Tips For Making Money Selling Online

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.

Why You Are Failing At Amazon FBA

There are a lot of people that start FBA and either quit or never really get any traction. They would tell you that FBA is all hype, no real money to be made in it but it is not true. They failed and I want to take a look at why.

Size Matters

The first reason that your WHY isn’t big enough.

I would love to say I thought of this on my own but honestly I learned it for this presentation that I saw live ( check out the video below, it is well worth your time to watch it)

So what does it mean when we say our WHY isn’t big enough?

Basically the reason why you are doing the business. Your motivation is not big enough.

For example say you are doing Amazon to get money for buying your kid some high priced pair of fashionable jeans even though they have plenty of good pairs.

How motivated are you to do the extra work to make the money?

Probably not super motivated.

Now say you are doing Amazon to buy medicine for your kid that keeps them from having seizures?

How motivated are you to make the money?

Really freaken motivated!

The example given in the video is that you are asked why you are doing FBA and you say to make a million dollars.

Not specific, not going to happen. Not a good enough WHY.

I personally am guilty of this.

I do FBA full time but honestly haven’t tried very hard and pushed it to the next level.

Why?

Well lots of reasons.

Mostly because I didn’t really have to.

Here is a some signs and signals that your WHY isn’t big enough
Signs and signals that your ‘why’ isn’t big enough:

* procrastination

* self-judgment

* embarrassment

* self-doubt

* indecisiveness

* confusion

* fear of making a mistake

* fear of failure

* apathy

* all talk but no action

* inconsistent action

( From http://www.streetdirectory.com/etoday/what-do-you-do-if-your-why-isnt-big-enough-eloppc.html)

How many of these apply to you ?

Most apply to me.

The honest truth is that we are our own worst enemies. The struggle in not doing the business, the struggle is overcoming our minds.

So what the video above and see if any of the above signs point to you. If they do, then you need to figure out your WHY and if you find that you don’t have a WHY, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing FBA right now.

Comfort Zones

We don’t want to get out of our comfort zones, but everything we say we want is outside of our comfort zones.


I suffer from this too. Private label is out of my comfort zone and everything that I want from my business is setting on the outside of my comfort zone, right next to Private label.

How to get out of your comfort zone is not my area of expertise but I have several conversations at the conference with other sellers about private label and how they got the guts to do it.

Most basically said that they just did it. They took the chance.

One guy said that he mentally considered the money he was investing as a loss already. (he was sending $500 for a product)

He said that made it so much easier. He said that after considering it a loss, he was happy when he got a return. Made him feel really good, which cause him to get out of his comfort zone easier and more often.

You need to figure out how to get out of your comfort zone. The hint is when you feel scared, you are at the edge of your comfort zone. At that point, it is time to just take a leap of faith.

Connecting With Other Sellers

Are you scared to make friends with other FBA sellers? Scared that they are going to steal all your products ideas and put you out of business?

Almost every successful FBA seller with tell you that making connections is one of the things that really causes their business to grow.

On the other hand, most unsuccessful sellers are lone wolfs. They think every seller is out to get them and they keep to themselves.

Which are you?

If you haven’t made connections, now is the time to start.

Like I have said earlier, I am recently back from an Amazon resellers conference.

Meet a ton of other resellers and have so many great conversations and learned so much about reselling and what other people are doing.

And not once did I worry about someone stealing my ideas and people told me what they were selling and I didn’t try to steal their ideas.

Seeing what they were doing gave me new ideas of my own.

So if you are hiding away from other resellers, open yourself up to connecting and you will be surprised how much that will help your business.

Training

People fail to take the time to learn how to do this business right. They do one of 3 things usually.

They try to wing it

They get the wrong training ( or worse pay for some way over priced training and get totally ripped off)

They get the right training product and don’t take the time to got through the training.

When it comes to training, I have been recommending the same training for a long time and the priced is stupid cheap ( I think that people may think it isn’t good since it doesn’t cost $1000.

You should read Chris Green’s Aribrage from front to back before doing anything with FBA ( cost about $9 new, $5 used)

http://www.amazon.com/Arbitrage-authoritative-guide-works-work/dp/1478251891

After doing a little retail arbitrage that you learned how to do via Green’s Arbitrage book, the next step is to go through Green’s Online Arbitrage book.

