Have you been wanting to sell on Amazon but don’t know how to get started or don’t yet have the budget to launch a private label product? One great method to get started is through retail arbitrage. You can start with as little or as much money as you’re comfortable with — you can even do it without stepping foot inside a store!
Keep reading to learn about retail arbitrage, or check out this video for a step-by-step overview of how to get started.
What is retail arbitrage?
Arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets, or, in other words, reselling.
In this case, retail arbitrage is the process of buying discounted products through retailers (including online retailers) to sell on Amazon.
An example of this would be finding a product at Walmart that sells for $5, purchasing that product, and then reselling it on Amazon for $20. Pretty cool, right?
Some sellers also buy products they find online, which is known as online arbitrage, and the process is the same: buy low, sell high (on Amazon).
You may be asking yourself, “is retail arbitrage legal?” Fortunately, it is. According to the first-sale doctrine, once you purchase a product legally, you then have the right to resell that product, as long as it is sold in an unchanged condition. So if you buy and sell it as new, the product must be sold in new condition.
How does retail arbitrage compare to other business models on Amazon?
- Private label is when you create your own product label/brand, generally by modifying an existing product in the market. For example, you can create a higher quality garlic press than one already selling on Amazon, reproduce it from a manufacturer, and add your logo to it. It’s the most common method of selling on Amazon and can be incredibly profitable, but most sellers need some capital to get started.
- Wholesale is when you buy products in bulk directly from a brand or from distributors with extra stock to sell on Amazon, which also requires start-up money. This does not involve ordering products from retail stores. Wholesale is a more sustainable business model as you can replace orders every month and you are an authorized reseller, meaning you don’t have to worry so much about inauthentic claims.
- Dropshipping is when you buy products directly from a manufacturer who fulfills the order and ships directly to the customer.
- Handmade is the process by which you create or craft your own products to sell on Amazon.
Why would you choose arbitrage over other models of selling on Amazon?
- Lower cost to start: According to Jungle Scout’s study of more than 1,000 Amazon sellers, 12% of those doing arbitrage were able to launch Amazon businesses with less than $500, and about 32% did so for less than $1,000. By contrast, 80% of private label sellers spent $1,000 or more to launch.
- Faster to start: Two in five (33%) retail arbitrate sellers said they were able to launch Amazon businesses in less than one month. Only a 14% of private label sellers said the same.
Essentially, if you don’t already have a product to sell or have money to buy products at scale, arbitrage is a great, low-risk method of selling on Amazon.
On the other hand, if you start selling arbitrage, you can expand your strategy to other sales methods:
- 38% of retail arbitrage sellers also run a wholesale business
- 24% also sell private label
- 17% also have a dropshipping business
- 11% also sell handmade products
So how does it all work?
How to get started with retail arbitrage
In order to start selling retail arbitrage on Amazon, you need to find products to sell and you need to create an Amazon seller account. Ultimately, you’ll also want to decide whether to fulfill your products yourself (Amazon’s Fulfillment by Merchant or FBM program) or have Amazon handle the packing, shipping, and customer service (Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA). Hint: you can do both! See more on FBA vs. FBM here.
While different tools and software are available that will help you find products to resell, the only thing you really need is the Amazon seller app, which is free to use with your Amazon seller account.
This is the app you will use to scan products when in retail stores. Scanning products with the Amazon seller app will show you various listings, the sales rank, whether you are allowed to sell that certain product, and allow you to enter your buy cost to determine profitability. You can even list products for sale directly from the app.
If you don’t currently have this app on your phone, go to the app store and search “Amazon seller.” Once you have the app downloaded, sign in to your Amazon seller account and you’re ready to go!
If you are not familiar with the Amazon seller app, unfamiliar with the Amazon seller app, take some time to review the various features.
The Amazon seller app allows you to:
- Monitor your sales
- Answer customer messages
- Manage orders and returns
- Scan product barcodes
- Check a product’s profitability
- List products on Amazon
- And much more
Another tool that makes finding profitable products easier and is useful for both retail and online arbitrage is Jungle Scout’s Extension.
Jungle Scout Extension allows you to get a quick snapshot of how well a certain product sells on Amazon at the click of a button. You simply enable the Chrome extension as you’re browsing a listing on Amazon, and you can view price history, sales history, as well as a product’s profitability.
To get a better picture of how consistently this product sells, click on the number to see historical monthly sales (“Mo. Sales”).
This graph will show you sales over time, which is a very important metric to look at, as it will tell you if a product sells consistently or not.
As you can see in the graph above, the sales steadily increased during Q4, then dropped off in January – showing that this may not be the best time of year to sell this product. This is why it is very important to make decisions based on historical data and not the current sales rank.
The Extension also features a Historical Trend data chart located in the embedded section on a product detail page. Sellers are now able to see historical data points such as Buy Box price, New lowest price, BSR, Amazon’s price, and more.
Sellers are able to choose the data points they would like to see about the product and sellers are allowed to filter between 3, 6, 12, and 24 months.
With these easily accessible data points, sellers can better understand an ASIN’s performance to make more informed decisions.
How to source retail arbitrage products to resell on Amazon
Once you have the Amazon seller app, you can get started looking for some products! A great place to start is at a local “big box” retailer or discount store.
