Many newbies to eBay and Amazon see a low price on an item that is selling for a high price and that is the end of their decision-making process. They buy it immediately. Sometimes this can work out well for them, but a very important variable that should be more important than just the return on investment in determining whether to buy an item for resale is the user reviews and ratings.
If you have an item that has issues where the majority of customers do not like it or it does not function as it should then it should be avoided. Selling that item is only going to lead to profit-draining returns, negative feedback, and unhappy customers.
You need to read the reviews if they are bad, as the reviews could be actually unrelated to the item itself. Often on Amazon, for example, an item with a few reviews will be low rated, but the issue mentioned in the reviews is slow shipping or a problem with the seller and not anything actually wrong with the product. Normally a good rule to follow is to not buy something rated below 3 stars in a 5 star rating system. The only caveat to this would if the reviews are not actually reviews, but are feedback about a seller.
In the example above this printer could have been purchased for $15.99. It would make a good profit, but it has horrible reviews and out of 52 reviews it received and average rating of 2 stars out of 5. This item is a problem and buying it is just asking for a costly return. It, of course, was put back on the shelf and not purchased for resale.
As a newbie your initial reaction may be to buy anything you can find with a good return on investment, but do not ignore reviews, as they can make or break your sales.
Yesterday, I was sourcing via Retail Arbitrage at a local store where the employees are friendly and positive. As I finished up I got in line to check out. I heard a woman start yelling at a cashier about her receipt. Apparently she wanted the receipt put in her bag because her hands were full and “she had a system,” even though she had a free hand. She was yelling about how the cashier was there to serve her and if she could not do that she needed to find a new job. This was all due to the cashier putting the receipt in her hand and not the bag with the goods purchased!
After the angry lady left, there were multiple cashiers who seemed a little rattled. Had I not seen what had happened it might have come across as them being rude or unfriendly. I told the cashier, “Don’t worry, I don’t yell,” and she laughed and smiled. This seemed to snap her out of the shock the angry lady put the cashiers in.
The reason I bring this up is because I hear people talking about how rude an employee was at a store, but oftentimes I wonder if we are really considering what these people go through each day? Consider if you worked at a place where placing a receipt in a customer’s hand could get you lambasted by a vicious woman. We never really know what these retail employees go through dealing with the general public and should not allow perceived rudeness to change us or make us behave differently toward them. We should always be friendly and polite.
Another thing to consider is the mindset this angry woman had. She said plainly that those employees were “there to serve” her. While true in a technical sense, the mentality she had was one of a queen on a throne with these servants scrambling to follow her every whim. We need to ensure we are not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Romans 12:3), and that we do not treat anyone like they are beneath us.
I do not know what the angry woman went through that day. Maybe she was frustrated because she had horrible things happen that day and took it out on a young lady who would not fight back. Whatever the reason was this is also a lesson for us to not bring our negative experiences into other people’s lives. Why yell at someone because your day went poorly? Why take your bad day and make someone else’s day bad too? Just because you are suffering, does not mean you need to make others suffer. We should strive to ensure that other people are blessed to be around us and not cursed. We need to make sure that we are so emotionally-stable that even when we are having a bad day people would not be able to tell, because we are positive and friendly as always.
Raise is a gift card site with a well-designed app for gift cards. If you are sourcing via Retail Arbitrage or Online Arbitrage then you need to be using Raise. You can find gift cards that are up to 85% off the gift card value. This means you could get a $200 gift card for $30, and these gift cards spend exactly like cash or credit. What this also means to you is instant profits. It also puts you at a huge advantage over your competition who may be paying a higher amount for the same product. It can also turn a decent deal with not a large enough ROI to a great deal that can increase your sales with a fast moving item at a steep discount due to the gift card savings.
Basically, with Raise you can search from hundreds of retailers for gift cards that are being sold at a discounted rate. If you are already spending $300 at your local retailer then why not save an additional 15% by buying a gift card with $300 in value for $255? This is the equivalent of an immediate $45 profit due to the savings, and this is savings on products you were going to purchase anyway. There are no additional fees or surcharges for using Raise, so your savings are not going to be diminished by hidden fees.
If you do Online Arbitrage then using Raise coupled with Ebates can save you a large amount of money on the inventory purchases you are already making. This is easy money that you are throwing away if you are not using these free services.
