Tips For Making Money Selling Online

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.

WM UPC Finder

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

That is a lot less work!

Using The UPC For Sourcing

I made a video on how to use this for sourcing but first here are the tool I use in the video

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

I am also using the Android Walton app to do the same thing as Brickseek with my phone

The video below will show you how to make all of this work

 

How To Check Product Restriction And Hazmat Status When Doing OA For FBA

How many times have you sourced product via OA ( online arbitrage) for Amazon FBA and when you sent them in, you found out you were restricted or that they were hazmat?

If your answer is anything other than “never”, then you know the sting of eating the cost on those products.

In this post I am going to show how to do this manually and show you my simple work around to make it even easier.

The Hard Way

Most people are going to tell you to try to list it and see if you are allowed to sell it.

This in essence is the right answer, but it is a pain in the butt to do this if you have a lot of 1’s or 2’s of a products.

Since I do mostly RA ( retail arbitrage) I am using the Amazon seller app and it simply tells you (***most of the time) if a product is restricted or hazmat.

This works great if you have the product in hand like you do with RA but when you are doing OA, you don’t have a product to scan.

The process is simple.

You go to seller central and try to list the product.

Then this should pop up.

Now you would enter the UPC or asin ( or do a title search)

In this case, if I try to list Nike socks, it show that it is restricted for me

So pretty simple but time consuming. The AZ seller app would have just put a big red RESTRICTED across the screen.

So now I will tell what I know about determining if a product is Hazmat:

I don’t know! Truthful.

Either I see it with the AZ Seller app warning or when I try to ship it in and Amazon says I can’t.

Here is a Reddit about it

Yeah that sort of sucks.

The East Way

So here is the easy way. I actually built a Chrome extension for seeing if a product was restricted and after people started using it, they were like “Hey you can find out if a product is Hazmat with this”.

Simple dumb luck that I made it but if it works, let’s go with it.

So with this extension you highlight UPC codes and it turns them into barcodes. Then you can scan the bar code with the Amazon seller app which tells you if it is restricted and if it is hazmat.

The Chrome extension I am using is call UPC Detective and you can get it here:

https://gumroad.com/a/118043763

When you highlight a UPC, the barcode pops up and you can scan it with your AZ seller app

This works great if there is a UPC code on the page. Sometimes there isn’t a UPC code and you need to grab the ASIN and take it to a ASIN to UPC converter website

http://www.upcbarcodes.com/dashboard/asin-gtin-converter/

Then you would highlight the UPC code it spits out and then scan the barcode with the AZ seller app

In this case here is the scan from the AZ seller app and notice the hazmat warning on the right side

So there you have it. That is the easy way to check restricted and hazmat product on Amazon FBA when you are doing online arbitrage.

 

 

Simple Technique For Proving Pixel For Pixel Theft Of Merch By Amazon Designs

As a person that has had a #1 selling tee shirt design on the Merch By Amazon platform, I can attest to the fact of people stealing designs via the pixel for pixel method. It can be very frustrating and the simple fact is that you don’t always know how Amazon will handle this from day to day or case to case.

Sure there is copyright law but having a copyright and enforcing a copyright are two different things. It gets really muddy when Amazon is involved. It is more about how Amazon enforces copyright and in this post I want to show a simple, 1 minute or less technique that probably 99.9% of the people are not using that might just sway Amazon to rule in your favor when and if one of your tee shirt designs are hijacked.

Copyright

Before we begin, I want to cover some basics on copyright ( and I need to fill some space in this post)

You can download a copy of the copyright basics from the official government copyright site here:

https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

Straight from the government:

“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S.Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works”

So your original tee shirt design would fall under artistic works.

Again straight from the government:

“Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work”

So if you are sitting at your laptop at 2AM and create a tee shirt design, it is automatically copyrighted to you.

Publication is no longer the key to obtaining federal copyright as it was under the Copyright Act of 1909.”

When you create a design, you don’t have to do anything to get it copyright like people had to do in the past.

