What's All This About?
Online arbitrage is easy, if you have the right tools. Keepa is a free one – accessible via a Chrome extension and website – that you can't really do without. Even with paid-for software, this should be used, as it will ensure that you make more considered sourcing purchases for Amazon flips.
What is Keepa?
It seems like CamelCamelCamel is pretty well known by now. That's the platform that allows people to see the historic price of Amazon-listed products and how frequently it sells. Keepa does that AND can be viewed from within the product page. As well as showing people what the price uses to be, the graph displays data about the historic Best Seller Rank, number of sellers on the listing and whether Amazon themselves stock the product.
Keepa is your one-stop shop for insights on a particular Amazon product. It's an essential tool for anyone that wants to sell through their site. The charts will inform you whether it's wise to buy or not.
How Does Keepa Show You Sales Rank?
Sales Rank is everything on Amazon. If it's within a particular percentage of the category's catalogue (eg top 1% of toys), it could mean you're pretty much guaranteed a sale every month. Keepa shows you not only how a product's Sales Rank has been over time, but also when it has sold. Every time the Sales Rank goes down, it indicates there has been a sale.
Keepa makes it easy to well sales are doing at a glance. If the green line is jagged, that listing is popping. If it's more like the one below, it's going to take a little longer to turn over. (Not that there's anything wrong with a few long tailers in the inventory).
What's the Value of Seeing the Historic Price?
The historic price gives you insight as to whether the current price is likely to be temporary or is likely to remain flat. Prices change all the time on Amazon as they attempt to be competitive against other retailers and other sellers on their own platform. Keepa may tell you that an item is regularly drops in price in Q4. That will teach you not to buy it in September.
The historic price can also shows you what's a realistic sale price for an item. Automated repricers may hike prices way above their usual price, when there's low competition on a listing. However, it may be unlikely that anyone would actually buy at that price. (I've seen £30 in-season toys listed at £520 before). This gives you some realistic expectations of what customers will see pay.
What Do All the Markings Mean?
Keepa charts have all sorts of lines and marks and things all over them. Once you get your head around all of this, the rest will fall into place. For the prices chart, there's so much you could display. Generally, all sellers of new goods need to care about is as follows:
Orange line = Amazon price
Green line = Sales Rank
Purple line = New, Amazon-fulfilled price
Pink diamond = Buy Box price
Black line = Used, Merchant-fulfilled price
For the number of ‘Offers' (sellers), it's a lot simpler. The legend to the right explains all:
What's the Value of Knowing About Other Sellers?
Other sellers on a listing can be the make or break of whether you make a profit. If there are too many others (or if some have a lot of stock) you could be stuck trying to shift items for months. If you're selling via Amazon FBA, this could mean unwanted storage fees.
If Amazon is on the listing, you can bet that they will be willing to undercut your price to retain the Buy Box. You will also have to deal with the thought of them being able to restock in large quantities at any time, flushing your item into the ‘Buying Options' zone.
What Does a Good Keepa Chart Look Like?
For the first resellers, a good Keepa chart is one where the Best Seller Rank (Sales Rank) and price is fairly consistent over a decent amount of time. That could be the last few weeks or months. Assuming you want to sell a quick mover, the Best Sellers Rank would be fairly low.
Lots of people have different strategies for selling via Amazon FBA. If you're into the more turbulent listings, my idea of the perfect Keepa chart might not line up to yours. If you're not bothered about the Sales Rank, you may only look at the number of sellers, before you decide if it's worth your time.
What Else Can Keepa Do?
Keepa isn't just helpful for when you're buying products from other online retailers to sell on Amazon, it's great for Amazon-to-Amazon or Amazon-to-eBay flips too. Prices drop all the time on AMZ. Seasoned resellers will know when a hefty price reduction is temporary and can set up price alerts for when an item is significantly discounted.
Get a product you're interested in – maybe a steady year-round seller that you've flipped before – and track it with Keepa. Once the price goes down by a certain percentage, you will be notified by email. It's then up to you how you proceed from there.
Is Keepa Good for Retail Arbitrage Too?
Once you start using Keepa, it feels too risky to buy for an Amazon FBA sale without it. It makes buying decisions far easier and far less prone to price dropping risks. Unfortunately, there's no quick way to use Keepa on a mobile device. This makes it difficult to use for retail arbitrage, unless you tag team it with one person scanning, and one at home checking things on Keepa. This is part of the reason I tend to do most of my sourcing online using FBA Wizard Pro instead.
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