Stores to source products to resell on Amazon:
- TJ Maxx
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Dollar General or other dollar stores
- CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid or other convenience stores
- Grocery stores
Tip: You can use a website called Brickseek to check in-store deals as well as the stock available at stores in your area.
Types of products to resell on Amazon:
The 10 most popular Amazon product categories that arbitrage sellers sell in include:
- Home & Kitchen: 2547% of arbitrage sellers sell here
- Cell Phone & Accessories: 18%
- Electronics: 18%
- Arts, Crafts & Sewing: 16%
- Grocery & Gourmet Food: 16%
- Toys & Games: 14%
- Appliances: 12%
- Beauty & Personal Care: 11%
- Books: 11%
- Sports & Outdoors: 9%
Step 1: Go into a retail store and start scanning products
It may be intimidating and awkward to just walk into a retail store and begin scanning items with your phone, but remember that everyone starts somewhere!
Using the Amazon seller app, hit the camera button in the top right corner.
This will look just like you are using your camera on your phone. You can use the camera in the app to scan the product packaging and search by image or to scan a barcode.
Step 2: Go through the search results and choose the correct listing
It is not uncommon when scanning products using the Amazon seller app to see multiple results. You’ll notice that many products have either duplicate listings or some listings will be a 2-pack, 3-pack, etc.
In this example, I scanned “Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk 48-Count,” and it brought up three results.
On the first result, you can see right away that it is restricted. If you click on that first option, the next screen will read “You cannot sell this product in new condition.” So now I know to stay away from that listing.
In the second option, I can see the current Buy Box price is $22.45, so I am going to click on that listing.
Step 3: Analyze the data
Things you should be looking at on this screen:
- Features & Details: Click on this first so you know exactly what this listing is for — one box, two boxes, etc. After looking at the details, we know this listing is for one box of 48 pieces of chalk.
- Sales Rank: You can see this right under the title as well as in the Features & Details section. The Best Sellers Rank is different for each category on Amazon but a general rule of thumb is to look for products under 100,000 sales rank. The lower the number, the more it sells. So for our example, a sales rank of 1,573 is very good for Office Products. Keep in mind that this number can be misleading as it may indicate a random burst of sales that day. This is why it’s important to use a tool like the Jungle Scout Extension to see if that rank is consistent. You can also check the estimated number of monthly sales based on sales rank for free using the Jungle Scout Sales Estimator.
- Sellers on the listing: In the second row under “New,” you will see if Amazon is on the listing, the number of FBA sellers, and the total number of sellers, including FBM. I try to avoid all listings that Amazon is on because it doesn’t always share the Buy Box with third-party sellers, which may get you stuck with inventory you cannot sell.
There are a lot of FBA sellers on this listing, but with such a low sales rank, this product would still be a good buy as long as it is profitable.
- Price and Gross Proceeds: The most important piece of the puzzle: can you now sell the product at a profitable price? If you click on the pricing section, you will be able to input your buy cost and Amazon will break down all of the fees so you can decide whether or not you should buy this product.
In the app, input your buy cost and it will automatically show you the potential profit.
For this particular product, I am able to purchase it for $5.74. Based on the current selling price minus FBA fees and buy cost, my profit would be $7.45. That is over a 100% ROI, so I would buy this product!
Step 4: Decide how many units to buy
Your decision about how many units of a product to buy (if there are a lot of them available) is based on your own personal risk tolerance. For the example used above, there were 22 FBA sellers with an estimated 5,000 monthly sales based on the sales rank. To figure out how many units you can potentially sell in a month, divide the number of monthly sales by the number of FBA sellers.
5,000/22 = 227
This means you could potentially sell more than 200 units of this product per month. Of course, this can vary depending on if new sellers hop onto the listing, if the sales rank drops, or if the Buy Box price decreases.
If you are new to retail arbitrage or selling on Amazon in general, I suggest starting with a small amount of units to validate the product. For the above sidewalk chalk example, consider starting with 5 or 10 units and see how it sells.
Step 5: Determine your target ROI/profit margin
What is ROI?
Your return on investment, or ROI, is the amount of money you make back that (ideally) exceeds the amount you put into your business venture.
For example, if you purchase a product for $10 and your gross proceeds after a sale were $12, your ROI is the difference (profit: $2) divided by your investment, or 20%.
Obviously, you want to aim for the highest ROI possible, not only so you make more money per sale, but so there is some wiggle room in case the Buy Box price decreases.
The minimum ROI you accept will vary depending on your own preferences. Some sellers are comfortable with making a small ROI (this is subjective, but say 20%) as long as they sell the product within a month, while other sellers want to make at least 50% ROI for it to be worth it.
Online arbitrage works essentially the same way retail arbitrage does, except you’ll search for products on retailer websites instead of in-store aisles. The best part about online arbitrage is that you can do it without leaving your house!
There are a few paid software and tools out there that can help you automatically scan through thousands of products but you can still find profitable products going through ecommerce stores manually.
Similar to a retail store, online retailers will have sale and clearance pages with a number of discounted products. This is a good place to start because there’s a good chance the price will be higher on Amazon. This effort can be time-consuming, but worth it if you are consistent and put in some effort.
Manually go through each clearance or sale item and search for that same product on Amazon. If the price is higher on Amazon, use Jungle Scout’s Extension to get an estimate on how many times that product sells per month. You can also use Extension to determine the potential profit, show you historical price and sales data, and whether Amazon itself has ever sold that product.
