Several months back, Brianna wrote a blog about shoe sourcing. It has long been a popular post on this site, and she has used all her knowledge to help grow her business helping others learn to source as well. In this post, she goes into several other methods for using a product sourcing list, besides the obvious “click and buy.”
Properly Using a Product List Subscription
If I had a nickel for every time a new or inexperienced seller purchased a product list from us, glanced at it and made a snap judgment that it was “junk” I would have a great side hustle going on. Of course, I always take the time to politely answer their questions or respond to their comments regarding said junk and by the end of the conversation most have completely changed their outlook. For the most part, many new sellers simply don’t understand how a list works, how to make the most out of it or simply what it’s intended for. So below are a few tips for new sellers ….. so you can get the most out of a paid product list or subscription.
1. Despite what the whiners and complainers in the Facebook groups exclaim….. no, not every item on a list tanks in price. Mostly because no one buys every single item on a list (see Joseph J Bonacia’s perfect analysis of this in the comments of this thread). Nor do two people buy the exact same items in the exact same quantity. When I’m adding bonus finds to our product sourcing groups I’m often sharing product listings that I’m already on or that I’m purchasing and it’s rare to ever have the price tank (and let’s be honest, non-list subscribers can find these items too). In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve posted a product find and not a single person purchased it while I happily replenned it over and over and over again. If you’re that timid about price erosion, purchase the items with higher ROIs to test it out and leave you’re self some room to decrease the price and still profit.
From Joseph J Bonacia:
Let’s say there are 10 items on a list.
Some may be in gated categories, which will eliminate some people.
Some will have too low an ROI as some folks are locked in the 100% ROI or better camp
For some the rank will be too high as they belong to the Top 1% or Bust Club
Too many sellers
I don’t sell shoes/electronics due to the returns
I don’t sell media due to possible counterfeit claims
I don’t sell grocery/supplements due to liability
I don’t sell toys because they are saturated
So we got 20 people looking at 10 items. This is how I bet it breaks down:
Most will not buy anything
Some will buy 1 or 2 items in small quantities.
Some may buy a few more items or 1-2 in larger quantities
Some will buy a lot of stuff, but not all the items. Could be 2-5
2. You are not going to purchase every single item on the list. If you do then you might want to tighten up your buying strategy. Unless your budget has no limit, you are going to run out of money quickly and you’re going to be left with slow moving inventory in some cases.
3. Product lists cannot provide you with a unicorn that poops rainbows. You have to approach them realistically. Every seller is after the holy grail….. endless product finds at 75-100% ROI, with a minimum profit of $25 in ungated categories, within the top 1% of Amazon’s categories with no competitors.
If this is your buying strategy you are going to be sadly (and quickly) disappointed. If you are consistently finding finds like this you need to start a product sourcing company and charge a $2000/month subscription fee because you’ve hit the jackpot.
4. Not all ranks are created equally. Not only is rank simply a snapshot in time it can change dramatically from day to day. It’s also not “the same” across all categories. I’ll easily grab a home and kitchen or clothing item ranked at 250K but I’m most likely not touching it if it’s 250K in grocery or baby. If you make a blanket statement “I only buy items ranked 50K or better” note that you are misinformed and missing out on tons of profit. Familiarize yourself with product ranking prior to purchasing any lists.
5. You have to do your due diligence. You MUST look beyond the rank. So you get a list and an item is ranked 250K in toys so you skim right past it…. “it doesn’t fit your criteria of 50K or better”. Did you check to see if perhaps it’s at that rank because it’s been out of stock or because someone has priced it too high? If you aren’t checking these finds than it sucks for you because you are missing out on potential profits. Then, there is the flip side. “You had this item on your list ranked at 50K and I haven’t sold a single one”. You have to ask yourself several questions if this is the case.
Did you look at Keepa, Camel Camel Camel and/or Price Zombie.
Did you use Jungle Scout?
Perhaps that item is actually ranked at 250K the rest of the year and you happened to glance at the rank immediately following a sale or two. Also consider whether you’re pricing competitively and whether you are getting any buy box time. Again, you have to be proactive and research these things for yourself.
