There’s always one question on every Amazon seller’s lips: how well are my products selling?
The good news is that it’s easy to see your sales figures in your Seller Central account. The bad news is that this is raw data. On its own, it might not make a great deal of sense. Perhaps you’re selling 100 dog beds every month. How do you know whether that’s a good amount, a poor amount, or about average?
You can find the answer by looking at your Amazon Sales Rank.
What is Amazon Sales Rank?
Also known as the Amazon Best Sellers Rank, the Amazon Sales Rank shows you how well your products are selling in comparison to other similar items on Amazon.
It helps you to assign some sort of context to your overall sales figures.
It’s essentially a list of all products within the same category, ordered from the Amazon product that’s selling the most, to the products with fewer sales, based on recent sales history.
A category’s best seller (the product with the highest number of recent sales) will be ranked #1.
A product that doesn’t sell as well as others within that same category will come further down the list. Depending on the number of items listed for sale within the category, a product may be ranked #1 million, or even higher.
A ranking of 1 means that nothing in the category sells better than your product. A ranking of 5 means that there are 4 higher sellers than yours within the category.
How is Sales Rank Calculated?
Amazon is notoriously secretive about its algorithms. Its A9 search algorithm, for example, is shrouded in mystery. And it’s no different when it comes to the algorithm it uses to determine the best seller rank.
However, there do appear to be two primary factors that Amazon uses to calculate relative sales figures for products:
1. Sales velocity
The number of sales is obviously a critical factor, but ranking is also understood to be dependent on how fast products are moving out the door. It’s unclear whether sales figures are calculated using sales per day, or sales per month. Some even say it’s calculated every 12 hours. But one thing’s for sure: product movement matters.
2. Sales consistency
What many sellers have found is that their ranking doesn’t seem to be affected significantly during temporary periods of poor sales. For example, zero sales over 24 hours doesn’t always push them further down the line. This suggests that it’s not just sales per day, or per month, but how consistent sales are over a period of time.
These really are the only two factors that have solid evidence supporting them as playing roles in Amazon Sales Rank. While it has been suggested that elements such as price and reviews could play a role, there is not much backing those theories up.
However, even if review and price have no direct association with sales rank, they are still factors that can influence the buyer’s decision. Therefore, there is an indirect correlation between the ability to present an attractive offer, and rank position.
Benefits of Amazon Sales Rank
Why does sales rank matter? Products listed within the top 100 positions for each category are featured on a dedicated ‘best seller’ page that enables customers to see the top performing products for whatever category they click on. For sellers, this is essentially free advertising space that helps to get their listings in front of the right people, without having to pay for clicks. It’s a fantastic way to maximize visibility.
Another benefit of Amazon Sales Rank is that it helps to instill trust in potential buyers. In today’s vulnerable economy, buyers are becoming increasingly wary over how and where they spend their money. The ability to show that a product is one of the bestselling items within a specific category helps buyers to feel more comfortable and confident, knowing that many before them have made the same decision.
There’s also the possibility of the flywheel effect. This occurs when there’s momentum in your strategy, with one thing triggering another, triggering another, and so on, keeping your sales strategy moving forward without much external input.
When products are visible and when customers have trust in them, they sell more. The more products that are sold, the better the sales rank. The better the sales rank, the more visible and trustworthy these products are. It’s an infinite cycle of sales.
Where to Find Your Amazon Sales Rank
It’s very quick and easy to find the sales rank for your products… as well as for any other product listed for sale on the Amazon platform. All you have to do is click through to the product page and scroll down the listing until you find the section titled ‘Additional information’. This will tell you how that particular product is performing in relation to every other product listed within the same category.
Reasons for Fluctuations
Amazon Sales Rank is updated hourly, and so your sales rank on Amazon can vary – sometimes quite considerably – throughout the day. Sometimes, there’s really no obvious reason why it happens; it’s caused by a random peak or trough of sales.
However, sometimes there is an underlying reason. Fluctuations can happen due to:
Changes in competitor performance
Sometimes, a change in your sales rank may not have anything to do with you at all. As Amazon Sales Rank is relative, your position could improve – or deteriorate – due to changes in competitor performance. If your competitors are performing better than usual, your position could drop, whereas if their sales are low, you may benefit.
New sellers will often find that their position in the rankings changes quickly. This is often because Amazon lacks the historical data to fully understand sales consistency over time. Therefore, any sellers new to the platform – or sellers listing new products – may find it takes a little time to fall into a more consistent position.
Some types of products naturally sell more at certain times of the year. For example, Christmas trees are more popular in the run up to the holiday season, and in the first few weeks of January as people replace old decorations after one last use. If your products are seasonal, you can expect fluctuations based on the calendar.
If you experienced very strong sales for a period, above and beyond what is typical for your business, you may see fluctuations as sales figures return to normal. In a rare glimpse into its algorithm, Amazon notes that ‘recent activity is weighted more heavily’, so a product’s sales in the past don’t have as much influence.
A top 10 sales rank yesterday, but slipping to 500 today? It might be because you’re looking at two different rankings. Products are assigned a ranking for each category they are listed in, which means if you’re selling Christmas trees, you may have two different rankings: one for ‘Christmas Trees’, and one for ‘Home and Kitchen’.
Orders vs units
Following a lot of big orders, you may be expecting to see this reflected in your sales rank. If you don’t see the improvement you were hoping for, or fluctuations in the wrong direction, it may be to the orders vs units theory. It’s widely believed that a single order for multiple units has the same impact as a single order for one unit.
