Tips For Making Money Selling Online

Benefits Of Using 3rd Party Shipping Sites Like Pirateship For Online Sellers

In this post,  I hope to pull back the curtain and reveal why you need to be using a 3rd party shipping service for all your online selling. I haven’t been doing this until very recently and to be honest, it was a lack of knowledge and not seeing the hidden big picture. 

After I explain the concept, I will then show an example of how I am using it myself.

I will be the first to admit that I have left a lot of money on the table in my years of online selling and I know many sellers that use 3rd party shipping websites but I never connected the dots ( and nobody went of their way to explain it to me) 

There are several services you can use to ship your online sales with besides the built in shipping of say Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Mercari, etc. If you have ever had to ship something you have sold from say eBay for example on USPS, you know it is a pain to do all the copying and pasting of the address and then going back and putting in the required tracking code.  Most of these sites do it automatically for you. 

I  personally have been using Pirateship for eBay and Etsy orders and but I haven’t taken the time to set up Shipstation for Amazon yet ( it would cover eBay and Etsy too).

To be honest, the reason I have been using Pirateship for eBay and Esty is that they offer cubic shipping for USPS Priority. ( Amazon already offers that in their shipping console) and that saves you tons in shipping cost. 

Cubic shipping can be a massive savings for you. If you go through the Pirateship training, they show you have to maximize your savings. 

So that is a big benefit, that is not really the real reason you should be using Pirateship ( or any other service like Shipstation)  

It is about cashflow! 

So let’s say you make a sale on Ebay and you go through their shipping. 

First the money from the sale is already in your Paypal account ( this is a big advantage over sites like Amazon and Etsy) but when you buy the shipping, that cost is withdrawn from your Paypal. 

So you have less capital to work with. 

Say the sale was $100 and you spent $20 on shipping.  You now have only $80 at your disposal to reinvest into inventory. 

Now if you use the 3rd party shipping service, the cost of shipping will be charged to your credit card and you can use the money for free for the 30 day billing cycle. ( This is a very important concept to pick up)  

So for example, I know an Amazon seller that does most MF ( Merchant Fulfilled ) and during Q4 , ships upwards to 500 packages a day via a 3rd party shipping website. 

Now with Amazon the effect of using free money is sort of the same except with 2 week payouts, the numbers can get very large if you realize the scale of say 500 packages a day.  

If you ship through Amazon, they will take that out of your payment. 

Now if you use the 3rd party shipping, it is all being charged to a credit card and depending on the billing cycle, you can use the credit cards money for free for at least 2 weeks ( which could be huge during Q4) and maybe longer ( or bite the bullet and make a minimum credit card payment for a month or 2 and have a lot more capital to work with during that time) 

Well that is all fine and dandy, but I just sell FBA you say. 

Well the guy I am referring to sells Prime, Seller Fulfilled Prime that is and if you understand how all this works, cash flow is very important when you can source and have your products up and available “prime” in the same day. 

So none this honestly applies to me. I do utilize the cubic shipping of Pirateship but I don’t really need to worry about the cash flow.  I never seem to get maxed out and run out of funds, but this next part is why I need to use the 3rd party shipping websites. 

That same seller I am referring to, seems to disappear each year after Q4 and travels a lot. I see him making almost weekly weekend trips all around the US on top of other bigger trips.

This is the thing that took awhile to click in for me. How was he doing all that traveling? 

Well the quick answer is credit card points. 

He uses a Southwest rewards card for all his 3rd party shipping. 

So some quick math. 1 Southwest point is worth about $.015, which doesn’t sound like much but let’s say he pays $10 shipping on each package and is shipping 500 packages a day. 

That works out to $75 a day worth of free flight money. ( you could also do the same thing with a cash back credit card) 

So this is what I wanted to do and didn’t know how to do it.

So here is the real world example of how I am using the credit credit reward from all my shipping expenses

I did sit through a credit card reward session at a FBA seller conference and was totally lost on all this stuff ( I think it was for advance people, not newbies) 

Finally my son explained the whole Southwest companion pass thing to me ( this is what you want) 

So you get a companion pass which basically allows someone to fly free with you ( it is actually like $11 round trip in fees but basically free).

To get this companion pass, you need to earn 125,000 points in a year. This is what got me confused. I was thinking that meant I had to spend $125,000 on the credit card and that is some serious spending on a credit card for most people. 

So this is not how it works. 

If you sign up for a personal credit card with Southwest, after you spend $1k ( in 3 months), you get 40,000 points ( plus the 1000 points for the $1k of spending) Now I got a bonus of 50k points for $2k of spending  for signing up via an inflight offer. 

These point will go to your Rapid Rewards account. 

Next you open a Southwest business card. This gives you a 70k point bonus after spending $5k.  ( so 75k points after your spend) 

These both go on the same Rapid Reward account.

With the bonus offers, it really doesn’t take much spending at all to reach the companion pass level since 110k or 120k is from the bonuses.  There are a few tricks to make it even better. If you start this in January and say you reach the 125K level in July, you get the rest of that year and the whole following year for the companion pass.

So this is how the Amazon seller I know  travels all over the place ( for free at that) . He charges all his shipping to his credit card which gives him points and he has the companion pass for his wife, so they fly free. 

As you can see, I have been missing out on getting all this free travel ( and paying full price for the airfare I have been using) simply because I hadn’t signed up for this program ( I had the shipping spend but it wasn’t counting for anything) 

There are multiple other ways to benefit from the spend you have for shipping with the various credit card offers but you will not receive any of that if you just use the shipping service provided but the e commerce sites you sell on.  

 

How To Use The Built In Amazon Repricer To Win The Buy Box And To Make More Money

Different sellers have different opinions of the Amazon repricer. I have used paid repricers before and they are good. I currently only use the Amazon repricer because I find that if you know how to set it up, it works pretty good.

The biggest falsehood that I see sellers make is that the AZ repricer takes your price straight to your minimum. I have seen it happen but that was due to other sellers repricing at $.01 below the Buy Box, starting the race to the bottom. But even that isn’t an instant thing as others suggest.

As a disclaimer, since we are using a repricer there is one rule that has to be followed throughout this training:

You should be willing to sell at your minimum price (hopefully you sell higher).

If other sellers will sell below your minimum, let them and don’t keep lowering your minimum.

The second falsehood is the the AZ repricer won’t raise your price. I have seen it raise mine hundreds of times. If you have it set to match the Buy Box and another seller rotates into the Buy Box at $2 higher, your price will raise $2 (if it is below your Max price). This is easiestly seen on a listing that has very few sellers. If there are 10 sellers all at the Buy Box price, you will probably never see it happen.

If you click the Price History, you will see a report like this

As you can see in this example, the price does raise.

This can also be an issue if you become the only seller on a product. Many times it goes to your Max price (happens a lot with books). Sometimes you need to go back and look at listings that aren’t selling. You may find that this has happened (don’t set your max at say $500 for everything).

Other sellers you talk with will tell you I am totally wrong but this has been my experience (an experience that I have heard from other sellers that I work with) and how I have seen it work. I believe many of those sellers that disagree didn’t have their settings set right. (which is why this training was created).

The biggest drawback I have found from the AZ repricer is that it doesn’t show you return/fees like other repricers do. I will actually have 2 tabs open when I am setting the repricer. One for my active inventory (to see the fees and I have my MSKU coded to let me know my buy cost) and the automate pricing tab.

Basically I am doing math in my head to come up with my minimum price and the maximum price I set a few dollars higher than my current price (depends on the product).

I do a custom MSKU that has the price built in.

Example: 2wm617 or 2wm617ex010118

It this example my price is $2, bought from Walmart in June 2017 (and the longer one is expires on 01/01/18).

Many sellers use some sort of variation of this. Not only is this useful when repricing, but it is great for Box Level inventory when you have expiration dates and helpful when looking at long term storage.

