Retail Arbitrage at Scale: An Interview With Robyn Johnson

Robyn Johnson Interview

Retail Arbitrage is a simple concept: you buy items from regular bricks-and-mortar stores, then sell them online through marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.

But to make a profit after shipping and marketplace fees, arbitrage sellers need to find products which are a lot cheaper in-store than online. Those items do exist, but they are rare. So not surprisingly, retail arbitrage shopping trips are often described as “hunting for treasure”.

Spending hour after hour checking prices in stores doesn’t sound like a great foundation for a profitable business. But it can be done.

Robyn Johnson’s business is proof of that. Robyn has spent as much as $50,000 on inventory in 2 to 3 days, and sold well over a million dollars on Amazon and hundreds of thousands on eBay. It’s profitable too, with excellent margins. Robyn also finds time to blog and offer coaching on her website Best From The Nest.

I spoke to Robyn about how her business has grown since she started in 2011, and to find out how retail arbitrage really works at scale.

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Selling on eBay: Myths and Facts

eBay Selling Mythbuster

This post is by Victor Levitin, CEO and co-founder of CrazyLister (a tool for easily creating professional eBay templates), a successful eBay seller, and author of the eBay sellers journey to $100k a month blog.

eBay just celebrated twenty years in business. That’s a long time on the internet, and a lot has changed.

eBay has changed too.

Some of the changes were just a case of moving with the times, others were made deliberately to try and alter the direction of the business.

Some of those changes have sparked heated discussions amongst eBay sellers, with a lot of wild claims being made. When those claims get repeated over and over, they can take on a life of their own and become full-blown myths.

So here’s the most common myths I have heard about selling on eBay. I’ll try to explain where each of them came from, and what the reality is for eBay sellers today.

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Five Ecommerce Business Models: Reselling, Private Labelling, Used and More

Where Do I Get Stuff To Sell

People starting a brand new ecommerce business are often eager to find their first product to sell. Some are fuelled by the promises of hyped-up educational programs promoting little-known approaches (so they say!) including private labelling, drop shipping and retail arbitrage.

The truth is that all those approaches are well-known, and all have been used effectively for many years both in ecommerce and in traditional retail. But for every business that has succeeded following a particular strategy, many others have failed.

Why is that? Well, like most things in life, it ain’t what you do but the way that you do it: the quality and creativity of your execution matters a lot more than the business model you are following.

So here’s my suggestion to all those new sellers urgently seeking their first product to sell: just stop. Go back to basics, and think more carefully about the different models an ecommerce business can follow.

But what are those models?

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Inside Ecommerce Currency Exchange Specialist World First

World First Interview

Online sellers who ship orders internationally have several challenges: translation, delivery, taxes and returns often top the list.

But what about the fundamental issue of receiving the income from sales they’ve made? For many marketplace sellers, just getting their money back home is not a problem: Amazon and eBay (through PayPal) will send funds to a bank account in your own country, conveniently converting currencies along the way.

So why would sellers use a third-party company like World First to handle their foreign exchange needs? What do they have to gain from doing that?

World First, a fast-growing company with its headquarters in the UK, has won numerous awards and established an outstanding record of customer feedback here on Web Retailer. In the apparently simple business of changing money from one currency to another, what could it be that sets them apart?

To find out, I spoke with World First’s Chief Commercial Officer Alex Sullivan. We talked in-depth about the company and their services for online retailers.

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Amazon Private Label: Myths and Facts

Private Label Mythbuster

This post is by Will Tjernlund, a third-party Amazon seller who has sold over $10 million worth of inventory through Amazon over the last 3 years. Will’s business was profiled on Web Retailer earlier this year, and you can find Will on Twitter as @WTjern.

Private labelling is where you buy generic items, then add your own branding to create a whole new product. It’s one of the most popular strategies for people who sell through online marketplaces, especially Amazon sellers.

When something gets as popular as private labelling is right now, hype can take over from reality. Rumours start about how it works, what you need, and what you should always do – or always avoid. Then they get repeated and spread until it’s hard to tell fact from fiction.

So here are my top twelve myths about Amazon private labelling. They’re misconceptions that I’ve heard time and time again, and now’s the time to put them right.

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