Your next step is to order the products and have them delivered to your house. Once you receive your delivery, you can prep, pack, and ship the inventory off to Amazon and have it fulfilled through FBA!
Follow trends and sell seasonal products
While you could go into a store or look around online for products that might be profitable to resell on Amazon, you could also do some research and think ahead for certain types of products you’d like to find.
One thing to consider is seasonality. Try to figure out what products are currently or soon-to-be trending or products that sell more during a certain time of year.
For example, toys during the holiday season or inflatable pools or floats during the summer are extremely popular (and profitable). Since the demand is so high during those times, supply tends to diminish very quickly in retail stores, which translates into an increased selling price online.
During the summer of 2020, you could purchase an inflatable pool at Walmart for $20 and resell it on Amazon for $80. And yes, customers will purchase a product at that much-higher price point if they cannot find it in-store and really want the item.
If you stay on top of trends and current events like these, you will be on your way to having a profitable Amazon reselling business.
Sell discontinued products for massive profits
Has there ever been a product that you absolutely loved but then for whatever reason, the brand decided to discontinue it? We’ve all been there, and we know we’d pay a premium to get those products back. Some consumers are willing to pay extraordinary amounts of money for products that are seemingly impossible to find.
You may be thinking, if a product is discontinued, then how can I still find it in-store? Some discontinued products are still circulating in the market and will randomly pop up in retail stores, discount stores, grocery stores, etc. It is just up to you to be in the right place at the right time.
Tips on finding discounted products:
- Shop in local stores, not a big box retailer such as Walmart. A “mom-and-pop” shop is more likely to carry these random, discontinued items.
- Looks for items that just look old. I know that sounds odd, but you may spot some products with labels that look outdated, faded, or even dusty.
- Look for items labeled “refills.” There are lots of products in the cleaning category that require refill packs to continue using the product. For whatever reason, lots of the refills become discontinued, but people still really love using them.
- Go on eBay and search for “discontinued.” Then filter by sold listings only. This will show you all of the products labeled “discontinued” that have recently sold on eBay.
BONUS: Here is a small list of discontinued items to look for (and where you may find them):
- SC Johnson One Step No Buff Wax Fine Wood Floor Care 22 Fl Oz
- Find it at hardware stores, mom-and-pop grocery stores, and garage sales.
- Off! Repellent Mosquito Lamp Refills
- Find it at hardware stores, grocery stores, discount stores, and liquidation stores.
- McCormick Total Seasoning for Chicken and Fish
- Find it at large and mom-and-pop grocery stores.
Some additional tips and strategies when doing arbitrage:
- Be patient. Going into retail stores and scanning item after item can become very exhausting. It also becomes frustrating when you aren’t finding any profitable products. Just keep going! Eventually, you will find products that will make you money on Amazon.
- Base your buying decisions on data you see in the Amazon seller app and the Jungle Scout Extension. You don’t want to buy something that you won’t be able to sell.
- Prices can change in an instant if another seller “tanks the price.” Meaning the product you purchase may not be profitable anymore. This is why you need to check price history as well.
- Start small to get used to the process. Before going all-in and spending tons of money on products to resell on Amazon, start with a small quantity so you can get a better understanding of sourcing, listing, shipping, pricing, and more.
How to list your arbitrage products on Amazon
The next step in reselling products on Amazon is how to actually list your product for sale. Since this is not a private label product, you will not be creating a brand new listing. You are simply going to find the current listing you want to sell on and add that ASIN to your catalog in Seller Central.
This means that, unlike private label where you will be the only seller of your product, you will end up sharing the buy box with multiple sellers. If you find a product that sells roughly 300x a month, know that you will not receive all 300 of those sales if there are other sellers on the listing.
There are a couple of ways you can do this, so let’s walk through each one.
Option 1: List the product from the Amazon seller app
After you scan a product in the seller app, you have the option to list the product as Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) or Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA). If listing as FBM, you can choose to add in your available inventory in the app so your offer will immediately be available for sale.
In the bottom right-hand corner, click “List.” You will see condition, price, SKU, and fulfillment channel.
For condition choose “New.”
The pricing section can get tricky so please pay attention to this part. Amazon will have the option to “Match Low Price.” This may sound like what you want to do but do not choose this option without checking the FBA prices first.
Amazon is showing me the lowest price for New is $6.72. If we choose this price, the product would not be profitable.
However, that is the lowest price for an FBM offer, not an FBA offer. If you look back at the pricing section, you will see the lowest FBA price is $22.39. That is the lowest price you want to list at. If you go lower, you will be the seller that tanks the price and ruins the profitability.
I usually set my price a couple of dollars higher than the current Buy Box price. You can always adjust when your inventory arrives at an FBA warehouse and is ready to sell.
Tip: To help you make more profitable pricing decisions on your products, you can add in your own custom seller stock-keeping unit (SKU). If you leave it blank, it’s not a big deal since Amazon will set one for you.
But I suggest formatting your SKU so you know exactly what you paid for the product, where you bought it, and your breakeven price.
For example, if I bought the chalk at Walmart for $5.75 and my breakeven price is $14.00, I would set up my SKU as follows:
This tells me: I bought it at Walmart for $5.75 and my breakeven price is $14. So as long as I sell this product for over $14, I am not losing money.
