Finding items to sell on Amazon at Target

A question that I have been getting fairly often lately, is “what do you actually do when you walk into a store?” This is a good question, and one that I will go into a little bit of detail with this post.  For today’s post I will focus on selling clearance items on amazon and, more specifically, how I go about FBA sourcing at Target to acquire those items. In reality, the strategy I outline here holds true for the majority of stores that I go into.

First off, I am looking for items that meet the Amazon purchasing guidelines I use for sourcing items to sell.

Finding Items on Target

The first thing I do when walking into a Target is grab a shopping cart. This may seem obvious, but I am going in with the intention of buying items to resell (and hopefully a lot of them) so a cart is essential.

Once I get my cart I generally look through the various clearance sections throughout the store.  Target generally has clearance items on the end caps of aisles, and they have a “clearance” sign above the end cap. This is generally where the clearance is, but sometimes it will be mixed in with the normal items.  I will quickly walk by the end caps and look for the clearance throughout the store, and whenever I get to one that has clearance, I will stop and look items up on my phone to determine if they are worth buying to resell.  My favorite sections to find clearance items in are in the toys and electronics sections.

After going through these sections, I will quickly walk through some of the other aisles in the store as time permits to look for other deals that may present resale opportunities.  One example of this from about a week and a half ago was a deal where if you buy one Nerf gun you would get the second half off.  There were some Nerf guns that were already on sale prior to this deal, so with the buy one get one 50% off, it was over 50% off of retail.  When the prices are this low, it can present an opportunity for resale.

As I go through the aisles looking for sales, I also keep an eye out for Target “exclusive” items.  These are items that are carried only at target, and will generally have a sticker on them that says “only at Target” or something similar.  The main reason for looking up these items is that amazon will not be able to be a seller for this item.  Since amazon is not a seller, the price is set by 3rd party sellers who are able to source at Target.  There are times when these exclusive items sell for 3 times or more the list price at Target.

These are the main steps that I take when looking for items to resell at Target, but there is one more important thing to do.  If I find an item that is good for resale and I want to buy more than are on the shelf, I will ask an employee if there are more in the back.  Often times there are, and in some locations if they don’t have more they will be able to tell you if stores nearby have the item in stock, and how many they have.

Also, you should keep in mind that Target stores often have the same clearance items, so if you find a good item in one, there is a decent chance that you could find the same item in another.

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Lastly, Target follows a predetermined markdown schedule. You can find out more by doing a few google searches, but in general items go from 30% off to 50% off to 70% off.  So the longer they are sitting in a clearance section the cheaper the item gets.  I also know that at the Target nearest me that electronics are marked down on Mondays, so that is often a day that I will go looking for clearance.  If you ask an employee, they should be able to tell you the markdown schedule for their stores.

This is what I do when I go into Target stores to look for items to resell.  Let me know in the comments if you have other ideas to add!

P.S. – Sales have been going crazy for me in December, so I hope they have for you as well.  I will get back to posting on a more regular schedule after the Christmas season.  You may also be wondering what the picture has to do with the post, and the answer is not too much, I just like that picture. Thanks for reading!

16 thoughts on “Finding items to sell on Amazon at Target”

  1. Sandhya Krishnan

    Say if i buy few items from target n put in amazon site. What if those items not sold? Im worried about that?
    Plz do reply

    1. Hi Sandy,

      If an item you send to FBA doesn’t sell you have the option to create a removal order. This costs $0.50 to $0.60 and covers the cost of having the item sent back to you. When you get it back, then you can sell the item on another marketplace.

      Best Regards,

  2. Hi Ryan!

    I understand some items are restricted to sell on Amazon. Other items you have to request approval from Amazon. I’m starting out and find a lot of items for me are “restricted”, especially toys and name brand items. Is this because I’m a new seller? At what point should I request approval from Amazon?

    1. Hi Michele,

      Thanks for the comment. With big name brands it is likely that you are restricted on that as you are a newer seller.

      In terms of seeking the approval, I think this makes sense to do if you want to sell an item that you currently can’t. The process is a bit different for different items, and I will plan on doing an update post in the next couple months on my recommendations for dealing with restricted products.

      Best Regards,

    1. Hi Jan,

      I would not recommend doing that as it is fairly likely the customer will figure out what happened. I have bought an item online and have it show up with a different packing slip, and this did not make me feel good about the seller who sold me the item.

      Best Regards,

  3. I just stumbled upon this post and it answered a question I had raised in another blog post of yours. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    A few questions – How long do you usually take to source in such retail shops? I am just looking at an average time taken vs items sourced so that I can have a fair idea of what it takes to find profitable items. You mentioned that you will ask the sales guy if they have items stocked in the back. Do they ask why you need so much of the same item or something along those lines?

    Also, do you scan every single item on the clearance shelves or do you just pick brand names/popular trends, etc? I get a bit overwhelmed when I walk into a store and see 100s of items on clearance and wonder if I will have to spend the whole day there!

    I know you said you will address these issues in a new video in the future. I am planning to hit the stores this weekend and this will help me stay focused and, hopefully, come home with a good inventory 🙂


    1. Hi Carol,

      I will add the answers to these questions to the guide that I will be releasing as well.

      Best Regards,

      1. Ryan thank you for the info. Would you please guide me on were you posted the answers to Nick and Carols questions.

        Thank you

  4. Hi Ryan, I wanted to get your thoughts on the “race to the bottom” and the “buy and hold” strategy.

    I used to work at Target in high school and a bit in college, so sourcing there was a natural for me because I understand how the store works.

    However, I keep getting burned by the fact that their clearance seems to run nationally all at the same time. I’ll be at the store and find a near-perfect item, good rank and margin. And then by the time it gets to amazon, there are 60 sellers all selling at breakeven prices.

    Right now I am sitting on a bunch of digimon action figures, some nintendo 3ds chargers, and hello kitty alarm clocks, recently clearanced out by target. In the past, I’ve cut prices and moved on, but this time, I am thinking of holding on and waiting for these other guys to sell out.

    Obviously all situations are different, but I was wondering if you could give me some thoughts on this phenomenon, what your strategy is when this happens in general, and if it causes you to avoid Target.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    1. Hey Nick,

      That is something I have noticed as well. I really should do a blog post about it, but I find that prices tend to recover after 1-2 months after being on clearance (very unofficial data). One example that I can give is this Spy Gear toy that I purchased at the beginning of January for half off at 19.99 a piece. At the time they were selling for around $50, and I just sold them within the last few weeks for $35 a piece which is slightly profitable. Take a look at this chart from camelcamelcamel to get a look at the price over time:

      I will plan on doing a more extensive post in the future, but I have noticed what you are talking about. Sometimes I will cut my losses, and sometimes I will wait to see if the price returns to a profitable level. Hope that helps.

      Also, one question for you since you used to work at Target, at your store did the Target managers give discounts to people buying clearance items in bulk if they asked?

      Best Regards,

      1. Thanks Ryan. I think I am going to try to hang on in this instance and hopefully my patience will pay off.

        As far as the Target managers, I do not recall ever seeing somebody try to buy clearance items in bulk. I definitely think that some of my managers would be open to it though.

        I would try to get a higher ranking manager because the regular sales floor staff have absolutely no incentive to sell anything. And they’d be scared of getting in trouble for giving you the discount.


  5. As always thanks Ryan for sharing your results and what you are learning. I make notes from your posts to learn by as they are helpful, enjoy your day!

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