Getting Started With What You Have
Again, I’m going to urge you to get started with what you have if you’re going to go the retail arbitrage route and are short on funds. You have books and other media items and electronics just collecting dust. Scan those items or manually type them into Amazon to see what kind of cash you can get for them. Create a shipment to go into FBA and watch your “trash” turn into real cash.
Set this guide aside and just go get started with this. The best way to understand the process is to just go ahead and do it, especially since you’ll soon be buying items to send in to Amazon. This will give you some capital so you can buy more items and it will give you the confidence you need to keep going.
Now let’s talk about shopping.
There are so many stores where you can try to get your retail arbitrage business going. The exact stores will differ depending on the area you live in. For example, Meijer has some incredible deals but is not available everywhere. Target is available in more locations. Walmart is available just about everywhere. If you're reading this outside the U.S., you'll have to figure out which stores are most viable near you.
Big box stores often run big discounts. They have to clear out old merchandise to make room for the new. Target, Walmart, Kmart, and others are good spots to scout for merchandise. Check out their clearance sections, but certainly don't restrict yourself to those sections.
Then, there are discount stores that act as a clearinghouse for department stores and others. TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Tuesday Morning, and Big Lots are examples of these. You can often find incredible deals on brand name items that will be perfect for you to buy low and sell high on Amazon.
Local Mom and Pop shops are great to shop as well. They often carry hard to find items and decide on their own when they'll offer discounts, unlike other stores that have to follow a particular schedule. Sadly, you can often get your best deals when stores like this are going out of business.
Drugstores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS often have excellent deals. You can shop their clearance aisles or use coupons to find excellent deals that will be profitable for you.
And your local grocery stores often have clearance sales on items, but it’s a perishable item, make sure that it will still be good for a decent period of time after you pick it up.
And of course your local thrift stores like Good Will and Salvation Army are good places to shop, plus flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, etc.
There are certain apps you can download that will alert you of specific sales in your area, and some stores have their own app. Coupon Sherpa and Shop Nearby are two apps that are worthy of a download for deals. You can also subscribe to the email lists of your favorite stores so you hear about sales first.
Remember-- you can't just enter into these stores and expect to buy everything you see. You have to very carefully figure out which, if any, of the items you're interested in will be profitable for you on Amazon. Whether you use Amazon's price comparison app (free), ScanPower's app (subscription, but the best), Profit Bandit (inexpensive), or something else, you need to make sure the item sells regularly on Amazon and that you can sell it for at least 3X profit.
Don't get discouraged if you don't come away with a cart full right away. You're sure to develop an eye over time of which items will be profitable. As with anything in business, you make your money when you buy the item, not when you sell the item. You can't force something to be profitable, you have to do your due diligence up front to make sure it's going to be.
It can be a lot of fun to source online. This is ideal for someone who lives in a rural area without the stores I've mentioned or who just wants to maximize their portfolio of products. Stores run amazing discounts online all the time. There are, of course, some benefits and some drawbacks to sourcing online.
Let's start with the drawbacks. For one thing, everyone, no matter where they live, gets access to the same deal information as you. You can rest assured that if something was posted on SlickDeals, other deal hunters will be all over the product as well. That doesn't mean you can't get lucky, of course. But, the stores in your local area are different from what everyone else has access to. That's simply not true online.
For another thing, you'll have to pay shipping and handling costs. You'll also have to wait for the item. Something that was profitable or out of stock on Amazon when you bought online may suddenly be in stock by the time the other retail store has shipped it to you and you ship it to FBA.
There are some great benefits of shopping online as well. You don't have to leave your house or fight the crowds. You can easily compare prices and determine profitability from the comfort of home. For another thing, you get your items nicely shipped to you and you can save money not only on gas, but by reusing the packaging materials they use. Packaging supplies can really add up when you're frequently shipping to Amazon.
Next, I'm going to cover some popular spots for online sourcing. I think you'll be pleased at just how many profitable deals you can find without having to leave your couch.
