Inventory Sources & Profit Tips Other Sellers Don’t Want You to Know

0
776

 Little-Known Secrets to Selling on Amazon

1. Sell your products via the Amazon FBA program – instead of selling as an Amazon self-fulfilling merchant (where you store your inventory at home and ship it directly to Amazon customers as it is sold). Why? Selling via FBA can, in most cases, boost your sales and let you sell at a higher buying price. When you send your inventory to Amazon Fulfillment (FBA) centers, those items automatically become eligible for Amazon’s 2-day shipping (“Prime”), for which buyers pay Amazon $79/year. They are willing to pay extra for your item if they know they can get it in 2 days. (An item with an Amazon-backed 2-day shipping promise can be considerably more enticing than a 3rd-party merchant’s shipping policy, and thus it can command a higher price point. If you want to learn more about Amazon’s FBA program, go here: www.amzn.to/OvCI JJH

2.    used toys and games can be a big moneymaker for you on Amazon, and they can be snapped up very cheaply by you in your own neighborhood (try running a Craigslist.com ad or going to yard sales or local thrift stores). While you may have dozens (if not hundreds) of sellers in competing over used book inventory in their regions, you can have a leg up on them by buying used toys and games. If you want to know specifically what toys to buy and how to find them, see Chapter 2 in this book.

3.    Baby products are also a big seller (you can only sell these as ‘new’ on Amazon – not as ‘used’ or ‘collectible’). The baby product marketplace is lucrative because, as you know, parents just have to get EVERYTHING for their baby (this is largely motivated by fear – ‘injury fear’ (i.e. “My child will burn her tongue unless she has this $15 soup spoon”) and/or ‘peer fear’ (i.e. “My neighbors won’t envy me unless I have the Graco 8000-R Car seat”).

4.    Those irrational fears help drive profits in the baby product market. Check your local chain stores for discounted new-in-package Disney-themed cups, pacifiers, etc. You should know what the item sells for on Amazon BEFORE you buy it. (Use a PDA Scanner from a company like Neatoscan.com or, if you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can use Profit Bandit: or bring your phone with a web browser and look up the item on Amazon by entering the UPC # in the Amazon.com search field in your phone browser).

5.    If you post a response to your buyer’s feedback on Amazon, they probably won’t read it (because they won’t be notified of your response). All of you have probably been tempted, as I have, to sling back a curt reply to a seller who leaves nasty feedback. It might feel good to post your reply, but they’re not going to be notified you left a response to them. Plus, think about what other potential buyers are going to do when they see your response (which will be posted for everyone to see).

6.    If a buyer leaves you negative feedback AND uses curse words and/or identifies you by name/address/contact info, you may be able to get Amazon seller support to remove the feedback. More info from Amazon’s seller web site here: http: //amzn.to/16RfSrA or see Chapter 5 in this book.

7.    You can usually charge a higher price for an item you sell on Amazon, versus eBay. For example, look at these top selling toys’ prices on Amazon, and then look at the sold prices on eBay:

Used (‘Collectible’) Eyeclops Binoculars:

eBay’s completed listing prices here: bit.lv/RsSi9v Amazon’s sellers’ prices here: bit.lv/NOhFDx Used (‘Collectible’) Lego Walkie Talkies: eBay’s completed listing price here: bit.lv/Ps83iAmazon’s sellers’ prices here: bit.lv/PR3Nzo Used Cuisinart Egg Poacher: eBay’s completed listing price here: bit.lv/PuWiKn Amazon sellers’ prices here: bit.lv/OvO.T6z

This price premium that Amazon customers will pay (over eBay customers) can happen often (but not all the time, and not for all products. If you are wondering where to sell your item – Amazon and/or eBay — do your research first!)

8.    If your Amazon inventory is very lightweight AND you ship the item from home (not via FBA) via 1st class U.S. mail, you can receive a nice shipping income ‘bonus’ via Amazon’s shipping reimbursement to you, when the item is sold. For instance, if your item weighs 2 oz (with the envelope/packaging), and you sell it on Amazon.com as self-fulfillment (where you ship it yourself), Amazon charges the buyer $3.99 to $4.99 in shipping fees, which Amazon ‘gives’ to you. Your cost to send a 2 oz item anywhere in the U.S., via USPS, is under $2.00. Thus, you can make a $2 to $3 profit on the shipping alone.

For that very same reason (above), many sellers on Amazon start out by buying $1 items at their local dollar store, like children’s puzzles and coloring books. They can list them as low as .01 and (by shipping them from home via USPS 1st class or media mail) they can make a gross (before expenses) 100% – 200% or higher profit since Amazon is ‘giving’ the shipping ‘revenue’ (i.e., $3.99 or $4.99) to the seller.

9.    You would have to do a lot of sales volume to make this worth your while: If you’re having trouble finding goods to sell, you could start with a local .99 Store/Dollar store. (Hint: When those $1 themed (i.e., ’Cinderella’ ‘Disney Cars’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Disney Princess Fairies’) mini-puzzles go ‘out of print’, and are thus harder for customers to find (say) 1-2 years later, you can start getting $5 to $6 per puzzle. Or (a better, sustainable strategy): go to your local thrift stores and yard sales and find new/used puzzles (be sure they have all the pieces) from a few years ago, and pay $.25 to $1 each – Many of them can fetch $5 to $20 on Amazon!

10.    Smart Amazon sellers ‘season’ their inventory, such as toys (new and used). I like to buy toys in the middle of summer at yard sales, thrift stores, etc. and set their prices to approx, double of what they are currently selling for on Amazon. I’ll send those toys in to Amazon’s FBA warehouses about 3 months before the Holidays (Amazon charges FBA sellers just a little to keep them stored, so it’s worth it. We’re kind of like squirrels being charged mega-cheap rent for storing our nuts for the winter). Come the Holidays (hence ‘seasoning’), those toys can fetch up to double or more than what they would get during the off-season. I get a nice bump in revenue during November/December that way.

