Over the past few months Nessa and I have been on a tear, adding tools to our arsenal. Tools that have not only reduced a lot of buying uncertainty and wasted time, but has also saved and made us lots of money. We find ourselves in a time where information is abundant, and knowing how to best mine that data can make the difference between an “I can’t make it happen” seller and a multi-million $$$ powerhouse seller. So, let’s dive into what we consider to be the top 14 most valuable tools that you can implement into your purchasing process to save time, make more money and kick arbitrage ass!
Please note, some of the links mentioned below are affiliate links. By clicking on them and making a purchase, we make a small commission. Using these links in NO WAY makes your purchase more expensive. It simply gives us a few more dollars so we can continue providing valuable content to you, our New Crew!
The Core Tools
These tools can be used for both Retail Arbitrage (RA) and Online Arbitrage (OA) and are the most important tools you can possess. Whether new or a seasoned seller, you should be VERY familiar with these apps. Let’s dive in.
Starting with the basics, the Amazon Seller App is a free scouting app you can download, which allows you to scan barcodes and validate product information. We continue to use this app for a majority of our scanning, as it gives you the necessary buying decision info like Rank, Reviews, Number of Sellers, and Sales Prices. Getting information straight from Amazon ensures us that we are getting the most accurate ranks and fees, as third party tools can only access information on a more limited basis.
Plus, Amazon’s app will let you know when an item is restricted or cannot be sold in new condition, which we’ve found other apps don’t inform you of this. Ouch! Whether you’re new or not, you should be using this app.
Stepping up a whole other level from the Amazon app is Inventory Lab and Scoutify, which is a paid service. When you subscribe to Inventory Lab’s inventory management service, you are able to freely use Scoutify, which is their version of a scouting app.
Inventory Lab is a great tool to use to track your purchase prices, list your products on Amazon and get a clear view on how profitable your business is.
When you are doing Online Arbitrage, it also provides a “scout” feature allowing you to validate a product’s viability just like you would on a scouting app.
Otherwise, if you’re doing Retail Arbitrage, Scoutify is something that we use all day long, and essentially offers you the mobile version of Inventory Lab’s scout feature. We mainly prefer Scoutify over the Amazon Seller App because it scans barcodes super quick, you can click on the item in Scoutify and bring it up on Amazon.com or Camel Camel Camel, it indicates which sales price is in the Buy Box and you can easily fine tune settings like shipping prices and taxes so you can really have a great view of your bottom line after ALL fees and expenses are deducted.
But, as we said before, the drawbacks on Scoutify versus the Amazon Seller App is that it won’t tell you if an item is restricted or if it cannot be listed in new condition.
That’s why we always cross reference each app to make the best decision when we are doing RA. Don’t forget, you always have that last chance to double check your data as you’re listing your items to ship into an Amazon FBA warehouse.
Bottom line, when you compare Inventory Lab to other products like Profit Bandit and ScanPower, we have found that Inventory Lab is the top of the line. For us, Profit Bandit was pretty easily eliminated from the equation because it is solely a scouting app and doesn’t offer any inventory management features.
Then, because we absolutely love Chris Green and totally want to support his business because he is consistently putting out great content, we looked into ScanPower. (A lot of the tools we use today are tools that he has backed.) While ScanPower is even more comprehensive than Inventory Lab, really because it includes a repricing tool, it is just too dated looking and not intuitive. Inventory Lab is easy on the eyes and makes it a very comfortable experience to navigate and get used to.
Since we started using Inventory Lab, we’ve freed up extremely valuable time and spared lots of grief caused by trying to keep track of different purchase prices. We’ve also been able to refine our profitability strategy by looking at how much we actually make from our total Amazon sales and taking actionable steps to improve areas that were eating away at our profits. Needless to say, our profits have since been on the steady up and up.
It’s not a bad idea to double check items on the Amazon shopping app, which also allows you to scan barcodes. As a seller, if you are only using the Amazon Seller App, you would be oblivious to data like which price is in the Buy Box (very likely the lowest price isn’t in the Buy Box), how many units the Buy Box seller has left (what if the Buy Box seller only has one left and the next lowest price is $20 more?) and what the product listing actually looks like (can you improve the listing to make it sell even better?). These are all important things to know, and you should make a habit of not only seeing “seller” data but “buyer” data too.
Product Evaluation Game Changers
If your Product Evaluation process isn’t Bulletproof, you’re not going to last long in this business. And even if you take a very cursory approach to evaluating a product, you’ll expose yourself to many of the pitfalls that new sellers make, leading you to believe that it isn’t possible to make this a real business. The more people that think that way, the better. Because you and I are going to not only evaluate the basic data, but dive deep and look at the things that most sellers are too lazy to analyze. Meaning more profits for us!