Next is Fulfillment Channel. If you choose “I will ship this item myself,” you are choosing FBM and can add your available inventory in the app. If you choose “Amazon will ship and provide customer service,” you are choosing FBA and will need to set up your shipment in Seller Central (not in the app.)
When you choose the FBA option, the app will automatically add the listing into Seller Central for you. All you need to do then is create an FBA shipment so your listing offer can go live.
Option 2: List in seller central on your desktop/laptop
This is the easier way to list your retail arbitrage products on Amazon.
First, I will find the exact listing I want to sell on. Once you do that, copy the ASIN and paste it into Seller Central.
In Seller Central, go to Inventory > Add a product and paste the ASIN. You can also search for it in this section.
Choose “New” as the condition and select “Sell this product.”
Once you hit “Save and finish,” Amazon will create a listing within your Manage Inventory page. Give it 15 minutes or so to show up and then you can create a shipment.
This is what you will see in your Manage Inventory. The status will show as “Inactive” because you do not yet have any inventory at Amazon’s warehouse.
How to create your FBA shipment
Now that you purchased inventory and added the listing within seller central, it is time to send in your inventory! You are one step closer to reselling products on Amazon.
Step 1: Find your product in Manage Inventory
On the far right, you will see “Edit” and a drop-down menu. Click the drop-down arrow and choose “Send/Replenish Inventory.”
Step 2: Choose inventory to send
Here is where you will edit the packing template which consists of template name, how many units per box, dimensions, weight, and prep needed.
Then choose how many boxes you will be sending to Amazon.
In this example, we are sending 1 box filled with 20 units. Click “Confirm and continue.”
Step 3: Confirm shipping
In this section you will set your ship date, shipping mode (between “small parcel” or “less than truckload” you will choose small parcel), and then confirm the inbound shipping price. Since you added in the weight and dimensions in the previous section, there is not much else to do here.
When using Amazon’s partnered carrier (UPS), you will receive extremely low shipping rates. For this example, my 15 pound shipment will only cost $8.69 to ship into FBA.
If you agree to these terms, click “Accept charges and confirm shipping.”
Step 4: Print FBA labels
Now that your shipment is confirmed, all you need to do is print your FBA label and affix it to your box. You will see two barcodes on the label. Make sure both of the labels are visible on the outside of your box. The first is the UPS label and the second is how Amazon will identify who the shipment is from and what is in your box.
You can find our in-depth guide to creating FBA shipments here.
Monitor sales and repeat!
You are now on your way to becoming a retail arbitrage seller on Amazon!
Using the Amazon seller app, you will be able to monitor your daily sales, manage orders, as well as adjust pricing if needed. If you see your products are beginning to sell really well, work on finding more inventory so you can continue making sales.
If your products are not selling as well as you thought, make some pricing adjustments to drive more sales. Remember, format your SKU so you always know what you paid for it!
The key to success in a reselling business is to constantly be hustling and looking for new products. If you enjoy the hustle and going from store to store, then retail arbitrage may be the right business model for you.
Get out there and find some products!
If you have more questions related to retail arbitrage, let us know in the comments!
Interested in the Extension for your retail arbitrage research? Click the link below to learn more about Jungle Scout.
Hello, I want to resell/retail arbitrage on amazon and I have been trying to place a listing of a brand new Apple iPhone 14 and after Applying to sell and verifing my LUCID number I am still unable to sell and on the limitations list I see that I need approval from brand owner along with some other limitations that are: This product has other listing limitations, You are not approved to list products with this brand, Collectable, Refurbished conditions: You are not approved to list this product and we are not accepting applications at this time.
Is there any way arround that in order to be able to place the listing on the market?
Any kind of help would be really appreciated!
You will not be able to get approved to sell Apple products on Amazon. I suggest eBay or Facebook Marketplace for such items.
So I used to do this on Amazon years ago under a personal account. I started with books, but was able to sell other items as well. Flash forward to 2022, where we are trying to start up an Amazon business again and everything seems to require brand permission to sell. I’m not understanding why almost everything new that I already procured for arbitrage sale requires brand approval. Could you please explain this further and how difficult it is to get approval from the brand to be a seller as a new business starting up? Are we missing something somewhere? This is the major roadblock we are having and have been turning to selling on eBay instead because of this roadblock.
There is no way around it except getting approval from that specific brand you want to sell. There are still plenty of brands that don’t require approval, though.
Before purchasing, you need to be sure that you are able to sell that product. If using the Amazon seller app or another seller app to scan products, they’ll tell you if the product is restricted.
Hi, I’ve started up my seller account and am about to sign up for the jungle scout extension. looking to start some retail arbitrage to begin with. I’ve been scanning some items and it seems like every category it requires approval. not sure if it’s because I’m a new seller.
Yes, that could be why. Keep scanning. Eventually, you’ll find products that you can sell.
Hi Brian, great article some fantastic information on here. Just wondering, once i have listed and requested the shipping, do they send the box for the products and obviously the labels? then do all i need to do is just take it to be shipped at a local post office?
No, you will need to pack and label the products yourself before sending them via UPS. You can get cheap large shipping boxes from Home Depot, or you can reuse any boxes that you have at home.
Check out this article for more info: https://www.junglescout.com/blog/shipping-to-amazon-fba/
Good-afternoon you mentioned that there are paid software and tools to help with scanning items online. Would you happen to be able to tell me what they are called or is jungles scout extension enough?