11.    Need boxes for your FBA Shipments to Amazon in a hurry? Home Depot and Lowe’s (and now Uhaul – my favorite pick now) charge $.69 to $2.00 for nicesized boxes. (When you’re not in a hurry, order boxes in bulk from uline.com or fastpack.net)

12.    Don’t overlook books, especially text books during the back to school season. Unlike toys and games, books (and CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes) are easier to check condition, easier and cheaper to ship to Amazon’s warehouses, don’t break or require batteries (thus there is less to ‘go wrong’ when the buyer receives it) and command lower commission fees to Amazon. Even though sellers’ demand for used ‘media’ is increasing dramatically in some parts of the U.S., there is SO much inventory ‘out there’ that if you get creative with your sources, you’ll find nice little gems that you can pay $0 to $5 each book and get $30, $40, and even $200+ on Amazon. View this blog post for more proof of how books can bring big

profits: bit.lv/JordansBookProfits

13.    Emphasize (in the Condition Notes of your item) the ‘good stuff that

Amazon provides already. Even though it may seem obvious to you, In addition to describing the item I’m selling, I’ll include phrases such as ‘No Hassle Returns’ and ‘Stored, Sold + Shipped byAmazon.com’ (for my FBA items). This drives the point of what the buyer ‘gets’ when he/she buys from you (versus another seller). Get free ideas of what to write at these two pages:

http://jordanmalik.com/blog/?p=996 and

http://jordanmalik.com/blog/?p=868

14. (Okay, it’s a bonus) Take the time to write thorough description (for the products you’re listing on Amazon) as it applies to your item, particularly if it’s used/collectible. I see LOTS of sellers trying to save time and all they include is things like “2-day shipping available”. I will speak to the item specifically and say things like “Instructions included (we checked)”, or “With batteries, tested, works great”, or “100% of game contents included and neatly packed in original box (we checked).” That gives the buyer, who is going to be wary of what they’re purchasing from you if the item is used/collectible, extra confidence. That makes it more likely they will buy from you even if your item is not one of the lowest-priced. Think of it this way, if you were buying a used (‘Collectible’) game or toy for a friend, wouldn’t you pay $2 to $3 more if you had confidence (via the seller’s description) that the “item was tested, complete and 100% intact with all components”. You can stand above other sellers (because many of them don’t bother to do that.) See the links in # 13 above for more info.

How to Improve Your Amazon Seller

Feedback Rating

If you sell on Amazon, you probably have at least 1 negative feedback from a buyer. Did you know:

Negative feedback on your Amazon seller account can be very damaging to your reputation? And – if it happens often – can even lead to Amazon PERMANENTLY BANNING you from selling; and

The HIGHER your feedback score is on sites like Amazon, the MORE CONFIDENT the customer is in you, your products, and your service, and thus the MORE LIKELY they will BUY from YOU!

You’ll find some negative feedback that you feel you don’t deserve at all. In some cases, you’ll want to respond. In others, you’ll want to contact Amazon.com because you don’t know what the heck happened.

This chapter will help you sort it all out.

If you have negative feedback from an Amazon buyer, you have a couple choices:

1. Ask Amazon to remove the negative feedback. However, Amazon can remove the feedback IF and ONLY IF:

•    The buyer includes ‘profane or obscene’ language in his/her comments and/or

The buyer includes personal information of yours or anyone else’s: an email address, a name, telephone #, etc., and/or

•    The ENTIRE buyers feedback is a product review, and/or

For FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) orders ONLY: The ENTIRE feedback is regarding fulfillment or customer service for an FBA Amazon order (for example, a customer leaves neutral or negative feedback because the shipping from Amazon took too long). Amazon states “Feedback reviewed and determined to be relating explicitly to fulfillment and customer service for an order fulfilled by Amazon will not be removed, but a line will appear through the rating and the statement, “This item was fulfilled by Amazon, and we take responsibility for this fulfillment experience” will be added.” (For more on the eligibility of getting feedback removed from an FBA item, click here.)

To contact Amazon Seller Support to request a feedback removal (remember to be VERY polite in your message to Amazon!), see this Amazon help page:

www. amazon, com/ gp/help/ customer/displav.htm

If the customer has not violated any of the rules mentioned on the previous page, then you can:

2. Ask the Customer to remove the feedback. Here’s how:

Go to: Your Seller Account > Click on this link: bit.lv/aVzg84. then: > Click on ‘View All Your Feedback’

•    Find the negative feedback, and then click on the ‘Rater’ s’ name associated with that feedback.

When you click on the Rater’s name, an online form will appear like this one (below).

•    In the ‘ Select a Subject’ dropdown, select “Feedback Request” (see next page)

feedback

letterOk, so that concludes how to deal with NEGATIVE feedback from a buyer.

Now let’s talk about you getting MORE Amazon buyers to leave you POSITIVE

feedback:

The more positive feedback you receive, the higher your feedback score will go (until, of course, you receive more negative feedback in the future that might decrease your score.)

To ask buyers to leave you positive feedback (this is similar to the process I just described above):

1.    On Amazon.com, log in and Go to: Your Seller Account

2.    Click on “View your Ratings and Feedback”

3.    Click on ‘View All Your Feedback’

4.    Find a buyer who has NOT left feedback (make sure you’ve allotted at least 2 weeks from the day they placed the order), and then click on the ‘Rater’s’ name associated with that buyer. When you click on the Rater’s name, an online form will appear like this one (below).

(Inthe ‘Select a Subject’ dropdown, select “Feedback Request”)
letter2(WARNING: Amazon policy PROHIBITS you (the seller) from including in your message to the buyer/customer: any website link, any logo, any promotional message. Amazon can cancel your account if they catch you doing any of that! When you’re sending the email to the customer this way, it goes through Amazon’s email servers and system BEFORE it gets to the customer, so they have the right to intercept and read your email if they wish.)