So for a quick example I will use the MSKU above. I have my active inventory open and I see from the MSKU that I have $2 in the product and AZ fees are $7. I know my breakeven is around $9, so I might set my minimum price at $11.

I might be able to sell this for $15 but I have to be willing to sell at the $11 mark if I use the repricer.

Always know your numbers no matter what system or method you are using.

One other quick tip. Price your products like 15% higher than the buy box when sending them in. If the price raises while shipping it, you won’t sell at price lower than the current buy box. After the products are in and start showing up as available, then go in and set up your repricer.

How To Access The Repricer

If you have never seen or used the AZ repricer, you can find it in Seller Central under the Pricing tab. Just click the Automate Pricing tab.

Here is a good video from Amazon on how to use the access and use the repricer.

Why Use The Repricer

First, you should see a spike in sales if you haven’t used a repricer before (depends on your buy cost and settings). Staying at or near the buy box just increases your sales (generally reduces your ROI) and takes emotion out of pricing.

Second, you may reprice to dump products. You could just price at rock bottom prices manually but if you use the repricer, you hope to make sales on the way down and earn a little extra even if you are dumping.

I am wording this one funny because I am guilty of this and I am just “suggesting” what you can/could do.

Third, I (you can) use it for mischievous reasons. Sometimes I (you) want to cause other sellers to lower their prices and sell out of stock so that I (you) can sell mine at a higher price. If I (you) start the race to the bottom, I (you) can sort of see what other sellers are doing. I (you) might see their minimum prices, which I ( you) might choose to price at later or choose to stay just under.

I (you) might set off the race to the bottom to be able to buy out other sellers. If I (you) see that a seller has their repricer set to be the lowest seller no matter what, I (you) could start repricer at an odd hour ( like 4 AM) and drop their price super low, I (you) could do this manually too and buy out the seller while they are asleep (this usually only works on FBA sellers).

It is not uncommon for me to run the repricer and then turn it off when I hit my minimum and manually raise my price back to where I started or higher.

Other words, I (you) can be the seller others hate.

Repricing Recipes

You can and you should have several “repricing recipes”. I will be showing some of mine, but the most important thing to remember is that you need to think through what the recipe is doing. For example: if you are a FBA seller, you normally only want to price against FBA sellers.

The one that gets most people is when there is no Buy Box. If you are telling the repricer to price against that and there isn’t one, then you aren’t repricing.

(The simple work around is to set it to Lowest price, Only offers with same fulfillment method.)

The Ingredients Of The Recipes

First we have to decide what we are going to compare to. We have 2 choices. Buy Box price and Lowest price

Most of the time FBA sellers are interested in comparing to the Buy Box price since FBA products sell better and at a higher price. 99% of the time as a FBA seller, you never want to compare to Merchant Fulfilled sellers since they sell a cheaper price and shipping plays into the mix.

You can choose to add Specific types of offers.

Your 2 choices here ( and you can choose both) are:

Only offer of the same fulfillment method

Only offers from 3rd party sellers

If you are a FBA seller, you can choose Only offer of the same fulfillment method, to compare to other FBA sellers. Many times if the MF is priced low enough, AZ will give the Buy Box to them. In this case, you wouldn’t want to start pricing against their price, so this is a good one to include in your recipe.

Your other choice is Only offers from 3rd party sellers. We all know that AZ will kill the price many times. By choosing this, you can ignore AZ’s lowball prices. (I used this in the long winded example above) You will want to use this on products that AZ pops in and out of stock.

The other choice is comparing to Lowest price. At first this seem like you wouldn’t want to mess with this one because of the MF sellers, but it is a very important option to have.

There are 4 other choices you can select and you can chose more than one.

Only offers witht the same or better sub-condition : I don’t use this one but I think it mostly applies to books. It doesn’t seem to make much difference for textbooks but might make more of a difference with regular books.

Only offers with the same fulfillment method: This one is huge. This is how you get around MF sellers.

Only Sellers with a feedback rating within 5% of yours, or higher: Again I don’t use this one and don’t see much use for except when the Chinese “just launched” MF sellers pop up at the super low scammer prices. (but with the same fulfillment method and FBA, this is not an issue).

Only offers from other third party sellers: This is a big one too. This can be used to keep you from chasing Amazon when they do their crazy, stupid pricing.

Next you have to choose what you want to do.

You can choose 3 things here.

Stay below the Buy Box (or Lowest Price) by a specified amount

Match the Buy Box (or Lowest price) price

Stay above the Buy Box (or Lowest Price) by a specified amount

On these choices you can either choose a $ amount or a %. People will have different views on this. The most common and most hated is the $.01 below sellers. While I hate these myself, there are times that you should use it.

I price $.01 below when I am dumping and I plan on crashing the price. I hope to sell on the way down before I hit the price I plan on dumping at.

Recipes

Suppressed Buy Box and Books

I use the Lowest price in combination with Only offer of the same fulfillment method for suppressed buy boxes and selling books. Selling FBA, my listing may be 3 or pages deep on the offers page when there are a bunch of 3rd party MF sellers, so I use this to be the first listing when a customer clicks the FBA only box (using the Stay below the Lowest Price by a specified amount and $.01) This drastically increases book sales.

Nothing but MF sellers

Move to the top spot for Prime offers

During textbook season, you could use the Match the Lowest price if you think condition matters (with Only offer of the same fulfillment method), which might put in the top 1-5 spots depending on how AZ shows it (you have seen 5 sellers all at $29.99 and you could be the 5th seller in the list) .

Warning:

If you were to use the Stay above the Lowest Price by a specified amount , you would be constantly moving yourself away from the top spot. While this might work if you have a better condition book, it might cause you to never make a sale.

Similar to the above book sample, Lowest Price and Only offer of the same fulfillment method is the work around for suppressed Buy Boxes.

Read that again!

Actually I use the same recipe for both books and suppressed buy boxes. (well I don’t use that on books that have a used Buy Box. That is a different animal, which goes to show you need to consider every listing before just turning the repricer on everything).

On a suppressed buy box, this is the recipe I use

This is where a lot of people go wrong. They are FBA sellers, automatically click compare to Buy Box and since there is no Buy Box, nothing happens. The Only offer of the same fulfillment method is what makes this work when you chose Lowest Price.

You could have a recipe that says to match the Buy Box only if Amazon doesn’t have the Buy Box or more likely Price below the Buy Box when Amazon runs out of stock. This would be great when there are a ton of sellers and you want to unload at the first opportunity.

Now in this case a 3rd party seller could price way below Amazon and they give the Buy Box up and your repricer starts to reprice. This is why having your minimum set right is important. Setting your minimum above the Amazon price but lower than all the FBA sellers would work.

Example Amazon is selling at $12.99. All the FBA sellers are around $24.99. You could set your repricer minimum at say $20 and set the repricer to only reprice say $.01 below the Buy Box if someone besides Amazon has the Buy Box.

In this case your price might be $24.99 with a minimum of $20 and a maximum of $27. At this point, Amazon has the Buy Box and your price just sits there at $24.99.

Now Amazon runs out of stock and the Buy Box goes to the 3rd party sellers at $24.99. You are then going to drive the price down to $20, one penny at time hoping to sell out before Amazon comes back in stock. Some will argue if this works. Many time it does, other times it doesn’t. There may be someone else (or several) that it willing go to to $16. You will be stopped out at $20.

Now say the price got to $17 and Amazon comes back in stock. Your price stays at $20 where you were stopped out at. The other sellers might still be priced at $17. This is why you need to review your prices and turn off/reset your repricer occasionally.