6. Stop skimming past the 30% ROIs because “you only buy items at 75% ROI or better”. Again, you are potentially missing amazing product finds because you are making a snap judgment. Do you know how many times you can transform a 30% ROI into one that is 75%, 85% even 100%…. it’s mind blowing the first time you do it. From then on, you look at product finds from a different viewpoint. Coupon codes combined with cash back sites, credit card rewards and discounted gift cards can easily achieve that – so don’t ignore them. Have you visited Giftcard Zen, Raise or Giftcard Granny lately? They’ve recently had some popular store gift cards at 20% off!!! And currently, I use a Discover It credit card as one of my business cards. They have a cashback portal that offers double the cashback at any of their participating stores. I’m currently getting 10% back on all of my Walmart purchases. Splender, ebates, or top cash back?
7. After you purchase an item keep track of your buy and sell costs and save all your spreadsheets. Set your replens alerts and return to those sheets weekly or monthly. Even items like clothing & electronics can be “replens”. Most people forget to go back and replen product finds like this. You’ll also notice listing prices increasing after a month or so as everyone runs out of stock and forgets to order more. Take advantage of this! Before we opened EPS we all subscribed to product sourcing services ourselves. I have old spreadsheets that are over a year old that still have amazing product listings on them that no more than 1 or 2 sellers are now on.
8. Look at all the variation options. I get messages all the time regarding this…. “ size 8 is already out of stock”. I look at the store and compare it to the listing, sure enough there are 5 other profitable sizes and colors. Don’t just limit yourself to the suggested variation on the product find list. Do a little work and check out other sizes, colors and even similar products.
9. Follow the rabbit trails.
A good seller utilizes product lists to make more efficient use of their time. A great seller may not even buy a single item on the list and instead uses the rabbit trails that are produced that most are too lazy to follow. Maybe invisible hand brings up availability at a different store – the price is higher but their promo codes bring the product down to an even better price. Maybe the list has a pair of Star Wars gloves at a ridiculously low price. Are they running a glove sale? Check out the other gloves. Perhaps a pair of North Face pants are listed. Browse through the other North Face items on the site for potential product buys. Also pay attention to the Amazon listing pages as well. Scroll down to see what other items buyers are purchasing or viewing. Be a little squirrel going here there and everywhere following those leads.
10. Note the Web store names. One of the greatest parts of subscribing to a list is the exposure to new stores – particularly those off the beaten path. I’ve always kept a store list in a spreadsheet – next to each store name I make notes regarding sale dates that seem to be cyclical, permanent promo codes, special rewards programs, etc. And I of course subscribed to every store email so I’d be alerted to special flash sales, clearance events or even store closings.
In closing, despite my little rant at the beginning, this post was meant to be helpful to new, inexperienced or misinformed sellers. Don’t glance at a list and assume it’s “junk” if you’re actually just uneducated or completely new to the industry. Do your due diligence. Put in the work. Go the extra mile. You’ll be surprised as to how much you can actually get out of a subscription product list if you exploit it’s full potential.
Brianna Moller Greene
Co-owner of Elite Product Sourcing: www.eliteproductsourcing.com
At Elite Product Sourcing we offer an array of services to aid Amazon FBA sellers in locating products to purchase and reseller in various online marketplaces. Our staff is comprised of part-time and full-time Amazon and eBay sellers with extensive experience in selling products in online marketplaces. With over 30 years of active experience and millions of dollars in sales, our product finding specialists are extremely well versed in analyzing marketplace trends and locating profitable products.
Co-owner of VA Rentals:
Whether you have a small or large job you need to accomplish you can “rent” one of our VA’s services’ for a wide variety of tasks. We currently have VAs available for Merch by Amazon t-shirt designs and for OA product sourcing. And soon we will have options available for creating new listings, Amazon account maintenance, filing for reimbursements, SEO/keyword optimization and website design. Our VA team is ready and waiting to help you grow & automate your business. Time equals money so do yourself a favor and outsource.
This is John now.
EPS has done a fantastic job of growing their group and followers by providing high quality lists and groups. The VA group sharing model they have has been a HUGE success for nearly every person who has done it so far.
For clothing and shoes, this one has a cost of $200, and if you were to check the facebook group you will find people say it is a steal.
There are plenty others, and in the coming weeks we will do an in depth review on them and a few other lists that help give people an edge on sourcing.
Till then, check out their gumroad and if you do get a product, let me know so we can feature you in our reviews post in the coming months.