What I explained above is VERY TIME CONSUMING, and there’s a lot to keep track of, especially when you start selling 50+ items per week: You WILL get Negative Feedback eventually, and you WILL have pleased buyers who NEVER leave you feedback.

I recently got fed up with the time-sucking process of pleading to angry customers to remove their negative feedback, and the even more time- process of pleading to happy customers to leave positive feedback.

Now I let a service do it for me AUTOMATICALLY! It’s called FeedbackFive.com,

I have been using FeedbackFive since 2010. When I first started using it, my 30-day positive feedback score went from 88% to 93% in the course of 1 month, and I have been getting AT LEAST 2X more feedback than BEFORE I started using FeedbackFive. FeedbackFive.com will:

AUTOMATICALLY send a personalized email to each buyer of your product(s), asking them to leave positive feedback for their purchase from you;

AUTOMATICALLY send an email to a buyer if he/she left negative feedback, asking the buyer to remove it; AND AUTOMATICALLY send an email to alert you when you receive negative feedback.

feedbackratingWant to try FeedbackFive RISK FREE? I negotiated a SPECIAL DEAL for readers of this guide:

FeedbackFive.com will give you the first 30 days FREE (their ‘public’ offer is only 14 days) when you use coupon code ‘ JBMALIK’ at checkout:
feedbackfiveTry FeedbackFive.com Remember, I use it, too, and it was a HUGE time saver me, but more importantly, it SAVED my Seller Reputation on Amazon!

How to Use Storage Auctions to get Merchandise to Sell

What is a Storage Auction?

As you know, storage unit buildings are everywhere these days. Practically everyone uses them:

  • homeowners who have too much stuff
  • college students home for the summer
  • business owners without a warehouse
  • divorcees who have to pack their stuff and leave a home
  • roommates who have to downsize and put their belongings somewhere
  • parents who clean out their kids’ rooms after they leave for college.
  • the list goes on and on…

Storage customers rent storage units for $30 and up, depending on the size and location of the unit. In my area (Long Island, NY), storage units are EVERYWHERE, and pricing starts at about $65/month for a measly 5-feet-by-5-feet space (think of a very small bathroom).

Want you to look at that list of bullets above – among all those types of people, there is always SOMEONE who goes out of business, or becomes broke, or moves from the area, and they either a.) Can’t afford the fees, or b.) Disappear and leave their belongings behind.

And when those folks don’t pay their storage bills, then the storage facility business has the right to claim their ‘stuff and auction it off to the public.

I know it’s sad, but it’s a fact of life. I read somewhere that the abandonment rate of belongings is dramatically increasing. The world is filling up with other people’s ‘stuff that they don’t want anymore.

Why Storage Auctions?

My focus (and the ‘Holy Grail’) when selling physical goods online is to get a maximum profit for the item. I continuously aim for 100% gross ROI (Return Investment) and up. This means if I pay $100 for an item to sell on (say) eBay, I want to sell it for at least $200. That’s because after shipping and eBay/PayPal commission fees, materials, etc, I know I’ll make about $50 to $75 (or a 50- 75% ROI).

Where the lucrative profits come in is where your profit is exponentially higher than the amount you paid for the item. So if I can buy an item for $100 and then sell it for $300 and up, I am making a very large gross return on investment (ROI) – 200%, in this example. In short, buy the lowest you can, and sell for the highest you can.

The beauty of storage auctions is that you can very easily find and win an auction for a storage room full of valuable goods, pay (say) $100 for the room’s contents, and sort out the contents and sell the items individually (or altogether) for (say) $500 or $1000 and up (depending on the contents of course).

There are 2 reasons why a storage room’s contents sell for such a low % of the actual value:

Bidders are not allowed to dig through the contents of a storage room before bidding on an auction. All the bidders don’t know, and/or can’t see, everything inside a storage unit. So they want to mitigate their risk by bidding low. It’s the nature of the game.

With everyone looking for ‘quick and easy profits’ online, they tend to avoid the buying and selling activity that requires a little elbow grease – like storage auctions. People are generally lazy, and they don’t want to bother with finding a storage auction, traveling to the location, paying cash, and moving the items off the property. And where there’s good, hard work involved at events like a storage auction, there are fewer buyers than (say) a wholesale online store. So just by the nature of supply (storage auctions) and demand (local buyers with patience, cash and a large vehicle), the price (of the storage unit’s goods) is going to be naturally much lower than its contents.

So do you want to earn money with storage auctions? You can! How you do it is the key. You have to be smart about it, and you have to know where to find and sell the auctioned items you get your hands on.

How To Find Storage Auctions:

Storage facilities that need to sell off the contents of an unclaimed or unpaid storage unit have to hold a public auction. By law, public auctions have to be publicly posted.

So, the best places to look are in the newspaper’s classified OR buy and sell section:

The ad will give the dates and times of the auction, the name of the facility, and the address.

Also check Yenowpages.com (or the printed phone book you get from your phone company) and locate the nearby storage facilities, and call them. They might have a mailing list or a schedule where they can tell you when the next auction is there.

There is NO reliable national database of local storage auctions, so your best bet is the ‘old fashioned’ methods above: newspaper and phone calls to your local auction facilities.

Or, click on the following links to these national storage companies, do a search by your zip code, get their phone #’s and call them:

-UHAUL: www.uhaul.com

–    Extra Space Storage:www.extraspace.com

–    Public Storage:WWW.publicstorage.com

So get some dates, write them down on a calendar and get your GPS or road map, and attend those auctions!

What to Bring to a Storage Auction

Before you arrive at the auction facility, be sure you have:

  • A bright flashlight (to shine on a unit’s contents, so you can see what’s there)
  • A small pad and paper (to write down the # of the unit, if you win the auction)
  • A few empty boxes (leave this in your vehicle until/if you need them to carry items out of the storage unit)
  • Trash bags (see above)
  • Rubber or knit gloves (for protection if you end up winning an auction and handling the contents of the storage unit)
  • Cash – only if you plan on bidding. If you do plan on bidding, I would bring a maximum of $200 in cash, with a goal in mind of spending $100 max if you don’t see the inside contents of an auction, and $200 if you do (and the items are of value to you). You’ll see some ‘big’ players there with wads of $100s – don’t let that deter you. These folks do a lot of ‘show’ and typically are not a threat.

