Everything You Need to Know About Retail Arbitrage (Questions and Answers)

Retail arbitrage is a business model in which someone buys products from retail stores and sells them online. Thousands of people are making money with this business model, but it can be confusing at first.

In this blog post we will go over multiple questions people may have about retail arbitrage.

What is retail arbitrage and how does it work?

Retail arbitrage is a business model in which someone buys products from retail stores and sells them online.

At first glance it may seem like this would not be effective, but the truth is that people make good money with this business model. Many different individuals are making thousands of dollars through retail arbitrage every month. Retail Arbitragers find items at local stores for below market value and then sell them online at a profit by either selling on their own website or going to an Amazon FBA warehouse where they send all the items they buy.

Many different types of individuals use this as a way to generate income, including stay-at-home moms, veterans transitioning back into civilian life, college students who don’t want to go into debt, etc.

Why do people use retail arbitrage to make money?

Many different individuals use retail arbitrage as a way to generate income.

The main reason is that they are able to work from home and make good money for an incredibly low investment of time or money. There’s no need for expensive equipment, advertising, etc., like you would have with other types of business models.

Additionally, this can be done by anyone regardless if they are young or old (as long as they know how to drive), men or women (even people who may not feel comfortable selling products face-to-face), etc. If someone wants to start making income with a low investment then it doesn’t get easier than retail arbitrage!

Is Retail Arbitrage Ethical?

Retail Arbitrage is not unethical simply because it exists. It can be considered unethical if the products are counterfeit, or if they were stolen, but there is no ethical problem with selling used merchandise you’ve purchased legally.

If Retail Arbitrage was illegal people wouldn’t do this for a living! While some will tell you that retail arbitrage isn’t a good business practice and should only be done on an infrequent basis to get rid of items that won’t sell in your yard sale; more often than not, these critics don’t even try what others have turned into full-time careers. They act like it’s so easy to find high ticket items at thrift stores when in reality most of us go home with bags of random junk.

Retail Arbitrage is completely ethical when you purchase goods at full retail price, in good faith that the seller has the right to sell them and they are not stolen nor counterfeit. If you can’t resell these items for a profit it isn’t unethical; if anything, it’s just bad business! The fact remains that anyone who pays cash for something legally owns that item regardless what someone else may say or think about your intention to turn around and sell it again.

Is retail Arbitrage Legal?

Yes, as mentioned above this is completely legal.

However, there are a few states that have their own rules about how this type of business model can be run and some people violate those specific laws.

It’s important to look up the laws for your own state and follow them accordingly.

Please note that we are not legal professionals, so you should always consult with a lawyer before making this type of business decision.

Can You Scale Retail Arbitrage?

Retail Arbitrage is a business model you can scale.

For example, some people make the mistake of going out and purchasing an entire store worth of items they think will sell at a high price online. This is not how to do retail arbitrage because you need to find niche markets that are underserved by other sellers in order for this item to be truly profitable when it sells on Amazon or another site.

A good way to test out these types of products before investing hundreds, if not thousands, into them is with ebay. If your product doesn’t sell within 30 days then chances are it won’t ever have enough demand from customers who want the same thing over and over again so don’t waste any more money on that item.

This is where the scalability comes in. Once you mastered your niche and know what sells good, you can then go all in and buy more, which will eventually lead to you selling more.

How Long Does it Take to Make Money Retail Arbing?  

The time it takes to make money retail arbitraging varies person-to-person based on how fast they work and their level of experience. However, if someone knows what they’re doing then this could be done as quickly as one day for some people all the way up to six months or more depending on where they live (e.g., urban areas will have faster access than rural locations). The point is that once you become experienced in retail arbitrage it doesn’t take very long to make your money back.

What Is a Good Profit Margin When Doing Retail Arbitrage?

This is all based on what you sell and how much it costs for you to find the product. Some people might say that a good profit margin in retail arbitrage (or any business) should be at least 40%.

However, this isn’t necessarily true because if your cost of sourcing an item is $20 and you can resell it for $80 then obviously making 60% would be extremely profitable but not everyone experiences such large margins when doing retail arbitraging! It’s important to look up items online so see their average selling price which will give you a better idea about whether or not something has potential to make money. If the current market value makes it too difficult to flip than just move onto something else.

