When you can’t get a signal, you can’t source.
We all have been there before ( some of us more than others) when for whatever reason why, we can’t get a cell signal to run our Amazon sourcing scanning app. This is very frustrating and in this post, I want to show some ways to work around this.
Sourcing FBA RA Fringe Areas
I live in a rural area and a lot of times the cell towers aren’t exactly close to having strong signal. If you go inside some of the steel sided stores around here ( basically pole barns) , there is no signal at all.
This happens at most of the farm stores, Dollar Generals, etc.
There is also a city I go to that has both an Ollies and Rosas that is in an area that has zero cell service for my carrier. I know there is some good stuff to source out of both of these stores but have never been able to source there.
There first and easiest fix is to use a different sourcing app, so let’s look at how the apps work.
The Amazon seller app is what I use normally. It requires more cell data because it is a live search. Other scanning apps like Scoutify, Scanpower, Profit Bandit, etc, don’t get to access the same data in the Amazon API. They have to use “old” data and that is why you will see a price difference if compared to the Amazon seller app.
My go to is the Scoutify app. It uses less cell data so it will work better with a weaker/slower signal. ( the bar code reader also works faster too than the Amazon app for less battery drain) .
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like using Scoutify if I don’t have to. I like the Amazon seller app showing me if it is restricted or not and in general, I find it harder to interpret the data on Scoutify compared to the Amazon seller app, but it is way better than nothing.
The second workaround that I personally don’t use but know several other FBA sellers that do this is to have a second cell phone with a different carrier.
In my case, I am on Verizon but I know another local seller that is on ATT or T Moble and can scan at the Ollies that I can’t get signal from Verizon at.
“I am not going to pay for a second phone” is what some are saying right now. Really? It is a business expense and you can take it off your taxes and secondly, what if you go into that “unscannable “ store and make $2k? That would make it worth it.
The third work around is to hook up to the internet via Infinity. I personally don’t have this service, but one of my sons had access and was able to scan in places that I couldn’t because I didn’t have an cell service.
Many stores have a public wifi signal and you should check to see if you can hook up. If it is a locked wifi, you might be able to talk an employee or manger into letting you have the password.
The fourth workaround is the many times there is actually an area that does get some signal somewhere in the store.
If you are pretty good at “knowing what is probably worth something”, you can toss stuff in your cart and then head to the signal area to scan.
This is hit or miss but does work. Usually this is upfront near a window or on a side.
Not exactly fun but it will work in a pinch.
Fifth workaround is to carry in the Amazon product database.
I do a lot of book sourcing and use a Dell PDA that I have the whole book catalog downloaded on it to scan books faster.
I use a service called Scoutpal ( there are others) that cost me $9.99 a month. Not only does it have the whole book category in the database ( that is what is was primarily set up for in the beginning) it also includes most of the other categories as a freebie.
I can literally scan anyplace without any signal at all.
Now it has drawbacks.
First, you have to update the database which is updated on the website twice a week. So the data is no where current in most cases.
Second, while is says there is the whole database, somethings just aren’t there and you can’t do any source to title search. Basically if someone changed the UPC code, you won’t see the product show up.
Finally, the data is extremely basic. It is just going to get you in the ballpark of basic prices. Many times you have to make some assumptions about MF verses FBA.
Sixth, if it is a chain store like Big Lots, you could source one that has signal and then go to the one that doesn’t and pick up the same products. This means you will probably miss stuff that the non signal store might only have but it is a somewhat workable plan.
You could take this a step farther and buy a sourcing list. Say I could buy a list for the Ollies I can’t get signal in. I would basically just look for the stuff on the list and source that way.
Finally the last case ( and most sucky way to have to do this) would be to snap pictures of products that you thought would be worth money and go back home ( or where you have signal) and look up the products on Amazon. Obviously the more experience with sourcing you are, the better chance you could pick winners.
While lack of signal when sourcing sucks, it is not the end of the world. Most of the things I listed here, most seller won’t do. This is good for you if you will take the extra steps that others won’t and should help you find profitable produces that other can’t.