That was a long winded example, but the point was that you told the repricer to only reprice when a 3rd party seller had the Buy Box. It did until you hit your stop of the minimum price ($20). Then Amazon came back to the Buy Box and the repricer no longer has orders to reprice Now if something changed and Amazon gave the Buy Box back to a 3rd party seller and their price was $22, the repricer would change your price from the $20 to $21.99, which is $.01 below the Buy Box (like I say, many people will try to tell you that this doesn’t happen, but it does)

Match Buy Box

The most basic setting is to match the Buy Box. I use this setting when there are a lot of sellers on a listing and bunched up at the same price, specifically 4 or more sellers at the same price.

For example, there are 6 sellers at $12.99. If there isn’t a seller lower than $12.99, you can assume that no one has a setting for $.01 below Buy Box and the price shouldn’t crash from repricers going wild.

Use Match the buy box on a listing like this:

match.png

match buy box.png (If there are just a few sellers and the prices are spaced out you will want to use the Above Buy example shown)

I am basing these settings on the fact that I am an FBA only seller.

Simply select compare to Buy Box Price and Match the Buy Box price but make sure to select Only offers with the same fulfillment method

This keeps you from trying to match Merchant Fulfilled offers if they get the buy box. (based on you being a FBA seller)

If there is a Buy Box, you should rotate into it. If there is no Buy Box, this setting will not reprice anything (This will happen when the price is above MSRP)

Slow Walk Down

This example is how to undercut your competitors and slowly walk the price down $.01 at a time. The hope is to sell before you get to your minimum price. You are basing this on only FBA offers so a low priced Merchant Fulfilled seller won’t rush the price down.

If none of the other sellers are using a repricer, you will only go to $.01 under the low FBA price and it will stop repricing unless someone manually reprices.

Do note that this isn’t needed to get the ”Buy Box” but more of a “ I need to sell this a lot quicker than normal”. You will be the low priced FBA seller or you will hit your stop price and force other sellers to price below your stop price.

If you see that the other sellers go lower, you may want to watch the other sellers stock level and turn off the repricer and raise your price one they sell out. Then you might want to go to the Match Buy Box with the higher priced sellers.

This should also reveal what other sellers stop price or repricer setting are.

This is not a setting I like to use very often.

slow walk down.png

Choose the compare to Buy Box price , then choose Stay below the Buy Box price by a specified amount . The amount could be anything, but since I am trying to go slow, I put $.01. Then check the Specific type of offers and Only offers with the same fulfillment method which will only be looking at FBA offers and keep MF sellers from making the price drop to your minimum right out of the gate

Above Buy Box

This is based on the fact that the Buy Box isn’t always going to just the lowest priced offer. This works best if their are only a few sellers or sellers that are really spaced out in prices.

Don’t match the buy box on a listing like this. Price above the buy box:

above.png

In this case you can be within $.50 to $5 ( just random numbers) of the Buy Box instead of $.01-$.10 on more congested listings. You can set this to a %. If you feel that AZ rotates the Buy Box to seller with 3% of the Buy Box, then use that type of setting instead of a dollar amount.

BTW, these are listings you should strive to be on if they are good sellers. Other times these could be higher ranked listings that aren’t good to be on. Low number of sellers and a decent sales rate = great product to sell.

Caution!

I have 2 issues that I need to caution you about that could cause you major problems when using the repricer.

First, I have noticed that when you run out of a product and send more in, the repricer turns off and displays this message when the new stock lands into you inventory.

paused.png

It pauses the repricing and you have to click the Resume button.

If you are checking your repricer regularly, you will catch this but I have had times where I was lazy and know I missed sales because my repricer was off.

The second is a big one that you really, really, really need to watch.

If you have the repricer running on a product and for some reason decide (or accidentally) to manually change the price and the price you change it to is outside your MIN and MAX prices, you will cause the listing to on inactive and get a potential pricing error alert from Amazon. ( I am actually not sure if it has to be a price outside the MIN and MAX prices, to cause this to happen. I have never tested it)

You need to stop the repricing before manually changing the price but the other thing to watch is that you need to wait a while before manually changing the price. It takes a while before the system gets everything updated and you can still get a pricing error if the system hasn’t updated yet.

Also your MIN price is still set in the Amazon system and if you manually set the price below your MIN, you will get the pricing error.

Summary

Using the repricer is actually very simple, but you have to understand what each part of the “recipe” is doing. If you just click match Buy Box, you will have poor success with repricing.

If you have one takeaway from this, focus on the suppressed buy box/book settings. Most other sellers don’t understand this one.

The second thing is to go back and check your prices regularly. I have had lots of products that I was the only FBA seller left and my price moved to my MAX. In many cases I have the MAX set way too high. In this case I will turn the repricer off and manually set the price.

If you have made it this far, I am confident that you should be able to use the repricer better than 99% of all Amazon sellers.

Since this was written, a new Chrome extension has come available that will make the following information easier to implement.

Also this is not my extension, so I don’t know how long this will last, but as of now they do give a 7 day free trial, which might be good to test out what you learn in this book.

You can get the free 7 day trial here

https://www.amzrepricerenhanced.com/invite/06bfc14cc6

How To Find UPC Codes On Walmart.com Website

Walmart is one of the largest retailers in the world and many Amazon FBA sellers source products from there.

One of the issues resellers have is finding the all important UPC codes. Walmart has them on the site but they are hidden away in the source code.

In this post I want to show how to find these codes.

UPC Codes For Both OA and RA

First, let’s look at why we even bother with finding these UPC codes.

There are actually a lot of different whys to finding these codes.

I personally am not using them for OA ( online arbitrage) but for RA ( retail arbitrage). I want to use either the Brickseek website or the Walton app to see local stock levels to pick up stock.

Other people want to do a Google search of the UPC to hoping find other sources of stock on other websites to do OA.

And there are probably other reasons, but these are the 2 that stand out to me.

Digging Into The Code

So I am not a techy, but here is the process to find the hidden UPC code in the Walmart code. ( there is an easier way that I will show after this)

First you need to be on a Walmart product page (duh!)

Next, you hit Control “U” This opens up the source code of the page

( now don’t be freaking out because of this)

Next hit Control “F” . This is to open up the search function

Next type “UPC” and hit enter

You will see UPC highlighted and the UPC next to this.

Now you can copy this code.

Note: If this is a 3rd party seller on Walmart.com, you might not find a UPC code.

The Easier Way

So this is too much work for me, so I built a Chrome Extension for this.

So on this same page, I just click the WM UPC Finder icon and it pulls this up automatically ( along with an actual bar code)

That is a lot less work!

You can download this extension for free here

You can simply scan the UPC bar code with the Amazon seller app straight off the page or you can highlight and copy  the UPC to use however you are doing your OA (online arbitrage) searches. 

How I Am Using The UPC From Walmart’s Website For Sourcing

I made a video on how I use this for sourcing

When searching the UPC code I am using an extension called OA Highlight for this but you can use Google search for this.

I am also using RA Seek to be able to highlight the UPC and shortcut to the Brickseek page to see local Walmart stock levels.  You can manually do this by copy/paste the UPC code on the Brickseek website

 

Is Tactical Arbitrage Worth The Price?

I am at heart a RA ( retail arbitrage) kind of guy. I love the thrill of the hunt and high ROIs that I get flipping products that I find locally to Amazon FBA.

With at said, RA has become harder and harder in the last year or so. There is more competition and many retail store have gotten wise to the fact that people are sourcing products to flip to Amazon and aren’t pricing products out at crazy low prices anymore.

I am not saying RA is dead, but what I am saying is that RA needs a little help from OA ( online arbitrage) to help with keeping the bottom line in the black.

With that said, there is only one obvious choice now for finding OA deals and that is the Tactical Arbitrage sourcing software.

