Amazon FBA Blog Roundup – 6 FBA Blogs You’ll Love

 

A new Amazon FBA blog seems to pop up almost daily.

The problem is, most of them suck.IMG 0571Not on purpose, I'm sure, but that doesn't stop the people from posting bad content.So, today I want to share my favorite Amazon FBA blogs. I will also include links to their best articles.

Amazon FBA Blogs I Read

Screen Shot 2017 03 11 at 4.20.07 PMFirst up is my favorite, Entreresource.com. Hard to spell but lots of great content.Nate McCallister is smart, quick with a Dad joke, and really passionate about helping people make money online.  Be that on Amazon or with online marketing.  This is definitely a blog you should bookmark.He is also a good friend of mine. Don't worry, if he ever writes trash, I'll tell him.Read his entire blog here:  Entreresource.comCheck out his best articles here:

 Screen Shot 2017 03 11 at 4.24.37 PMNext up is the fellas over at FBAMaster.com.This is a diverse group of guys who are smart, great Amazon sellers, and do a fantastic job of sharing what is working and what isn't.Plus, in my opinion, John (one of the contributors) is an excellent writer and proof that you don't have to be as pretty as me to be good at putting words together.Read their entire blog here:  FBAMaster.comCheck out their best articles here:

 Screen Shot 2017 03 11 at 4.32.40 PMStephen Smotherman and his wife Rebecca are a husband and wife duo who blog and write killer guides for Amazon sellers.Their post about understanding Keepa graphs is especially powerful. It is a must read for any seller who isn’t comfortable reading the data.Read their entire blog here:  FullTimeFBA.comCheck out their best articles here:

 Screen Shot 2017 03 11 at 5.30.32 PMOk, don’t shoot me but this site isn’t a traditional Amazon FBA blog.  Stephen Peterson runs the incredibly successful podcast eCommerce Momentum.I include his site because the information in the podcasts is really awesome.Stephen has a way to really bring a sellers story out and at the same time make sure the audience is able to take away some valuable, actionable tips.Listen to his episodes here:  eCommereceMomentum.comIf you would like a really special episode you can check this one out.  Hint:  It’s me! Screen Shot 2017 03 12 at 10.19.24 PMI know.  This, technically, isn’t a blog either.This is my post, so I will do what I want!  :)The Fulfillment By Amazon subreddit is chock full of great information.  I could spend hours in here reading, gathering insights, and sharing opinions.It isn’t always a happy place to go.  When people are able to be ANON you usually get some trolls and/or people who just like to piss and moan.  However, you will find some gems of information mixed throughout the forum.Read the SubReddit here:  Fulfillment By AmazonScreen Shot 2017 03 12 at 10.24.32 PMLast, but certainly not least is Dan & Eric over at The Wholesale Formula.These guys have an incredible story and they are kicking ass and taking names on Amazon.giphyI particularly found a lot of useful information in their post revealing their product selection formula.  It is actionable advice from guys who have grown a business from the ground up and done all the hard work.Read their entire blog here:  The Wholesale FormulaCheck out their best articles here:

Now it is your turn.I know there have to be some other great blogs out there.  It would be impossible for me to read all of them.Share the love and post a link to your favorite Amazon FBA blog in the comments.  Heck, post a link to your own blog!

3 (Not So) Crazy Tips I Wish I Had When I Learned How to Sell on Amazon

How to Sell on Amazon

I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey of learning how to sell on Amazon, honestly.  The trial and error, the wins, the losses, and the stalemates have brought me to where I am today.  The only thing that I do wish is that I would have implemented a few strategies earlier.

This isn’t a regret, per se.  Just knowing what I do now I realize my business would be in an even better position had I implemented just three tactics much earlier in my business.  These three things are what I am going to share with you.

Networking

Many months passed by before I ever posted in any Amazon related Facebook groups.  Mostly this is because I was worried I may ask a stupid question and make a fool of myself.  In retrospect this was foolish.

