So what is retail arbitrage and why should you care? You should care because it’s about flipping items you find within a retail store and then turning around and selling it at another retail store for profit. Basically, anything you can buy low and sell high between two retail stores (physical or online) is considered retail arbitrage.
In fact, you might have been doing it all along without knowing it! Although finding items to resell could be done anywhere, there are a few stores, in particular, you should focus on especially when starting out. Take a look where and what basic strategies you should follow.
Retail Arbitrage for Dummies – Step by Step
Step 1: Get the tools ready
- Amazon App – Anytime you come across something you think might be worth selling, pull out the Amazon app and see how much it’s going for. The app allows you to scan barcodes directly from the box.
- eBay App – eBay isn’t as easy as Amazon’s but if you ever come across anything not sold on Amazon, be sure to check on eBay. eBay is also great for retail arbitrage of Amazon items.
- Profit Bandit App – This paid app ($9.99) is an easy way for you to check for profit margins, stock, price history and rank of items on Amazon. The limitation is you must have an Amazon sellers account for it to be used and plus it is not free.
- BookScouter – This awesome site lets you see what new and used books are worth in seconds. The site is lightweight and can be pulled up on your phone easily.
Step 2: Get the coupons and cash back accounts ready
- EBates – The best place to earn cash back on all of your online purchases. Cash back ranges from 1-25%. Click here to learn more.
- MyPoints – Earn points for all of your purchases and redeem for cash. MyPoints offers unique discounts that no one else has, for example, $15 dollars off Amazon Prime. Check them out here.
- Paribus – The only service out there that scans your email and Amazon account for purchases and instantly refunds price drops that happen within 90 days. They take a 25% cut of what you get refunded (which is still amazing since they do all the work for you) but if you sign up here, you get 5% back. And everyone you invite drops that by another 5%.
- Ibotta – This app allows you to not only get great coupons on the fly but also allows you to get cash back from major retail stores for in-store purchases. Simple as unlocking a savings and scanning your receipt and UPC labels. Special sign up bonus of $10 dollars cash just for unlocking a single item!
Step 3: Sign up for store credit cards for instant discounts
- Target RedCard – Instant 5% savings on all purchases made on the card. This is a no brainer when making any purchases with Target in-store or online. You also gain a month longer return period and free shipping.
- Amazon Rewards or Store Card – Instant 5% savings on all Amazon purchases made on the card. Special financing options too.
- Walmart Card – 3% savings on all Walmart purchases in-store or online.
- Almost every single big box store has a credit card offer for instant discounts. Check online or in-store for more details.
Step 4: Scout these places for low, clearance or mistakes on prices
- Garage sales – Don’t forget about those garage sales. Look for items still sealed and ready to be listed.
- Thrift stores – Look for clothes with tags on them so that they can be resold as new. Also, 6 Things To Look For From Thrift Stores.
- Flea markets – You might get lucky if a business owner is unloading all of his/her products at a flea market after closing down. The Dos and Don’ts of Flea Market Flipping.
- Wholesale companies – Wholesale companies like DollarDays allow you to buy in bulk and resell individually.
- Going out of business sales – You see these all the time as more and more retailers close down. Take advantage of the huge savings especially towards the end.
- Outlet Malls – Tons of stores for you to grab clothes and other discounted items for fraction of their normal cost. Take a look at How To Resell Clothes From Outlet Malls.
- Craigslist – You can make a killing just from the stuff being given away in the free section. Flipping Free Stuff on Craigslist.
- Dollar Tree – Dollar Tree’s online site allows you to buy dollar items in bulk. You can easily resell the individual items.
- Toys R Us – Non-seasonal or unpopular toys is often sold up to 75% off.
- Costco / Sam’s Club – Member-only items are sometimes being sold below market value.
- Target – Go to the back of the aisles and check out all the clearance items at the end racks. Sometimes up to 70% off on great flippable things. Check out the online clearance items too.
- Walmart – Check out the clearance aisles but mostly browse Walmart’s online store. Many items have prices slashed often and there are exclusive online items only not sold in stores.
- Walgreens / CVS – Clearance items and season items are great places to look for items to flip.
- JCPenny / Kohls / Macys – Clothes are often slashed up to 90% off and coupons can be stacked on top.
- eBay / Amazon – Sometimes there are deals on one and not the other. Buy on eBay and sell on Amazon or vice versa.
- Groupon – Check out Groupon Goods. Sometimes there are items sold massively discounted off msrp. Great flips are sold very quickly.
- Woot! – Daily deals site that is now owned by Amazon. Great items that can be flipped sometimes.
- Amazon Goldbox Deals – Exclusive deals for members and sometimes items offered are gone within secs. Claim your items fast.
Step 5: Don’t miss Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals
There are a ton of items being sold every Black Friday and Cyber Monday that can be flipped easily. They don’t have to be doorbuster items but they do net you the most profit. I recommend doing it all online as most items these days can be bought online and in stores. Make sure to stay awake and grab the good stuff if you can.
From Dummy to Genius
Congrats, you’ve now the basics to retail arbitrage! As always, start small when first getting started. You can even start by selling things around the house and get a feel for things first. Even though retail arbitrage is focused around reselling new things bought from retail stores, it is really no different than the concepts you would follow reselling used things.
Make sure you pick the right platform to sell on. The most popular platform is Amazon but it not the best for everything. With clothes, I recommend somewhere more specialized like Swap or even eBay. For books, I would suggest Bookscouter. For larger items, I would recommend Craigslist to avoid shipping.