If you do retail arbitrage on Amazon, you need a product scanning app (also referred to as an amazon seller app, product scouting app or product research app). It is nearly impossible to find profitable items to sell on Amazon without one. In this article, I'm going to explain what a product scanning app is and show you the existing seller apps on the market you can try out. Some are free and others are paid.
This article does NOT contain affiliate links to the scouting tools mentioned. Many other articles will recommend Scoutify 2 by default because it is currently the only app that offers an affiliate payout. Although it is a great software and the most popular paid solution, it has competitors that I believe are just as good or better. I have done my best to keep this article free from bias.
What Is an "Amazon Product Scanning App"
An Amazon product scanning app will allow you to scan a product's barcode with the camera built in on your smart phone (or an attached bluetooth scanner) and then see important information that is necessary to making good sourcing decisions.
These apps are as important to retail arbitrage sellers as a car is to a Nascar driver.
You simply scan a product, and enter your buy price, condition and fulfillment method and then you'll see things like:
- Sales rank
- Estimated fees
- Estimated ROI
- Estimated net profit
- If Amazon is a seller
- Current buy box price
- Total FBA and MF sellers
- Conditions being listed of each product
- Category and if your eligible to sell the product
- Images of the product (necessary for proper listing)
A scanning app isn't 100% necessary for all sellers but it is a pre-requisite for anyone doing retail arbitrage. If you aren't doing retail arbitrage, you will still benefit from utilizing free scanning apps from time to time.
What Are the Most Popular Amazon Product Scanning Apps?
I did a very quick poll in my Facebook group FBA Today (which is primarily arbitrage sellers) and the results showed a clear winner in terms of popularity.
- 53% use the free Amazon Seller App
- 34% use the Scoutify app
- 11% use Scanpower
- > 2% use Profit Bandit
- >1% use Scout IQ
- 0% use FBA Scan (which is now Scoutly)
The Amazon seller app is going to have a big advantage because it has many uses beyond product scouting but it's clear that it is a staple of the arbitrage seller's arsenal.
Let's dive into each of the 6 apps in more detail.
#1 Amazon Seller App
The Amazon seller app is completely free and requires nothing more than an active seller's account. The app is solid and the data is accurate. Also, it is built to do much more than just scan products at retail stores, it also shows your sales, sponsored product campaigns, seller inbox and much more.
This is one app that every Amazon seller needs, whether they do retail arbitrage or not.
ScanPower is a high end suite of tools for sellers but they have made the mobile scouting app completely free. ScanPower's data is top notch and the only knock on it is that it can be a little bit slower than Scoutify 2 and the Amazon seller app. The recent updates though in March of 2019 have boosted the speed and added even better functionality.
#3 Scoutify 2
When it comes to paid scanning apps, Scoutify 2 owns the majority of the marketshare. Scoutify 2 is created by Inventory Lab (which is very popular on its own) so many sellers default into using Scoutify as well if they already have Inventory Lab.
Inventory Lab's support is not great but their softwares are good.
When I started selling in 2014, Profit Bandit was actually the first paid app I used. At the time, I thought it was great but it seems that they have done little to keep pace with their competitors since.
#5 aseller tool sCOUTLy (Formerly FBA Scan)
The biggest benefit of Scoutly is that it allows for users to store the Amazon product database offline so even if you lose your internet connection, you can (supposedly) still use the tool. There are a lot of features that Scoutly lacks and I don't currently recommend it.
#6 SCOUT IQ
Scout IQ is another good solution for scanning but it lacks the robust features of Scoutify 2 and ScanPower
One scout IQ feature I think is really cool though is the "build a team" option that allows you to add team members across the country. If you have employees sourcing for you, this is a really great feature.
Final Thought: Bluetooth Scanners
All of the apps mentioned support bluetooth scanners. This means you can scan products more efficiently and without using your phone's built in camera (which isn't as fast). I highly recommend investing in a good bluetooth scanner. The one I recommend is the KDC200i which currently sells on Amazon for about $229. You can often find these from other sellers who purchased them in bulk or grabbing a used one is totally ok as well. You won't regret getting a good scanner if you use it!