When I started to participate more in groups and actually network with people my knowledge about how to sell on Amazon grew by leaps and bounds.  People would actually share information with me.  They would teach me tactics I didn’t know, share ideas on how to maximize profits, and so much more.

Many people were happy to share information. They wanted to see me succeed.  They even wanted to go out of their way to help little old me.  I know now that this is not uncommon in the Amazon community.  You need to jump into the deep end and start gleaning information from those people who have made mistakes and overcome them.  Doing this will help you in ways you can only imagine.

Online Arbitrage

In the beginning, I only knew of retail arbitrage.  It helped that I enjoyed the hunt.  It did not help that I was only able to practice the fine art of searching for money laying on store shelves only when I could shirk my responsibilities at work and home.  Had I known earlier that I could supplement my sourcing with a virtual assistant or with the help of a software program like Tactical Arbitrage I believe I would have been able to become a full-time seller much faster.

Tactical Arbitrage

I also could have used the assistance of a VA to source for me while I slaved away at my day job.  Either of these methods would have helped me find and sell products at a faster rate than grinding away in stores.

Just to clarify, I am not knocking retail arbitrage.  I still believe it is an important part of an Amazon business.  I still source at retail stores and I still love it.  I just think that diversifying your stream of product sources is extremely important.  Especially as the competition in the Amazon marketplace increases.

Don’t Pack Boxes

If I wasn’t out sourcing I was at home packing boxes to ship to Amazon.  This is likely the case for many people just learning how to sell on Amazon.  I think that it is something we should all know how to do and then we should all quickly move that responsibility away from ourselves.

Packing boxes does not make you or I any money.  Sourcing product makes us money.  I suggest finding a prep and ship company that will accept your retail finds.  Here in Ohio (where I am located) we just happen to have a great option with buckeyeprep2prime.com.  They will gladly accept retail arbitrage items as well as online arbitrage shipments.  If you do solely online arbitrage and would like to deal with someone in a tax-free state you should look no further than primezeroprep.com.  These folks really have a handle on how to take care of your business like it is their own.

Conclusion

There are several other business changing ideas I have learned over the past few years.  But these three tips would have helped me grow my business by leaps and bounds from the very beginning.

I hope that you will implement one or all of these in your business as you learn how to sell on Amazon.  If I can personally help you in any way please reach out to me.

Finally, what tips have you learned that could help someone else grow their business faster?  Share it in the comments.

Audentes Fortuna Juvat

Chris

How to Sell Books on Amazon for Killer Margins

This blog is primarily about retail arbitrage in big box stores but I would be remiss if I didn't touch on how to sell books on Amazon.

Books are some of the easiest to source, highest ROI items you can sell.  According to Forbes Amazon sells over 5 Billion dollars worth of books every year.  Plus, if you read our last article you would be aware that third party sellers make up over 80% of Amazon's sales.  This is true for books as well and it is why I think everyone should learn how to sell books on Amazon.  Even if it just one small piece of their business.

So, let's really dig in and talk about different ways to source book inventory.  I have a ton of different methods.  These are all methods that I have used personally and recommend adding to your sourcing arsenal.

Dumpster Diving

Dumpster Diving This is not a dumpster full of trash, this is a literal gold mine.  I would bet good money that there is a book or two in there worth more than fifty bucks maybe even a hundred bucks.  Now, I'm no lawyer, and you will need to check your local laws and ordinances.  But, from what I understand, in most places, if the dumpster is not locked behind a fence or up against a wall it is fair game.  Go diving!

Now, the question is, where do I find books in dumpsters?  The answer is a ton of places.  Goodwill, they do throw out some books even though their cost of goods is zero.  Half Price Books throws away a ton of books.  They are a little better at sorting through the winners but even they miss some gold. Colleges, make sure to check outside the freshman dorms, especially after a semester is over.  Libraries, they are gifted books all the time and many of them never make it onto the shelves.  They are discarded even before a library sale because of a number of books they get donated.  Any brick and mortar bookstore or discount book store in your area.  They will have dead stock, books that they feel like they have no room for, or maybe even other items that you can flip.

