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.

Your Sourced InvetoryYour Sourced Inventory

Another deal list we love using is the Your Sourced inventory shoes and clothing list, which comes 5 days a week as an Excel spreadsheet. I don’t know the exact breakdown for the percentage of deals that are shoes and the percentage that are clothing, but it seems like it’s heavier on shoes. You can find out more details about their pricing and availability on their website.

I’ve been using this list for about six months now (as of February 2016), and I’ve consistently purchased several items per week off the list in both the shoes and clothing categories. As a result our average sales price has increased along with our total amount of sales. It took a few months for our investment to really get ramped up, but we are now definitely seeing the positive effects of the list reflected in our sales.

Your Sourced Inventory has a fantastic free Facebook group with regular posts walking you through how to make good buying decisions on shoes and clothing online. I love how they talk you through the possibilities on specific items in the Amazon catalog and show different ways you could capitalize on OA finds. They also offer a la carte lists for purchase on the Facebook group from time to time.


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.

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: Clothing and Shoes are categories that require approval from Amazon in order to sell these items. If you need help getting ungated in these categories, we highly recommend checking out Category Approval Assistance.

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.

24 responses to “How to Take Online Arbitrage to the Next Level

  1. Pingback: The Perfect Starter Kit for the Online Arbitrage Beginner - Full-Time FBA

  2. seems to be same level, not NEXT level.

    • Rebecca Smotherman Rebecca Smotherman

      Hi Sean, thanks for commenting. I’m not sure what you mean. For me, as I described in the first OA blog post, I started out spending a few hundred dollars a MONTH on OA. Now it’s several months down the road and I’m spending much more than that per WEEK. Our ASP has doubled since we started using these services, and our sales and profit have gone up dramatically. To me, that qualifies as a level up from where we were a few months ago.

  3. Hi Rebecca

    Do any of these lists you mention work for UK /European sellers.

    I guess I would have to setup a US amazon account etc to take advantage of these deal list sites?

    Do you know of any UK ones?



  4. Thanks for the post Rebecca!

    I also use a few list services, though different from the ones you mention, and OAXray, and I completely agree with your post. I see posts in FB groups that people can’t find items to source and know they aren’t applying the correct process. If FBA is your business, or even if you want it to be a profitable “hobby”, you must invest the time / resources (tools, lists, etc.) to compete. I see a lot of money on the table, but as your article states, you have to be willing to take the time to educate yourself, and use the tools available, to see that money as well.

    Thanks again for the post and good luck in your sourcing!

  5. Thanks for the post. I was glad to get the update on your OA progress.
    I have a clothing/shoes newbie question for you. With all the variations, it seems Keepa and CCC dont give the sales rank history data I have come to rely on. How do you make informed decisions about a potential product when you cant see the sales history?
    As for what tools I use, I recently started using Zen Arbitrage for DVDs. I think it is awesome for those who can sell DVDs.

    • David, great question. Yes, when it comes to looking at the CCC or Keepa data on clothing and shoes, it’s usually not too helpful, with the exception of Keepa showing whether or not Amazon is in or out of stock. Some items aren’t even being tracked by these tools and other ones are only tracking the parent ASIN, and so when there is a sale of a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes, you never know which size, color, or whatever variation actually sold. Because of this, we usually use even stricter rank parameters when sourcing. Sometimes we hit a home run and do really well, while other times it’s takes longer to sell than we had anticipated…

      But isn’t this what being successful with selling on Amazon all about? Who can best learn and get to know the “personalities” of each of the main Amazon categories… because they all behave differently… but the more you sell in clothing and shoes, the easier it will be to know what buying parameters work best for your business model.

      • I like that attitude. That is how I roll as well. Often a “problem” like the lack of good rank history can become a benefit once you learn how to deal with it. I can imagine finding a really good listing that sells well, and then the lack of rank info becomes a benefit, because the listing is sort of a secret.

        Another noob question if I may. DO you find returns to be more of an issue with shoes and clothing, due to size and taste considerations compared to other more straighforward products? And Are you able to resell a returned pair of shoes or clothing as new in general? If not, and if returns are higher than other categories, I am guessing you pad in some extra margin to account for returns?

        • Rebecca Smotherman Rebecca Smotherman

          Hi David, to this point all of our returned shoes have been processed back into our inventory as sellable. We’ve had about the same rate of returns for shoes and clothing as for our other inventory.

  6. Thank you for your continued informative blog posts.

  7. I really think I will be giving some of these lists a try. I will try to remember to sign up here incase you have an affiliate thing going.
    I noticed on your cheat sheet for sales rank “Clothing, shoes, and jewelry” are all one category, with mens, womens, girls, etc as sub categories. My question is this, if I am looking at a shoe and t he rank says “#68 in Shoes”, does that mean it is #68 in clothing, shoes, and jewelry? or does it mean it is merely #68 in the sub-category of shoes, and its rank in the main category would then be worse?
    I hope I am making myself clear.

    • It would mean that it was #68 in the “Clothing, Shoes, & Jewelry” category. Unfortunately, we can’t figure out the exact data numbers on the individual subcategories… at least not yet. We’ll be working on it.

  8. Thanks for the clarity. I will definitely be trying this out. Doing a DVD experiment this month so I will put it on my list for my next experiment. Only so much capital for all these opportunities!

  9. Thanks for the shout out to! We are in good company with all of the other helpful OA tools in your arsenal. 🙂

  10. Thanks for the great post! This is super helpful. We subscribe to a couple of lists, and they are sometimes good but often we see that most product finds have inflated buy box prices and are not really good buys if you look at the long term price history. I’m wondering if this is just the quality of our particular lists, or do you see that with your lists too? It is happening more and more.

    • Rebecca Smotherman Rebecca Smotherman

      Thanks so much for commenting, Jessica!

      You definitely need to do your due diligence on the finds from lists. As you pointed out, looking at the sales rank and price history is a must, which is why it’s good to subscribe to lists that provide direct links to CamelCamelCamel and Keepa so that it’s all the easier to look at that info. Some lists are better than others at weeding out leads that come from potential false alarms (for lack of a better term), where Amazon is momentarily out of stock and the next lowest price is artificially inflated — but a certain amount of those types of leads are to be expected. Some people might actually like those leads. I think the key with any list is to view the leads as leads, not as guaranteed buys. We’ve had to drop our subscription to other lists because we felt that the number of actual buys from the lists were too low, but we also don’t expect to buy every single item (or even half of the items, honestly) on each list each day.

  11. Pingback: How to Get the Most from Your Online Arbitrage Subscriptions - Full-Time FBA

  12. Pingback: Our 8 Favorite Chrome Extensions for Online Arbitrage - Full-Time FBA

  13. Thank you so much for this helpful information!

    Rebecca, when it comes to clothing and shoes, I was wondering if there is an updated list of brands that are restricted by Amazon. I’m interested in trying out the shoe list you mentioned but I’m concerned about restricted brands. Having that information would be very helpful.

    • Rebecca Smotherman Rebecca Smotherman

      Hi Jamie,
      We don’t know of a list for restricted brands for clothing and shoes. If you find out about one, we’d love to know where to find it!

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