Thursday, March 31, 2016

Amazon Offering Free Removal of Inventory and Reversal of some Long Term Storage Fees

Recently we saw that Amazon was restricting certain items from being sent to fulfillment centers.

Now, Amazon sent out that they are offering sticks instead of carrots to declutter their centers.  You can remove any inventory for free until the end of April starting today.

The normal fees are pretty low at $0.50 a unit (includes shipping) so this isn't a huge deal.

The bigger deal is that if you were charged a long term storage fee in February 2016, they are reimbursing 66% of that fee.  Those fees are significant.  If I was charged those fee I would think about using this promotion.

It's nice to see Amazon handle this is in a manner that is very seller friendly.

As more sellers join FBA and FCs have more and more inventory, I think we will see more promotions to remove inventory and increased storage fees.  Amazon doesn't want their FCs to become storage facilities.  I get that.

The incentive is to move towards faster sales which I understand but it will mean that fewer people will sell items that have lower ranks.  Customers may suffer from higher prices on lower ranked items from lack of competition.

Either way, I think this is a step in the right direction from Amazon in the way they treat their sellers and I applaud the way they are handling it even if I am not thrilled about the outcome.

The one catch:
  • If you file a removal order for sellable inventory on or before April 30, 2016, to dispose of this inventory or have it returned to you, you will be unable to send in additional units of these ASINs until October 1, 2016. If your inventory level falls below the number of units you have sold of this ASIN in the previous four weeks, you can send this ASIN to Amazon.
This doesn't affect your ability to sell these ASINs during quarter 4 but you won't be able to send until October which is 6 months away.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - I'm Done with Apple Watches

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.

Loving the New eBay Gift Card Rules

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site: Splender, eBay

Recently, eBay changed their rules and allowed unlimited gift card usage instead of $5,000 per rolling 180 days.  There does remain a limit of $1,000 in eBay gift cards per transaction.

Previously, trying to track your gift card use was a pain so unless I was sure I was no where near the limit I wouldn't use eBay Gift Cards.

I just bought some gas gift cards for personal use and I want to illustrate just how awesome eBay can be when used properly.

I bought $100 of physical BP Gift Cards for $92 on eBay.  Total cost is $276.

I bought $275 of eBay Gift Cards from Gyft at face value with my Chase Ink card.  As Doctor of Credit has shown, when you use PayPal with Ink as your form of payment, you will earn 5x Ultimate Rewards.

So that's 1,375 Ultimate Rewards points which are worth a minimum of $13.75, though many put the value much higher.

I used Splender Shopping Portal for 2% cashback on the gift cards, that's another $5.52 off the three gift cards

eBay is currently running a Targeted eBay Bucks promotion (check to see if you are targeted on the home page) where you will earn 10% in eBay Bucks.  That's another $27.60 for buying three.

All together, I spent $276 and earned $13.75 in UR, $5.52 in cash from Splender and $27.60 in eBay Bucks.  That's $46.87 off the 3 gift cards or $15.62 off each gift cards.

My final price then becomes $92 - $15.62 or $76.38 for each $100 BP gift card.  That's some cheap gas.

Oh and now I get cash price instead of credit ;)

I know I am assuming eBay Bucks are equivalent to cash and they worth less but it makes it easier to see everything.

Something tells me people might want to think about selling these too ;)  Always verify directly with the sites for payouts.

There are a bunch of other gift cards that this might work for as well.  Just sayin'
All Discounted Gift Cards Available

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Some Gift Cards and a 5% MacBook for Increased eBay Bucks

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site: Splender, eBay, Amazon

There are a few gift cards available on eBay that are definitely worth checking out as positioning purchases for the future, especially given the fact that many people received an offer for an extra 4x in eBay Bucks.  Even if you didn't get the email, check and it may be there like it was for me on the homepage.

Kohl's $100 Gift Card for $85 from Cardency

Toys R Us $100 Gift Card for $85 from PayPal Digital Gifts

Babies R Us $100 Gift Card for $85 from PayPal Digital Gifts

Check out all discounted gift cards available (including gas gift cards)

You also earn 2% from the Splender shopping portal.

Amazon Restricting Random ASINs?

A few people sent me a blog post from Lisa Suttora who is reporting that Amazon has begun to restrict FBA sellers from creating shipments on certain ASINs due to increased inventory at Amazon Fulfillment Centers.

These restrictions are coming without notice which is the only problem with this policy change.