Get a pair of gloves and get out and go digging for gold!

Free Inventory

Does it really get any better than selling something that cost you absolutely nothing?  I would say no and I would imagine many booksellers would agree with me.  While it may be hard to come by toys, grocery items, clothing, and shoes to flip on Amazon for free it is unbelievably easy with books.

Here are a few examples:

First, look around your house.  What books have been sitting on your bookshelf for years?  I'm sure your spouse would love for you to get it out of the house.  Secondly, check out craigslist.  People sometimes just want things gone and you can go pick them up for free.  A lot of times this will include books.  People just do not see the value in them and it is our job to take those items to a marketplace where there still is value.  You may have to move some junk to get the gold.

Facebook is also a great source for free inventory.  If you post in local Facebook selling or garage sale groups that you are looking for free books, you will receive a ton of responses.  About two weeks ago I actually drove around town and filled up my entire car with free books.  This is definitely a source you should look into if you are short on capital.

Online Arbitrage

Most people do not think of online arbitrage when it comes to learning how to sell books on Amazon.  This is good and bad.  It is good for those of us who know that flipping books from Amazon back to Amazon can bring in a nice revenue stream.  It's bad for those who do not know about it because they are missing out.  Let's dig into a few of the tools that can be used for online arbitrage of books.

First, Zen Arbitrage is a killer tool for finding books to flip.  This tool specializes in searching the merchant fulfilled sellers, often times people sell books for a penny up to a few dollars, that you can then send into Amazon and sell for more because they are prime.  Prime customers tend to be willing to pay more because they know there will be no hassle if they want to return a book.  They also know that they can usually get free two-day shipping on just about anything.

Second, a cool thing you can do is use FBA Master's Chrome Extension to do Textbook Arbitrage.  This extension will help you find books that you can purchase and then trade into Amazon for Amazon gift cards.  You can then trade those gift cards for cash or use them to purchase Amazon flips inventory.  Awesome little tool to have in your back pocket.

Finally, my favorite, Tactical Arbitrage.  Alex Moss, the creator, is always adding wicked cool features.  Soon, he will be adding the ability to find books to flip.  If it is anything else like the Amazon reverse search, wholesale bulk list search, product search, and amazon flip search already included you will be a pretty happy camper to have this tool.

Cherry Picking

This is probably the oldest method of book arbitrage and still one of the most abundant.  When I was learning how to sell books on Amazon this is where I started.  I went from thrift store to thrift store scanning all the books I could get my hands on.  The great thing about this method is that you can choose what to buy and what to leave on the shelf for someone else.  Maybe you only want to sell books that average 10 sales or more per month.  Maybe you only want to sell books that are worth more than fifty bucks.  There are so many options it's almost crazy.

So, let's talk about places to source books if you want to cherry pick.  The first is, of course, Goodwill.  If you click here it will allow you to find any Goodwill in the country.  They get tons and tons of books.  You should be able to go into just about any of their stores and find some books worth flipping.  Also, do not be afraid to go to the Goodwill outlets.  You will run into lots of pickers and eBay sellers but a lot of people leave the books completely untouched.  You also get to buy them by weight rather than individually.

Second, Library and discount book sales.  I personally have had some great luck with these.  Half Price Books has several large book sales across the country every year.  Just about every library has a friend of the library book sale.  Don't forget community and yard sales, church rummage sales, local auctions, and I am sure there is a thing or two I am missing.  To find a book sale event check out this website.  They show just about every book sale in the country.

how to sell books on amazon

Bulk Books

Here is the area that I have the least expertise in.  My wife, who is also my business partner, recently started purchasing Gaylords of bulk books. This came to us by chance while we attended a Half Price Books annual clearance event here in our town of Columbus, Ohio.  The person who was ringing up our purchases just happened to be the bulk sales coordinator and we struck up a conversation.  Dave (name changed for anonymity) let us know he had tons of stock that he can't move fast enough and was willing to cut us a fair deal on Gaylord boxes full of them.  He didn't even care that we know how to sell books on Amazon.  He just wanted to move them.

