Why wouldn’t I try retail arbitrage out for myself?

When I hear about someone starting a business reselling on Amazon that requires little investment and minimal risk, I’m all ears.

Like you, I am a curious person.

Before I started working at StartupBros, I came across multiple videos and articles they had posted online that explained how reselling on Amazon using retail arbitrage can be profitable.

Here’s one of my favorites, check it out:

How I Turned $2,200 Of Rice Cakes Into A $1-Million E-Commerce Business

Best Way to Find Items to Resell on Amazon

Most well-known stores like Walmart, Big Lots, Target, and Home Depot have clearance sections where you can find products that you can resell on Amazon or even ebay. The idea is to find the clearance item, buy it, ship it to Amazon FBA and make a profit on the margin. It’s not illegal to do and people do it every day to earn some extra income on the side.

Take a look:

Popular Stores to Source Items for Retail Arbitrage

  • Marshall’s
  • Ross
  • Home Depot
  • TJ Maxx
  • Staples
  • Models’s Sporting Goods
  • Gamestop
  • Craigslist
  • Big Lots
  • Outlet Stores
  • Local Boutique Shops

My Experience Buying and Reselling on Amazon

So, I went out to Walmart, Big Lots, and Target to try and sniff out some great deals.

Unfortunately, I had no luck at Big Lots. Some cheap bracelets at Walmart admittedly stood out to me, but most of what I purchased came from Target: red sticker clearance items are great places to start reselling.


The time it took for me to shop and scan items was about 2 hours.

Truthfully, at certain moments, I was paranoid that store employees were surveying me with their eagle eyes. But the nervousness was all in my head, though – nobody from the store interrogated me, or even approached me at all.

I ended up walking away with 6 unique products, but 13 items in total when you factor in multiple purchases of the same product.

I just couldn’t help my urge to double and triple up on some of the better deals.

The Exact Items I Found to Resell on Amazon

Walmart purchases for my first Retail Arbitrage trip!

Of course I could have bought more, but I didn’t want to waste any money.

What’s the bottom line?

This was a reselling experiment, so there was no need to go crazy. I set a $150 budget and stuck to it.


Starting Retail Arbitrage with Amazon FBA

Open a free Amazon Seller account. (Since I was selling less than 40 items a month, I chose the “free” option. That was a no-brainer.)

Reselling on Amazon either professional or individual

Scanning my clearance items into my account was absolutely painless. I just used the Amazon iPhone app and created a shipment to an Amazon fulfillment center.

It gets better: 

I even let Amazon label my items for me. They did charge me a little for this, but I was fine with it. They know what they’re doing, after all.

Now, I live in Florida, and Amazon instructed me to ship all of my items to an Amazon warehouse in Joliet, IL, which is just outside of Chicago.

I thought that was strange, since there are several warehouses much closer to me, but I just went with the flow.

Amazon FBA Shipping fees from my retail arbitrage purchases

CRAZY CHEAP shipping to the Amazon warehouse.

The cost for sending this entire shipment, thanks to Amazon’s discount, was only $5.03.

I dropped the package off at the UPS store and never looked back.

A few days later, my items were delivered to Amazon, checked into their system, and placed within the Amazon US Marketplace.

Amazon notified me of every step throughout this entire process, so I was always in the loop.

Handpicked Content for You: [Case Study #1] Accountant Loses Job and Creates a $1 Million Dollar Per Year Amazon Business

Making My First Sale with Retail Arbitrage

To my surprise, I had a sale the very next day.

And then another.

And another.


People were actually buying these items, and I was making a decent profit!

After about a month and a half, I was able to resell every single item!

(Well, actually one item took a little longer.)


The Peanuts blanket didn’t resell until I dropped the price multiple times.

Regardless, the profit from the other 12 items more than made up for it.

After it was all said and done, I made around $100 from selling 13 products reselling using Amazon FBA.

It took around 2.5 hours of my time, which equates to an impressive $40 an hour.

Not too bad for just getting started!

Obviously, there is more to reselling on Amazon than just watching a YouTube video or reading an article.

Here’s the deal: 

So, The reason I wrote this article is to motivate you to stop waiting around for the right conditions, opportunity, weather, [insert excuse here]… Just DO IT already.

You could research things until you pass out.

You can obsess over all of the “what-if’s” until your brain oozes out of your ears.

Or you can just, you know, START.

Therefore, take action, learn, and change direction if you need to.

You will never know everything there is to know. You will constantly learn new and improved ways to grow your business.

And that’s just fine.

Learn About UPC Codes! UPC Codes for Amazon Sellers: Everything You Need to Know!

Experimenting with retail arbitrage taught me how to:

• Create an Amazon Seller account
• Use Amazon Seller Central
• Ship products to Amazon FBA centers
• Label products to buy and resell on Amazon FBA
• Set up my bank account to accept payments from Amazon
• See how other sellers react when I add my products to Amazon FBA
• Understand the importance of Amazon FBA and using Prime

And, naturally, there were boatloads of other tiny lessons learned along the way.

