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Is Amazon Arbitrage Worth it?

Amazon arbitrage is a popular and effective way to make money online. Like any method, there are pros and cons you need to consider before diving in.

Today’s article unveils the intricacies, benefits, and challenges of this ever-changing business model. No frills, just straightforward insights to help you navigate the world of Amazon Arbitrage effectively.

What is Amazon arbitrage?

Amazon Arbitrage is a business model where sellers leverage price differences between different platforms to buy products at a lower cost and resell them for a profit. This can involve sourcing products from retail stores, online marketplaces and clearance racks. The goal is to capitalize on pricing variations and offer products to a wider audience.

The arbitrageur, or seller, aims to identify products with a price differential that allows for a profit margin after considering all associated costs, such as the purchase price, shipping fees, and Amazon fees.

What is Amazon online arbitrage?

Amazon Arbitrage

Amazon Online Arbitrage (
OA) involves buying products from an online retailer at a lower cost and reselling these products for a higher price point on online marketplaces.

Amazon online arbitrage is a reasonably easy business model to start and affords third-party sellers the option to sell products from the comfort of their homes. However, online arbitrage may not be as passive as some new sellers think. It requires a lot of time and energy on product sourcing and evaluating overall costs and price points.

With online arbitrage, you must ship goods to Amazon, adding complexity to the sales model. Depending on the product, sellers’ margins can be slim as they must also pay Amazon fees to sell on the platform.


  • Diversified product portfolio: Amazon online arbitrage allows sellers to curate a diverse and expansive product portfolio. By sourcing products from various online platforms, sellers can tap into a wide array of niches and capitalize on emerging trends.
  • Low initial investment and risk: Compared to traditional retail models, Amazon online arbitrage offers a relatively low barrier to entry. Sellers can start with a modest investment, experimenting with various products without the need for significant upfront costs. A lower risk allows you to test the waters, learn the intricacies of the market, and scale your operations gradually based on your comfort and success.
  • Access to a global customer base: Leveraging the power of Amazon’s vast marketplace gives you access to a global customer base. Amazon’s expansive reach allows sellers to connect with diverse audiences, fostering the growth and scalability of their online business.

What is Amazon retail arbitrage?

Amazon Retail Arbitrage (RA) involves buying products from a physical retail store for less and reselling these products on online marketplaces like Amazon for higher price points. In the retail Amazon arbitrage model, sellers must also invest time and energy in product sourcing and logistics.


  • Immediate product availability: One distinctive advantage of Amazon retail arbitrage is the ability to source products directly from physical retail stores. This ensures immediate inventory availability, allowing you to respond quickly to market trends and capitalize on opportunities.
  • Hands-on product inspection: Physically visiting stores allows you to assess product quality, check for damages, and ensure that items meet your standards before purchasing.
  • Real-time market analysis: By physically visiting stores and observing customer behavior, you can gain valuable insights into current trends, customer preferences, and product demand.

Amazon OA offers the advantages of a diversified product portfolio, low initial investment, and access to a global customer base. On the other hand, Amazon RA provides unique benefits such as immediate product availability, hands-on product inspection, and real-time market analysis, allowing you to swiftly respond to trends and ensure quality control through physical engagement. Combining both approaches can help you build a robust and adaptive business.

Is Amazon arbitrage worth it?

To succeed in Amazon arbitrage, whether you’re hitting retail stores or shopping online, you need a good eye for good discounts, smart pricing, and solid logistics. Before diving in, consider your competition and Amazon fees. Your success depends on how well you adapt, catch market trends, and navigate the Amazon world. Amazon arbitrage is all about finding a balance that works for you.

Is Amazon arbitrage free?

Engaging in Amazon Arbitrage, whether through in-store retail or online sourcing, involves various expenses. Expenses include the initial cost of purchasing products, shipping fees, Amazon fees, and storage costs like third-party logistics providers (3PLs). It’s crucial to recognize associated costs before deciding if Amazon arbitrage is right for you.

