Black Friday is a day that retail stores use rock bottom pricing to lure turkey stuffed shoppers into their doors to hopefully spend way more money than they originally planned. For us Amazon FBA sellers Black Friday has a whole different meaning. We like to use this day (or few days as it may be) to buy up loads of inventory at greatly reduced prices that we can then flip for a decent profit on Amazon.com. If you have never shopped Black Friday before either for personal or business purposes, I have a few tips for you to make the most of the day!
1. Plan ahead
One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen sellers make when it comes to heading out on Black Friday is not having any plan in place of what they are looking for. If you have never been out shopping on this day of the year before, you are in for a surprise. The stores are 5-10x busier than normal and every aisle seems to be crowded. This is definitely NOT a time that you want to have your scanner out trying to find items that are profitable. Heck, this isn't even a time where you want to wander aimlessly from store to store. We like to plan the stores we will go to and put them in priority order based on the time they open and where we have found the best deals. We also plan out exactly which items we are looking for and the quantity we would like to purchase. This way, we can go right to the things that we want, grab the amount we want and then head to the next store!
2. Research Research Research!
This is similar to plan ahead, but more specifically how to plan ahead. Every year websites such as bfads.net get ahold of the Black Friday ads before they come out as print ads. You can use websites like this to go through the stores you are interested in and make your buy list. The earlier you start looking at the ads the better. I compare the items in the ad to the listings on Amazon. I am looking to see which ones are selling for at least 2x the price on Amazon right now. Then I will put them through the fba calculator to see how much profit there is in the item. In this spreadsheet you can see the type of information I am looking for: Toys R Us Black Friday Spreadsheet Using a spreadsheet like this, I can easily see what the sale price is, the rank on Amazon, what Amazon's price is and where third party sellers are priced. You can use that spreadsheet to fill in your own data to compare Toys R Us' Black Friday ad to Amazon. We have left the products from page 2 filled in for you to see exactly how it looks when we use it. If you would like to purchase the spreadsheet completely filled out, you can do so here.
3. Pay attention to the details!
As you look through the Black Friday ads it is important to pay attention to the details of each product. Limits - You will notice that some items are limited to lower quantities per person. Such as 2 per person. This is not always marked in the store, and you don't want to get up to the register with a cart full of a limited item to be told that you can not purchase them. Times - There are also items that may only be available at certain times during the day. Stores often do door busters that are only available for a few hours. Toys R Us even has deals that don't start until SATURDAY morning. So, if you buy them on Friday, you will not get the sale price. Variations - Some ads will show a picture of an item and then the fine print will say that it is available in other colors, or that styles may vary. I like to look deeper and see what other styles there are that were not pictured in the ad. Some stores will have exclusive colors and not even make a big deal of it in the ad. But, if you don't read the notes, you may completely miss it!
4. Bring the print ads with you
It is really helpful to have the actual ad with you when you go to the stores on Black Friday because not everything is marked properly. Sometimes they have items marked that aren't on sale and items not marked that are on sale. If you have the ad right in front of you, you will be able to pick the exact item that you were looking for. The stores will most likely NOT have the ad available when you get there, so make sure to bring yours from home. If you don't get the newspaper daily, make sure to go out early to get the paper because the machines often sell out early on Thanksgiving (at least around here).
5. Don't be intimidated
In years past I have thought about going out on Black Friday to do personal shopping, and then went right home after seeing the line wrapped around the store. When I went for inventory last year, there were well over 200 people in front of me at Toys R Us when I got there. Part of me wanted to just say forget it and go home where it was nice and warm. Imagine my surprise when I was in the store in less than 20 minutes of the door opening. It was actually a fun experience. They handed us carts as we went in and then I was off to find my list of items I had written down. I was through the store and had my cart full in about 20 minutes. The lines are much different on Black Friday than the rest of the year. So, you wait in one long line and then get told which lane to go to when it is available (not at all stores, but Toys R Us and Best Buy were both like this). My wait time for the line wasn't that bad, the first time! After I checked out, I actually went back through the store two more times at Toys R Us because I wanted to get more of the items that had limits. So, my first time through was the fastest of course, the last time I was in line for over an hour.
Here are some resources that will help you as you prepare for Black Friday. 1. FREE Toys R Us Black Friday Tracking Spreadsheet Template that is filled in with all of the items in the Toys R Us Black Friday ad, all you need to do is find the items on Amazon and fill in the blanks. Over 400 items on the spreadsheet. 2. PAID Toys R Us Black Friday Tracking Spreadsheet Completely Filled In with Amazon listing details on almost 400 items! Includes one additional update coming on November 25th. 3. FREE bfads.net is a great site to find the leaked Black Friday ads to help you prepare your shopping lists. 4. PAID Black Friday Preparation Video with Jessica Larrew and Beth Maus. Over an hour long where we show you how we prepare for Black Friday. 5. FREE 6 Resources For Amazon Sellers To Prepare For Q4. Past post with some great resources if this is your first Q4 on Amazon!
Thanks for reading!
We hope that this post has helped you to get prepared for buying inventory on Black Friday. If you have any other tips that would be helpful for Amazon FBA Sellers this Black Friday, please feel free to share them with us in the comments below.
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