Can You Make A living Off of Retail Abritrage?

Yes, it is possible to make a living off retail arbitrage! This business model has the potential to generate thousands of dollars per week or month depending on how much time you put into finding items.

Once you get past the learning curve and begin to scale your business you will be amazed at how much money can come through this model.

What’s the Difference Between Retail Arbitrage and Online Arbitrage?

Retail arbitraging, also known as “store-based” retail arbitraging is when someone purchases an item from a store with the intention of reselling that same product online for higher than what they bought it or flipping different items into FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). This type of system allows people to work on their own time because all they need to do is drive around and pick up inventory throughout their day whenever possible.

Online arbing, which was mentioned above , takes place on sites like Ebay or other market places where someone might find something he/she thinks is going to sell well on Amazon or another website that he/she can flip into FBA.

What’s the Difference Between Retail Arbitrage and Wholesale?

There’s a lot of different ways people make money online but there are two main models: retail arbitraging and wholesale. Wholesaling is when someone purchases an item from a wholesaler for lower than what they plan on selling it for whereas retail arbitration happens when you purchase items from retailers with the intention of reselling those same products online at markets like Amazon, Ebay, etc… In order to know if something qualifies as “wholesale” you’d need to speak directly with suppliers in your area who handle high volumes of products.

What Are The Best Stores For Retail Arbitrage?

There are a few different types of stores that are great for retail arbitrage. The first type is what we call “big box” stores. These are the large, well-known retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. They tend to have a lot of inventory and often times you can find good deals on clearance items.

The second type of store is what we call “mom and pop” stores. These are the smaller, independent retailers that you often find in your local community. They usually have a lot less inventory than the big box stores, but they can be a great place to find deals on unique items.

What are some Tools I need to Get Started with Retail Arbitrage?

The only tool that is 100% necessary in order to get started with retail arbitraging are scanners. There are many different types of scanners available depending on the price range you’re looking for, but all these devices will do the job…you just need to make sure it has bluetooth capabilities if you want to scan an item while your phone is offline. Other tools include apps like Scoutify  or Amazon’s Seller app. If anyone wants a free deal finding app then I would recommend using Red Laser because this allows people track prices and quickly pull up whether or not something was profitable before leaving the store (which helps save time). These three resources should be sufficient enough to help any person get into retail arbitrage!

Is Retail Arbitrage Considered A Business?

Yes, retail arbitraging is considered a business. It’s even possible to get your own EIN (employer identification number) in the United States if you plan on doing this full time or want it to be treated as an official business entity. There are many different places one could go in order to make their side hustle into something more serious which will allow them freedom and flexibility with what they do! These benefits are not available when working for someone else at a typical job so that is why people chose this type of work over corporate positions.   

How Hard is Retail Arbitrage?

Retail arbitraging is not difficult at all. You’ll need to develop a system that works for you, but once this has been completed than the only thing left to do is drive around and pick up inventory throughout your day whenever possible . This allows people work on their own time because they can just go out during breaks or even after work! All in all, retail arbitration does require some getting used to if someone isn’t familiar with working independently but it’s definitely something possible for anyone who wants more freedom .   

The pros and cons of using retail arbitrage as a way to make money  online

Pros of Retail Arbitrage:

-With a retail arbitrage business you don’t have a boss.

-You can work whenever and wherever you want.

-Less stress compared to working a typical job because if something doesn’t go your way then it’s not like someone will fire you (obviously I’m speaking in terms of retail arbitrage as a side hustle).  You’re the boss! You decide when products need to be bought or sold, etc…

-Sourcing inventory is relatively easy for this type of business since there are many different places people can look such as dollar stores, thrift shops, garage sales/estate sales , and even online classifieds . When starting out with this model initially than all that may be needed is some patience at first but once systems have been developed than anyone should easily see themselves making money consistently .

-This business isn’t expensive at all. If someone is strapped for cash then they could easily get started with retail arbitrage by just using their phone and a bluetooth barcode scanner . All in all, this method does not require much to start!

