- DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU GO. I researched vendors and products for the week prior to ASD and was completely prepared when I hit the floor.
- SCHEDULE SOME BROWSE TIME. Since I had prepared, I was able to enjoy browsing some booths & vendors by day 3 without missing out on the booths I HAD to visit.
- JUST SAY NO TO CATALOGS! I prefer a backpack to a rolling bag and by day 3 I had bruises on my shoulders from the weight of the bag!
- GRAB ESSENTIAL CATALOGS. There were 2 vendors that were not on my original search list so I did grab those two catalogs, researched at night on wifi at my hotel and placed an order the next day with the most profitable items.
- LEARN SOMETHING NEW ON PURPOSE. I was able to schedule just one seminar so I made it count by seeing Katharyne Shelton. She was such a wealth of knowledge, it was time very well-spent.
- WORK THE SHOW LIKE A BOSS. Save the meandering, window shopping for another time. The purpose of attending is to make money. I saw things I could have purchased as gifts for family or things I thought were cute, but I made myself research everything before buying. This saved me tons of money for sure.
- TAKE A SMALL RISK. I made a purchase at one booth that was probably profitable but WAY outside my comfort zone. It was a $200 wholesale purchase which was within my budget and if it does well, I will have a new category to continue to pursue.
- KNOW YOUR BUDGET. While this may seem obvious, it is still vital! Don’t go overboard. No deal is really THAT good and the vendors/wholesalers will always take your money.
- BE YOURSELF. (unless you’re a jerk… just kidding) It is much easier to have a genuine conversation with a business owner when you walk up with a smile and a “good morning” rather than being nervous with some sort of “pitch.”
- HAVE FUN. A nice dinner, a little gambling, goofing off and time to unwind are essential so that you don’t burn out by the end of the week.
Walmart.com can be a lucrative source of inventory either for simple resale or for making bundles. Many online sellers buy from there and resell on Amazon or other marketplaces. If you are buying for resale, you can avoid paying sales tax both online and in store.
If you buy from Walmart.com for the purposes of reselling their inventory on another website such as Amazon, you can apply for TAX EXEMPT status to avoid paying sales tax.
- Make sure you have a SALES TAX / RESALE CERTIFICATE from your own state
- Set up a business buying account for Walmart.com
- Follow these instructions on WALMART’s WEBSITE on how and then fill out the application
- Once you are approved you should be able to make business purchases and no tax will be applied
In order to make IN STORE tax exempt purchases, go to customer service with your SALES TAX / RESALE CERTIFICATE and apply. They will give you a card (or multiples) that you can then give to any cashier at any point and you will receive the exemption.
- Tape Machines – WORTH IT! We are warehouse geeks at heart. Full post
- We celebrated our THIRD ANNIVERSARY by giving away over $7000 worth of prizes to members!
- There were some tough changes to the FBA landscape but our members looked on the positive side.
- At least 15 of our members sold 1 Million in product for the first time in 2016! CONGRATS!
- We saw many full timers thrive.
- Our members diversified in so many ways this year. Whether it was new marketplaces (Jet, Walmart and more), new countries (UK and beyond), or new ways of sourcing (wholesale, private label and manufacturing)
- We were inspired to learn how our members got their start. Here.
- We also had members who had a tough year who reached out to each other and are continuing to build, re-build and grow. Here.
- Q4 on Ebay with Jason T Smith and Nadene Shearstone of the Thrifting Board
- Senior Marketing Manager of Amazon Business, Colin Puckett joined us to fill us in on this new billion dollar program for sellers.
- Cynthia Stine discusses the safety of Arbitrage as a business model
- Building A Sellable Amazon Business (THIS WEEK-1/10. REGISTER)
- Daneen England, Seller Success Story! Rising Like A Phoenix and THRIVING in 2016 After Their Warehouse BURNED DOWN (1/19)
- Listing Writing Strategy Session with Karon Thrackston (1/26)
- Etsy Basics (2/2)
- SELLER SUCCESS STORIES – This series of posts gives you a peek into the lives of many sellers who succeed in different ways. Whether it be part time or full time, they are growing and thriving.
- Q1 – A Most Wonderful Time Of Year
- Arbitrage, Is it Viable?
- Selling On Swap.com
- White Label
- Top 25 RA Tips & Strategies
Joy sells online on eBay and Amazon. She has been at it part time for 5 years and went full time in 2016. She does a bit of consulting but mostly earns her living from her online sales business.
“For the last 6 years I was responsible for running someone else’s company. While it was a job I loved, I realized all that energy could be spent growing my own business and affording me more freedom over my life and my schedule. If I am going to be married to my work I want it to be my own business not someone else’s.
I started out selling primarily Health and Beauty items, mostly limited edition and discontinued makeup. My eBay business originally was comprised entirely of Retail Arbitrage. Now I also do vintage and thrifted items on eBay in addition to RA. I sell in a variety of categories on Amazon…toys, clothes, grocery, health and beauty, video games and more! I am 99% RA, 1% OA and am in the very early stages of finding a manufacturer for my first PL product.”
“Since I went full time growth has been amazing, and revenue for the year between Amazon and eBay will be in the 6 figures.”
