Update 7/15/2014: This post was initially written 2/28/2014. One major change that is not reflected in the original post is that Profit Bandit is now $9.99/month as opposed to the one time fee of $15 that is referenced below.
Update 3/21/2015: I no longer use either Profit Bandit or Scanpower as a scanning app for my business. I use Scoutify by InventoryLab as my main scanning app, and the Amazon Seller App as a backup. Lastly, if at anytime you wish to see the most up to date list of services I am using, it can be found on this page on my page for Amazon selling resources.
I have had a few questions lately asking me about the scanning tool that I am using, and what I find works best for me. Today I will be comparing the 2 main scouting apps that I have used, and which one I use as my main scouting app. I purchased Profit Bandit back in August of 2013, and I started a free trial of Scanpower on January 6, 2014 and have continued paying for the service. Both of these companies offer other products, but today’s post will only focus on their mobile scouting apps. These are apps that you use to scan bar codes when you are in stores to be provided with the current amazon information for products.
Scanpower Vs Profit Bandit
Let’s begin by looking at screenshots from each app for 3 different products, and compare it to the current amazon page as well to see the accuracy. These are 3 board games that I personally own in the screenshots, and are not products that I am reselling, all 3 are a lot of fun and highly recommended however.
So let’s take a look at the Scanpower and Profit Bandit results from the game Settlers of Catan, this first screenshot is from Scanpower ( My phone is a Galaxy S3): This is what the results will look like in Scanpower for any item that you scan. At the top of the screen you can see that this product is in the toys category, has a sales rank of 62, amazon is a seller for $36.99, there are 125 current offers, and the item is standard size. All good information to know when making a buying decision, and note that Scanpower is breaking out the amazon price separately at the top. From the the lower half of the screen, we can see that the lowest new non-FBA price is $37.78, the lowest non-FBA collectible (used toys and games must be listed as “collectible” per amazon policy) price is $46.89, and the lowest FBA new price is $37.09 with this seller having one item in stock. You can also see the quantity that the other FBA sellers have available to sell, and you know that there are 9 or more different FBA sellers. Scanpower will always show the 5 lowest FBA prices, and will show you a number that the number of FBA sellers is greater than. In Scanpower if you view the right-most part of your screen (not currently shown in the above screenshot), you can see the “net payout,” which is the total amount you will receive for the item less amazon commission and FBA fees, for each selling price. Take a look at this screenshot for an example:
That’s what the data in the Scanpower app looks like, now let’s take a look at the same item scanned in Profit Bandit:
At the top of the screen the app displays the category of the item, the list price, the number of offers in each category, and the sales rank. The app will then display the pricing information of FBA offers, New offers, and Collectible offers. The price with an “*” next to it, is the current buy box price. The price that is shaded in brown is the current amazon price. Profit Bandit will display the lowest prices for each category and a sampling of the other offers. In this case they show 3 FBA new, 1 non-FBA new, and 3 collectible offers. They also show the profit in the bottom right corner of the screen. I will skip the narrative on what each number means in the next 2 items I will be showing.
Now, let’s take a look at the current amazon page to see if the data coming up in the app is accurate (click on image to enlarge): As you can see amazon has the buybox and is selling for $36.99. Both apps were accurate in this regard and let us know that amazon was a seller. Competing with amazon is something that in general I like to avoid, so it is valuable information to know that amazon is this seller. The sales rank was exactly right for both apps. I counted and there were 16 different FBA sellers on this listing. Scanpower displayed 5 while letting us know there were at least 9, and Profit Bandit let us know there were 3.
Let’s take a look at item number 2, the board game Acquire in Scanpower: And in Profit Bandit:And the related amazon product page: Items worth noting here are: Scanpower told us amazon was not currently selling this item and that was accurate. Profit Bandit told us the buy box price was $25.95, and that amazon was not a seller as there was not a price shaded in brown. There were actually 15 FBA offers for this item, Scanpower told us there were more than 11, and Profit Bandit displayed 3. Sales rank was right on for both apps.