Check out this article: https://www.junglescout.com/blog/best-amazon-seller-scanner-app/
While doing RA, will selling out and closing a listing have any negative impact? For example, If i find a deal, buy 10 units, list and sell all 10 then close listing.
No, it will not have a negative impact.
Hi, Brother Brian you are such a nice person by the way you respond. I am a new seller on AMAZON and I want to know that is it possible in Online Arbitrage to buy a product from Walmart or any other retailer and directly ship it to AMAZON for an FBA model having the logo of Walmart or another retailer on the box which is shipped to AMAZON?
You cannot buy a product from Walmart and have it shipped directly to an Amazon fulfillment center. You need to receive the item first, create an FBA shipment in Seller Central, and then ship to FBA.
Hello — very (enjoyable) and informative read. I have a question I’m hoping you could clarify. If I find a product (women’s clothing) that is significantly reduced in price on the company’s website, however, this particular item is currently not listed on Amazon, may I use the images on the website for my Amazon listing? Or would that be considered copyright infringement? I appreciate your help and time!
Yes, you can do that.
Hello. I live in Istanbul. I want to resell. But it is very difficult that I have to buy a product first and then send it to Amazon America. I have to pay postage to send the product to America and I will not make any profit and it takes a long time. Please explain to me what I can do.Thanks
Have you looked into selling in Europe. Amazon has many marketplaces in Europe where you can reach customers as well.
Great! It was extremely helpful information for me now I can say I am able to start my business on Amazon
Great information ! Extremely helpful. My question is tho . If there are 29 other sellers ? Me being the new seller . How do I get people to purchase my product over the other experienced sellers ? That’s my concern before starting
If you are priced similarly to the other sellers and have a professional seller account, you will share the Buy Box with the other sellers. Your offer will at some point be available for sale.
Hi Brian. I’m new to the Amazon seller business and I’m thinking about doing RA but when I scan various items it states requires approval. How do I get approval. Also, do you I need to purchase UPC codes and put on products to resell on Amazon as RA or do I just use the current barcode on the product?
If you are new, many brands will be restricted. Look for brands where you don’t need approval. Once you have some experience selling products, you can start to request approval for other brands. Amazon needs to see some sales history before you can sell in restricted categories or brands. For many brands, you will need an invoice from the brand to submit to Amazon.
If you are reselling, you use the products current barcode, you won’t need a new one.
Thank you for sharing your blog
Hello, what happens if I sell a product I bought at a retailer and it gets recalled. Does the manufacturer, retailer or am I the seller responsible to refund or replace the product?
You, as the seller, would be responsible for refunding the product that you sold. If the product you sell was recalled, you should contact the manufacturer to see if you can get a refund on the inventory you purchased.
Impressive and terrific Article. You’re such a big help.
My Question is, do we need to register LLC to go for a pro plan of Amazon?
If we do not opt pro plan of Amazon, would Amazon charge $0.99 per unit sold?
Thanks and cheers brother.
Thanks for reading!
No, you don’t need an LLC to sell on Amazon, no matter if you have a professional account. If you choose the individual account, you will be charged an additional $0.99 per unit.
You mention putting price at lowest FBA price on listing. It seems to me that FBM sellers are winning the Buy box now over FBA sellers if they have a little lower price. Am I wrong on this? Thank you for your article
That may be the case for some products, sure. That may also depend on your location and the location of the seller. Sometimes Amazon will display a seller in the Buy Box that is located closest to you.
Thank You for this awesome information. I was wondering that whenever you put listings on Amazon on whichever product, do you have to write in detail about the product? Also, whenever shipping to Amazon, do the products have to be categorized? Thanks
If you are reselling retail arbitrage products, the listing is likely already created on Amazon, so you do not need to write a description. If you create a brand new listing, then yes, you need to write about it in detail. The listing will be categorized already if it is live on Amazon.
I learned more reading this article than tons of youtube videos. thanks
Thanks for reading!
How to get FNSKU
Please check out our article on the FNSKU: https://www.junglescout.com/blog/amazon-fnsku-guide/
Tips to sell restricted items (approval needed).
Order products at a wholesale cost and get invoices from distributors of the brand you want to sell and submit them to Amazon.
If I want to resale a food item purchased through retail arbitrage and their asking for certain paperwork, how would I go about getting the necessary documentation if all I have is a receipt?
You will need to get an invoice from a distributor of the brand that you want to sell.
Do I need to pay the $39.99 a month pro account in Amazon in order to sell retail arbitrage? Or is that monthly charge attached to something else?
The $39.99/month charge is to have a professional seller account on Amazon, no matter the business model you follow.
Thanks a lot for this amazing post. Really amazing!
Hey Brian, fantastic read, thanks for all the information! I do have a question though as I am a brand new individual seller that will be using the RA and FBM approach to list my first few products to get my foot in the door and learn. When looking for my first product to purchase and list, I find a lot of great deals from name brands but they aren’t listed on amazon yet. If I create a new listing I’m pretty certain I will not be allowed to sell them due to being gated in the brand. Is this pretty much always the case when you don’t see a listing for a product on Amazon already? Should I stay away from products that aren’t already listed as a new seller? Thanks!