How You Can Use Amazon Sales Rank
The value of Amazon Sales Rank is something that’s heavily debated. Many experts say that Amazon Sales Rank is arbitrary; that all that matters is that you’re performing well, regardless of how you’re performing relative to others. And there’s certainly a lot of truth in that. If you’re making sales, and generating the sort of revenue you’re expecting from using the Amazon platform, then does anything else really matter?
However, at ClearAds, we think Amazon Sales Rank presents a few unique opportunities to adapt and optimize for improved performance. Amazon Sales Rank shows you a list of sellers offering similar products that are either selling quickly, or not performing particularly well within their category. This provides opportunity #1…
New product research
If you’ve been thinking about launching new products or expanding the types of products you’re selling through the platform, Amazon Sales Rank can be a very powerful tool. For each category, you can easily see what types of products are demonstrating strong performance, and identify what products are in demand. This can help you make smarter, more informed decisions for future business growth.
Opportunity #2 exists in optimizing efforts to attract and engage with more buyers. If a product ranks as #50 within a category, that means there are 49 other similar items that are selling better. There’s an opportunity for your products to achieve more.
Competitor benchmarking is a way of analyzing the approaches that your competitors are taking and comparing these with your own strategies. It allows you to easily see the primary differences between how you do things in 50th position, and how the #1 seller in your category does things. Armed with this insight, you can tailor your sales strategy to attract more customers and engage with more buyers.
What is a Good Sales Rank?
Of course, the position that every seller should ultimately be aiming for is #1. This means that, within a particular category, nothing sells better than your product. But only one product per category can wear the crown. If that’s not your product, then where in the rankings should you be hoping to sit? What’s a ‘good’ sales rank?
It’s difficult to say what a ‘good’ Amazon Sales Rank is. That’s because every category features a different number of products, and every category comes with its own unique level of competition. For example, in a very large and highly competitive category, a ‘good’ sales rank could be in the top 100. In a smaller category, a ‘good’ sales rank could be in the top 10. In some categories, you may strive to be in the top 3. A good sales rank is very much category dependent.
As a general rule, you should be striving for a better sales rank in your sub-categories than in your primary category, as there’s less competition. For example, you should expect to see a lower position for a dog bed in the broader ‘pet supplies’ category, and a higher (better) position in the smaller, more niche ‘dog beds’ category.
However, if you’re keen to maintain good visibility of your products, we recommend trying to keep your position within the top 50 for any category you’re listing in. That’s because Amazon’s category best seller lists feature the top 50 on the first page. To see lower ranking products, customers need to click through to subsequent pages.
But at the end of the day, remember that Amazon Sales rank is an opportunity to develop your business and optimize your sales approach; it’s not something to become consumed by. Remember that Amazon Sales Rank isn’t necessarily an indicator of how well you’re performing; it shows you how well your products are performing in relation to similar items. Don’t obsess over the ranking figures.
Improving Your Sales Rank
If your products aren’t showing up on the first page of the category best sellers, it’s not the end of the world. Sales rank isn’t set in stone. And a previously poor position won’t work against you in the future. Your sales rank is something that you have the power to influence by making some small changes and adopting new techniques.
Ultimately, the way to improve sales rank is simply to sell more than your competitors. And here at ClearAds, we think that there are three powerful ways to achieve this:
1. Making sure you’re listed in the right category
The first step is always to ensure your products are listed within the most relevant and suitable categories. If you’re selling snow shoes, you may decide to list them in ‘clothes, shoes, and accessories’, where they’re competing against standard footwear. It may be best to list them within the ‘sports and outdoor’ category, where customers are more likely to be in the market to buy specific sporting goods.
2. Conducting keyword research
Quite simply, if customers can’t find your product, then they’re not going to be able to buy your product. Therefore, keyword research is critical to success. Use online tools and run Amazon reports to determine what terms your target audience is searching for, and incorporate these terms into your product title and description. This way, your products are more likely to show up for relevant audience searches.
3. Optimizing product listings
Product listing optimization involves the creation of a product page that’s specifically designed to engage with visitors. By writing a detailed product description, using A+ content tools, including high resolution images, making use of bullet points to highlight unique selling points, and managing a strong review profile, sellers can increase the likelihood of a sale, and boost their Amazon Sales Rank.
4. Managing inventory
Even with fully optimized product listings, there can still be one very big obstacle standing in the way of a sale: product availability. Sellers wanting to improve or maintain their position should ensure that they always have available stock to meet demand. If inventory management is too much to handle in-house, consider signing up for the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program which can make it much easier.
5. Launching advertising campaigns
If you’re not already using Amazon Advertising, now is the time to check it out. Launching a Sponsored Products pay-per-click campaign can help to promote specific products in your inventory to those searching for similar items. Ads can show up in the search results or on competitor pages, helping you to attract new customers both during the awareness stage and at the consideration stage.
Making the Most of Amazon Sales Rank
Amazon Sales Rank is a little controversial, with some saying that the focus should be on increasing and maintaining your own sales performance, irrespective of what anyone else is doing, and others saying that it opens up doors to future growth.
At ClearAds, we believe that there are many opportunities for optimization that can come from Amazon Sales Rank, and we’re committed to helping sellers make the most of this handy feature. To find out more, get in touch with our team today by clicking the “book a consultation” button!