Getting Ready for Retail Arbitrage

If you are in the “side hustle” game, you know that retail arbitrage has been a hot topic for many years now. After all, that’s how I got my start in Amazon. If you’re looking to get started in 2017, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a few basic covered before heading out to yard sales, thrift stores, or just your big box stores for a Saturday afternoon of shopping. Here’s my top tips for getting ready for a day of gold mining.

Make sure your Amazon account is set up

You can’t go shopping without an Amazon app or a third-party app to help you price along the way. Okay, you really can but it will be a manual search nightmare and I would not recommend it. You will need a Pro Seller Account with Amazon in order to scan properly. This is a $40/month subscription. This is not it’s only features, and if you’re going to hit it hard – invest the $40.

Download your apps of choice for arbitrage

I used to use Profit Bandit exclusively prior to Amazon Seller’s app coming out and actually being useful. Now that Profit Bandit has a monthly charge and I don’t do RA, I’ve used Amazon Seller’s app for the occasional scan. The pros is you can see if you are eligible to sell the product when you scan. This can save you a lot of heartache down the road. I can’t speak to the advantages or disadvantages of apps otherwise. Profit Bandit has a familiarity to me, but I don’t have the subscription anymore since its not my main source of income.

Determine what accounts you can sell in

You’ll need to do some information digging or just scanning everything in your house to determine what you are approved to sell. The common gated categories are grocery, health & beauty, clothing, jewelry, auto, watches, electronics, and DVDs. The lucrative retail arb categories as you can imagine are the ones I just mentioned. As a new seller, you’re likely not approved for these categories. If you dabbled in retail arbitrage years ago, you may be grandfathered in. So, go around your house, and scan your deodorant, shampoo, lotions, vitamins, macaroni elbows, spaghetti sauce, and even that can of WD-40 to see what you can and cannot sell. You can also find a list in Seller Central. I’m not 100% on where to find this list as I can never find it when I search, so you’ll need to dig around to get that info if you go this route. If you do find it, let me know how you did it so I can update this! 

Know your Best Seller Ranks

It’s not very often I recommend someone else’s content but since I’m not a big player in RA, I’m going to tell you that Sourcing Simplifiers has an excellent chart that discusses BSR. It will tell you the top 1%, 5% 10% of a category. It will NOT tell you how many units will sell per day (estimated) if you are at a certain rank for a product. You can also subscribe to Jungle Scout’s list and they’ll give you a handy chart on BSR. This one DOES say how many should sell a day and will be really helpful. I’m a big fan of Jungle Scout, I know their data is solid so it’s worth a subscribe!

Don’t get discouraged

This one is a tip that I have to remind myself on a daily. You could go out for four hours and walk away with nothing. Do not view this as a loss. Do not get desperate and buy anything. Walk away. Those four hours were valuable research time that allowed you to learn what products were duds. The next time you’ll have that much more knowledge under your belt. If you compromise yourself by buying just any old stuff for lower returns, you’re just hurting yourself by locking up capital when a good buy comes along. Keep moving forward, and you’ll be golden soon enough.


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