For a Tactical Arbitrage review , see my post here

http://www.arbitrage411.com/amazon-fba/how-tactical-arbitrage-killed-oaxray-and-zen-arbitrage-and-why-you-need-tactical-arbitrage-to-do-online-arbitrage/

If you don’t have it, sign up for a free trial here ( do that now so that you can follow along with what I am going to show in this post)

Tactical Arbitrage is a great program to use but it has one big drawback.

It is expensive!

In this post I want to show you how to make enough money to cover the monthly cost in the fastest way possible. You need to understand that it is a tool to help make you money. It cost $99 a month, so it needs to make at least that much for you ( actually more than that) to be worth your while. If you pay $100 a month and make $500 a month, that is good business. If you pay $100 and make $50, that is bad business.

Before we go any farther, sign up for your free trial. If you don’t plan on using it or “don’t have time”, then stop right here. Signing up and half assing it will not do. “ Oh, I tried it and it didn’t work” doesn’t cut it when you logged in only once or don’t follow the steps I am going to lay out for you in this post.

First Step

Tactical Arbitrage is somewhat a geeks program. This is an issue because most of us sort of want simple, easy, push a magic button type software.

So the first step is to watch this video my son made on how to use Tactical Arbitrage’s interface. If you don’t understand how to get around the program, you are destined to fail at finding OA deals.

This takes about 45 minutes to watch and is where most people will get bored and drop off. Just that much better for those that commit to learn how to use the software.

Now that you understand how to use the software, now it is time to find some products.

First we need to think about this realistically.

While people occasionally find products from say Walmart or Target, these are probably the most searched sites. Not that we shouldn’t look at these sites but we need to realize that these sites might be more about timing (basically you get lucky to buy before the website runs out of stock).

Now these sites are great for the stacking of discounts which is one reason they are so popular to source but you will most likely find better products on the lesser known sites.

Next thing to look at is what products you can sell ( ungated in). There no reason to scan categories that you can’t sell. This is an issue if you purchase a bulk list for sites.

These list are great if you can sell everything but many people can’t and there is the fact that you wouldn’t scan every section if you were in the store doing RA. While Tactical arbitrage can basically run constantly, having a bunch of stuff show up that you can’t sell will make it hard to weed out the deals ( of course you could do some horse trading with the products leads that you can’t sell)

So where am I going with this?

I might be best to build a bulk list ( and you SHOULD be building bulk lists) that are for multiple, lesser known sites that are in categories that you can and want to sell in ( similar to RA) You should basically run this list over and over because the prices on websites do change all the time ( remember I said timing is important?) Also remember that sales and discounts will play into this.

Now it is possible to get a list too big and it times out before it can run all the way through. The simple fix to have multiple bulk lists and rotate them through.

Now this is one function of Tactical Arbitrage. You can actually run multi functions at once. You want Tactical Arbitrage to be running every single possible scan 24/7. You set it up, check the results daily ( or several times a day) and see if the deals work for you.

I love to sell books on Amazon but I know many people don’t. Well they don’t because many just don’t understand books. I get that but here is a little secret. While books are generally onesy or twoesy type thing, they can total pay for the cost of Tactical Arbitrage with only a few MF to FBA flips each month. ( I actually know a seller that made $13k on just 2 college textbook flips. It was a large purchase but it was a thing of beauty)

Tactical Arbitrage has a book search feature call the the library search and it basically works that same as any other search but it is a separate feature so that you can run it at the same time that you run other searches. ( as you will see by the time we are done, you will have multiple searches running at once)

Just like typical searches, you want to use bulk lists. You can build these yourself very easily. I have a post that shows how to do that.

http://www.arbitrage411.com/amazon-fba/using-and-making-money-with-tactical-arbitrage/

Now since I am a book seller, it was easy for me to make up my own bulk list. I used my knowledge of local book sourcing and just did Amazon searches to find the same kind of books ( MF to AZ flips).

So now that we have the library search running we will move on to the reverse search.

I have mostly done RA my whole FBA career and love to find discontinued products because they sell for a premium on Amazon. The problem is that once I clean out say all the Walmarts in my area of a product, then I can’t get anymore of it.

Now we have to remember that our local Walmart in this example isn’t that only place that has ever sold this product and there are other retailers, online stores and eBay that are likely to sell this product. Grant it, they might not be selling it at clearance prices but then again, they may be selling at a price that is still profitable if we flip it to Amazon.

Once again we are going to make a bulk list but this time it is of ASIN that you have sold in the past. You will need to go through your inactive inventory to find the ASIN numbers. If you delete your inactive inventory like I do and use Inventory Lab, you can look up old sales and grab the ASINs that way.

While there is a chance to some websites might have these available, the best source will be eBay. Inventory pops up all the time on eBay, so this list should be run daily ( and once again, this can run while other searches are running).

With eBay, you will get a lot of mismatches results due to the titles. ( UPC sites always have better results) but the visual matching makes it easy to see if you should skip over the find or take a closer look.

A side note: You can also scrape other sellers storefronts and use this feature to find out where they are sourcing from.

Next we can use the Amazon flips feature. Now this is a little be more time/knowledge intense. Basically you are looking to find products that Amazon drops the price on and then set alerts to catch them doing it again. Then you buy them and flip them back to Amazon to sell at a profit.

Obviously the more you run this, the bigger you build your alert list, the more future deals might come your way.

This video show how to use this feature.

Next you can actually do RA via Tactical Arbitrage. Now this is very hit or miss but it does work.

We are looking to find products that we can just run and pick up in store to flip to Amazon faster than if we ordered them online and had to wait until they arrived then shipped them to Amazon. Sometime this time frame can make the difference between profit and the race to the bottom.

In store sourcing is my preferred method for souring grocery and HBA products ( anything with an expiration date) . Too many times I have ordered something online and when it gets to me, I can’t send it in because it is too close to expiring.

Also we want to find say a product on the Walmart website, click on it and see that it is out of stock. Then we check to see if it is in stock at our local Walmart.

Here is a video on how to do this

The final feature I am going to show is the geekiest. Tactical Arbitrage uses Xpaths to run the searches.
You can actually create your own ( or pay someone else to do it) to use for website not already on the Tactical Arbitrage list of site.

This is where the real advance users are making the big bucks. They are sourcing where very few people are and using software to make it easier.

This video tells about using Xpaths

Summary

Is Tactical Arbitrage worth the price? Yes if you are willing to actually take the time to learn how to use it and have multiple searches running at once. You should have a constant supply of leads to source from. If you are a person that has bought lists in the past, now is the time to switch over to Tactical Arbitrage. Once you get it set up, there really isn’t much more time involved in using it.

I hope this has helped and make sure to sign up for your free trial. Then take action during your trial period.

Tactical Arbitrage free trial

Using Tactical Arbitrage Library Search Bulk Lists

Tactical Arbitrage has become THE software to do online arbitrage

Tactical Arbitrage ( TA) has more features than most people are actually using and the cool thing is that you can use multiple features at once.

Example: You can run a product search and run a library search at the same time.

This is huge!

In this blog post, I want to focus on the library search feature.

Why?

Well first of all most people aren’t using this feature.

Second, books are one of the last products that still have massive ROI’s

Third, you can use MF ( merchant fulfilled seller) to do the sourcing for you. Basically MF to FBA flips. There are 1000’s of MF sellers that don’t understand or care that FBA books sell for a lot more than MF books. They are constantly sourcing and adding books to the catalog. You just have to be lucky to be scanning the book listings as they pop up ( this is the magic part. Nobody can constantly see all the changes as books pop up. So there is a luck part to this but you can’t get lucky unless you are constantly scanning and that is what this post is going to be about)

And finally, with all the recent restrictions and intellectual property / counterfeit claims, books are by far one of the safest products to sell ( *** used books that is. I would suggest never listing a books as NEW even with the new policy of Amazon sharing the NEW buy box)

Add all that up, I personally love to sell books and THE tool to use is TA for finding books to flip. While you can try to do this manually, you may randomly get lucky but you will find that you can’t compete with the software and you are basically wasting your time/will get a low return for the time invested in searching.

