When you are new to selling on Amazon, heck, even when you are an Amazon selling pro, finding products to sell on Amazon can be work.
However, it is the lifeblood of your business.
You need to find products, sell products, then move on from the ones that tank. On top of that you need to find additional products to sell so you can continue to grow your business.
A new seller or someone who is thinking about jumping into selling may find this daunting.
It doesn’t need to be. There are, literally, tons of ways to find products to sell on Amazon.
In this post I will break down the different methods of finding (sourcing) products to sell and share some tools that may make it a bit easier.
Now, please don’t think that these tools will make sourcing an absolute breeze. You need to learn to properly pick items for sale and that is an art and a science that deserves its own post.
Let’s dig in!
This method of sourcing is probably the easiest to get started with. You can quite easily drive to your local Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and more to raid the clearance racks and aisles to find profitable products to sell on Amazon.
This method is a perfect way to learn about selling on Amazon and can even continue to be an excellent source of income for years.
I have many friends who make a healthy living from shopping in stores and reselling on Amazon. It’s a grind and they love it.
Modern day gold digging!
Once you have the clearance racks good and plundered it is time to graduate to items you can replenish.
Believe it or not, you can sell many items on Amazon that you purchase from stores at full price.
These are items you can build a business on. Items you can buy on a regular basis, or replenish, and sell over and over again at a price high enough to make a profit.
OK, you have that mastered. That was quick!
It’s time to make things even better.
There are several ways you can find more products to sell on Amazon without having to be the one to do all the heavy lifting of scanning hundreds or even thousands of items.
- Forging relationships - Do this with managers, customer service folks, and anyone who may be able to alert you to deals. Don’t go into it just thinking about yourself. Any relationship should be mutually beneficial.
- Sales - Ensure you keep your finger on the pulse of sales, clearance rotations, discount programs, and every other method you may be able to save money and increase your return on your investment.
- Discount gift cards - Over at FBA Today I posted about this recently. You can purchase discount gift cards from websites like raise.com, you can search through the Facebook Marketplace, craigslist, and you can even ask family and friends to keep a look out for you.
This is another method many people get started selling on Amazon with.
People donate new items to Goodwill and other charities that operate thrift stores. You can spend the time looking the aisles and combing the shelves to find these treasures.
The upside is you can often find items with insane profit margins.
Imagine buying a board game for $1 and then flipping that on Amazon for $40, $50, even $100. Those kinds of scores are out there.
When I started selling on Amazon this was one of my main methods of sourcing items to sell on Amazon.
The items I would keep an eye out for are:
- Board Games (New and Used)
- Books (Typically used, Textbooks can be highly profitable)
- PC Games
- Office Equipment (Printers, Toner, etc)
- Kitchen Items
There were also items I would stay away from when I thrifted:
- Small Electronics
I would offer one word of caution. When you are thrifting for items to sell on Amazon it is highly unlikely you will have an acceptable receipt if you are hit with an inauthentic claim.
Because the thrift store doesn’t keep track of where the item came from you won’t have a solid chain of custody and this may cause an issue IF you were to receive a suspension.
Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t source at thrift stores. I just want to share all the information I have.
Now we get to one of my favorite methods of arbitrage. In fact I run a hugely popular challenge called the OA Challenge. I'd love to see you join the challenge and see how awesome the community is that we've built.
Online Arbitrage is very similar to retail arbitrage but the ability to scale is much greater.
You don’t need to drive to every single store and scan items, you can hire a virtual assistant to find profitable items for you, it’s easier to utilize cash back and discount gift cards to increase your ROI, inventory is shipped to you or your prep center, and the list goes on and on.
In short, you can scale at a faster clip, capital restrictions aside, by being able to cover more digital ground than you can retail ground.
Another perk of online arbitrage is the plethora of tools available to quickly and easily analyze heaps of data.
In the “old” days you would have to search through each product and then compare it to Amazon and figure out if there was profit margin on the item.
Then came Tactical Arbitrage and the ability to scan hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of products in the same time you could manually search through a few hundred items at most.
You can check out the Tactical Arbitrage Tutorial and review I wrote for more information on it.
Other tools I use to make life easier are:
- RevROI (a tool I built)
- Storefront Stalker Pro
- Keepa Extension
I’m sure I am missing a ton of sweet tools but I am a bit of a minimalist. Please add your favorite tools in the comments.
Wholesale sourcing is something I also plan to focus on in 2018 in a big way.
Finding products to sell on Amazon via wholesale may be one of the most scalable methods of growing an Amazon business. Capital restrictions aside, of course.
When sourcing wholesale you look to build partnerships with manufacturers and distributors of products. These can be products that already sell on Amazon and I plan to look for partnerships on product that sells well.
There are a few things to know before getting into wholesale.
