Outside of this blog, I try not to talk too much about my Amazon business.
Honestly, it's just too difficult to explain to people who think I do “that eBay thing” on the side. You know, just like their cousin's coworker's grandma does 🙂
Most people don't even know that you can buy items in retail stores and resell them on Amazon for a profit.
But once people find out that not only do I sell on Amazon but that I've had multiple six-figure years as a reseller, they suddenly have LOTS of questions.
And, without fail, the very first question they ask is “what do you sell on Amazon?”
I'm pretty sure my answer bores them. I think they're hoping I say something quirky like “vintage doll dresses” or something specific like “the ONLY way to make money on Amazon is by selling raw vegan chocolate chips!”
But my boring ol' answer is always “whatever makes a profit!” 🤣
I don't say that to be rude. I bet that it's even a question you've asked yourself. And I know that sourcing inventory for a new Amazon business can be really overwhelming.
Today I want to attempt to answer the question, “what do you sell on Amazon?”
Now this isn't comprehensive. I really do sell almost anything that makes a profit! But it's more than enough ideas to prepare you for your first scouting trip.
So read this blog post, grab your favorite scanning app, and hit the stores! See if you don't come home with some profit!
1. Discontinued and Limited Edition Grocery
When I see a special sign at a grocery store stating that an item is discontinued, I love it! When someone's favorite snack or sweetener is no longer available in stores, they will usually pay big bucks to get it from me.
Limited edition flavors do equally well on Amazon. Crystal Light only made this “Sunrise Tangerine Strawberry” flavor for a limited time. Once it was hard to find in stores, the price spiked on Amazon.
About a year after I sold these, I noticed another unique product from Crystal Light. They were selling “Mocktail” flavors like Margarita and Mojito. Once they discontinued the Mocktails line, I was grabbing single boxes for about $1.50 and selling them for $15-$20 on Amazon.
These items often end up on a small table or wire rack with other clearance items at grocery stores once they're discontinued. Try to locate that area of your grocery store and be sure to check it at least once a month. There's also a chance that these items end up at stores like Big Lots and Ollie's.
2. Regional Grocery Items
Different cities in the US have different grocery store chains. And different stores carry different brands and specialty products.
Just because someone has moved from Texas to Vermont doesn't mean they don't miss their favorite brand of salsa (that they could only get back home!). That means they'll pay extra to buy it on Amazon.
I really like selling regional grocery items because I feel like it's helping someone out! Maybe someone is really missing something that's hard to find in Georgia that I can easily get here in California.
The same rules apply to stores that not everyone has access to. Some foods from Trader Joe's have cult-like followings. But many people live hours away from the nearest Trader Joe's. If you have a specialty store nearby, try to get those hot products listed on Amazon!
Here's a product that's both regional and limited edition. This tea is only at Trader Joe's and only available in the fall. It costs $3.99 in stores.
3. Off-Season Candy
It is no secret to many of my friends that I love to shop the day after holidays. It would be silly NOT to buy candy for 75% off, right?
But most just don't realize that I am scooping up all of the candy so that I can resell it later to those people who just have to have that Peanut Butter Christmas Tree, but unfortunately, Wal-Mart does not carry them in February.
As I write this on a warm March day, I actually just had a sale come in for some Halloween lollipops!
With seasonal candy, look for more than just Red & Green wrappers. Look for special shapes and flavors. I find that special peppermint flavors for Christmas do well all spring. As do some of the fun fall flavors like Pecan Pie, Butterscotch, and everyone's favorite…Pumpkin Spice.
When you're shipping candy FBA, don't forget about Amazon's rules for meltable and expiration-dated items! Try to get all of that chocolate sold before the end of April.
4. Discontinued Household Items
This is a category that might seem boring. That's probably why so many sellers walk right on past the discontinued models of toothpaste, replacement filters, and beauty products that are sitting on clearance aisles.
Buyers get really attached to their favorite products. But, just like with grocery, sometimes manufacturers discontinue those products. And in the beauty world, they sometimes reformulate the product with new ingredients. Well that just won't do!
Amazon shoppers are happy to pay a high price to get their hands on the last available quantities of their favorite product (before it's gone forever).
How high? Check out what happened after Mentadent was discontinued. This product sold on Amazon for years for $14. Then when the manufacturer discontinued the brand….
Now not every old toothpaste or vacuum cleaner bag is going to sell for $150 on Amazon. But always keep an eye out for discontinued household goods in drugstores, grocery stores, and big box clearance aisles.
