Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Turnover Tuesdays - When You Are that Shady Seller

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

The previous posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post.






The last couple of weeks was a very, very tough week with ups and downs.



The Ups


One of the distributors that I work with through a friend (BN) found a great deal on a certain item.  The rank was amazing and competition was scarce.  We had a decent track record with them so It was about 50% ROI.  Everything was great.  The one catch was that item in China.  The distributor took care of the logistics of bringing it over but it was a 2-3 month lag time.  Anything can happen in 2-3 months including plenty of competition and price erosion but I was excited.


After a couple months, they finally arrived. I sent them in and magic started happening.  There were 2 other sellers including BN at $25 with me but I still selling 20-30 every day.  I've never sold anything like it when it wasn't Q4.  I was making about $6 on each one so that is amazing.  After about a week, we were already ruing the fact that we were almost out.




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Turnover Tuesdays - I've Violated All My "Rules"

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

The previous posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post.


Selling on Amazon has been a wild ride for me.  It's turned from a hobby/manufactured spend tool into a real business in a short amount of time (I made my first sale in April 2015).  I know it's a bit cliche to say it but the only thing that has remained constant has been the change and evolution of just about everything.  From the type of deals I look for, the strategies I employ and Amazon's ever changing fee structure, I'm constantly changing my business model.




I've Broken A Lot of My Rules


Rule #1 - Go for the Miles

If you looked at my inventory after about 6 months of selling you wouldn't recognize it now.  It was full of electronics and high priced electronics mostly.  It would be normal for me to have 20-40 iPads after a sale at Best Buy or Staples.  At first I was buying when I was going to basically break even after portals, gift cards etc.  That didn't last long.  Then I wanted at least 5% ROI, then 10%.  Now, it's been a long, long time since I bought an iPad.  The profit just isn't possible for it to be worth my time.

Mostly that is a change of reselling being a source of miles (and cashback) to a source of income.

I still think that if done properly, reselling can be a great way to earn a ton of miles from credit card points, portals, portal bonuses and the like.  If you are interested in that, iPads are probably still the way to go.  They are expensive, sell well, return rates are more limited than some other electronics and are sold by the right stores.  You have to be careful to buy the right products (not Apple Watches!) at the right prices or returns will make your miles very expensive.  That being said, it is very possible to earn a profit (albeit small) while earning miles.  If I had unlimited time I would still do iPads in addition but I don't so I won't.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Turnover Tuesdays - 2017 Goals

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

The previous posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post.


2017 Goals

All the cool bloggers were putting in their 2017 predictions.  I have no clue how other companies are going to react in 2017 other than Amazon likely increasing storage fees again, doing something more to combat counterfeits (it's a big problem - just look at all the one star reviews on Speak Out game of Chinese fakes).  I do, however, have some idea on what I would like to do in 2017 so here it goes.


More Distributors/Wholesalers/Manufacturers

Sunday, January 1, 2017

End of the Year Inventory Lab Checklist

I use Inventory Lab for my bookkeeping on Amazon.  I've been using it to keep track of eBay and Walmart sales and fees as well but it is really meant for Amazon since it automatically grabs all your sales, commissions and all your fees.  Inventory Lab saves me hours of time.  I literally wouldn't be able to do my business without some sort of service and Inventory Lab works for me.  It's not perfect as I will show but it is essential for me.


More information about Inventory Lab



Inventory Lab provides a taxes checklist of what you need to do before you can properly use their service for tax purposes.  They are all correct but I will add one more as well.

1) Make sure your buy cost is entered for every sale.  If you don't enter a cost for a $100 sale with $20 fees, it will look like a $80 profit when you paid $70 for the item.  You don't want to pay taxes on phantom profit.

You can easily find which sales have no buy cost associated with them by going to Accounting>FBA Sales.  In "Advanced" change buy cost from "All" to "Has No Buy Cost".  Also change the time frame from "within the last month" to "within the last year" or "all" if you want to go back further than that or if you don't do it now.


2) You can run a report that will tell you your unsold inventory valuation at the end of the year.  You don't need to do that now if you have Inventory Lab but you will need to change the date to 12/31/2016 if you don't do it today so just pay attention to that.

You can find the report under Reports>Inventory Valuation.  You can change the date to whenever you would like.


3) One thing that's a bit annoying about Inventory Lab is that they automatically default your returns either to defective or sellable.  They don't mark your returns in the correct disposition which they should be able to do automatically.

If you sell an item for $100 that costs $70 and then it is returned in sellable condition and you sell it again, if you have Inventory Lab default your returns to defective when you sell it again they will assume COGS are $70 again.  That's not true, your COGS are $0 for the second sale since you already accounted for the COGS in the first sale and return.  Your profit will seem artificially low.

If you set your default to sellable Inventory Lab will offset your sale of that item and assume COGS of $0.  If the item was defective and you had to send it back home, you never should have received that compensating credit so your profit will seem artificially high.

