One of my favourite aspects of working online are the amount of tools, software, eBooks, training courses etc. that are available to help you grow your business.
I'm a big fan of making the most of the resources available (or creating my own if there isn't something available), but I also believe that the tool has to be the right fit for me and my business. So the resources I run through below are things that I use or have used, and have worked well for me.
You don't always have to pay for a useful resource, so I have tried to include as many free options as possible.
For some of the products that do have a cost, I may earn me a small affiliate commission if you purchase through the associated link. That's not why I recommend them. But I thought I'd better mention it!
Note: the order in which I go through the products below does not indicate a preference
We're going old school, we're going books. Don't worry, these are electronic and you can start reading right now. The two books below transformed my approach to selling on Amazon, and are still the gold standard "How to make a profit selling products on Amazon" guides.
I wish I'd read Chris Green's book before I started selling on Amazon. I would have saved money and sped up my learning. (Although there is something to be said for learning from your mistakes and successes). This book covers just about everything, from browser extensions to using price tracking websites etc. It also links to bonus videos.
I would recommend signing up to Amazon Kindle Unlimited to get this book, as it will then be free. The physical copies are pretty expensive at the moment. Here it is in the Amazon UK store.
Knowing how many sales per month a particular product makes is the holy grail for Amazon product sourcing. There are tools that estimate these (we'll come to those later), but you can get a surprisingly accurate picture yourself by using free tools. How To Keepa Camel by Stephen Smotherman is the ultimate guide to utilising Keepa and CamelCamelCamel to ensure that you only buy products that will sell at the price you want within the timescales you want. The eBook covers everything that the novice needs to understand the graphs from both of these sites and for the experienced seller there are tips and tricks for improving their analysis.
Highly recommended and you can find out more about it by How To Keepa Camel.
Before jumping into using sourcing software, I would strongly recommend developing an understanding of online arbitrage, as this will help you maximise the powerful sourcing tools available.
I love TA, I love the dedication of it's creator Alex Moss, I love the FB community around it, I love the opportunities it has given me to develop TA related products. But when all is said and done, the purpose of Tactical Arbitrage is to help you source profitable products to sell on Amazon. And it does an amazing job of this. My personal favourite feature is the Reverse Search feature - being able to plugin in 10,000 ASINs at a time to scan in all the stores that TA covers (and it's a lot) is pretty amazing.
I have a special offer coupon code you can use to get an extended 10 day free trial. Just put in "greenlava" (without the quotes) at checkout here.
Wizard seems to have a reputation of being UK focused, which I think is slightly unfair. Whilst TA does have a lot more US stores, some of the functionality within Wizard (for example the pro-presets feature) work really well to mix up your sourcing results. Another strong area for Wizard is the ability to run searches to flip Amazon products across Europe. We use FBA Wizard as well as Tactical Arbitrage and get really solid sourcing results.
You can find more about FBA Wizard by clicking here. I will do some videos in the near future showing how we use Wizard and TA.
Whilst not strictly sourcing software, I have included Storefront Stalker Pro in this section because it works so well with Tactical Arbitrage. Basically SS Pro, brought to you by Nate McCallister, allows you to collect ASINs from pretty much any Amazon page - Movers & Shakers, other sellers storefronts, category pages etc. You can collect hundreds of thousand of these and then...remember what I said a few paragraphs up about using the Reverse Search feature of TA? There you go.
There are a couple of different purchase options which you can find out about by clicking on Storefront Stalker.
This is definitely not sourcing software, but it is so inextricably linked to both Tactical Arbitrage & FBA Wizard that it makes sense for it to be in this section.
Virtual Online Arbitrage is a training course that you would put your Virtual Assistant through so that they could do your product sourcing for you. And it's not just a training course - it's a full sourcing system that maximises the sourcing software's abilities and keeps things simple and step by step for the VA's to ensure that you get the best results possible.
I created Virtual Online Arbitrage, and it's currently the product that I am most proud of. It's based on a year of experience, it's tried and tested and best of all - it really works. If you would like a full sales page experience, you can click here.