If the products are not yet listed on Amazon, it could be a good opportunity for you. I suggest try listing that brand/product in Seller Central and see if you are restricted or not. If not, you can then purchase the product and test it out on Amazon by creating a new listing. (Use the products UPC code to create the listing.)
Thanks for reading.
Terrific article. One thing I am not clear on is can you send multiple items in the same box to Amazon for FBA or does each have to go in individually?
Yes, you can send multiple items in the same box for FBA. Check out this article: https://www.junglescout.com/blog/shipping-to-amazon-fba/
Thank you so much for this great webite! It is very informative.
Thanks for reading.
Thank you so much for this great webite! It is very informative.
This information really helps a lot!
Thanks for reading!
Great blog. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for reading!
Very useful video but I have a little confusion. As I am outside USA, How I can paste the FNSKU on items while buying from an online store and sending directly to amazon warehouse.
You cannot do that. You’re not able to purchase items from retailers and send them directly to an Amazon warehouse. You must take possession of the products first or use a third party prep center to label your items.
This was so impacrul. Thanks
Do you recommend any Retail Arb training courses?
The Silent Sales Machine Facebook group is a good place to start. They also offer a retail arbitrage course for cheap.
Great and informative content. Keep sharing.
DO WE HAVE TO LABEL EACH PRODUCT WITH A BARCODE OR JUSTLABEL THE BOX?
Amazon will likely require you to label each unit with an FNSKU barcode before shipping to a fulfillment center. You can also have Amazon label each unit for you for a fee.
If you do retail, how would you apply to sell something if you do not have the invoice?
the only thing you get is a receipt in store so how could i sell if I am missing an invoice slip.
Many brands don’t require approval to sell on Amazon. You just need to check before listing a product that you are allowed to sell it. If Amazon asks for an invoice for a certain brand, try to find a distributor of that brand or even contact the brand to see if you can open a wholesale account. That will get you approved as well.
Hello! Thanks for the information!
Is it “legal” to buy wholesale or bulk items from Amazon & then resell those same items individually for the retail price on Amazon. So buying from Amazon and selling through Amazon?
yes, you can do that but you cannot order the goods through Prime, at least that’s my understanding. Make sure to go through Amazon’s terms of service to be sure there’s no language against it.
Hey Mr. Connolly,
You did a great job of putting down a lot of useful information here. And novice like myself must be feeling a little more confident to pursue their dreans further, I am. Thanks.
You explained the Retail business here. What if one wishes to do ‘Wholesale’ via this medium. Like myself, I am interested in selling Soccerballs (Footballs) made in my own facilities, excellent quality and price but no name (not addidas, Nike, Wilson, Select etc. etc) but comparable quality. Would it be possible to sell via this medium as a Wholesale business? How to go about it? Help!
Thanks so much! I am glad you enjoyed the article.
Meaning you want to sell your goods at a wholesale cost to other retailers? You cannot do that on Amazon. Or are you talking about launching your own brand of soccerballs on Amazon and selling to consumers?
Hello. Is online arbitrage possible to do if NOT living in US? Or this ALWAYS involves shipping to your home, relabeling and sending them to AMZ ? Tks
Yes, it is. You can hire a third-party prep center to send your products to. The prep center will prep and label each product and ship them for you to FBA. Search for Amazon prep centers in the US and a few companies should come up.
Nice Blog or such an informative article.
Q- Can you give me the tips & tricks regarding the PPC campaign?
Search “PPC” on our blog or Youtube channel and you will see tons of great articles/videos about PPC campaigns!
Very informative. Do you have any recommendations for Bluetooth scanners for those wanting to jump in to RA with books—say from a library sale or Goodwill? Using the Amazon Seller App just takes too long to scan hundreds of books. Thanks!
Thanks for reading! I’ve used this scanner in the past and has worked great: Eyoyo Mini 1D Wireless Barcode Scanner Bluetooth
Hello, I am very interested in trying RA, and was wondering if you need to sign up for Amazon’s 40 dollar a month seller program, or if you can also just use the individual seller option?
Thank you for your time.
We recommend signing up for the Professional selling plan as it offers more to you as a seller. Though if you are just getting started and want to get the hang of selling on Amazon, or are selling less than 40 items per month, you can start with the free individual plan.
Just know if you are using the Individual selling plan, your offers will not be eligible for the Buy Box or to run sponsored ads.
Get out there and find some products!
I always thought retail arbitrage products had to be sold as “used” condition. However, the post suggests to list the product’s condition as “new”. Will this not get you into trouble with Amazon? Especially if you can’t provide an invoice from the supplier/brand to you?
As long as you purchase them new and the products/packaging are in new condition, you can sell them as new. Try not to sell large name brands and you should be fine with not having an invoice.
Hi thanks for all the info is it best to sell under individual 99 cent taken off instead of paying 39.99 a month thanks so much.
It is best to sell under a professional seller plan ($39.99/month.) Check out our article that compares the two plans.
Really helpful article.
1. What is difference between invoice and receipt?
2. Am I allowed to do OA between different markets for example buy from UK and sell in Egypt? If possible, how to male it best for a receipt to be approved if asked by amazon Egypt, make the delivery address in UK and the billing address in Egypt or it would not matter?
3- when they ask for invoice of 10 pieces at least? Does that mean different pieces of the same brand item or different items of the same brand?
1. An invoice is from a distributor or wholesale and is from a business transaction. A receipt is what you receive from a store or retailer.
