What do you do when Amazon sends you a ‘Used Sold as New’ notification? You take it seriously. But what if you sold it as ‘Used’? Again, you take it seriously. Here’s why.
You may have heard about Ryan Grant’s success from CNBC’s article which covered how Grant’s company is making millions doing retail arbitrage by selling Walmart purchases on Amazon. I sat down with Ryan for a Q&A so I could figure out what kind of mentality and approach sets him apart. My hope was to glean new insights that would be both helpful and fascinating for other sellers. To find takeaways that can help sellers master Amazon retail arbitrage. And we certainly covered some interesting stuff. Thanks, Ryan!
It’s been a long time since we’ve shared one of our customers success stories; too long, in fact. We’d like to tell you about Anthony Taylor, one of our very first Sellery customers. Anthony started using our software shortly after launching his media retail business in 2012.
Continue reading to see how Sellery has helped this Amazon business grow.
Last Friday, I was browsing Reddit (after work, of course) and came across a post titled, “So I bought this for $3.50 on Amazon. Was very surprised when I opened it up.”
Of course, I was very intrigued by the title, but that was nothing compared to what I saw next.
A buyer had ordered a used copy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Strength to Love from a 3rd-party seller. When it arrived he opened the book and inside saw an inscription signed by Dr. King himself!
Wow! What an incredible find! And I thought I was lucky the time I found an autographed copy of Dick Vitale’s book in the 25¢ bin at my local bookstore (sadly, my mother threw it out when I moved away from home).
Estimates put the value of the book at around $2,000.
I hope all of you booksellers out there reading this remember this story and double check your inventory before you ship! You never know when you’ll find something special.
Of course, discovering a signature like this would be like winning the lottery, but carefully checking every piece of inventory is important for other reasons, too.
You might not find an autograph, but ripped pages, vulgar doodles, stains, scribbles, highlights and notes in the margins are all surprises that your buyers won’t be posting to Reddit!
Shipping uninspected merchandise can lead to negative feedbacks, A-to-z claims and increases in your ODR. And this goes for more than just books! Toys with missing pieces, incomplete electronics and anything else that isn’t perfect is a customer complaint waiting to happen.
That’s key to being a successful Amazon seller. And a little luck doesn’t hurt either.
I love hearing success stories from our users! Here’s one from Honey, a Profit Bandit user and friend of SellerEngine.
I’m Honey and I’m originally from Alabama, but I’ve called many places home, but I’m a Southern girl through and through.
The very first time I sold anything on Amazon was in August of 2012.
Since then, I’ve read everything I could find about selling on Amazon and eventually bought a couple of different courses and sent in my first FBA shipment in November 2012. It was a small shipment, about 25 items, but when they started selling, I knew I’d found the business model I’d been looking for.
After the holidays were over, I started to get serious about FBA, and I really have to credit Rob Anderson’s Dollar Moves videos on YouTube and Thrifting for Profit by Debra Conrad and Beth Sawickie as the catalysts that really got things moving for me.
At the moment, anything that will make a profit, LOL! Seriously though, I’m not limiting myself just yet. If it has a bar code, I scan it!
Although I do tend to gravitate towards books, toys, games and puzzles and baby and pet products. But I haven’t settled on a specific niche yet, and to be honest, I’m not sure I will. I enjoy “treasure hunting” and treasures can be found everywhere!
I purchased Profit Bandit on January 18th of 2013. With the information Profit Bandit provides, I can now make more knowledgeable buying decisions and I really see the difference in my bottom line. In just a few months it has been a HUGE improvement to my business.
It has also saved me time. Before I got Profit Bandit, I was fumbling around trying to use free bar code scanners and look stuff up on Amazon. It was terribly time consuming.
Do I have to limit it to just one? I love EVERYTHING about being an online seller! I love sourcing products, I love that I can pack stuff up and ship it off and Amazon handles everything from that point on.
I also love that I can be at the studio taking ballroom dance lessons and come home to discover I made sales while I was dancing! And I can make sales while I’m sleeping, or shopping or going out with friends!
My most exciting moment was when my youngest daughter, my eternal skeptic, not only showed an interest in FBA, but actually wanted to pursue it for herself!
My goal is to have profits from my Amazon business exceed my current full time job. Whether that can be done in a year or not, I’m not sure, but it’s what I’m working towards. (ed. note: We’ll check back in with Honey in a year and see how she’s doing)
I plan to continue thrifting, because it’s fun, I enjoy it and the ROI is off the charts, but I’m also just about to add some wholesale items to my inventory, so I’m excited about to see where that takes me.
I enjoy my current job, so I’m not looking to quit, I just want enough “extra” that I can feed my ballroom dancing habit, visit my family more often and put some savings aside.
