When you first start selling on Amazon, it takes a while to figure out sales rank (also known as Amazon Best Sellers Rank). There’s no shame in this—it’s one of the most confusing aspects of selling on Amazon and one which is constantly changing and rarely explained in detail. But if you want to build a successful Amazon business it is vital that you understand it. Hopefully (fingers crossed), this post and the resources within it will help you gain a better understanding of Amazon sales rank.
What is Sales Rank?
Sales rank or best sellers rank is the ever-changing number Amazon assigns to products to signify how well a product is selling compared to other products in the same category or sub-category.
The product with the sales rank #1 is the best selling product in that category, sales rank #2, the second best selling product and so on. Every manufacturer wants their products to be ranked number one in a category or sub-category.
Sellers use sales rank differently to how buyers use it. Sellers look at it to see how quickly an item will sell on Amazon—the lower the number, the quicker it will sell.
Sales rank can be found within the product details section of most (but not all) Amazon product pages.
Here’s an example for Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week which has a sales rank of #130 in the Books category and #1 in various sub-categories.
If there’s no line that states the sales rank, then it’s likely the product doesn’t have a sales rank. It could be that category doesn’t have a sales rank, it’s a new product or it’s a product that hasn’t sold in the last two years.
Sourcing and Return on Investment
Finding and buying inventory is called sourcing. When it comes to making smart sourcing decisions, sales rank is one of the most important numbers to understand.
The closer the sales rank number is to number one, generally speaking, the faster the item sells.
If you’ve been selling on Amazon for any length of time then you’ll know that each of the main product categories on Amazon has their own personality. Each category reacts differently when it comes to sales and sales rank.
For example, a book with a sales rank of 500,000 might sell a few times a week but a toy with the exact same sales rank probably sells about four times a year.
New sellers on Amazon will usually have one common goal, find lots of inventory that will sell for a nice profit and sell quickly.
Every item you source needs to have two things: a good return on investment (ROI) and a good sales rank.
Calculating ROI is a simple calculation that can be done using an online program or calculator.
Here’s the formula for working out ROI. It’s typically expressed as a percentage, so multiply your result by 100.
Here’s an example calculation for a vinyl record which l purchased for £10 and sold for £30.
Net Profit/Cost = ROI x 100
£20/£10 = 2 x 100, ROI of 200%
Understanding Sales Rank
Much like its Buy Box algorithm, Amazon doesn’t make its sales rank algorithm publically available but it’s pretty clear that it only considers sales and no other metrics. The period of time sales are considered and the weighting given to specific time periods is unclear.
Stephen Smotherman from Full-Time FBA breaks sales rank down into nine easy to understand parts.
- Sales rank reveals how well an item has sold recently.
- Amazon updates sales rank every hour for most items.
- One sale can have a dramatic effect on sales rank.
- Sales rank is not affected by the type of seller or product condition.
- If a product doesn’t have a sale rank then it’s either a new product or hasn’t sold for a long time (two years+).
- Electronic items don’t have a sales rank. However, Amazon does allocate a sub-category sales rank for the Electronic category.
- A good sales rank doesn’t guarantee the product will sell in the future.
- Conversely, a bad sales rank doesn’t mean the product will never sell again.
- The Clothing Shoes & Jewellery category is structured differently to other product categories.
Source: Full-Time FBA
How can you improve a product’s sales rank?
Simply put, by increasing sales. But, how do you increase sales?
Here are some ideas:
- Maximise your product visibility.
- Ensure your products are listed properly (with keywords).
- Keep your products competitively priced (consider automating your prices with repricing software).
- Get good product reviews legally!
- Drive traffic to your product pages using social media or start a blog to promote your sales.
If you want to learn more about Amazon SEO and keyword research, check out this article for nine great tips.
Free Sales Rank Chart
Defining a sales rank as good or bad can be very different depending on the product category.
To help you, our friend Stephen Smotherman has created this great Amazon sales rank chart and made it available to everyone for free (thanks, Stephen!).
The sales rank chart covers Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk and is updated on a regular basis. The chart is divided into all of the main product categories on Amazon and each category is calculated into columns that show the top 1%, top 3%, top 5% and the top 10%.
With sales rank, each seller will have their own comfort zones that they’re happy to source from depending on their business model. Some sellers will only source items in the top 5%, while others will focus on the top 3% and others will broaden their sourcing parameters to the top 10% if the ROI is high enough.
Keeping Track of Sales Rank
Sales rank can change every hour so can fluctuate a lot over a month. For this reason, when you’re making a sourcing decision, you shouldn’t just consider current sales rank. Smart sellers will track its ranking over a period of time—daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly in some cases.
Keepa and CamelCamelCamel are two free tools that allow sellers to track sales rank and pricing history of almost every item on Amazon. You can see the average sales rank for a product and it won’t cost you a penny. These tools can help give you a competitive advantage if used effectively.
If you want to learn more about using Keepa and CamelCamelCamel, check out Stephen’s ebook (130+ pages) and video course (4.5 hours) titled The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel. The first two videos are currently free and there’s even a 100% money back guarantee.
If you’re familiar with Stephen’s work, you’ll know his writing is very easy to read and full of amazing knowledge based on his extensive selling experience on Amazon.
Both sales rank and product price are constantly changing on Amazon so it’s important you can monitor these and adjust your pricing for more Buy Box. It’s worth investing in a solid Amazon repricing solution such as RepricerExpress that will allow you to automatically adjust your prices according to sales rank fluctuations, as well as sales history, stock levels and other important criteria. Sign up for a free 15-day trial today or get in touch via live chat if you have any questions.
Thanks for reading.