Category Archives: Oversized Items

The Best Items to Buy on Craigslist and Sell via Amazon FBA

Craigslist Amazon FBAIf you’re like me, you get tired of chasing the next clearance sale at the big national retail chains, only to have your retail arbitrage finds “tank” in price before you even get your inventory sent in to the Amazon FBA warehouse. Sure, there are times when you can beat other sellers to the punch and be the first one to sell your items after the big sale, but other times…well, we know that other times after those big clearance sales, we end up with a mess of dead inventory to clean up when long term storage fees roll around.

One easy way to combat the problem of competing in the midst of market saturation is to source items that other sellers can’t find – or at least they can’t find it for the same low, low, low price that you can. And what’s one often overlooked place to source hard-to-find deals?

Craigslist!

I know, I know, Craigslist has a bad rap at times because buyers and sellers both can flake out on you at the last minute, and you have to be careful of scammers. But if you take the right safety precautions and do the right research, you can find some super sweet deals on Craigslist that you can turn into big profits on Amazon.

Here are my top 4 items that I love to source on Craigslist to sell on Amazon:

  1. textbooks.resizedTextbooks

If you live in a college town, you’ll find textbooks sold by the lot on Craigslist at the end of each semester. Even if you don’t live in a college town, some students will bring their books home during the summer to sell on Craigslist.

Students know that by selling their books back to the campus bookstore, they might only earn $4 or $5 – and they can sell them on Craigslist for $10. Many of those books could be sold on Amazon for anywhere from $40 to over $100, so keep an eye out for them.

  1. 71SxOT00EwL._SL1000_LEGO

LEGO tends to always have amazing sales ranks on Amazon. Whether you list them as new or collectible, they seem to sell almost as soon as they hit the FBA warehouse shelves.

Sometimes you can find LEGO lots on Craigslist, but you can also find individual sets. Maybe a kid had a set that he put together a few years ago, it’s been sitting on his desk collecting dust, and now that he’s grown and leaving the house, the parents are selling that set on Craigslist, complete with box and instructions. Or maybe a kid got a LEGO set for a gift, only opened bag #1, and decided he didn’t want to put the set together after all. And there are even the rare occasions where you can find new, unopened LEGOs for sale on Craigslist by someone who’s just looking to get rid of stuff.

If you want to sell a LEGO set on Amazon as collectible, you need to make sure that each and every piece is included, along with any minifigures and stickers. You don’t need the original box, but you do need to include instructions, whether it’s the original instructions or a copy you’ve downloaded and printed from online. You must include detailed descriptions in your condition notes telling whether you have the original box or instructions.

Bonus tip: LEGO minifigures can sometimes be sold individually in collectible condition for big profits. We are always on the lookout for minifigures from the Harry Potter sets.

  1. IMG_8909bBoard games

You probably know by now that I love board games so much that I wrote a book about selling them – The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games: How to Turn Play Money into Real Money. One of the places I keep an eye out for board games, new or collectible, is Craigslist. You can buy an entire lot of board games with the intention of only selling a portion of them on Amazon, and then resell the rest of them at your next garage sale. Make sure you message the seller ahead of time on Craigslist to find out if all the pieces are included.

  1. 91P+T0RUT2L._SL1500_Ride-on toys

Many people sell their children’s ride-on toys on Craigslist once they’re finished playing with them. These toys will be considered oversized on Amazon, but you know from our previous blog post that you can make big money selling big items on Amazon.

Do a search on your local Craigslist for “ride-on toys,” “ride-on animals,” or “ride-on cars” to find profitable toys you can sell in collectible condition. We have a favorite ride-on toy that we love to find on Craigslist for $40 or $50 and can sell it on Amazon in collectible condition for $400 to $500, depending on the time of year. It may take a little extra effort to put together a box for shipping it in to FBA, but that effort is worth it for the big ROI.

Buying these items on Craigslist is a win-win situation for both you and the seller. They’re getting cash for an item they no longer want, and you’re getting an item to sell on Amazon that will have less competition and less chance of “tanking” prices. The best way to keep an eye out for these items to resell is by setting up automatic searches and notifications through websites like Noticraig or IFTTT. That way you don’t have to constantly repeat your search, but you can just sit back and wait for the notification to come to you.

Word of caution about Craigslist: Always arrange to pick up your items in a public place, like a parking lot or even the police station. If possible, don’t go to pick up the item alone.

Have you bought items from Craigslist to resell on Amazon? Do you have any favorites that we’ve missed here?

Overcoming Your Fear of Selling Oversize or Add-on Items

Raise your hand if this has happened to you before (don’t worry, none of us can see you sitting there at your computer).

You’re out doing some sourcing, and you scan an item with your Amazon Seller app. The rank is good, and the return on investment (ROI) is decent. You buy the item (or even multiples of the item), bring home your find, and start to list and pack your next shipment. But when you list the item, it’s assigned to a separate fulfillment center from the rest of your shipment. You double check, and sure enough — that great item turns out to be oversized. There goes your ROI, you think to yourself. All the profits will be eaten up in shipping and fees.