The real-world hands-on education I received just by taking a very small financial risk and leaping into action was worth thousands of dollars in itself.

So, this took less than 3 hours of my time, and about $150 in startup costs in order to pay for the products up front.

And personally, I look at the $100 I made in profit as a BONUS.

Have you ever been curious about buying and reselling products on Amazon?

Retail arbitrage is a great way to get started with very little risk.

Go ahead, give it a shot!

Use our Retail Arbitrage Business Guide to turn this into a business.
Exact Steps to Start a Retail Arbitrage Business

Continue Learning

If you end up enjoying the process, and you’d like to grow as an Amazon seller, the next logical step would be to private-label a product.

Do I Need an LLC, Business License, or Import License to sell on Amazon?

We have incredible resources to get started from product photography to Amazon ranking hacks to get you up and running quickly!

Don’t forget that if you have questions about retail arbitrage, reselling on Amazon, or private-labeling a product, we have a live Q&A session weekly. Ask away, and we’ll be more than happy to lend you a helping hand.

So, what are you waiting for?

Because, if you’re looking for an 7,000 word all-inclusive step by step guide to learn how to sell on Amazon with videos, checklists, and detailed to-do’s then check out our Amazon article!

If I can get started selling on Amazon, so can you.

Learn to Private Label Products and Build Your Own Ecommerce Epmpire Webinar Sign up

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Will Mitchell

Will Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of StartupBros. You can learn more about him at the StartupBros About Page. If you have any questions or comments for him, just send an email or leave a comment!

  • Sharon says:

    Thanks for sharing I appreciated the information

  • Scott Miskus says:

    How did you know that the 13 items you purchased from Target would be of more value on Amazon? Was this just dumb luck?

    What background work did you do on these 13 products before deciding they were of more value somewhere other than Target?

  • Jen Kohl says:

    Almost everything comes up as restricted and on the rare occasion it doesn’t, the Amazon fees completely negate any profit. In the last month, I have sold only one item (my inventory is varied and has over 50 items). And I lost money on it because of the fees. I don’t understand how anyone makes money doing this.

    • dojo says:

      Garage sales/thrift stores are good starting places to find unrestricted items with high roi.

      using gift cards and buying in non tax states will give you an extra boost against your competition.

  • Heyam says:

    Thanks for sharing this experience with us, Iam so interested but scared in the same time
    I would like to know how you prepare the items? What is the right way to package them ?

  • John says:

    What scanning app did you use?

  • Margaret says:

    It sounds very interested. However, is it safe buying discount brand product from Walmart or Target and resell in amazon? Will i be complained by the big brand owner and get in trouble in Amazon?

    • Sean says:

      I would like to know this as well.

      • jw says:

        You are scanning and purchasing “clearance” items that the big stores are looking to get rid of. Arbitrage: The practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets and profiting the difference. That is legal. The only trouble you face is the “fear” of not exploring a perfectly legal opportunity that will make you money.

  • Lisa Elliott says:

    I want to resell beauty products mostly. What are the restrictions on makeup?

  • Raphael De Los Santos says:

    I want to start selling on Amazon and perhaps I will start with clearance items. However I do have a specific product in mind but I do not know how to get a UPC/EAN and SKU numbers. Could I get some tips on that?

  • Alvin Jimenez says:

    Can I ship items I purchased thru online directly to Amazon Fullfillment warehouse? How will I know the exact address of the Amazon warehouse?

    • Joel Oquendo says:

      Hey Alvin, yes you can. First thing you want to do is create a product listing on Amazon then you will fill out all the information selling as “fulfilled by merchant”. Once the listing is live you can switch your listing to FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). Your listing will then not go live until Amazon receives your product. Next you want to create an Amazon shipping plan and at the end of that you will get an address for the designated warehouse.

      We cover it all in this post: https://startupbros.com/how-to-sell-on-amazon-fba/#create_FBA_shipping_plan

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  • Steve says:

    What happens when your account is suspended after receiving an inauthenticity claim and Amazon does not accept a Walmart receipt as proof of authenticity?

  • Sandy says:

    Thanks for the article it was really helpful and unintentionally I was doing the same thing going into clearance and searching by scanning in App.
    I have few questions:
    1. What you exactly look into the app while searching.
    2. Can I start with Merchant Fulfill/ Selling by myself instead of FBA?

    Thanks in Advance!!!

  • Koubs says:

    Hi Will, Great article.
    I have a question: If amazon for some reason ask you to prove the validity of the supply chain of your inventory bought at Walmart or target by requesting Invoice and Letter from supplier (for not brand owner), what will be the plan in this case? has this issue happened to you? they suspend accounts for inauthentic item, likely RA from Walmart or target.


  • Intan says:

    I want to try and start this, but I think Amazon does not allow selling branded items. Hope you can help correct me with this. Thank you