2. Yes, you can do that.
3. This means 10 units of the SAME item
Do we need to do PPC for selling our units in arbitrage model? Or brand owner is doing the marketing?
That is up to you. You can turn on an advertising campaign for your arbitrage products but they will only be live when your offer is in the Buy Box. Some products you may never need to advertise if the sales volume is high. The brand owner does not market products for you on the Amazon listing.
Hi, Very Good information given. I am interested Retail Arbitrage to start with, watched few videos with horror stories, where people has been suspended for using retails receipts, which are not accepted, eg. in UK, Boots, Costco and other superstore.
how do you get around and in likely case how to deal with it?
Kindly Please help and Advice.
yes, this may happen where Amazon will ask for an invoice. You should try to avoid selling large name brands as this can trigger Amazon to ask for this information. If you find a product that you want to sell, try to see if you can open up a wholesale account with the brand so you can get a legitimate invoice.
Thank you for your informative article. I needed some clarification on the FBA fee section when you are scanning a product on the seller app and it tells you your cost for FBA, does that take into consideration the storage fees and shipment fees for the product you are sending in? Also, what happens when you product or listing is not selling, do you ask for your product back? or continue to keep it with amazon. What about if you are only selling one or two items of the same product or listing, do you see that as a profitable idea or should I buy a lot of the items. Sorry for the many questions, but I am new to this, and I am barely doing my research on this business. Also what is a ppc, FNSKU, and ASIN?
Thank you for your time.
No, it does not take those fees into consideration. You can add those fees manually.
If a product you send into FBA is not selling, you can have Amazon send the product back to you for a fee.
You can sell just one or two units of the same product as long as each sale is profitable. You should buy multiple units if you know that products sells well and you can sell all of your units. I usually test with just a couple of each to see how fast they sell.
PPC = pay per click advertising
FNSKU = Amazon barcode which tells Amazon that the unit belongs to your account.
ASIN = Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is the unique identifier for each product on Amazon
Take a look around our blog and Youtube channel. We go over a lot of these topics and the basics of selling on Amazon!
With this particular article. I am planning to do retail arbitrage. When I ship my product do I still need to affix the fnsku on each carpet cleaner canister (product I’m planning to sell) or I should just go with UPC code printed on the can.? If no fnsku how would Amazon know to credit the sale to my store.
For some items, Amazon will allow you to use the UPC code on the product but I recommend using the FNSKU barcode.
first of all, thank you very much for your throughout explanation. I am trying to do retail arbitrage on amazon holland and found some good products. however 2 weeks later I still made no sale . don’t know it has to do with the Dutch market or my product should I have to run PPC ???
Thanks in advance and hope to get a reply.
Why did you choose the products you currently have listed? Was it based on demand and sales history? You need to choose products that have an existing demand when doing retail arbitrage.
If not, PPC can help you get sales on those listings.
Hi Brian,wonderful article and helps alot.how do i know if i need to print per unit upc labels or not?this is only stopping me because its an expense, buy printer, labels, print, stick to each unit whereas i could simply use existing unit barcode, print box label and send it to amazon.
And also do i need to remove price tags on units so origi al upc barcode is displayed.?
Kindly assist as your answer will allow me to start or not. Thanks
Amazon will tell you if an item requires you to have the FNSKU instead of the UPC barcode. In some cases, you can use the manufacturer’s barcode which is the UPC. Also, you can have Amazon label each unit for you for a small fee. You will see all this when you create a shipment.
If your products have price stickers on them, you should remove them.
That is a very throughout explanation. Best so far. I haven’t started but this is going to be my go guide.
We are glad to hear that! Thanks for reading.
What is your experience with reselling beauty products? Best practices to get approved?
Beauty is a great category to sell in but you may come across a few products or brands that are gated. Start scanning random beauty products to see what you can sell under your account. As you gain a selling history, more brands and products should start to open up for you.
Hey Brian, is there a way to control the shipping date for buyers? I see my listings shipping date being a lot later than other sellers.
You can change your shipping speeds under “shipping settings” in your Seller account. Also, If you can, use FBA so your items are Prime with 2-day shipping.
This article gives me more confidence to do an FBA account BUT I am still iffy because I’ve been seeing this type of side hustle boom and started seeing stories about gated/ungated, prohibited brands, etc… Is there a list that we can use to see what brands to avoid? I would assume Nike, Adidas, UA, etc would be brands to avoid right?
There is no exact list as it will be different for most seller’s accounts. You just need to learn over time what to avoid and what you can sell. When scanning using the Amazon seller app, it will tell you if you are restricted in that category/brand.
Very great article I enjoyed it
Thanks for reading, Joseph!
I am curious about the process of shipping my inventory to Amazon.
1. What type a scale do I need to use to weigh my inventory?
2. Do I weigh the box, with all the items inside?
3. Can I pack all my inventory into one box? Or do I need to separate by “brand” or “type of item”
Otherwise, thanks for all the great information!
1. You can just use a small digital scale. You can find one on Amazon or Walmart that will work well
2. Yes, you will weigh the box with all of your items in it. Once you create your shipment in seller central, though.
3. Yes, you can but Amazon may have you send certain items to different warehouses. Unless you change your FBA shipping settings to “inventory placement service.” That will allow you to send all your products to just one fulfillment center.