I have not encountered this myself and no one I know has encountered this either but there are comments on her post that same the same as well.

It would be pretty bad if you are allowed to sell something as new, you buy it and then try to make a shipment and you aren't able to.  It's a waste of time and possibly money

The error message is

“You are already at the maximum inventory allowed for this product, due to capacity or other restrictions. This product must be removed from this shipment.”

There is one thing you can do to protect yourself but it is a bit annoying.  You can start a shipment with any particular ASIN before you purchase it to make sure Amazon will let you send it in.  That's pretty time consuming.

I understand that Amazon doesn't want their fulfillment centers to become storage units (I am guilty of this myself - I have over 4,000 units at FCs currently), especially long term storage units (less guilty of this) but changes should not be without warning.  

It could be that there will be more changes coming regarding storage fees or other ways to discourage hoarding inventory at FCs but I cannot be sure.

Have anyone come across this?  What was the rank of the item and in what category?  Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - Staples Easy Rebates are the Best Rebates

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.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Unlimited eBay Gift Card Use and Finding Your Orphan Funds on your eBay Gift Cards

Update: Reader Avi points us to Travel with Grant that you can go to this link from PayPal, log in and you will see all your used and unused eBay Gift Cards.  Very useful!  

Update 2:  Just a quick note to let you know that many people including myself have been lifetime banned from for buying too many gift cards with our 5% REDcard discount. I have noticed you talking about juicing up eBay deals a lot using Target. They pointed out to me that they added terms to their website in January 2016 saying that they wouldn't offer repeated discounts on the same product purchase. I was labeled a reseller even though I actually used all the eBay gift cards for personal purchases. They didn't care and didn't want receipts from eBay proving what I did with them. I did about $2000 total and that got me banned. Just an FYI in case you haven't seen that out there in forums. I would caution your readers against doing Target orders and not promote it as a method. I can't buy anything from ever again -- paper towels, clothes, iPads, etc. They told me I was welcome to shop in store anytime. LOL

It's a dangerous world out there.  Be careful!

In case you missed it DoCtor Chuck broke the huge news yesterday that we can now use an unlimited number of gift cards
There used to be a maximum of $5,000 in gift cards used per rolling 180 days.  That's not very much for a reseller if you source from eBay. This is big news for us.

Until now, I avoided using eBay gift cards when I was close to my limit for fear of having to wait months until I can use the gift card and losing track of it.  You don't save/make money on gift cards if you lose hundreds of dollars in that way.

There is now a maximum of $1,000 in gift cards per order and 8 gift cards per order as well.

With the new rules in place, we can feel free to use eBay gift cards one every purchase on eBay.  That's a minimum of 5% off every purchase as you will see.

Best way to buy eBay Gift Cards

1) eBay gift cards often go on sale on eBay at 5% off and when they are sold from PayPal Digital Gifts you will also earn 5x Ultimate Rewards with Chase Ink

2) 5% off with your RedCard on

3) On but then you are limited to $100 denominations without extra fees or at Staples store with Chase Ink

4) Grocery store with Fuel Points

5) Gift card exchange like Raise

6) Gyft sells eBay Gift Cards as well but the portal and G points are gone

Find your eBay Gift Card Orphaned Funds

It used to be quite simple to find your orphan funds from your eBay Gift Cards in the old eBay/Paypal checkout but unfortunately that doesn't work anymore.

Thankfully, your PayPal account still connect to your used eBay Gift Cards and stores them.  The only difference is that you have to use the mobile browser to access them.  Just click (tap, really) on the area to add a promo code and your non used eBay gift cards will be right there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - "Like New" is not Close to "New"

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.

Monday, March 14, 2016

MacBook with Extra eBay Bucks

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site: Splender, eBay, Amazon

Disclaimer:  I will not be participating in this deal.  There is not enough profit since too many things can go wrong.  ~5% ROI can too easily turn into breakeven or a loss, especially if a lot of people buy.  If you are someone who knows how to sell on Amazon, do yourself a favor, skip this one.  

If you are looking for an opportunity to learn how to use FBA and you don't mind possibly losing a little bit (or potentially a lot) of money on the way, this is a good way to start, especially with eBay Bucks as a little cushion. 

Electronics Valley (I've bought from them many times) is selling a MacBook MF840LL/A on eBay for $1,200

The same item is $1,335 on Amazon (keep in mind that there are multiple listings.  This one allows you to sell as new).