Now this book is more expensive. ($70 for the used black and white version and up to $170 for the new color version)

http://www.amazon.com/Online-Arbitrage-Sourcing-Secrets-Products/dp/1500333824

I wouldn’t buy the book.

I would either sign up for Kindle unlimited and read it for free or go to Udemy and take the course for $30 (it is the same as the book)

https://www.udemy.com/onlinearbitrage/learn/v4/overview

Actually, I would go to Gumroad and get a special deal he has that has 3 his courses, the 2 arbitrage books and his course on Merch By Amazon, all for $49

Why You Are Failing At Amazon FBA

https://gumroad.com/a/790246515

So you can get all the training materials for $50 but you have to actually sit down and go through the material.

Most people won’t do this. This is why people fail. This is why accounts get suspended.

Did you take the time to learn how to do FBA? Did you try to piece together the training by finding different sources online?

If so, that could be a reason you are failing.

One other training I just started recommending ( because it just came out out) is Stephen Smotherman’s How To Keepa Camel.

This training helps you understand how to read charts better and make better buying decisions. I would say that you need to have gone through Green’s training fully first before taking this training ( it is a lot more costly)

I did a review of the training in a blog post

http://www.arbitrage411.com/amazon-fba/stephen-smothermans-how-to-keepa-camel-book-video-course-review/

While it is no fun taking the time out to learn how to do something, it is very important to learn what you need to know before investing a bunch of money in inventory. So many people do this backward and lose a ton of money learning the hard way.

Wrong Business Model

This is where I step on toes but the truth is that the barrier to entry is almost non existent for FBA and some people aren’t business people.

There are a few business models that while they work for some people, they honestly don’t work for the majority.

This biggest example is the Fast Turn model.

This appeals to people because it is presented in compounding math.

10% return every 2 weeks for a year is a shitload of a return ( on paper)

It does work for some but the issue is scaling.

This is a business model that is great if you are broker than shit and don’t have much money to invest.

You can quickly build up your nest egg by turning it over every 2 weeks.

That works great until your nest egg grows so big that you you have problems spending all of it every 2 weeks and/or the processing of that much inventory.

Basically you get overwhelmed and the business model breaks down or you start hiring employees and getting a warehouse, etc.

Now you have overhead.

Still there are people that make this work, but it gets harder. The 10% return doesn’t work so good when you have overhead and payroll to meet.

Margin is very important to a business.

Almost all the successful FBA sellers I know protect their margins as best that they can ( ie they want to make as much as possible off every single product that they sell)

So while you may have started out as a Fast Turner, maybe it is time to adjust your business model. You have to remember that you aren’t Walmart trying to sell on paper thin margins. They have large systems in place to make it work and just like the retail world, there are very few other retail businesses that can survive doing what Walmart does.

So take a look at your business model. If you are working your ass off and it seems like you are barely making any money, you might have the wrong business model.

Conclusion

FBA works and if it isn’t working for you, you need to figure out why. Hopefully one of the points in the article sticks out to you and you can adjust and make this business work for you. The hard part is that you have to accept responsibility for your failure and then fix it. Harder said than done for most people.

Cell Phone Hacks For Retail Arbitrage

Finding Products That Don’t Scan

Many times other sellers list products under a different UPC code to throw other sellers off. You pick up a product to scan and it doesn’t show up as being in the Amazon catalog but actually it is.

The first way to try to find it that most people do is typing in the name of the product.

Total pain in the butt to do.

The biggest tip is to type as little as possible. If you type too much, it might be too specific and not show up in the search. Start with the brand name. People also change the title of products and if you put in a big long title, it might not give you a search result.

There are better ways to do this.

The Amazon seller app ( along with Google and the Amazon buyer app) has a dictation feature.

Look for the microphone

Cell Phone Hacks For Retail Arbitrage

Just push the microphone button and speak the product name into the phone.

This is a hit or miss thing. Some words just don’t pick up right, but it can be a time saver.

So here is the ultimate trick.

