Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Sept 28 2017 21:38:30

eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is actively promoting the practice of retail arbitrage. It recently sent emails to sellers encouraging them to visit Kmart stores slated for closure in order to pick up discounted products to resell on eBay.

"Kmart has recently announced that one of their locations near you is expected to close. The departure of their stores may create sourcing possibilities for you."

Picking up discounted items at retail stores to resell on Amazon and eBay, a product-sourcing practice called Retail Arbitrage, is frowned upon in some quarters. Retailers like Target and Kohl's have banned resellers, and there are reports that at least in some categories or brands, Amazon has cracked down by requiring sellers to prove they're authorized resellers (usually by submitting invoices showing where they acquired their inventory). Tech columnist Kim Komando even warned her readers about the practice.

However, eBay is fully on board with it, sending out emails advising sellers to "Act Now: Inventory for Resale Near You - Find a variety of products at closeout prices." It even provided a map sellers could use to find Kmart stores in their area.

eBay wrote, "Huge product variety and competitive prices on closeouts from the biggest retails stores will be available soon. Recently, Kmart announced that some of their locations are expected to close. Use the map below to see if you're near one of the effected stores. This sourcing opportunity offers a wide mix of hot-selling inventory at competitive prices for resale on eBay."

eBay got specific, listing items currently in high demand along with an eBay recommended price. Some of the items it listed:

- Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. 33265 6 Quart Programmable Insulated Slow Cooker for $34.99

- Garden Oasis Harrison 7 Piece Dining Set for $179.99

- Sunny Health & Fitness 060 40 lb. Vinyl Dumbbell Set for $19.99

- Taylor Cutlery BTI Tools, LLC Old Timer Junior Folding Pocket Knife Saw for $14.99

- Blue Wave Sports Thunderbolt 44-in Inflatable Snow Rider for $14.99

It seems we could expect to see bluelight specials on eBay. What do you think of retail arbitrage, and is it a good strategy for eBay sellers?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

This user has validated their user name. by: Castoman

Thu Sep 28 22:35:59 2017

I see nothing wrong with buying stuff at a discounted price in order to sell it.  Been doing that off and on my whole life.  The emails from Ebay seem a little over the top?  What are they doing?  Trying to get more flea market people like me to drink the crack and pay for a store and fees?  Just to then try to weed them out as they bow to the big box stores and overseas sellers?  Confounding.  I bet their big box store customers are not all that pleased with this marketing direction Ebay has taken.  Interesting.  

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Sep 28 23:50:39 2017

There are folks who make money ''arbitraging''. A lot of them. So it is tough to be the price leader and still turn a decent profit. And, unlike dropshippers, they most always have the goods in hand.

As far as my business is concerned, I source most of my items at 10 cents or less on the dollar. These opportunities are just not available at a retail store, no matter how deeply they discount the merchandise (well, maybe when the stuff is sold for 90% off). But, of course, by then all the fruit is picked off the trees.

One personal arbitarge story I will share: A couple of years after DVDs were introduced, the original ''Willy Wonka'' movie was out of print, and in huge demand. In fact, it sold on VHS tape for around $25 at eBay auction (remember, this is before Buy It Now and eBay Stores).

I read an ad in the TV Guide for the Columbia House DVD Club. The Wonka DVD was available online, and the introductory Club offer was 9 DVDs for 99 cents. I ordered 9 copies. Even was questioned by Columbia House, and told them that the order was correct, and to send them. Sold each copy for an average of $100+!!

There was an ECB post not too long ago featuring people who buy markdowns, and then post videos of their finds on YouTube. A gal bought some closeout flashlights at Kohl's, I believe, and thought she could get $35 each for them.

After they were all sold out, the market was flooded with the same lights, and the price plummeted. In fact, the lady paid more for them than they were worth two weeks after she posted her video.

Certainly eBay embraces arbitrage. Can't blame tham. And if they can encourage those who want to work for them for just a little profit, great............

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Sep 29 01:21:01 2017

Not really worth it in toys, even if you're willing to sit on stuff for years, as collectors are just way too cheap these days.

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 05:51:06 2017

Really Ebay.......The crap that Kmart has been selling over the past 10 years is worthy of first class garbage. Its like buying Chinese seconds. Its one of the main reasons KMart and Sears are going out of business.

No one wanted to by seconds so now Ebay thinks this will be such a good deal for sellers. More like more money for Ebay. Just going to add to the overload on the site with more over priced garbage that doesn't sell.

Just another reason to stay off of Ebay

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 06:46:14 2017



if ebay thinks this is such a good idea, then they should be buying it all up to stock their imaginary fulfillment warehouse,

I just cannot  find even one positive thing to say about ebay, nothing, not one single thing, it's really quite sad.  

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 10:39:49 2017

Good for ebay on this one. It is our right to buy and resell our property.
It's rare but I applaud ebay for their stance on this.


Amazon is just a coward who bows to brands.

Now if ebay could only make their Vero a little more fair.