> Also remember, you have the right to observe an auction even if you don’t plan on bidding.

  • 1 to 2 combination locks (or padlocks – with keys of course) – in the event you are the winning bidder of the contents, you want to immediately lock the unit – ask the facilities manager first.
  • A friend (optional, of course) for help unloading the bin and sorting through the contents.
  • BE POLITE and FRIENDLY to EVERYONE. The facilities manager and the auctioneer are typically bullied around by bidders, and not treated with too much respect. If you are nice and polite to them, it will go a long way.

What (Typically) Happens at a Storage Auction

There could be as many as 20 units being auctioned off in a day, or as little as one. In reality, there is a long length of time between the day the 1 public notice for the auction appears in the paper, and the actual auction day. Thus, some of the unit renters who see the ad will then get nervous, and pay off their balance due, and retrieve their contents, and then that auction will be canceled. In my experience, about 50% of the renters pay up at the last minute, and the auction for that unit is off. Still, the remaining 50% of the renters do not show up. So those scheduled auctions are still going to happen. It’s a good idea to call an hour ahead of the auction, and ask the auction facilities manager if the auction is still scheduled for that day. Be polite.

Auctions are free to attend. You don’t have to bid or buy anything. You do have to wait for the auctioneer to show up, and they can sometimes be late. There are some rules that the auctioneer will tell everyone about the auction beforehand. If he doesn’t, ask him quietly and politely. You might be the only bidder attending the auctions. Or there might be 20+ people competing with you.

The auctioneer will bring all the bidders to each storage unit, one unit at a time. The facilities manager will unlock the unit. Everyone has an opportunity for a few minutes to look inside. So use the flashlight you brought, as it is typically dark in each unit. You cannot lean into the unit, reach into, nor step into the unit. The auctioneer and facilities manager cannot tell you what the contents are (and they probably don’t know, in all actuality.)

The contents of every unit you see, for any auction, will be completely random. Sometimes there will be one or two items in the unit. Sometimes there will be just sealed boxes. Sometimes all you’ll see is furniture. Sometimes your view of the whole unit will be blocked by a stack of boxes that you can’t see around. One thing about auctions is you could hit nothing valuable 7 days in a row, and then hit a gold mine on the 8 day. After everyone has had the opportunity to look inside the unit. The auctioneer will start the bidding.

V Hint: Typically, the FIRST auction of the day is where other bidders are ‘feeling each other out’ to see how aggressive they are going to be. Unless the first auction is a ‘slam dunk’ (i.e. everyone can see it’s loaded with valuable merchandise), bids are going to be tepid at best. Other bidders might get more aggressive during the auctions after the 1 one.

Typically, the auctioneer starts the bidding at $100, and then if there are no bids, he will go lower (and start at, say $50). When people raise their hand, that’s the gesture that he will take the bid higher until the highest bidder is unchallenged.

The highest bidder typically has to take possession of the contents the same day. He/she has to sign some paperwork with the facility, and remove all the contents from the unit and ensure its reasonably clean of debris.

If you’re going to an auction and you’re super-serious about buying the contents of several bins (which I don’t recommend for your first few auctions until you’ve gotten your feet wet), you want to bring or rent a truck so you can remove the contents while you’re there.

You can’t leave any of the bin’s contents anywhere on the facility’s property. Even if the contents are something you don’t want, you have to haul everything off the property.

Are Storage Auctions a Good Way for YOU to Make Extra Money?

Making money with storage auctions is ideal for people who are unemployed or are work part-time, or are retirees, or are self-employed. The reason I say that is because auctions are typically held during ‘normal work hours’.

So if you’re planning on bidding and winning and emptying a storage unit, you are going to be taking 3 to 4 hours out of your day. This is because:

  • Typically, the auctioneer is not always on time
  • There is some paperwork you have to fill out before and after the auction (i.e. registering as an attendee)
  • You could be viewing from 3 to 20+ auctions that day, with each auction lasting at least 5 minutes.
  • So if you have a full-time ‘9-to-5’ job elsewhere, this may not be an ideal way for you to make money.
  • I do recommend storage auctions as a good source of income, even if you don’t own a big van or truck – don’t let that deter you. There are several reasons why:
  • Whether or not you own a vehicle, you can still participate in storage auctions -you will just need a way to get the contents out of the storage unit. You can borrow a van from a family member, or go with someone you know who has a van or truck
  • If you can get to a nearby (i.e. under 10 miles) UHAUL or Ryder, you can rent a pickup truck or van or truck, then drive to the auction in the same car. It will probably cost you $30 to $50 to rent it for the day.
  • Some U-Haul truck rental stores also have storage units. So that is a doublebonus of convenience for you if you attend an auction at a U- Haul facility. You can rent a truck right there to bring your haul home! Click here to find a U-Haul near you.
  • You may also be able to negotiate with the facilities manager to keep your won contents in the bin, HOWEVER that MAY mean they want you to sign a long-term rental contract with them. Some facilities are flexible, however, and may let you keep the contents in the unit for a day or two for a small payment. This is rare, however – their goal is to get the contents out and get the unit rented long-term to someone else.

There will likely be other bidders there that may be competing with you. Some of these bidders can look like surly characters, and can act intimidating. They view you as a threat because ‘one more person is one higher bid’. Typically if you dress ‘nicely’ they’re going to think you have money. They may make remarks to try to deter you, or they might say inappropriate things. IGNORE THEM. You’re there to make some money and have some fim.

(And by all means, if you see friendly bidders, chat them up, they can provide helpful info without them feeling threatened by you). And definitely say a friendly ‘hello’ to the auctioneer and facilities manager.)