After fees, you will earn $1254 or about $1,250 after shipping.  Rank is 112 in Laptops which is good.

That's about $50 of profit (4.16% ROI) at current prices and you will also earn 8% in eBay Bucks if you are targeted or $96 per MacBook in eBay Bucks.

You will still earn credit card points and eBay Bucks and 2% from Splender.

You can juice it up a bit with eBay gift cards that you buy from with a RedCard for 5% off.

Keep in mind that there is a maximum use of $5,000 of eBay Gift Cards per rolling 180 days.  Also, sometimes there is a maximum of 5, 7, 8 or 9 eBay Gift Cards that you can use in one transaction before the transaction times out.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An eBay ~5% ROI Deal

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site: Splender, eBay, Amazon

A few days ago I asked readers whether I should post 5% Return on Investment (ROI) deals.

Out of 170 votes, 72 voted that I should always post them, 73 voted I should never post them and 25 voted that I should post them when there are increased eBay Bucks promotion.

That means that approximately 57% of people voted that I should post deals at least sometimes with about 43% voting that I should never post deals.  This breakdown basically means that I'm going to annoy close to about 50% of my readers whatever I do.  Always good to know.

The reasons are varied why people did not want me to post.  Some didn't want their own deals going down in margin.  Others did not want more sellers in general as this causes more competition on other deals as well and some didn't like the idea of spoon feeding people.

I have chosen to sometimes post deals. Here is my logic and some are going to disagree with me:

1) Anything that has 5% ROI is not a good deal in my opinion and you should be moving away from those.  Price drops and returns will mean that you are likely to either breakeven or possibly/likely lose money.  Don't lose money.

2)  Hopefully, people realize that these are not great deals to pursue and then competition is not tremendous because of that and people don't lose too much money.

3)  There are a lot of people (including myself) who learn by doing.  I can show past deals (and I will continue to do that) but unless they actually go through the process themselves it can be hard to analyze ahead of time what is and isn't a good deal.  A lot of readers here learned how to sell from when I was posting more lucrative deals.

These deals are directed at beginners who are learning and don't mind if some of the deals they buy lose money because they are able to learn how to sell and can apply their knowledge to more profitable deals that you won't find here.  If you are a veteran and you do these deals, try to move away from them.  If you look hard enough there are far more profitable deals out there that are worthy of your time.

I also will not be participating in these deals myself.  They don't have enough profit and I plan to mention that in my disclaimer every time.

For everyone who is still upset at me, I apologize ahead of time.  This is an ever evolving process and we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

PSA - Don't Send More than 50lbs in One Box to Amazon

This is a quick Public Service Announcement (PSA).

Shipping to Amazon can be very cheap and the best way to do that was always to stuff as many items as you can into one box (assuming Amazon allows it to all go in one shipment together).  The first lb of the box was almost the most expensive pound and any any additional weight is added at a much lower price per pound.

Privately, I had always told people that even though Amazon warns you not to send more than 50lbs in one box (if it is more than one unit), practically they didn't seem to care and I've sent many 70lb+ boxes without a problem.

Recently, it seems that Amazon is cracking down on this and suspending accounts for violating this rule.  I've heard rumors of it happening and it was confirmed to me from a friend as well.  Usually these types of suspensions are temporary.  You acknowledge your mistake and move on.  If you continue to violate it, you could receive a permanent ban.

From here on, both publicly and privately I recommend sticking to the 50lbs per box rule.  It's just not worth messing with your account.

Here is the message my friend received:

Shipping Box Overweight
One or more boxes in your shipment exceed our maximum weight requirements.
Products and shipments that do not comply with our policies may be received as unsellable or destroyed without compensation.

Weigh and measure your boxes before sending them to FBA.
Boxes must not exceed the standard weight limit of 50 lb., unless they contain one single oversized Unit that exceeds 50 lb.
For a single oversized Unit that exceeds 50 lb., attach a label that clearly indicates "Team Lift" on the top and sides of the box

Inbound Performance Alert - Shipment
Your shipment abilities have been suspended due to repeated problems.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Reader Poll - Should I Post Low Margin Deals?

Yesterday I posted a couple of deals which I consider to be low margin deals.  They are around 5% return on investment which I don't think to be enough profit for myself to buy both because of price decreases due to competition and because of returns from customers causing havoc on lower margin plays.

