Amazon retail arbitrage – selling new toys and games on Amazon

By | August 17, 2016

Newsletter 2 – Amazon retail arbitrage  -selling new toys and games on Amazon – When I first saw this newsletter I had no idea what arbitrage was and how it could possibly help me make money on Amazon. Undaunted, I looked it up in google and found out that it was “flipping products and selling them on Amazon or Amazon fba”. Still not really sure what it was all about, I read on and, “for a vastly reduced one time only price”, was offered an e-book which promised to teach me the secret of making an easy and lucrative living that would allow me to work from home and live happily ever after.

As I already had an Amazon business account, I decided that I could supplement my used book business by selling toys and games. So, e-book duly purchased, off I went to find new products to sell on Amazon.

I did some research on best selling items but, of course, these were rarely offered at a price that I could resell for a reasonable profit.

I spent hours searching toy shops, department stores, supermarkets, markets, auctions, online sales, community websites, in fact anywhere that would take my money and sell me toys and games cheaply. I eventually found some, but so did everyone else.

It is easy to list in Amazon providing the item you are selling is, or has been, previously listed. If not, then you have to follow a lengthy procedure to successfully list your product. The same applies to photographs. If there have been previous listings then there are already pictures on file. If not, you have to provide a serious of pictures, cropped to Amazon’s requirements.

I pressed on with listing the toys and games that I had purchased and, eventually, most of them did sell but not for the vast fortunes that the e-book had promised.

Another shock to my system was an email that I received from Amazon regarding their “Selling toys and games at Christmas” policy –

Dear seller,

As a reminder, to maintain a great customer experience during this festive season, we have established selling guidelines for the Toys & Games store .Effective 17th November, only sellers who meet the criteria listed below will be eligible to sell in the Toys & Games category from 17th November until 5th January.

  • Your first sale on Amazon must occur prior to 19th September. The sale does not need to be specific to the Toys & Games store.
  • You must process and ship at least 25 orders from 1st September until 31st October.  The orders do not need to be specific to the Toys & Games store.
  • Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate for the period between 1st October and 31st October must be less than 1.75%.
  • Your late shipment rate for the period between 1st October and 31st October 2016 must be less than 4%.
  • Your order defect rate must be less than 1% as of 1st November.

I was flabbergasted. There had been no mention of “Christmas selling rules” in my e-book guide. What a surprise!

Then I noticed a glimmer of hope at the bottom of the email –

Orders that use Fulfillment by Amazon (fba) will not be subject to the above criteria provided your account is in good standing.

My account standing was sufficiently healthy to allow me to sign up for fba so, biting the bullet, I accepted the various terms, conditions, sellers fees and monthly fees (nearly $50/£37/€42) and proceeded to fill up boxes of goodies to ship off to Amazon.

Are you a lawyer? It would help if you are, as stampeding through the jungle of the Amazon help pages is not a walk in the park. Eventually you get to where/how to list your wares. This is the moment that you are hoping that your item is already in the Amazon database. If not, you have to know everything there is to know about your product, along with acceptable photographs of said product, before you are permitted to sell. Not good for the nerves! In the end I decided to list these maverick products on Ebay. It seemed the easiest thing to do.

The Christmas spree came and went and I managed to sell a reasonable amount through fba although I did sell a similar amount through merchant fulfilled (which means sending it to the customer yourself).


So, what if your stock at Amazon doesn’t sell? You then receive this:

Hello from Fulfilment by Amazon.
Amazon has identified your inventory stored in our U.K. fulfilment centres that has not sold in the last 12 months. To help you minimize storage fees for this inventory, Amazon will reimburse your return and disposal fees for domestic removal orders of U.K. inventory generated between 14 July, 2016, and 15 August, 2016.
Learn more about the Free Removals Promotion.
To help you take advantage of this promotion, you can download a list of inventory identified by Amazon from this link.

If you want to remove all or some of the inventory identified by Amazon, you need to create removal orders manually. Learn how to Create Removal Orders (sign-in required).

True to their word, Amazon returned my unsold items (mainly books).

I now, occasionally, sell a book or two. Just enough to keep my Amazon account open. You never know when you will need this sales platform in the future!

If you can, would you please be kind enough to leave a comment, especially if you have journeyed down the same path or are giving it some consideration. Many thanks.

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