Copyright is what we are going to use to help prove to Amazon that we were the creator of a design and legal copyright holder in the event that we have people stealing our designs.

Using Copyright Symbol In Our Designs

“The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law, although it is often beneficial.”

This is what we are going to do because as it said, it is beneficial.

“Form of Notice for Visually Perceptible Copies

The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all the following three elements:

1 The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”; and

2 The year of first publication of the work. In the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful article; and

3 The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.

Example: © 2011 John Doe”

Do you have a copyright notice on any of your stolen designs? I am guessing 99.9% of the people reading this don’t.

Adding Copyright Notices

We are going to add copyright notices to all our designs. This will not take away anything from the design because outside of the Merch world it is common practice for all companies to place copyright and trademark symbols on their products.

Image if I have someone steal my design pixel for pixel, it will also contain my copyright notice. When I contact Amazon, it is a slam dunk case when the image of the other Merch seller says

Copyright Jason Wilkey 2017

The common practice is to place the notice at the bottom of the image. I simply have this notice saved on my desktop and drag it to the template just prior to saving the image to be uploaded. This might require changing the text color or resizing it slightly, but this should take less than 30 seconds.

Now I would guess that some of the design thieves might get wise to this, so to have a little fun, we can actually move this into the body of the design and use it to delete out some areas of color ( this is easier to see on the video) Basically you can have “hidden messages” with your designs. ( this is also fun to do with other text messages if you are immature and sophomoric like me)

This video show what I am talking about

 

Conclusion

While we don’t know for sure what Amazon will do in every case, by adding the copyright notice to every image we create ( which we are legally entitled to do) , this is almost absolute proof that you own the image design and  i would believe that Amazon would be hard pressed to deny this.

This is a very simple technique that most people overlook because it is not something we are use to doing as opposed to traditional businesses. Take the extra minute or so to include this and add some protection to your designs. 

Is Tactical Arbitrage Worth The Price? : Making Tactical Arbitrage Pay For Itself

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 arbitage 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).

I actually made my list available for sell on Gumroad and if you don’t know how to source books or don’t want to make the list yourself, it is available on the Training & Sourcing page of the website

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

How To Source RA For Amazon FBA With Little Or No Cell Signal

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.

Sourcing Workarounds

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.

Huh?

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.

Summary

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.

FBA Wholesale, Cheap Beer and How Brick & Mortar Sellers Ruined Amazon

With RA and OA getting hard, massive Amazon restrictions, counterfeit claims galore and no invoices to save you, many Amazon FBA sellers are trying to move to sourcing wholesale ASAP.

I personally thought it would be a piece of cake to switch over but then I learned that the brick and mortar sellers that are now flocking to Amazon have a different way of doing stuff and I want to cover what I have been learning in this post.

I have seen Amazon FBA get crowded.  Really crowded in the last year or so. It is very obvious in the price action of products. The “rush to the bottom”  is extremely fast due to more people trying to supply products to Amazon.

This was/is to be expected. It is basic economics.

While I understand it, I don’t have to like it.

I like me some high ROIs and have pretty much lived and died by the 3 x 1 rule  ( sell at 3 times the buy price and that usual makes 100% profit. Buy at $10, sell at $30.  AZ takes $10 and I make $10 profit) when sourcing. I have found that it is very hard to do that anymore.

I always joke around that RA is dead ( or OA is dead) but it will never die because people will always be able to find arbitrage opportunities. With all the software that is constantly scanning websites, people will find that RA gives the best chance of finding arbitrage opportunities.

Basically you never know what someone’s local store will price clearance products at or what discontinued item you will find locally, so RA will never die.

The problem is that while you can still find stuff like this, you may not be able to sell on Amazon because so much stuff is becoming restricted. ( hint, hint: list that stuff on eBay. Despite what many Amazon sellers think, eBay profit spend just as good as Amazon profits. Actually I am doing this a lot more when I find good deals and am restricted from selling or the packaging is not in “new” shape)

The second problem is that there has been a rash of counterfeit claims and Amazon suspensions.