You know when you wished that something existed but it doesn't? That's what led me to create the AZ 90 Day Chrome extension. Very simply it puts the average 90 day buy box price and sales rank and displays them right under the current Amazon buy box price. This allows you to make quicker, better informed buying decisions.
I'm currently giving this away for free, because I'm nice like that. It previously sold for up to $47.
The extension works with the free Keepa Chrome extension (which you can see below). You can get it for free by clicking on AZ 90 Day.
An essential for an Amazon seller. The Keepa website is great for identifying opportunities to flip, but the Chrome extension is where it's all at for product sourcing. Install the extension, load your product page and scroll down to find the Keepa graph displaying all you need to help make your buying decisions. Combine with the How to Keepa Camel eBook and the AZ 90 Day Chrome extension for maximum benefit. You can install it here.
I don't actually use CamelCamelCamel as much as I used to, I tend to focus on Keepa. However I would say that the Camelizer would still be my "essential" extension list. Useful for double checking those products where you want to do a bit more analysis before committing or deciding how deep to go. Doesn't help that he rank graphs are the other way up to Keepa! Install it here.
You know that thing where you have to add 999 items to basket for each seller on a listing to find out how many they have in stock? Stop doing that, it's silly.
Get the How Many? Chrome extension and find out how many they have in seconds with the click of a button. Get it here.
Brand restrictions - ever wake up screaming in the middle of the night because you've had a dream that the 50 pairs of Nike Air Jordan's you've ordered from eBay might be brand restricted? (Hint, they are) Install the Can I Sell It? Chrome extension created by my friend Matt Calvin and sleep easy. The extension will check against your Amazon account and let you know if you are ok to sell the product or not. Phew! Go get it here.
I've only recently come across this latest product from Shawn Mayo. It's a subscription service which is updated with the latest sales and special offers for the stores that are covered by Tactical Arbitrage, in the US and the UK. You don't have to have TA to benefit from it, and it's a great way to help decide which store you want to source next to get maximum profitable products.
It's still in Beta as I write this, but there are more than enough US offers highlighted by it to make it more than worthwhile. A great idea that you can find out more about here.
I was going to recommend this as a good free method of calculating the profit of products you are looking at, and it's a tool I've used for a long time on and off. However I've read the small print in the extension store and found this:
This extension is free because of a code that we use to make a small commission.
I suspect it's adding an Amazon affiliate commission link so that every product you buy from Amazon in the future the makers of the extension receive commission. I'm not necessarily against this, but because it wasn't immediately clear that this happened, and because they are no completely upfront about what this "code" is, I can't recommend it.
This is absolutely an "I couldn't manage my business without this" tool. I was sceptical of repricers to start off with, because there is a train of thought that people use them for evil (i.e. the race to the bottom) but that's absolutely not the case.
Being able to set a maximum and minimum price for your product, and it be automatically updated when other sellers change their prices (mine is normally set to match the lowest FBA seller price) means that you are being competitive nearly 100% of the time. You make more sales, and for the a price that you have already decided will make you the profit you want.
I particularly like Bqool as it's easy to use, and has a lot of extra features that make pricing decision making a lot more accurate and quicker, such as letting you know the buy box %that you have. Highly recommended, and you can find out more here.
Do you want to get more Buy Box action without having to necessarily lower your prices? One of the metrics that Amazon uses to decide which seller they would prefer to have the buy box is the amount of positive seller feedback each company has. It's not that easy to get feedback from customers on your seller performance, because after all, it's actually Amazon who are doing the work (if you are selling FBA that is).
People may well leave feedback about how great or not a product turns out to be but the seller? Not so much. Bqool Amazon Feedback Campaign service will automatically contact each person who buys a product from you and ask them to provide feedback. It works a surprising amount of the time. It is also a good way to pre-empt any potential problems that the customer may have experienced, by asking them to contact you before they leave potentially negative feedback. More information can be found at Bqool Amazon Feedback.
This is another one of mine, and there is a free and a paid "pro" version.
This extension came about so that we could click a button and get a list of all of the ASINs in our Amazon store, and see immediately which ones have the buy box and which don't. It also displays the price of the buy box if we don't happen to have it.