Or this…

add-on-1-haznYou find a smaller sized item that you can buy for next to nothing. You’ve got access to a large number of these items, so it would be possible to make profits off this item over and over again. There’s just one liiiiiittle problem, when you look a bit closer at the Amazon product page:  The lowest offer is for $9.49, and the item is an add-on (meaning it cannot be purchased separately, but must be included in a total order of $25 or more shipped from Amazon). Will the item really sell? Is it worth it to invest in a product that is an Amazon add-on item?

Today’s installment of our blog series “Overcoming Your Amazon FBA Fears” will cover these two situations and their implications: selling oversize and add-on items. If handled incorrectly, these big or small items can cause problems for your shipments or lower your ROI. But if given the correct forethought, these types of items can mean big profits for your FBA business.

Let’s dive right in and address these fears!

1197095556709556181Leomarc_caution_overload.svg.hiFear of Selling Oversize Items: I’m afraid that selling oversize items will eat into my profits — the FBA fees are too high, and the shipping costs can be outrageous.

Truth: There are huge profits to be made in selling oversize items! If you’re doing the right research and handling your shipments correctly, you can minimize your fees and shipping costs and make a ton of money back on your investment. Even better, because a lot of inexperienced sellers have this same fear, your competition will be reduced, and you’ll get more sales for taking the time to learn how to best handle oversize items.

We love to sell oversize items. This year alone we’ve sold dozens of a particular oversize item that we purchased for $3-$7 a piece, and we’re selling it for $40-$50. We end up averaging $20-$28 of profit per item — and who doesn’t like that kind of ROI?

mmIcDKXuAPVMZ4_wCJEaEnQWe’ve also sold two of an item that measures 21″L x 44″W x 28″H. It required some extra work and about an hour of time apiece to make boxes big enough to ship them to Amazon, but we sold them quickly and made $450 profit from the two of them. That is $450 in our pockets after we took out our cost for buying the items, the Amazon fees, and the cost of shipping them to FBA. You tell me — is $450 profit worth that two hours of time? For us, the answer was yes.

So how do you make sure you’re getting big profits out of these big oversize items? The key is making sure you’re being strategic at two points in your process: when you’re scanning and when you’re putting your shipment together.

Profit Bandit AppFor scanning, you must make sure you’re not depending on the Amazon Seller app for finding oversize items. The free Amazon Seller app does not tell you if an item is oversize; nor can you tell from just looking at the product page. But if you’re using a third party scanning app like Profit Bandit, Scoutify, or ScanPower, you will see a note stating the item is oversize and you will see the extra FBA fees included in the profit calculations. Just like with any other item in these apps, you can see right away if you will be able to get a good ROI. No need to fear!

When you’re putting your shipment together, the best way to reduce your shipping costs is to ship multiple oversize items at one time. Shipping one oversize item individually can be a big drain on your profits because that item will be sent to a separate fulfillment center. Shipping several oversize items together gives you a better overall shipping rate and spreads the cost across several items. If we’re putting together a shipment that only has one oversize item, we leave that item off the shipment and hold it until we’ve got a few more to send in. Since we love sourcing oversize products, it usually doesn’t take us very long to find more oversize items to add to the next shipment.

Fear of Selling Add-on Items: I’m afraid add-on items won’t sell. I’m afraid they won’t bring me enough profits to make it worth the investment.

add-on-itemTruth: Honestly, we agree that the profits don’t make it worth the investment to sell add-ons. We don’t intentionally buy items to sell as add-ons, but only sell items this way when another seller drops the price below $10 and we have no choice in it becoming an add-on. In this situation, we just make the best of things and do what we can to sell our items.

There is a way, however, to make big money off small items: sell them as multi-packs or as bundles. We found a grocery item at a liquidation store that was small, light weight, and inexpensive — all the criteria of add-on items. We created a 12-pack of it and sold dozens (this was before Amazon decided that only the manufacturer is allowed to create multi-packs). Since creating a multi-pack listing is no longer an option, you can instead search on Amazon for one that has already been created. Take a few extra seconds to enter the text title of your item into the search field instead of scanning the bar code UPC — you may find that a profitable multi-pack already exists, just under a different UPC. Be sure to include out of stock items in your search so as not to miss those.

If a multi-pack is not an option, then creating bundles might be your answer. Creating bundles takes a little more time and some creativity, but the payoff can be huge. If you’re hesitant about creating a listing for a bundle, be sure to check the blog for an upcoming post on Overcoming Your Fear of Creating Listings.

Today we want to challenge you to do some sourcing outside your normal comfort zone. If you’re sourcing today, try to look at the bigger items or smaller items that you normally skip. See if you can find a profitable multi-pack or an oversize item with oversized ROI. Let us know in the comments what you find!