Tips For Making Money Selling Online

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.