The first in a two-part series on how to see the FBA offers on your scanning app that Amazon doesn’t want you to see.
(Guest post from Nathan Holmquist)
Introduction by me, Peter Valley.
Amazon sourcing apps aren’t showing you FBA data anymore. That’s why the next two posts are important.
This is the first of two articles on how FBA sellers can interpret the data they can see to determine which products have a high likelihood of high-priced FBA offers (or none at all) – without having to click through to the Amazon website.
This is some next-level stuff, but it’s not complicated. Basically products with no FBA offers (or high-priced FBA offers) leave clues, footprints we can look for. When you can spot the evidence, it’s like having x-ray goggles.
Understanding this gives you a massive edge over nearly all other FBA sellers.
(And if you had no idea your scanning app isn’t showing you most FBA offers anymore, you absolutely must read this article first.)
My commentary on Nathan’s article
Ever seller has different buying criteria, and Nathan and I have a different approach (for example, my floor for an FBA offer is $7, while Nathan’s is $10). Those details aren’t very important.
In my next post, I’ll explain one key thing I would add to this article: There are penny book offers that do have high-priced FBA offers (or none at all). And there are ways to find them.
In my next article, I’m going to show you how.
Now, introducing Nathan Holmquist, of the great blog Book to the Future.
Begin guest post.
For this post, I’m going to discuss my personal buying criteria when sourcing books. I’m also going to show how to determine when there are FBA offers (even though the scanner may not show it).
Remember, third-party apps do not show all the FBA offers. In 2012, Amazon changed their API formula which only shows the top 20 competitive offers. Therefore, if there are any FBA offers past the 20th position, they will not show up. This is especially relevant for books, since many have hundreds of sellers for each listing.
Here are some specific examples of some books that I have rejected and accepted. The screenshots are from ASellerTool’s FBAScan.
Reject Example #1 – All Merchant Fulfilled (MF) offers are 1 Penny
The first thing I do is look at all five of the MF offers. If all five of the offers are listed at $.01, I do not buy – even if the scanner shows no FBA offers. There is a good chance that there are some FBA sellers in the $5-6 range. The scanner is not showing FBA sellers because Amazon considers the penny sellers more competitive. See picture below.
Reject Example #2 – Low FBA Price is under $8
If there are any prices above 1 penny or more in the MF column, then I look at the FBA column. If there are any FBA sellers below $8, I would not buy.
The situation is better. There are less overall sellers and the MF values are higher than $.01. As a result, if there are any FBA sellers present, there is a much better chance they will actually show up on the scanner. In this case, two FBA sellers are showing. Since one of them is under $8, I personally would not buy this book.
Accept Example #1 – Low FBA Price is above $8
If there are any FBA offers at $8 or more, I would buy. Here is an example below. This is getting close to my minimum listing price of $9.95. I would be willing to list this book at $9.95 even though there are some sellers at a cheaper price.
Accept Example #2 – No FBA Sellers and MF Column has Value
If there are no FBA sellers AND the Merchant fulfilled columns has offers above one penny, I would buy. Here’s an example.
In short, the higher the spread of MF offers the better. This means there are a low number of sellers, a low number of FBA sellers, and a better likelihood of the FBA prices being accurate on the scanner
If all of this is very confusing there is another simpler approach that I use. If any of the offers in the MF column are over $2, I would buy. There is a very good chance that I could sell those books at $9.95 or higher.
Since this buying criterion involves buying books with lower value, the following is recommended:
- The book cost less than $1. Preferably 50 cents or less.
- The books are listed at a minimum FBA price of $9.95. Many Amazon customers will buy an FBA book for $9.95 even when there are MF offers selling the same book for pennies.
- A repricing program to price and re-price the books. In my opinion, taking the time to manually price each book is very time consuming. I use Repriceit.com.
- The books are listed in bulk. Since the minimum profit is around $3-4, I don’t want to spend much time listing.
- A database scanner. ASellerTool and Neatoscan have options where Amazon’s data can be stored on your phone or PDA. As a result, each scan is instantaneous.
Endnote #1: Keep those online book arbitrage stories coming. There’s a storm brewing, and people are catching on to this quickly so I want to make sure we get it documented on FBA Mastery.
(And again: I get that your tactics may be too lucrative to make public, so all communications will be kept confidential unless you state otherwise.)
Endnote #2: On the subject of online arbitrage, I find it totally confusing outside of the book category, and when I get confused I just defer to the experts.
One of those experts is Amazon big-dog Jordan Malik, who recently released a (totally free) Chrome plugin for online arbitrage called Cleer Pro. Makes it totally easy for dummies like me.
Get Cleer Pro here.