Let’s take a look at item number 3 for the day, the board game Wits & Wagers, first from Scanpower:
There were multiple results for this UPCs, so I clicked the icon for the item matching the game (the top one) and this is the result: Now, here’s the result I got when scanning in Profit Bandit scanning the exact same UPC, and this was the result: The app displayed that there were no sellers for the item, and did not even show that it was listed on amazon. I then typed in the UPC by hand to see if that would display the results: It came up with the same no results page. So let’s see what the current amazon page for this UPC looks like:
As you can see this item was indeed listed on amazon. There were 62 FBA sellers, and Scanpower told us there would be more than 18. They were accurate in that amazon was not a seller, and in the sales rank. As for the error in Profit Bandit, I am not sure why this happens, but occasionally it will not display any results when there should be. I have had this happen quite a few times. I did not intend for this to occur by intentionally waiting to find an item that would have an error, I literally pulled 3 games off my shelf and began scanning and taking screenshots for this post.
Now, let’s get into the cost of these 2 services. Scanpower is $39.95 per month for the mobile app, and this monthly fee also includes “Webscout” which is basically Scanpower mobile that you view in a web browser. Profit Bandit is a one time fee of $15 to download. Profit Bandit charges a one time fee of $49 to use a bluetooth scanner with their app, while Scanpower does not charge an additional fee.
UPDATE 4/24/2014: Both apps require you to have a pro merchant account with amazon to use the account. A pro merchant account costs $39.99 per month, but waives a $0.99 per order fee on every item that sells.
Overall, Scanpower is dramatically more expensive than Profit Bandit, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts, about it. The real question however is, which one is the better value? and which one am I using?
I was using Profit Bandit for the first 3 months that I was selling online full time, and overall I was happy with it. It provided me the information I needed to make buying decisions and it helped me some see pretty good results as you have seen in my October through December income reports. I was noticing however that, I was receiving a decent number of products not found (as one example above) and occasionally being burned by not definitively knowing amazon was a seller on an item. This led me to explore Scanpower. I started the free trial at the beginning of January, and am now a paying user.
Here’s why, they provide the best data available. They show if amazon is a seller with accuracy, they show the lowest 5 FBA offers, they show the minimum number of FBA sellers, and I have found their app to consistently display results when items are for sale on amazon. These are the main 4 reasons that I am paying $39.95 per month for Scanpower. Now, if you told me 6 months ago that I would be willing to pay this much per month for an app, I would have thought you were absolutely crazy. But, I have seen what is possible with FBA, and having the best data available is an essential part of the business for me. I only have to have Scanpower find me an additional $40 per month in profitable items that may not have displayed on Profit Bandit, or to save me from buying too many (or possibly any) of an item that amazon is selling that I could lose money on.
Scanpower’s founder, Chris Green, did a Spreecast Q&A about Scanpower (kind of like watching someone film a youtube video live and being able to type in questions for those of you who aren’t familiar with Spreecast) this past Wednesday, and I asked him the following question via chat, “Does Scanpower have an exclusive agreement with amazon or how are they able to provide more information that the other scanning apps?” You can watch his response HERE if you are interested (note: he may be slightly biased against the other apps).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Profit Bandit is a good value for $15. It’s a great app to get started with due to the lower cost, and I still recommend it to people when they are just starting out. I did just fine my first 3 months full time with it. You just need to be aware that it will not show you if amazon specifically is a seller, won’t show all of the FBA offers, and will occasionally say there are no results, when there should be.
I am now using Scanpower as my main scanning app as I believe the accuracy of the data they provide more than offsets the cost. I still use Profit Bandit as a backup, and have no plans to get rid of it completely. Once you are starting to do some decent volume with FBA, and definitely if you are selling on amazon anywhere near full time, I believe it is worth looking into Scanpower and at least doing their free trial. The normal free trial for mobile scouting is 5 days, if you sign up for the free trial to “The Scanpower Pack” you will receive a 2 week free trial that includes mobile. If you enter my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) as “Where did you hear about ScanPower?” I believe you will receive an extended free trial. HERE is a link to Scanpower’s website. HERE is a link to Profit Bandit’s website if you would like more info.
This got to be quite the lengthy post, but I hope you find it useful in evaluating scanning apps. It’s worth noting that both of these apps also have other useful features that I really didn’t get into, maybe a topic for a future post if anyone is interested?