Replying to point number 3, is there a downside to changing your FBA shipping settings to “inventory placement service.” It seems way too convenient.
There is a per-unit fee when you use that service. You can see that on Amazon’s help page here: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/200735910
What if you scan a product and it doesnt show up, should you still list it? And if so should i take my own pictures or use pictures from somewhere else?
If it does not come up when you scan it, try to search the product by name. If it still does not show up, you can list the product on your own using the UPC code of the product. Use stock photos of that item if possible. Ie. with a white background/professional photos.
Amazing article, thanks!
If doing Online Arbitrage , can i ship directly to Amazon ? Like buy from walmart and send to Amazon , or do i need to label them before sending to amazon ? (fba)
Thanks in advance and hope to get a reeply
You cannot do that. You will need to create an FBA shipment in seller central and label each product with an FNSKU.
Thank you for this content, however; i was wondering how do you use JS extension if you are in store scanning?
If your mobile chrome browser allows you to use extensions mobile, that would be the only way.
I’m currently researching RA and I’ve seen horror stories all over sellercentral forum that people were doing RA. They bought something at retail and listed it for sale on amazon. Then amazon turned around and suspended the account.
If amazon let the seller list the item why would amazon suspend the seller? Amazon was asking for invoices (not receipts from retail store) and also wanted an authorization letter from the brand allowing the seller to sell it.
How does one make sure that the item they buy at a retail store can be sold on amazon as a NEW item and not get suspended? Is there a brand list that’s proven and allowed for RA?
That is a risk you take when selling RA items on Amazon. For the most part, you shouldn’t have any issues but sometimes, Amazon may ask for an invoice if the brand owner makes a complaint.
Very informative information! Do you need to have an LLC or a sellers license in order to do retail arbitrage?
No, you do not need that in order to start with retail arbitrage. You can worry about that once you begin to sell.
I am a fbm seller in amazon I sell brand products bought from official suppliers and distributors. I had once bought a product of the dunlop sports brand from carrefour which I recentlyfound in my store warehouse. I scanned it on my amazon seller page and it got accepted for selling and I added it to my inventory. My question is can I be in suspension for this ? It’s an old purchase n I don’t have its ticket.
You should be ok as long as it is authentic.
what about taxes?
You as the seller are responsible for taxes. This is up to you to find out what your tax responsibilities are.
Great article…I am trying to understand the process if I have found a branded product that is not on Amazon. As an example, XYZ company, I bought there product at Walmart and the product doesn’t exist on Amazon. Am I allowed to create a product listing or does the brand need to do that.
You can create the product listing yourself with the companies UPC code.
Hi thank you for the great information! It was very helpful. I have a question for you, do you need to use PPC with this model?
Good question! You can but it usually isn’t necessary. If you are buying products with a decent sales rank, the products will usually sell without advertising. If the product you have is sitting for a while, you can turn on PPC to see if it’ll help you sell.
but how to get Authorization from these brand？
Your best bet is to contact a brand directly to seek approval. You can also work with approved distributors of the brand you want to sell.
I have been doing the research lately, and have come across a lot of articles and stories about seller accounts getting banned for retail/online arbitrage because they cannot show invoices for items they purchased, only receipts from stores. Do you have any additional insight around dealing with Amazon asking for invoices for inventory for those considering arbitrage as an option for FBA?
Yes, it is a possibility. Keep all of your receipts as sometimes a receipt will work. Try to stay away from larger brands may issue complaints with Amazon.
Do I need to create fnsku labels when preparing a shipment for FBA as all of my products have UPC codes that already match appropriate amazon products listing? Many thanks.
Only if Amazon requires you to use the FNSKU. Sometimes, you are able to use the UPC code.
Thank you Brain for the BEST article I found on the internet about retail arbitrage. Now I know exactly what to do in fact I already purchased a couple of items in a small quantity form Walmart clearance.
Thank you very much and I feel like I owe you something!
That is awesome, Raja! I am glad you found this info helpful!
What about the invoices in case there is an IP claim?
An Amazon newbie
You should keep all of your receipts just in case.
When you have the products and are ready to send it to amazon, what do you have to do? I’ve seen videos that they are printing barcodes and covering the one on the retail box. Can you buy the product and send it strait in to amazon without having to put the new bar code on it?
With certain products you can if Amazon allows the manufacturer barcode to be the barcode used. Sometimes, Amazon requires you to relabel the product with your own unique FNSKU. The FNSKU will tie that inventory to your account so your inventory is not comingled with other sellers’ inventory.
Thank you for such an informative piece. I was ready to start my amazon fba journey, but I was told that I could not use the retail arbitrage strategy because amazon will either suspend, block or ban my account because I don’t have an invoice?- is this true? If so, could I get some more clarification, please?
There is a risk that may happen but retail arbitrage is still a great way to sell on Amazon and how many people still make money on Amazon. Keep all of your receipts just in case you have any issues. Sometimes Amazon will accept that.
Thank you for this very informative piece. This is all that is needed to get started!
Awesome information Brian!
Question! Do we have to run PPC for those listings to get sales?
I am glad you found this article helpful!
You can, but it will only show when your offer is in the buy box. If you are selling a product that has a low and consistent sales rank, you won’t really ever have the need to run PPC. Most RA products that I sell I do not run ads for.
If you are one of the only sellers on the listing or the product has a higher sales rank (>100,000), PPC can help you.