Some may be natural ( honestly I don’t even know how people make the claims. I have never seen that check box on my options when I have returned stuff to Amazon) but it seems that brand owners are filing claims and other Amazon sellers are doing this to get rid of competition ( while some say that it isn’t happening, trust me, it is)

The problem is that Amazon wants sellers to be sourcing from legit sources. While sometimes a Walmart receipt will work to save a seller, Amazon really wants invoices. They are moving to a total invoice system and nobody knows when the Walmart receipts will no longer work.  

So RA is sort of a Russian Roulette type of thing. You may never have an issue but then again, you could be put out of business in an instance.  This is why many Amazon sellers are looking at wholesale ( or private label).

Enter The Traditional Brick & Mortar  ( and cheap beer)

The word is out that Amazon is a good place to sell products on. Tons and tons of retail stores ( brick and mortars) have opened up Amazon seller accounts. They want a piece of the action.  They know people are buying online and they need to make more sales to add to their bottom lines.

Big deal. So what?

Well they play by a different set of rules than I ( or you ) do.

Hold on, here come that cheap beer reference.

The cheapest beer that a college student can buy is Keystone ( think canned piss) . You know beer is cheap when it comes in a 30 pack.

Well in the retail world ( the brick and mortar) there is a term called ‘keystone pricing”.

Simply stated, keystoning is selling at double the wholesale price.

So they buy at $5 wholesale and sell at $10 retail.

Keystoning is what retailers strive to achieve. ( and most fail at it).

If they keystone, that are making a great profit after overhead.

This works great for selling locally in a store. It is actually my 3 x 1 rule that I like to follow. They are getting close to 100% profit this way.

Like I say, they rarely do this good on all products.

Ok, but where is this going?

Well this is the issue.  They generally don’t change how they do business regardless if it is local or online.

So this is the issue. They aren’t playing by my rule of making as much money as possible on every Amazon sell. They list products, keystone the wholesale price and that is what they sell the product for on Amazon.  

They are happy campers. They also don’t understand Amazon and the fees.

So as long as I have sold on Amazon, I have used the amount of $4 as the minimum fees that Amazon charges on every product that I sell.  With the recent changes in Amazon fees,  it would probably be safer to use $5 as the figure. As I say, there is a $4 nut to bust on every product.

For example, I find something on clearance at Walmart for $1,  I probably need to sell it for at least $5 on Amazon to just break even ( more like $6 now).  This is probably something that most sellers know ( if not, now you know why you are losing money)

So let’s run an example.

Joe Blow Brick & Mortar decides to open an Amazon seller account.  They are selling XYZ widget in their local store. They are paying $5 for these wholesale. So they decide to send some into Amazon.

If they follow their normal way of doing business, they will keystone these widgets.

They will price them at $10 ( double the $5 wholesale price)

Now they don’t understand that there is a $4 (or probably $5) nut to bust with the Amazon seller fees.

So if you are following along at home, $10-$5, is $5.  Then you take out $4 or $5 for the Amazon selling fees which leaves either $1 profit ( not counting the inbound shipping fees that need to come off this) or $0.

Joe Blow Brick & Mortar is selling these left and right and pretty happy because they are keystoning them and think this Amazon thing is the best thing since sliced bread.

They aren’t making anything off of these!  If they were doing this locally, they would be killing it.

You or I am on this listing and we are just shaking our head and trying to figure out how to get rid of our stock because they keep sending in stock and we can’t get ours sold at a profit.

So what use is this information?

Well it is about ASP ( average selling price). FBA sellers love to get a high ASP. The higher the selling price, the lower % the Amazon fees are compared to the selling price.

So say the wholesale price is $20.  Joe Blow Brick & Mortar will price at $40. Now the Amazon fees might be $10, so the profit is $10 ( $40-$20-$10= $10)

Now there is a chance to profit on this product if you are selling against Joe Blow Brick & Mortar.