My Storage Auction Experiences

The year I first published this guide (in 2010), I won a storage auction for $1 (the other 10 bidders I was with did not bid at all). The storage unit clearly wasn’t loaded with merchandise. It had several boxes of which no one could see the contents (it ended up being office paperwork – worthless), an air conditioner (that looked ‘new in the box’ but I discovered it didn’t work), and a bicycle. I lugged everything home in my father-in-law’s van, threw out the paperwork and air conditioner at a dump, and sold the bike on Craigslist locally for $20. So I still made a (very small) profit of $14 (the dump fee was $5), and it was worth it for the learning experience.

Just two days that event, I attended two auctions (just for observation purposes.) The winners I observed will easily make a nice profit:

The first auction looked like the leftovers of a college dorm room – one quilt and several boxes containing mostly CDs, and some electronics. The value was clearly in the CDs (there was at least 300 of them). The bidding started at $50, and the winning bid was $175. If the winning bidder discarded the electronics, his net cost for each CD would have been 50 cents each. (The winning bidder clearly had intentions to sell the CDs, perhaps online.)

If the winning bidder sold each CD for an average of just $3 each, his gross sales would be $900 or higher. Then, after he deducted the cost of his inventory ($175), eBay (or Amazon) commissions, PayPal, and shipping fees, his net profit would be at least $400. All for about 8 hours of work (2 hours for the auction, and an estimated 6 hours to sort and list the CDs). That’s $50/hour+, just for one ‘win’! Note: If you’re reading this and saying “Yuck, selling 300 CDs individually? What a pain in the neck!” It’s actually gotten a LOT easier than ever. See this free guide for more:

www. sellfba. com/jm.html

The second auction was a large unit filled with office furniture from a construction company that went out of business. Nice furniture. There were at least 2 high-back office chairs, one tall file cabinet, a couple desks, a fancy wall painting, some lamps and some carpets. There were several bidders, and the winning bid was $275. Now, the winner definitely needed some manual help (at least 1 other person) and a U-Haul/Box truck to remove the items. However, he/she will undoubtedly be able to sell all the furniture for $1,000 to $3,000 total. So that person’s gross profit for 1 day’s worth of work will probably be $700 to $2,000.

How To Sell A Storage Unit’s Contents:

For any items:

1.    Try contacting the original owner of the goods you won at the auction. The goods are legally yours after you provide the winning bid. But it’s perfectly legal for you to contact the owner (if you can find him/her) and offer to sell them the contents of their bin for a reasonable fee where you can make a profit.

2.    Offer your items from the unit to the losing bidders of the same auction (they’re the perfect target customer, as their bidding proved they were interested in your items). As soon as you’re able to, rummage through the boxes inside the storage unit. Some other bidders will be nosy – you don’t have to let them in your bin, but you can offer to sell them some or all of the contents. Let’s say you come across a box of china and you only want to take home small, shippable items. (Remember, you are still responsible for moving all the storage unit’s contents off the property).

You can shout out to the bidders who may be stopping by, “Does anyone here want to buy a box of china?” and name your price. Remember, getting even $10 to $20 is worth it, especially if you won the auction for $100 to $200.

For large, bulky items:

Craigslist (free to post!:

1.    Best for items of value $50 and up to be worth your effort: Furniture, bicycles, bicycles, major appliances, home decorations, vehicles, yard ornaments, etc. This tutorial shows you how to sell an item on Craigslist: www.wikihow.com

2.    Make calls via the yellow pages (free unless you’re calling long distance). Let your fingers do the walking! If you won a storage unit full of (say) restaurant chairs, try calling either a restaurant furniture wholesaler, or some local restaurants, and ask them if they need chairs cheap.

3.    Freecycle.org (free to post): For items that aren’t worth anything to you and you want to give away. This tutorial shows you how to list an item on Freecycle: www.ehow.com (you can only give away items on Freecycle. You cannot sell them).

4.    Your friends (free) (for items that aren’t worth anything to you and you want to give them away)

5.    Goodwill stores (free) (in exchange for a receipt that you can use for deductions on your annual tax return)

6.    Yard/Garage Sales (free unless you have to buy a town permit, which is usually $5 to $10. Check your local ordinances).

7.    Flea markets

For smaller, easily shippable items:

Amazon.corn’s ‘Fulfillment bv Amazon’ ( FBA) program: An example of how FBA works: Basically, the winner of CDs (mentioned earlier) would just send one box with all the CDs to Amazon.com, and Amazon.com does the selling and fulfillment of orders. Although this seems like Amazon.com would eat into the winner’s profits, he would actually receive MORE profit than the $900 mentioned above), click here for more info on the FBA program, and bookmark it for later! Because if you ever find yourself with a huge volume of CDs, DVDs, or Books, the FBA program should really pay off!

eBay.com – eBay and Amazon are, of course, the two largest online  marketplaces for ‘mom and pop’ sellers like you and me. Most of your smaller goods will probably be best sold on eBay.com. However if your item is not vintage or collectable AND has a UPC code, you can easily sell it on Amazon.com as an individual merchant (if your product is within Amazon’s approved categories).

To sign up as an eBay Seller (free to join), click here. To sign up as anAmazon.com Individual Merchant (also free to join), click here

Have you mastered storage auctions and ready to get into government and estate auctions in your area? This video course covers it all. It’s free for MySilentTeam members or $97 if you’re not a member.

Conclusion:

So, yes – you CAN make money with storage auctions! I have witnessed it myself first-hand. Remember the principles – you’re buying goods at a very, very low price. That gives you the opportunity to make a nice profit/ with a little elbow grease, some resourcefulness, and a whole lotto positive energy and determination, you can win and make BIG profits!

How I Boost Holiday Sales on Amazon WITHOUT Lowering My Prices

I see it every year as the holiday season approaches – good, honest sellers getting bone-shakingly nervous about plummeting prices for their products.

