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). Stephen has been a member of the ScannerMonkey Facebook group from its beginning, and when we saw the posts about the new deal site, we were intrigued. 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 recently been updated with all new information for July 2015.

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.

21 responses to “The Perfect Starter Kit for the Online Arbitrage Beginner

  1. A few important comments about the price of Online Arbitrage (and how to save some BIG money too!)

    1. Cost too much? Online Arbitrage might seem pricy, but you have to think about how much profit the knowledge in the book will help make you. I would say that we made enough profits in our first week of online sourcing that ended up paying for the book. Remember, you are trading dollars for information that will help you make thousands… that’s amazing ROI if you ask me.

    2. Save money even after you buy the book! If you purchase Online Arbitrage directly from Amazon, then bookmark the sales page and check back from time to time. Amazon will often lower the price of their books, and if they do, you can email them and request a refund of the price difference. A book at this price might even drop in price $50+ and if it does, you can request a refund.

    3. Want to save even more? Since the book is freshly updated for July 2015, there are some older versions on sale directly from the author in the Used-Like New condition. The author states these books are actually in new condition, but just the older version. The cool thing about buying the old version at a much lower price is this: with buying Online Arbitrage, you’ll gain access to the Online Arbitrage private Facebook group and have access to all the updated book files! Just look for these Used-Like New from the seller: LOCOMODEM on the product’s used sales page.

  2. Rebecca (or any other Smotherman ;-),
    I have been a fan of Scanner Monkey for a while, mostly watching spreecasts and such for good info and encouragement. I do trust them and have no doubts they are giving good BOLOs for the price of this service.
    But what about saturation? Have you noticed a race to the bottom once you are in stock? or is it similar to your retail finds in that respect? I find t hat my retail arb items have about a 20% fallout rate where I break even due to massive competition. Obviously the other 80% makes up for that, but do these deals they send have a limit on how many members see them? Or is that not a concern for you any more than normal retail arb?

    • David, this is a great question… and a kinda complicated answer, but I’ll do my best to give you a brief answer.

      When it comes to online arbitrage finds (be it from Scanner Monkey BOLOs, Cyber Monkey Deals, or items you find on your own), you have to first test out certain categories to see how the market responds. It’s also important to research the CamelCamelCamel history, as well as the current competition levels on the products. Some OA (online arbitrage) finds in certain categories seem to have a faster race to the bottom, while other OA finds are more steady.

      What we usually do is order a smaller order to test things out, and if they go well, we’ll reorder. The best strategy with OA is to go wide rather than deep. Remember, if you find a good OA deal, then it’s possible others will too… so it’s smart to get in, make your money, and get out soon before others join the party. There are times, though, when you can find a great product online to resell year-round that the competition never finds.

      The book Online Arbitrage goes into even more detail on how to best handle OA finds and I highly recommend checking it out.

    • Rebecca Smotherman Rebecca Smotherman

      I agree with everything Stephen said in his comment. Another thing I would add — questions like these are where some of the mindset issues come in from the Online Arbitrage book. Chris Green does a great job of explaining the difference between the price of an item tanking vs the market for an item stabilizing — that shift in thinking was a big help for my expectations on certain OA items.

      • Oh, absolutely. What can feel like tanking for me is simply a market stabilization. Totally get that. I need to get my mind thinking like that!
        I have found my best products are ones where the market on Amazon is just slightly higher than what the customer can source it for elsewhere, and where I am stacking multiple discounts to get my buy costs low (gift cards, quantity discounts, sale prices, Fat Wallet cash back, etc). It means happy customers (reasonable price) and less competition (tricky to source at low cost).

        Being able to make a profit in an already stabilized market is my favorite! Slow and steady wins the race.

        Thanks for the great post!


  3. Dave Bommarito

    I clicked on your link for Online Arbitrage and don’t show it as being available in Kindle format.

    • Dave, I heard from Chris Green (the author) that the Kindle version of the updated edition will be ready to purchase soon. It’s been uploaded and will be ready to buy soon. Sorry for the delay.

