I get many questions each day on instagram and the majority are Amazon questions. I love this as it allows me to help people and also engage and chat and find out more about others and their journeys.
I thought I would post the most asked questions here, so it’s in one place and easy for people to find, especially those starting out or thinking of it.
- Tips for manual online arbitrage for Amazon?
It’s basically a case of just sitting down with a block of spare time, choosing a website and manually checking everything. Start with clearance and offers like 3 for 2 and then just go through each different section.
You’ll fairly quickly get used to which sites you are finding regular deals on and what types of offers they do regularly too and then these can be your first go to’s to replenish current stock or to find new lines.
Personally I use Google Chrome and have the selleramp software installed. It is an analysis software which when you right click a product on say Argos, it will show you it in Amazon along with rank, how many sell a month, how many other sellers etc so you can decide if its a good deal. You can join at https://selleramp.com (not an affiliate link)
Topcashback will give you a % back on your spend at certain stores and some stores offer more than others, you can then cash this money in or get gift vouchers with it.
Honey, will automatically go through a bunch of voucher codes when you are at the checkout and auto enter them to save you money. I have had it find 20% off codes before. You also get points if there are no codes and you can cash those in 1390 = $10 gift card at places like Amazon. Both are free to join so well worth doing.
2. Best Way to improve your sourcing method?
As above, it’s a lot of practice and trial and error. I always suggest to people struggling that they join up to some of the online sourcing software free trials that are out there and regularly check those to get a feel for it. You’ll soon see the stores that pop up often, types of products and offers on certain websites.
This is what I did and I started to get a grasp of the types of things to be keeping an eye out for.
3. Which software do I use?
I have recently tried to streamline the software I am using to cut down on monthly costs and also what offered the best value for money to me.
Selleramp for deal analysis, this can be used online and they have an app too which is great for retail arbitrage so you aren’t sourcing simply based on rank
Sellertoolkit for my inventory management, an overview on my profit and loss and dealing with reconciliations. You enter the cost of your stock and you get some slick data each day telling you all of your margins and what needs stocking etc.
Tactical Arbitrage for sourcing – It’s a bit hit and miss with online arbitrage sourcing but I tend to use it as a start point and it’s also good for going through wholesale sheets if my wholesaler has an excel file.
Repricer Express for repricing my stock. I used to manually reprice when I first started but when you get a lot of stock its handy to have. You set the minimum price you are happy to sell at and the maximum for each item and the rule you want. My rule is to match the lowest FBA sellers price as long as it is in my price range, I then don’t have to worry if the price drops and my stock is sitting there not moving because it’s not competitive.
Non of the above four links are affiliate links, they are just genuinely the software I currently use and am happy with having tried numerous through my time doing it.
4. How to improve IPI (Index performance score)?
The IPI score is based on a lot of factors and mine is far from perfect. The easiest things you can do to maintain it is to remove any slow selling stock that is just sitting there not selling and has been for a long time. Either lower the price to try and sell it out or recall it and sell it elsewhere. These will also be getting you storage fees if they are just sitting there.
If you sell out of a product and don’t plan on restocking it or it was a one time deal you can’t get anymore, delete the inactive listing. Having lots of inactive listings not only affects your IPI but you can still get IP claims on old listings where you don’t have stock anymore so it’s just good practice to stay on top of.
Other things such a responding to messages from customers, posting out FBM orders on time, not having lots of complaints etc will also help with this. It’s basically a case of good admin and staying on top of your account. Make it a habit to check through once a week for anything that needs looking for In account health and reply to customer messages within 24 hours.
5. Whats my take on the European Marketplaces and should you remove listings?
Since Brexit there is a requirement if you are selling in Europe now to follow many more rules and regulations like being tax registered in the countries you sell in I believe. I haven’t looked into these really. My European accounts have been switched off since last lockdown (April 2020) as I kept getting pricing warnings and as those sales didn’t account for a big % of my turnover I decided to just take them off completely and took time to focus on my UK account.
It may be something I look into and reopen in the future but currently I am selling just UK to save the hassle of the new rules.
6. How many hours do I work on Amazon a week?
A lot.Amazon is my main focus at the moment with side projects taking a bit of a back seat. I don’t actively time it and I am easily distracted with social media, or playing with the dog for 15 minutes which I need to be better with. General I start around 8am until around 6pm but I tend to do bit like checking emails, admin, more sourcing whilst watching TV at night too. This is something I am trying to structure to have dedicated focused hours on set tasks to make it more efficient and I may do a weeks diary at some point to show all of the bits and pieces I do so I can pick out set areas where I can improve.
Currently I source, prep, pack, do my own admin, book keeping etc myself so this could be much more streamlined sometimes.
7. How to pack and ship FBM orders?
I get this one a lot and it’s easier than you think, and until last year I put off doing it too.
You don’t need to pack in Amazon branded boxes or with branded tape or anything. You simply pack the orders like you would an eBay order. If its breakable bubble wrap it, if its small and can’t be squashed just use a padded enveloped. I always use new boxes rather than reused ones and brown or fragile tape and then I just print the labels on sticker sheets and stick them straight onto the box.
As for shipping, this is also easier than you think. You can directly link your Amazon account to Hermes or Royal Mail and when you get FBM orders it will auto import all of the data, name, address etc and you just simple enter the weight, box size etc and pay. Once done you print the labels and just drop your parcels off.
I spent a lot of time overthinking it and putting it off, but it is really easy and streamlined if you don’t mind storing stock at home. I personally do this when I have had some valuable items I didn’t want getting damaged or lost by amazon, posting myself takes several hands it has to pass out of the process and cuts down this risk (and also the Amazon fees)
8. If you started FBA today, where would the first place be to source?
I started off sourcing in charity shops and if I started again I would skip this completely. the returns are good but I just wasn’t able to buy the quantity I needed to grow quickly and this delayed my growth massively.
If I started today, and could pick one store, It would be a supermarket. These is so much to choose from in there, pick an aisle and scan. They often have really good clearance deals too.
9. FBA – Returns. I hear resellers complaining about getting items returned?
In the last 30 days I have had 9 returns according to my Amazon reports, this is less than 0.05% of orders.
According to my report, 7 of these were returned to the inventory to be sold again. Meaning there are 2 refunds which weren’t sellable. These two appear to be courier damaged so Amazon should refund me for those.
Generally returns are fine, like above, it’s just that people have changed their mind, ordered the wrong colour etc and they return and it just goes back into the inventory and is resold without you having to do anything.
Unfortunately Amazon don’t let you decide to accept returns or not and you do get the odd customer who takes advantage and will use products or break them then get a refund once done with them. There is not a lot you can do about it other than see it as the ‘cost of doing business’ and try and just move on and know it is only a tiny % and it doesn’t happen often. (They are often outrageous when they do though)
10. Best product to sell?
Replenishables are the best products to sell. These are the ideal products, they sell well, you can get them for a good price and every time you are running low you can keep buying and sending in more.
Imagine finding 10 of these a month, by the end of the year you would have 120 products that you can consistently get a hold of and just keep topping up as they sell out.
If each of these made you just £100 a month profit that would be £12,000 profit by month 12 onwards.
As always, thanks for reading, hopefully some of these answers will help you and my inbox is always open if you have any others that haven’t been covered.