5. Kids' Bedding
Some parents pay big money to decorate their kid's bedroom just the right way. Once you've got a little girl who needs everything Minnie Mouse, there's no price you won't pay to get the matching pillows, sheets, comforter, and fleece!
I didn't realize what a hot market this actually was until I went to order a bedding set for my toddler. There were no current Elmo sets available so I knew I'd have to buy it on Amazon instead. I ended up spending almost $100 on a set from a few seasons ago. It was worth it 🙂
Now when I see kid's bedding getting marked down, I stock up.
In Q4 of 2017, I turned some Minecraft kids' bedding into bundles. I bundled a twin sheet set with a twin comforter and sold them for $109 each. My cost was only about $35.
6. Used College Textbooks
College textbooks are expensive. I mean some new books cost more than $300 at college book stores!
So there are lots of students who do their textbook shopping on Amazon instead of at their local book store. That way they can buy used copies of the same textbooks for way less money.
But smart resellers know that there are cheaper places to find used textbooks than on Amazon. In fact, you can probably find used textbooks at local thrift stores for $1-$5. If they are newer editions, they can sell upwards of $100.
Talk about ROI! But remember, it's still a win-win for you and the student. They save hundreds compared to buying New and you can still pocket plenty of profit.
Check out this book below where the Used Buy Box is currently at $104! Even though this book was published 5 years ago, it still has a good rank and is commanding top dollar.
You can find used textbooks like this in different kinds of stores: thrift stores (like Goodwill and Salvation Army), used book stores, library sales, or estate sales. You can even look out for textbooks on Craigslist (especially in May and December as semesters wrap up).
7. Old Board Games
There are so many great games that people have never even played. Sometimes people leave these games sitting in their game closets for years before they decide to just donate or sell them. When you find out of print games, still in shrink wrap, it is like winning money on a lotto scratcher.
Look at this board game that was new in shrinkwrap at a yard sale. $120 for something that I paid $1 for.
I learned a lot about flipping board games from my friend Stephen Smotherman. His book + video training The Reseller's Guide to Board Games (How to Turn Play Money into Real Money) is loaded with information about sourcing and selling games on Amazon and eBay. If you are interested in sourcing board games (I think it's so fun!), I'd definitely start with this training.
Stephen has so much experience with thrifted games that I trust him to tackle some of the finer details like condition guidelines, missing pieces, and pricing strategies.
Buying board games at thrift stores and yard sales is a great way to build up your inventory on a budget when you're just starting out with Amazon FBA. Even if you don't sell board games forever, it can help you make your first big profits online!
8. Hard to Find Toys
Old board games are fun, but there's a lot of money to be made by finding the hottest new toys. The ones that are nearly impossible to find.
You probably have one that comes to mind. Maybe it's Tickle Me Elmo or Furby. Or maybe you think of more recent crazes like Frozen, Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise.
Sometimes it's not even about finding just the one hot toy. Maybe there's a popular product line where there's one special color (think metallics or even glow in the dark). If you can go to enough Walmarts to find that special toy, then you can sell it for a high price on Amazon.
2017 was a big year for JoJo Siwa toys. I don't think her toys were THE hot item that year, but there were still some hard to find items. Here's a snapshot from InventoryLab of how some of my JoJo sales looked that year.
Not sure what the hot toy is? Start paying attention to kids! Watch some Nickelodeon, listen to what kids are begging for in the toy aisle, or just look for empty spots on the shelves to see what the best sellers are.
9. Outdated Electronics
This is one of my favorite things to look for. I've talked about looking for “old” electronics at thrift stores before, but you can also find them at regular retail shops.
So what do I mean by old electronics? Things that make you think “there's no way anyone is using that anymore!” Fax paper, mini cassette players, blank tapes, etc.
I found about 8 of these mini personal recorders on clearance at a drugstore chain in 2016. Let's face it, most people just record things on their phones these days and don't need items like this. But there must still be a market for them because check out the price on Amazon!
Don't rule something out just because it seems like outdated tech. When I see electronics in dusty packaging, I'm always excited to scan them!
Ready to shop?
So, are the wheels turning? Now you can always keep an eye out for these 9 types of items.
This should be plenty of ideas to get you started. Head out to a grocery store, thrift store, Walmart, or even a used book sale and start scanning!
Because the real answer to “what are the best items to sell on Amazon?” is: the ones that have a good rank and make you money!
Did I leave off any of your favorites? Did you pick up any good ideas? Let me know in the comments!