DS Amazon Quick View (Chrome only)
When you’re finding products on Amazon.com, wouldn’t you like to know the Best Sellers Rank before clicking into the product listing? Well, the DS Amazon Quick View does what it sounds like. From the search results page on Amazon.com, it will show you all of the rank information, when applicable, directly on the search results page, thus cutting down on time clicking into dud product listing.
The only drawback is that it can slow down your browsing experience as it keeps on shifting the page while it loads the rank information. Well worth it IMO.
First off, I think the word Camelizer is frickin’ awesome!
Do you ever see a product and wonder if the data is too good to be true? Often data, like sales rank, can be deceiving. And just because a product is a 50K rank now doesn’t mean that it will always be a 50K rank. Remember, sales rank is just a snapshot in time based on the circumstances which probably no longer exist.
That’s why you need to become very familiar with Camel Camel Camel (CCC). When you search an item on CamelCamelCamel.com or just easily use the Camelizer plugin, it will show you historic Amazon and 3rd party (FBA/FBM sellers) pricing and sales rank data. CCC launched in 2008, so you’ll typically be able to see data that far back, if applicable, which is WAY more than enough information.
By using CCC, you can determine if that juicy price is over/under the normal price and if that sales rank has been consistent or has been influenced by price. For example, if you saw an item with a 50K sales rank, selling for $150, you might get a different perspective on CCC. That’s because you might notice that it had been selling for $60 just a few days ago, generating more sales, but the new price is $150 which would likely mean that you would see that 50K sales rank climb way high because the price is inflated.
On CCC, you’ll also be able to track price drops and search for price drops within the past 7 days to see if there are any Amazon to Amazon flip opportunities.
Get familiar with the Camel and you’ll become familiar with the Benjamins!!!
Keepa is similar to CCC, but the plugin will actually show you the pricing and rank history DIRECTLY on the Amazon product listing.
Not only that, but Keepa shows you when Amazon.com goes out of stock (OOS), which is a pretty important piece of data to know for us Amazon sellers. Why, you ask? Well, if Amazon is selling an item for $15 but they routinely go OOS and the next lowest price is $40, you’d probably want to consider getting your hands on this product and waiting patiently for Amazon to go OOS.
You’ll know when you’ve found a popular product flip when you see multiple people tracking an item in the “community tracker.” If 20 people are tracking the item, there’s probably some money to be made. You can also see what the average tracking price is too!
But, Keepa isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, as there is a drawback. Keepa is only a few years old, so their sales data is not as comprehensive as CCC. Just keep that in mind when evaluating a product.
Whether you want to find the lowest price of a product or simply see how much Amazon is selling it for, you’ll want to get some helpful tools on your side. While using Google search and Google Shopping is great, sometimes it’s just easier to let some plugins do the work for you.
In the past we’ve used Invisible Hand, but it just didn’t cut the potatoes. So, we began using the PriceBlink plugin which will pop up on your screen on product listings to show you what other price points are available and also will let you know what discounts are on those sites.
It really simplifies finding the lowest price, and often, you’ll find lower prices on sites you would have never thought of checking. This is just an easy way of making sure you’re always getting the best deal, because the lower your buy price the more you will profit!
Again, you’re scouring the web and you’re on Kmart.com looking at the Pieface game, and Boom, the Amazon 1Button App pops up and tells you that this item is selling for $40 on Amazon.com. You look at the Kmart price of $18 and you’re jazzed! That’s what this app does. It’s an Amazon app that pops up when it finds the exact item you are searching for on another site, whether the price is lower or higher. They want you on Amazon.com, and by using this app you might just find a few more flips out there that you might not have gotten after in the past.
Let me ask you a question geared to OA. Do you find that you spend way too much time clicking into a product, copying a title, pasting it into Amazon, searching for it, finding it and then doing your research? What if there was a way to cut out some steps?
I present to you RetailAzon. A brand spanking new Google Chrome plugin, RetailAzon cuts out a lot of these steps. Again, this is a plugin for Google Chrome and only works on a select number of retailers’ sites.
But let’s say you are on Walmart.com and searching in the toys clearance section. RetailAzon will show icons for Amazon, eBAy and Google Shopping, directly on the search results page, which you can click on and it AUTOMATICALLY pulls up the product page on the respective site.