What this allows you to do is very quickly see where you need to take action (e.g. you might only be pennies away from the buy box) and either manually adjust your price or change your repricing software. We have found that whenever we do this, our sales go up the same day.
The pro version stores historical data, so that you can see your buy box percentage change over time, which is great for helping to set sales targets. Click on Buy Box Checker to find out more.
The tools below might seem as though they are necessities rather than value added things that will actually help you grow your business, but I found out the hard way that not having these things in place can seriously slow you down. You're going to need to get on top of your accounts at some point, and the longer you leave it the more damaging to your business it can be to get them sorted.
You must have heard of Xero right? You're probably already using it. It is the standard accounting software used by millions of companies, including a lot of Amazon sellers. It pulls in the details from your bank feeds, as well as your transactions from Amazon Seller Central and allows you (or preferably your accountant) to do your accounts efficiently and effectively.
If you're going to want your Amazon data to be pulled into Xero, you're going to need the A2X interface to do that for you. It frustrates me slightly that A2X can be more expensive than Xero itself, but it's all part of the cost of doing business.
You can get a free trial with Xero by clicking here.
I used Shoeboxed for my receipts. I used their app on my phone to scan in physical receipts when I did retail arbitrage, and I would forward all of my online receipts and invoices to them for OA.
You can create categories of receipts to log them against e.g. inventory, expenses, software etc. and it makes your accounting so much easier. Find out more at Shoeboxed.com
There are many reasons why you might need web hosting, even if all of your products are sold through Amazon. When I was trying to get wholesale accounts, I kept running into problems because the wholesaler would generally only let businesses with their own webstore open an account. So I go some web hosting, got a site made for about $50 and started getting wholesale accounts.
It also looks more professional if you are able have a web address and an email address that doesn't end in .gmail.com
I moved to Siteground a few months ago and couldn't be happier. My sites load quickly, and the support has been quick and incredibly helpful. Really good service. There are hundreds of hosting company's out there, so to find one this good is very pleasing to me! Check them out here.
My whole business is on my laptop. I write a lot of notes on scraps of paper, and charts that I put on the wall, but other than that it's all on my computer.
When I remember, I backup everything onto an external hard drive.
I don't remember very often.
So I signed up to IDrive, a cloud backup service, and everything gets backup up once a week. I now sleep the sleep of the unworried. You can find more information here.
If you've seen my blog posts and videos about managing Virtual Assistants, you will know that I use and am a big fan of Basecamp. I set up a separate "project" for each VA, and everything happens within that project: communication via a messenger service, file sharing, links to google docs etc. Makes the whole process so much easier.
I've been using Basecamp a long time, and was lucky enough to sign up for a $29 per month subscription. Unfortunately it now seems that the cheapest monthly sub. is now $99. I'm not saying that it isn't worth it, just that it's quite expensive.
You can checkout Basecamp for yourself here, and I've added in a free alternative option below.
Not strictly a productivity tool, but if you are looking to grow your business then outsourcing the right parts of it can be crucial to accelerating that growth.
Again, if you are familiar with my blog posts (what do you mean you've never read them?!), you will already know that I am currently leaning towards OnlineJobs.ph as the place to recruit my Virtual Assistants. It has some pros and cons versus Upwork (which I use more for software development outsourcing) but overall I'm getting much better results from OnlineJobs.ph.
This is a very interesting one. I started using Best Self at the beginning of 2017, and it has made a significant contribution to improving my productivity and achieving better results. I have both the Self Journal which I write in every, and the 2017 Wall Calendar where I have my year planned out.
This is how Best Self describe themselves on their website:
we...translate the success, strategies, and habits of high performance into meaningful yet simple tools that will guide you to become your Best Self.
It's a very interesting concept - I can be somewhat sceptical of this kind of thing, but it has genuinely helped me, which is why I am recommending it here.
I will keep adding, removing and changing the tools above. If I stop using something I will either say so or remove it from the list. I'd also love to hear about any tools that you use that I haven't covered, or any that you would like me to investigate.