Here is the issue.  Most FBA sellers hate to invest a lot per unit.  I am not a fan of paying $20+ per unit because of Amazon’s return policy.

If I pay $20 per unit and make $10 profit and get a return, I have to sell 2 units to cover it. Actually the $20 isn’t my issue, the low ROI is. The lower the ROI, the more units I have to sell to cover the loss of a return.  

If you make 20% ROI, you have to sell 5 units to cover 1 return. This is no big deal on some products that rarely have returns but some categories have lots of returns.

So now we know how Joe Blow Brick & Mortar is going to price against us. How do we deal with it?

Before we look at that, let’s look at the other big facts.

It is hard to get wholesale accounts if you are an Amazon seller compared to a brick and mortar.

Joe Blow Brick & Mortar can pretty much open a wholesale account at will.  You and I will have problems getting approved.

So I find these widgets at Walmart. They are on clearance. I list them and can make a good profit below Joe Blow Brick & Mortar price because I got them even cheaper than wholesale.

Now Joe Blow Brick & Mortar is used to MAP ( minimum advertised pricing).  They get pissed that I am selling these for less than MAP and they contact the wholesaler or Amazon.

Now I am not an authorized seller of this and get knocked off the listing or a counterfeit claim against my account. Now my account is in limbo and I am hoping my Walmart receipt will get my account out of hot water.

Now if I have a wholesale account for these widgets, I have to play by the wholesale rules ( like MAP). Depending on the wholesale price, map might not even be profitable after fees and Joe Blow Brick & Mortar might not price over that.

Then here is the biggy. Joe Blow Brick & Mortar probably has a relationship with the wholesaler and probably orders more than just this widget. They may be able to get way better pricing than me and if they get it cheaper, they can keystone cheaper (if there is no MAP) and I can’t ever get close to making money on these widgets.

Dealing With Joe Blow Brick & Mortar

First, I want to avoid Joe Blow Brick & Mortar at all possible.  There are ways to detect these type of sellers.

Sometimes they have a sellers name that screams brick and mortar.

Some only sell MF ( merchant fulfilled). Normally we like to get on listings with no FBA sellers until they contact the wholesaler or AZ and get us shut down.

Sellers with massive feedback is a sign of sellers that operate on low margins and while they may not be brick and mortars, they get better wholesale pricing and will under price you 99% of the time. It is also very hard to get the buy box from these sellers even if you price the same.

Second, you need to focus on ASP. Source products that have a higher cost per unit. That gives you more wiggle room and also eliminates most normal 3rd party sellers.  You can still profit is a seller that keystones jumps in the listing.

Third, think about doing something different like bundling  or multipacking your wholesale products.  Most of the time Joe Blow Brick & Mortar won’t mess with you.  They are too busy and probably only scan the UPC code and will never see your listings.

Summary

More and more traditional brick and mortar seller are bring their wholesale to Amazon at the same time many of us RA/OA sellers are trying to get into wholesale to save our business.  They are literally killing  the Amazon as we have known in the past and Amazon wants this. 

Realize that Joe Blow Brick & Mortar plays by a different set of rules and has easier access to products. They can sell safer on Amazon because they are doing what Amazon wants. We are not doing what Amazon wants.

Use your knowledge of how Amazon works, which Joe Blow Brick & Mortar probably has no clue on, to help keep him from ruining your listings.
Finally, it you will have the most success bringing products to Amazon with no other sellers on your listings.  I you do chose to get on a listing with other sellers of wholesale products, you should only get on listings with 1 maybe 2 other sellers ( seller without massive feedback numbers).  If you get on a listing  with 25 other sellers, you general will be toast.

Many people are doing well with wholesale but the high ROI that many of us are used to is not usually possible with wholesale and most of the reason is due to new sellers coming to the platform that play by different rules and has different goals than most old school RA scanners.

Using And Making Money With Tactical Arbitrage Library Search Bulk Lists

In less than 1 year, 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 ( I actually sell these lists on Gumroad) 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.