You will likely need to have an LLC or some other type of corporation. You will also likely need an EIN, reseller or tax certificate, and a website to show you are a serious business.
I also plan to craft several value propositions.
Wholesale is becoming a more attractive business model due to the ability to grow a larger operation and the ease of outsourcing your prep and pack to an employee or even a prep center like Prime Zero Prep.
For these reasons you (and I) will want to be able to stand out from the crowd. When someone calls on a brand they may ask to be a wholesale customer and that’s it.
What if you can bring more to the table? What if you know how to optimize a listing, help with brand registry, or something I haven’t even thought of.
This will allow you to rise to the top of the hordes of other sellers clamoring to become customers and buy direct from the brand.
If you want to learn a bunch more from some guys who absolutely crush wholesale I would suggest checking out the blog by Dan Meadors and Eric Lambert over at The Wholesale Formula. These guys really know what they are doing!
Here is another method of sourcing that I would suggest serious caution with.
Like thrifting, if you do not use the proper type of liquidator you will not have a proper chain of custody for the items you resell.
Places like liquidation.com buy in massive quantities from retailers and most of it is unmanifested, may contain returns, refurbished items, or just plain junk.
If you try and flip these products, especially without inspecting them all first, you may be asking for trouble.
The proper way to source liquidation products is to partner with a company that produces overstock items (food is one of the most common) specifically for a quick sale.
You would typically be dealing directly with a manufacturer and this would be an extremely safe way to buy liquidation or overstock inventory to sell on Amazon.
Friends of the Library Sale
If you are a bookseller you have probably heard of these.
Public libraries will often have massive sales of their book inventory. They may include books that have become worn out, books that have been donated, or books and media they just have too much of.
Some of these sales will allow you to scan while others will not.
You may also be able to hit the sale on the last day and buy all the remainders if you get rid of the junk.
Alternatively, they often have bag sales where you can fill up bags for one set price.
I have never been to one of these sales but I have been told they can be gold mines or they can be complete duds.
If this interests you you can check out booksalefinder.com for tons of locations you can check out.
The site looks like it’s from the late 90’s but it still does the trick!
I saved this method for last as I know the least about it.
I have tried and failed at a bit of private label, selling a self-defense product for a short time that I didn’t realize was not allowed to be sold on Amazon.
It sold well but I had to remove it (the remainders are still in my basement) to keep my Amazon account safe.
This method of selling products on Amazon can be cash intensive. You will want to find a product and a manufacturer. You will want to order samples to check quality, make up some nice packaging, register your brand, have your items delivered to you from China, India, or any other country you decide to source them from, then you will likely need to give some away at a steep discount or even free to get the sales start moving and get Amazon to recognize you have a quality product.
Now, I don’t know a lot but here are some things I have learned from others:
- Don’t skimp on design and packaging
- Set your product apart from others
- Niches are where the riches are
- Have incredible photos
- Have even better copy
- Make sure you have proper keywords
- Be willing to drive your own traffic
There is a bunch more to know about private label. I’m not the guy to give you a lot of advice.
If this is the method of sourcing product to sell on Amazon you are really interested in I would recommend you follow people like Scott Voelker, Anthony Bui Tran, Andy Slamans, and Shawn Michael.
These guys have more information about private label and brand building than I can shake a stick at.
OK, that’s it for now. Hopefully you've found this article useful,
I’m sure I have forgotten something or missed an incredible method or two for finding products to sell on Amazon. If I have, feel free to let me know!
Also, would you take a moment to leave a comment and tell me what your favorite method of sourcing is?
Grocery is technically Retail Arbitrage, but it is so different that I consider it a separate method.
Good stuff. I’ve been doing books lately. Mostly, because among the cheap right now. But, I want to get into wholesale and shoes.
Great post, I always look forward to your content. You should consider consulting as you are a great teacher, very thorough and step by step, which is how I learn best. Looking forward to buying TA Academy in 2018. Best wishes to you and your family for a happy and prosperous 2018!
For now my best sourcing method is OA and I’ve been doing all the prepping myself. For 2018, I plan to increase my buying using TA and using a prep center again since I’ll likely not be able to keep up with that much processing; plus I’ll have more family time using the prep center.
Chris, I really appreciate all the information and help you provide about sourcing. Currently I am doing mostly OA with some RA. I have been using Tactical Arbitrage and struggled at first. The Tactical Arbitrage Academy has made a huge difference for me. You are an excellent instructor and using what I have learned has helped me have the best Q4 since I started in 2015. I am looking forward to another great year.
Happy New Year to you and your family and again thanks for helping me get over the learning curve.
Thanks so much for saying that Janelle! I really appreciate it.
Currently 95% wholesale and 5% OA. My goal in 2018 is to tip my toe into Private Label. Looking at videos from Amazing Freedom with Andy Slamans.
Andy and his team are an excellent resource for PL