Editor’s Note: Tyler Nelson is joining us for a guest post today. If you’re unfamiliar with him, he’s a bit of a video game specialist (check out his FB group), who up until very recently found a way to make a living doing FBA from the cold recesses of Alaska (if that doesn’t sound that impressive to you, allow me to remind you that there is NO UPS partnership rates in Alaska, so shipping via flat rate priority USPS is often the best option!). He’s now moved down to the lower 48 and is primed (pun intended, obviously!) for a great 2016.
The Cash Behind the Glass: Making Money by Buying Games that are Locked Up at Walmart and Other Stores
On a weekly basis or so, I hear another seller complaining about not being able to scan video games at Walmart or Target or another store because they can’t access the UPC. Being able to do so is actually quite simple these days, due to Flow, which is integrated into the normal Amazon buying app. It acts like the facial recognition that you see in all of the police dramas on TV, but for products that are listed on Amazon. It is also great for when stickers or permanent marker obscures the UPC (It can be used to scan a UPC, but I prefer a different app for doing that.)
Now, it is time to use Flow to find profitable products to make some cash with.
For this article, I’ll be mainly focusing on Walmart, but Flow doesn’t discriminate based upon the store that you source at. Of all of the stores that I have sourced at, Walmart seems to be best when it comes to finding discontinued games that have gone up in price, but Target seems to be the best with clearance.
If you aren’t familiar with video games, it’s okay. You don’t have to play video games to be able to be successful at selling them. To gain familiarity with them, I challenge you to go to Walmart and scan every single game. Yes, every single game. It isn’t any different than scanning an isle of toys or toothbrushes. The more you scan, the more you learn. The more you learn, the less that you will have to scan. Another resource you may have is your children. It may be worth consulting with them regarding what they think about specific games, especially with franchises such as Skylanders or Pokemon, which I admit to hardly knowing anything about myself.
With most items, I would recommend going online and using OAXRAY and then either shipping to you or picking up in store, but with most video games and Walmart, you won’t have a lot of success. Walmart has plenty of games that have been discontinued and no longer appear on its website, yet can still be found in stores. A good example of this is Wii Party U. It sells for $39.99 at Walmart, but doesn’t show up when you search for it on the Walmart website. The current Buy Box price is $99. I was able to pick up two copies at a Walmart this week. Walmart is a great place for finding discontinued Wii and Wii U games. They pull them off of the shelves a lot slower than Target and other retailers.
It is also a great place for finding discontinued sports games. When it comes to selling on Amazon and in the video game industry in general, sports video games are known for being worthless and obsolete as soon as the next title comes out. In reality, though, this is completely untrue. I find that older games are actually MORE profitable than the game that came out last week. There is less competition, and older games can be found for crazy low prices compared to the buy box.
Video games are an excellent example of how supply and demand works. People still buy older sports games. There are multiple reasons why. Their favorite team may have had better players in the past, or perhaps they like the soundtrack more. Perhaps they don’t like changes that have been made to newer titles. Regardless of the reasons, people still buy old games. And when the number of sellers goes down on Amazon, the price tends to go up.
In December of 2014, Madden 13 for the Xbox 360 (which was over two years old at the time)} hit a low price of $45 at one point. I had picked up copies at Walmart for $19.99 the week before, when the buy box was $35ish. When I created the listing, I set my price at $39.99. I had no idea that they would be under priced and immediately sell when they hit the warehouse. I thought it was a fluke. I was wrong.
Fast forward to this past Q4. The exact same thing happened, but with Madden 25 for the Xbox 360, which was also two years obsolete. I’m glad that I was able to grab some copies for $8 apiece on Ebay and some used copies from a pawn shop for $3 apiece in September . I sat on them until Christmas, where the low price for new reached $45 again, and the used copies I sold for around $20 apiece. Even though the game was obsolete, the number of sellers evaporated due to demand, causing prices to rise. It was actually selling for more than the current title.
Let’s get back to the topic of finding discontinued games at Walmart. If you don’t scan all of the games, I at least challenge you to scan all of the sports and racing games and anything that says Nintendo on it. The chances of you finding something profitable are in your favor. I moved to Wisconsin last week, and have visited three Walmarts so far. I’ve found at least one tittle worth sourcing inside the display case at all three of them, and in the process of writing this article found another title worth buying that I remember seeing at two of them. At one of them, I found six copies of a game for $19.99 with a buy box price of $70 that is ranked under 3,000.
If you find a game worth buying, try visiting other locations for the same store in your area. I looked at another Walmart 10 minutes north of the one where I got six copies of the game, and found another copy.
When buying games from behind the glass, be patient and wait for an associate to be able to help you. When they open up the case and ask what you want, I have found that the best way to buy multiple copies of a game is to tell them that you will buy as many copies as they are willing to sell you (this line goes a long way a Target, which isn’t the most reseller friendly at this current moment in time.) More often than not, they’ll sell you every single copy that they have, and are sometimes even willing to check the back for more. If they won’t sell you as many as you want to buy (It happens at Target more often than not) don’t fuss or argue. Thank them for selling you the number that they are selling you, and come back after shifts change or on another day. Walmart is in the business of selling stuff. I haven’t ever seen them turn away revenue.
And while you are at Walmart, check to see if they have a clearance bin. You may encounter games as old as being for the PS2 and Gamecube, which have certain games that if brand new can fetch crazy prices. I have found that with Walmart clearance and discontinued games, the more rural or “ghetto” the store, the better.
So the next time you go to Walmart, get out of the Amazon Seller App or whatever other scanning app you use, and put away the laser scanner. Load up Flow, and get scanning with it. There is cash to be made. Even if you don’t find anything profitable, you’ll at least learn something or find a rabbit hole that will pay dividends down the road. You won’t be disappointed.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them in FBA Master or my group Video Games FBA If you don’t want to publicly post them, or they are about a specific title that you don’t want everyone else jumping on, feel free to privately message me. I’ll get back to you in the order that your message is received.