Reason to choose Amazon arbitrage

Amazon Arbitrage

Besides making money from sourcing and reselling products, Amazon arbitrage has some interesting benefits that encourage buyers to adopt this trading model specifically for the Amazon marketplace.

Reason #1 Capitalize On Trends

It’s normal in this day and age to find in-demand and or trending products, especially across different seasons. For example, toys are hot products that arbitrage sellers can buy and resell on Amazon for profit during Christmas.

Amazon FBA retail arbitrage and online arbitrage sellers can diversify their market and adapt to trends by watching social content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. These platforms offer hints about viral products that people are scouring to purchase on sites like Amazon. Keeping up with trends is a massive component of online and retail arbitrage.

Reason #2 Low Barrier to Entry

Anyone can sell using the RA or OA method. An added bonus is that you can source and sell different products while building credibility and ensuring customers get maximum satisfaction from your goods. (Some brands and manufacturers may request approval from sellers at any given time.)

Reason #3 Low Investment

You do not necessarily need a large capital investment to start retail or online arbitrage since you can purchase products from other retailers and online platforms for a lower cost.

Typically, high-volume purchases can mean discounted prices, so it can be advantageous to purchase in bulk, depending on the demand for each product.

You won’t need to spend money creating and optimizing Amazon product listings, either. You’ll often sell these products under existing listings because you are not the brand owner, making both RA and OA cost-effective sales models.

Reason #4 Fast ROI

Another great benefit of online and retail arbitrage is the profit you can make from reselling items if you get the process right. Once you find a buyer, you can easily send the goods to Amazon FBA to process the delivery. As a result, you can enter different product categories and markets, increase sales and incur a faster return on investment.

Reason #5 Fast Way to Scale

Online and retail arbitrage are fast ways to scale your Amazon business because you can scale your inventory and business faster than private label selling.

Step by step: how to sell Amazon arbitrage

Here’s a step-by-step overview of the Amazon arbitrage process.

Step 1 Find profitable products: Whether in-store or online, find items with price differences that allow for a profit.

Step 2 Set up your Amazon seller account: If you haven’t already, create your Amazon Seller Account.

Step 3 Know Amazon’s rules: Following Amazon’s policies is crucial to avoid issues. Stay updated on any changes to stay compliant.

Step 4 Check out your competition: Look at what others are doing. Find ways to stand out among competitors.

Step 5 Optimize your product listings: Make appealing product listings. This includes good titles, detailed descriptions, and high-quality images.

Step 6 Decide your price: Create a price strategy considering your competition, costs, and profit.

Step 7 Consider and plan logistics: Set up a system for product sourcing, storage, and shipping.

Step 8 Provide great customer service: Focus on good customer service. Answer questions, solve problems, and handle returns professionally.

Step 9 Be flexible and willing to adapt: Keep an eye on what’s trending. Be ready to adjust your products and strategies as needed.

Following these straightforward steps can help you build a solid foundation for success with Amazon Arbitrage.

Is Amazon arbitrage hard?

 Amazon arbitrage

Like any business model, Amazon arbitrage has challenges that should be mitigated to keep your Amazon account in good standing. Knowing these potential risks can help you maintain account health and smooth operations.

#1 Product sourcing difficulty: Locating profitable deals through in-store retail arbitrage or online sourcing can be challenging. It requires a keen eye for undervalued items and a strategic approach to finding products that offer a margin for profit.

#2 Amazon’s policies and regulations: Navigating through Amazon’s extensive and often intricate policies and regulations poses a significant challenge. Stay compliant to avoid penalties or account suspensions.

#3 Customer service challenges: Product quality problems like damaged packaging, packaging that doesn’t match the listing description, store returns with possible missing parts unknown to the seller, etc., can arise.

#4 Intellectual property complaints: IP complaints can arise when an Amazon arbitrage seller sells a particular product from a renowned brand. Usually, the brand may ask you to provide invoices and proof of authorization to sell their products, and if not prepared, you may or may not have access to this documentation.