****  Here are my lists

Textbook https://gum.co/lsQn

Scholarly books https://gum.co/SJhRG

The massive combo of the 2 lists https://gum.co/hCGcV

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.

Sourcing Book Sales For FBA: I Was Outclassed By The Pros, But I Learned And Have A Plan

In this post I want to detail my experience attending my first library books sale. Even though I am an experienced FBA seller, I got bitch slapped so to speak. I did have some winning moves, but didn’t make the money that the experienced book sellers were.

I want to cover both what I did wrong and what I need to improve and what I did right that the book sellers probably didn’t know ( thanks to my FBA sourcing experience)

Background

I am an experienced FBA seller that generally sources from Walmart and Big Lots via retail arbitrage ( RA) that has always sold a few books here and there but that was a small part of my business.

Side note: I generally buy local books from college students and this tells how I do it.

How To Flip Local College Textbooks

With the recent changes to Amazon with restrictions and suspensions , I have decided to move away from sourcing at big box retailers and basically only source via wholesale along with book selling.

The logic behind this is that both wholesale and books seem to be safer than general RA right now. Setting up wholesale account and wholesale in general is boring and I need my RA fix ( and income while switching over from RA to wholesale).

Book sourcing takes care of both of these.

Side note: When it comes to OA book flips, ie buying for MF sellers on Amazon and sending them back to sell on Amazon FBA, I use Tactical Arbitrage. This is the only real OA I am doing right now.

Tactical Arbitrage

And I have a special bulk list I have created that take about 3 days to run, that looks for specific “ scholarly” books.

Tactical Arbitrage Scholarly Bulk Souring List 

The Book Sale

I had decided that I was going to a local library honey hole that I have to source some books. I made the mistake of not know the library hours and it ended up being closed when I arrived and wouldn’t open for over 2 hours of when I arrived.

So I continued to another library and found some good books but decided to go to another town that I had seen via a Google search that was having a book sale that was starting today at 3:00 PM ( Thursday)

I actually went to several other place before hand and my cell battery was nowhere near being fully charged. ( epic fail on my part)

About 2 PM I started to head toward the library sale and turned my phone off and had it on the charger

Sourcing hint: putting your phone in airplane mode will allow it to charge 2x as fast and turning it off with charge it 3x-4x as fast

This didn’t help due to the short drive and I ended up sitting in the library and trying to charge my phone.

10 minutes before the sale was to start, I headed to the basement where I found a line and a huge crowd.

 

Sourcing Book Sales For FBA

I wasn’t expecting this for this size town.

I saw guys with Dell X51 PDAs and boxes and bags.

I started to think that I my be out of my league at this point.

Finally they opened the doors and how best do I explain this? Ever see the running with the bulls?

book arbitrage

The “real book sellers” knew right where to go.

No biggy. I am a smart FBA guy. I can handle this, They aren’t as smart as me.

Everything was marked and all the money book categories had a “real book seller” scanning it already by the time I was able to get in.

I looked for an open spot to start scanning.

I saw the business books were open and went over there.

I looked down and saw the America 2020 book.

I didn’t even scan this.

Even I know this is always a buy.

 

A few seconds later, the guy I am going to call Mr. A ( for asshole) , showed up and basically pushed me out of the way. At one point I thought he was hanging over my shoulders.

(^^^^^^^^^ Mr. A and his horde of books.  He did very well this day.)

Obliviously I was dazed and confused and he was experienced. ( other wise we may have had an issue with him trying to scan over me)

He was using a Dell PDA with the whole Amazon catalog downloaded on it. He didn’t need wifi.

I was using Scoutify with my Bluetooth scanner because it is way faster than the Amazon seller app, but I was still at a disadvantage.

I couldn’t scan fast enough. The “real book sellers” were blowing through all the boxes and I was getting discouraged.

I sort of just wandered around. Scanning a book here and there but it was hard to even move around in the crowd.