While my examples for this post will be just for flipping from Amazon MF sellers to FBA, there are currently 9 sites that are built into the library search.

**** Before we start. If you don’t have Tactical Arbitrage, click here to get a free trial

( note it does shutdown sometimes to new sign ups and may not be accepting new member right now)

The Basic Plan

In the simple nut shell, you can and should be letting the library search run constantly in the background. Go ahead and use the other searches on TA for more specific sourcing, but let the library search run through your bulk lists ( oh what was that?)

Bulk lists are the magic sauce that make this work. Bulks list sound complicated but they are actually very easy to put together yourself. They are simple Excel files that require 4 columns and you save them as CSV files.

They only actual info you need to search for is the first column, which is basically an Amazon link to a category or as I do it, an Amazon search.

You want to niche this down to the smallest level of search possible because you are limited on how many pages you can search on each search of on the bulk list, ( in the video I had it searching 300 pages which I believe currently you can only do 100 pages.  I set the default to 100 on each search even if it has only 5 pages. It doesn’t mess TA up)  but more specifically Amazon’s search is screwy and doesn’t always show everything. You have better chance of Amazon showing more if the search has fewer possible results. There is no way to prove this, but it doesn’t hurt to make the bulk list this way.

For example instead of trying to do the whole “Math” category you would copy the link for the Algebra category, then the Geometry category , etc.

You may find that only certain niches are good to scan and this would be the way to scan instead of the massive main category.

Be careful to not make the bulk list too big. It will only run for about 48 hours before it times out.

In theory you could have a 200 row list and it times out on row 100 and if you keep starting it over, you would never get to rows 101 to 200. You can choose to start on any row, which in this case, you could start up on row 101.

If I am in the Mathematics category of books, the AZ link for it is

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_3?fst=p90x%3A1%2Cas%3Aoff&rh=n%3A283155%2Cn%3A13884%2Ck%3Amath&keywords=math&ie=UTF8&qid=1489274975&rnid=1000

But the problem is that there are 300,000 books in this search. Way too big.

A sub category is “Study and Teaching”, which has 6000 results, which is more manageable.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_0?fst=p90x%3A1%2Cas%3Aoff&rh=n%3A283155%2Cn%3A75%2Cn%3A13884%2Cn%3A13985%2Ck%3Amath&keywords=math&ie=UTF8&qid=1489274988&rnid=1000

I would then click back on the browser and click on the next sub category, “History” and grab that link

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_1?fst=p90x%3A1%2Cas%3Aoff&rh=n%3A283155%2Cn%3A75%2Cn%3A13884%2Cn%3A13942%2Ck%3Amath&keywords=math&ie=UTF8&qid=1489274988&rnid=1000

And so on and so on. ( BTW, this is the same way you build a bulk list for other products)

While this works, it doesn’t work great. The issue is that Amazon doesn’t show you everything. It is more hit or miss. This is what most people are doing.

I have made my own lists that I break it down differently.

You will have much better luck if you can do a search that is more specific.

Say there is a publisher called XYZ Books. If you type XYZ Books into AZ search, you can copy that link and have a much better chance of AZ showing you probably all the result for XYZ Books.

Now if you could come up with a list of 100’s of say textbook publishers, you will do much better than just choosing a bulk textbook search.

This is how I made my lists.

The other issue people have is that they don’t exactly know which kinds of books sell at best and are searching the wrong kinds of books.

I personally subscribe to the teachings of the book guru , Peter Valley. I apply the same principles that I use sourcing locally for books on my TA searches.

Actually I have list I use that is for Scholarly books ( basically non textbook, textbooks.) I would rather source these kinds of books over textbooks ( but I still love to source textbooks) because most people overlook these books and totally focus on textbooks.

This is the magic of bulk lists. You can customize it for yourself and there may not be anyone else that has what you are using.

You can have multiple bulk lists to choose from and add or subtract to them.

For example, I love to source textbooks and scholarly books, but it would be worthless for me to try to source them in late August .

At that time, I would be off running a different bulk list that didn’t focus on textbooks.

Things to Consider

Keep the search running. You never know what will be listed and when. Remember that you don’t have to buy every deal but it is nice to have options.

Some deals will be gone before you get a chance to buy them. There are lots of people running Tactical Arbitrage library searches and who know how many other softwares are running searches ( like Zen Arbitrage) .

Some of the finds on the library search are just wrong. Someone will have a book listed at $600 FBA and there is a $4 MF offer. TA can’t tell that that is a bad results because of some crazy FBA seller. Basically you will have a lot of false positives so to speak.

A few buys of the results of the library search can actually cover the cost of TA ( it isn’t exactly a cheap software). You should be using every available search to help cover the cost.

While you don’t have to be a bookseller to get lucky finding some books, you will have better luck if you understand how flipping from MF to FBA works and how money is made on people paying a premium for FBA books.

It also is helpful if you understand what kind of books are valuable. Yes textbooks are good but everyone knows that. You will make more on other kinds of books that other people over look.

Make sure you change your starting points on the bulk lists if they are too big and time out before you can run the whole thing.

Don’t source textbooks during textbook season. You need to source prior to textbook season and after textbook season which is prior to the next textbook season.

Be cautious of some MF sellers. Read descriptions and look at feedback.

I would suggest never selling a books as new. That is actually the only real dangerous area of selling books.

Finally if you aren’t a subscriber of Tactical Arbitrage, sign up for the free trial and make yourself some bulk lists to test out what you can find.

How Tactical Arbitrage Killed OAXray And Zen Arbitrage ( And Why You Need Tactical Arbitrage To Do Online Arbitrage)

Online arbitrage has evolved at a rapid pace over the last few years. If you are trying to do OA with manual techniques that worked a few years ago, you will not see much success. Basically, you need to be using software to do the searching for you or you need to focus on other forms of sourcing.

Flashback

Probably the best collective work on doing manual OA was the book, “Online Arbitrage” by Chris Green. This was groundbreaking when it came out in Fall, 2014.

Most of the techniques used involved Chrome extensions. These extensions would basically look at sites that they were affiliates of (that is how they made their money) and tell you if you could get the product cheaper (or in stock) somewhere else.

Most people probably still have these installed and do this technique to some extent (I have all mine turned off).

This worked great at first when there weren’t as many people doing OA, but the problem was that the extensions only had the incentive to show you results from sites that they could insert an affiliate link into, but as people started using cashback sites, many extensions had their affiliate link canceled and the cashback site made the commission.

This alone, with the fact that some extensions have websites (and there were some stand alone “deal” sitez) had their Amazon affiliate accounts shut down (AZ did play favorites on this), many extensions and sites had no incentive to keep handing out free information.

Software For OA

During this time, there were computer savvy FBA sellers that started developing their own software for scraping websites and using the data to find deals.

There is no way to know how many people were doing this and how many still are, but they weren’t going to tell or share what they were doing.

Then along came OAXray.

Now I do not profess to know the whole or real story behind OAXray, but I believe it was used for deal finding for a private group before it was released to the public (that is just heresay and I may be wrong).

The reason OAXray worked so well was that it wasn’t based on only searching websites that paid an affiliate commission. Their business model was to charge for the software and profit that way.

They weren’t worried about if you hit a cashback site. In fact they want to and they allow you to figure discounts within the software to help you turn unprofitable products into profitable products.

The decision that you had to make was if it cost $XX per month, will it make me more than $XX. If so, it was a good investment.

People sourcing via OAXray started eating the manual OA sourcer’s lunches. Life was good if you paid for a subscription and actually used the software. It made you money!

As a side note, around this time, a bookseller named Peter Valley came out with a software called Zen Arbitrage.

