If you can shop and use a computer, you can make real money right away by buying things in stores, then selling them on Amazon. Click here for all the ins and outs of how to make money as an Amazon reseller.
This article isn’t trying to sell you anything. It will show you that over two million people use Amazon to sell things, many of them buying things in stores and then selling on Amazon to make lots of fast cash. We’ll explain how reselling on Amazon works and how to do it.
We’ll also show you how to find popular products that will turn a profit, how to save money selling on Amazon, what stores to shop in, and how to boost your profits by using rewards cards and apps like Profit Bandit and Price Jump.
Finally, we’ll show a case study of a guy from New Jersey who makes over $10 million a year for nothing more than buying things in stores and then selling them on Amazon.
People Are Shopping in Stores and Selling on Amazon (and Making TONS of Money)
Lots of ordinary people are shopping in stores, buying things, then selling them on Amazon and making big money.
How much money? Amazon seller Sam Cohen of New Jersey makes $10 million a year just by buying things in stores and then selling them on Amazon.
Cohen walks into big box stores, buys merchandise, sells it on Amazon for more than he paid and makes lots of money. His business has grown to the point where he has his own warehouse and over a dozen employees, but the concept is quite simple.
All Cohen is doing is buying something in a store, then selling it on Amazon for more.
Cohen is not alone. In a 2014 press release, Amazon announced that over 2 million third party sellers sold over 2 billion items on Amazon. That’s not including items Amazon sells itself. While not all of those Amazon sellers are using Cohen’s method of buying their merchandise in stores and then reselling them for more on Amazon, many are.
Why Would People Buy Things on Amazon That They Could Buy in a Store? (And Why Would They Pay MORE?)
The reason people are making lots of money shopping in stores and then selling on Amazon is that lots and lots of people want to shop on Amazon.
In fact, Amazon currently has over 270 million customers, and that number grows every year.
In many cases, people know they can buy things in a store, but they’d rather buy on Amazon.
There are lots of reasons people would pay more for something on Amazon than they would in a store:
- Convenience – Shopping on Amazon is easy compared to driving into a store.
- Familiarity – Lots of people are used to the experience of shopping on Amazon and don’t want to have to learn the ins and outs of another store’s online portal.
- Security – Many shoppers are a little nervous about sharing credit card numbers and other personal info with lots of different online retailers. Someone who already has an account at Amazon might be willing to pay more to avoid creating additional online shopping accounts at other stores.
- Amazon Prime – Amazon Prime customers like the free shipping and “Buy it Now With One Click” button. They’ve also already paid $99 for a year’s worth of Amazon Prime and they want to get their money’s worth.
- Complacency – It takes effort to price shop and many Amazon shoppers assume Amazon will always have the lowest price, or close to it.
How to Shop in Stores and Sell on Amazon
- Go to a store. Bring a smartphone.
- When you see something that looks like a good, popular deal, look it up on Amazon.
- If the price on Amazon is more than in the store, you have a winner. Buy it.
- Start small. Buy a few of the same item and create Amazon listings.
- If you need help creating Amazon listings, check out our full article here.
- Use the money you make from your first small purchases to buy more.
As an example of how easy it is to make money on Amazon, Sam Cohen of New Jersey bought a package of “Babies R Us” baby wipes in a store. He paid $17 for 800 wipes. He checked them on Amazon and found that they were selling for $44 each. He bought ten packages and sold them for $42 apiece, making a profit of $250.
The reason this works is that there are plenty of people who are very specific about what they want to buy (Babies R Us baby wipes) and very specific about where they want to buy it (Amazon only).
How to Pick Popular Products to Sell on Amazon
It’s important to buy popular products to sell on Amazon. Here’s how to tell if a product is popular.
Let’s say you’re in a big box store and you see they’re selling 2-packs of Filtrete home air furnace filters, 16x20x1 for $15 each. You check the price on Amazon and see the item selling there for $30.07.
1. Check the Number of Reviews
To check if the item is popular, first look at the number of reviews. In this case there are 550, so the item is probably a popular seller.
2. Check the Best Sellers Rank
Next, do a search on the page for “Additional Information” or scroll down until you see the additional information box. There’s a “Best Sellers Rank” there. In this case, the item scores #1,490 in Home Improvement. Generally, any number lower than 50,000 is likely to sell.
How to Pick the Right Products to Sell on Amazon
An item’s popularity and price aren’t the only clues that it’ll make a profit if you sell it on Amazon. Here are some other ways to decide whether a product will sell well on Amazon. You can find all the info in Amazon’s “Additional Information” box (pictured below).
- Look for store brands. There are lots of brands that sell their own products on Amazon. Graco strollers, Mattel toys and Fromm dog food are all examples of branded products that sell directly on Amazon. However, many stores don’t or won’t sell their in-store branded products on Amazon. Examples of store brands that might sell on Amazon are Babies R Us branded products from Toys R Us, Simply Vera clothing at Kohl’s and Charles Shaw wine at Trader Joe’s.
- Look for items with high Amazon ratings. High ratings mean less returns. Our furnace filter has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, so chances are it won’t result in a lot of returned orders.
- Look for items with low weight. Low weight means smaller shipping costs. Our pack of two furnace filters is two pounds.
- Check the “Date First Available.” This doesn’t matter as much with our furnace filter, but it’s important with date-dependent items like some electronics.
How to Get Ideas for Products to Sell on Amazon
It’s not that hard to get ideas for products to buy in stores and sell on Amazon. Here are a few ways to come up with product ideas:
- Look for items you buy on a regular basis.
