This post is by Austin Fisher, Product Manager for SellerEngine’s product research scouting app Profit Bandit. He also works with SellerEngine Services, helping Amazon sellers with listing and account issues.
We’ve consistently received an impressive number of downloads when compared with other scouting apps, and we’re pleased to have helped Amazon sellers of all sizes and experience levels achieve greater success with their businesses.
We’re more than just a software company though. Our support and services teams are here to interact with sellers, answer questions, solve problems, and do all the things that software can’t.
At SellerEngine, we take pride in helping out and interacting with people. It’s the goal of this article to explain not only why Profit Bandit is the number one scouting app, but also help readers get to know SellerEngine and our community.
Profit Bandit and scouting app overview
For those that aren’t familiar, Profit Bandit (and scouting apps in general) allow you to scan any product’s barcode and view information which helps determine if you can sell that product profitably on Amazon. However, not all scouting apps are created equal.
Profit Bandit is a third-party scouting app. This means it was not developed by Amazon, but rather a third-party company (like us at SellerEngine). There are many third-party scouting apps, and in this article Profit Bandit will be contrasted against those.
Amazon also has its own application which allows you to do mobile scouting, and this will be discussed in comparison to Profit Bandit as well.
Comparing and contrasting major features
Sellers may take for granted the first and most important feature of any scouting application: is the offer data accurate and does it always display the lowest prices for items scanned?
Third-party developers get their data from Amazon’s data service called Marketplace Web Service (MWS). Until recently, this service distributed data in a complicated way that made it impossible to always show the lowest offers for a given product.
Recently, Amazon changed that, and now it’s possible to always see the lowest offers for each fulfillment channel and condition as well as the exact total number of FBA offers. This means that by using Profit Bandit, you can be sure that you’re always seeing the lowest FBA prices, both new and used, as well as the lowest merchant-fulfilled new and used prices.
In addition to this, you can always be sure that Amazon’s own price is shown if they are selling a given product. In contrast, other third-party scouting apps don’t make it clear if they’ve implemented this new functionality so you might not know if you are seeing the lowest offers for an item scanned.
When it comes to quality of offer data, the Amazon Seller app does a good job of showing you the lowest prices accurately, as well as the total number of offers. However, it doesn’t show them all on one screen like Profit Bandit, so you will have to switch screens to see, for example, the used prices.
Also, Amazon ONLY shows you the lowest prices and doesn’t include other competitive offers that may not be the lowest, so you can’t see how other sellers may be pricing their offers.
Sales Rank and historical data
A high profit margin isn’t so exciting if you can’t sell the item quickly. Sales Rank helps you determine if an item will sell quickly enough to be worth sourcing. All scouting apps show Sales Rank but, in this case, the third-party apps do a better job than the Amazon Seller app, because they give you access to Keepa and CamelCamelCamel for historical data.
Profit Bandit gives you one-touch access to historical data so you can determine if the current Sales Rank is an anomaly, or whether it’s stable and can be relied upon.
Historical data can also let you know if Amazon will likely offer the item in the near future. Maybe Amazon is not on the listing now, but if they’ve been sporadically selling out and re-stocking in the past, you can bet you’ll be competing with them soon.
The stability of prices and profitability is also something that should be examined historically. An item that has a high or low price today might usually sell at a completely different level.
Most third-party scouting apps should be on par with Profit Bandit with respect to Sales Rank and historical data, but this is one ability the Amazon app doesn’t have.
Keepa example charts. On the left, the price is stable over the last 3 months and Amazon has not been periodically selling the item.
On the right, the price is volatile (not necessarily a bad thing since it seems to return to its highest historical price). Amazon sold out from about March 7 to 14, but they are consistently selling this product so you may be competing with them.
Restricted items and other alerts
The ability to display alerts for restricted products is becoming increasingly important as more and more brands are being restricted. Most people already know they cannot sell in certain categories without ungating, and these count as restrictions as well. Also, many items can only be sold in specific conditions.
At SellerEngine, we’ve worked hard to add this functionality to Profit Bandit and it’s been one of the main improvements we’ve been working on over the last year. Profit Bandit will now show a restriction alert for items that are brand restricted, or are in gated categories, or just cannot be sold under any circumstances. Furthermore, Profit Bandit can even tell you which conditions a specific ASIN can be sold in, and which conditions it cannot.
Finally, Amazon’s MWS recently added the ability to show which ASINs are “slow moving’’ and not recommended to be sent to FBA. This feature is not something you will find in most third-party scouting apps, if any. The Amazon Seller app is good about alerting users to restriction issues, but lacks other alerts such as highlighting items above a certain profit or Sales Rank.
Profit Bandit alerting you that an item is restricted.
Profit Bandit can show you the FBA and MFN profit, ROI, and profit margin. Displaying profit on the main screen right after the scan was the original feature customers liked about the app, and these days most third-party scouting apps have caught up and implemented this function, or something similar. The Amazon Seller app can also show you your profit, but not on the main screen.
Here you can see profit calculated at the bottom right. Also notice the red turtle icon: this tells you the ASIN is selling too slowly for FBA.
From a feature perspective, one of the reasons Profit Bandit has been so successful is that it’s the only scouting app that can give you all of the key features mentioned above: complete and accurate offer data, historical data, restricted item warnings and other alerts, as well as an easy-to-view profit calculation. Some of these features can be found in the Amazon Seller app and other third-party apps, but only Profit Bandit contains all of them in one application.
Further, when you sign up for Profit Bandit, you’re joining the SellerEngine community and getting more than just a piece of software. We’ve been around since 2002 and we’ve not only been making software. We actually got our own start selling on Amazon, and eventually transitioned to making tools and services to help others do the same.
Leveraging our experience selling on and working with Amazon has helped inform and empower everything we do for our customers. We’ve helped sellers ungate categories, write appeals and recover suspended accounts, expand internationally, utilize our repricing software to optimize sales and profits, and of course, source products with Profit Bandit.
Feel free to email us at [email protected] if you have any thoughts, questions, or ideas you’d like to share. We’re always happy to give advice and chat, not just about Profit Bandit, but about all things Amazon!
This post was sponsored by SellerEngine.