Ioan, SellerEngine’s founder, is a huge fan of the $100 Start Up. So as part of the SellerEngine Spark, we included $100 in prize money with the goal of seeing how our winners spent it. Here’s how Sue’s done:
Sue has been keeping meticulous records of her purchases, expenses and sales for the past two weeks and recently shared them with us. Her record keeping is excellent and she really knows where every cent is going. And as Ioan has said to anyone who asks, knowing how much profit you’re actually making is essential to making money on Amazon. It sounds obvious, but many sellers don’t take the time to figure out their profit on every sale. Sue does and it shows in her record keeping and her success so far!
She took her $100 and invested it in a hot toy item that at the time had no other Amazon sellers. She found it by scanning with Profit Bandit at a discount shop near her home in Maine. After selling several of these, a second seller started listing the same items. She didn’t let herself get caught up in a price war and betting that the other seller had a limited quantity, she just waited. And it paid off. She sold her entire stock in just a few days.
Sue has also started using Sellery to reprice all of her items. She took a big step towards automating her business and it paid off! The repricing rules she put in place lowered her prices on a few items and she’s already seeing increased sales, at the cost of a little profit. Here’s what she had to say about it:
Way to go Sue!
To summarize, here’s what Sue’s been doing right:
And here’s my favorite highlight from Sue’s weekly update:
“Personal stuff. Ugh. Time waster but had to be done. Glad to work from home. :)”
Next time we’ll take a look at Sue and Kathy’s 2013 goals and strategies.
Don’t forget to like SellerEngine on Facebook!
We’re back from SCOE 2012! The days were packed, listening to great speakers, giving presentations and demos of SellerEngine’s software and connecting with dozens of great Amazon entrepreneurs.
Profit Bandit was a big hit with all of the attendees. I can’t even count the number of times that I heard, “So, let me get this straight, there’s no monthly fee… Really!?!?”
My favorite part of the weekend was seeing people get excited about making money on Amazon. To help them, we gave away quite a few copies of Profit Bandit (and since I’m still in a generous mood, the first 3 people to leave a comment on this blog post will get Profit Bandit for free as well).
We even gave away an Opticon Bluetooth Scanner to Ann from Hawaii. She’s a lovely lady who has an eBay shop and is looking to build her Amazon business. She sells Hawaiian items, from shirts to hula girls to tiki figurines. Armed with Profit Bandit and the bluetooth scanner, we think she’ll be sourcing more products than ever before!
And the SellerEngine Spark definitely got people excited, too! Don’t forget to nominate someone soon!
SellerEngine’s founder, Ioan Mitrea, gave a talk about International Expansion for Amazon sellers to a packed room on the last day of the conference. We’ll make powerpoint slides and a video of the presentation available soon!
If you were able to attend, what was your favorite part of SCOE 2012?
After hearing for a few months that there would be no Amazon representation at SCOE 2012, we heard yesterday that Amazon will be sending several Seller Support reps! I’m really looking forward to seeing if they agree with my Best Practices for Writing to Amazon Seller Support or if they have any good tips that I can add to it!
SCOE 2012 will be taking place at the Seattle Airport Marriott from September 29th to October 1st. It’s a great opportunity to connect with other online sellers and to learn about services and products that can help your business.
If you’re thinking about attending enter the code “SellerEngine Software” during registration to save $25!
See you there!
This past weekend was the 10th anniversary of SellerEngine.com. We’re all very excited to be part of something that has had such a lasting impact on so many people!
Today I’d like to share with you the story of one of our early users, Ken, who’s been an Amazon.com seller for well over ten years now and a SellerEngine customer for nearly that long!
How’d you get started selling on Amazon and when did you start using SellerEngine?
I owned a chain of video stores and sold VHS tapes and DVDs on Amazon. Then about 10 or 12 years ago, I sold that business and started selling books on Amazon. It was about this time that I started using SellerEngine. Once it was released, I switched over to SellerEngine Plus, which I use to this day!
What’s your business like now?
Today, I’m selling fewer books and have branched out into all sorts of other products. Basically I sell whatever will make me money! And now I’m using FBA for everything.
Do you have any early memories of SellerEngine?
Today, I use a scouting app on my smartphone, but back then I put a full-sized laptop running SellerEngine with a hand scanner attached to it in my shopping cart when I was out hunting for new merchandise!
Also, I noticed right away that it made listing easier and sped up all of my operations. Things I was doing by hand were suddenly completed automated!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your business?
I now have 3 generations of my family out scouting daily!
Thanks to Ken for taking time out of his day to talk with me. I hope we’ll be talking to him again after 10 more years!
The success stories keep on coming in! Here’s a story from an Amazon seller who’s taking control of her financial life by selling on Amazon:
“I’ve only been selling on Amazon since 2011, but I love it already. I started selling books because my work in the real estate industry had slowed down considerably. I’ve watched my Amazon income grow and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to give up my day job and sell on Amazon full time.
Well maybe not full time, because I do love the flexibility and free time that comes from being able to rely on sales from Amazon. Lately I’ve been using that extra time to indulge my passion for cooking and I’ve been creating lots of new dishes for my friends and family.”
Do you have an Amazon success story of your own to share? I’d love to hear it! Leave a comment here, or get in touch on Twitter, @SellerEngine.