Amazon uses a image recognition function on the Amazon buyer app ( not your AZ seller app). There is also a stand alone version of this called Flow,

On the Amazon buyers app, it looks is the camera icon

IMG_4006

And here is the stand alone Flow app

flow

You just start Flow up and aim the camera at the product. It has these crazy little light things that run around the picture and tries to figure out what the item is and then pulls it up in the Amazon catalog.

The catch is the it bring it up in the Amazon buyer app and you need to grab the ASIN from the Features & details section

This works really good. It actually works better than typing or dictation methods.

This is also a trick to use when you can’t hold a product ( like video games that are in the glass cases)

Bonus Tip : Using the Flow app for sourcing online

AZ Buyers List

If you are using product sourcing lists, you can use the Amazon sellers app for having a visual shopping list

Using The eBay App

The eBay app has a bar code scanner built in.

When you hit the search on the app, the scanner icon comes up.

ebay

Many times you find a good deal on a product that isn’t selling on Amazon ( or restricted) and this is great for checking if a product is selling on eBay. I also use the scanner to scan the bar code and create my eBay listings on my phone. I then go back and edit the listing on my computer.

Keeping A Charged Cell Battery While Doing Retail Arbitrage

One of the simplest way to charge your dying cell phone battery is to use a rechargeable power block.

IMG_4009

Just pull your phone into it and charge your phone right in the store.

When you are in your car, if you put the phone on Airplane Mode while charging it, it will charge at least twice as fast.
If you turn the phone completely off, it will charge 3-4 times as fast

There are a brand of cell phone cases called Incipico that have a build in battery. It basically doubles the life of your battery. When your phone gets low, you press a button on the case and it recharges your phone.

http://www.amazon.com/Battery-Incipio-offGRID-Express-6s-Black/dp/B00RZV2MT4

Reading Bar Codes

The Amazon seller app camera seems to have a hard time focusing compared to Scoutify.

One trick is that if you touch the screen on the AZ seller app, it causes the camera to focus faster.

Bonus Tip If you are at Walmart and trying to use the price checker and it doesn’t seem to want to read, touch the bar code image on the screen, it make it read the bar code

The Scanning App Running Really Slow Or Not Working

Sometimes you are scanning in a store really good and then the scanning app just seems to stop to running or is super slow.

I have found that if I get near the Walmart photo area ( or electronics dept) that my phone hooks up to the Wifi and the wifi sucks.

I have also had this happen at Meijers.

So check to see if your phone has hooked up to Wifi and turn it off to make the scanning app start working again.

Now if there is no cell signal at all, then look for a wifi source to hook up to. You might be able to sweet talk an employee for the password or my son has had luck with using xfinity when there is no cell signal.

In low signal areas, it seems like Scoutify will work when the AZ seller app won’t.

Checking CamelCamelCamel And Keep Charts

You should be check CCC and Keepa charts before buying but if you are using the AZ seller app, it is a pain in the butt because there is no built in function for this unlike Scoutify, Profit Bandit or ScanPower.

Here is a video that shows how to easily check the charts if you are using the AZ seller app

Listing Product Merchant Fulfilled In Store

If you are an MF seller or you MF during Q4 for hot products, the Amazon seller app allows you to list a product through it right there in the store.

You can literally list a hot product and have it sold before you even check out.

Up To Date Data

Amazon doesn’t give other scanning apps access to the current pricing data. They have to basically have data bases that they access that may be hours or days old.

The Amazon seller app uses the current prices, so if you scan on Scoutify and then scan the same product on the AZ seller app, you will many times see a different buy box price.

Bluetooth Scanners

Using a bluetooth scanner will really speed things up and it saves your cell phone battery.

They are also pricey, but I use a generic one called the TC30.

You can find PL versions on Amazon for about $80-$85

http://www.amazon.com/BLUEHRESY-Portable-Bluetooth-Wireless-Compatible/dp/B01AHYMCZY

I got mine off of eBay for about $70. I looked for the ones that are shipped from the USA.

Mine works great but the Amazon seller app doesn’t work good with it because you have to touch the search box each time before scanning. ( that is faster than the camera works but not really easy to do constantly in store)

It works great with Scoutify. I can just whip through items in the store with it.
The instructions that come with the TC30 suck but it isn’t hard to set up.

Bonus tip  The scanner by default beeps every time you scan but if you use the code below, you can turn the beeper off.

sound