See, price wars happen all the time on Amazon. An Amazon merchant gets competition on a product and then lowers the price, and then the other sellers get nervous and lower their prices (via a repricer, or manually), and the result is a downward spiral where the only winners are the consumer (who gets the item at rock-bottom price) and Amazon (which makes money via commissions). The sellers are left withbupkis.

So I’m revealing some proven methods I use every year (whether I sell the items via Amazon FBA or as a merchant who ‘ships the product from home’). These methods help me compete for a buyer’s sale without lowering my price.

When I say ‘without lowering my prices’, obviously we all may have to get competitive on price at some point, i.e. If 36 other sellers are selling the Advanced Talking Buzz Lishtvear at $40 and yon price yours at $150, don’t expect many sales (if at all). There is a threshold where buyers won’t buy from yon at that price, regardless of your Seller Rating or what you promise in your item’s product description.

These strategies work well year round, but especially during the Holidays. My experiences have shown that buyers are (generally) willing to spend a little more money to get extra assurance that the item they’re buying is exactly what they’re expecting, and that it’s going to arrive before the Holiday).

And although you may think everyone who sees this grade is going to do exactly as they tell them and thus make the competition harder for you, the reality is many of them rarely follow through – they let panic set in and follow the knee-jerk reaction of lowering prices.

Let’s begin.

If You’re an Amazon seller who SHIPS items from HOME, read this section.

If you’re an Amazon sellers who sells via FBA, skip to the next section within this chapter (entitled ‘If you’re an Amazon seller who ships via FBA, read this Section’)

Tell customers you GUARANTEE the item arrives by a certain delivery date OR IT’S FREE.

In your Amazon.com product details for the product, I typically write something like this: “Guaranteed delivery by 12/24/12 or it’s FREE.*” Then I insert/type my regular product description.

Then at the end of the product description, I insert something like “*Details: Purchase this item by 12/15/12. We GUARANTEE the item will be delivered to your address by 12/24/12. If it isn’t, contact us and we will reimburse you IN FULL promptly. (Guarantee void if recipient rejects item, and/or if severe inclement weather prohibits timely delivery.) “

(Do I practice what I preach? YES. I’ve had to honor this guarantee maybe three times over the past 7 years, with hundreds of products sold. It was well worth it).

Note that I said the guarantee is for DELIVERY The customer doesn’t have to RECEIVE it, only DELIVERY has to be made. (So if the item is sitting on the doorstep, and the tracking said it’s delivered, you’re in the clear. If it gets lost or stolen after delivery, you don’t have to honor the guarantee if the customer complains. You’ve done your part and the item was delivered, period).

Now there’s a few things you have to do to ensure that 99% of the time you (legitimately) don’t need to honor the guarantee.

  • Add package tracking to your item. Of course, if a customer claims the item was not delivered, check the tracking info to see what happened. If delivery was attempted by the carrier but the recipient rejected it or provided the wrong shipping address, the guarantee is void as stated.
  • Ship the item via USPS Priority Mail. For most items, this will cost just a little more than Parcel Post, but most Priority items ship to anywhere in the country within 2 to 3 business days. By saying “purchase by 12/15”, you’re giving yourself over a week to get it to the customer.
  • You can play with the dates (i.e. extend the deadline to 12/16 or 12/17; or shorten the delivery date to (say) 12/23 or whatever suits you. Just be prepared that in EXTREMELY RARE cases (even if you follow all the rules and play ‘fair’) your item won’t be delivered to the customer in time and you’ll have to eat what you paid (cost of goods and your amazon commissions) AND refund the customer AND let them keep the item (or risk receiving negative feedback or an investigation by Amazon). Don’t ‘play around’ with your guarantee, stick to it.
  • For everything that’s BATTERY OPERATED, test it (if you can without opening the packaging) AND include new Batteries.
  • You can use any generic brand of batteries. But for even more encouragement for your buyer to choose your product, you can use a major brand like ‘Duracelf and in your Amazon product description, state ‘Tested, Works Great. I’m including BRAND NEW DURACELL Batteries with your purchase!’
  • I can’t tell you how many buyers get nervous about toys or other battery-operated items because:
  • they might be purchasing the item as a gift, shipped to a different address to a recipient they won’t see for the holidays, and they want to make sure it works ‘out of the box’; and/or
  • no buyer wants to have to remember to get specific batteries. Most sellers don’t care – they ship the item and that’s it.

When you buy batteries in multi-packs from (say) Walmart or Batteries.com or Costco or BJs, you’re increasing your total cost of the product by $2 or less but you can give a substantial markup to your item and thus make a larger profit.

Don’t worry about breaking up the battery packs. If the item you’re shipping takes 2 ‘AA batteries, just remove the 2 AA batteries from the multi-pack, tape them together, and then use packaging tape to securely adhere them to the box or package.

Use SPECIFICS in your product description.

If you were buying an item as a gift for someone, would you buy an item from:

  • Seller A, whose item is $12.49 and their product description says ‘Brand New. Item may have sticker remnant. Top Seller.” OR
  • Seller B, whose item is $14.99 and their product description says “Brand New Item from trusted seller. No sticker remnant on package, highly giftable. From a toy collector who babies his items and is reluctant to give up this [name of product here].”

Many of you know I sell a lot of Batman toy merchandise, so I ensure my descriptions say something like. “Reluctantly sold by a TRUE Batman fan. Rest-assured your item has been Bat-tested and will be Bat-packaged securely and safely.” I’m having a little fun there but at least the buyer knows I’m a serious seller who ‘knows his merchandise’.

GIFT WRAP the item

Amazon charges $4 to $6 for gift-wrapping service on many of its orders (the ones that are shipped from Amazon warehouses). Instead, spend a couple minutes to gift wrap the item yourself, (just use basic, durable ‘Holiday-neutral’ wrapping paper (i.e., something with snowflakes or snowmen, or a solid color. Don’t use ‘Christmas’ or other religiously-based paper (i.e. Hannukah, obviously, because some customers will flip out at that).

Just make sure the item is securely gift-wrapped and then you want to make sure you wrap over it with crumpled brown paper to protect it more, or put it in a smaller box before you place it in your shipping box.