Cons of Retail Arbitrage:

-People need to be willing to put in the work. There is a learning curve with this type of business so it doesn’t matter if someone has tons of talent or prior experience because they will still have to learn how retail arbitrage works before seeing consistent results.

-You have to drive around a lot. When starting out, it might take time for people to see consistent results so if someone doesn’t want the added stress of having to pick up inventory then this type of business may not be best suited for them .

-You have less control over your profit margins compared more passive income opportunities such as affiliate marketing.

-Not everyone has the discipline to work independently. When working for an employer, people are provided with a set schedule so it’s easier to be more productive because they have less control over their time. With retail arbitrage being independent based then this requires self motivation since there isn’t anyone who can really push you into getting things done!

Tips To Be Successful in Retail Arbitrage:

-Be patient.  When starting out with this type of business then people need to be willing to work hard and put in the time needed before seeing consistent results . This may take a little bit for some but there have been many cases where it only takes a few months so if someone is dedicated than they should see themselves making money soon! Just remember that patience does pay off .   

-Know when it’s best to buy or sell inventory. Sometimes you can find products that are overpriced online, etc… which means you could end up buying something at too high of a price just because you’re desperate for inventory whereas other times you might actually get lucky and pick up items very cheap from dollar stores, thrift shops , etc… which means it’s a good idea to sell those items at a higher price. Overall, this requires self-awareness and learning how the market works .

-Have an “in” with local sources for retail arbitrage inventory. The biggest issue with starting out is not knowing where people can find cheap products but once someone has developed some connections then they should have no problem sourcing out profitable inventory! Networking really does help especially since there are so many different places that someone could buy or sell from such as dollar stores , thrift shops, garage sales/estate sales, etc…   

-Create systems in order to be more efficient about your work flow. This will create a consistent stream of income every single month without having to rely on luck or marketing methods. Some ways of doing this would be creating a spreadsheet for inventory, labeling products ahead of time, etc…   

What is the future of Retail Arbitrage?

-In 2017, the US has seen a steady increase in ecommerce sales. This is expected to continue growing as well because people are looking for ways of saving money and getting an even better deal! That being said, it’s safe to say that retail arbitrage will always have a place within businesses.  The method may change overtime but there isn’t any signs of this business model going away anytime soon since everyone loves a good bargain!  

What are some common mistakes people make when they first start out with retail arbitrage?

-Buying at too high of a price. This means that sometimes people see something online and they get excited to buy it because it’s cheap but this is one of the biggest mistakes someone can make when starting out with retail arbitrage! Even if an item looks like a good deal, you still need to be able to sell it for more than what you bought it for in order to make your money back.  For example; let’s say there are two similar items being sold on Ebay for $100 each where one was purchased from Target while the other was purchased from Walmart. If both were then resold on Ebay after adding shipping costs plus fees then chances are the item purchased from Walmart would actually have higher profits even though it was initially cheaper.

-Not knowing how to market their products effectively. This means that someone might have the best deals in town but if they don’t know how to promote themselves then there is a good chance that no one will actually ever see it! So, when starting out with retail arbitrage then you should learn effective marketing techniques because this can really help boost your sales.   

How can I get started with retail arbitrage?

Simply decide on how much money you want to start with then choose a niche you think may be profitable. Next, search for items online that are being sold for more than what they’re worth and then sell them on Ebay or Amazon! It’s as simple as that.

Is Retail Arbitrage Worth It?

To some people becoming a retail arbitrage seller may be a good idea. If you’re a go getter and don’t mind the learning curve and the grind of going from retail store to retail store then it’s definitely worth trying out. It can also be a great side hustle for those who are looking to make extra money on the weekends or even if you’re already retired and don’t want to spend your time doing things that bore you!


I hope this blog post helped answer some questions you may have about the retail arbitrage business. As always, leave any questions or comments down below and I will be sure to get back to everyone as soon as possible!

If you found this blog post helpful please share it on social media or with friends and family.

Take a look at our other most recent blog posts below:

Everything You Need to Know About Retail Arbitrage (Questions and Answers)
Scroll to top