#5 Intense competition: The popularity of Amazon as a selling platform means sellers face fierce competition. Standing out amidst a sea of similar products and finding a niche can be a considerable hurdle for those engaged in Amazon Arbitrage.

#6 Market dynamics and trends: The e-commerce landscape is dynamic, with trends and consumer preferences changing rapidly. Stay abreast of market shifts to develop informed and adaptable strategies.

#7 Challenging logistics: Efficiently managing the logistics of sourcing, storing, and shipping products is a challenge, particularly as the scale of operations increases. Sellers must establish streamlined processes to handle these aspects effectively.

#8 Market fluctuations: The market for certain products can be volatile, and you’ll need to adapt quickly to price fluctuations, demand changes, and other market dynamics to stay competitive and profitable.

Understanding and proactively addressing these challenges is vital. Each aspect demands careful consideration and strategic planning to ensure success.

How to find the best Amazon arbitrage products

Sourcing the best Amazon arbitrage products, whether for retail arbitrage or online arbitrage, requires a thoughtful and systematic approach. Follow these steps to find a solid selection of Amazon arbitrage products.

Step 1 Start with research: Begin your product-finding journey with thorough research. Understand the Amazon marketplace and identify product categories that align with your interests and expertise.

Step 2 Analyze best sellers and trends: Examine Amazon’s Best Sellers list and monitor current trends. Tracking trends on and off the platform provides insights into what customers are actively purchasing and can help you identify potentially lucrative products.

Step 3 Utilize Amazon arbitrage tools: Arbitrage tools like SmartScout can help you unlock products based on various criteria, including rating, price, and category. By employing SmartScout to explore sought-after products not easily accessible on Amazon, you can discover lucrative opportunities for sourcing and reselling.

Step 4 Explore clearance and discount sections: Physical retail stores often have clearance or discount sections where products are marked down. This can be a goldmine for finding items with significant price differentials.

Step 5 Thrift stores and liquidation centers: Thrift stores and liquidation centers are treasure troves for discounted goods. Discount stores offer unique and undervalued products that can be profitable on Amazon.

Step 6 Check online retailers and marketplaces: Extend your search to online retailers and marketplaces beyond Amazon. Platforms like Walmart, Target, or eBay may have products with price disparities worth exploring.

Step 7 Scan for clearance and sales events: Keep an eye on clearance sales and special events in-store and online. Scanning clearance goods can lead to heavily discounted items.

Step 8 Join online communities: Engage with online communities and forums where other Amazon sellers share insights and tips. Platforms like Reddit, Amazon Facebook groups and niche forums can provide valuable information about profitable products.

Step 9 Evaluate profit margins: Assess potential profit margins for each product before you buy. Factor in all costs, including purchase price, shipping fees, and Amazon fees, to ensure your final margin is worthwhile.

Step 10 Consider seasonal opportunities: Be mindful of seasonal opportunities. Certain products may experience increased demand during specific seasons or events, presenting a chance for higher profits.

Step 11 Build relationships with your suppliers: Establish relationships with reliable suppliers. Whether it’s a local distributor, liquidation company, or an online wholesaler, having a reliable product source is key to sustained success.

Finding products requires a blend of research, strategic thinking, and a keen eye for opportunities. Consistency, adaptability, and a commitment to staying informed about market trends are the cornerstones of success in Amazon arbitrage.

Amazon online and retail arbitrage products to avoid

Amazon arbitrageWhile Amazon Arbitrage opens doors to various opportunities, certain product categories and items are restricted or prohibited for resale on the platform. Understanding these limitations is crucial to avoid potential issues and maintain compliance with Amazon’s policies.

#1 Avoid restricted brands: Certain brands may implement restrictions or require approval for you to list their products. Attempting to sell restricted brands without proper authorization can result in an Amazon account suspension.

#2 Hazardous materials: Products classified as hazardous materials, such as flammable or pressurized items, are generally prohibited. You must adhere to strict regulations regarding the shipping and handling of hazardous products.

#3 Counterfeit and unauthorized items: Selling counterfeit or unauthorized replicas of branded products is strictly against Amazon’s policies. Ensure the authenticity of products to avoid legal consequences.