It turned the book sourcing world upside down because it was used to do AZ to AZ flips. Buying MF seller books and sending them back into AZ and selling FBA, which makes you big money.

This software had something going on for it that was better than OAXray (more about this later) that actually is OAXrays achilles tendon.

There Goes The Neighborhood

So life is great if you are the only software in town. You don’t exactly have to keep delevoping the software. You have happy customers that really don’t have much more of a choice (and you are making them money).

Then this Aussie named Alex Moss shows up. He has a software called Tactical Arbitrage that he was using for personal sourcing and it has more sites (lots more sites) that what OAXray had.

But it is sort of a screwed up software. You needed to have an Amazon affiliate account (lost mine long time ago) to get some keys to access data.

Getting and setting up an Amazon affiliate account was not as easy as paying a monthly fee and does require one to be a little computer savvy.

This pretty much kept away a lot of users. (The computer geeks jumped on this super fast).

So OAXray was still king of the hill. The software from that Aussie was too hard for common people to use, so life was still good.

Here is the problem. Alex is real good at accepting feedback and making changes. He was embraced by the computer geeks using his software. They were more than willing to help him and he had one goal: To have the best sourcing software out there.

The one day, Tactical Arbitrage no longer need you to have an Amazon affiliate.

Shit just got real!

Now I can’t say that I know when, where, or exactly if, but OAXray sort of saw the writing on the wall. They were making a lot of changes and adding a lot of features to OAXray. (side note, I have met these guys and Alex and they are all great guys)

But here is the problem and the Achilles heel of OAXray. It is a Chrome extension. This limits some of what can be done with the software as compared to Tactical Arbitrage with is server based (I don’t claim be a programmer).

Like I say, I am not a programmer. Alex may or may not have realized this when he thought up Tactical Arbitrage. But the OAXray guys already have a customer base that likes user friendly software. Changing things up may not be an option for them.

So Alex is constantly making changes to Tactical Arbitrage. It is sort of the culture there. Whereas many of the users of OAXray don’t want to keep having to learn how to use the software. (many probably don’t even use many of the newer features that the OAXray guys have come up with)

So while OAXray is a great product, they are sort of trapped by their user base and the user base is basically all fighting to use the same sourcing sites.

Now the Tactical Arbitrage user base is not afraid of new stuff and wants to keep adding more and more sites and features to the software. The results are that they are making lots of money off using the software. (that is a basic principle, the cost of using the software should be less that than the money it makes you)

Then there is the fact that OAXray needs you to sort of be present to run it.

Alex wanted you to be able to let the computer run while you were doing other things and spit out the results. Tactical Arbitrage #1 feature is the ability to use bulk lists. Instead of clicking tab after tab, you just upload CVS files to TA and let it run. Then you come back later and check out the results.

Time out

What about that Peter guy?

Well Tactical Arbitrage has a feature that allows you to basically scan books like Zen Arbitrage does.

WTF?

Yeah, you get to have a software that scans similar to OAXray and also Zen Arbitrage for the same price as one of those softwares.

Now I am not a rocket scientist but that is a way better deal.

Summing It Up

In a nutshell, the fact that Tactical Arbitrage is server based allowing it to handle more complex tasks than what an extension can and the ability to upload bulk list that don’t require you to have to click webpage after webpage is why TA is the better choice over OAXray.

With Zen Arbitrage, it is simply the fact that you can do more than search just search books for the same price.

So that is basically how Tactical Arbitrage knocked off all the competition.

Using Tactical Arbitrage

So besides the fact that I am tired of typing, I think a picture is worth a 1000 words and I am going to just title a feature/technique/how to and have videos that talk about it.

Some are mine, some belong to other people.

Here is the deal. People are lazy. You probably won’t watch these videos.

They teach you how to make money, but who will spend 10 minutes watching these?

Well the people that are successful at FBA will. Which are you?

First here is a list of sites TA covers

https://tacticalarbitrage.com/sites/

Ok, let’s get TA set up.

No video here but a PDF on how to do it

https://tacticalarbitrage.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Setting-up-Tactical-Arbitrage-New.pdf

Here is the dashboard and TA looks on the inside

Here is a basic search Part 1.

Part 2

So now I will show you some of the ways I use TA.

Ok, I like to sell books and here is how you do book scans. (who need Zen Arbitrage anyway?)

But you can source other places for books.

I know, books bore you. Well I like video games too.

You don’t have a video game list? Well here is how to make some mad money doing the onesy, twosey video game flips from eBay.

Oh, you thought that TA was just for OA. No, you can do RA with it. (now you are seeing what the full time FBAers are doing)

So you found some products on clearance or the source has dried up? Yeah TA has a way to find more.

Ok, here is one that I haven’t figured out yet, (or got the settings right) but it has so much potential that it is crazy.

There is a whole lot more you can do with TA but I have probably lost 99% of the people by now. If you are still here, you can get a free trial of Tactical Arbitrage here.

Click here for a free trial

Tell them Jason sent you.

Stephen Smotherman’s How To Keepa Camel Book & Video Course Review

Move Over Chris Green

I was a beta tester for Stephen Smotherman’s new ebook/video course on CamelCamelCamel and Keepa Charts.

I am going to be blunt. This is the most important training I have seen come out since Chris Green’s Online Arbitrage.

How To Keepa Camel

It Was Like Crack

I choose to watch the videos instead of reading the ebook. Video fits my learning style the best and I just think you pick up way more by video than reading especially since you are looking at CCC and Keepa charts.

There are 34 videos for a total 3 ½ hours of video. ( I didn’t watch the last one because it was just an advertisement for his other products)

I basically watched them one after another. I watched about 20 before bed one night and got up to watch the rest the next morning.

Why?

Well I was learning so much.

I value my time and if it was just the same things I already knew, I would have turned it off.

I am not exactly a rookie, so I was actually surprised at what I was learning. Some of it was stuff I just hadn’t taken the time to think through and other things were concepts that I just didn’t know.       (Yeah I am man enough to admit that I don’t know it all.)

Stephen has been selling way longer than me. I am sure he has forgotten more than I know.

I am good with that.

(BTW, I am actually jealous. I wish I had thought of making this training, but since I didn’t know a lot of it, I couldn’t have)

It Is All In The Charts

So you think you know how to read CCC or Keepa charts?

Think again.

I thought I knew how to read them too.

So let’s talk about something besides Amazon.

Ever try stock trading?’

I have.

I sucked at it.

But…I am pretty anal about stuff. When I am interested in something, I AM INTERESTED IN SOMETHING. I read everything I can about it.

One of the things I learned was that people chart prices and they make buying decisions based on the charts. The charts showed a lot more than what the untrained eye would see.

One of the coolest was Candlestick charting. People can tell you exactly what happened, what people are going to do next and how they make all their decisions from what they see on the charts.

I knew about the charts and knew how to read them but I still thought that my decisions (ok freaking guesses) would do better.

Boy was I wrong. ( I don’t trade stock anymore)

If I had to do it over again, I would stick to using the charts. They worked but it took work to read them. It took time to read them and after making a bad buy, it is not the best time to do the research.

Fast forward to now and me selling on Amazon.

I am pretty good at sourcing but honestly, I have had times where some things have bit me in the ass.

I thought it was a great buy at the store and by the time I went to list it, I was like, WTF was I thinking?

Why does this happen?

Well I honestly never look at the charts when I am in the stores sourcing.

I have looked at them when I use to do a lot of OA (I don’t really do that anymore) but now I realize that when I was looking at the charts, I really wasn’t getting all the info I needed.

Check the course now

My Buying Mistake

I will admit that I almost never look at the charts while out sourcing and here is an example of a very recent mistake I made.

I bought a LOT of these while sourcing at a flea market for $2.50 each.

