How I Made $5,000 from One Dollar Store Item via Retail Arbitrage

Updated: Feb 9

I often hear new (and experienced) sellers complaining that they can’t find anything profitable to sell on Amazon. They say their local stores don’t have any bargains, or that most of the online stores have lousy sales. I always smile when I hear this. I get it, because I also went through dry spells where I’d have little to no luck sourcing. But in every case, it was ME that was the problem, not circumstances. And I know that if I change just a couple of things in my approach, I can once again have success sourcing. What I mean is, that we all, by default, have our own biases and we accept certain things as fact and limit ourselves in the process. What I mean is, that we fall into patterns and can develop something equivalent to writer’s block, that I call “Sourcer's Block”

Often, people stick mainly to categories that they’re familiar with. For instance, maybe you like toys and have done well selling them in the past. So your tendency is to scout for toys when in store or shopping online for deals, potentially overlooking many great bargains in other categories.

So if you find yourself suffering from sourcer's block, challenge yourself to look outside of your “familiar” comfort zones for products and start scanning EVERYTHING. It’s how I found a single product in a dollar store that ended up making me $5,000.

I’d driven to a local thrift store and spent 45 minutes scanning for textbooks, but came out empty handed. Determined to maximize my time (as I’d already driven 20 mins to get to this store), I decided to walk over to a dollar store across the parking lot.

I walked around seeing all sorts of junk and inexpensive items that weren’t of interest. I then cruised down the pet supplies Isles, but there was nothing there worth buying either. The final, outer Isle contained several kitchen items and then a stack of “As Seen on TV” products caught my attention. The first few had horrible ranks and were being sold as “Add-On” items on Amazon. More duds!

But one item I scanned showed a selling price of $29.99 USD with a great rank! I could purchase these for $3.00 CDN/ea! I checked Keepa to see if this was just an anomaly. It wasn’t. The price and rank had held steady for over 6 months! I got that butterflies feeling in my stomach as I loaded all of the ones on the shelf into my cart. I then tracked down a manager and asked if they had any more of the item. She looked in the back and they had several cases! Score!!!

As she brought them to the register and started ringing up the items, I asked if any other locations nearby had any more stock. She offered to call, and I waited 10 mins while she called three other stores for me. They all had stock, and she asked them to pull them aside for me. I was thrilled.

I loaded my car, and made a trip to the other stores and picked up the stock they had on hand. With my car bulging, I drove home with my bounty tallying up the profits in my head. I’d purchased a total of 167 units with a sales value of just over $5k USD! My total buy cost was only $532.00CDN.

I prepared, boxed and shipped them all in to Amazon and sold out within a month. I sold more than 5 units a day.

Deals like this don’t happen every day, but they’re guaranteed never to happen if you're not out there scanning and hustling every day. It’s funny, but the harder I work, the luckier I get.

If you don’t like sourcing yourself, hire someone, or get a Virtual Assistant to help. In 2020, I don't suggest you look at arbitrage as a long term model though - Rather a way to raise funds to build your business.

I instead, suggest you focus on the Wholesale model I teach in the Seller Academy Masterclass.

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