I had mentioned in my August Income Report that I started doing some selling on Amazon after reading an article posted on a fellow bloggers site. Well this is the second month into this and wanted to share the method with everyone and on how it is going.
Amazon Sellers Central
Amazon allows you to sell your new or used items through one of two programs. Unlike ebay this is not an auction, it is your storefront and you set the prices. The first program is more for the small seller, its for up to 40 items a month and you will be charges .99 per item (please remember this) plus a referral fee and a variable closing fee. While their professional seller plan will cost you $39.99 a month plus the same referral and variable closing fees. The professional plan does give you other bonus features like setting your own shipping, featured seller, and posting specials. Currently Im still doing the personal level until I get an inventory going and selling on a regular basis.
As mentioned the professional level lets you set your own shipping, so this does mean at the personal level Amazon tells you what you’ll get for shipping. The are pretty accurate on the weight for everything and the shipping rates are typically good. Typically they are even a little high so you can make a little on shipping as well. They dont provide any money for packaging so this little extra can help there as well. The great thing about the system is if you have your own scale (if you are going to do this get one) you can purchase postage right from your control panel and you end up getting better rates with delivery confirmation and tracking than you would from the post office. Just get a stack of those full page stickers, or you can tape it to your package.
What to sell?
The key to doing this for income is to find items that you of course can sell for a profit. So how does one go about this. Well with today’s smartphones and what’s the saying? ‘there’s an app for that!’ With the iphone’s camera I use an app called pic2shop Pro that turns the camera into a barcode reader. This app coupled with with the website Scoutpal will allow you to scan books, DVDs or any products IPC code and check it against amazons database. It will then return to your phone the new price, lowest used price (and quantities for sale for each) as well as amazon’s ranking for the product. It does return more but this to me is all I need. You can write formulas as well that will give you a buy signal based on value and rank. The scoutpal service is $10 a month (first 7 days free to try out) so take that into account.
Now how do you use this info. Seems pretty straight forward, but you do have to keep a couple things in mind. First remember that amazon is going to take their cut. If you are on personal account that is going to be .99 plus some variable fees (starts around $3 for small items). So take that in consideration when looking at that used cost of 2.00 thinking you’ll make that. Next is the amazon rank, which is a score on how it sells in that category. No two items have the same rank, a rank 100 sells better than a rank 200. With this in mind I wrote a formula that takes used price, subtracts $3 and must be greater than $5 with a rank better than 100,000. If this is all meet then it gives me a nice bold BUY on the screen
Next thing is to head out and buy! I attended a couple library book sales the past months and let me tell you, get there early. Used book sales are cut throat! Couple buyers there had laser scanners with databases in their pda’s that allowed them to zip through the books. I was still able to pick up some good ones. I also visit regular library book stores and garage sales, little more low key and can take my time. You can find book sales in your area at Book Sale Finder
Well I started just grabbing things around the house. Books, DVDs and even an access point and an old zip drive. Will say DVDs are really not worth it, except a few titles. You may find some that will get you around $3-4 (don’t forget fees though). Blu-rays well fetch more obviously but again it will be based on title. I have received between $6-12 on mine so far. On both amazon will give you $2.98 for shipping, but postage with delivery confirmation will run you about $2.09 so you get a little extra there.
Books I can’t really help you as I have yet to find my rhythm there. I have found some self help books, medical books, how to books and some history that have sold quickly and profitably. I’m still doing some research to figure out what books I should be looking for so I can get faster at this. I do see people picking up fiction books but Im guessing you need to research there what sells
Ok how do I get paid!
Amazon processes your payments after 15th and the last day of the month. When you first start you have to wait 14 days at least then they will process on the the days mentioned. Its done by bank transfer so can take a couple days to reach your account. After your initial period you can initiate an early payment at anytime you wish.
Some things I have learned already learned that may help you out.
- check your listings once or twice a week. If you are posting lowest price to move your stuff others will see that and counter. If you want to keep your stuff at lowest you can check each item you wish to lower then in actions select match lowest price, then save.
- If you found some thing in pristine or excellent condition you dont have to settle for lowest. Look over other listings and you may see most of the lowest are in ‘good’ or worse shape. So bump yours a little bit above lowest. I have sold several items this way.
- If you are going to be doing more than a couple a month, get your shipping supplies wholesale from somewhere like uline.com
- offer expedited shipping on all items. Some people do choose this and in Amazon’s eyes expedited is 2-6 days. First class will typically meet this and you’ll make a little more in shipping fees.
So it does take a little work and is not truly passive. I take Sat mornings with the family, 2 book sales other 2 garage sales and make it a fun outing. Takes really seconds to add to amazon and once sold a couple mins to package up. For this little bit of time each week it can add up to a bit of extra cash.