“I have a daughter who is 23 and in college studying business management, and a son who is 22 and works full time as a material handler. I am a coffee junkie and am an admin in the Facebook group, The Thrifting Board, which focuses on helping sellers who sell vintage and thrifted goods on eBay with a little Amazon mixed in. I’ve been blessed by a lot of sellers who’ve helped me along the way so I love to pay it forward helping in that group. Vintage Levi’s are kind of my area of expertise.”
What Does She Love About Scanner Monkey?
“I adore how welcoming and friendly the group is. And so knowledgeable! I love how active and positive Jay and Cordelia are in the group.”
Many people in the retail or e-commerce world will tell you that Q4 is the best time of year. There can be a big bump in sales, however, Q1 can also be a lucrative time.
My first Q1 was kind of a disaster or as some would say, “a learning experience.” After beginning selling on Amazon in Sept of 2013, I had focused entirely on sourcing product to sell in December. I sold ornaments, toys, gingerbread houses, games, and more toys. Did I mention toys? I bought at Toys R Us, Walgreens and more and easily made 100% ROI on most of my purchases. I was able to make the down payment on a new car for my husband for his Christmas present. Not just a new car for us but a real new car. Life was good. Then came January. I knew there would be a “dip” in my sales but I actually experienced more of an icy cold plunge. My first January payout from Amazon was around $100. I worked hard in 2014 to learn like crazy so that this type of sales dip would not happen in 2015. Here is a summary of my own experiences as well as some of the collective knowledge I’ve gained from the amazing community of sellers I’m in.
- New Years brings fitness resolutions to Q1. People buy sports equipment, clothing, socks shoes, and more. Start stocking those items as early as possible as stores start bringing in spring clothing soon and people still want their winter fitness wear.
- There are some major shopping holidays in Q1. A few of the items you can sell are party supplies, specialty grocery items (look for holiday limited edition flavors), decorations, wreaths (yes, lots of people put up Valentine’s wreaths), holiday themed clothing, temporary tattoos, makeup, decorative lights (make sure to check if they are ok to sell on Amazon), yard decorations, garden flags, table cloths, kids art projects, and plush.
- Chinese/Lunar New Year – Jan 28th
- Super Bowl Sunday – Feb 5th
- Valentine’s Day – Feb 14th
- Mardi Gras – Feb 28th
- St. Patrick’s Day – Mar 17th
- Easter – April 16th (Technically this is Q2 but start stocking up in Q1)
- Linens are big in February. Lots of big stores do their annual “white sale” or bedding sales this month. People have fixing up their homes on the mind.
- Trade show and conferences resume in Q1. Check your local urban conference centers for “off the beaten path” trade shows that are within a drive of your home and start there. Connect with wholesalers, white labelers and other professionals that can help you grow your business. Traveling to larger shows such as ASD in Vegas can be good too. Just make sure that you have a clear strategy when attending a show that will help you earn more.
- Expand your current relationships. Take the time in Q1 to personally call all of your wholesale accounts and connect. See what their thoughts are, how they are doing and if you can help them in any way. If their products provide you with a good chunk of income, an in person visit might be just the thing to cement your relationship and build confidence. Check to see if they will produce exclusives just for you to increase their bottom line and yours.
- Use your knowledge to create your own products. Whether you create your own information, print on demand merchandise, white label from another manufacturer, or private label your own brand, learn more and grow your selection of unique products.
- Analyze your data from 2016. See what products were the most profitable. Sometimes our perception of our most profitable areas and the actual data do not agree. Look at profit in terms of percent, dollars and time spent.
I hope these tips will help you smoothly continue to grow in the beginning of 2017. My Q1s have grown to be much more profitable than that first $100 one in 2014. I look forward to 2017 and what it will bring.
What are your Q1 tips and fears? Please comment!
Recently we polled our members to see how they are sourcing products for their Amazon and online ecommerce businesses. This was the result.
Although this is a small sample of our total membership, I was surprised by the results. A majority of people are still sourcing via arbitrage, whether it be online or in store. This is definitely a somewhat risky but profitable model in the short term.
This leads me to wonder, what is the future of arbitrage? Is it a sustainable business model? I will say yes with some major reservations.
- This model will become harder and harder to do on Amazon.com as the rules are tightened, brands are restricted and inauthentic claims are harder and harder to fight.
- Those who have been doing it successfully for at least a year are at a bigger advantage because they have achieved some mastery and cash flow.
- While Amazon.com may be more challenging, those who can adapt to international marketplaces such as Amazon in Europe and Linio in Latin America will thrive. (Linio will be adding major shipping functionality from the US in 2017 which will make it a much better fit for arbitrage than it is now.) Many people in other countries are desperate for our brand name goods and the seller marketplace and warehouses are not nearly as congested as the US ones are. Developing countries in particular will be great for arbitrage such as Latin America (Linio.com), India (Amazon.com), and even China.
- Sellers who learn international marketplaces besides Amazon will be at a huge advantage. For example, if selling in the UK, what other marketplaces besides Amazon make sense for selling?
- Sellers who can sell in multiple marketplaces will be safer. For example, selling on Ebay, Jet, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and even local will be able to fully capitalize on their deal sourcing capabilities.
Arbitrage is still a viable business model for many but keep a lean inventory to make sure that pivots are not too costly. The days of just send it into Amazon and move on are over. Accounts must be much more closely monitored, records kept better and growth strategies must be employed.
I would love to hear YOUR arbitrage experiences and opinions. Please comment below.