“Hidden Clearance” is a fantastic way for the potential online arbitrageur to identify and source highly profitable products from retailers to resell on Amazon. If you’re serious about your online arbitrage business, you should be seeking out the absolute best price on every product you buy as this is what will maximise your profit margin and ultimately lead to the most success.
In this article, we talk about Sam’s Club hidden clearance, and how you can find products available at Sam’s Club at a discounted price using SourceMogul so you stand the best chance of success with your online arbitrage endeavours.
Hidden Clearance – how does it work?
When we say “hidden clearance”, we mean the process whereby a retailer will keep a product marked up at RRP, but the item is actually discounted and for sale at a lower price. Generally, the only way that you’ll find out about this “hidden” lower price is if you use the retailer’s website or their app. This can make for great arbitrage opportunities as you can pick out profitable items that nobody else is aware of.
Sam’s Club DOES do hidden clearance but they don’t do it online. Therefore, hidden clearance at Sam’s Club isn’t really a viable Amazon arbitrage strategy. Sam’s Club is still a great place to look for items you can resell on Amazon, however – they’re no stranger to marking down products to well below the RRP, and it’s this that you can leverage to source profitable products for your arbitrage business.
Sam’s Club membership
One of the common misconceptions about Sam’s Club is that you need a membership to be able to shop online. This isn’t true – you only need a membership if you’re shopping in-store. However, there are benefits to having a membership with Sam’s Club in that you can take advantage of exclusive discounts and can earn Sam’s Cash on online purchases, which can help you extract a bit more profit out of the products you source at Sam’s Club.
Choosing profitable products at Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club is one of the sites SourceMogul compares, alongside hundreds of other US retailers. It can identify when products are being sold at Sam’s Club for less than what they’re selling for on Amazon, and will show your profit margin alongside the product’s sales rank and supplier data.
In order to find profitable products at Sam’s Club, you need to perform a search. Go into SourceMogul and click “retailer”. You can then select Sam’s Club, and SourceMogul will give you a total number of products as well as the number that are expected to be profitable. You can also filter by category – and this is very useful for sellers just starting out as you are not likely to be able to sell in gated categories yet.
SourceMogul will allow you to factor in sales tax, coupons and other discounts too, to ensure you’re always very aware of exactly how much profit you can expect to make.
We’ve got an extensive selection of training articles on our site, as well as a very comprehensive guide to doing Amazon retail arbitrage with SourceMogul, which we’d highly recommend you’d read if you’re just starting out.
What are the best items to buy for arbitrage at Sam’s Club?
Ultimately, you should buy what’s profitable. Be aware of items in gated categories (which we go into below, and if this is something you want to avoid, you can exclude products in gated categories with SourceMogul) but generally Sam’s Club carries a very extensive range of products, any one of which could represent your next profitable online arbitrage opportunity.
More specifically, however, Sam’s Club has a very strong offering in the Home and Electronics categories – meaning there can be excellent arbitrage opportunities on living room furniture, office furniture, computers and tablets, storage solutions, outdoor decor and more. Again – SourceMogul will pick out the most profitable opportunities for you, so all you really need to worry about is whether the category is gated or not and whether Amazon will allow you to sell it.
Products you should be careful about buying at Sam’s Club
Unfortunately not everything sold at Sam’s Club is appropriate for online arbitrage. For example, Sam’s Club has a vast selection of automotive products available to buy online. Not just batteries and tires, but fluids like oils and coolants, as well as hand tools and toolboxes. However, automotive is a restricted (gated) category on Amazon and you may find yourself with products that Amazon won’t allow you to sell via FBA if you’re a new seller or your customer metrics aren’t good enough, so be careful.
You may also find, for example, that if you buy tires and there’s something wrong with them, the return process at Sam’s Club is more difficult than it would have been for another type of product. So you could be left with a product that you can’t sell on Amazon and can’t return, either.
Other categories you should stay away from (at least while you’re a new seller) are alcohol and organic products. Be sure to check out the full list of Amazon restricted categories for FBA. If you’ve been selling for a while and your Amazon customer metrics (ODR, cancellation rate, policy violations, etc) you might consider expanding your horizons and applying to sell in some of the gated categories.
Increasing your profit even more on items you buy at Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club Instant Savings can be a great way of picking up profitable products to arbitrage on Amazon. Instant Savings are discounts that are pre-loaded onto your Sam’s Club card, so when you go to buy a product the discount is applied immediately without you having to enter in a coupon code. Instant Savings are unique to your account and can be viewed on the Sam’s Club site or on the mobile app.
The downside is that you have to be a member to get Instant Savings. You also can’t use Instant Savings more than once – so if you were planning to buy an item in bulk you’ll only get the discount on one item. However, Instant Savings are redeemable online, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the savings you have available and using SourceMogul to check how profitable this item might be for you to arbitrage.
Plus Membership does cost $110 per year, but it does come with benefits. For example, you can squeeze a little more profit out of your items as Plus Membership offers free shipping on most items, which you won’t get if you’re not a member. Additionally, Sam’s Club does something called “Plus Rewards” where you get 2% Sam’s Cash on all your purchases (exclusions do apply, so make sure you check what these are before buying.)
Sam’s Cash is Sam’s Club’s loyalty program, where you earn cashback on purchases you make. You’ll need to be a Plus member to earn it online – basic members only earn it in-store, which is obviously no good if you’re buying products to sell on Amazon.
A real benefit of Sam’s Cash is that unlike for example, Kohl’s Cash, you can actually cash it out to your bank account – meaning that this is a benefit that you can use at any retailer after you cash it out and not just Sam’s Club.
Sam’s Club Hidden Clearance FAQs
Do I need a membership to shop at Sam’s Club?
A membership isn’t required to purchase items online at Sam’s Club. You do need one to shop in-store. SourceMogul will only identify online arbitrage opportunities, so a membership isn’t required unless you want to take advantage of some of the in-store only incentives that Sam’s Club offers.
Is Sam’s Club better than Costco for retail arbitrage?
One isn’t necessarily better than the other – Costco may have fewer deals and incentives but it’s actually quite common for Costco to receive exclusive products from manufacturers that aren’t sold to Amazon, so therefore if they’re available on Amazon they’re usually sold by people doing online or retail arbitrage and there’s much less competition. You’ll also see this with the likes of Ikea, for example, who obviously don’t sell their own products on Amazon so any supply on Amazon is done by third parties and items are often marked up quite significantly.
To conclude, you can find some great online arbitrage opportunities at Sam’s Club using the SourceMogul app. Don’t limit yourself to one store, however – SourceMogul can pull out retail arbitrage opportunities from a huge range of online stores to help you find the most profitable products to resell. That being said, while they don’t offer an online hidden clearance option, Sam’s Club is a great place to source products from and there’s plenty of profit in using Sam’s Club as a supplier.
However, doing retail arbitrage at any store without a product sourcing solution is very difficult. SourceMogul will help you find the best deals at Sam’s Club and will show you exactly how much you can expect to make when you come to resell the item on Amazon.
We offer a 7 day free trial of SourceMogul – and we’d highly recommend you check it out; it’ll show you infinitely more opportunities to make a profit than you’d ever find by yourself!
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