Monday, February 13, 2012

Amazon FBA Scouting Tips - Things I've Learned Along the Way

Scouting locally for FBA inventory can seem overwhelming at first, and rightly so. Large stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Toys R US, Walgreens, and TJ Maxx have thousands of items. How do you know where to start? Your comfort level will grow as you become more experienced. Here are a few tips for learning what types of products to scan and consider for FBA.

Here are a few things I learned about how to scout for toys this past holiday season:

Go to Kmart, not just Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us. Kmart stores are dwindling – there aren’t as many as there used to be. You can often find products that are Kmart exclusives or other products not found in Walmart and Target. And many of your competitors won’t even have access to a Kmart.

Try some items priced $50 or higher. The more expensive an item is, the fewer competitors you will have. According to an informal survey on my Facebook group, 75% of the FBA sellers asked won’t pay more than $10 per item when buying inventory. So if you have the cash flow, and you are not terribly risk averse, try some high dollar products and see what happens. You may see a nice profit and a fast turnaround due to lack of competitors.

Scan items that have fewer quantities on the shelf. For example, maybe there is only 1 purple mermaid Barbie, but 7 yellow ones. This tells you that the purple one is more popular than the yellow, since shoppers may have purchased almost all of them. Or, maybe the store didn’t get as many of the purple because they are in shorter supply. If there is only 1 or two of a variation of a particular item left, this is a clue that the item may be a good seller. Over the 2011 holiday selling season, the pink Fijit sold for about $20 more than any other color. Also, the Pink Leapfrog Leap Pad sold for more than other colors, because not as many pink ones were produced. Look for things in short supply.

Listen to the shoppers around you. Listen to what the kids are asking their parents to buy. If you feel comfortable and it is appropriate, ask a question or two. For example, I was scanning a toy that has about 25 variations. A mom and her 5 year old came to that section and the child wanted a particular one. I asked the mom, “Do you know about this toy? Why is that particular one so popular?” The child actually answered, and said, “Because he is the hero and always saves everyone else.” And guess what. It was an $8 toy. The one the child wanted, that was out of stock, had a 5% ranking and sold for over $30. Listen to what is going on around you!

Related articles:

Money Magazine Survey - Amazon Ranked Highest by Online Sellers

Learn to Sell Toys on Amazon

Amazon Pricing Strategies

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