I use Raise regularly, but I only purchase electronic gift cards because I do not like having funds tied up in gift cards that I might not be using immediately. While doing Retail Arbitrage I have purchased electronic gift cards from Raise while in the store scanning items. Once I have an idea of about how much I will be spending on the items I am buying, I login to the Raise app, buy a gift card for that retailer with roughly the amount I will be spending in value, and then show the cashier at checkout my electronic gift card information. It takes about a minute and saves quite a large amount of money over time. For example, if you were saving 15% each purchase by using an electronic gift card this would be the equivalent of getting every 7th purchase for FREE (presuming you purchase the same total amount each time). This gives you a massive competitive advantage and propels your profit further.
Sign up for Raise today and use the coupon code RAISE75AF to save an additional $5 off your gift card purchase of $75 or more.
FotoFuze is one of the best background removal sites out there right now. I have tried a few of them with poor to decent results. FotoFuze seems to be better than the rest and is free. In the past I simply edited backgrounds out the manual way by using Photoshop and painting white around the edges of a product. That works well, but it is very time-consuming. FotoFuze takes seconds and produces very good results. I took a photo of my cat with a brown background to see how it would do. It is also worth noting I did this all from my phone.
I spent about 10 seconds in FotoFuze highlighting the border and center of the part I wanted to remain (the cat). Then submitted it and the resulting image is seen below:
If you are listing on any major marketplace like eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and others you need to have quality images that have the background removed. Amazon actually requires this for new listings or images, and it just looks better. Even if you have your own website, you still would do well to ensure the images follow traditional stock image standards and have the background removed. While you can do it the old-fashioned way by painting the background color over an image, a site like FotoFuze might meet your needs and save you some time.
Often when shopping on Amazon or listing items you can see all manner of strange descriptions sellers put for their items. The worst description I have ever seen was an item listed as “New” where the seller said it had only been used a few times and was in perfect condition. Of course, this is not even remotely close to a new item, but many sellers either do not know the Amazon condition guidelines or do not care to follow them. I guess many sellers do not care to properly rate an item’s condition because Amazon does not seem to actively monitor these descriptions or hold sellers accountable for incorrect condition ratings.
I have collected just a small sample of descriptions where the sellers plainly describe that their items are not the condition they listed them as. Lest you think these are all newbie sellers, here are some examples of the rankings of these sellers:
Even sellers with a large amount of feedback and with 100% positive ranking are still not listing items with the most accurate condition.
This item is described as “New, never opened, never owned [are they saying that they do not own the item?], sealed.” The problem is that the description also goes on to say that it is in good shape with wear, and that the wear may include scuffs, scratches, creases, bends, and edge wear. All of these things would immediately disqualify the item as being in “New” condition, and it could not even be listed as “Used – Like New” according to Amazon’s Condition Guidelines. A New item must be perfect with no wear to the box. Even a “Like New” condition item means “the original packaging is intact and pristine” and that it has “absolutely no signs of wear on the item or its packaging.”
This description of a supposedly “New” condition item describes why the item could never be listed as “New” or even “Like New.” Now, I do want to add that many of these types of descriptions are default condition descriptions and the actual item they are shipping to the customer may be perfect and actually in “New” condition. This is why it is probably better to not use such default descriptions.
This exact same description is used by multiple sellers, as is seen in the same one in the above two images which are from two different sellers. It may be a description given by some Amazon selling course or some site people are following word-for-word. It could also be that the two sellers using this exact description are the same seller with two accounts, in which case they are breaking Amazon’s terms against multiple accounts and opening themselves up to permanent account suspension.
This description tells us that this item would be “Used – Very Good” due to the fact that it does not qualify per Amazon’s Condition Guidelines. You cannot sell an item as “New” when it has a withered box. It does not matter if you personally would rate it as “New,” the guidelines for what is new are determined by Amazon and not the whims of the seller.
This description is fine, except it is a description for an action figure, not a book. There is no book or anything book-related included with the item. This is most likely some default description the seller uses and accidentally kept when they switched to listing non-book items, but this could cost them sales if people see this and skip it because they are not looking for a book.
You may wonder if these condition issues really are all that important, especially when there are so many sellers listing items with a better condition than they are truly able to be rated. Just because Amazon does not currently police this, they could in the future and your business could be in jeopardy if you have built it upon incorrect condition ratings. Another problem, one that applies right now, is that of buyer complaints that could result from improperly rating an item’s condition. While this may not result in a complaint from most customers, if a customer purchased the item with Amazon’s 1-Click buying, they might never see the description and the buyer is depending on the condition to be accurately rated. This could easily result in a return, negative feedback, or even an A-to-Z claim when the customer gets the damaged box item that they were expecting to be a new item with an undamaged box. It is always best to rate an item the proper condition and ensure that your customer has the best experience possible. Tricking customers by listing items as “New” because you want to get the highest price for an item with a damaged box is short-term thinking and will eventually end in problems.