Understanding how it works
Also known as ‘sales rank,’ Amazon ranks products on an hourly basis according to how much time has elapsed since one was last sold. So if an item has just been sold, it’ll have a pretty high ranking, as opposed to something that’s been languishing for a whole hour. Here’s an example showing the best sellers rank on Amazon for Joe Wick’s book, Lean in 15, which is currently ranked at number 12.@Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank. What you need to know about this mysterious number. @RepricerExpress Click To Tweet
What does it really mean?
What many buyers get confused about is what exactly the sales rank signifies. While it does speak to, and we quote Amazon here, “how well a product is selling overall, it doesn’t always indicate how well an item is selling among other similar items.” It’s a rather isolated measurement, as opposed to being able to compare it within and across categories. Also, the short time-frame during which the best sellers rank is calculated means that it’s an extremely small sample pool. Say you’ve got a very small sales rank number (i.e. as close to 1 as possible) — to assume it’s a hot seller may be incorrect, as the buyer, could simply be looking at something that’s been sold just a few seconds or minutes ago.
Remember, Amazon “sells” free books
Those with a Kindle account frequently take advantage of free e-book downloads. Why do we mention this? Because when it comes to the best sellers rank, Amazon does not differentiate between free and not-free books. So if a free book is “sold,” it’s weighted just the same as if a buyer forked over cash for the same title. Therefore, the only thing that matters is how many of whatever title have been actually snapped up, and that number in turn becomes part of the algorithm used to calculate the sales rank.
You still need to work hard in other areas
Don’t make the mistake of so many buyers by placing too much importance on the best sellers rank. It’s tempting to get caught up in the heady rush of seeing items fly off the shelf and have a small rank number, but there’s much more to it than that. Remember, you’re still in competition with other sellers for the same products. Using the example of books, let’s say you’re selling a first-edition copy of Tom and Huck along with nine other Amazon sellers. If all 10 of you sell one copy each of Tom and Huck within a couple hours of each other, you probably won’t see a jump in your Amazon sales rank. To get that spike for yourself, you have to outsell the other first-edition copies of Tom and Huck so that your sales are higher than the other nine. The opposite holds true, too, wherein your competitors can suddenly beat you in the Amazon best sellers rank. This usually happens if you’ve been selling at roughly the same rate each day, and one of them enjoys a considerable (or relative) spike on one particular day.
Lousy sales ranks
Bad ranking isn’t necessarily indicative of a bad-buy item, but only if you do it right. If you’re smart about it and avoid items with tons of competing offers, then you have the chance to make nice cushy profits. Just make sure you’re backing your purchases with something like a Buy Box to increase your chances of a tidy profit.
Product reviews matter
When buyers look at your items and see a low sales rank, it’s not the end of the world. If you’ve been an honest and hardworking seller and focusing on acquiring positive customer reviews, then consumers will take that (and most likely a lot more than simply the sales rank) into account.
*This blog was originally published on the RepricerExpress website. Used with permission.