If you want to see an up to date list of all of the products and services I am using with my business, be sure to check out my amazon seller resources page
Lastly, my February 2014 financial results post will be ready on March 3rd, so stay tuned for that!
Click here for a list of 4 FREE tools that can help with your FBA business (particularly sourcing online).
44 thoughts on “Scanpower versus Profit Bandit – Amazon Scouting Tools”
Are you still using Scoutify by Inventory Lab or have you moved to something else?
Yes I am. You always see an up to date list on this page on my site as well: onlinesellingexperiment.com/resources
Hi Ryan. I’m a newbie and I just want to practice and get my foot wet first with out expense or minimal expense and learn about scanners which I am not familiar with. Any recommendations??
I’d recommend getting started with the Amazon seller app.
One question I didn’t see answered on your YouTube video or in these blogs was whether you try to find more than one item of the same to sell on Amazon or are you mostly selling one of a kind items. In other words, do you often buy or find a whole lot of the same item to send to Amazon. For instance: 40 copies of the same book, or 10 sets of the same CD/DVD, etc.? I had the impression that Amazon wanted the seller to have many items to sell of the same thing to have a listing versus Ebay who didn’t seem to care if you put up one lonely item at a time.
Thanks for your comment. I definitely try to buy multiples of items whenever I can. If there are more than one available, I will almost always buy at least a few. It really depends on availability, but I purchase as few as 1 and as many as several hundred of single items.
What if the internet is not available when trying to scan an item?
Then the apps will not work, it is one downfall to these apps. I rarely have issues with mobile data connection on my phone, and many stores now have free wifi available as well.
Hello! Great post, thanks! We are desperate to find another source of Amazon.ca data for scouting. Our only source is no longer offering Canadian data. Do you know of any providers?
Have you tried all 4 of these scanning app providers: https://www.onlinesellingreviews.com/category/productreviews/scanningapps/
In the above “ScanPower vs Profit Bandit” blog, you state that “I am now using Scanpower as my main scanning app as I believe the accuracy of the data they provide more than offsets the cost. I still use Profit Bandit as a backup, and have no plans to get rid of it completely.”
On your resource page, you state “Scoutify – This is the primary scanning app that I use in retail stores.”
Which scanning application do you use the most, and what advantage does one have over the other. Is one the clear winner?
Thanks for pointing that out, I will be updating this post shortly, I now use Scoutify as my main scanning app. It is included with the InventoryLab subscription and I think it works just as well. You can find a full review of it here: https://www.onlinesellingreviews.com/scoutify-mobile-scanning-app-by-inventory-lab/
Which is better for UK? tks! 🙂
Unfortunately I can’t comment on that as I haven’t used any scanning app with amazon UK.
DSD Unicorns and Donuts app for android. Completely free and effective on most items I’ve scanned so far.
I represent Profit Karma – a Profit Bandit Competitor with one time fee. We would love to get your views on our app. Please let me know if you would like to review it and I will send a free copy of the app your way.
Do you have an android version as well?
Great post Ryan. Do you by any know of any software that can scout Amazon listings in bulk? I mean a service where you can provide UPCs and a company returns all the listings with ranking and pricing info.
Yes I do, check this out: https://www.scanpower.com/features/inventory-evaluator/
You’re welcome Sharon!
Hi Ryan thanks for that info. Im going to be purchasing PB since im getting started with fba again. When I first started tho i had to stop and take care of some stuff. SP did the same thing of showing no data for products and you check amazon and the data was there with plenty of sellers for that item and the software on SP power pack I was paying 59.00 a month for was not working properly with my computer and i went back and fourth with there tech support and it still did not work correctly when went to scan in my products i had purchased. Im starting again though..
You are welcome! I should note (and I am updating this post right away) that Profit Bandit is now charging a $9.99 monthly fee as opposed to the $15 one time fee.
Used SP for over a year and was very pleased with it, except that it did not show if a product was being sold as a 3pk, 6pk or 12 pk etc, which, of course, one needs to know when comparing cost of item to quantity being sold for that cost. e.g. is price reflected for a single item or for multipack. So I switched to PB as this is reflected in the product title line. However, I did contact SP and was told that by next month they will include this necessary information, too. Best, Barbara
Thanks for the info!
