My First 27 Days In Local Retail Arbitrage
Let me start by saying I’m really having a great time with this. It’s really a lot of fun and doesn’t seem like “work” although I am “working”. I’m a big believer in doing what you love and are interested in because you don’t mind doing the work.
I wanted to share my story about Local Retail Arbitrage (LRA) for a couple of reasons.
1) To let people know this is something they can do in a time in which the economy is still handing out pink slips.
2) To inspire others to action who may be hesitant to get started in their own money making endeavor.
3) To help give my readers an insight as to time frames, steps taken and results received with this business model.
4) To share the way I organized my learning curve to keep moving forward.
How Did I Even Know About This Way of Generating Income?
Well, I know people sold stuff on Amazon, but not to the extent in which I was recently introduced. I had assumptions that people who sold stuff on Amazon were people who ran big companies. Don’t ask me where I got that from, I just did.
Anyway, here’s how I became enlightened.
I received an email from Ann Sieg, a friend who I respect in the industry. I’ve followed Ann for years, have placed in affiliate contests in her company, have had wonderful conversations with her at live events and she interviewed me years ago when YouTube shut down my business.
On June 20, 2015, I received an email from her. What was different about this email was it was title, “I’m Back”.
It dawned on me that I hadn’t heard from her in well over a year and I was curious so I opened it. Inside was a pretty remarkable story. A story I completely related to which drew me in like a fly at a picnic.
As a solutions provider, I offer tools, resources, courses, products and various business strategies that help home based business owners succeed.
I myself have been in network marketing and direct sales as well as have been involved in family owned brick and mortars for years. So I’m VERY aware of the challenges and solutions in all of those various businesses.
Ann addressed some challenges that the network marketing industry faces, although, they can surely be overcome. It’s not difficult when you have systems like MLSP, in fact it makes it pretty easy.
But here’s what she asked in her email…
======== begin a segment of her email ===========
I had a chance to get a sneak peak at a project that a couple friends of mine have been working on for the last year and a half, and it just might fit the description.
Let me ask you, would you be interested in a business model that…
-Doesn’t involve being a guru or an expert in anything
-Doesn’t involve building a list
-Doesn’t involve generating ANY traffic
-Does not require any copywriting, sales letters, content creation or making videos
-Doesn’t involve blogging or SEO
-Doesn’t require ANY social media
-Doesn’t require any technical skills
-Doesn’t involve any product creation on your part
-Doesn’t require any websites, squeeze pages or blogs
-Doesn’t involve talking with any customers or leads (doesn’t even involve any email customer service)
-And doesn’t involve staring at a computer screen all day (yet still has all the freedom and flexibility of an internet home business!)
Ok, the business you’re describing doesn’t exist, you might be thinking at this point.
Well I’m not done yet.
What if I also told you that this business model is virtually saturation-proof.
The number of niches, audiences and products is literally infinite and the word “competition” doesn’t even really apply.
(this doesn’t involve selling info products about how to make money online 😉
Does that sound like something that might be of interest to you?
========== end this portion of her email ================
My Initial Thoughts
My mind went racing because over the years of coaching others in their businesses, there are a portion of individuals who are stuck in a couple of areas that this business model can solve.
I know network marketers who are not outgoing in their personalities and don’t want to deal with people. Well, this makes it impossible to build a successful network marketing business. This is a perfect solution as you don’t deal with anyone.
I know individuals who want to start a brick and mortar but the costs and risks are too great for them. This is a perfect solution as you can start with as little as a couple hundred dollars and scale up from there.
I know individuals who want to make money in their hobby interests but it’s too much work and they don’t want to create their own products. This is perfect because they simply shop for products already created.
So my thought was this…
In reading Ann’s email, I thought, “my goodness, if this is really what she’s saying, this would be a great solution for many people who are fumbling around in the stuck category for whatever reason and I need to check it out.”
So I did.
I attended a webinar on what Local Retail Arbitrage is and how it works.
Well, I was convinced that I should DO it (not try) and go through process to see if this would be an income producing home based business model that I can recommend to my clients and customers and put out as a viable way to do business.
I purchased the course which gave me access to the Facebook Group for help.