Bulk books can be a lot of work, there is sorting, grading, de-stickering, cleaning, and finally listing, packing, and shipping.  You may also have a lot of discards.  However, do not let that discourage you.  There are methods to monetize the discards.  Recycling, wholesaling, flea markets, and even donating.  The donation will be a tax deduction.  Just make sure to consult your accountant to do it properly.

I do not know much about finding multiple sources from which to get Gaylord of books from but as I learn more I will update the blog to help you more.  What I have found out is that you need to build relationships with the people who sell bulk books.  You will then be given preferential treatment and even called ahead of other buyers.  Trust me, it's worth it.  It is also a great way to scale up.

Resources

I want to close up with some resources for you, the reader.  Learning how to sell books on Amazon does not necessarily take a lot of skill.  But, you will be well served to grow as many skill sets as you can to make yourself a better bookseller.  That is where learning from as many sources as possible comes in.  So, first I am going to show you a book that I recommend.  It is a fantastic read.  Then I am going to share some groups you should be a part of on Facebook to learn more from some of the best sellers in the book business.

Book Flipping: 10 Steps to Setting Up and Fully Automating a Used Book Selling Business on Amazon – This book may seem expensive but Bryan really knows his stuff and has a pretty automated business.  He sells both used books as well and he has a healthy retail arbitrage business.

Bus Proof Book Flipping – This is a Facebook group headed by Greg Murph, another Ohioan, who does a killer amount of book sales every year.  He is completely bulk books and he is extremely open about his operation.  Bryan young also helps him with this venture.  Tons of great information as well as connections to be made here.

Reezy Resells – This is a younger guy who does a great job.  He did over $650,000 in book sales in 2015 and just keeps crushing it.  He's down to earth and just gets out and hustles.  His business is based on cherry picking.  Tons of great insight as well as a good youtube channel and snapchat.  Honestly, this guy has forgotten more about how to sell books on Amazon than I have learned.

There you have it folks, a short primer on how to sell books on Amazon and make killer margins.  If I missed anything or if you have a few words of advice that could help fellow sellers or people who want to start selling please leave me a comment.  As always, share this with your friends and family.

Audentes Fortuna Iuvat

Chris

Retail Arbitrage Has One Foot in The Grave or Does It?

Retail arbitrage is dying, slowly, but surely!  You can no longer use retail receipts, you need to switch to wholesale or private label, NOW!!!  The sky is falling!

These are all things that I have been hearing since I started selling on Amazon.  Things that I have mostly not paid attention to as I was too busy trying to work a full time job as well as grow my side hustle.  It mainly consisted of retail arbitrage, in fact, it was 100% retail arbitrage.  I focused mostly on clearance items at local grocery store, Walmart's, Walgreen's, and other stores you all know. Now, I have become a full time seller and I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what is going on in the community a little more to help both my business and the businesses of others.

So, in light of all this talk recently I decided I wanted to give a spirited defense of the retail arbitrage and online arbitrage business model many of us enjoy.  Below are some of my thoughts.

Third party merchants are responsible for over 80% of Amazon sales.  Just look at this graph, courtesy of Business Insider.

retail arbitrage

My first counterpoint to the death knell being rung for RA is that Amazon makes a significant amount of money from third party sellers.  Many of whom dedicate their businesses to retail arbitrage and online arbitrage.

I mean, there are over 2,000,000 sellers on the platform.  First, because the return on investment is so high, the amount of product source is plentiful, and the barrier to entry is fairly low I would have to surmise that a huge amount of Amazon product has to come from RA. It just makes sense.  Let's just assume that half of the product from third party sellers is from retail or online arbitrage. If they completely shut that channel down they may lose up to 1,000,000,000, yes one billion, products that they have sold.  That is according to an article by The Wall Street Journal.  We, third party merchants, represent two billion units sold to Amazon customers.  That makes up over 40% of total goods sold by Amazon in 2014.