Retail arbitrage involving eBay is simply genius. Now, I want to make it clear that I'm not talking about the unfortunate method some people use where they sell something on eBay and use Amazon as their “drop shipper,” or vice versa. I am talking about finding unbeatable deals on eBay that you purchase, have delivered to your home, and then send in to FBA.
Obviously, you're not going to be able to buy any old junk on eBay and sell it on Amazon. You're looking for brand new items, in most cases, unless it's in the book or media categories. You're looking for items that are selling for lower prices than they should be. However, be really careful here, because there is plenty of counterfeit media out there. Amazon does NOT look the other way, and doesn’t want to hear that you were innocently duped by someone else. What you sell is your responsibility.
eBay sellers often use poor descriptions, poor pictures, and just don't know their way around items. Many eBay sellers list their item under the wrong category or completely botch the name or keyword. There's a great hint right there-- look for misspelled items on eBay that you can buy cheap to sell on Amazon. There are sites that help you do this, such as FatFingers.com.
Browse through eBay. Set alerts for specific products you're looking for. The crafty user can build an entire business out of buying low on eBay and selling high on Amazon.
Craigslist is full of classified ads in your local area. Often, people who sell on Craigslist are desperate to get rid of their items and set very low prices to do so. You can scan the listings looking for items that will be acceptable to sell on Amazon. You can even set alerts so that you're emailed whenever a particular item or even type of item is listed on Craigslist. It's all about buying low and selling high, and Craigslist can absolutely help you do that. Noticraig.com is one example.
There are tons of deal sites out there. There are sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and others that give new deals every day. There are other sites like Woot.com that focus on physical product deals—Amazon often features Woot deals.
Then, there are couponing sites that can point you to great deals. Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.com are great examples.
You can shop for discounted gift cards online, which is a great tip that can save you a lot of money. CardCash.com is an example, or you can simply search eBay to snag a gift card for less. You can then use it to save on retail arbitrage items.
There are other sites that aggregate deals for you, such as SlickDeals.com and FatWallet.com. Don’t forget sites that give you cash back, such as eBates.com.
If you want to earn more money, you have to become savvy with online options. There are so many ways to save money, even on things you buy for yourself. Very few people take the time to use these sites, in comparison with the number who shop online. Save yourself money and earn more.
More about Online Retail Sites
There are an endless number of other online retailers you can turn to. Overstock.com, Buy.com, and many others are very popular and frequently offer discounts. Even online sites like Toysrus.com offer deep discounts that you can buy and sell on Amazon for a profit.
Look at the clearance section of ToysRUs.com—your jaw will probably drop open when you see what’s on sale. You can even reserve items online to pick up locally. In fact, some of their deals are only available for online pickup.
You can also try Meijer.com, Target.com, Walmart.com, Kohls.com, and other department stores and online-only stores. Browse through their clearance sections. Sort by the most popular items and items that have the greatest percentage off. You should quickly get a feel for how each site works. Check Amazon to see how well those items are selling. With some digging, you can be very profitable with this form of retail arbitrage.
Don't just stick to my suggestions-- brainstorm your own list. Find deal sites, forums where they discuss sales, coupon sites, and more. You can subscribe to sites like GroceryGame.com to even get items for free or extremely cheap that you can then resell. Think outside the box when you’re sourcing.
Don't forget, you can really stack your profits if you use coupons, combined with sites like FatWallet or eBates.com, where you get money back for certain purchases. Not to mention if you use a cash back or rewards credit card. Be crafty and find ways to save money on your purchases. Never buy at full price if you have to, unless you're sure to get an amazing price for it when you resell on Amazon.
Can you tell that this business can get fun and exciting in a hurry? This is perfect for those who love to find a good deal and want to earn money from home, doing little more than shopping.
Retail Arbitrage Is a Great Business
I’d say this is one of the very best business models to get started with—especially if you’re new, enjoy shopping and finding deals, and are drawn to a physical product business model.
It’s almost like a game—what kind of deal can you get? How low can you go? Then, how high can you sell?
You can earn a great living using retail arbitrage to sell on Amazon FBA.