Not going well.

I wanted to at least make a little profit to cover my time and learn what I needed to do the next time I go to one of these.

My Weaknesses

First thing I need to do is get me a PDA to scan with. I actually had one a couple of years ago but used it a couple times unsuccessfully ( the scanner card kept falling out and I had trouble interrupting the non live data)

Side not: I just ordered a Dell X50 PDA and a CF Socket Laser scanner instead of the SD one I had used before ( note if I had kept my old one, adding Velcro to the card would take care of the issue)

Here is the details of choosing the PDA and lasers cards http://www.scoutpal.com/db/slotchoices.htm

The service I am going with is ScoutPal ( what I used before) for $9.95 a month

http://www.scoutpal.com/

Next I need to address the fact that I honestly didn’t know that the sale was happening or planned on going until I happened to Google the library website just prior to going out.

There are actually website that post these type of sales. I am sure that not every sales shows up on here, but it is worth looking at.

Here is one site: http://www.booksalefinder.com/

So I don’t actually have that many weakness to fix but while  I was outclassed but I did pull a few tricks out of my sleeves

What I Did Right ( Thank You FBA)

First I hit the “classics fiction” area. No real book seller looks there because fiction is a no-no in the book selling world.

But actually many of the “classic fiction” are required reading for college and high school classes. Some of these are profitable.

I picked up a couple of books here. Score one for me!

Next I walked over to the psychology area. Every book scanner had already been there and there was actually another scanner going through them at the same time. I was literally going through his leftovers.

I saw this book and it didn’t have a bar code. ( not a bad find for $.50)

This is a biggy here. The book scanners only look at books that have bar code.

Actually funny thing is that when I hook up my Bluetooth scanner, my phone won’t allow me to enter numbers via the keyboard until I turn off the Bluetooth scanner.

My quick work around was to use the AZ scanner and use the “flow” image scanner that it uses to “see” the book and find it on AZ.

( this could be a big advantage if I use a PDA and have my phone ready to do an image search of the books with the AZ scanner)

None of the other sellers were doing that. You would have to be selective and have an idea the book is worth scanning and not do this on every book.

It would also help when a tag is covering the bar code.

Or just type in the ISBN if that is faster)

My proudest find was some DVDs.

I can’t sell DVD’s on Amazon but I do know that I can trade them in for Amazon gift cards.

I saw 2 DVD’s in the homeschooling/textbook section. Every book scanner had already worked this section and there wasn’t anything to be found. Well nothing but these 2 DVDs.

I scanned them and saw they were selling for about $40 new an Amazon.

That is a good sign that Amazon might be taking trade ins on these. So I opened up my AZ buyers app ( not the seller scanning app) and scanned the 2 DVDs. One said trade in up $19 ish and the other $14 ish.

The DVD’s were $2 each, so I could buy these, trade them in and make about $20 ish on these.

None of the book scanner were thinking about doing this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was It Worth My Time?

So I spent about 1 hour in total wandering around the sale. Most of which I was watching, not really scanning.

So how did I do?

Well I spent $12 total  ( $ 8 books and $4 DVDs) and the books came to $106 profit

Then I got  $27.88 ($12.98 and $14.90) trade in for the DVD’s ( one was less because it was not new)

So for 1 hour, I made about $ 125 profit

Not killing it like the pros were, but not shabby for 1 hour of work and learning.

Takeaways

First I need to have better equipment, which is have already ordered. I am getting a Dell X50 with the laser scanner for $59 and resubscribing to ScoutPal.

Next I am going to start looking the book sale websites to plan possible sourcing trips.

I will make sure my equipment is fully charged and use my cell phone to visually search books that the other people skip over.

I will arrive early and get to the better sections first.

I will keep my eyes open for DVD’s that I can trade in to make a risk less profit.

Your Takeaways

Books are about the safest category right now on Amazon to source for.

The ROI is still very high on books.

If you miss the rush of doing RA, these sales could give you the fix you need.