Note: I declined personal one on one coaching this time (which is not to say I won’t get it later, I’m very coachable and always open to that). I wanted to go through the process on my own to see if it was difficult or simple and didn’t want to utilize a coach for this test.
It’s been a 27 days now, and here’s what I discovered for myself.
It’s simple. (and fun)
Anyone CAN do this.
Okay, so let me break this down for you.
What Is Local Retail Arbitrage?
Simply put, it’s buying new products in your local stores and then selling them on Amazon for a higher price, keeping the dollar amount difference minus your fees and costs of doing business. It’s no different than what you experience while shopping but you’re not thinking about it. The stores you shop at everyday buy inventory at one price and sell it at a higher price. That’s how they make a profit.
It’s also no different than finding the same product at one store for say …. $4.95 and it’s at another store for $6.75 and at another store for $9.99. People like to shop at different stores for different reasons and what they pay for it doesn’t matter.
The key is finding the right products at the right price so you can serve your Amazon customers at fair pricing as well.
The Timeline Inside My First 27 Days of Local Retail Arbitrage
Here’s an image of my email to give you some idea but I’ll spell it out more completely below so follow along. You have to start from the bottom of the image and work up because that’s how our email works.
June 30: I signed up for my Amazon Seller’s Account. First month is free, then $39.99 a month for the FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) pro account.
July 1: I read my course manual from cover to cover a couple of times. I downloaded the Amazon Sellers App and practiced reading the data with items I had around the house.
July 2-4: I went out into stores to shop and make purchases. I made a purchase of a couple hundred items priced between $1 and $7. The reason I did this is because I wanted to make sure I was understanding how to read the data in terms of whether an items was a good purchase or not BEFORE I spent more money per item.
July 5: I uploaded my products into my Seller account and created listings.
July 6: I ordered Goo Gone, scotty peelers, postal scale and picked up boxes and packing materials. (mistake #1. I should have done this immediately after reading the manual to have it on hand. I got so excited about the shopping part that I didn’t think like an entrepreneur and get the prepping and shipping materials in that I would need.)
July 9: Ordered poly bags. I didn’t order them sooner because I didn’t believe I’d need them. (mistake #2)
July 11: Received poly bags. Went to prep my products and realized I ordered the wrong size. (mistake #3)
July 13: Ordered new poly bags (mistake #4 waiting 2 days to order correct size. It was a Saturday afternoon when I received them and pondered whether to return them on Monday and request correct size or to keep them and order additional sizes. This is a ridiculous excuse to not immediately take action to get the correct bags in. (Note to self: never be that indecisive on such a frivolous matter).
July 15: Received poly bags, finished prepping products for shipment and got them out the door.
July 17: First box arrived at one of Amazon’s warehouses. Shipping takes between 5 and 7 days depending on what warehouse you are sending them to. You do not get to chose which location your items go to. Here’s how it works. You submit your list of inventory in your Sellers Dashboard and in a nano second, Amazon tells you how many of what items they want to go to each warehouse location around the US. I ended up having 7 big boxes that went to 4 different locations.
July 17: First sales were made. Sales continue each day.
July 18: Amazon shipped my first customer product out.
July 18: I applied to Amazon to get “ungated” or approved in the grocery category. Typically you need a track record to get approved but I thought I would give it try. The entrepreneur in me wants to go faster.
July 18-23 continued to pick up items as I was out and about along with some intentional scanning sessions. My boxes continued to travel to their warehouse destinations.
July 24: My last 2 boxes arrived at the San Bernardino and Phoenix warehouses.
July 25: Listed inventory, prepped and Shipped two more boxes
July 25: Received first initiation of transfer of funds to my bank account in the amount of $586.22
July 27: Funds received into my bank account.
Recount of My Mistakes
So you can see, I wasted an entire week on not taking the action steps or paying attention to details. I got excited about the fun of this business and lost my head a few times….
I didn’t order my prep and shipping materials straight away.
I didn’t order the right size poly bags.
These mistakes cost me almost a week. Had I paid attention to the details, my 27 day end result would have been better.
