Getting Started Sourcing Inventory to Sell on Amazon

If you are new to selling on Amazon, or selling online at all, sourcing for product for the first time can be a challenge, if not downright frightening. A good thing to keep in mind is to think of the products you are researching as retail items, rather than yard sale items. Meaning, think of your business as a real store, rather than just setting some things out on your front lawn in the hopes of getting rid of them.


There are endless opportunities out there to be a profitable seller on Amazon. This statement will seem too good to be true to many people who are just starting out, but once you get the hang of it the statement really is true.


However, if you ask ten different people how to get started finding inventory to sell, you will most likely get ten different answers. Some will say “stick to what you have around the house”. Others will say buying from wholesalers is the way to go. And still others will say “you can’t possibly make a living from selling things on Amazon”. The truth is, with a little guidance and some hard work, you can also be successful selling on Amazon.


Know your investment goals

Before you get started, make sure you have a good understanding of how much you are able to invest in your inventory and what your profit goals are. You will need to consider how much cash you can put into FBA. Knowing your own budget, and whether you can afford $20 a week or $2000 is very important.


Also have a firm understanding of what you hope to achieve. Is this going to be a side income with the goal of paying a specific bill every month? Will this be money to put aside for a family vacation? Or do you want to start a full-time business? Keeping track of your expenses, sales and profits will help you to achieve your goals.


Start out slow

While you are still learning about your costs, margins and price points test new products. Buy thrift store items, or go with one-off items. Test products gradually. If you find an item on a clearance rack for $2, and you know you can easily sell it for $6, buy one or two of them and see how they go. Don’t go all in and buy 50 of them, because chances are they will still be there tomorrow. If they aren’t, there will be another item that sells just as well. Buying all 50 of them will only mean that eventually the market will become saturated and you will be stuck holding the bag with a lot of inventory you will be lucky to sell and more important, you will have tied up your money when you could be using it for something that will sell. Even if you make back the total amount you paid for all of them, you are still in the same position you were before you started selling them.


Don’t start with expensive items

True, you can make a bigger profit from a more expensive item. However, until you perfect your skills and learn the ropes, it is a much better idea to start out slow with the smaller items that net you a few dollars and try to meet your planned margin. For example, say you plan on a 2X markup, then make sure if you are selling an item that cost you $1, you list it for $2 and see how that goes. In other words, practice listing items that will obtain your margin just in a lower amount and stick with it.


Keep overhead low in the beginning

As with most other things in life, you need to walk before you can run. There are plenty of services out there to aid Amazon sellers, and many of them are excellent and well worth the money. However, when you first start out selling, you really need to pay close attention to what you need and what can wait until you become more successful.


Do you really need that premium service with all the analysis tools? Not right away. Your main focus when you begin your retail business should be on fast moving, profitable inventory. Of course, there are some things you won’t be able to do without, then you will just have to figure them into the cost of doing business.


Source your house

When you are getting started, the best place to scout, is your own house. Those clothes that your children have long grown out of which are in great shape because you took care of them. Those books you’ve already read and are now just collecting dust. Those gifts auntie Em gave you for Christmas that are still in the box because she never paid attention to what you really wanted in the first place. Just look around, there are plenty of things you don’t use, which you can turn into cash, while perfecting your selling skills.


Thrift store gems

Hit all of the thrift stores in your area, sometimes you can find some real gems which can be turned into a nice profit on Amazon. It does take some work and some digging but there are plenty of bargains out there which can be sold for far more than you pay if you look hard enough.


Retail Arbitrage

Retail Arbitrage is when you find something on sale or clearance at a retail store which you can then make a profit on by selling it for more online. Another idea is selling freebies. Say you buy something and get a free gift, turn around and sell it. That is called free money friends and we love free money.
So, as you can see, the possibilities are truly endless. With a little imagination, hard work and research, there is no reason why you can’t have a successful Amazon business just like a lot of other people. The key is, walk before you run. Don’t jump into selling online with both feet, otherwise, chances are you will fail before you even have a chance to get a real sense of what it is all about.


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