If you go to these sales, be prepared with the right equipment.

Realize that there will be someone pushy and rude people ( Mr. A)  trying to grab everything for themselves. ( think Black Friday )

And finally, think like an FBA seller, not a bookseller to find the hidden profit the other guys miss.

How To Figure Amazon Monthly And Long Term Storage Fees

The process of figuring Amazon storage fees is quite simple and only requires some basic math and dimensional information supplied on Amazon product pages.

I will show how to figure it and then show some tools to make it easier.

Cubic Dimensions

Amazon charges storage fees based on a rate per cubic foot.  A cubic foot is 1728 cubic inches ( 12” x 12” x 12”) .  I put this in inches because the dimensions listed on Amazon product pages are in inches and generally we are dealing with less than a cubic foot on most products.

If you scroll down to the Amazon product page, you can find the product dimensions in the product details section.

In this case, the dimensions are 10” x 9.7” x 10”

To calculate the cubic foot, you take base x width x height ( in inches) and divide that by 1728.

So in this case, we take 10 x 9.7 x 10 and divide that by 1728.

970/1728 = .56 cubic foot

Amazon Storage Fees

After we had the cubic dimension, we simple take that times the rate per cubic foot that Amazon is charging for storage.

There are a few different rates that you will be looking at.  There is the monthly storage fee for both standard and oversize and there is a normal monthly rate and a Q4 storage rate for each of the size categories.

We also can use this to figure long term storage fees ( LTSF).  We simply use the same cubic dimension and either the 6 month storage fee rate or the 12 month storage fee rate.

Amazon

Note these fees are changing March 2017

Tools

Amazon actually has a webpage that has a calculator for this

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200627230

The issue with this is that you have to search the Amazon product page for the dimensions and then  manually enter them into the Amazon fee calculator page

My developed a Chrome extension that automatically does this at a click of a button.

I have it up on the Chrome Store for a monthly fee

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/fba-storage-fee-calculato/fpjelcpobeikplgdhkpdnlkdiaapkekh

I also have it up on Gumroad for a one time fee

https://gum.co/LxLgc

How To Figure Amazon Monthly And Long Term Storage Fees

Uses

You can use these fees to help make sourcing decisions, make decisions on what products to have removed and to time when to send products in to avoid excessive Amazon storage fees.

Creative Market: Sometimes The Best Tools For Merch Are Free

Hey everyone! Ken here, with my first official post on this blog!

As more and more people get their accounts approved, the Merch By Amazon world will continue to be more competitive. Jason and I both have successful shirts on this platform with nothing but text on them. I also have a couple with text and a simple clipart image. That method does work, but at some point it won’t be enough. What you should be doing now is positioning yourself with better designs. Have a design that sells consistently every month? GREAT! Don’t stop there. Keep it Live, and put up another version, sharpen the look, try different fonts, gradients, even give it that “weathered” look that is trendy.

Enter Creative Market. This site has a TON of stuff on it. Stock Photos, Graphics, Templates, Themes (HTML/CSS/WordPress etc.) Fonts & Add-Ons. There are always new things popping up, and you should be constantly looking to upgrade your tool belt.

Many of you are going to read this and only apply it to designing shirts via Amazon. That’s fine, but that’s only a small piece of the big puzzle. There are plenty of Print-On-Demand (POD) sites out there. Use these items on mugs, tote bags (you know the ladies love a solid tote!), pillows, whatever! People are killing it out there on Shopify with these types of solutions.

Here’s where I’ll slide in my disclaimer, to save the blog some potential grief. Make sure when you are downloading this content and using it for personal/commercial use, you are allowed to. Failing to look and/or give a shit, can result in banning of your account(s) or other legal action(s).

Here’s an example of a great quality, free font, fully legal for Commercial Use: Gineva Font

Browse their selection and something might just jump out at you. Might be a font, might be a theme, that’s up to you!

Feel free to connect with me on the Facebook Group or reach out to me directly HERE!