How I Was Able to Just Take Action
Doing local retail arbitrage is fun. It’s just shopping while understanding what to buy and why. To assist me with this is my Amazon Seller App which is a free download for pro sellers. When I scan an item with my app, it gives me details such as rank, reviews, current pricing, what my net would be based on the price I’m buying it for, the product details and more. It’s understanding how to read the data (which is easy to learn) that determines whether I want to buy it or not.
What I did to keep moving was this…
I applied what I learned step by step.
Step 1: Read the manual a couple of times. DONE.
Step 2. Download the Amazon Sellers App and play around with it. DONE.
Step 3. Go Shopping and practice with your sellers app. DONE.
Step 4. Make your purchases based on data. DONE.
Step 5. Upload your inventory to your Sellers Dashboard. DONE.
Step 6. Create your shipping plan. DONE.
Step 7. Print out your UPC labels and prep your inventory. DONE.
Step 8. Pack your boxes and label. DONE. (7 of them)
Step 9. Take your boxes to UPS dropoff or have them picked up. DONE.
Step 10. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
So what I did was not get hung up on Step 7 when I hadn’t done step 3. I took action and applied each step as I came to that step. I am part of a group on Facebook who are taking the course as well and inside of there, we can ask questions of which mentors and experts will answer. So that’s what I did. I had several questions along the way. I asked my question in the group, got an answer and was able to move to the next step.
What would I have Done Differently?
I would have ordered my supplies immediately so I have them on hand as I began to shop. I would also double check what I’m ordering in the midst of all the excitement to make sure I was ordering the correct items.
Rounding out the figures….
Total products I purchased and sent in were $843.
Total coming back to me $586 (which included the charges of $50 for my inbound shipping. Otherwise it would be $636.
I have $102 sitting in my current pay account for total of $688.
I also have half my inventory still selling and on Amazon’s shelves!
So based on this, I should double my money, or close to it. That’s pretty good return!
NOTE: Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee you will make any money with local retail arbitrage. It’s dependent upon you understanding how the FBA program works, your ability to understand the data to make a buying decision. My results are my results. Your results may be much better than mine or you may do nothing at all. I don’t know your work ethic and determination to succeed. So let’s just say results vary.
Summary About Local Retail Arbitrage
#1: The process is not difficult. I like it because it gets me out and away from my computer and as I become more familiar with brands, stores, pricing, etc., I’ll be able to walk a store in a matter of a few minutes. The time I’m investing doing hours of scans is part of the learning education. It’s a process you have to go through. I’m more than happy to do that to create an additional 6 figure+ income stream which I fully intend to do in 2016.
#2: Trust the process. The process works. But go through the process to understand it. That’s the best way! Take action on each step and then move forward to the next step.
#3: Understand there are costs to getting started but they are minimal. Your costs will be things like :
–your inbound shipping boxes and packing (ask your neighbors to save their boxes and you can cross this off your list).
— You’ll need a postal scale which I picked up for $25.
–Misc stuff like Goo Gone, labels for your UPC’s that Amazon will give you.
–Your monthly subscription to Amazon for $39.99 (first month free)
— your inbound shipping costs. You get to use Amazon’s in house shipping calculator so it’s a fraction of what you’d normally pay as a public user.
— Other costs are your costs of goods. Your inventory. Things you buy. You can start small with a couple hundred dollars and then scale up with your profits.
#4: Understand that this is not a residual income business model. You must be sending in products or you have no paydays. The idea is to become efficient with it and then even hire out the product prepping if you want.
#5: Understand you will get faster and faster and more confident as you work your business. For example, my first shipping prep took me a couple of hours because I was going through the process and a bit nervous to not make a mistake. My second shipment took me about 30 minutes. Big difference!
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my first few weeks doing local retail arbitrage and to get an idea of what it is and how it works.
There’s so many ways to generate an income outside of the “job”, you just need to find what works for you, do what you love and make it happen my friends.
To Your Success!
PS: Gone Shopping! I will continue my learning curve, applying to be approved to sell in many other categories, continue to hone my skills and get faster and smarter about shopping. This is a keeper in my business portfolio and I’m very excited about it. I never knew shopping could be so profitable!
Way to go, Debbie!