I went to list them (about a month later after taking this training) and they are selling for $4.97. WTF?

shampoo1

I hadn’t went through the training yet when I bought these but I was listing them post going through the training, so I pulled up the charts on my laptop.

If you look at the chart, I literally scanned and bought these when Amazon had just ran out of stock.

shampoo2

If you look at the chart more, you see that Amazon has only ran out of stock once in the last year (at the exact time I bought them ) and they are back in stock.

Stephen Smotherman's How To Keepa Camel Book & Video Course Review

Basically it was terrible timing for me and if I had taken an extra minute to pull up the Keepa chart, I would have known not to buy them.

Anyone need shampoo?

What To Expect From This Training

If I had to sum it up, he teaches you what a full time, seasoned reseller knows. He teaches you how to think and make better sourcing decisions.

Stephen does show the basics but actually spends very little time on that. You don’t really need to spend a ton of time learning how to install Keepa or CCC extensions.

He mostly shows you charts of products. He goes through the charts and explains what is going on and shows you how you would make the decision to buy or not buy.

What Stood Out

Obviously I can just telling you everything that is in the training. Stephen worked hard to put it all together and should be compensated for all the time he put into it and the value he is bringing.

With that said, I will share a few things that really stood out to me.

Stephen actually did research on products and sales rank before CCC and Keepa were a thing.

He recorded the sales rank of products on a daily basis. He did this manually everyday.

From this, he was able to learn how the sales ranks changes due to sales.

You can do this yourself. While it would be a pain in the butt, I think you could learn a ton from this.

Look for a toy on Amazon and start recording the sales rank each day. Just make an Excel sheet like he did.

Now you have an advantage over him. You can actually compare Excel sheet to the CCC or Keepa chart. This should really help get the concept into you head, but it will require some effort.

Average Sales rank

When the sales rank is bouncing around all over the place, how do you decide if it is a buy or not?

Stephen shows how to come up with an average sales rank and how to use a sales rank chart to make your buying decisions.

What? What is this magic he is teaching?

Basically this technique can help you make a better buying decision when you might have just been confused. You may have scanned when the sales rank was great and cleared a shelf off when you shouldn’t have or you may have scanned when the sales rank was terrible and passed on buying. Both would be bad. But after you learn how to do this technique, you could make a better decision.

Learning To Project Sales ( Seasonal) Based On The Charts

When you are preparing to sell in say Q4 or a certain season, you need to know what kind of sales you can expect to decide how much product you should buy. This also holds true if you are buying clearance out of season.

When products are out of season, the sales ranks are going to be bad and the prices are going to be bad. That is pretty common knowledge (I hope you understand that).

So this is a problem.

Just how good is it likely to sell? And for how much?

Or maybe you just pass because “My buying rules say I never buy over 100k sales rank” .

Worse, you know that products out of season have bad sales ranks so you go ahead and buy it, but if you looked on the chart,you would find that even in season, it has a bad sales rank.

The simple answer is to check the charts to see if you can gather more information to help you make a better buying decision.

Advanced Techniques

Toward the end of the training, Stephen moves into more advanced stuff.

Honestly there are a lot of lessons on how to think like an experienced, full-time FBA seller.
Besides learning how to read charts and get a lot more information out of them than you did before, Stephen takes it a step farther. You will honestly feel kind of like an amauteru after you see how he thinks.

I almost feel like it is 2 different courses in one.

My Hack

I did see one area that Stephen left out. He assumed that experienced sellers are buying this. He assumes that they are using paid tools like Inventory Lab or paid scanning apps like Profit Bandit.

Not everyone is using or paying for those tools, so I thought “How would I do this if I didn’t have that tool?”

I found a very simple hack for doing something that has caused/would cause me not to do this while sourcing. (easily accessing the Keepa or CCC charts)

If it isn’t easy, you are not going to do it, so I made a video of how to set it up. (on an iPhone, but the concept is the same for Android)

 

Conclusion

I could go on and on and show more examples of what he has in his course, but that just wouldn’t be right.

I can say that I am not pushing his course to just make an affiliate sale. I honestly found a lot of value in it that I will be applying to my sourcing.

Will others see it that way?

I honestly don’t know.

It was something that I found value in and I understood it. Maybe others aren’t at the same place as me. Maybe others are more advanced than me.

With all of that said, I am an affiliate for this course. (I am an affiliate for all of Stephen’s products because they are all high quality)

If you have found value in my review, please go through my link ( it doesn’t cost you any extra)

http://www.fulltimefba.com/members/aff/go/jwilkey/?i=4

 

 

 

 

Textbook Arbitrage With Zero Risk ( Almost Zero)

Textbook Arbitrage With A Twist

Amazon has a book buy back / trade in program. Many times on book listings you will see an offer “Sell yours for a gift card”.  This post will tell you how to make money from this.

Textbook Arbitrage

http://www.amazon.com/Sell-Books/b?node=2205237011

How Does The Buy Back Work

Amazon will give you a gift card for books in “good” condition and they give you a label for free inbound shipping.

When you click the button to trade yours in, it is going to ask you to verify the ISBN number. They are wanting the exact match to the book.

After you verify the book, and accept the offer, they give you a certain number of days to return the book.

I have seen 14 days as a common number of days, but at other times it has been less ( between late Dec. and early Jan) . I am not sure if it is variable based on the time of year or the book.

The price you are offered is guaranteed as long as you get the book in in time and it meets the minimum condition standards.

Also you are NOT obligated to send it in. You could just let the offer “die” or cancel it. ( this is important, as you will see later)

Arbitrage Opportunities

There are actually Merchant Fulfilled  3rd party sellers ( MF) that are selling textbooks for less than the trade in value.

This creates an arbitrage opportunity.

You can buy the textbook from a 3rd party MF seller and send to Amazon and get a gift card worth more than you paid for the book.

This is constantly changing. New offers pop up on book listings, sellers change their prices and Amazon raises or lowers the trade in value.
Other words, this is a HUGH opportunity.

ROI

The ROI most likely is going to be lower than you would expect than selling on Amazon FBA but you have to look at the risk.

In most cases, there is almost zero risk.

You know what you are buying a book for and you have the price you will get for it locked up say for 2 weeks. If everything goes as planned, you know what your profit is ( you don’t have to worry about a race to the bottom)

What Could Go Wrong

There are 3 things that generally could go wrong.

The book you buy could turn out to be in worse condition or the wrong ISBN. In that case, you would have to go through the hassle of returning it to the MF seller.

Second, you might not get the book in time. In that case, you could just start a new trade in and let the other one “die”. The price being offered may be lower, but in some cases, it might actually be higher ( and in that case even if you can get the book in in time, you would take the higher price and let the lower price “die” or cancel it.)

Thirdly, Amazon grades the book worst and doesn’t accept it. ( or it is missing something) In this case, you could return it to the MF seller ( a little harder since it has been a couple of weeks).

Hopefully you would catch this before sending it in. There are actually other book buyback programs, so you could send it to one of them or you could just send it into FBA and sell it.

With all that said, the actual risk of any of those happening is on the low side.

Finding Books For Textbook Arbitrage

In the past, I have manually searched for books. This works, but it is slow.

My son, who loves to do textbook arbitrage, came up with a Chrome extension to make the process easier.

https://jvz4.com/c/332845/303337

Here is a video on how the extension works

Get the Chrome extension I used in the video here: https://jvz4.com/c/332845/303337

As you can see, you still have to do research, but the extension makes it a lot easier.

Other Sites For Textbook Buyback

Amazon isn’t the only game in town. There are other textbook buyback sites and sometimes they pay more than Amazon will for a textbook.

Here is one that searches several sites at once

http://www.bookfinder.com/buyback/

Conclusion

In many cases, you might decide that selling a textbook via FBA may make you way more money and choose to do that. In other cases, you might want to grab the guaranteed profit that the textbook buyback program offers.

