated email address to subscribe to the updates from any stores you like to frequent for OA shopping. Big stores, little stores, whoever you might find – if they have an email list, sign up. You want all of these stores to send you notifications of their sales – and you want them to send you coupon codes!

The reason I recommend using a dedicated email address is that signing up for all these store updates becomes annoying very quickly if you have 20 or more store emails landing in your inbox every day. If you use a different email than your normal address, you won’t feel overwhelmed with store spam.

Bonus tip: If you work with a virtual assistant (VA), you can have them check that dedicated email address for you and stay on top of which stores have sales or coupon codes. No need for you to even deal with all the extra email!

2. Increase your ROI by finding more discounts.

One of the best ways to get an edge on your competition is to increase your return on investment (ROI) by buying your product at a lower price. OA sourcing has some great methods built into the process for finding bigger discounts on the products you find to resell on Amazon.

The first way you can increase your ROI is by getting cash back on your online purchases with cash back sites like Ebates and Swagbucks. Both of these cash back sites have a Google Chrome extension and a pop-up at the top of the browser to let you know if an online store offers cash back by going through their link to do your shopping. I highly recommend signing up for both Ebates and Swagbucks and keeping their Chrome extensions active so you never miss out on an opportunity to earn cash back on your OA purchases. Both Ebates and Swagbucks offer increased cash back percentages on and around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so make sure you do your due diligence and figure out which site offers the best deal before completing your OA purchases.

Another great way to increase discounts and increase your ROI is by searching for coupon codes every time you are ready to check out at an online store. We use the Google Chrome extension Honey to automatically check for coupon codes before completing an online order. You never want to check out at an online store without checking to see if you can save some money up front by using a coupon code on your order.

3. Consider upgrading your shipping.

Typically when I’m making OA purchases, I want to buy the minimum amount to get free shipping. The money saved on free shipping is money that can increase my ROI and help me buy more inventory. But when I’m shopping for Black Friday deals online, the time it takes to get my inventory shipped to me for prep and shipment to Amazon is crucial. Sometimes it can be worth it to pay $5 or $10 for expedited shipping on an OA order on Black Friday so that I can get my inventory in to the FBA warehouse faster. Always check to see if online stores are offering discounts on expedited shipping on Black Friday, and take advantage of those discounts when possible.

If you put these three tips (four if you count the bonus tip!) into practice this Black Friday, you will be well on your way to maximizing your profits and increasing your success in your Black Friday OA sourcing. Now we want to hear from you. Are you shopping online this Black Friday or are you going to brave the stores? Do you have any tips for OA sourcing on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Please let us hear from you in the comments.

You may already know that Black Friday is an incredible opportunity for resellers to find amazing ROI on fast turning inventory, but many resellers don’t know where to start.

Many resellers end up skipping out on the Black Friday sales simply because they don’t know what to do. Other resellers assume that you have to spend all day fighting the crazy crowds and long lines in order to find the best inventory for selling online.

It doesn’t have to be that way at all.

I’m excited to tell you that my friend Kristin Ostrander and I (Stephen) created a course called The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday:  The Fool-proof Strategy to Rock Black Friday Sales Every Year. In this combination ebook and live master class, we will walk you through, step-by-step, multiple Black Friday strategies that you can implement in your own Amazon business model.

Here’s the cool thing: Kristin and I have completely different Black Friday strategies, yet we are both able to make a killing off of Black Friday sales. She likes to shop Black Friday sales in the stores, while I usually stay home on Black Friday… How can both of these strategies work? We can’t wait to tell you in the latest edition of The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday.

The tips from this blog post are just the beginning of what we’ll share with you when it comes to big profits from Black Friday sales without having to brave the crowds!

Note: This book is only available for sale for a limited time. Find out how you can make the most of your Black Friday shopping opportunity.

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. Sign up through this link to get a $10 bonus for signing up.

Swagbucks-Logo5. SwagButton

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

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

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

PRICEBLINK-LO-FF7. PriceBlink

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

logo-oax8. OAXray

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

CyberMonkey-lg9. Scanalyze

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

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

How to Get the Most from Your Online Arbitrage Subscriptions

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

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

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

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

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

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

free_trial1. Use free trials when they are offered.

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

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

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

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

parameters3. Set strict buying parameters for yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

6. Follow rabbit trails.

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

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

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

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