My second counterpoint is something Amazon themselves have been doing.  They have been rapidly expanding there warehouse space and locations.  Why would they do this if they did not want more products from third party sellers?

So, in Q3 of 2016 Amazon is adding 18 warehouses.  This is in response to the overwhelming “crush” of products they handle in Q4.  We must remember that Q4 is not only a boon to “The Everything Store” but also to us third party sellers.  When Amazon can not keep enough stock on their shelves they rely on us.  They also rely on us to offer products they do not want to hold in stock.  We, as a unit, have the ability to source a more diversified portfolio of stock for Amazon to sell to their customers.  This allows Amazon to make money on, essentially, free inventory.  All they have to do is pick, pack, and ship.

Finally, I ran an extremely scientific poll in my retail arbitrage focused Facebook Group, Clear The Shelf.  I think the results speaks for themself.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 11.35.59 AM

 

I know none of us retail arbitrageurs have Jeff Bezos ear but I think these results are telling.  First, I am glad they are so positive.  Secondly, I just don't think that Amazon would screw with their bread and butter.  They make a ton of money from third party sellers and by shutting down that channel they would really piss off shareholders.  Those people tend to like profits to keep going up.  Something that would likely not happen without the third party seller given Amazon's aggressive growth strategies.

Now, let's talk a little about what I think you and I should do as sellers.  Do we give up RA and OA?  No.  Do we expand our reach into private label and wholesale?  Yes, if those things interest you. Do we cower in the corner and allow fear to stagnate the growth of our business?  A resounding HELL NO!

We must be flexible, have fluidity in our business plan.  We must also have contingencies in place IF the landscape of the current market place does change.  However, I do not believe this will be happening this year or even the next.  Honestly, I don't think this is something that would happen in the next five years.  Just the competitive reduction in pricing due to supply and demand factors is hugely in Amazon's favor currently.  This means that because so many sellers compete on the same products prices typically tend to be lower for the end consumer.  Amazon wants to be the low price.  I mean, they built a visual scanner so consumers can price compare in the store.

In conclusion, I think we arbitrageurs are safe, for now.  The landscape of our business will and HAS to change as consumer trends do.  However, this should not be something that keeps us awake at night.  Do what you are good at, adapt, stay fluid, keep adding streams of income.  That is all we can do as entrepreneurs.

If none of this gives you a little hope, here is a picture of a penguin.  Penguins always make things better.

baby penguin

If you enjoyed this post and want more please take a minute and join our Facebook Group.  I share tips, tricks, strategies, and sometimes I think of something witty to say.  There may also be penguins on occasion.

Audentes Fortuna Juvat

Chris

 

UPDATE:  This evening I was on a webinar where Cynthia Stine was a guest speaker to discuss the recent hullabaloo over the retail arbitrage issues.  I took some notes and she said this is really to try and get the inauthentic claims to be reduced.  You may have no problems at all if you have never had an inauthentic claim.  It was also mentioned that you are able to get 5 inauthentic claims in a year before a suspension happens.  When these suspensions do happen it has been seen that Amazon is not necessarily accepting retail receipts to get your account back.

Next, it was mentioned that Amazon may be locking up not only specific categories but also brands and specific ASIN's.  You may have to get approved for a specific brand or even an ASIN.  In these cases you may even need legitimate wholesale invoices within the last ninety days.

As always, one team at Amazon doesn't necessarily know what the other hand is doing so this information is all fluid and will be updated as I learn more.

Now, I still would not fret.  Retail arbitrage and online arbitrage are not and will not be dead anytime soon.  Things may change but I still stand by what I said.  We make too much money for Amazon for them to completely shut us down.

Keep your heads up!