This is good way to profit on textbooks when it is not “textbook season”. ( textbook season is the start of every college semester when textbooks sell at their highest prices).

You are faced with the choice of a quick return or a buy and hold scenario if you get textbooks out of season.

Get the Chrome extension I used in the video here: https://jvz4.com/c/332845/303337

Using Contextual Search For Online Sourcing For FBA

Contextual search for online arbitrage is one of my favorite techniques to use. It is so simple but so powerful that many people overlook it

What Is Contextual Search?

Generally contextual search is just highlighting and either copying and pasting into a search engine like Google or highlighting and using a Chrome extension to do the copy/paste.

Here is a more detailed explanation : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contextual_searching

Here is a quick video on how it works

How Online Sourcing Extensions Work

If you do a lot of online sourcing, you most likely are using Chrome and have several extensions installed to help you find sources for products.

I don’t claim to know how the extensions actually work but in general they are grabbing info off the pages you look at and do a sort of contextual search hoping to find a match and get you click on it and set their affiliate link ( yeah that is the only reason they build the extensions, they are trying to make a commission on your purchases )

Most of the times that works pretty good but they aren’t human and can’t make decisions to on stuff that doesn’t match up perfectly.

That is where search engines come in.

Search Engines

Google, Bing, Yahoo and a host of other smaller search engines have bots ( spiders) that crawl web pages and try to figure out what is on the page and classify it ( think SEO, search terms , meta data, etc)

When a user types in something to the search bar, it tries to match up the most relevant pages to the search. Each search engine does it different and returns different results. That is why going with the same search engine all the time might not help you find deals others are finding.

Sometimes it takes a human eye to see that a page may actually be a possible source. You may have to go several pages down in search results to find the sources that other aren’t finding ( that is where the gold is)

Context Menu Search

Context Menu Search is the normal Chrome extension that people are using. It can be customized to the search engines you choose.

Get it here https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/context-menu-search/ocpcmghnefmdhljkoiapafejjohldoga?hl=en

I have used this on for a long time and it is free. Works pretty good but you do need to take time to set it up for your own preferences .

I have recently changed over to a new paid extension called OAhighlight.

It does basically the same thing but is somewhat more convenient ( as you will see in some of the following videos)

It is also customizable but it does come with a lot of search engines already installed.

Here are a few videos that show how I use contextual search for online sourcing

Here is something to look at if you are a book seller. I use these 2 on Firefox and haven’t taken the time to figure out the search to add to the OAhighlight extension yet

Bargain Book Mole

http://www.bargainbookmole.com/

Book Burro

I don’t know if you can find the right search links or not ( and I can’t even find the Book Burro webpage) but someone more tech savy than me may be able to. ( If not, at least you know that you can use them in Foxfire and that is another sourcing trick)

Conclusion

Everyone nowadays thinks that they need software like OAXray to source online. The truth is that everyone is doing that and the deals are getting harder and harder to find ( some people are still doing really good at it) but contextual search is an old technique that you should look to use to find hidden gems. It isn’t a fast technique, that is why I recommend using the new extension that does save a little time but you can still do it for free if you take the time to set up the free extension.

FBA Taxes: What To Expect And What Your Tax Guy Needs

I have been away for awhile dealing with some family health issues. During that time I was PMed to do a post on what reports are needed/what you need for taxes concerning FBA.

So first, I am not an accountant ( actually I do have a degree in Accounting) so I can’t give tax advice but I can tell you what my experience is dealing with my tax guy.

So the basic thing AZ is going to give you is a report that says the total sales you had, the total fees you paid AZ and how much money they sent you.

From this point let’s say they said you sold $100k, that they charged you $33k and sent you $67k back.

The $67k is the important number. This is what the government thinks you made and wants you to pay taxes on until you take out your cost of goods (COG) and expenses.

So you need to know the value of the inventory you had in stock on Jan. 1 of 2015 and Dec. 31 of 2015. The value is what your cost was, not what it will sell for. Your tax guy needs this.

Now this is a big problem if you aren’t keeping good records or if you aren’t using Inventory Lab. ( this is the #1 reason to use Inventory Lab)

The report that you can run on Dec. 31 from AZ just tells you what you have in stock. It doesn’t give you the value. If you are using IL, it will tell you the COG of that inventory.

So if you aren’t keeping track of this, you need to have a number for the COG. I sure hope at least you coded the cost in the MSKU like I recommend you do on every product.

You would have to go through every single item, take the COG times every unit for every single item you had in stock on Dec 31 to get your ending inventory value ( oh wait, it gets better)

Now we need to know what your COG was for everything you sold for the whole year.

If you are keeping good records, then you would just subtract the ending COG from the total years COG and then you would have that COG for the products you sold through the whole year.

Let’s say that number is $33k. So the tax guy would subtract $33k from the $67k number AZ gives you, so now the government wants to tax you on $34k.

Now if you didn’t keep records, man you are SOL. You are going to have to look at every single sale you made and come up with a COG for each item. This is really hard if you have no record of what each item cost and if you had a lot of sales, you are going to be super busy.

So now that we have $34k left, this is where that tax guy is going to try to take expenses and deductions away to get this number lower. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t really make $34k, it just means that you don’t want to pay taxes on $34k.

Here are some of the things my tax guy wanted.

Mileage. This is big! You get to deduct $.54 a mile for your sourcing trips. So in this case, if you had 1000 miles of deductible mileage, then $540 is coming off of the $34k and you won’t have to pay taxes on the $540. So let’s say you pay 25% tax on the money. You just saved $135 in taxes.

The tax guy will have questions about your car, insurance, usage , etc.

So hopefully you have been keeping a record of mileage. If not, you got some work ahead of you.

Now you can claim mileage even if you don’t find any products while sourcing but I personally want to have a receipt to back up every sourcing trip.

It gets muddy when you mix personal trips with business trips. Think of grocery shopping and you pick up some FBA stuff. Do you get to claim that? Talk to you tax guy.

So my tax guy wants to know other things.

He takes a deduction for me working out of my house. So he needs to know the square footage of my house and the square footage of my work area that is used for FBA. He also needs things like how much my insurance is, the utilities, etc.

So the tax guy is going to come up with a number for what he can take off as a deduction for you working out of your house. Now if you are bigger than that with say a warehouse, the tax guy will need all the cost involved with that.

So the tax guy will take this out off the $34k, making your tax bill lower.

Expenses are another deduction that tax guy will want. Hopefully you have been keeping records of all the boxes, box tape, polybags, etc.

All this stuff is going to come off the $34k.

So how many times you see people in a FB group say ” I am not going to pay for boxes”? Well they don’t realize how little it actually cost them.

Say that you are paying 25% tax. That $1.30 box is going to come off of the $34k, so it is actually costing you $.98.

You are now a business owner and things that you need for your business that make things easier/better you should buy because you are basically getting them as a discount because you take them as expenses.

Your tax guy will be trying to get the $34k down as far as possible because that is what you will be paying taxes on.

There are probably things I forgot to include, but that is the general process of the taxes.

Now if this was your first year selling, now you have a surprise coming your way.

Uncle Sam doesn’t want you to have a free ride and wants the taxes paid before the end of each year.

Most likely your tax guy will talk to you about quarterly estimated taxes.

Basically every 3 months, you are going to start paying taxes and surprise, your first quarterly tax is due on April 15 along with your 2015 taxes.

Now quarterly taxes are a pain. Why? Well you need to pay 90% of what you owe ( which if your business is growing, becomes hard to figure) or you have to a pay a penalty ( actually you are ok if you pay 100% of the last years tax. ie, talk to your tax guy)

So this is a quick overview of the process and this is why you need to pay a tax guy to help you.

You also need to keep good records ( that is why Inventory Lab gets $50 a month)