  4. Terry Wallace

    I’ve been planning to buy Online Arb…putting it off because of the price, but you convinced me to go ahead. Wow, I didn’t know Az would match a later price drop! One thing though: the b&w version is cheaper…no difference really? What about the older version (locomodem), anything great we’d miss out on? And I didn’t see a kindle version either, I thought at one time it came with the regular version, have they stopped offering that? Thanks guys!

    • The black and white version is cheaper because it’s cheaper to print in black & white than in full color. The book is like a textbook, so it’s a lot of pages in full color.

      The older version has a few things that are outdated (things update all the time in the online world), so that’s the only thing you’d miss out on.

      As per the kindle edition: I heard from Chris Green (the author) that the Kindle version of the updated edition will be ready to purchase soon. It’s been uploaded and will be ready to buy soon. Sorry for the delay.

    • Rebecca Smotherman Rebecca Smotherman

      I think you might also be asking about getting the Kindle version for free when you buy the paperback?? I’ve seen Chris post about this too — once AZ has the updated Kindle version available for sale, if you purchase the paperback from AZ (not from 3rd party sellers), that’s where the Kindle MatchBook offer comes into play and you can get the Kindle version for free.

  5. Stephen,
    I believe that people have two wrong beliefs when it comes to Chris Green’s Online Arbitrage and purchasing Online Arbitrage Lists.
    With “Online Arbitrage” it actually isn’t ‘a book’ , it is a full scale COURSE on learning to use online arbitrage to find products in one place to resell in other places. How many people go out to buy a “$200 Book”? If we business owners realize this is a Course, then understanding you are purchasing a college level Course that will make us a $30-100,000 a year business you won’t be taken back by the price.
    As far as the Lists, Sellers think that every person on the product List is buying EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT ON THE LIST. That’s not true, many people specialize in certain product areas, some aren’t authorized to sell in all areas, Sellers choose to buy at certain product prices, etc… I hope fellow Sellers will realize these two items, feel great about buying Chris’s Course ( in form of a Book ) and work their purchased Lists and expand upon other products beside that List and build a great income for themselves …Shawn

    • Shawn, Yes… I totally see Online Arbitrage as more of a course than “just a book.” To me, it’s well worth the knowledge you’ll gain from reading the book.. plus, when you’re done reading it, you can always sell it on FBA and get most of your money back!

  6. Hi,
    Do you know how many members they accept into each group of CMD?

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  8. Thanks for all of the great information in your blogs and links! I recently tried OA for about a month with a subscription service (not CMD). Unfortunately my experience was that even after researching each purchase, buying, and sending products to FBA, there were just too many sellers seemingly doing the same thing. I would sell a few items at good profit at first but then significant numbers of other sellers came onto the listing and the price dropped significantly in most cases. In several cases, I created a removal order and returned the items to the store I purchased from to get a refund instead of incurring large losses selling the items on Amazon. So far, I have done much better with products I find at yard sales and thrift stores like games and small kitchen appliances. Also just recently trying a “liquidation” type lot of pet products that I think will do well.

    • Adding to this I’ve experienced issues receiving the wrong UPC from what CMD matched a product to. Alot of stores don’t list the UPC and even after doing investigation and thinking it matched correctly I would get different products than what CMD thought it was and have to return them and be out shipping costs. There were also cases of getting a fresh list of items of things not in Stock anymore so a wasted listing. When you log in as soon as deals get to your account and it’s already out of stock at the store, kind of takes away from the value of it.

  9. I’ve worked a little but with cyber monkey deals and found some good items, but the problem I have is I buy small quantities so the shipping cost isn’t factored in in there deals so often not viable.

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  12. Hello,

    I am looking into purchasing a list from cyber monkey deals and noticed that they have a few different subscriptions for their lists. Which one would you recommend? I see they have a top 1%, top 3% and top 5%. which would would be best?

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