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 11:04:21 2017

I have no idea who the heck "Kim Komando" is - or why her point on this or anything is relevant.

eBay wants sales, it needs sellers selling items, it offered people who dont have connections in an industry (clothing, electronics etc) a way to buy goods cheap to sell.

Its got nothing to do with Amazon (which due to comingling means you can send in fakes and then when theres an issue claim its not your fault its Amazons)(but thats another topic altogether).

Whos business is it where anyone gets their items from as long as they are legally obtained and are "real" items.

Curious since whats the difference between doing that and buying closeouts or pallets of shelf pulls/returns?

People have too much time to stick their noses into others issues - NO KIM KOMANDO - MYOB.

"Alexa, please teach the Komando to not get involved in other peoples issues".

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Sep 29 11:43:27 2017

@pace306

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Komando

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 12:04:56 2017

so, a newbie gets a email from fleecebay....

newbie go's to Kmart and buys a bunch of cheap china made junk....

newbie lists the junk on fleecebay....

fleecebay suggests the newbie sells the cheap china junk for 99 cents, with free shipping, guaranteed delivery, free 60 day returns and use promoted listings....

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Sep 29 13:30:25 2017

@Pace306

If anyone still listens to the radio, Kim Komando has a great tech show. I think you might enjoy listening to it given your electronics product line.

Her comments aren't so much of a warning to buyers as they are to sellers, and the hassles sellers can encounter when arbitraging.

That aside, this smacks of the ebafia shark in the water opportunistically circling its wounded prey. Reeks of still more desperation.

I live in an area where a large K Mart is closing and received no such email from ebafia.

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 16:15:23 2017

Thank you ebay, its hard enough for those that practice this. I don't know what's worse the narcissists that have to utube their finds, or Ebay telling the world about it. Is it too much to ask for discretion anymore?

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: Mongoose This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 16:56:42 2017

The real question is will ebay do the same thing when their good friend, and best partner, Toys R Us goes under later this year.

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 17:41:28 2017

Hey Devin, worry about restoring the marketplace and fixing the search engine you ruined in the last 5 years with all your promoted listings that have corrupted search results and you idiotic sellers hub that is driving sellers to leave eBay for good.

Don't worry about eBay sellers buying stuff, they have to have cash to do so, since you have ruined the marketplace we have no customers and merchandise is not turning fast enough to make a profit on eBay no matter how cheap you buy it, since it just sits unsold.

Worry about Walmart who is making deals with Google for large amounts of traffic while you dream up return schemes thinking that is the solution to slow sales.

Worry about sellers looking at all marketplaces other than eBay because they despise the direction of upper management and  the stupid ideas you are running banner ads on like Sellers Hub and Promoted Listings, abominations that sellers do not want rubbed in their faces daily with your banner ads on their pages.

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 17:59:22 2017

Nothing wrong with retail arbitrage.  Trading up is primal.

Wondering why though, KMart doesn't do it themselves.  In fact, they don't even NEED eBay, they have their own online sales infrastructure available to sell the junk they couldn't....selll....oh.  

Nevermind.

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: Russ This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 29 20:43:04 2017

Wow!  Can't wait to go back to eBay as a buyer with the thought of Kmart merchandise available...huh?  Arbitrage shmarbitrage...junk is junk...no thanks, eBay or sellers scrambling to purchase this crap.  I used to sell on the kinder, gentler eBay sans the so-called entitled ''millennials.''  Let's all take a knee and redirect our allegiances...in the online commerce world.

I'll just buy from Amazon...easy, fast and certainly lining any pockets other than the eBay buffoons now ''painting'' their parachutes gold...eBay so wants to be purchased by Amazon.  Or Alibaba or anyone...

Disjointed rant/vent but thanks...it felt great!

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 30 08:50:27 2017

It's called business 101, buy low, sell high.  

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Oct 1 04:55:08 2017

Nothing wrong with retail arbitrage?  On the contrary, it's a clear sign of a lack of real opportunity in the economy.

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 1 12:43:18 2017

Hilariously enough..sears owns kmart..and Sears 8s starting to sell on amazon.

Has the world hone crazy?

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 2 09:00:14 2017

Retail arbitrage?  It is nothing more than expanding the product distribution network to areas of little direct supply.  Been doing it for twenty years and see no reason to stop. You do have to be very flexible, quick on the feet, and use multi venues.

Perminate Link for eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts   eBay Embraces Retail Arbitrage with Kmart Alerts

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 2 10:01:11 2017

Oh @Snapped!
K Mart is adverting  Yuuuuge Sales! Discounted prices! But when you go in the prices were jacked UP- WAY UP- and then "discounted" by a fraction. You can stand IN THEIR STORE on your phone and compare.prices of THEIR BRANDS on Amazon for way less.  Unless you NEED say a tool.right then ( and who is going to be backing up that Craftsman lifetime gaurantee anyways now???) it s not worth it.  Crockpots? Imagine the shipping on that! Weighted DUMBELLS? I could tell you WHO the "Dumbell" is at  FleeBay!!!!

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