Also, obviously state that in your product description: “Item comes already GIFT-WRAPPED with cheerful, non-religious Holiday giftwrap.”

(I know that sounds a little laborious but many sellers don’t bother with this advice -your customer will be thrilled and he/she will have saved a few bucks.)

Fluff up Amazon’s Guarantee in your product description.

In your product description, add something like ‘NO HASSLE and N0-QUESTIONS-ASKED Returns for your purchase’ I know that’s obvious, but you can make the customer’s experience even better.

Let me explain.

Occasionally, a customer will contact you if something goes wrong (i.e. the customer emails you to let you know the item arrived damaged or incorrect or not working or whatever), don’t wait for the customer to return the item Instead, make the customer’s experience even better: email the customer back and apologize and say you’ll accelerate the refund to them and politely tell them ‘please keep the item if you wish’. (Click here to learn how to email an Amazon customer.) And then refund the customer immediately.

Now, some other sellers are going to say doing the above is absolutely suicidal to my business, stupid, blah blah blah. But believe me, if you go through the ‘traditional’ method of waiting for the customer to return the item and then handling it, you’re eventually going to get a disgruntled customer who will say ‘that’s not enough’. If this happens enough # of times, you will get increasingly negative feedback. Some negative feedback is par for the course (don’t believe the same sellers who say you HAVE to have 98% or higher feedback), but certainly do expect to go the extra mile for the occasional bad experience a customer might have. The above method is one way.

The exception, of course, is if the item is ultra-expensive or if you think the customer is all ‘sour grapes’ no matter what you do. Then you should consider asking the buyer to ship the item back first.

Don’t offer a refund/concession in exchange for positive feedback from the buyer. That’s against Amazon.corn’s rules and can get your account terminated.

If you’re an Amazon seller who ships via FBA, read this section:

PRE-PACKAGE your items.

If your item is the least-bit fragile, pre-package it in another box (or wrap it in heaw brown paper that you can get in the paint section of Home Depot or Lowe’s), place your Amazon inventory label on the outside of the package. Take a thick black permanent marker and write ‘NOT SHIP READY’ on the package exterior (this tells Amazon warehouse FBA reps that your packaged item needs to be placed in Amazon’s own shipping box). Then, in your description, state ‘The ONLY Amazon seller who DOUBLE-PACKAGES your item to ensure safe and secure delivery to you’. (By ‘Double’ I mean, of course, you’re wrapping or boxing the item in its own packaging before it ships with your other items to Amazon’s FBA warehouse.)

For everything that’s BATTERY OPERATED, test it (if you can without opening the packaging) AND include new Batteries.

You can use any generic brand of batteries. But for even more encouragement for your buyer to choose your product, you can use a major brand like ‘Duracelf and in your Amazon product description, state ‘Tested, Works Great. I’m including BRAND NEW DURACELL Batteries with your purchase!’

I can’t tell you how many buyers get nervous about toys or other battery-operated items because:

  • they might be purchasing the item as a gift, shipped to a different address to a recipient they won’t see for the holidays, and they want to make sure it works ‘out of the box’; and/or
  • no buyer wants to have to remember to get specific batteries. Most sellers don’t care – they ship the item and that’s it.

When you buy batteries in multi-packs from (say) Walmart or Batteries.com or Costco or BJs, you’re increasing your total cost of the product by $2 or less but you can give a substantial markup to your item and thus make a larger profit.

Don’t worry about breaking up the battery packs. If the item you’re shipping takes 2 ‘AA’ batteries, just remove the 2 AA batteries from the multi-pack, tape them together, and then use packaging tape to securely adhere them to the box or package.

Use SPECIFICS in your product description.

If you were buying an item as a gift for someone, would you buy an item from:

  • Seller A, whose item is $12.49 and their product description says “‘Brand New. Item may have sticker remnant Top Seller.” OR
  • Seller B, whose item is $14.99 and their product description says “Brand New Item from trusted seller. No sticker remnant on package, highly giftable. From a toy collector who babies his items and is reluctant to give up this [name of product here].”

Many of you know I sell a lot of Batman toy merchandise, so I ensure my descriptions say something like. “Reluctantly sold by a TRUE Batman fan. Rest-assured your item has been Bat-tested and will be Bat-packaged securely and safely.” I’m having a little fun there but at least the buyer knows I’m a serious seller who ‘knows his merchandise’.

Fluff up Amazon’s Guarantee in your product description.

In your product description, add something like ‘NO HASSLE and N0-QUESTIONS-ASKED Returns.’ I know that’s obvious (Amazon is known for great customer care, and the seller doesn’t have a say in that). But the buyer’s experience becomes even better if, for instance, the customer reaches out to you first (instead of them contacting customer support).

Let me explain.

Occasionally, a customer will contact you (instead of Amazon) if something goes wrong (i.e. the customer emails you to let you know the item arrived damaged or incorrect or not working or whatever), don’t wait for the customer to contact Amazon to then ask the buyer to return the item and, ultimately, refund the customer. Instead, make the customer’s experience even better: email the customer back and apologize and say you’ll accelerate the refund to them and politely tell them ‘please keep the item if you wish’. (Click here to learn how to email an Amazon customer.) … Then contact Amazon and ask them to refund the customer immediately (be sure to include the order number, the ASIN, and the date of the order. Click here for a video that shows vou how to contact seller support to request an immediate refund to the customer (ПО SOUnd).

Now, some other sellers are going to say doing the above is absolutely suicidal to my business, stupid, blah blah blah. Bwl believe me, if you go through the ‘traditional’ method of waiting for the customer to return the item and ‘letting Amazon handle if, you’re eventually going to get a disgruntled customer who will say ‘that’s not enough’. If this happens enough # of times, you will get increasingly negative feedback. Some negative feedback is par for the course (don’t believe the same sellers who say you HAVE to have 98% or higher feedback), but certainly do expect to go the extra mile for the occasional bad experience a customer might have.