Like that, you just saved a butt load of time clicking, copying, pasting and searching. Now, like I said it is very new and is working through some initial hiccups and doesn’t work on every site, but it is looking like an absolute necessity for Online Arbitragers.
Due to its soaring popularity, it is no longer free on the Chrome store and needs to be purchased direct from their site for $19.99. Still worth it IMO. They do have a money back guarantee, if you have any concerns.
Once you’ve found a deal worth investigating a bit more, you’ll want to know how much money you can make on it. Duhhh!!! If you don’t have a paid service like Scoutify, you could always use the Amazon Seller App on your phone. However, IMO it’s easier to navigate around all these numbers on the computer so let’s talk about some options.
This calculator is basic, but is enough to be dangerous. It shows you what your payout will be once Amazon takes its fees, if you sold it for X. All you have to do is go to the Amazon Revenue Calculator, search the product ASIN/UPC/EAN, enter the sales price and hit calculate. Like that you’ll have a good idea of what your profitability will be like.
Time is money, and even a few seconds saved in a process that you do hundreds of times can mean a lot. The Calculator Widget will certainly save you valuable time calculating revenue as it simplifies the process of using the Amazon Revenue Calculator. When you are on the Amazon product listing page, simply click on the Calculator Widget icon and it will automatically pull up the Amazon Revenue Calculator, find the product you’re looking at and enter the Buy Box price. You just click calculate, and voila!
Cash Back, Miles and Coupons!!!
You’ve searched for products, found the lowest price, deemed it profitable and now it’s time to buy. But just slow down because haste makes waste. NOW, is the time to find what type of additional savings are out there. Trust me, there’s a lot!
Nessa and I are addicted to miles. We just love to travel. So, before we buy anything, we search for the store that we are shopping on at evrewards.com. Evrewards will tell you which rewards program offers the most miles and cash back at the site you are shopping on.
While we usually try and find one of our mileage programs, like Ultimate Rewards and American Airlines, sometimes the cash back on sites like Ebates are very tantalizing and we will go with them. Once you find the rewards program you like, click on it and go to the store that you’re planning on buying the products from.
Ebates is a free site that gives you cash back when you click through their affiliate link to the site you want to shop on. Every quarter they send you a check in the mail or deposit it into your PayPal account, no strings attached! Heck, I just got an email from Ebates asking me where they should send this Big Fat Check of $180 dollars. That’s only in a couple of months of shopping online.
We you shop you can either go to Ebates.com to search for stores or download the plugin, which allows you to click on the icon directly on the site, activating the cash back deal. (Don’t worry, they’ll let you know pretty clearly if their is a cash back deal on that site.)
You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with Mr Rebates too. Not going to talk about them, as they are the same thing as Ebates but you should maximize their cash back program too because sometimes they have better deals or just even provide cash back on sites that Ebates doesn’t.
Seriously, this is one of my favorite plugins EVERRRR!!!!
While I love saving money, it can just be too easy to be lazy, especially when it comes to finding coupons on sites like Retailmenot.com. I mean, trying to figure out which coupon code is applicable with which product is just tedious.
But then came Honey! Honey pokes its head out when you are ready to check out on a site. All you have to do is click “Try codes” and it will run every single promo code available for you and apply the best one possible. It will even stack coupons!
We’ve only been using Honey for a few weeks but we’ve already saved over a thousand bucks because of it. It takes all of the hassle and guessing games out of the equation, leaving you more time to find those epic deals that are going to make you beaucoup bucks.
Last but not least is LastPass. If you haven’t already, you will soon find that managing all of your passwords is overwhelming. Just creating passwords for all of the tools that I mentioned will swell your brain. One option is to reuse the same password over and over again, but that’s just not a good security strategy.
The other is using the LastPass plugin. LastPass securely saves your password on an encrypted network, so every time you go back to a site it will allow you to easily enter your username and password, avoiding the guessing game and the dreaded “Forgot Password” B.S.
To boost security, you can also let LastPass concoct a crazy password that no one would ever be able to hack and it again stores that for you.
If you’re worried about having crazy passwords and not being able to access sites and apps on your phone as a result, fear not. You can get the LastPass app on your phone and you can easily pull up any of your passwords directly from the app and copy and paste them into the site you want to access.
Don’t let passwords slow you down ever again!
Look, I know I haven’t covered it all, but I’ve covered the major tools that will be the true game changers in your business. If you find this too overwhelming, just cherry pick a few of these tools and start working them into your business. In no time, you’ll feel like a pro, save time, make more money and be prepared to adopt more tools. The key is to start somewhere. So, which one is first on your list?