That being said, I am not everyone and there does seem to be some interest in these deals based on comments, maybe for hitting sign up bonuses.  

The big advantage is that because there are a lot of people who are not interested, competition on these deals will be much lower and possibly sustainable, though likely not.

Here is a poll, I'll give it a day or two to see what readers want.  You can vote that you do not want me to post these deals, that you do want me to post these deals or that I should only post them when there is increased eBay Bucks.

I'm curious to see what the results will be.

A Deal for the Extra eBay Bucks - ~5% ROI

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site: Splender, eBay, Amazon

eBay is running a promotion with targeted increased eBay Bucks up to 10%.

In my last post I asked if readers were interested in deals that are around 5% ROI and the few that responded said yes so here is another one.  If this is or isn't what you are interested in let me know and I can decided whether to continue depending on reader interest.

Please be aware that these margins are tight and can change if too many sellers jump aboard but it still can be good if you are interested in hitting a threshold for a sign up bonus or something like that.

I usually don't do 5-10% ROI deals because I am afraid of the price of a return and tieing up my money for too long.  Video games are a little different.  I have yet to have a return on a video game.  Obviously that could change.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Gift Cards and Items to Buy on eBay with your 10% in eBay Bucks

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site: Splender, eBay, Amazon

As reported by Danny Deal Guru, eBay is sending out targeted offers for 5x eBay Bucks which is pretty much as high as it goes.

If you want to buy gift cards to sell, you can check out the full list of Discounted Gift Cards for Sale and check out Miles to Memories for his breakdown on what's available for profitable sales.

Best Buy (for sourcing) and Exxon Mobil (for personal use) stick out on the list of gift cards I would consider to purchase.

You can also think about this iPad Pro 32gb deal

They are going for $670 on eBay and some colors are going for $750 on Amazon.  Check out Silver.  After fees/shipping, you will probably bring home about $700-$705 (assuming you aren't paying sales tax).

That's about 4-5%.  Too tight for me.  I'd be afraid of any returns but if you are trying to hit a spending threshold, it might be good for some and you also get 10% in eBay funny money if you are targeted.

Start at Splender and you will earn an additional 2%.

There is a max of 10 and there is also a max of $100 in eBay Bucks per transaction so you have to buy them 1 at a time to maximize on eBay Bucks.  Only about 170 available so not so many people will buy but prices still can go down.

You can juice it up a bit with eBay gift cards that you buy from with a RedCard for 5% off.  That effectively doubles your margins outside of funny money.

I haven't posted a deal like this in a while.  Please let me know in the comments if you are interested in deals like this that are in the range of 5% ROI before extras.  Competition will be less but interest will be less as well.

Turnover Tuesdays - Sometimes Patience Really Hurts + New Offers Feature in Keepa

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.

(Lots of?) Free Tall Starbucks Drink(s?) at Target Stores

Target is sending out coupons to many people's email addresses offering a free Tall (that's another way of saying small, duh!) drink at Starbucks in your Target stores.  The email comes with a unique bar code to scan.

Coupons expire on 3/19/2016

It's nice to have a free drink available when you are sourcing, I mean shopping, at Target.

If you look at the Terms and Conditions, you may be able to use this coupon 4 times a day, every day until the 19th.  That's pretty amazing!  We'll see if it work

Item Coupon. Valid in store only. Limit one manufacturer and one Target coupon per item. Limit of 4 identical coupons per household, per day. Void if copied, scanned, altered, transferred, purchased, sold or prohibited by law. Item(s) may not be available at all stores. Quantities limited; no rain checks. Maximum retail value $14.95 for free item.  Coupon value may not exceed value of item purchased. No cash value.

(highlighting is my own)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Good Day to Look at Kohl's...

There are quite a few reasons why today is a good day to look for items to buy from Kohl's

If you have a Kohl's Charge Card use coupon code SUNNY for 30% off.

Earn $10 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 you spend

Earn $5 in Yes2You Rewards (need to enroll to earn Yes2You) for every $100 you spend

Use Upromise Shopping portal for 7% cashback.

Use a discount gift card for 12% off (current rate at Raise - affiliate link).  You can earn 2% cashback from Splender for the first $1,000 you spend at Raise across all portals.

Here is an example of what you can save:

If you spend $145, your total will be $101.50 after the coupon and you will be eligible for free shipping ($100 after all discounts).

You will pay about $90 for that $101.50 when you pay with a gift card.