Bottom line is that you need to change your returns to the correct disposition.

I personally choose the default to be defective since I find most of my returns are in defective dispositions and that means when I change it I will have more profit than before.  That's always a nice change. I don't like seeing my actual profit go down later.  I know it's all psychological but that's how it affects me.


4)  Double check your reimbursements.   This is not in their checklist.  I have been looking through my reimbursements and they are way off in multiple areas.

If I receive an additional reimbursement after an appeal sometimes they will assume that it is connected to a new unit.  For example, if I received a $20 reimbursement for a $10 item, Inventory Lab will show me a $20 reimbursement with $10 COGS and $10 profit.  That's true so that's good. If I appeal the reimbursement and get another $5 for that same reimbursment sometimes it will show a $5 reimbursement with a new COGS of $10 which is a loss of $5 separate from the first reimbursement.  That's not true and not good at all. I received an extra $5 for that original $10 so it is a $15 profit on one unit not $15 with COGS of $20 over 2 units.

In addition, sometimes there will be no buy cost associated with a reimbursement such as a warehouse damaged when there should be.  I have one item where it looks like I got a $285 profit but it was really actually a $15 loss.  That's a major difference.

Again, it might make you feel better about your numbers but you don't want to pay taxes on profit you never made. That's just dumb.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Amazon Donated My Inventory Without Asking.... -

We've talked on many occasions about the importance of monitoring your inventory on a regular basis as Amazon has the tendency to "misplace" a lot of inventory without telling you or reimbursing you.  It's one of Amazon's fonder characteristics.

When you looking at inventory reports, transfers of all sorts have corresponding letters that tell you what has happened during the transferring (relabeling, damaged, lost, etc.)

My current service Glasshouse Inventory noticed letter G on one of the reports which was a new one for them and the inventory was missing after the transfer corresponding to G.  They asked Amazon for clarification on what the "G" was for.

Well this is a new one for me:




So it seems that Amazon donated my inventory to charity. That's really sweet of them but not something you usually do with other people's stuff.  Granted they admitted it was a mistake but I wonder if they were going to take a tax deduction for it too!



What was the ASIN for it?  B00X3B16YW 

A green Apple Watch, the gift that keeps on giving.  The person who got it from charity probably returned it back to Amazon without the watch in the box so I can sell it again as new and get a another return...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - How it is Going Outside of Amazon

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

The previous posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post.


Selling on eBay with JoeLister - Meh


As I mentioned in week 77, I am trying to move beyond Amazon into eBay and Walmart.  eBay has had very blah results with JoeLister.  Since September 23rd  I have sold about 30 units total through JoeLister.   That's not very good.  Really not very good.  During that same time I sold more than 6,700 units with Amazon.  Granted I have far more listings with Amazon (I only paid for 100 listings with Joe Lister) but even on those 100 listings I had far, far more with Amazon.  I don't know yet if I will drop JoeLister but it is not an integral part of my Get Rick Quick Schemes.  Right now I'm using them to try and sell items that have Long Term Storage Fees associated with them in February.  Each sale provided outsized returns.



Selling on Walmart - Bumps and Bruises


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Check Quantities Even with Purchase Limitations

One of the more important pieces of information when pricing items is to know how many units are cheaper than you and how long you can expect it to take to reach your price.  I will price something very differently if the person below me has 1,000 units vs. 15 units.


One easy way to figure out how many people have (without special software) is to add the item into your account and try to place 999.  It will default to the number the seller has. If they have more than 999 it won't go higher.  Parenthetically, I leave it in my shopping cart and see how many the person has the next time I got into my cart so I don't have to keep doing it.

Some people (including Amazon) like to put purchase limitations.  If you are only allowed to buy 3 or 27 (27 is very common for Amazon) when you put in 999, it will go down to 27 because of the quantity limits.  The problem is that the person could have 28 or 999+ and you wouldn't know so here is a little trick to figure it out.  It can take a while but can be useful information.


If you look closely when you change the quantity in your shopping cart you will either see one error message or two error messages.




You can see that when I add 28 it just say that you tried to purchase more than the quantity allowed.  However when you try to add 999, you will get a second error message  that the quantity you tried to purchase is greater than the quantity available so you know that it is somewhere between 28 and 999.  




You can play around with the numbers to get a better idea (or keep playing until you get an exact number but exact numbers probably aren't as important as general idea).  Again, this can take a while so I don't know how useful it will be but someone might use it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - Using Q4 for An Accelerated Shake Up

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

The previous posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post.


Inventory Shakeup



I've mentioned a few times recently that I'm in the process of trying to change over my inventory.  Instead of being mostly electronics, I'm moving over into Groceries, Beauty, Health and personal care, some toys after Q4 (plenty during Q4), some kitchen stuff, office supplies and the like.

I'm interested in high profit and few returns instead of a high volume of sales.