Strategy and Tactics
Reverse Engineering & Thinking Outside The Box
Maximizing your retail arbitrage buys via the “OA Backdoor”

Strategy and Tactics

Recently, in a private group I’m in someone asked this question.

Is your company a strategy or tactics driven company?

…and why?

With my military background I have a problem with the question, it’s fundamentally flawed because to be successful you have to have both Strategy AND Tactics.


Strategy is the overall “plan of attack” for your business. Tactics are the method you use implement said strategy. You can’t really have one without the other.

I really like the following quote about the difference between the two. It comes at it from a military point of view but the same concepts work when it comes to business.

“Military strategy and tactics are essential to the conduct of warfare. Broadly stated, strategy is the planning, coordination, and general direction of military operations to meet overall political and military objectives. Tactics implement strategy by short-term decisions on the movement of troops and employment of weapons on the field of battle.” Source

My attempt to translate that from Military-speak into Amazon-speak is below.

“Strategy and tactics are both essential to how your ecommerce business operates. Broadly stated, strategy is the planning, coordination and general direction your business is headed in while pursuing the goals you have set for your business.

Tactics are the real-time/Short Term actions that you take\decisions you make in regards to how you use your resources to attain profitability.”


While this is probably an imperfect translation I feel like it’s something worth sharing.
Go Ship Some Stuff!

Reverse Engineering & Thinking Outside The Box

I’m freshly returned from ASD (blog post about that escapade coming soon!) and taking a couple low-key days to recover from a cold that just won’t go away.

At ASD I made several new contacts and placed some orders. Some of the most promising booths that I visited did NOT offer me immediate access to their price list. While getting a spreadsheet price list that we can run through tools like Tactical Arbitrage or Price Checker 2 is akin to the “golden ticket” that we are looking for it doesn’t happen often.

While I was wasting time on facebook yesterday I came across a great example of how to use outside the box thinking to your advantage with FBA that I wanted to share with you. (Thanks to Jessica for agreeing to let me share this!)


Personally I think that she is selling herself short by saying that this is elementary, this is actually something that many people wouldn’t think of doing because they are stuck in the “Must.. Get.. Pricelist..” mindset.

Here is a checklist based off her post in my own words.

  1. Get approved wholesale account with a brand.
  2. Compile list of sellers that are also selling said brand.
  3. Compile list of brands that above sellers are also selling.
  4. Reach out to that list of brands to open accounts.
  5. When you get a wholesale account approved run a search for the brand name on AZ and filter down to only see the well reviewed/popular products.
  6. Run ASINspector or Jungle Scout to find the hot items inside that search and estimate sales velocity.
  7. See if you can buy those hot items at a price where you can make a profit.
  8. Take a bath in all the money you made, then start over again from step 1.

Okay, so step eight is my own idea but I think it’s a good addition 😉

This process is something that you can do very easily once you get a couple of wholesale accounts up and running. Most of this could be outsourced to a VA as well!

Go Ship Some Stuff!

Maximizing your retail arbitrage buys via the “OA Backdoor”

While I’m working towards wholesale the majority of my business is still Retail Arbitrage. I love the thrill of the hunt for a new item and the rush that I get when I find several of an item that I know will be profitable for me.

In this post I’m going to lay out one of my most valuable strategies – I call it the “OA Backdoor”

It’s not rocket science, but it’s made me a bunch of money and I wanted to share it with you.

Here’s a real life example:

A few days ago I scanned some toys that I’d not looked at before in Wal-Mart, there were several variations of the same type of toy with different characters from a children’s program.

Most of them weren’t profitable. Actually all but two weren’t profitable. The buy cost on the profitable one was $14 and the sale price on Amazon was over $40 with a rank under 20K in toys – Jackpot! Sadly though, there were only a couple of them in the store, I went to a couple other stores but only ended up with a total of five of this particular toy.

Alright – now to fire up the “OA Backdoor” method! When I got home I scanned the UPC and searched for it on Walmart.com – this brought me to a page that looks like the one in the photo below.

This is a textbook example of the “OA backdoor” at it’s finest. Even though there was NO picture and NO description I bought about 20 of these items because I knew what they were. If you were doing OA and saw this listing you probably would have passed on it because you had no way to know for sure if they were the correct item.

They were delivered to my house yesterday and I stand to make a few hundred bucks off of just a few minutes of my time placing an OA order.

Most of the time if you search for a profitable item you purchased RA you won’t find it online at the same price. A lot of profitable RA items that I currently sell are “in store only” items but it never hurts to make a quick search on Walmart.com, Target.com and even a quick google search. This is a very powerful method to help you scale your RA finds. While it doesn’t work often, when it does it’s a thing of beauty!

Alright – enough of me blathering on my blog – I have some stuff to prep and get out the door.

Go Ship Some Stuff!



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