You will also earn $2 from your credit card assuming you paid for the gift card with a Credit Card earning 2%.

In addition, you will earn $7.10 from Upromise, $20 in Kohl's Cash and $5 in Yes2You Rewards.

Let's assume you value Yes2Rewards and Kohl's Cash as regular money (you most definitely should not!), you are actually paying about $67 (add in tax somewhere there) for $145 of merchandise.
Goodness gracious!

If like a good lemming (joking of course), you bought Kohl's Gift Card on eBay when I suggested, your gift cards will actually be 17% off (instead of 12%), with 8% in eBay Bucks and 2.5% from Top Cashback on top of everything else.

If you don't have a Upromise account you can email me at for a referral and we will both get $20.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Amazon and the Mysterious Case of the Lost Inventory - Part 1 - Let's Do Math!

I really enjoy reselling merchandise on Amazon.  The buyer's experience is incredible and the number of customers is phenomenal.  I want to sell products where people are buying and that's the main reason I choose Amazon.  It also helps that Amazon has set up FBA and I don't have to store items or fulfill the orders.

After reselling for close to a year, the honeymoon stage has started to wear off and I'm beginning to see some major issues in the reselling platform specifically related to inventory tracking.

For a long time, I was using a spreadsheet for all of my tracking which was working for me but it becoming rather time intensive.  I looked to Inventory Lab for a solution and to avoid manual tracking.  I was extremely excited with Inventory Lab's capabilities but I've started to realize that Inventory Lab is great for tracking sales and COGS of those sales but does nothing for inventory tracking and reconciliation.

I need to know that if I sent in 10 units of one SKU into Amazon, that those 10 units have been received by Amazon, placed in my inventory and then sold.  If they are lost or damaged by Amazon, I need to know that I was reimbursed.  If there is only 8 units in my inventory and I only sold one, that's a major problem.

What happened to my missing inventory?  If I don't get reimbursed for that it's a straight loss and my wallet refuses to accept that.

The situation has gotten quite bad from Amazon that I am back to using a spreadsheet to track all of my inventory and whether anything is missing.  You too might be missing lots of inventory and you might not know it if you don't do a great job tracking.

This is part 1 of a series highlighting the major issues I have found in the Amazon tracking software.  Some are major only because of the consistency of the issue (a few dollars here and there really adds up) and some are major even if they happen just one time.

It's Math Time

Amazon has a very powerful reconciliation tool built into Seller Central.  You can put in any SKU for any time period and it will tell you in detail what has happened to this item.

Here is how to find it:

Click on Reports>Fulfillment

and then you can click on Inventory Reconciliation on the Left

Let's take iPad Air 2 64GB  Space Gray as an example:  Here is what comes up for me from the start of my selling history.

The most surprising thing to me is that I only sold 5 of them.  Really?  I guess it's possible.  Either way, I sent in 5, I sold 5 and I should have none in my inventory and I do not.  Everything checks out just fine.  Yay for Math!

Here is another more complicated example but once again everything is fine.

I sent in 15.  2 were lost but 2 were found.  I sold 15.  That's great.  3 were returned (that's what happens when you sell bad products) and 3 were removed and are currently in my basement.

What happens when it doesn't check out?  Let's take one example:

Hmm.  I sent in 5, didn't sell any and now I have 1.  None were lost or damaged.  Why do I have 1 instead of 5?  That's not good.  Especially since I have no reimbursement for that SKU.  How many do I actually have in my inventory?  You guessed it, one!

How about this one?

I sent in 14.  14 were received, 1 was lost and 1 was found.  How many should have? 14

How many does Amazon say I should have?  11.  How many units do I actually have?  9

Now, to Amazon's credit, the first screenshot was taken a couple of days ago.  The newest reconciliation correctly shows that I have 9 units but once again does not accurately reflect how they got to 9 when I sent in 14.   Of course, I have no reimbursement for these units because they aren't lost according to the system.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Amazonian math.

I hope you enjoyed Part 1.  More fun to come in upcoming posts...

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Referral Links for 35k Starwoods Personal and Business

Hi All,

As I'm sure you are all aware, Starwoods just came out with an increased sign up bonus.  It is normally 30k Starpoints when it increases and it now 35k Starpoints.

You can check out "The DoC" for more information on the card.

I don't have a referral link myself but here is one from a friend of the blog:

American Express Starwoods Personal

American Express Starwoods Business