Normally, you wouldn't think of Amazon as a company that flies under the radar. Certainly, it has its PR pros, but sometimes I wonder if Amazon is purposefully hiding some of its more interesting features, such as the Outlet page. Amazon Outlet is a little-known section hidden deep within the site that goes, for the most part, completely unnoticed by buyers and sellers alike.
Why should you be interested in an ill-advertised offering such as Amazon Outlet? Well, for one thing you can actually search for overstocked inventory with slashed prices, you can even filter your results by the size of the discount you want. Not only that, but most often you can find discounts on overstocked items between 10 percent and 70 percent off of their MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) in each and every category under which Amazon has listings.
Once you've navigated the labyrinthine store directory to find Amazon Outlet, you can begin your actual browsing. Just be careful not to get lost along the way!
To make a short story, even more brief: Really obscure. Its search traffic is nigh-non-existent. Take a look at its interest over time from Google Trends:
That's right. The world's largest retailer has a bargain sales page that consistently gets out performed by the keyword "walnuts." It's a little bit sad when you put it in those terms.
The hits keep coming though, as most people in the world aren't even aware enough to enter in the search term in the first place. In point of fact, there are only nine countries across the globe that searched for this distinct phrase at all:
So what gives? Is Amazon purposefully hiding its best deals from all of its visitors?
You see, Amazon.com is a tightly run operation. A well-oiled machine that doesn't normally have a lot left over to slash and sell. An excess of inventory may happen occasionally, but when it does, it's an easy fix. With more than 75 million monthly visitors (in a slow month), Amazon just doesn't need to advertise much of anything, let alone its overabundance of 10 boxes of baby diapers.
The excess inventory pretty much works itself out based on the enormous volume of traffic the site gets. If one out of every thousand people knows about Amazon Outlet, the site still has 75,000 people perusing that section of the site for deals. And if one out of every thousand of those 75,000 wants an item that Amazon currently has too many of... Well, you can do the math.
So what does all of this mean for you?
Luckily, you can just use the regular search function on Amazon Outlet as you normally would when doing your usual online shopping. This is a great feature especially when compared with the Lightning deals or Gold box deals which come in a list form with no search functionality enabled. And as I mentioned above, you can also filter the results by discount, as well as any of the other filters that you might want to use.
However, there are still some steps you want to take before purchasing to ensure you're getting the most bang for your buck here. After all, these discounts are only off of the MSRP, which is known to be much higher than the average retail price on a frequent basis. Instead of buying with one click blindly on faith, you'll want to do some comparing and contrasting.
There is, of course, the old-fashioned way in which you do this manually, but I recommend you get a comparison tool to help you with the leg work. CamelCamelCamel, for example,is an excellent deal tracker that works exclusively on the Amazon platform. It works as either a browser or web application that provides you an exhaustive price history of the product of your choice. Best of all, it's 100 percent free.
By taking advantage of the deals that no one else knows about, you can source items for your own drop shipping business and provide your buyers with the items they want, while you get them at heavily discounted prices. It's just one more arena that will allow you to improve your own inventory, increase your supplies, and provide a satisfactory product for buyers of your own.
What other odd, strange, and otherwise ingenious sourcing opportunities have you heard of? Let your fellow drop shippers know in the comment section. Or, if you're looking for more sourcing resources for yourself, check out the SaleHoo Seller Training Center for some free online learning resources.