When you go to stores and use these apps to scan products on the shelves, do employees of the store ever ask what you are doing? Do the stores frown upon people going up and down aisles scanning things? I can’t imagine store managers or owners would be OK with this. Do you ask permission first? I am trying to figure out how something like this can actually be done.
Yes I use these apps to scan items in store. Employees will occasionally ask, but I just tell them I am comparing the price to what is currently available online to find the best deal. I don’t always mention that the point of this is finding items to resell, I try to appear more as a bargain hunter.
I don’t ask permission first as there really isn’t anything that would require me to ask permission about. I am sure to be courteous in the store, and to place items as they were on the shelf if I do not purchase them. Stores want to sell things and I want to buy things, so it really is a good match.
Very informative blog for newbies like me. I am thinking of jumping on to the FBA bandwagon but I want to start on a small scale and test the waters first. Is there any scanner app out there that does not require a Pro seller account on Amazon? I find most of these apps need the latter and I don’t want to pay 39.99 until I see some results (any results!). What are my options? Thank you for your time and help!
Glad you find the blog informative!
I would recommend trying out Seller Mobile if you have an iPhone, or if you have an android phone I would try out the amazon mobile app. Both of these should provide some good info, but not quite at the level of the 2 apps discussed in this post.
Hey thanks Ryan! I see that the free apps aren’t that great, but I guess I can use it to start my business on a small scale and see how things go. Thanks again for the quick response. I hope to learn a lot more from your blog posts.
That sounds like a good plan to start with the free apps and then go from there. If you start getting some sales I would definitely recommend looking into getting either Profit Bandit or Scanpower. I find that using one of them helps quite a bit.
Great post. I’ve been looking for a good review. I just downloaded Profit Bandit and was disappointed I could not use it without a pro account. While I plan on getting a pro account once I get started, I’m still in my scouting phase. I would love to see a review of the Amazon app compared to these two other apps.
Glad to hear it was helpful! I just updated the post to make it clear that both apps require a pro merchant account. I use an android phone, so I don’t have access to the amazon app yet, but I might see if I can borrow an iPhone from a friend download it and give it a shot. As soon as I give it a try I will be sure to post about it here on the blog.
Hi there, I just watched and read a couple of other blog post and got my answer but thanks!
Good to hear you found your answer! I haven’t been able to try it yet, but plan on reviewing it when it is available for android.
Have you looked at Amazon’s seller app for a scouting tool? If so, how does it compare to PB and Scan Power?
I have heard that ScanPower has had technical difficulties over the last month? Any comment on this or just rumors?
I am currently using PB because of the upfront cost. But can see the benefits of ScanPower. Some issues but just starting.
When you are evaluating a product for retail arbitrage, what % do you calculate for amazon FBA fees for commission? I have heard different estimates from10% to 33%. On PB it seems everything is calculated at 15%.
Totally learning from your blog. Even I can understand it, keep it simple.
I didn’t have any noticeable issues when I was using the app over the last month. It is definitely possible that some users were having difficulties. There have probably been 2 times total since I have had it that it has not worked for me, and in those instances I just use Profit Bandit.
When evaluating a product, I use the net payout number on the scanpower app. This shows how much I will receive after all FBA fees, the only thing it doesn’t account for is inbound shipping. The PB app does this as well, you just have to do “FBA Profit Calculation” which you can get to by tapping on the profit number and then checking the box.
Glad to hear you find the blog helpful!
Thanks for the info Ryan, Do you use a Bluetooth scanner or do you just scan items with your phone?
No problem! I just purchased a KDC200 bluetooth scanner and have found it to be helpful. I will be posting a video of how it works and how much faster I am with it compared to my phone’s camera later in March, so stay tuned!
Thanks Ryan for explaining truthfully on both and not wasting time trashing one or the other, it’s helpful to me as I have been on the fence as to which to get.
Glad to hear you found it helpful! If you have any questions about either one, feel free to let me know.
On Profit Bandit, each time Amazon is a seller of a particular product their offer price is displayed in the FBA column and the cell is shaded brown to differentiate it from other sellers.
Thank you for clarifying that. I did not include that initially as I have had trouble with the accuracy of this feature. I have updated my post to reflect your comment.