#4 Illegal and prohibited items: Items that are illegal, prohibited, or infringe on intellectual property rights are not allowed. This includes items such as illegal drugs, stolen goods, or products that violate copyright or trademark laws.

#5 Recalled products: Reselling products that have been recalled by manufacturers or regulatory agencies is prohibited. Stay informed about product recalls and ensure your inventory does not include recalled goods.

#6 Restricted categories: Some product categories have specific restrictions or require sellers to obtain approval before listing items. Examples include certain types of electronics, dietary supplements, and medical devices.

#7 Used clothing: Amazon generally prohibits the sale of used clothing through the arbitrage model. New, unopened items are preferred for resale.

Understanding and adhering to Amazon’s restricted product policy is essential for maintaining a positive seller account and avoiding potential legal issues.

5 things that make Amazon arbitrage challenging

As you begin your Amazon Arbitrage journey, you’ll notice a few factors contributing to the challenges of the business model.

#1 Product authenticity concerns: Counterfeit products on Amazon raise concerns about product authenticity. Buyers and Amazon alike are becoming increasingly vigilant, making it challenging for arbitrage sellers to ensure the legitimacy of sourced products. Navigating this landscape requires additional scrutiny and diligence to avoid potential issues with counterfeit claims.

#2 Extreme price fluctuations: The introduction of automated repricing tools has created an environment where product prices on Amazon fluctuate rapidly. Sudden and unpredictable price changes challenge Amazon arbitrage sellers to adapt swiftly to maintain profitability.

#3 Increasing brand gating: A notable challenge with Amazon Arbitrage is the increasing trend of brand gating and stricter restrictions imposed by brands. To protect their image and control distribution, more brands are opting for gating measures, limiting the entry of unauthorized sellers.

#4 Supply chain disruptions: Global events, such as geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions, significantly impact the availability and cost of products. Unforeseen events like trade disputes or natural disasters have been shown to disrupt the sourcing pipeline, making it challenging for arbitrage sellers to secure a stable and cost-effective supply of products.

#5 Retail Stores Limiting Bulk Purchases: A growing challenge is the ever-evolving restriction to bulk purchase products. Retailers are more cautious about selling large quantities to individual buyers, making it more challenging for arbitrage sellers to secure enough inventory.

How to protect your Amazon arbitrage business

Amazon arbitrage comes with its fair share of risks. To stay on top of account health, you need dependable processes to help you mitigate risks and keep customer complaints at bay. As an arbitrage seller, you should:

  • Thoroughly inspect and conduct quality and packaging checks before sending products to Amazon or shipping them to the customer. Customers will complain and return flawed or defective products– you don’t want bad feedback about your business.
  • Have detailed procedures for matching products to the listing detail page to prevent complaints. Ensure the item strictly fits its online description before sending it to the buyer to avoid complaints due to negligence.
  • Collect and carefully store the receipts for all the products. The receipts will come in handy when you need to either return a product to where you sourced it or prove its own when necessary.
  • Source goods from reputable businesses where the company name is on the receipt. Getting your products from reputable stores helps avert brand intellectual property complaints and gives your business good credibility.
  • Have an aggressive quality management program for your buyers. When buyers have complaints, do not ignore them. For multiple complaints, pause your product listing and examine the product for defects or quality issues.
  • Keep an Amazon account appeal service on hand in case issues arise. Your account health is crucial to your ability to sell on the platform. Having expert guidance in your back pocket is a necessity.

Have you considered Amazon arbitrage?

Online arbitrage (OA) and retail arbitrage (RA) are proven methods to make money on Amazon. While they may seem to offer fast profits, they require time and a dedicated approach.

Research the best products to sell, identify the best time to enter the market at a low cost, slowly build your customer base, and manage product and shipping quality at all costs.

Have a question about Amazon online vs. retail arbitrage? Our Amazon Consulting Services can help you scale your arbitrage business. We’re here to help.

Amazon. Solved.


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