- Look for clearance items in stores. Clearance items will have a better chance of selling for a higher price on Amazon.
- Look in discount stores like Big Lots or Dollar stores.
- Look for items that are only available in stores like certain store brands.
How to Use Amazon FBA to Shop in Stores and Sell on Amazon
You can buy items in stores and then sell them on Amazon and ship them yourself. However, one big way to save money on shipping and packaging costs is to use Amazon FBA.
Amazon FBA is “Fulfillment by Amazon.” With Amazon FBA, you ship your items to Amazon in bulk and then Amazon stores, boxes and ships your items as they sell.
Another reason to use Amazon FBA is that your items become eligible for Amazon Prime and Amazon Super Saver shipping. Amazon also deals with all returned orders.
To get started selling on Amazon with Amazon FBA, click here to visit Amazon FBA.
To see Amazon FBA’s fees, click here.
For a brief tutorial on how to start selling with Amazon FBA, see the video below.
Stores to Shop in to Sell on Amazon
Here’s a list of different stores and places to find items to sell on Amazon. Basically, look in any store that has discounts and any store that sells store brands, including:
- Flea markets
- Yard sales
- Toys R Us
- Big Lots
- Family Dollar
- Advance Auto Parts
- VIP Auto Parts
- Best Buy
- J.C. Penney
- Home Depot
- Ben Franklin
- Dollar General
Make More Money Shopping in Stores and Selling on Amazon With Rewards Cards
Anyone who shops in stores and sells things on Amazon can make extra money by using rewards credit cards. Many rewards cards offer 1% or even as much as 2% cash back for purchases.
Someone who buys $1,000 of products in stores every month and resells them on Amazon for $1,500 can make $6,000 a year in extra cash. If the same person uses a rewards card with 2% cash back, they’ll make another $360. That’s 6% more profit overall.
How to Use Profit Bandit to Shop in Stores and Sell on Amazon
Anyone with a smartphone can make a profit by buying things in stores and then selling them on Amazon.
To speed things up and make the process easier, Amazon sellers can use Profit Bandit.
Profit Bandit is a mobile app for iPhone and Android that lets users check any price on Amazon just by quickly scanning a product’s barcode in a store. Here’s what Profit Bandit does:
- Scan any product’s bar code in a store and instantly see Amazon’s price.
- See if you’ll be competing against Amazon itself or another reseller.
- Instantly see how much profit you’ll make if you buy the item and sell it on Amazon.
- See the product’s sales rank to know whether it’s a hot seller on Amazon.
A subscription to Profit Bandit costs just $9.99 a month. Well worth the price for any Amazon reseller.
How to Buy in Stores and Sell on Amazon in Your Spare Time
It’s not necessary to spend 40 hours a week buying things in stores and then selling them on Amazon. Anyone who wants to start out making a little extra cash each month can buy a few things here and there and list them on Amazon.
Making extra money as an Amazon reseller can start out as simply as picking up an item here or there during regular shopping trips.
How to Use the Price Jump Tool to Sell on Amazon
Price Jump is a free online service that shows whether someone else has a lower price than Amazon.
Amazon sellers can find items on Amazon, then see if someone else has a cheaper price on the same item. If there’s a lower price, that’s a good clue to buy the item from the other seller, then sell it on Amazon.
To check an item with Price Jump, first find it on Amazon, then enter the URL for the product page in the Price Jump tool. To use the Price Jump tool, click here.
Price Jump also has a browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox so every time you search for an item on Amazon, it’ll automatically check to see if there’s a cheaper price.
Pitfalls of Shopping in Stores and Selling on Amazon
Having said that, with over 270 million Amazon customers, there’s plenty of room for adept bargain hunters to make a profit.
Sam Cohen: A Shop in Stores, Sell on Amazon Case Study
Interested in learning more about Sam Cohen, the guy from New Jersey who buys things in stores and then sells them on Amazon for $10 million in profit every year? Check out NPR’s podcast on Cohen by clicking here. You can also watch a long (hour and a half) video all about Cohen’s business below.
Why Don’t Many Stores Just Sell Directly on Amazon?
In other words, if Sam Cohen can walk into a Toys R Us and buy 10 packages of “Babies R Us” baby wipes for $17 each, then sell them on Amazon for $42 each, why doesn’t Toys R Us just sell the wipes directly on Amazon?
Many brick and mortar stores like Toys R Us, Target and Walmart have worked hard to create their own online shopping experience. In many cases they’ve even done a good job. They have their own in-store brands they’ve created and they want to sell those store brand products themselves. So they do not sell their store brands on Amazon.
But the fact remains that Amazon’s entire business is online shopping. They’ve mastered it. Amazon does a fantastic job selling online. They’ve created an online shopping experience unmatched anywhere else on the internet. Shopping on Amazon is quick, convenient and has all kinds of added perks, like the ability to find out from the Amazon community whether a product is a good buy or a lemon. And customers don’t want to have to click around five or six different brick and mortar stores online. They want one destination.
The plain fact of the matter is, the other stores don’t want to admit that Amazon is the place most people shop online. They want shoppers to come straight to them. If Toys R Us started selling their signature products on Amazon, they’d be conceding defeat.
There’s an old saying in business: If you don’t cannibalize your own offerings, someone else will. By refusing to sell their products on Amazon, most retailers have opened the door to let millions of Amazon resellers cannibalize their offerings. That’s bad for the stores, but good for the Amazon sellers.
Buy Low, Sell Prime – NPR