Sunday, February 17, 2019
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Newbie Help – Do Not Only Buy Products You Like!

Amazon Seller App Scanning

The title may not make sense to you if you are new to reselling products, but the idea is that most of the people who get loaded with inventory that is not selling tend to buy products they personally like and think others will too. One of the early lessons I learned in resale was that it was the rare, the unique, and the thing I would never have any interest in that would tend to sell well. There are some products that I like that sell well, but if I amassed all my inventory based only on things I like then I would be a disastrous failure.

For the newbie, my advice is to not get caught up in only buying things you like. Do not misunderstand this as telling you to avoid buying items you are an expert in. You should buy those items you have an expertise in, but just because you like an item does not mean you have enough practical expertise in that category to know what will sell best. As a newbie you should be scanning everything you can get your hands on. Only with time will you develop the skill-set and practical knowledge to be more picky in which items you choose to consider for purchase and which you ignore. Ignoring items simply because they do not interest you is a sure fire way to miss a lot of potential profit.

Scanning items in retail arbitrage is extremely easy, but to be able to find profitable items may not be so easy. Do not limit the items you might research by scanning until you already know from your own research that those items are not worth buying. I remember the first time I saw a cross-stitch kit at a clearance section of a retail store. It is not something I would ever be personally interested in, but I scanned one, then another, then another, and left within minutes with about $500 worth of potential profit in a small amount of cross-stitch kits (all of which sold within a few months). Had I been looking for only things that interested me I would have literally been passing up easy money. Also, I now learned that there was real profit potential in cross-stitch related items, and so I can keep an eye out for them and find more profit while others ignore them.

Make sure you are not the person passing things you have never researched before. Research, research, research, and keep at it. You will be a success in retail arbitrage if you will never give up!

My Personal Inventory Destruction Crew

My Personal Inventory Destruction Crew - Puppies -

I had 10 sets of Star Showers that were bound for Amazon and for eBay customers. FedEx, sadly, decided to drop at the curb instead of at my house. The neighbor’s puppies were happy to provide their assistance and had fun chewing the box, tearing it open, and destroying one Star Shower. They still ended up being such a great arbitrage opportunity that even the destroyed one sold for double the purchase price as is, for parts.*

* This happened on December 10, 2015

Shipping Essentials – Scotty Peeler Label & Sticker Removers


If you do any retail arbitrage you will inevitably have to remove store labels, price tags, clearance stickers, etc. A cheap tool set for this job is the Scotty Peeler Label & Sticker Removers.

In my use of these sticker and label removers the red plastic one works the best for most situations I come across. The metal one works well, but it is metal and could scratch the surface under the sticker or label. Thankfully, this is a complete set that covers the removal of almost any stickers or labels you will have to remove. Just be patient when removing stickers from paper/cardboard as rushing it could cause it to peel part of the box off, and then you have a damaged item that cannot be listed as “New.”

If you are having trouble with getting a sticker off, like most have with those stickers on perfume that say this item is sold at such-and-such retailer and to call them if found elsewhere, then you may need a product called Goo Gone. A small bottle will last you a long time, so no need to get a gallon of it at one time.

Shipping Essentials – Box Resizer


Often when packing up boxes to ship to Amazon you will have extra room. You can fill this with bubble wrap or air packs, but this is just a needless extra expense for the shipment. Some people already know to cut down the box to make it a tighter fit, but using a knife or razor to do it can weaken the box or even cut holes in it. The solution is the box resizer.

The box resizer creates a perforated line around each side if the box. Then you cut the corners so the sides can fold down along the perforated edge. You may still need some bubble wrap or air packs, but by cutting the box down you will decrease shipping costs and packing material expenses.

Shipping Essentials – DYMO LabelWriter Turbo Thermal Label Printer


If you are labeling your inventory for inventory management or you ship inventory into Amazon FBA, you need a label printer. Paying Amazon $.20 per label to label your FBA items for you is a waste of money and time, as their labeling can delay your items from going live and may lose sales. Many use the 30 up labels from Avery or generic brands, but these are very inefficient and wasteful. These are standard sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch paper with 30 labels precut on each piece that you can print on. With the 30 up labels you print the labels when you are done listing items and preparing to ship them to Amazon. This adds extra time. It also wastes labels when the inevitable happens and you needed 31 labels, and so a whole second sheet of 30 labels is wasted for the one extra label (though a partial solution is to turn around the used sheet that now has 29 labels on it and print from the other side when you need less than 30 labels printed).

Now, I want to be clear. When you are a newbie the 30 up labels are perfectly fine, especially if you already have some laying around already. If you are a newbie you should strive to be as cost-effective as you can be at first. If things don’t work out, or you decide this business is not for you then you will have very little money lost. If you start to get sales and are more active in your business this is when you should start reinvesting some of those profits to make your business more efficient. This becomes even more important if you are like many newbies and still have a full-time job. In that case it is wise to invest in your business with tools to make you more efficient, since you already have a full-time job and do not need to create a second one with inefficiency taking up lots of your time.

One of the most popular label printers is the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo Thermal Label Printer. This is a thermal printer, so the label is printed thermally and not with ink. This is similar to how retail cash register receipts are printed, except the labels do not fade like those thermal receipts. With this label printer and the service Inventory Lab, you can print each label as you list an item for Amazon FBA. Instead of waiting till all your items are listed and having to find and label each item, they are labeled as you list them. If you have been listing and labeling your FBA inventory with the 30 up labels then you can immediately see how much time this would save. If you list 100 items and then print up your 4 sheets of 30 up labels and then have to find each item to match to the corresponding label, it is a time-wasting nightmare. It is even worse when the items start with the same title, so, for example, the label may read, “Holy Bible King James…” and you do not know if it is the red one you listed or the black one. Inventory Lab solves that issue by printing the labels as you list, so when you list one item, the labels immediately print and you attach them and move to the next item.

The label printer above is fast and efficient, but we use a number of the dual model as seen below.

The stock images Dymo uses make it look like this printer is for printing different sizes or styles of labels, and it can do that, but the nice thing about these is you can have the same label size in both spools. When one roll runs out it will switch the next spool and keep printing. If you have ever had a printer run out of labels in the middle of listing then you know what a pain it is to have to stop everything and replace the roll.

The labels I use are below. There are two reasons I use these:

1. The size is perfect, not too small or too large.
2. They are removable, which is a requirement for FBA labels and ensures the box is not damaged when the label is removed by the customer, because on items like collectibles the box needs to be perfect or you may get a return.