One of the most popular ways for Amazon sellers to find products to resell on Amazon is to use some sort of a shared finds list. This may be a BOLO Group, Mastermind Community, or a Shared Virtual Assistant.
Often we see people get overwhelmed or frustrated on what to actually do with the products that are shared in these communities or lists. So we wanted to combine our best tips so that you can go into any shared list with confidence for making purchases.
Top 10 Tips For Using BOLO Lists or Online Sourcing Lists
1. Do Your Own Due Diligence
These lists of products should be used as starting points for finding profitable inventory. A finds list or BOLO share is not the same as a “Buy” list.
Typically these products will meet some sort of rank and profit criteria. For example, BoloMart shares must meet the minimum criteria of $5 profit, 30% ROI, and rank under 200,000. If you're working with a VA, you may be setting your own guidelines.
One of the misconceptions of using a shared list is that you should just purchase every item on the list without doing further research. And while it might seem like that would save you time, it will likely lead to costly mistakes.
No matter how careful a VA, list owner, or BOLO member is, there are items that will slip through the cracks. This may be due to an incorrect listing, hazmat restriction, or new product packaging.
Ultimately, you are responsible for the items that you purchase, so you want to use any service as a starting point.
2. Profit and Rank are Temporary
Think of a shared product or BOLO as a snapshot of a moment in time. When you're looking at the data, remember that all of those numbers are temporary.
Profit is calculated based on the current buy box price and the current purchase price at the store. As we know, Amazon buy box prices change all of the time. The purchase price may also not include sales tax (which varies among different cities and states).
Sales rank is another bit of information that changes frequently. Just because an item was shared with a rank of 100,000 doesn't mean that it might not be 50,000 or 150,000 tomorrow.
This isn't meant to scare you! It's just another reminder to set reasonable expectations and do your own research.
When you see a shared find that says “Profit: $8”, don't prematurely pocket that $8. Profit and rank fluctuate, so keep an eye out for low ranks or high selling prices that seem to be outliers.
3. Pre-Purchase Research
This is the natural next step from the first two tips. You need to do more research before making actual purchases. And this is true whether you're using a list, a BOLO group, or just sourcing on your own.
With Keepa, you can easily check to see how the product has sold over time. I use it to look for ranks that may only be low today, but that were way higher in days/weeks past. Plus, any price increases that may be temporary.
With RevSeller, you can make calculations on the profit while adding in sales tax or inbound shipping fees you may incur. This means that you can calculate your exact profit based on your unique fees and costs.
We have a coupon code for RevSeller that will take $20 off. Use coupon code THESELLINGFAM to get a reduced price of $79 for your first year of RevSeller.
For more helpful research tools and extensions, check out my Top 14 Tools for Online Sourcing.
Remember that Retail Arbitrage sellers aren't excluded from doing product research! You can always research your BOLO finds at home before you hit the stores. This way you can take advantage of the better research tools.
4. Test Buys
I highly recommend only purchasing a few of any of the items you are most interested in. Remember that there are a lot of people looking at these items (depending on the group you are in) and it’s easier to sell through 2-5 than it is to sell through 20+.
Understanding sales velocity is the next step of smart research beyond sales rank and profit. I recommend knowing a product's sales velocity before going deep on an item.
5. Look Beyond the Lists
If you're only looking for the actual items on a shared list, you're missing out. Use these lists to help you find OTHER profitable items.
Often times one item can lead you to another one based on a current sale or trend happening. So if we find an item that is part of a 50% off sale, see what other items are also included in the sale.
If you're doing RA, this might just be literally looking at the items next to the ones on your list. Go ahead and give those a scan too. For online sourcing, check other products from the same brand or sale.
A lot of our BoloMart members have told me that they've started selling in entire new categories thanks to the shared finds. One member had never even scanned clothing items before but after joining BoloMart, she made clothes a big (and profitable!) part of her Q4 selling strategy.
6. No Deal is Ever Exclusive
One concern that many people have is that they see some of the same finds shared in multiple places. When virtual assistants are browsing online, it is common for them to find some of the same items because they are looking at the same stores. Or, they are specifically sourcing special sales or clearance events.
This can happen with a shared list, a BOLO community, or even online sourcing software. No deal is ever exclusive. It would be the same if you were shopping a sale at Target.
Expect the number of sellers to increase. Know that others will be buying these items as well and that will change how the item performs long term. This is why I recommend going wide with online purchases in particular.
7. Start Small
If you've bought a new list or joined a new community, it's best to start small and learn the system.
I know that you might be excited to tackle those new product leads, but there's no reason to buy every item on a list or in a group right off the bat.
Take some time to learn how the group operates and make sure the products match your own buying criteria.
8. Check Restrictions
This may be part of your product research routine already, but I want to mention it here on its own. BOLO groups and shared lists don't account for product restrictions.
That's because restrictions are unique to each Amazon seller. Just because I can sell in the Topicals subcategory or the Barbie brand doesn't mean that you can too.
If you're doing retail arbitrage with a BOLO list, using your Amazon Seller App is the best way to check restrictions.
For online sourcing, you can run each potential product through “Add A Product” in Seller Central. But you'll save a ton of time by using a simple extension like CheckPermission instead.
Not sure if you can sell something? Learn how to check Amazon restrictions before you buy.
9. Read the Notes
Make sure to read any provided ‘Notes' on a shared list or BOLO group spreadsheet. Notes may include important information like coupon codes or sale limitations. Other times there may be a note that only a specific size or color variation works.
If you're in a mastermind BOLO group, pay attention to any details given by the person who shared the BOLO. You may get good tips on where to find the item in the store or even a way to get an extra discount.
10. Use Cash Back for Online Sourcing
When you're sourcing online, where margins tend to be lower, every extra bit of profit counts. This means you should be stacking coupon codes and cash back offers whenever possible.
Using Rakuten when purchasing your items will add to your profit margin by giving you cash back on all of the purchases. They even have links to coupon codes for more savings (and a higher ROI).
If you don’t yet have Rakuten, you can sign up here and get a $10 gift card after using it on your first purchase.
Read my full review of Rakuten to see how I've used it to earn over $11,000 in cash back.
There you have it 🙂 These are our Top 10 Tips for using a shared finds list to source Amazon inventory.
If you aren't currently part of a community like this, it's a great way to add in more sourcing opportunities to your Amazon FBA business. And buying more inventory is the fastest way to grow your business.
Are you looking for a supportive BOLO group filled with successful retail arbitrage sellers? Learn more about our BoloMart community and join us today.
BoloMart isn't just for sharing BOLOs; it's also about masterminding with other sellers and sharing helpful tips and strategies. Personally, I think it's the fastest way to get yourself out of a sourcing rut and grow your business.
Are you currently using a service like this? Do you have any tips to add? Please let me know in the comments!