Retail Arbitrage: 1 Easy to Start Side Hustle!

Several years ago, when I was shopping for a Christmas gift for my dad, I stumbled upon a foot massager at Kohl’s I thought he might like. Then I noticed it was on sale. Even better! After patting myself on the back for finding a great gift and saving some cash, I decided to snag a couple extra and see if I could sell them on Amazon. How cool would it be if I could make enough profit on them to pay for my dad’s gift? Sorry Dad…nothing personal!

What is Retail Arbitrage

My idea was to list them and see what happened. Worst case scenario: I figured I could at least get what I paid for them.

I paid around $45 and after a little research, decided I could sell them for between $95 – $125 each, so that’s what I did. I can’t remember the exact amount I ended up listing those first two units for, but the crazy thing is…

Both sold within minutes!

You can probably guess what I did next. I went back and bought all that they had. Every single one of them sold within days!

I was hooked! 

Even during a trip to another state, I ran into a local Kohl’s and lucked upon two more.  I did not have a smart phone at the time, so I ran into a Best Buy and used one of their display models to list the two foot massagers.  And guess what? Those sold within minutes, too!

What is retail Arbitrage

The actual foot massager that I sold on Amazon.

That year, we went to several other Kohl’s stores and bought all those crazy-fast-selling foot massagers we could find. Before the season was over, we’d sold about 60 of them. Most of the Christmas gifts we bought that year were paid for with the profits we made from that venture.


What is Retail Arbitrage? Buying a product at a lower price and selling it on a marketplace such as Amazon at a higher price. Example: You find a close out on Bird feeders at your local Lowe’s. You buy the bird feeders at 70% off. You list the bird feeders on Amazon at retail.

Obviously, we repeated the same process the following Christmas, this time, buying every unit from every Kohl’s within a 50-mile radius. That year, there were a few other sellers listing them and some were selling for what I paid for mine, but I stuck it out and waited for their units to sell or I would buy them and relist them. Because of that, these didn’t sell quite as fast, but we still ended up selling over 100 foot massagers with enough profit to pay off our car!

Retail arbitrage is a fantastic way to earn extra money on the side. Some people actually even make a great living with it. In fact, the folks over at The Selling Family offer a lot of advice and guidance for running your own retail arbitrage business.

The video below does a great job of showing an overview of retail arbitrage.

If you are looking for an easy-to-start side hustle that will bring in some extra cash each month, consider combing the clearance shelves of your local retailers. You can use the Amazon app to scan items or other apps like Profit Bandit and instantly get a shot of how much an item is selling for and how popular it is. One word of advice is don’t just buy an item because it’s on sale without doing your homework. 

Retail arbitrage is  a side hustle with a limited amount of risk and one that you can actually start today. 

Just take a step,


Have you tried retail arbitrage? What was your biggest score?

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