The exception, of course, is if the item is ultra-expensive or if you think the customer is all ‘sour grapes’ no matter what you do. Then you should consider asking the buyer to ship the item back first.

Don’t offer a refund/concession in exchange for positive feedback from the buyer. That’s against Amazon.corn’s rules and can get your account terminated.

GIFT WRAP the item

Spend a couple minutes to gift wrap the item yourself, (just use basic, durable ‘Holiday-neutral’ wrapping paper (i.e., something with snowflakes or snowmen, or a solid color.) Don’t use ‘Christmas’ or other religiously-based paper (i.e. Hannukah) obviously, because some customers will flip out at that.)

Just make sure the item is securely gift-wrapped and then you want to make sure you wrap it with crumpled brown paper to protect it (and place the Amazon inventory sticker on the OUTSIDE of the brown wrapper.)

Also, obviously state that in your product description: “Item comes GIFT-WRAPPED with cheerful, non-religious Holiday giftwrap; item is than wrapped again in brown paper for protection.”

(I know that sounds a little laborious but your customer will be thrilled and you also saved them $4)

Other ideas to protect your profits:

  • Ship on time (if you’re shipping from home.) If you promise ‘Same Day Shipping’ in your product descriptions, be sure you are prepared to honor that.)
  • Have a backup plan in case your Amazon seller account is suspended (rare but it happens, even to those who follow ‘all the rules’.) Do you have an up-to-date eBay account you can sell with? Do you know how to sell via Craigslist?
  • Minimize your financial risk. Do you know that used toys (Amazon calls them ‘Collectible’) sell just as well as new toys, but their potential profit is MUCH higher and their cost (to you) is MUCH lower? Be sure to load up on some used, complete and working toys from your local thrift store/yard sale/your closet/your friends (I pay $1 to $3 ea, but I earn profits of $10 to $50 each.) See, the overall holiday spike in Amazon product sales carries over to used toys, too. (For more on selling used toys, check out my 200+-page e-book on that topic, here).

Sites and Tools I Use To Boost Sales & Profits

These are some online tools (and equipment) I use to help make my FBA business more efficient. These aren’t required for your success as an FBA seller, but you will find they will make your job a LOT easier AND free up TONS of time.

ProfitBandit (Scanning service)

Cost: $14.95 (one-time)

Profit Bandit is available for your iPhone or Android phone. It’s an app that I use too (I get no $ for referring this to you). The app lets you use your phone as a scanner to scan a barcode on an item and instantly see the selling data on Amazon. I also use Neatoscan ( a similar service), but that’s $50/month. I won’t get into the comparison here, but if you want to know the difference between Neatoscan and Profit Bandit, send an email to me at jordanmalik@gmail.com with the subject ‘Neatoscan’ , and I’ll send you the details.

FeedbackFive.com

Cost: Free Trial (30 DAYS when you use my coupon ‘ JBMALUC at checkout);

then $9.95 per month (price varies based on features selected).

Description: Over 90% of Amazon buyers typically fail to leave feedback. In addition, customers with a negative experience are more motivated to leave feedback. That leaves you with a large number of satisfied buyers who are not leaving positive ratings. FeedbackFive automatically sends a personal email to each of your customers requesting positive feedback. More positive feedback will improve your overall rating on Amazon, and limit the effect of occasional negative feedback ratings. Proactive communications can also let your customers know that you care about their buying experience, and can give you the opportunity to address issues before they become a larger problem

Listtee.com

Cost: Free Trial (4 weeks instead of 2 weeks when you use coupon code ‘FBAFINDS’ at checkout); then $39.95 to $59.95/month.

Description: If you’re still manually typing in your book/media/toys individual UPC code and then creating your description, you know what a HUGE time-suck it is. Listtee.com automates all the manual entry of UPC codes and descriptions (you will need a retail scanner and label printer – see below). Listtee.com gives you back your time. It allows you to completely bypass the listing, conversion, and batch labeling of your books and media items being sent to FBA.BEFORE Listtee.com, it took me 8 hours to sort, enter EIPC codes, write descriptions, and then label 200 books. Now with Listtee, it takes me 2 hours, 3.5 hours max. With Listtee, it is recommended that you use a retail scanner (that will scan the UPC Code on your item as you list it) and a label printer (that will spit out the label for each item as you process it). I recommend these:

Dymo 450 Label Printer: amzn.to/Dvmo450 USB Barcode Scanner with Stand: bit.ly/cheapbcs

More Amazon/eBay Seller Help Guides & Services from the Author

FREE: http://www.HonestOnlineSelling.comBlog/newsletter with remarkable and proven ways to make a living on Amazon and eBay

FREE: http://Sourcingator. com—Proven inventory resources for Amazon Merchants

FREE for FindSpotter.com members: http://www.ReseiiTovs.com — 118 Toys You Can Buy Locally and Resell on Amazon for Big Profits (Reg. $27)

http://Blesha.com—How to Buy Low on eBay and Sell High on Amazon (Kindle version: http://bit, ly/bleshal) ($20)

FindSpotter.com Membership- The site that tells its VIP members ‘What to Sell on Amazon’ and ‘Where to find it’ ($5+/month)

http://www.SoldOutA.com – Identify and get help locating sold-out, niche products on Amazon ($27/month, but FindSpotter.com members get a -30% discount)

http://www. mvlocalinventorv. comservice that alerts Amazon Merchants to local products that can be sold on Amazon at a high ROI (Return on Investment). ($29.99/month, but FindSnotter.com members get a -30% discount)

http://PlushProfits.com You See A Plush Bunny, I see Money, Honey – how to make profits with easy-to-find used and new plush toys (Kindle version: http://amzn.to/ihOqW5t) ($17)

http: iordanmalik. com/i6wavs -16 Ways Amazon & eBay Sellers Can Boost Profits, Slash Costs, and Save Precious Time (Kindle version: http://amzn.to/i8Yf9q7) ($15)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here